Funny Friday: A Sitcom Round-Up

OK guys, welcome to the first ever “Funny Friday” on Couchtime With Jill! This is a new thing I’m trying out for the Fall season. I watch a lot of sitcoms, and of all the shows I watch they’re the most difficult to cover. It’s a lot of either “I liked it” or “It didn’t work”. So instead of providing full recaps of every show, I’ll be doing a round-up every Friday.

Many shows haven’t started yet, so this week I only have three shows to write about, all on NBC: Up All Night, The Office and Parks and Recreation.

Up All Night

Laundry and washboard abs.

I had a hard time with this one, for only one reason. Will Arnett is looking hotter than ever, and I just can’t get the fact that he left Amy Poehler out of my head. I love her! I loved them! It was a Hollywood divorce that hurt.

This episode was setting up the new season, and I liked where it went. Reagan and Ava’s show was cancelled, which provides a really good new challenge for them. Reagan decided she wants to stay home with Amy for a while, and that means Ava has to strike out on her own. Chris decided to go back to work, but quickly realized his old law office isn’t for him anymore. I liked seeing how being a dad has changed him, and I dig the idea of him going into business with Reagan’s very mellow brother.

Best moment of the episode: Ava and Reagan “escaping” in the golf cart.

The Office

I had really mixed feelings heading into this season of The Office. I’d planned to dump the show after last year’s disappointing season and the exodus of many of my favorite people associated with the show. But then they announced that this will be the final season, and that original showrunner, Greg Daniels, would return. I knew I’d have to see the show through to the end.

And I’ve got to say, I’m really optimistic about this final season. I liked last night’s episode a lot. We were pretty blatantly promised a happy ending for Jim and Pam at the beginning of the show, and things moved fast. Jim had an opportunity to partner with a buddy on a cool business idea that Jim himself had had in college. But it was in Philly, and the family wasn’t going to move. (I may have screamed “WHY???” at the TV…) By the end of the episode, Jim made a last minute call and told the guy he’s in. How will Pam react to that? I’m very interested to see.

We also learned that the documentary crew has really just been sticking around to follow Jim and Pam. The Office has always used moments where the characters acknowledge the crew sparingly and well, like when Michael left. I’m glad they’ll be delving into that more in the final season.

The rest of the episode was solid, though not spectacular. For me, I thought it was funny enough to give me some hope for the final season.

Best moment of the episode: Oh man. Kelly’s exit was hilarious, but I practically died laughing when Creed said  “Not bad for a day in the life of a dog food company.”

Parks and Recreation

I’ve been most eagerly awaiting the return of Parks and Recreation, especially knowing that it would feature Leslie Knope in Washington D.C. And believe it or not, the show managed to surpass my sky-high expectations.

Ben and April were in DC, so that meant Leslie and Andy were coming to visit – brilliant move. Andy as a fish out of water is always hilarious. “Can we stop real quick and the nearest place that has free pants?” Amy Poehler did a fantastic job of selling Leslie’s insane excitement over being in DC, and then I loved how the show flipped that on its head by showing just how small and unimportant Leslie began to feel there. Leslie Knope has always been a character who feels like her town is the BEST town and that her work is very important, even though no one else really feels that way. So it was fun to watch that get shaken up. The result was a perfect combination of genuine emotion and fantastic comedy.

The Pawnee story was just as great – who doesn’t love seeing Ron Swanson in all his glory? There were loads of jokes – my favorites were about “Pig Tom”, of which Ron said “That is his given, Christian name” – but it also illustrated an interesting reality. That with Leslie splitting her time between the Parks Department and City Council, and April in DC with Ben, Ron will have to actually run his department.

Best moment of the episode: As always with Parks, there are plenty to choose from. I think I’ll go with Leslie muttering about people not respecting personal space after an entirely pleasant encounter with John McCain in the coat closet.

This week’s winner is…Parks and Recreation! Of the three shows, Parks is my favorite and came out of the gate strongest.

What did you guys think?

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About Jill

Pop culture junkie and TV aficionado. I write sharp and snarky TV recaps at www.couchtimewithjill.com
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2 Responses to Funny Friday: A Sitcom Round-Up

  1. kristaspurr says:

    First, I really like this format. It’ll make it much more manageable for you on the writing front!

    Second, I agree with most of what you said. I’m kind of meh about Up all Night (Team Poehler! Even though we’re not doing that), but I’ll keep watching because I’m too lazy to change the channel between 9:30 and 10:00. I need more (and better) Maya Rudolf so I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time. The new character of Reagan’s heretofore unknown brother had better get more interesting. Also, again, Team Poehler.

    After last year’s unspeakably disappointing season of The Office, I was almost overwhelmed by the greatness of last night’s premiere. They are totally set up for a smashing final season. Can’t wait to see how the stories tie up.

    While watching the episode, I pulled up a map of Pennsylvania on The Googles, and, geographically speaking, making the move from Scranton to Philadelphia is much bigger than Stamford, CT, or even New York City. It’s an interesting and possibly conflict-riddled way to wrap up Jim and Pam’s story. I like that they’re not going to be smug marrieds any more.

    I’m sad to report I was mostly underwhelmed by Parks and Recreation. The episode was still pretty good, even by Season 1 P&R standards, but I’m worried they’re going to focus too much on the Ben and Leslie long-distance relationship instead of what could be a great season of political satire – at both the national and local level. The April-as-Ben’s intern plot device was convenient, but, ultimately, made no sense.

    I like the idea of Lesley feeling out of her depth with more sophisticated political operatives, including her own boyfriend, who is clearly in his element. I hope this plants the seed for her to run for Congress as a way to conclude the show. You read it here first.

    • Jill says:

      I agree, the long distance stuff didn’t really do it for me. I’m taking some comfort in hoping that it will only be for six episodes before really coming to a head – this interview with Mike Schur (http://tvline.com/2012/09/20/parks-and-recreation-season-5-preview/) says the first few episodes take place over a few months, and then after the real election Leslie and Ben will have to face the fact that he has an opportunity to stay and work in DC. I really like your idea, hopefully that comes true.

      Glad you checked out the logistics behind the move on The Office – that makes more sense now, that Pam would be opposed to that move. She’d be leaving behind her mom and whatever support system she has in place to help her function as a working mom of two. That’s not an easy decision, and it’ll be great to see them have something to do other than giggle about Jim’s pranks on Dwight.

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