Sabre On TV

My take on TV

Tag Archives: NBC

Wednesday Night Comedies Quick Thoughts

Happy Endings
I actually feel this show has got even better. Casey Wilson stood out in this episode. “The Year of Penny,” I don’t need to say anymore about this.

Free Agents
I’ve tried with this show. I didn’t really like the British version and I wanted to give the US version a fair shot but the show is just not my cup of tea and is the first casualty from my viewing list of the new shows.

Up All Night
I fully expected this show to be better than it is with the cast involved. Though I wasn’t overly impressed with the first episode, I do feel the show is getting better.

Modern Family
This wasn’t its best episode but it still manages to be better than other shows. Even Emmy award winning comedies can have a blip.

The Middle
Former “Glee” star Chord Overstreet guest-stars as Brick’s new teacher. Frankie finally figures out she isn’t really in charge. The show continually manages to pull out funny episodes without the same plaudits as the other ABC comedies get but it’s the best way to start off the comedy block.

Suburgatory
A strong pilot that has the potential for the show to get better. Interesting to see how the show grows but I still miss Cougar Town.

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Parks and Recreation 3.10 “Soul Mates” Quick Thoughts

Out of the four NBC comedies I watched on Thursday, Parks and Recreation’s “Soul Mates” is my favorite. The episode had me laughing from start to finish and again when I watched it a second time.

The episode sees Chris (Rob Lowe) and Ron (Nick Offerman) in a cook-off to find the best burger; Chris with a turkey burger with spices and Ron’s beef burger in a bun and nothing else. The other story sees Ann (Rashida Jones) set-up an online dating profile for Leslie (Amy Poehler) which leads to a 98% match to Tom (Aziz Ansari).

Aziz Ansari and Amy Poehler add an extra element of comedy with their facial expressions. Just the simple act of Leslie’s reactions as she watches Tom on the phone, sent me into a fit a laughter. The scene when Leslie informs Tom about the online match was equally funny, especially Tom’s song.

Favorite lines:

  • Leslie’s opinion on turtles: “No opinion. They’re condescending.”
  • Leslie complaining to the company about their service. “Your soul-mate match was totally wrong for me. I like him as a friend and everything but I’d never go out with him. He’s like a little sister to me.”

Other notes:

  • Following Leslie’s suggestion of dodgeball, I now want to see the show do an episode/scene with that theme. I can already imagine Jerry (Jim O’Heir) being piled with a load of balls and Ron being the king; why else would Lesley pick Ron first.
  • Ron looking at the healthy food store like it’s a zoo.
  • Tom has 26 profiles and Lesley was matched to the nerd version, Tom N. Haverford, where his favorite film is books.
  • Both Leslie and Donna (Retta) kiss Tom to shut him up.
  • Leslie finds out why Ben (Adam Scott) doesn’t want to have dinner with her outside of work – because of Chris’ policy on dating within the workplace. I love how they’ve been developing Leslie and Ben; it has a sweetness to it.

With 30 Rock and The Office in the latter years of their shows, Parks and Recreation proves time and time again why its ready to take over the mantle as the network’s best comedy. I hope NBC premiere the next season in the fall and not mid-season.

Community 2.21 “Paradigms of Human Memory” Quick Thoughts

This week’s episode makes up for the last offering “Competitive Wine Tasting.” It wasn’t the worst episode but I didn’t love it. “Paradigms of Human Memory” is a clip show with a difference and that’s what is part of the joke; the clips shown haven’t been seen before.

While completing a diorama , Troy’s (Donald Glover) monkey Annie’s Boobs steals a brush. This leads to Chang (Ken Jeong) finding the monkey’s stash of stolen goods. Upon going through the items, the group reminisces.

Some of the clips include Annie (Alison Brie), Troy and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) singing in glee club, Abed (Danny Pudi) revealing Britta (Gillian Jacobs) and Jeff’s (Joel McHale) secret hook-ups, Abed and Troy’s impression of Jeff, Abed’s love of The Capeand various moments of the group fighting.

Favorite clips:

  • Dean Pelton’s (Jim Rash) outfits which include cat-woman and Tina Turner.
  • The Jeff/Annie “Gravity” moment and even more funny, the Abed/Pierce (Chevy Chase) clips that followed.
  • Annie’s martial art training takes over when startled, which leads to her punching Shirley.

