Thursday Night TV Round Up: Louis C.K. Edition

by Tony


Last night had tons of guest stars, all of varying quality. There was one I was especially excited for, but we’ll get to that later. For now, a hint:

30 Rock featured another ripped-from-the-headlines story this week as Jack contemplated running for mayor of New York City, not unlike Alec Baldwin has, but ended up some place much weirder. Jack and Liz are both fed up with the state New York is in, so Liz decides the only way to survive is to sink down further into the filth (like Ghostbusters 2), while Jack is sure that this is the time for a man to rise up and save the city from the brink (like the first Ghostbusters). Also Steve Buscemi showed up for a minute! Liz and Jack's disagreement over the soul of Gotham descended into a ridiculously anti-topical parody of The Dark Knight because of course it did. Also Jenna and Paul (Will Forte) start to find themselves settling down and have a hard time reconciling it with all of their freaky sex stuff.

Meredith Blake wrote last night that Paul and Jenna’s relationship “allows the show to play up Jenna’s freaky side while simultaneously making her seem more human,” which I had never thought of before. I really appreciate it for those elements but I’ve somehow just never been a Will Forte fan, so that storyline was a mixed bag for me. I thought the Liz/Jack Joker/Batman fight was funnier than it probably had any right to be because was just how aggressively weird and unexpected the parody was. I was glad the Batman thing was over as quickly as it began but I wish the show wouldn’t have dropped Jack’s mayoral ambitions just as quickly. Jack’s brief stint in the Bush administration was golden and a run for mayor could shake up the status quo in an interesting way.

Just look at what a run for office has done for Parks & Recreation! What a great string of episodes they’ve had, and tonight was no exception. Last night was especially fun because it featured the return of Leslie’s cop ex-boyfriend Dave, played by Louis C.K. Between Hillarious, Louie, and Live at the Beacon Theater, C.K. is my man of the year bar-none, and I was really excited to see him try to win Leslie back in last night’s episode. This episode really brought together a lot of established character beats, like Dave’s awkwardness, Ben’s fear of cops, etc into something both off-the-wall and natural.

The rest of the gang holed up with Andy and the rest of MouseRat to record a song for Leslie’s campaign in the same studio where local saxophone legend (and Ron Swanson alter-ego) Duke Silver records. April helped Ron destroy any Duke memorabilia while Tom tried to convince Ann to keep going out with him. Overall this episode was another great one for Parks, and I was so happy to see the return of Dave and Duke Silver. It’s probably good that this was the last episode for the former though; Dave’s talking-like-a-cop robot shtick was feeling tired by the episode’s end.

Finally, ya’ll should really be watching Louie because C.K. is doing some amazing, important genre-redefining stuff on there.

We’ve arrived at the first episode in the The Office’s Tallahasse arc, which has separated the office into two camps—hopefully to reinvigorate this disappointing season. This episode also brought back Catherine Tate’s character from last season’s finale and Todd Packer, who is just the worst. Tate was pretty funny as the leader of the special project team in Florida and Packer wasn’t completely terrible (basically the highest praise you can give the character).

There wasn’t a ton of actual plot here: Dwight had appendicitis but worked through it kind of, and Andy discovered a love of secretarial work. Whatever. But this episode kept me laughing, but I’m not sure if that was because it was actually better or if I was just grateful for the change in scenery. Pretty good either way, I guess. Finally, Florida Stanley continues being the best. "Drive fast and leave a sexy copse" -Florida Stanley. More of him, please. Maybe The Office is trying to make Leslie David Baker, who plays Stanley, resemble his music persona more closely.

This post is getting long so I’ll keep my comments on Up All Night brief, there isn’t a lot new to say about it anyway. In tonight’s episode Reagan and Chris try to fly with Amy to the wedding of one of Ava’s former bandmates (played by Alanis Morissette). Ava and witty Kevin also discuss marriage. The writing on Up All Night still pushes all the right buttons for me and the cast does great with it. The final scene with Ava, Reagan, and Alanis performing one of their old rap songs was so great: “Break out your lighters because it’s about to get sticky.” Ha! So excited for Maya Rudolph’s SNL this week. Also I love that Chris’ go-to terrible impression is Michael Keaton because I bet Will Arnett actually does a killer Michael Keaton. Yay!!

What did you guys think of last night’s episodes? Is The Office on the right track? Was the Dark Knight parody funny or just dated? Am I too kind to Up All Nigh just beacause it's different and new to the Thursday night line up? Let me know in the comments.