Back in the 80’s, Thursday Night was “must see TV” on NBC with the comedy block of The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers and Night Court leading into Hill Street Blues. Later on, Seinfeld and Friends were anchors that bookended a myriad of other followers – some successful (Will and Grace, Frasier), some not (Joey, The Naked Truth). Eventually it seemed like the concept had run its course.
But it’s clear – at least in my house – that the comedy block of 30 Rock, Community, Parks and Recreation and The Office is and has been worthy of the “must see TV” crown. While it’s unclear how The Office will survive the loss of Steve Carrell, the final episodes provided many great options (including a genuine cliffhanger!) and it certainly has more gas in the tank. Ditto 30 Rock, which continues to be consistently well-written, although it’s becoming clear that some storylines are more dependable than others. But with a gaggle of recurring guest stars like Jon Hamm, Matt Damon and Dean Winters dropping by, brilliance is constantly right around the corner.
But this season proved that Community and Parks and Recreation can hang with the big boys. Community’s pop culture parodies are so clever and so deep that it takes multiple viewings to pick up every double-entendre, sight gag and trivial reference they’re layering into each script. And the cast on Parks and Recreation might just be the best comedy ensemble of them all; the show has skyrocketed after the growing pains of their inaugural season. Now we’re adding Whitney Cummings to the mix? Yowsa!
I’m going to have a lot more spare time now that these shows have completed their seasons, but it’s nice to know that among the annoying celebretard reality programs and the absurd elimination contest shows, there’s still room for well-scripted, well-acted prime time comedy. Kudos, NBC.
That's what HE said.
The six-episode run of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret just ended Friday night, and if you missed this brilliantly uncomfortable show you need to get your DVR primed to recapture the encore runs this week. David Cross is spectacularly cringeworthy in the lead, an inept pathological liar whose life choices are social quicksand. Frequent collaborator Will Arnett is the yang to David’s yin; he plays Brent Wilkes, a character Cross describes as “an unrepentant, crass douchebag“.
I’m hard pressed to tell you why this was one of the funniest shows I have ever seen on television without ruining the experience. Cross plays Todd Margaret, an inept temp worker who Arnett’s character misjudges; he pegs Todd as the perfect guy to launch a new energy drink (Thunder Muscle) to the Brits. Starting as a tale about a guy who gets in over his head, it quickly devolves…and then keeps getting worse. As Cross stated in an interview, The one thing that was important to everyone involved was that this project not simply be a fish-out-of-water comedy. Like, “Hey, you drive on the wrong side of the street!?” None of that.
On The Office, David Brent (or in America, Michael Scott) makes one cringe but you know there’s a sliver of common sense under the false bravado. Todd Margaret…not so much. Compared to Todd Margaret, Tobias Fünke has his life together.
Suffice to say, if you are a fan of Cross or Arnett and can find humor in even the most uncomfortable situations, you will absolutely love this program. And a DVR alert – although the show blocks out at a half-hour, IFC runs the episodes commercial free, filling up the last ten minutes or so with promos and adverts. A great move, since getting up for the commercial would interrupt that perfectly squirming feeling you get from not getting a reprieve as things spiral downward.
“The cool thing about Todd Margaret is that, while a straight ahead comedy show, it tells a story that has a beginning and an end. Every episode starts the next morning after the previous episode so that the sense of inescapable impending doom is heightened exponentially with each subsequent show,” said David Cross. “There’s no escape.”
*Not* fron Leeds.
Just saw the note regarding the last filming dates in Los Angeles, so that’s now a done deal. Prior auditions in New York reportedly drew in a boatload of names of solid contenders – both established and upcoming – although everyone involved is sworn to secrecy at this point.
But where once was a pile of tainted network involvement now springs a hope of legitimate prime time exposure for a bunch of worthy comedians. Check out the press release below – these people wouldn’t steer me wrong, would they?
NBC’s Emmy-nominated Last Comic Standing returns for its seventh season with new host Craig Robinson!
Robinson, star of NBC’s hit comedy series “The Office” and the upcoming feature film “Hot Tub Time Machine,” will host the nationwide search for the funniest comedian in America, and reward him or her with a $250,000 prize, plus an exclusive talent deal with the network. Joining Robinson are Greg Geraldo, Andy Kindler and Natasha Leggerro who will all serve as talent scouts and help judge the competition! As with previous seasons, Last Comic Standing will invite some of the best and brightest comics from all over the country to participate in the competition.
Looks like Monday nights just perked up a bit. Although the bolding of the word help was mine.
As you might remember, the clandestine behind-the-scenes manipulation of who was picked almost killed the show in the first season. If the hosts are only there to help but some marketing asswipe is choosing people based upon who will mix well in a house, then they haven’t learned their lesson. Why can’t a show that’s supposed to help find the funniest person in America…just do that?
I’m not going to lose more sleep over this; I’m going Zen. Meaning I will get to see at least forty comics worth watching, if even for a quick audition, and then twenty will go deeper and I’ll have to live with ten in greater detail. Surely there’s some comedy gold in there?
And don’t call me Shirley.