Tonight Is Just Your Night

I promise I’ll have an actual post for you tomorrow but for now, please feast your eyes on Jimmy Fallon and John Krasinski throwing it down in a lip syncing contest (you read that right) that covers both Katy Perry and RUN-D.M.C. and ends with Krasinski belting out a ballad from one of the best quartets ever to record music.

Seriously, I wish my job included acting like a goofball on national television with hilarious people while getting paid shit tons of $$$.

~Nikki

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Fly Like Paper

Jim and PamI have been a faithful watcher of The Office nearly from its beginning and have loved the vast majority of its 184 episodes.  Naturally, Steve Carell’s departure left an obvious, gaping hole and at first, I admit I did think they should have ended the series when he left.  But this ninth and final season has been better, not quite hitting the bar set by those first few seasons, but much improved from the last couple.  I still do feel that the show has run its course and I’m glad this is the last season but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that is sad to see it go.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote this:

“I am bothered by the developments that this season has brought to the Halpert family.  Jim and Pam haven’t always been the focus of the show but their chemistry and the evolution of their relationship has been a constant.  Some viewers felt it got a bit stagnant after they got married and started their family but I always felt that theirs was a natural relationship.  After all, what marriage doesn’t lose some of its zeal after the realities of daily life and the demands of family set in?  They stuck by each other and that was enough reward for me.  Earlier on in this season, when Jim pursued a career change and lost sight of Pam’s needs and wants, I felt this, too, was an organic and plausible story line.  But I expected one of them to close the gap.  To sacrifice for the other and for their family.  To stop communicating so poorly, to take a leap of faith, to lay it all out once and for all.  Whether it would be Jim sacrificing his dream job or Pam sacrificing their comfortable life in Scranton, I expected one of them to give in.

One could argue that families fall apart all the time.  Divorce in America is by no means an uncommon thing and this show has always maintained a commitment to exposing the sad, dreary aspects of the mundane lives of the working class.  Perhaps the destruction of the Halpert family is just one more harsh reality.  Jim and Pam may be no more special than any other couple who falls in love, gets married, raises a family and eventually grows apart.  I couldn’t call it unrealistic.  But it certainly isn’t what I expected, nor is it what I want to see.  Sink or swim, I want to see Jim and Pam together.”

Last night’s episode finally gave me what I’d been waiting for.  It was emotional, subtle, tender and it moved me to tears.  And it surprised me.  No surprise that The Office, with a mere 3 episodes left, still has the ability to make me tear up, but surprised that I doubted it would.  While the American series differs in a great many ways from its British point of origin, it has kept true to the pace that the show’s creators set.  They know just how long to keep you waiting, to make you damn near desperate for the pay-off, so much so that you’re even beginning to doubt you’ll get it.  We saw it with Tim and Dawn in the original series and even though Jim and Pam are really very different characters whose story has veered from that of their British counterparts, they’ve held true to the remarkable sense of timing that makes even something as small and ordinary as a hug feel monumental.

Paper Airplane

Yes, it’s true.  The Office: I will miss you.

~Nikki

Do You See Dark Clouds Rollin’ In Fast

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been so very curious lately about what TV will look like come September.  Rumors abound that the beloved Parks and Recreation will be no more and 30 Rock is on its way out, as well, so naturally, I’ve taken to the web for some investigatory searches.  Here’s the scoop:

Parks & Rec has been renewed for a full season (!!!!) along with our cherished Happy Endings. 🙂

30 Rock has been renewed for a 13 episode final season – okay by me, really, because, even though I do love this show dearly and watch faithfully every week, I think it’s time to wrap it up.  I’m glad it’s going to end before I’m completely exhausted of it.

The Office has at least one more season in store and John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and Ed Helms are all still on board.  My sincerest hope is that the writers step it up and reclaim that satirical, ironic hilarity that made this show such a monumental hit, instead of what they’ve done all season long, which is make every character as asinine and pathetic as possible.

Community has been promised at least 13 more episodes (and possibly more) with the option for a 5th season.  Thank god, too, because even though it took a loooong time for me to warm up to these ridiculous characters, Community has really hit its stride this season.  Here’s hoping John Goodman makes a reappearance, as well.

