Date Posted: April 18, 2011
Unfortunately for me, one of the poor few subject to cable sans PVR, I was forced to sit through a waste of time before a Will Ferrell-clad Office. That waste of time? The Paul Reiser Show. NBC has decided to take on a 90s sitcom star, Paul Reiser from Mad About You, and make fun of his real life by fictionalizing it in a TV show. Too bad Larry David beat the idea by about ten years. Even though Paul Reiser tried to show the fact that he knew he was stealing Larry’s idea by including a lunch scene with the Seinfeld co-creator, it wasn’t effective in hooking the audience. Not only is he dull, but he’s a celebrity satisfied with his current life and nowhere near as miserable as his quirky friend. All in all, I hope this one doesn’t make it past the pilot because it was the longest half hour of my life.
Thankfully, the downer created by NBC’s new show did nothing to take away from The Office countdown to Michael Scott’s good-bye. Every office can be awkward when a new manager is involved, and Oscar himself shares his feelings of being overwhelmed, so it makes sense that Will Ferrell as Deangelo Vickers would reinforce the show’s tone of workplace discomfort. The episode opens with Michael Scott ready to meet his trainee Deangelo Vickers (which is by far the greatest name on television), and the two of them are both ignorant and stupid enough not to realize who the other is. Brilliant. When Deangelo arrives for his first day of training, the staff try hard to make a great impression with several things that irk Michael, most notably laughing at Deangelo’s jokes and stories rather than Michael’s. Jim and Pam hear Deangelo has children, so they try their hardest to talk about Cecilia, though it eventually gets awkwardly shot down while Deangelo is getting a professional barber shave. He also assumes Andy is the funny one, forcing him to tell jokes when he is not prepared to do so, until Andy realizes the thing that makes the new manager laugh is him hurting himself. The look on the Nard-dog’s face is so heartbreaking, it echoes something akin to a childhood victim of the school yard with Deangelo as the bully who forces him to hit himself. With a new boss comes a few different changes, but even the most minor are monumental for Michael, for the staff, and most poignantly for the fans. Instead of “Dunder Mifflin, this is Erin”, Deangelo tries to get her to say “Dunder Mifflin, how may I assist you?” Instead of “conference room five minutes”, it’s “meeting, multi-function room”. Every inch and every second of this episode was a treasure and the thirty minutes (unlike Paul Reiser) went by way too quickly. Next week the Good-bye begins with fans still uncertain as to who will take the regional manager throne.
Another episode of Parks & Rec means another excellent impossibility: how can one show be hilarious week in and week out? Don’t ask me, ask Amy Poehler and the gang. The episode opened up on a meeting within the department headed by Ben, the adorable nerd. During it, Ron decides to prank his fellow employees (and the viewers) by admitting to a little tooth pain, and then pulling out a pair of pliers and yanking out his tooth. Turns out, he had already been to the dentist to get the tooth removed, but the effect it caused was worth it. Cue opening titles. Ben asks Leslie for advice on whether or not he should take his old job on the road or stay on in Pawnee, and since Miss Knope can’t actually share her feelings, she suggests a pros and cons list. April and Andy are excited to host their first dinner party, with a few minor changes: it’ll be held at Andy’s friend Bruce’s house and every guest gets an invitation that includes something they need to bring. While the department party it up with A&A, Ann goes to a singles’ party, where she meets Donna and learns the hard truth of the jungle of the dating world. At the dinner party, Chris disappoints everyone by substituting a vegetable loaf for the cake he was in charge of, leaving Leslie to admonish her boss before he takes a swing: “Take a walk, Ron”. There’s a small surprise that April and Andy were saving for their guests and that Leslie gets a sneak peek at: they’re getting married. At the party. In front of everyone. And Leslie doesn’t approve. In between Tom’s plan to be the best man being foiled by Andy asking every one of his friends to be best man and April’s creepy friend scaring the bejeebers out of Ben are Leslie’s dating war stories and her relationship advice. As much as Leslie wanted to stop them, she knows deep down that she can’t and she keeps silent as Andy tears up, April shares true feelings and Tom’s speech is cut. The wedding is beautiful with April dancing with Ron, Chris break out wicked dance moves and Leslie telling Ben that he should stay. Another great episode that is to be cherished.