I enjoyed the different take on a clip show; it was fresh while dealing with a recurring issue within the group; their fighting. The group have a familiarity that even despite the arguments the group won’t split up despite it.

Last note:
Now that Britta and Jeff have ended their hook-ups, what does this mean for Jeff and Annie?

The Paul Reiser Show 1.02 “The Playdate” Quick Thoughts

I must be a gluten for punishment to sit down and watch this show again after the first episode. I thought that maybe there might be a little spark in the show that would make the second episode a bit better but I was wrong. The things I found wrong with the show are on display again; the show just isn’t funny. To put it into context, the joke Terrance (Henry Rollins) tells is just as funny as the show itself.

The episode’s main plot was Paul trying to pick up Jonathan’s (Ben Shenkman) son for a playdate. Unfortunately he ends up picking up Brad’s (Andrew Daley) son instead. Various interruptions like Fernando (Duane Martin) getting Paul to make peace with Terrance, lead up to what is meant to be a funny end.

It feels like the show is banking more on Mad About You and Paul Reiser fans watching out of pure loyalty rather than making something watchable. In this day and age it’s hard to find something fresh but The Paul Reiser Show feels like they’ve taken jokes that were used 5-10 years ago and not bothered to give them a new twist. My own rule states I must watch the next episode before dumping it from my TV lineup, but for this, I really want to break that rule.

Update: It seems I don’t have make a decision as NBC have apparently pulled The Paul Reiser Show from the schedule

‘Community’ Q&A with Alison Brie and Danny Pudi

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Image by YGX via Flickr

Last week I participated in a conference call with Alison Brie and Danny Pudi from Community, to promote the upcoming episode titled “Intro to Political Science” which sees Eliza Coupe guest star as special agent Robin Vohlers.

It’s not secret that I’m a fan of the show so it was a privilege to sit in on another conference call with two of the show’s stars. I enjoyed listening to Pudi and Brie; it was an example of the great chemistry the cast have.

Talking about “Intro to Political Science.”

Alison Brie: Essentially Joe Biden is coming to the campus. And so the Dean is frantically trying to assemble some sort of student government. And of course Annie is super excited to run for president. And when Jeff kind of fails to help her she gets upset at him and he runs to spite her. So they get into a bit of a battle for the position of president.

Danny Pudi: Abed’s storyline is that he is doing two things actually. He is broadcasting live the election results as part of GCTV so that was fun because I got to play a news anchor for a little bit. And I’ve always been really attracted to female news anchors.

So Abed is along with Troy broadcasting live the news and the election results. But at the same time he notices that CIA is all around campus.

Alison Brie: It was – the cool thing about shooting this episode was I think at first we thought it was going to be very similar to the debate episode from last season which also featured Annie and Jeff. And then as we were shooting and as we were kind of getting rewrites to the script we realized that it really was more of a political satire.

Danny Pudi: Yes.

Alison Brie: I mean it really – that’s what it is.

Danny Pudi: And, you know, we have a lot of really great candidates as you can imagine to choose from, from the student body. I think it comes down to eight finalists?

Alison Brie: Yes I think so and there’s – there are some new players from the community landscape. And there are some familiar faces like Star-burns.

Danny Pudi: Like Star-burns and…

Alison Brie: Leonard.

Danny Pudi: …Leonard, you know? But then there’s a few others that are really funny as well.

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COMMUNITY 2.12 “Asian Population Studies” Review

Air Date: Thursday January 20, 2011 | Grade: A-

Community starts off NBC’s new three-hour comedy block with its usual high level of comedy gold. This is one show that manages to make me laugh week after week.

Jeff (Joel McHale), Rich (Greg Cromer) and Annie (Alison Brie)

The study group returns from their Christmas break, faced with the task of adding Rich (Greg Cromer) or Señor Chang (Ken Jeong) to the group. Jeff (Joel McHale) doesn’t deal with Annie’s (Alison Brie) crush on Rich very well and he is the main objector to Rich joining the group. I like how the writers have treated the Jeff/Annie storyline. They both have feelings they’re not ready to deal with but it’s slowly unraveling.

It is quiet on the Abed (Danny Pudi) front; he is the one who tells Jeff that Rich rejected Annie because she’s too young for him. “Asian Population Studies” has the opportunity to fully play on a movie cliché when Jeff runs in the rain. I love that the writers spin who he goes to see. I’m not sure what is more surprising – Jeff running to Annie or who he actually visits, Rich. One of the things I love about Community is how it pays homage to other TV shows and films. The show always finds a way to make it their own.