NBC has also renewed Up All Night, for those of you who watch.  I’ve already given up on it.  I tried but I couldn’t get into it.

Parenthood will continue for at least 15 more episodes.  Again, it took more than a full season for me to feel invested in any of these characters but I have long since been hooked.  Season 3 displayed some of the best writing I’ve ever seen on television and I am eagerly looking forward to what’s next for the Braverman clan.

Don’t Trust The B—- In Apt. 23 has been renewed and, though still in its infancy, it does show promise.  Both Grey’s Anatomy and Modern Family have also been renewed for another full season and, while I do DVR both of these shows, I find it increasingly hard to watch every week.  They have peaked and are now merely tiresome and annoying.  Here’s hoping they’ll make this upcoming season their last.

~Nikki

Not Too Close, Love

In honor of the close of yet another work week, I give you the top 6 “professional” TV characters I love to watch but with whom I could NEVER work:

1. Dwight Shrute, The Office (U.S.)  Every workplace has one:  the insufferable know-it-all who actually knows very little about most everything.  Dwight brown noses the boss, values strength and power in a way reminiscent of the archaic Neanderthal and is so obsessed with strict adherence to the rules, he often forgoes all logic.  An absolute nightmare of a co-worker but a riot to watch on television.

2. Darren Lamb, Extras  The affable talent agent/part-timer at the Car Phone Warehouse, Darren, is mind-numbingly stupid.  More of a hindrance than a help to his client, so careless he can’t ever remember the name of the sitcom in which his only working client stars!  Stephen Merchant plays the incompetent fool with such sweet, child-like innocence and nerdy goofiness, you can’t help but like him.  You also can’t help feeling sorry for the poor actor who made the mistake of hiring him.

3.Vince Masuka, Dexter  Though he seems reasonably good at his job as a forensic lab analyst, Masuka is so foul-mouthed and filthy he makes you forget why he’s there.  Not that I don’t love a good dirty joke, it’s just that this guy takes every joke five steps too far.  From the safety of my living room, his raunchiness provides comic relief to this otherwise dark and disturbing series.  If I were a member of the Miami Homicide team, I’d rather spend my time with the other lab geek – you know, the serial killer.

4. Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation  While Knope’s constant enthusiasm and impossible optimism are what keep us hanging around week after week, I’m sure I’d end up in a cage match with her before the end of one 40-hour work week if she were my boss.

5. Karen Walker, Will & Grace  Listen, Karen Walker and Jack McFarland, together, were the only reason to watch this show.  Megan Mullally knocked it out of the park every single episode as the always-drunk, stinking rich, snobby New York-ite who went to work only to catch up on lost sleep.  Ahh, if only real-life drunks were as charming and hilarious as Karen.

6. Jane Williams, Happy Endings  Jane’s control-freak, obsessively perfect while simultaneously absurdly silly persona works, somehow, on-screen.  This combination could ONLY work on TV; no such OCD nutjob could possibly win me over in reality.  Eliza Coup sells it, though, making Jane one of my favorites.

~Nikki

The Best Of You

‘Tis the season to be merry, folks, and if this week’s holiday episodes are any indication, I’d say that spirit of Christmas is abundant this year.  There were so many great things to watch this week that I felt a tributary post was due.  So, here you are, the best of TV: (fair warning, if you’re behind on your DVR, do NOT read this!)

Happy Endings: This is rapidly becoming one of my favorite shows currently on television.  We haven’t seen chemistry like this between a group of friends since, well, “Friends.”  Each character brings something distinct and cool to the group dynamic and they all manage to be both likable and realistically flawed.  I loved the whole Max-as-Santa thing.  For someone who hates kids, he sure is a sucker for the little tykes.  Eliza Coupe continues to impress me with her comedic timing and this week, Alex became slightly more relevant during an interesting moment with ex-fiance Dave.  Honestly, though, I couldn’t care less if they kept on not knowing what to do with her character because Elisha Cuthbert is so cute and charming, it doesn’t really matter what she’s doing.

