Valentine’s Day came early to the NBC comedies. Who handled it best?
Community: Communication Studies
While last week’s episode of Community played to all of its strengths, this week’s episode indulged all of its bad habits. It was another episode exploring the shallow relationship between Jeff and Brita. (And, is it me, or is everything we know about Brita told and not shown? I still don’t really know who she is.) Abed’s pop-culture meta-commentary was especially on-the-nose (if this were a sitcom, you’d do this—but it is a sitcom, get it!), and even Senior Chang’s antics were more frantic than funny, unlike last week’s more subtle “clearly I had no other plans fall through.”
Parks and Recreation: Galentine’s Day
This episode checked in on all of the show’s couples: Leslie and Justin, Tom and Wendy, Ann and Mark, and April, her boyfriend, his boyfriend, and Andy. (Oh, Andy. The world is not ready for “Sex Hair.”) Though things don’t really look good for any of them, the show managed to mix in a lot of sweet, touching moments alongside big laughs.
The Office: Manager and Salesman
This episode effectively ended the “Jim as co-manager” arc, resetting things so that Michael is back to being sole manager and Jim is back to salesman, a blow that’s softened by the fact that salesmen can apparently make more money than their managers. This is especially disappointing since, despite all the machinations, Jim never did anything as co-manager except make Ryan sit in the closet. That, in turn, inspired a Dwight/Ryan team-up that also didn’t go anywhere. Sometimes I think this show is ust spinning its wheels.
30 Rock: Anna Howard Shaw Day
Valentine’s Day is a holiday about loneliness and insecurity, so it’s right in 30 Rock’s strike zone. Liz schedules a root canal for Valentine’s Day thinking it’ll count as an opt-out for the holiday, only to realize that she couldn’t find anyone who cared enough about her to take her home from the surgery. Meanwhile, Jack starts dating Elizabeth Banks (!), someone who knows all his games and is better at playing them. Liz’s exes appear to her as a laughing-gas hallucination, and stick around for an over-credits bumper that should probably be considered racist but was still really, really funny.
So, who won Thursday?
Parks and Recreation
30 Rock came close, but Parks & Rec won the minute that Ron Swanson sat down to tell Leslie why things wouldn’t work out between her and Justin. I love how Leslie and Ron can sometimes grate on each other, but then have these moments of pure friendship…followed by Ron telling two old ladies that he’s not, in fact, Duke Silver. (“Move along, ladies.”) Also, I wouldn’t classify this as sweet, but the April/Andy thing is fascinating to watch because April communicates so much through a series of little scowls. I love when she gets jealous of Ann and rushes over to break up their conversation. (“These old bags paid for some entertainment.”) Andy, of course, is brilliant in his cluelessness.
That’s it for this week folks. Happy Valentine’s Day to no one.