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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?

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3 comments December 10th, 2010

Glee vs. Kids Incorporated: Who Scored It Best

Break out the leg warmers.

(From Kids Incorporated, Season 1)

(From Glee, Season 1, Episode 17)

Not to sway the vote one way or another, but Jane Lynch’s faces make me laugh in spite of myself.

November 30th, 2010

Glee vs. Kids Incorporated: Who Scored It Best

So, how do you prefer your Madonna–straight up or mashed up?

(From Kids Incorporated, Season 4)

(From Glee, Season 1, Episode 15–I couldn’t find a video without the lyrics in subtitle, sorry!)

November 23rd, 2010

Who Won Thursday?

The contenders:

Community: Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design
Totally solid episode. Both the blanket-fort and the conspiracy theories were wild, out-there plots without really spoofing one specific movie, and it worked better that way (if for no other reason than there was nothing for Abed to point out, so he got to be a real character). Plus, who doesn’t like seeing Kevin Corrigan pop up anywhere? Its central weakness: It’s basically the “and that’s why you don’t teach lessons” episode of Arrested Development. There are far worse things to strive for.

30 Rock: College
For a show that’s already lean and fast-paced, how much better does it get when they decide to jettison a third plotline? Here, they just stuck to Liz and Jack—no Tracey or Jenna—and they were able to cram more jokes in by not having to do a set-up or payoff of the third plotline. Rather than giving Jenna and Tracy something to do, Liz just comes across them, sitting side-by-side on a couch, each gazing into a different hand-mirror. Genius! High-fiving a million angels!

The Office:
I love Ryan. I love how he’s cycled through 10 different types of douchebags throughout the course of the show. I also get a kick out of every time someone gets a fax because of But, even more than that, I love how Michael was able to manipulate Ryan this time around—in his sad, pathetic, Michael way. I also liked Dwight’s plotline, because he was evil and curmudgeonly, but there were reasonable explanations why (for money and to heal childhood wounds), making it less cartoonish.

It will never be Outsourced. Maybe that joke about how “Native Americans” are called “Native Americans” and not “Indians” because they find the word “Indian” derogatory would have been funnier in other hands, but it wasn’t funny here.

So, who won Thursday?

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2 comments November 19th, 2010

Glee vs. Kids Incorporated: Who Scored It Best

Both shows turn “Jump” into male/female duets, but which one is less likely to make Van Halen throw up in its mouth?

(From Kids Incorporated, Season 1)

(From Glee, Season 1, Episode 12)

November 16th, 2010

Who Won Thursday?

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?

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6 comments November 12th, 2010

Glee vs. Kids Incorporated: Who Scored It Best?

Another earnest classic, but who did it better?

(From Kids Incorporated, Season 4)

(From Glee, Season 1, Episode 11)

Hint: Only one involves fake tears!

November 9th, 2010

Who Won Thursday?

All the shows were back. Hooray!

Community: The Aerodynamics of Gender
I like how, in its second season, Community is breaking the larger study group apart and exploring how the characters relate to each other in smaller segments. This episode also featured a lot of Troy, who I adore, and it didn’t end with them all vowing to be best friends forever and never do things in smaller groups again, which I appreciate. But the trampoline thing was more odd than funny until the very end, and the funniest thing about the mean-girls plot was Chang’s reaction to it.

30 Rock: Gentleman’s Intermission
First off, the phrase “gentleman’s intermission” is just hilarious by itself—that’s not really a thing, is it? Otherwise, the episode started off exploring thoroughly charted territory—didn’t Salma Hayek also find Liz an intrusion on her relationship with Jack?—but it got stronger and stronger as it went on. For another example, Tracy’s “I haven’t done anything with my life” plot felt too familiar at first—isn’t that why he created a porn video game?—but I pretty much died when his story culminated in him shouting “I left Tracy Junior in Atlantic City!”

The Office: Christening
When this episode got to the scene where Pam had to make sure that Michael knew he wasn’t the baby’s godfather, I thought we were in trouble. I wanted to turn off the TV. Turns out, it wasn’t as painful as I feared it would be. Michael was actually kind of right when he hissed at all the Dunder Miffln/Sabre people to stop being rude at the christening luncheon. (Of course, he took it too far, but no one got hurt.) And I like Jim and Pam as harried parents—it gives them something to do. When they don’t have baby conflict, it seems like they’re just hanging around the show.

It will never be Outsourced. In the one minute picked up on my DVR, this episode started off the same way as the rest of them: one of the call center employees got caught off guard by one of the novelties they sell. (He’ll never suspect a water balloon! Classic.) But then, something totally different happened. The white guy got hit with a balloon in the crotch! (Hilarity!) Yes, they’ve moved on to crotch jokes! Now the show is at least as funny as America’s Funniest Home Videos, right?

So, who won Thursday?

Click to continue reading “Who Won Thursday?”

November 5th, 2010

Glee vs. Kids Incorporated: Who Scored It Best?

“Lean on Me” is a high school chorus staple. But who did it best, the Kids Incorporated, or Glee?

(From Kids Incorporated, Season 6)

(From Glee, Season 1, Episode 10)

November 2nd, 2010

Who Won Thursday?

30 Rock was off last week, so it was 50/50 as to who would win this Thursday. But who did?

Community: Epidemiology
Community had a terrific Halloween episode last year, and last night’s was also really strong. Halloween just jibes well with what the show likes to do, and this one worked better for me than the other “concept” episodes this season (the Apollo 13 one and the Charlie Kaufman/Jesus one). I guess zombies are easy to adapt to any situation, so it doesn’t require a lot of setup—it gets straight to the joke-telling. (Good ones, too. “I’m a sexy Dracula.”) Even though it was another parody episode, they reigned in Abed’s meta-jokes to one or two good ones. (“Make me proud. Be the first black man to make it to the end.) The fact that it was all superfluously set to an ABBA soundtrack made it even better—it shows they had time to focus on something other than how to pull off a zombie parody. My complaint, and it’s minor, is that, at its heart, it still came down to being cool versus staying true to the study group, with Troy playing the part of Jeff.

The Office: Costume Contest
The cold open was great. They never really pay too much attention to Stanley, so it was kind of amazing to see how he doesn’t pay much attention to anyone else, either. I also loved the twisted logic that surrounded the Scranton coupon book—how they all believed it was worth $15,000, and how they gave it to Oscar based on dim Survivor-style logic. I’m not, however, really that interested in The Office continuity. I’m interested to see who they get to replace Michael at the end of the season, but I don’t really want to follow a trail of breadcrumbs to get there. To me, the show is much more about the characters that then overarching story. I know they need one to put the characters in different situations, but I don’t tune in every week to find out who is going to replace Michael. (Maybe it’s because I got really frustrated with the way they advance things, then regress them. Jim’s in Stamford! Now he’s back! Now he’s co-manager! Now he’s back! Now Michael, Pam, and Ryan are gone! Now they’re back! Except Pam’s a salesperson now! Except she’s not!) So, since I’m not really invested in the future of the company, the Darryl storyline kind of fell flat for me. And I love Olyphant, but I don’t care why he didn’t call Pam back, and they still haven’t allowed him to be funny yet.

It will never be Outsourced. I watch the beginning of Outsourced because the DVR catches it. As far as I can tell, most episodes start with the staff being startled by and screaming at the novelties they’re selling. This week, a staff member didn’t believe that the spider on his desk was remote controlled, even after it was demonstrated for him. Now tell me the show isn’t offensive and condescending.

So, who won Thursday?

Click to continue reading “Who Won Thursday?”

2 comments October 29th, 2010

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