NBC’s self-proclaimed “Comedy Night Done Right” finally accomplishes what they tried to do for years with their so-called “Must See TV” lineups -two full hours of the funny. With the current Thursday night lineup, My Name is Earl, The Office , Scrubs and 30 Rock (which has quickly grown on me) they have a comedy juggernaut.
Back on the old evil VHS days, NBC usually had at least two good shows (Friends! Seinfeld!) on Thursday nights and sometimes three but there was always some god-awful sitcom (Suddenly Susan and Veronica’s Closet immediately come to mind — and those were the better ones) thrown in the mix that would keep us from wanting to record the entire two hour block. Now, thanks to TiVo, that’s no longer a problem, but that’s still no excuse to force Jesse or Good Morning, Miami on an unsuspecting audience.
Jim (my husband) thinks I have a slight mean streak in my sense of humor. That I laugh everytime somebody inadvertently falls down or gets struck with a flying object. And maybe he’s right. Maybe that’s why the current lineup works for me. I love to see Jim (the cute one on The Office, not my husband — unfortunately) slowly torture Dwight, most recently by pretending to turn into a vampire (hee!) and when Joy hit the accidentally kidnapped delivery truck guy over the head with a crowbar, I just about fell off the couch because I was laughing so hard.
And Dr. Cox. Have I mentioned how much I love John C. McGinley? His continual parade of girl names for J.D. and long-winded rants (Dennis Miller could never come close) never fail to make me laugh so hard I have a difficult time catching my breath.
Even 30 Rock, which I thought started off a little slow, has grown on me. Hard as this is for me to admit, the reason is Alec Baldwin. He’s got fantastic comic timing and he just looks like he’s enjoying himself so much. And let’s not forget Kenneth the NBC page. How he can be simultaneously endearing and frighteningly weird just amazes me . . .
Do you know why I put up with this pitiful job, Mr. Donaghy? Why I fetch these folks’ lunches and clean up their barfs? Because they make television. And more than jazz, or musical theater, or morbid obesity, television is the true American art form. Think of all the shared experiences television has provided us. From the moon landing, to the Golden Girls finale. To Walter Cronkite denouncing Viet Nam. To Oprah, pulling that trashbag of fat out in a wagon. From the glory and the pageantry of the summer Olympics, to the less fun Winter Olympics. So please, don’t tell me I don’t have a dream, sir. I am living my dream.
I think that speech pretty much sums up the entire greatness of the NBC comedy block. The fact that this came on the heels of NBC announcing that the were going to completely give up on scripted shows for the 8:00 hour is a good thing. I can only hope that the critical acclaim for these shows translates into good enough numbers that NBC keeps it going.