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Laugh Tracks: Roadtrip to Pawnee, pt. 2



By Amy Van Veen (Staff Writer) – Email

Mr. Sunshine has lingerie football at centre stage. Yea. That’s a real thing. Roman is so endearingly stupid, he admires Ben’s boldness in scoring a date with the star quarterback Jessie. In the meantime, Alonzo tries to get a couple of dotcom millionaires to donate to one of his causes and patronizingly tells Alice she should “let daddy drive the bus” when she tries to help. Her manipulation skills are a little better when it comes down to frozen pea football and shots of apple juice; also pinning two millionaire brothers against each other to see who will donate more. Crystal forces Ben to help her with a little auditing problem when she innocently mixes her personal expenses with business expenses and can’t go to the hairless accountants – yes they’re all bald – because they have legal morality. To get more work done, Crystal shows Ben her secret back office which is at times both awe-inspiring and terrifying. Ben eventually finds out that Crystal lied about the audit in order to get Ben to help her through the difficult day that is her wedding anniversary to her third husband and only love of her life. Every year on this day she spends a little excessively and goes on an emotional bender, so in order to get back to his date quicker, Ben helps her face her past and get closure. He enlists Roman to distract Jessie which turns out counterproductive when he teaches her self-esteem. At the bar where Crystal left her love for an old man who owned the Sunshine Center, Ben gets her ex to play an old song and forces Crystal on stage to face her shameful regrets. For the second week in a row, Crystal offers fans an honest emotional moment and it lasts just about as long as it takes Billy to tell her that her leaving him was the best thing that could happen to him. And then Crystal goes back to her old glory. Matthew Perry knows how to make a show, and especially how to cast someone like Allison Janney.

On Community, Annie throws a very racially inclusive baby shower with appropriate gifts for whether or not Shirley’s bundle of joy is Andre’s or Chang’s. Britta likes Troy and Abed’s new friend, Luka, but Troy and Abed forbid her from going out with him because she always ruins all of their friends including nipple-playing Jeff. Shirley asks Jeff to get Chang to sign a parental forfeiture, but when he tries to convince Chang of that, he sees a golden opportunity to get Chang out of his apartment if he tries a little harder to impress Shirley. Turns out Britta’s new man is a bit of a psycho who misses the ethnic cleansing of his home country and she’s caught in a bit of a dilemma when she doesn’t want to ruin him for Troy and Abed, but she also wants to protect them from a killer. She tries her hardest to scheme a way to separate them, but she really sucks at it, which is quite humorous in and of itself. Meanwhile, Chang tries to prove to Shirley and Andre how good of a parent he can be by kidnapping her kids, who turn out not to be her kids, which he doesn’t tell Jeff when he offers them a ride home. Jeff gets arrested, Shirley bails him out while getting Chang arrested, and Troy and Abed tell Britta she can ruin a guy if he participated in genocide, but not if he’s tall. All in all, it wasn’t the strongest episode, but there were a few golden nuggets of glory including Abed’s commemorative paintball sweatershirt, Jeff’s nipple guards or pasties (depending on who is asked), Chang’s saws and Mr. Rogers’ get-up, and most notably Britta and Troy wearing matching green neckerchiefs.

Perfect Couples mixes up the couple situation by getting everyone to challenge everyone else’s “something just for them”. Julia is still my favourite character, especially when she comes home drunk and trying to be sneaky after a night out with work friends; also when she asks a lot of questions while Dave tries to watch The Wire. Amy quits another job and gets a puppy as severance, who is quickly named “Little Vance” by none other than Vance. Rex is crazy competitive and good at all sports. He’s even able to master one last battlefield: the tiny pool table. Julia has her very own gay guy friends. They have to be gay guys, because the ladies picked up signals she does not mean to be sending out because, according to Amy, her walk is confusing. Leigh recognizes the fact that Amy needs a wife or rather someone to support her, and Leigh proudly becomes that very wife. When Vance beats Rex at Tiny Pool and retires, Rex goes nearly out of his mind waiting for a rematch so he can be at the top of his game again. Julia feels threatened when Dave takes over her gay guy-friend friendship by being all Ty Pennington, margarita-making charming. Vance uncharacteristically supports her because “Dave is a social dominator. He’s a super charming robot that runs on friendship.” Rex and Amy bond over Leigh’s wifely pressure and Rex takes the burden all on himself, partly to protect Amy, but mostly because he lives off the attention. Dave loves Julia, which is adorable, and it’s a little more than funny when he runs into a supposedly heterosexual married co-worker at the bar Julia’s at with her gay guy friends. The show is definitely carving its own quirky niche with its own quirky tone. Julia is the all-star, though.

Next: Parks & Recreation, Outsourced, & 30 Rock

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