Last night's comedy block on NBC was the best two hours of my week as far as TV's concerned. Sure, there weren't that many surprises as far as quality goes: Community and Parks and Recreation led the block and were the best of the night, followed by the dip into The Office and the slight rise with 30 Rock. Not a bad arc for the evening, and Office wasn't even as bad as previous weeks, so that's a plus.
Community had another awesome ep that dealt with the fun of Abed's meta-references and obsession with pop culture, this time college movies, while also giving Jeff and Britta something to do by teaming up to fight smarmy high schoolers. Jeff and Britta work much better as wacky co-conspirators than quasi-love interests, and their chemistry was great. Even Pierce's temporary exile from the group served as a reminder that this ensemble is something special, and they don't quite work if one of the pieces is missing.
It also felt so good to have Parks and Recreation back after a month off the air, and its strong episode was a reminder of just how much energy this show has and how much longer it'll be able to run. April's innocent screw-up that gave Ron 93 meetings in one day was the perfect engine to let Leslie run wild saving an old building and for Ron to blow up at April and have Andy help him smooth things over. Andy and April are still so perfect for each other that it's just a matter of time before they work back to each other and get together.
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The Office was better than last week because the characters made sense again. Michael and Erin's awkward dinner the week before was off because they've historically liked each other, so it felt weird for him to suddenly disdain her. But last night let the Dunder Mifflin employees be themselves, from Jim and Pam's earnest goofiness to Dwight's poorly planned manipulations to Michael's random ability to impress women by stalking them. Watching Jim and Pam work together in a sales context was cute, as were Dwight's increasingly futile attempts to mentor Kelly for the minority exec training program. Michael's cringe-worthy pursuit of the woman from the bar a few weeks back was, well, cringe-worthy, but at least it was in moderate portions. There's only so much we can be asked to take.
30 Rock was fun, too, and definitely the spiritual inspiration for Community (though both spring from the fount of Arrested Development). The story about Grizz's wedding was pure filler, but everything on the show's kind of filler for the wackiness, so it mostly worked. Even watching Jack take care of a peacock he believed to be the reincarnation of Don Geiss had a certain charm. But the best was Jenna's new boyfriend, played by Will Forte, who turned out to be a Jenna impersonator. Having them both decked out in sequins while they sing "All By Myself" and then make out is why our forefathers founded this great nation.
Best Moment of the Night: The food fight at the end of Community that tipped its hat to Animal House and its legion of sex-comedy successors. I would totally pay to see College Cut-Ups 2: Panty Raid Academy.