It was a strong night overall, so it’s going to be close.
Community: Cooperative Calligraphy
I’d never heard the term “bottle episode” before, and I’m ambivalent about Community‘s meta-jokes in general, but I dug how craven they were about admitting they were doing a bottle episode. Mostly, I loved how, in addition to the strange contrivances they created to keep everyone in the study room, they nakedly twisted the knife by constantly calling attention to how amazing it was outside. (A puppy parade!) The ending was also really clever—they thought they were pinning the blame for Annie’s missing pen on something bizarre and impossible to save their friendship, but it really turned out to be something bizarre and nearly impossible.
30 Rock: Brooklyn Without Limits
Hot jeans visual gags aside (“I will haunt your dreams”), this episode was entirely owned by John Slattery. “I will clean up this government like the bathroom of a paintball facility.” “If you’re blind, I am the wrestler Steve Austin.” “If you’re senile, I am the Six Million Dollar Man.” “Hand me that shovel so I can dig a grave for her.” And the political ad where he comes out of the woman’s womb and then cocks a shotgun! Who says this show isn’t genius?
The Office: Viewing Party
I feel like this episode advanced a lot of the emotional storylines: with Andy and Erin, with Michael and Gabe, with Michael and Erin, with Dwight and Angela. I also love seeing Andy’s budding friendship with Darryl—and Pam’s with Dwight, too, I guess. (“Remember your concussion?”) There were a lot of sweet character moments. It just wasn’t very funny.
It will never be Outsourced, although last night’s cold open remained novelty-free. Between that and the crotch-joke development from last week, the show may be getting better.
So, who won Thursday?
Both Community and 30 Rock were really funny this week, and I might’ve even laughed harder at 30 Rock. But 30 Rock‘s jokes were easier—a talented writers’ room like that could probably come up with a full half-hour of crazy stuff for a character like John Slattery’s to say—and I was more impressed with how Community planted seeds for its jokes earlier in the episode. I love, for example, how Abed offered Annie chocolate when she was upset about her pen, only to find out later that he’d been charting her menstrual cycles. (They were offended, but I’d be totally psyched if a dude knew to throw chocolate at me when I’m feeling crampy—take note, TiFaux Jesse.) A similar thing happened when Troy brought up Annie’s Boobs in an offhanded way to set up the big joke at the end. (Though we all would’ve liked it more if that were Chang—and please let Shirley be pregnant with Chang’s baby!) This made the whole thing even better. I really have to watch the show more closely.