Quick Thoughts On NBC Comedies

30 Rock really seems to have gone all the way over to making Liz the crazy person and Jack the straight man. Earlier this season I felt like they were alternating, but now I feel like Jack is the most “normal” member of the group, reacting to Liz’s insanity (“Why don’t I have any other friends?”). Last night all three stories revolved in some way around Liz being insane, screwing up, embarrassing herself, or being unable to distinguish between life and the movies. She has become the early Michael Scott, even as Michael Scott himself has become more sympathetic.

Parks and Recreation isn’t too good so far, though NBC has already picked it up for another season and it might improve by then. I wonder if it looks worse because The Office has gotten sweeter and nicer this season? There’s still plenty of pain on The Office (it is, after all, being run by Paul Lieberstein, who specializes in the comedy of pain), but over the years the characters have grown to like each other more, and we’ve grown to like them more, to the point that an episode can end with everybody dancing and enjoying themselves and it doesn’t seem out of character. P&R is trying to be more about the pain and boredom of everyday work life, but instead of coming off as a cousin of The Office, it comes off as a very different show despite the similar format.

My Name Is Earl does too many gimmick episodes. That’s not even a thought, just a truism.

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