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Laugh Tracks: That’s What She Said, pt. 2

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Date Posted: May 2, 2011

By Amy Van Veen (Staff Writer) – Email

Community gets a baby Greendale! Seriously. Shirley has her baby in the middle of anthropology’s final class. While Professor Duncan and his students, minus Annie, are drinking it up and celebrating the best blow-off class ever, the Dean comes in with a reporter from Dean Magazine to do a story about Greendale and observe a final class. As Duncan ducks out, Shirley’s water breaks making Chang believe it’s his baby because unlike her other two kids who were born late, Chang babies are always born prematurely. Cue Britta’s soapboxing about natural childbirth and the glory that it is only to be faced with the truth. Literally. She delivers the Greendale baby because, even though Abed has the experience, Shirley doesn’t feel comfortable with him being in her nether region. Annie calls Sugarboots, I mean Andre, to tell him to come to the school because, thanks to the Dean’s World Food Festival, there has been a race r—race kerfuffle break out and all of the ambulances are either being turned over or delayed by an hour. During the madness that is Shirley’s labour, no one can seem to calm her down, except for Chang. She asks him to tell her stories about how all of the Chang babies were born early and perfectly healthy. According to Ben Chang, “Nothing can stop us. Not the hurricanes. Not the Communists. Not the beds.” Andre shows up with the paramedics, but Britta’s got this, FTW! After all of it, the baby boy comes out healthy and black and without a tail, which means he’s Andre’s. Shirley wants to name him Ben, after Chang. Little Baby Ben Bennett. That won’t be too awkward for him. Oh and throughout the episode, too, Troy and Abed have been struggling with a situation Pierce put them into: “Pierce tainted our special handshake with his blood money and now we can’t get the magic back!” It’s all good, though. They got the magic back. It was there the whole time. Community’s magic was there the whole time.

The Office. With over two pages of notes and 52 minutes of love, it’s incredibly difficult to narrow down this episode into one measly paragraph. The writers of this show have an unmatchable talent to create scenarios that are at both times humorous and heartfelt without being ridiculous or corny. Michael Scott’s character has gone from the incredibly offensive and incredibly oblivious boss with hair plugs to being one of the most sincere and believable characters on TV today. Everyone has had that annoying boss, or at least heard horror stories about annoying bosses, but none have been able to capture the hearts of millions of viewers the way Michael Scott has. To summarize the episode would be to do it little justice, but there were a few significant thoughts I had throughout. First of all, the credits will have to be changed for the next episode. No more will we see Michael straightening his Dundie on his desk from season one. What will next week’s credits hold? I’m unsure. It took them six years to change the opening, so it’s a huge feat to change it again. Secondly, the entire episode felt like an egg about to crack or a pot about to boil, or more literally a group of talented small screen actors on the verge of tears. When Jim first knew something was up, I could feel the emotion rising, and then when he goes in at the end, well, you just need to watch it. I thought the introduction of Deangelo’s shortcomings as both a manager and a recovered obese person went well, even if they seemed out of place with Michael’s goodbyes. Since next week is his last episode, it would not have made sense without seeing the crack in his shell here. Also, being able to see Andy succeed is a pleasure. Another thought that came up is, first of all, where was Toby? And second of all, why was he so thin? Did “jury duty” wear him out? It’s not a bad thing. Just, interesting. The last scene with Michael, though, showed the strength and consistency of The Office style with his comment about telling him when this documentary airs, but more importantly it shows the ability to arc a character that was once as terrible as season one Michael Scott. What does the future hold for the rest of the Dunder Mifflin division of Sabre employees? With all that was offered in “Goodbye, Michael,” I would say quite a bit. The strength of the characters and, more importantly, the actors who play them will shine through as managers such as Will Arnett, Ray Ramano, James Spader, and Ace Ventura, I mean the Grinch, I mean Jim Carrey. Countdown to The Office’s most exciting season finale since “Casino Night.” That’s what she said.

Parks & Recreation gets artistic when the department hosts an evening of art called “Visions of Nature” that ends up becoming Leslie’s next big controversy. Before this, though, Leslie is feeling powerless to Chris’s rule about government relationships, especially when she finds out it’s okay for people from different departments to date and tries to set up Ben. Since she’s feeling a little blue, she gets Ron to do the opening speech at the art show, which is possibly the best speech for an art show ever. While roaming around looking at the talent of the people of Pawnee, the gang goes to appreciate Jerry’s painting of a centaur goddess who represents power. And who should that topless centaur be? Leslie Knope. And who is the little cherub flying in the corner? Tom Haverford. Call Marsha from the Family Committee for Something Conservative! Call Perd Hapley because Joan Callamezzo is MIA. Call Chris, especially after Leslie steals the painting when the disciplinary committee decided it should be destroyed because it shows nipples! Ben, meanwhile, is trying his best to also deal with Chris’s relationship rule while also dealing with the fact that he needs to find a place to live that is not in the hotel he’s been staying at for the last seven months. Turns out, April and Andy’s old roommate left, and they’re looking for a replacement, which is a pretty good idea considering they never clean and they need someone a little neurotic to teach them the ropes of being an adult. Lessons include: racist laundry account, Bed, Bath and Beyond. Most importantly, though, April learns that being an adult does not have to be a downer. Leslie, too, learns a valuable lesson about deception when she gets Jerry to whip up a new painting where Tom is the topless centaur and she tells them he painted over the old one so she can keep it from being destroyed and the government can deal with a powerful painting sans a topless woman. This episode was another fantastic P&R controversial situation with an adorable awkward moment between Ben and Leslie when he sees the painting and a wonderful ending that shows Jerry, who is absent for most of the episode even though it was his painting, appealing to Tom and Leslie to talk his wife down from being upset about the painting. This show has yet to give us a less than brilliant episode. So far, so awesome.

30 Rock had a few interesting dilemmas the cast and crew had to work though this week. For one, Tracy is upset because Grizz, Dotcom and Kenneth have an inside joke that he is not a part of, so he tries to recreate it with little success at finding it funny. For another thing, Jack wishes Avery would stay in Asia so he could raise their daughter, but his wish coming true means that she is kidnapped by Kim Jong Il to be his new American reporter because Laura Ling left. Liz, in the midst of this, is trying her best to get her personal life in order the same way she controls her professional life , so she resorts to Lizbianism. What is ‘lizbianism’? It’s Liz Lemon’s new life philosophy: “I am a dyke against the rising tide of mediocrity.” Everything is going fine as she continues to renovate and sort through the upstairs of her department, until a plastic bag gets stuck in a tree outside of her new window. Her solution for that? Liz-out and make it a much bigger deal than it needs to be, eventually breaking down in good ol’ fashioned LL style. Jack’s solution to his wife being kidnapped? Contact his old girlfriend for help and a flute vs. piano play-off. Cue guest star Condoleeza Rice. This show can honestly get anyone. Liz gets tasered, Avery marries Kim Jong Il’s son, and both Jack and Liz are left with the burden of not being able to control his own fate. They are not their own captains of their fate. Oh, and there’s a good chance Tracy did a North Korean propaganda film with KJ, as he calls him.

Three episodes left on the show with endless Office possibilities

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