Who Won Thursday?

Posted by Marisa December 10th, 2010 at 11:09am In 30 Rock Community The Office Who Won Thursday?

Also known as: Who Won Christmas?

Community: Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas
Okay, saying that Abed sees everyone as stop-motion animated figures because of a major family disappointment is a huge, huge stretch. If that happened, I think his mental illness is more serious than anyone imagined. But, leaving that aside, I thought this was one of their “good” parody episodes. It was sweet. I liked seeing them as babies and teddy bears (Pierce squeaked when he walked!), I liked hearing them sing, and I especially liked seeing Troy and Abed switch heads at the end.

30 Rock: Christmas Attack Zone
Personally, I love Christmas. Sure, my family has had issues, but I don’t really relate to shows that are all, “Ugh, isn’t Christmas with your family just AWFUL and full of so much DRAMA?” So jokes that start from there don’t always land for me. That said, I did laugh at the way Jack interacted with his family, simultaneously resenting his mother while dismissing his father. His smile at the end was great. As were, of course, the “black swans.”

The Office: Classy Christmas
First off, let me say that, more than anything, I love the Scranton Strangler. I’m his biggest fan. I’ve enjoyed how that’s just kind of been developing in the background for the entire season. I was afraid that, after the Strangler got caught, they wouldn’t bring him up again, but he’s back! Apart from the trial, it was a really strong episode overall. When The Office was at its weakest, I missed Dwight and Jim’s antagonistic relationship. I’m glad they brought it back—and reversed, so Dwight had the upper hand. The parts with Michael and Holly, and the parts with Darryl and his daughter, made me cringe throughout, but I didn’t want to kill myself at the end. And—sorry TiFaux Sara—I like this version of Erin, where she’s missing something but isn’t incredibly stupid. My only complaint is that I get tired of The Office when it’s in its hour-long format. Even when the episode is good all the way through—which I don’t think happens a majority of the time—it still feels long and drawn out. When Michael starts misbehaving, I thought: “I don’t really think I could take another 40 minutes of this.”

So, who won Christmas?

[No photo yet. The photo hosting site is down. I’ll come back and add it later.]

I’m sorry. Stop-motion animation just wins on sheer ambition alone. I liked The Office a lot, but I didn’t do one of these last week—I know, I know, but real life is busy, y’all—and I probably would have given it to Community then, too, because it went to some pretty dark, weird places (and criticized drinking, which is risky because everyone thinks drinking is so cool). So this is kind of a double-award for Community. Both episodes were a gamble, taking the group out of the context in which people already know and like them, and, in these cases, they were a success.

That’s it for a while, I guess. Tune in again next year, when Parks & Recreation returns. (Wheeeee!) Then, it’ll really be a competition.


  • 1. jesse  |  December 10th, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Maybe it’s just because I don’t remember the last hourlong very well (remember that season where they did like four of them?) but I feel like this was one of the best, least padded Office one-hours apart from the wedding episode. This season has been pretty strong in big-group interactions, even when it’s tangential like the office card photo cold open last night.

    I actually liked last week’s Community a little more, because I found it funnier *and* more emotionally resonant, and didn’t play any meta-cutesy games. The Christmas special didn’t do that *too* much, especially compared to how much I was prepared for after the first five or ten minutes, but it was more cute and neat than really funny. I really like that Annie and Troy were the ones who really stuck with Abed the whole time; the show has developed really strong confidence in its ensemble that it doesn’t feel the need to push the most famous actors or ostensibly leading characters to the front every time.

    Also, 30 Rock is just having a tremendous season. This wasn’t one of the very best, but this season overall might be able to challenge second or third for best-ever. Add that to the assumption that Parks & Rec will keep its momentum from last year; Community seeming to really find its footing a little further into this season (most of the year’s best episodes have been in the past five or six weeks), and The Office will have some presumably momentous Michael Scott arc-ending, and it should be good competition all spring… leading of course to four-way affection split and Perfect Couples somehow winning every week!

  • 2. sara  |  December 10th, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I’m inclined to give it to 30 Rock just for the Black Swan(n)s. I was crying with laughter. But Community also made me tear up when poor stop-motion Abed was just repeating that his mother comes to visit every year, and the incredible callousness of the note (if anything, that might have been a little too over-the-top. What parent says “I have a new family now”? Precious’s mom, maybe) killed me.

    Maybe I wouldn’t hate dumbass Erin so much if she had more than two facial expressions. There’s her enormous cheesy grin, and her wide-eyed idiot look. And that is it. Michael is an idiot, but he hides it better. She’s just…Kelly is oblivious, Ryan is an asshole, Kevin is kind of slow, but Erin is either completely emotionally disabled by her upbringing or actually has an IQ of 40. I can’t decide which and it makes me angry.

  • 3. Marisa  |  December 10th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Jesse, I don’t really disagree with you at all. This probably was the best one-hour episode of The Office (but it still felt long). Last week’s Community was better than this one (but this one was stop-motion animated). This epsiode was more sweet and emotional than funny (but I was okay with that). 30 Rock has been great this season (but this episode isn’t the strongest).

    Sara–yeah, that note from Abed’s mom is way harsh. The AV Club–who, so far this season, hasn’t given any epsiode of the show less than an A- (WTF?)–rationalizes this by saying, since they’re in Abed’s subconcious, that’s how he *heard it*, not necessarily how she *said* it. There’s nothing really to support that, but the idea makes me feel better.

    I’m also really frustrated with Erin’s “stupidity fluidity.” But I think the level she was at in the past two episodes is the level where I like her. I couldn’t stand the disposable camera joke, but I liked her saying, “I’m waiting for my boss’ pretty friend to arrive.”


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