Yes, I increasingly suck at titles. Anyway, big Thursday so let's jump right in.
Community: This show keeps getting better, and really does a great job of using its ensemble. Listen up networks and casting people: talented actors make a show good, not big names. Joel McHale and Chevy Chase are the biggest names on this show; Joel (albeit awesome) is most decidedly not a big name (although he should be...he is a big man), and Chevy Chase has been poison for years. Example: Chevy Chase's Comedy Central Roast. They are talented people, with comedy and acting chops, and they are able to come forward or stay back as needed to forward the story or just to pop a big laugh in a particular scene. Case in point: This was an Annie episode. Alison Brie is adorable and awesome, and she nailed it tonight. She becomes wooed by Vaughn (of the tiny nipples), and Britta and Jeff decide (as the ersatz parents of the study group) that they need to break them up for her own good. Comedy ensues, and it all pays off in a big roundtable scene where the last season and a half's worth of subplots, moments, and in-jokes all spills out into one great ensemble scene. The AV Club reviewer compared it to the cast of NewsRadio, which is a pretty apt comparison. The B story of Pierce's inability to crack jokes at terrible movies (which, btw, Channel 101 regular Derek Mears was hilarious as Kickpuncher), and going to the lengths of hiring comedy writers to help him load up for the next screening was just over the top enough to be a good Pierce story. There was nothing I didn't love about this episode, even Vaughn's incredibly dumb, yet somehow oddly touching, soung for Annie. Watch this show!
Parks and Recreation: I've been getting into the comedy of one Mr. Aziz Ansari, and because of that and that alone, I gave Parks and Rec another shot tonight. Honestly, his character was the only one I was into, as Amy Poehler is funny but still not doing it for me in this character. There's a demographic somewhere that this show is for, and somehow I'm not part of it. Might keep watching though, we'll see if it grows on me.
The Office: Finally back after last week's clip show/boot to the crotch. Dunder Mifflin has been bought by Sabre (not pronounced "Sah-bray", by the way), and I loved the effect that restrictive rules have on Michael Scott (and the rest of the office). Twenty trips to the water cooler, site blockers on all the timewasting sites...it's going to be torture. Even if you're not a fan of the show, just the indoctrination video starring Christian Slater (seriously, as Christian Slater) is worth tracking down online. Kathy Bates as the head Sabre honcho has merit too, I dig her comedy chops and she'll be a strong personality. The scenes with Michael and David Wallace were funny but sad, which is a kind of comedy I have to be in the mood for, but is something that The Office has been skimping on lately (and what made the British Office so great). All in all, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.
30 Rock: Not my favorite episode, although after Community and The Office, it was a little hard for 30 Rock to bat cleanup. It was nice to see Jan Hooks working again, and I hope she comes back as Jenna's mother more often. Jack/Jenna is a pairing the show hardly ever goes with, and shaking up the pairings can only help at this point. Liz and Frank was odd, although the hidden camera footage at the end was gold. Absolute gold. The show does absurd so well, I wonder why they don't just throw off the shackles and embrace it 100%. Well, there's still time.
Finally, Burn Notice was new tonight, and it was a fairly by-the-numbers episode. Small twist with Sugar, Michael's former drug dealing downstairs neighbor being the client, but otherwise it was Michael being helpful. Just once, I'd like to see the client take Michael's very good advice about skipping town...but then the show'd only be half an hour long. Gilroy is becoming much more interesting though, and at a level of ruthlessness that hasn't been seen in a while. The question of why Michael is working his way in so close to him before taking him down is still a glaring one, and I'd like to see Michael get seduced to the dark side. Won't happen, but who cares; it's my damn blog. Mrs. Weston was a hindrance this episode, doing nothing but eating up screen time. The Michael/Mom relationship has to start going somewhere (not in that way you sickos!) and soon, or else I'm going to be straight up wicked bored whenever she pops up on my screen.
That's all for this week. I'm almost done with Veronica Mars, and I'm going to try to get Dollhouse started (restarted) soon enough. Super Bowl this weekend, and then the Heroes finale! Season? Series? Who knows?