American Horror Story: Violet is dead.  Who saw that coming?!  A few episodes ago, she downed a bottle of pills in a spontaneous suicide attempt and now we find out, she succeeded.  I, for one, was flabbergasted.  And none of the horror, the sorrow and the devastation was lost on me.  A mad shout-out to Evan Peters for bringing such rich depth to his character.  Tate is one evil, scary, demented kid and yet, I find myself wanting so much to like him.  Scenes like the one in which he reveals Violet’s dead broken body (to Violet) are what keep me from turning totally against him.  And Jessica Lange is fantastic as his lunatic mother, also evoking equal amounts of fear and sympathy.

Parks & Recreation: Leslie Knope, Ron Swanson and the rest of the Pawnee crew have become the people I wish I worked with.  How do they manage, week after week, to be so charmingly sweet without even a hint of cheesiness?  Kudos to the writers and to everyone of the cast members for walking this delicate tightrope with such ease and grace.

The Office: This season, the first without Steve Carell, has been lackluster, in my opinion.  It wasn’t until this week’s Christmas episode that I really felt like I was watching that most beloved show that has long been a favorite of mine.  Andy makes sense as the choice for Regional Manager and though he has gotten plenty of laughs, the writing itself has been sub-par, missing fruitful opportunities for both the humor and the satire we’ve all come to appreciate from this series.  Drunk Erin cracked me up and even though I was rooting for her and Robert California to hook up, I’m glad they went their separate ways in the end.  I’d hate to see such a scandalous affair endanger Erin’s job at Dunder Mifflin and I think Andy’s head may have exploded if such an event took place.  On the other hand, that could have been an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the pre-anger management Andy we haven’t seen since Season 3.  Or, perhaps, a chance to show his growth as a character, that he wouldn’t allow jealousy to dictate his behavior.  The pranking between Jim and Dwight was wonderful and I loved Darryl’s heroic tuxedo-sporting gesture.  The Transiberian Orchestra’s Carol Of The Bells montage with Dwight, Creed, Gabe and that creepy warehouse dude rocking the air-band was supreme.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: The gang attended their high school reunion this week and, true to form, outrageous escapades quickly ensued.  The waitress has fallen off the wagon yet again and Frank managed to worm his way into the party wearing the name tag of one Nikki Potnick.  Mac’s real name is unveiled here and you’ll never guess what a ridiculous moniker it is.  My favorite, though, was Charlie passing out on the bathroom floor after sniffing a combination of bleach and ammonia.  I would NEVER want to hang out with these shmucks, but damn are they funny.  Can’t wait for Part II, the conclusion of the reunion!

~Nikki

We’re Like Three Peas In A Pod

I admit I watch How I Met Your Mother despite the ridiculous overacting and nauseating cheesiness.  I’m not sure why I watch it, actually.  Just because there’s shit else on TV on Monday nights, I guess.  (Though I am getting into The Sing-Off.)  And every week I wonder how the show gets such great ratings when it’s so damn campy.  Do more people really watch it (and Two And A Half Men and Home Improve-oops, I mean that crappy new Tim Allen show) than Parks & Recreation and 30 Rock?

Then I watched a couple reruns of Friends on TBS (thank goodness for syndicated television), episodes I loved at the time they first aired, and noticed something I hadn’t observed the first time around: Friends was suuuuuuper cheesy.  And silly and predictable and all those other nasty adjectives I use to describe shows like HIMYM.  So it occurred to me that it must be inevitable.  The things we think are funny and clever become, some years later, cheestastic.  Comedy is topical and fluid and changes with each generation, with politics, current events, ever-evolving social norms, and so on and so on.

The thing is, though, that as I watch shows like HIMYM or Two And A Half Men, now while they’re currently airing, I already think they’re more cheesy than funny, too absurd to laugh at, one cheap setup-and-payoff after another, far from anything clever or genuinely smart.  On the other hand, I’m falling more and more in love with Happy Endings, a show that’s also cheesy and predictable.  So what’s the difference?