For those who have forgotten the last 30 Rock episode, it ended with Liz realizing Tracy is somewhere in New York, so this last week’s episode was devoted to her search for him. Together with Kenneth, she tries to confront Grizz and Dotcom since, according to Kenneth, they have ways of making people talk “by giving them fresh apple slices”. They want him back as much as LL, though, partly because he’s the only one who knows the combination to the see-through candy safe. Throughout the episode, Liz and Kenneth go on a mad race to find out where Tracy is, with ups like meeting a perfect lie at the pizza place where Tracy orders and downs like the desperate cries into the universe. The stress is really beginning to wear on Liz, especially when Jack notices it: “You look terrible and I once watched you eat oysters while you had a cold”. When Liz watches a short Skype call between Tracy and Kenneth on Tracy’s lizard’s birthday, she recognizes her unstained college futon and realizes he’s been hiding in the top floor of her unfinished apartment. Why has he been hiding? Because he can’t deal with the pressure of being respected, so Liz frees him from his leash. At the beginning of the episode, Pete showed a great amount of strength when the writers arm wrestle to decide who chooses lunch, and his overgrown deltoid leads Pete from Frank, to Cerie, to both Dotcom and Grizz at one time. He eventually works his way up to Reggie, one of the crew members, and honourably loses so that Reggie can look good in front of his son. Pete is empowered, Pete has strength, Pete is dreaming. None of that happened. During the hiatus, Jenna has joined a movie project called Take My Hand, which has slowly been passed off by every producer within the Kabletown family until finally ending up as part thriller part porno set in Conneticut. The director (same director who did Garfield 3 and the Big Brothers commercial starring Tracy) hits a speed bump when the Connecticut tourism board refuses to allow the project to be done. The solution? Jack and Jenna improve the serial killer thriller by making it family friendly and encouraging of the state’s tourism. The result? Dialogue like this, “Merry Christmas! I practice abstinence! Connecticut!” Oh yeah, and there’s a Muppet. This is one of those shows that deserves and requires multiple views in order to fully catch every joke and witticism included.
A new Outsourced, one of NBC’s lesser shows but not as lesser as their new wannabe Curb Your Enthusiasm, has Madhuri as a stand-in palm reader at her aunt’s street booth. When Manmeet and Gupta stumble across her, Gupta wants his future read, but Madhuri is hesitant to read her friends’ palms in case she were to see something she didn’t want to see. After much persistence, though, she tells Gupta that his lifeline is short, and it may have something to do with his eating habits. His response? Quit and gorge, until Manmeet reminds him of reincarnation, then he turns into a life-loving guru of sorts. Tonya’s mother Lydia is visiting and Todd tries his best to make a better impression than last time (when he ended up in jail). He recruits Charlie to help him out, which leads to Charlie having an affair with the Aussie mom. When Lydia finds out about Madhuri’s family talent, she asks her to read Tonya’s and reveals that an affair occurs and a woman comes in between her relationship with Todd. Not a good read, especially since the writers decided to dig up the love triangle between Tonya, Todd and Asha that had fizzled a number of episodes earlier. Eventually, some giggles between Asha and Todd make Tonya jealous and when she asks him whether or not he still has feelings, he pauses. The end of their relationship. Some palm reading misunderstandings ends the episode that was funny, but slightly disorganized in terms of plot.
Everything Office fans need to know (or almost everything) about Michael Scott’s replacement can be learnt in Vulture’s interview with Paul Lieberstein, aka Toby, aka Michael Scott’s nemesis.
And according to TVLine, one of the contenders for Michael Scott’s position is the hilarious British comedienne Catherine Tate. Here’s a little crash course in the awesomeness that is British television with a clip from Comic Relief between Catherine Tate and Doctor Who’s David Tennant. Enjoy.