It was hard for me to determine who won Thursday this week, because I didn’t particularly love any of it. It’s like we’ve reached that part in the semester when the novelty of our new classes has worn off, and now the homework is starting to be a slog. Let’s take a look:
Community: Basic Rocket Science
I feel like this is what they were referring to when the creators said they wanted to do more episodes like the paintball one, but this was no paintball episode. The whole school-pride aspect of the plot felt forced, like they just wanted to give Jeff some kind of reason for a pithy speech, and I didn’t for a second believe it or believe that Annie would transfer. It was all very superficial.
30 Rock: Live Show (East Coast version)
Yes, yes. It was live. There were lots of funny only-in-a-live-episode gags (Julia Louis-Dreyfus!) and meta-live jokes. But how was it as an episode of 30 Rock? Not so great. For one thing, I found audience laughter off-putting. It really slowed down the pacing of the show. Then, did they really do an everybody-forgot-my-birthday plot? 30 Rock, you’re better than that.
The Office: Sex Ed
I can see how episodes like this are necessary to give a proper send-off to Michael Scott. It was neat to see him go back through all of his love interests, and it was a nice, meaty storyline for him. It just wasn’t very funny, and a lot of the women kept hitting the same exasperated-with-Michael beat. (Understandably, but it’s kind of a slog.) Jan’s was the only scene that was pitched differently, and that made me squirm.
It will never be Outsourced.
So, who won Thursday?
Who am I to argue against ratings stunts? Even though pauses for audience laughter cut out precious time that could’ve been spent on jokes, there were still plenty of good ones in there, especially the TGS commercials. (Dr. Spaceman!) Also, did anyone think that Jenna’s outfit was a callback to Astronaut Jones?