Time after time, episode after episode, Parks and Recreation continues to own Thursday nights.
- Community: I’ve been staring at my computer screen for 20 minutes now, trying to think of something witty to say about “Advanced Documentary Filmmaking.” And I’ve got nothing. I liked the episode, I guess, more than I thought I would (my opinion of Chang are similar to the MacGuffin Institute’s on Pierce’s hand puppet show). It started off slow, but midway through, right around the time Annie and Troy, I mean, Houlihan and Partner, investigated the trout farm, I found myself sucked into the episode’s weird charm, and appreciated a more reserved Ken Jeong than we’re used to seeing, especially in his scene with Jeff in the cafeteria. Shirley’s unrecorded camera confession with Britta was golden, too, as was the Hoop Dreams burn. But did I really like it? Not really, no — I wish the documentary aspect had been a little tighter (there were moments where neither Abed nor Garrett were shooting, but the gimmick remained, as if there was a third mystery cameraman we never saw) and the tag a lot more deleted. It undercut all of the episode’s hard-earned character work for an eventual season finale gag that no one wants to see. Seriously, does anyone like Chang the Villain? To quote Jeff, “You gotta be f*cking kidding me.”
- Parks and Recreation: In 50 years, when I’m a husk of the human I am today, who can’t remember any of his loved ones or his address or even what his name is, I’ll remember Donna bursting into Ann and April’s “Time After Time” duet and Perd’s E.T. review, and I’ll laugh my ass off. Then I’ll probably die, what with the SARS-ridden robot-bees who track laughter. Worth it.
- The Office: It’s never good when the biggest chuckle from an episode of the once mighty Office involves Andy MC Hammer’ing over Kevin’s bloated, drugged out carcass, and yet, here we are. Maybe it’s because I’ve been rewatching season four for the 17th time, or maybe it’s because without Michael Scott Dwight is too cartoonish of a leading man, or maybe it’s because it was just plain awful, but “The Farm,” a would-be backdoor pilot for a series of the same name if NBC hadn’t said no, was just plain awful. (Good job, NBC.) It felt like an episode of entirely different show, which I guess it was. What happened to Andy’s evilness? Why was Jim in one scene and gone the next? POISONED CUPCAKES? Most importantly, what the hell was that? (I did like one last Mose run and the Decemberists song, though.)
I’m with you, Perd — E.T. ain’t so great.