The difference, I believe, is chemistry.  Whether the characters are in and of themselves likable AND if the group of actors who play them have charismatic on-screen banter.  This is where the magic lies.  Are they believable as friends/lovers/family, whatever the case may be?  Are they fun/interesting/compatible with each other?  Or do you think that if they were real people, they would despise the very sight of one another?  Honestly, I think that in the real world, Lily & Marshall would find other married couples interested in starting a family to hang out with, rather than two whiny singletons and a sleazy womanizer.  And none of them would like Ted.  He is decidedly unlikable.  Obnoxious, if you will.  And no one could possibly truly like the characters of Two And A Half Men.  They don’t even like each other, which provided some mild entertainment for the first season or two but has long since become played-out.  (Full disclosure: I haven’t seen any of the current Ashton Kutcher-ful season.)

Shows like Will & Grace, Scrubs and That ’70s Show (and now, Happy Endings and Parks & Recreation) were also silly and over-acted but the characters simultaneously cracked you up and made you wish you were part of their crowd.  I can’t honestly say I’d like to be among the Dunder Mifflin employees of The Office or the lunacy of 30 Rock, but the writing there is so smart, it more than makes up for that.  Besides, while many of the characters of those two beloved series aren’t exactly likable, they are hilarious and have fantastic chemistry.

Which qualities matter the most to you?

-Nikki

You Could Have Lived The Rest of Your Life In Blissful Ignorance and Died A Happy Pansexual Imp

Some random thoughts and links for your weekend internet-perusing pleasure:

  • I miss Ricky Gervais.  I miss him (like I know him).  I miss the outrageous things he says and his crazy, squealy voice.  I miss him berating Karl and laughing with Stephen.  I miss his adorable little cartoon self and the hilarious conversations between him and Stephen and Karl.  I MISS HIM.
  • Currently reading The Postmortal, which is about a pre-apocalyptic America in which a genetic “cure” for aging has been discovered.  What do you think will lead to the apocalypse: climate change…a pandemic virus…earthquakes and hurricanes…the wrath of God…flesh-eating zombies?  My bet is on flesh-eating zombies.  (More on that later.)
  • Hosting a Halloween party again this year and the theme is: Villains.  Thinking of dressing as Samara (from The Ring).  Who’s your favorite villain?
  • I’ve never felt any desire to go girl-on-girl, but if, suddenly, I did, I would stalk Katey Sagal until she succumbed to my powers of seduction.
  • Zooey Deschanel played the cutest, somewhat flaky but super charming sweetheart of a gal way back in Almost Famous.  And remember her in Elf?  How cute and fun and aloof (a prettier word for flaky?) and oh-so-charming she was!  Oh yeah, then in Yes Man, she was sweet and funny and quirky, albeit a bit breezy, and just the cutest!  Then came (500) Days of Summer, in which she played a slightly unusual, carefree, terribly charming…oh, wait.  That’s right.  She played Zooey Deschanel, the only character Zooey Deschanel seems capable of portraying.  New Girl?  Should just be called Zooey Deschanel.
  • This is pretty much exactly what I expected.
  • If you aren’t watching Happy Endings, here’s a reason to start.  Eliza Coupe is hilarious, but, of course, we already knew that.
  • Boiled denim and rum ham?  Seriously, guys and dolls, how is it that we haven’t talked about this???  My sincerest apologies, mon amies.  More on those crazy Philly cats soon, I promise.
  • Oh, Thursday night, where once you were sad and lonely, now you are whole.  (Well..nearly whole.  I’m talking to you, 30 Rock.)  It doesn’t say anything about me that I’ve longingly missed NBC’s Thursday night line-up, does it?  I didn’t think so.
  • Kudos to Community for starting off the season with some stellar guest appearances, the likes of which include John Goodman and Martin Starr.  That show is slowly winning me over.
  • Confession: I harbor INTENSE feelings for John Goodman.
  • Loving The Office so far this year, even though Robert California broke my heart last night when he said: “There’s something about the underdog that really inspires the unexceptional.”  It wouldn’t hurt if it wasn’t true. 😦

Have an inspiring weekend.

~Nikki