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"My Love Is In Idaho and My Heart Feels Like Knives": Highlights from NBC's Thursday Night Comedies

By Sarah Carlson | TV | March 2, 2012 |

By Sarah Carlson | TV | March 2, 2012 |

Last night’s ultimate winner: The tumblr user who posted the header photo of male centaurs kissing with the hash tag “Great now its in MY history too.” You wanted to demonstrated what Liz Lemon was talking about, and you hit the ball out of the park. I salute you.

“30 Rock”: “Alexis Goodlooking and the Case of the Missing Whisky”
Real life may be for March, but February Sweeps were still around last night as three guest stars stopped by: Susan Sarandon, reprising her role as Lynn, Frank’s childhood teacher/illegal love interest; Patti LuPone, back as Frank’s stereotypical Italian mother, Sylvia; and Stanley Tucci, as a onetime business nemesis of Jack’s. The more, the merrier, I suppose. Liz, at least, was at her best — still neurotic (recognizing the taste of tears in food), but back to handling other people’s messes that make her own weird life seem OK. She needs the balance of the craziness to bring out her normalness, if that makes sense. But we can’t blame her for going along with Frank’s charade of their relationship, considering it meant some tasty meatballs coming her way. … That didn’t come out right. Moving on, Tracy and Jenna’s plots poking fun at stereotypes was cute if not original, and I did like Pete’s Phil Donahue story mixed with some Billy Joel. The Kenneth plot was weak, however, just like the character has become. He still gets some funny lines playing at his backwoods upbringing, but mostly, he’s grating. If Kenneth went back to his mountain, I don’t think we’d even notice. It’s not like he’s as interesting as the porn version of “Temple Grandin,” “TentTen Poles Rammed In,” or majoring in Bro Studies at Syracuse.




  • Liz: “I can’t be your girlfriend because I’m not an old pedophile.” Lynn: “We prefer the term ‘adultaphobe.’ “
  • Lynn: “This is creepy? In prison, I was part of a fake family with a bald woman and our son was a basketball with a wig on it. But OK, this is ‘creepy.’ ”
  • Kenneth: “Before he died, my father gave me a piece of advice: ‘Son, if you want to get ahead in this world oh God, this hurts, tell your mother I’m gay.’ “
  • Jack: “Exactly! Paranoid. From the Greek “para,” meaning beside, and “noid,” which is some sort of, uh, pizza demon! No, that can’t be right.”
  • Kenneth: “But I’ve never crushed anyone, except accused witches.”
  • Kenneth: “Mr. Pfister just took me to the woodshed, which I didn’t even realize could be a metaphor.”
  • Sylvia: “Are you sure you’re not Italian, Liz? Like maybe from the North? That’s where the vampires used to live.”
  • Jenna: “I broke the No. 1 rule of being on the force.” Tracy: “Don’t fall in love with your car?” Jenna: “No. I let it get personal.” Tracy: “You’re right. The car thing is stupid.” [strokes a photograph of a car]
  • Liz: [crying] ” ‘P.S. I Love You’ is so sad! No one should have to be married to Gerard Butler, or Hilary Swank!’
  • Kenneth: “I’ll climb that corporate ladder until I eventually take your job. And then where will you be? Out on your ass, like Stone Mountain’s mail man riding his trusty donkey, Erasmus.” Jack: “Wow. That is some high-level paranoid thinking. Like Hitler, or Willy Wonka.”
  • Lynn: “Ma’am, I am in a Mexican prison gang. You kill me, Los Tiburones will greenlight a 187 on you, and you don’t want that kind of heat.”
  • Liz: “Yeah, but if you look at my Internet history, I’m researching a movie about two male Centaurs kissing!”

AnnBookThrow.gif“Parks and Recreation”: “Campaign Shake-Up”
The great Carl Reiner will be 90 this month. NINETY. That’s awesome. Good to see his guest spot as Ned Jones, the ring leader of the Pawnee seniors, just as it was nice to see the hilarious Kathryn Hahn as Bobby Newport’s new campaign manager, Jennifer Barkley. Although where’s Paul Rudd? We need more Rudd! Leslie and Ben maintained the cute quota, at least, with her multiple references to her love of his slim frame. Joe Biden may be her celebrity sex list, but she knows she’s got a keeper in The Hedgehog. It was also good seeing the Parks people back to their office antics, what with April giving a two-armed, Steve Holt-style salute to herself for annoying Ann; Andy, duck-taped with water balloons, attacking Chris; and Donna forgoing balloons and just spraying Jerry with a hose. We even got some classic government hating from Ron, whose emphatic “Noooo!” needs to be my new ringtone. This show is its own brilliant, sexy little hummingbird.




  • Leslie: ” ‘Not enough ramps’ is the No. 1 complaint among Pawnee’s seniors, right behind ‘Everything hurts’ and ‘I’m dying.’ “
  • Leslie to Ben: “As a candidate, I appreciate your strategic mind, but as a woman, all I care about is your slight but powerful body.”
  • Leslie: “I should listen to you always because you are a man-genius, with a taut, narrow frame like a sexy elf king.” Ben: “Do you wish I were taller? What’s going on?” Leslie: “Nothing, you’re perfect!”
  • Donna: “Do I look like I drink water?”
  • Tom: “Everything I’m wearing is suede! Everything I’m wearing is suede!”
  • Andy: “Kamikaze!”
  • Donna: “I think Ben’s already filling the Leslie void. Ohhh!” [high-fives Ann]
  • Perd: “Let’s begin the show by starting it. … I am not here to declare a winner, but, Jennifer is the winner. Now we’re going to move on to our next segment, which is a commercial.”
  • April: “I don’t want to do things. I want to not do things, just like you taught me.” Ron: “And I taught you well.”

