This Week In Comedy Open Thread

COMMUNITY’S BACK, Y’ALL! What did you think? That it didn’t feel exactly the same, but close enough that you enjoyed it and recognize that to have even a bit of that old taste in your mouth is better than never tasting the taste again? Or did you hate it because there were too many close-ups and it was too loud? Those are the two options, so CHOOSE WISELY! I thought that it was enjoyable enough, but that it felt more than a bit empty. I don’t think it’s fair to say that this is the fault of the absence of Dan Harmon (though I’m sure it doesn’t help), because I do think the show’s tropes have been growing increasingly tired for a while now, but so many of the jokes felt like they were included because it seemed like “something Community would do.” The Abed-imagined laugh track bits were fine, I guess, but didn’t feel like a smart critique of the laugh-track style sitcom more than they felt like Community saying, “Hah, laugh tracks. Aren’t they dumb?” (It also didn’t help that the jokes that preceded the laughs were pretty on par with the jokes included throughout the rest of the episode.) The Hunger Deans initially made me very upset — like an exhausting and transparently needless way to shoehorn in some sort of cultural reference-based storyline. And I don’t think it WASN’T that. It was that. It was stupid and I hated it. But I didn’t hate the idea that the dean would have orchestrated all of it in order to keep Jeff from getting the history credit he needed. (Though I don’t think Jeff had to spell out the plan and explain it to the audience the way he did. We would’ve gotten it!) (Also: Why couldn’t the dean have just said that the first 30 students who signed up for the class get to take it, and then say Jeff wasn’t one of them?) (PROBLEM SOLVED, DEAN, GIMME A CALL NEXT TIME.) There are still some good bits to extract from Community, I think. I think it can still be touching and sad in the way we all like so much. I think most of the actors still know how to make their characters enjoyable to watch. But, who knows. It could get better or it could get worse. Just like Abed said: Something about the past and the future, and not knowing. Now let’s move on to another TV show, after the jump!

Parks and Recreation was good, no duh. Nick Kroll was wonderful. It wasn’t an episode jam-packed with laughs, and at the end of it it wasn’t really an episode necessary for character development either (other than Aubrey Plaza realizing that she doesn’t have to be Amy Poehler), so, you know, obviously it got some points deducted there, but still who cares it was good. (Speaking of Nick Kroll, I wasn’t able to watch Kroll Show this week, but I know it was called “Too Much Tuna,” and I have seen a piece of the “Too Much Tuna” sketch on the Internet, and it is just the funniest thing. Luv it 2death.) New Girl dealt with the post-kiss awkwardness very well. Even when situations seem contrived (all of the characters ending up at this Indian marriage convention), the genuine feeling between the characters and the ability the actors have to make you believe and care about what they’re going through (and make lines like, “You’ve named both of your balls and they’re both named Sharon” actually funny and not the worst) always saves the day. It is a good show. NEXT.

Uhhh. Ugh, we haven’t even talked about the stupid Office yet. It seems foolish to spend any time pointing out plot holes since the Office has become about 86% unspoken plot holes, but really? The straw that broke the handsome camel’s employment back was not letting a woman get beat up by a man? And then he went out to lunch with his “friends,” who never mentioned him until last week or whatever, all the while being filmed by the crew that just fired him? (And they got a replacement sound guy to come to Scranton and film people in an Office? And, really, they need to maintain the integrity of the filming that badly?) And, like, we’re supposed to believe that he and his wife got divorced partly because of Pam? And we’re supposed to believe that David Wallace never tried to talk to Andy on the phone for three months, even though whenever Andy is in the office he is talking to him on the phone, like, all the time? And we’re supposed to believe that Jim would go to Philadelphia on Valentine’s Day other than spend the night with his wife, who he just learned is more upset than he thought about all the time he has been spending in Philadelphia? And that Pam would entertain the idea of letting him go, without saying a word against it, even for a second? WHAT IS THIS SHOW? (Though there was one line in the night that made me laugh so much that, unfortunately, I cannot remember. I don’t even remember who said it. It was very funny, though. LOL.) (“Chunky lemon milk” was also very funny.)

Girls was problematic but also had moments of being very good. Shoshana’s moments were great — finding out whatshisname is living with her, the moment she and he had waiting for the train. I loved Jessa’s fight with her now ex-husband, because of how all of his critiques of her (those that came after the critiques that were unnecessarily mean and seemed like they were going to let Jessa off the hook for being terrible by forcing all of the terribleness on to this guy) were completely correct. She also delivered the funniest line of the night, at dinner with Thomas-John’s parents, while the family was talking about religion, or having faith, or something. Again, I kind of forget what the actual line was, but it was something along the lines of: “I wish I could believe that that’s true,” and then a beat, “but I know that it isn’t.” The “but I know that it isn’t,” in the moment, landed perfectly. Very good. Jessa is great. Also: In forgetting what his actual name was, I almost just called Thomas-John “John Thomas” which was the name Charlotte’s ex-husband Kyle MacLachlan gave to his penis on Sex and the City. COINCIDENCE? Speaking of Kyle MacLachlan, Portlandia was good. NOW YOU PLEASE SAY SOMETHING.