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Friday, March 2, 2012

Thursday TV Recaps for Poor People!

Posted by Elinor Jones on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 3:27 PM

(Sorry this is late today. My internet broke for a few hours and so I was crying big, messy mascara tears while curled up in a ball under my desk at standard posting time. But it's fixed now! E-life can go on.)

Friends, enemies, and undecideds: rejoice! It is Friday afternoon and time for me to say some things about Thursday night NBC sitcoms. I’m not saying that you HAVE to participate in these discussions, but again, it is Friday afternoon, and you probably aren’t doing anything else.

Parks and Recreation

Why are we on this bench?
  • "Why are we on this bench?"

In this episode, we learn that Leslie’s city council campaign is gaining on frontrunner Bobby Newport. She and Ben work on getting the endorsement of the senior citizen vote with the help of old person Ned Jones (OMG Carl Reiner!) Leslie courts him by promising to install wheelchair ramps all over town. (“Stairs are the #3 complaint of old people, behind ‘everything hurts’ and ‘I’m dying.’”) Newport is too busy partying in Majorca to care, so his father hires a big-time strategist (OMG Kathryn Hahn!) to take Leslie down. And even though she seems nice privately, she is brutal to Leslie in public, and crashes her old people event with promises to install lifts instead of ramps. Leslie calls out Newport later for not even being in Pawnee to deal with his campaign, and the campaign manager (why did I not write down her name and why is it not on IMDB??) says he’s there to get contracts for European companies to set up factories in Pawnee. Also, that the girl Newport was making out with in tabloid story was anti-landmine activist, so was Leslie saying she was PRO-landmine? So not a good week for Leslie.

Meanwhile, back at the office, Chris notices that they are understaffed, especially with Leslie out. He asks Ron to hire more people. Ron doesn’t want to because he likes when government agencies achieve little, but he taps Ann to help with a project to show Chris they can still get stuff done.

The project deals with this:

Pawnee is a weird place.
  • Pawnee is a weird place.

Their attempts to come up with deterrents to water fountain contamination leads to an office water fight (or in Jerry’s case, just getting hosed down by Donna outside), and Chris is not impressed. Eventually, when a solution is found, Ron tries to thank Ann (see above) who credits April. He ends the meeting by opening a book, and when Ann asks if she should leave, he says “Oh are you still here?” God I wish this worked in all offices. Ron gives April more work because they like each other? Unclear.

SO. TO DISCUSS:

1. I like that Ann threw April’s book. Even the nicest person in the gang is sick of her. I don’t see how putting her temporarily in charge of Leslie’s duties seems like the right call, even if she is Ron’s favorite. She’s causing lots of eye-rolls these days. Maybe she’ll cool her balls by having actual responsibilities?

2. I feel that Leslie’s greatest nickname for Ben yet is “Sexy Hummingbird.” His face is not quite that pointy, but close, so it suits him.

3. I think that Leslie belongs in the Parks department - it is, after all, the namesake of the show — and it doesn’t feel right to want her to lose this election, but I had not been sure how it would work if she wins. But last night somebody (Chris?) briefly mentioned that if Leslie wins she’ll be splitting her time blah blah blah. SO, it’s not like we have to hope she loses, because either way she’ll still work for Parks in some capacity. I don’t have an opinion on the outcome of the race at this point, is what I’m saying. Anybody else?

4. Yay less Ann and Tom! There was a brief, seemingly hate-filled exchange between the two, but nothing else. I support keeping that minor. It’s weird enough. But I think my favorite part of the episode was during the water fight when Tom was curled up under his desk, repeating “everything I’m wearing is suede! Everything I’m wearing is suede!”

5. Actually, wait. I also loved Carl Reiner telling that story about his brother losing the middle section of his body in a motorcycle accident. GAH, and when Donna was hosing down Jerry. Also, Donna saying how Ben fills Leslie’s void. I could go on. Wow, that really was a pretty good episode, wasn’t it?

30 Rock

Frank tells his mom that he’s dating Liz because he doesn’t want to confess that he’s still dating the teacher who went to jail for dating him when he was young (Susan Sarandon.) Jack works on training Kenneth — whose uncle is D.B. Cooper! - to become a ruthless corporate asshole. And using skills acquired by previous acting jobs, Jenna and Tracy work on helping Pete track down who drank his whiskey.

Okay, so I’ve heard some rumblings are this and other internet locales that this season is all over the place and not as good as before, but I think the last few weeks have been just about perfect. I kind of think that the masses (and by "the masses" I mean "tiny percentage of populace that watches 30 Rock") handle this show better when it's a collection of pointless, but hilarious, little stories, rather than focusing on Liz and her Life Things. Right?

Highlights:

1. Stanley Tucci AND Susan Sarandon on that episode! Does everybody and their mom have a project coming up or do people just want to hang out on NBC Thursdays?

2. Kenneth's competition is 4 credits short of completing degree in Bro Studies.

3. Jack made a nice reference to Jaleel White. God, he's everywhere these days and I like it.

4. The best: Susan Sarandon's tattoo:

Sad.
  • Sad.

5. Second-best: Stanley Tucci's character and Jack talking about old times, and Tucci getting mad that Jack couldn't even remember what color the candles were. He hisses out: "They were white, tan regular color candles, Jack!"

The Office

Reiner, Hahn, Tucci and Sarandon are impressive guest stars, but Donna Noble is my queen. I love Catherine Tate on The Office. Andy got punched by a girl, etc., snoozeville.

Up All Night

Meh.

As a bonus treat, because it's almost time to go home: Liz Lemon faces off with Ron Swanson in eating contest.

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