Rancho Carne Toros on Thursday night — the first night of February sweeps: They brought it. On.
Let's take a look at the highs and highers.
"First of all, gay. Second of all, stupid." Remember when I wrote that Community wanted us to like Pierce? Um, never mind! After "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons," it seems that Pierce can be seen as only one thing: A huge dick. And perhaps that's just what this season of Community needs. Equally absurd, hilarious, Meta and genuinely heartwarming, "D & D" worked as an episode because there was an actual conflict. Pierce was a jerk, and everyone hated him as a result. Hooray! For the first time in a long time, Community had legitimate stakes — and take notice, Dan Harmon apologists: stakes are something that the show has severely lacked.
It helped that "Advanded Dungeons & Dragons" was very, very funny, too. This felt like a season one episode of Community in the way it mixed some ambitious pop culture conceit (Dungeons & Dragons) with irreverent humor (Chang in blackface*) and heartwarming character beats. This is an episode that managed to further the characters in ways that only the Christmas episode has been able to accomplish this season; the jokes landed hard, and so did the pathos. Would more episodes like this be too much to ask from the Internet's favorite television show?
[*Chang might have been playing a D&D elf — as some "pedantic nerds" pointed out to me earlier this week — but that was only done so Chevy Chase-as-Pierce could make the Al Jolson reference. Not that I'm complaining, because LOLz.]
Let me just get my quibbles with "The Search" out of the way first: If Jim had to leave the gas station to go and get his daughter out of a locked car, wouldn't the documentary crew at tell Michael that? Spoiler: They probably would. And, B.): Why hasn't John Krasinski been on The Office more during the last three episodes? Was he busy filming Everybody Loves Whales in Alaska? Because his absence has been noticeable, and I couldn't have been the only one disappointed that "The Search" wasn't going to be another Jim and Michael bro-down. Here's hoping we get one of those before Steve Carell shuffles off for good in the spring.
Anyway! "The Search" gave Michael and Holly the beginnings of their happy ending. And good for them! It was cute the way that Brent Forrester's script showed how Holly and Michael are soulmates, even if Holly refused to succumb in the early parts of the episode. Forrester also gave the rest of the ensemble some hugely funny beats. I'd venture to say that "The Search" was the best use of The Office cast this season. Everyone but Ed Helms really had a standout moment, and even Helms — who has obviously become a focal point; see last week — got to mock Gabe during the caption content. Also: The caption contest! Pissing on Gabe! Banging his mother! Hilarious stuff. If The Office v.2.0 is that kind of show, coupled with some nice beats from Jim and Pam (like their phone call about Cece), perhaps it can survive with its fearless leader after all.
Parks and Recreation
"I'm more of a Harry Potter girl myself." Me too, Leslie. That doesn't mean the Parks and Recreation tribute to Twilight and the messiness of an open democracy wasn't great. Coming off the highs of "The Flu" — I'm still laughing at "stop pooping" — "Time Capsule" was more subdued, but still very funny. Will Forte as a weirdly obsessed Twi-hard? Check. Tom Haverford becoming obsessed with Twilight? Check. The many failed town slogans ("Pawnee: Welcome Taliban soldiers")? Check! "Time Capsule" even gave us Ron Swanson holding a handsaw. And let's not forget, mushy geeks like me were afforded the chance to see Andy and Chris bro'ing out. Broships! Now more than ever...
"Que Sopresa!" doesn't need a paragraph describing its comedy; it needs a list of funny quotes! You're welcome.
Jenna: "If you don't volumize my hair I will choke you to death with your boyfriend's wig."
Tracy: "The box would make a perfect coffin for my teddy bear."
Jack: "And you ate dinner in front of a mirror last night."
Jack: "Now there are people here wearing sandals."
Jack: "Memos with emoticons in them. If this is how Kabletown does business, I don't know if I have a future with them. I'm Jack Donaghy. Don Geiss gave me this watch for firing a man on his death bed."
Tracy: "The story begins with dolphins ruling the earth."
Jenna: "Now's not the time to discuss this, but I will need to eat your umbilical cord."
Jack: "You should know I have several pistols on me."
Liz: "Oh, Jack; that's so gayballs."
Liz: "A bicycle messenger."
30 Rock, everyone!
Thursday night ranks for Feb. 3
1.) 30 Rock (LW: 2)
2.) Community (LW: 4)
3.) The Office (LW: 3)
4.) Parks and Recreation (LW: 1)