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"It's 'Ghostbusters II' All Over Again": Highlights from NBC's Thursday Night Comedies

By Sarah Carlson | TV | February 17, 2012 |

By Sarah Carlson | TV | February 17, 2012 |

The evening’s winners: Batman and Catherine Tate.

“30 Rock”: “The Tuxedo Begins”
Liz has definitely gone cray cray, but I can’t fault her for going full-Joker in this Batman parody. It’s only natural for someone who loves rules to unravel in a city filled with disgruntled rule-breakers, where even middle class citizens wielding Eddie Bauer knives mug 1 percenters. Her downward spiral nicely mirrored Jenna and Paul’s discovery that they’re more normal than they realized, and it’s always great to have Will Forte around. It was also nice to see Steve Buscemi, who directed this episode, back as Lenny; his role on “Boardwalk Empire” almost made me forget he’s hilarious. Back to Liz: Here’s hoping her bag lady adventures were a one-off, though. She can keep the underwear, but she needs to move on and focus on the premiere of “The Hunger Games.”




  • Idealistic Young Woman New to New York: “Say, where does a young prostitute get started in this town?”
  • Liz: “Am I the only person that saw Obama’s press conference on how to sneeze?”
  • Jenna: “It’s in my contract that I only play blondes, non-Irish redheads or bald sex robots.”
  • Jenna: “Oh don’t be so dramatic. That’s my thing. And if you take it away from me, I will kill myself. And then you.”
  • Tracy: “I won an Oscar so now I get to do real art. Begin ‘Snow Dogs’ phase!”
  • Tracy: “How black was this dude? On a scale from Lisa Bonet to Dot Com.”
  • Liz: “It’s like Jay-Z says: Concrete bunghole where dreams are made up, there’s nothing you can do.”
  • Lenny: “I get all my outfits at Ann Taylor Loft. Their clothes fit my body and my budget.”
  • Paul: “Yawns are contagious, like all the Thai STDs my penis is about to give you.”
  • Paul: “Last night I napped on you and you liked it, you sick bitch.”

  • Kenneth: “… I know they’re condoms.”
  • Young Tracy: “Perfectly executed Chewbacca sounds!”

“Parks and Recreation”: “Dave Returns”
Oh, Louis C.K. His bumbling Dave is so adorable. And while I love Ben, I still miss Dave and Leslie’s romantical involvement. Tom and Ann’s may be the most interesting relationship, however; if he can drop his act long enough to be serious, he may just be datable. But not too serious. And not without Jean-Ralphio at his side. The man who upstaged everyone, though, was Duke Silver, that saxophone legend who makes mature women swoon. It’s been far too long since we’ve seen that side of Ron — maybe he can come out of the closet for one of Leslie’s campaign events? As long as they don’t try to pull the “Chris can’t sing” joke again.


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  • Tom: “We have Cookie Toosh. Winnie The Boo, Lady Presh Presh, Annberry Sauce, Annie Get Your Boo, Tommy’s Girl, Annie Banannie.”
  • April: “God, that was hot nonsense!”
  • Donna: “Hey. When you two spoon, who spoons who?”
  • Dave: “I said my thing first.”
  • Dave: “You look like I could use some company.”
  • Tom: (in a whisper) “I think you sound like an angel, and everyone else sounds like demons.” Ann: “I think you shouldn’t whisper.”
  • “Catch your dream, and shackle it to your heart! Catch your dream! Don’t let it spread its wings and fly away!”
  • Ben: “Pretty sweet sauce in there, eh Ace?” Chief: “What’s wrong with you?” Ben: “I don’t know.”
  • Tom: “The four sweetest words in the English language: ‘You wore me down.’ “

JImFalling.gif“The Office”: “Tallahassee”
Easily one of my favorite cold opens of the series, from Ryan’s confusion concerning Erin to Jim’s hotel room prank. All of our Florida players were in fine form — That Bitch Kathy didn’t try anything with Jim — and Catherine Tate’s turn as special projects president Nellie was glorious. The bits back in Scranton weren’t a strong, although it was nice seeing Andy back to being himself instead of a Michael wannabe. But the Tallahassee plotline seems promising, with David Koechner back as Todd Packer and Stanley letting loose and inspiring Jim with his rum-soaked ways. Now if only Kathy could fall off a balcony or something …



  • Erin: “Who says none of us are diarrheal? (wink)”
  • Jim: Whoa, Stanley. Did you just come back from burning down a rival nightclub?
  • Creed: It’s so peaceful. I’ve already written like 12 plays today.
  • Stanley: Life is short. Drive fast and leave a sexy corpse. That’s one of my mottos.” Jim: “I’d love to hear the other mottos.”
  • Nellie: “So stop looking at my breasts and start looking at my penis.”
  • Stanley: “It’s just rum. I’m not bored; I’m a pirate.”
  • Creed: “Ah, Dwell!”
  • Nellie: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I once spent a passionate night with Hugh Grant’s brother, John Grant. He’s older than Hugh, just a little bit uglier. How did I pull that off? Sheer force of will.”

“Up All Night”: “Travel Day”
Babies on airplanes really are the worst, but I think even I could forgive a crying brat if her father gave a little speech like WillChris. “Up All Night” has an uphill battle of taking topics related to couples, families and child-rearing and making them not only funny but unique — more than typical sitcom fare. The show is definitely succeeding thanks to Arnett and Applegate’s chemistry and by putting the focus on their characters as people first, parents second. Chris and Reagan’s trials at the airport stemmed from their personalities and issues; the baby in the mix just made things more hectic. It’s a smart way to go about things. The Ava-Kevin marriage fears bit wasn’t as original, but we’ll forgive it. Ava is, you know, half of the Simon and Garfunkel (or is it the Lennon and McCartney?) of hip hop.



  • Ava: “God! Give me strength! … Ooh, I think he heard me. I felt him reach down and touch me with his E.T. finger.”
  • Reagan: “No on the coin slot.”
  • Reagan: “That was a flaccid back-door brag.”
  • Ava: “Wedding bells? Chill out, bitch!”
  • Reagan: “I don’t want to get lavatory on my good boots.”
  • Ava: “Love, it’s like a wild rose … Sometimes, it makes me thorny.”
  • Reagan: “Michael Keaton in ‘Mr. Mom,’ everybody!”
  • “Back it up into my face and be with me forever.”

Sarah Carlson also writes for Irish Arguments Weekly, America’s only all-caps magazine.

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