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Nicole Brown and Malcolm Jamal Warner Talk About “Community”

I had the opportunity to participate in the latest Community conference call with Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley) and Malcolm Jamal Warner (Shirley’s ex-husband, Andre). It was a fun call where they both spoke about what’s in store for the first of Warner’s appearances on the show and how Andre isn’t welcomed by the study group because of the things he did to Shirley.

Yvette Nicole Brown on Malcolm Jamal Warner’s appearance and her crush on Theo, his character in the late 80s/early 90s comedy series, The Cosby Show

This is like my childhood dream come true. When I was like 13 years old I’m like, I’m going to marry Theo and I’ve essentially married Theo so that’s awesome. And actually I was campaigning for Malcolm to be my ex-husband from the very first day of the show. I’ve always said, if she reconciles with her ex-husband I hope it is Malcolm Jamal Warner and I think the producers and writers got sick of me saying his name. So it’s kind of like, shut up Yvette, we hear you.

Malcolm Jamal Warner on his character Andre

So, you know, I think – I mean, what you see is obviously you’ve heard all these despicable things about this guy but here he is really making…And he’s learned some things, he’s really making an honest and genuine attempt at coming back and being a better man than what he has been in the past. So I think a lot of the turmoil and tension we’re going to feel, again, is really from the rest of the gang. You know, Shirley definitely wants to give him another shot but no one else is as easily swayed as of yet.

Towards the end of the call, I was able to ask a few questions.

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COMMUNITY 2.11 “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” Review

Air Date: Thursday December 9, 2010 | Grade: A

“Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” is an episode completely in stop-motion animation. I was definitely intrigued to see how Community would use this medium and if it would affect how well the season has been progressing. To sum it up best – it doesn’t. This is a highly entertaining episode that I can see myself repeatedly watching at Christmas or any other time of year.

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Abed (Danny Pudi)

Abed (Danny Pudi) and the rest of the study group are trying to find the true meaning of Christmas. Worried about Abed and the possibility of him being kicked out of Greendale, Jeff (Joel McHale) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) enlist the help of Professor Duncan (John Oliver). Jeff and Britta are either desperate or clueless to get Duncan involved – Britta has insulted Duncan in the past for his bad skills in psychology.

Stop-motion animation Jeff is scary – I wonder if this is intentional or just how it turned out. All the Christmas versions of the characters are funny but the ones that stand out for me are Pierce (Chevy Chase) as a teddy and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) as a baby. Professor Duncan in the wizard costume just keeps reminding me of Pierce in his wizard costume from “The Science of Illusion.” I can never take Duncan seriously so him dressed up like this doesn’t help his cause.

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COMMUNITY 2.10 “Mixology Certification” Review

Air Date: Thursday December 2, 2010 | Grade: B+

Everyone hits the bar in celebration of Troy’s (Donald Glover) 21st birthday after they realize he’s actually a year older than he thought. It’s good that the writers mix things up a bit by taking them off campus. It freshens things up but also explores how they function outside of their comfort zone.

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Britta, Jeff and Troy find Shirley's picture

When I first heard about this storyline, I wondered how they were going to work around Troy being a Jehovah’s Witness. Avoiding the words “Happy Birthday” on his cake and only singing the last two words of the Happy Birthday song, is a nice touch in acknowledging that he doesn’t celebrate birthdays. One of the great things about this show is its diversity and how the writers embrace it.

We get to learn a little bit more about Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown). She’s a regular at the bar and spends most of the night taking down pictures of herself. This gives a little more insight into her character. It isn’t mentioned why she became a frequent drinker at the bar but learning about this other side to Shirley opens up a window of opportunity. Will any of the gang ask her about it; will we ever learn anymore; and does it have anything to do with her ex-husband? Despite the serious reason behind her past drinking, the photos of her are hilarious and so is the bar’s use of them: “If you look like this, call a cab.”

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Community’s Christmas Animation Episode

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the festive episodes are close to airing. One episode I’m looking forward to watching is Community’s. “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” is a stop motion animation episode and airs on Thursday December 9th on NBC at 8/7c. I’m interesting to see how the episode pans out and whether the stop animation idea will work for the show.

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