Thursday Night TV Round Up

Tony

Welcome to Thursday Night TV Round Up here at the A&E Blog. Each week we’re planning on recapping and discussing NBC’s Thursday night comedy block. Thursdays have undergone a lot of changes at NBC, but it’s almost always been appointment television, and a night that I think just about every college student looks forward to in some way, so I hope you’ll join me in discussing it. Today, we’re coming in at midseason, as 30 RockParks & RecreationThe Office, and newcomer Up All Night all return from their winter hiatuses. So, without further ado…

 

30 Rock has been spinning its wheels the last couple of years, but it’s still a capable, solid show and I’ve been eagerly awaiting its return. As we open the sixth season (pushed back due to Tina Fey’s pregnancy) Liz is imbued with new confidence and patience because of a new boyfriend and a dancing gig with New York City’s WNBA franchise. Jack is also making some changes as he adjusts to single parenthood, and his “little tumbler of scotch” Liddy is making him question his greed and cutthroat business tactics. Also Kenneth believed the world was ending and the other writers messed with him blah blah blah boring. All things considered it was a solid start to the season. “America’s Kidz Got Singing”? Hillarious. I have my hopes that the story will move somewhere interesting this season, but honestly as long as the writing stays this sharp I’ll be happy.

Parks & Recreation was my favorite of the night. The gang from Pawnee returned after a string of stunning episodes that resulted in Leslie and the Parks Department running her campaign for city counsel on their own and boyfriend Ben Wyatt quitting his job as Assistant City Manager. Leslie names Ann as campaign manager and the gang throws together a campaign relaunch event while Ben (looking handsome as ever sporting some “resigned in disgrace” scruff) busies himself making depressing calzones and even more depressing stop-motion animation films. Leslie’s campaign event blows up in her face in the most spectacular fashion, and results in her finally recruiting Ben as her campaign manager. Yay! Everyone is happy again. This was a very funny episode and Andy especially is the greatest: “I tried to make ramen in the coffeepot and I broke everything.” Parks has been batting 1000 for some time now, here’s hoping they keep the streak alive.

I’m of the opinion that The Office has been running on fumes ever since Steve Carell left last April. The show really stuck the landing with Michael Scott’s departure, but has been formless and fairly boring ever since. Not to mention they’ve largely wasted James Spader. These days I hope for a merely decent episode of The Office and not one that makes me cringe at what the show has become. In last night’s episode, the gang went to Philadelphia to compete in a bar trivia challenge because who cares, and Dwight went to Florida to apply for a managing job and had to deal with the demented Gabe. This episode brought up a lot of elements that have been done to death on the show before: Andy’s gay panic, Kevin and Erin being dumb, Dwight being taken advantage of by his superiors, etc, but luckily didn’t dwell on them too long. If NBC is going to keep The Office on life support for a couple more years (and they surely will), all I want is for them to make me laugh, and last night did a pretty okay job of that.

Finally, I hadn’t watched Up All Night before last night, which I think means that NBC’s plan of pairing it with The Office to bring in new viewers is working. For those who don’t know, the freshman series stars Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as hard-partying yuppies adjusting to their newfound parenthood and paling around with Maya Rudolph. This episode was pretty funny, and it’s hard to argue with the cast. It was fun to see Arnett’s Chris try to sabotage his wife’s New Year’s Eve game night in order to spare his guests her hyper-competitiveness. “Makes you wonder what happened to those old bulbs!” It does, Chris. Up All Night is a really nice “hang out” show, and definitely has potential. Plus it’s just nice to see Will Arnett on TV again. I’m looking forward to watching this show develop.

Well that does it with this morning’s recaps. Do you like this feature? What did you think of last night’s shows? Let me know in the comments.