JimSign.gif“The Office”: “Test the Store”
Side-stepping the issue of how the team was able to set up a Sabre store so quickly, their Florida assignment being only for three weeks, the test run of the venture provided some great bits. Using NBC’s “Chuck” as the main promotion tie-in was pretty genius, given that we know “Chuck” just aired its last episode. Can we assume the Sabre store is destined to fail? Other highlights: Dwight and Jim channeling Kelly and Ryan’s mother, respectively, as an encouragement to Ryan were perfect, as was Jim’s ultimate presentation to the sound of Coldplay’s “Clocks.” The man looks good in anything, even a white suit and eyeliner. The night’s guest spot went to Georgia Engel, Georgette from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” as the elderly woman Erin spoke with after chasing her out of the store. Reports have her returning for a few more episodes. Back at Scranton, Andy’s bully storyline was weak in itself — He got beat up by a girl! Ha! — but bringing her and her mother (comic Tig Notaro) in for a bitchy apology and Toby for a self-defense session (complete with sections such as “Begging for mercy”) saved it completely. All that was missing was Michael acting disgusted by Toby’s very presence. At least That Bitch Kathy only tried her moves on a blogger and not Jim. Maybe they can sic the fifth-grader on her when the team returns to Scranton …




  • Dwight: “Bloggers are gross. Bloggers are obese. Bloggers have halitosis. You’re gonna love ‘em.”
  • Erin as Hipster Tabitha: “I already bought my pyramid, but I don’t want to leave yet. I haven’t had so much fun since seeing Zoo-ey Des-channel at the Catcherella Music festival. So fun.”
  • Toby: “I’ll go put on my cup.”
  • Blogger: “This is a perfect photo for my daily fail blog.”
  • Oscar: Why are you fixated on this hypothetical transgendered attacker?”
  • Toby: “Now, if your attacker is willing to defile a corpse, you better stop playing dead right away and just make it known that you’re alive.”
  • Mom: “What about the lady you hit with a pine cone?” Tiffy: “There, that chubby one.” Pam: “I just had a baby!” Tiffy: “Yesterday?” Pam: “Wow.” Mom: “Apologize.” Tiffy to Andy: “Sorry I kicked your ass in front of your ‘thin’ girlfriend.” Pam: “How about we wait until next year after you have your kid?” Mom: “You know what, Tiffy’s going to college.”
  • Darryl, looking at Andy: “Oh my God, I think I see the imprint of a Ring Pop.”
  • Dwight: “Look at this face! This is not the face of a performer. This is the face of a scary apparition you see before you die.”

“Up All Night”: “New Boss”
More guest stars! The lovely Eve Best (“Nurse Jackie”) stopped by as lady business guru Yvonne Encanto to briefly encourage some of her favorite heroines, Ava and Reagan, in time for Ava’s fifth anniversary show. Her leaving behind Luke (Steven Pasquale) to help run things is a smart move on the show’s part; Reagan needs another obstacle, and by bringing in Luke as everyone’s boss, the writers are continuing the shift of making Ava more of a friend to Reagan and not some weird Oprah spin-off. Ava has gradually become more grounded, if still eccentric, and it’s better to keep Rudolph funny but relatable. We’ll definitely miss Kevin (and Jason Lee), too. At least we got some more Will Forte action as Reed, another stay-at-home dad looking for some excitement and a chance to wear red leather. I appreciate Chris’s obliviousness when it comes to stereotypically “manly” things — he can’t even tell Steve McQueen and Elton John apart. He’s like the opposite of every character Tim Allen has played, and it’s wonderful.



  • Reagan to Amy: “Can you say that mommy is so excited to be working with an icon of lady business?” Chris: “Oh, I don’t know if that sounds right, ‘lady business.’ “
  • Ava: “Our lady business idol!” Chris: “Yeah, that still doesn’t sound right.”
  • Chris: “Lupe! Lupe! Love those extensions, girl.”
  • Luke: “Army guy is smooth down there! You get it? All these years I thought this G.I. was a guy, but no. He could very well be, you know, some bearded chick with a hormonal imbalance.”
  • Reagan: “What, are you milking a freaking cow?” Luke: “Clearly, these are the purse strings.”
  • Ava: “Why don’t you just start the day with a glass of champagne like the rest of America?”
  • Reed: “My Uncle Wolf died on this bike. Not on it, near it. He was thrown from it.”
  • Chris: “I am so beast! / That’s what the beast does! / To the beast! / Aw man, if only my buddies could see how beast I am. / We built it myself, me and my buddies just in the garage. / Oh, these pants are so hot. / I am so beast!”
  • Luke: “Ava is spiraling. She reminds of a sergeant I had in Kabul. His left testicle was crushed when a supply van overturned and a giant can of peaches got loose. Now, he healed, but he forever had this stunned look of ‘Why?’ on his face.”
  • Ava: “It’s an original composition, titled ‘My Love Is In Idaho and My Heart Feels Like Knives (I Don’t Want to Do The Show).’ ” Reagan: “What’s it about?” Ava: “It’s about me, Reagan. And a little bit about climate change.”
  • Luke: “Destiny’s Child. Good call. Got me through three Taliban attacks.”

Sarah Carlson will forever think of Adam Scott as a sexy elf king.

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