You Be the Critic: THE OFFICE & 30 ROCK

Far be it for this TV Addict to rain on the ‘Comedy Night Done Right’ parade. But SCRUBS aside, one thing was abundantly clear when it came to last night’s return of 30 ROCK and THE OFFICE. The members of the Writer’s Guild of America weren’t messing around. Pencils down meant pencils down.

When did THE OFFICE turn into CURBED YOUR ENTHUSIASM? Michael and Jan’s dinner party from hell was quite possibly one of the most horrifying, not to mention cringe-inducing half hours of comedy I’ve ever experienced. Sure, there were a few funny moments. Particularly Jan dancing to Hunter’s CD, Michael’s $200! Plasma TV, the video camera in the bedroom, Michael’s ‘bed’, Jan’s candle business, Dwight’s ‘date’… Okay, so there were more than a few funny moments. But there were also long stretches of awkwardness. And while most fans undoubtedly reveled in the awkwardness that was last night’s dinner party from hell. This TV Addict wasn’t one of them. To me ‘Comedy Night Done Right’ should have me genuinely laughing, not curled up in the fetal position, fearful of what will happen next.

Moving on to 30 ROCK, it’s not that it was a bad episode, I just expected more after a five month hiatus. Specifically more Jenna and Tracy, more MILF island [hilarious!] and far less Kenneth. Kenneth, in the grand tradition of Sookie, Deanna Troi and Kramer work best in small doses.

Three other things that bugged me about the episode. Liz was totally not herself allowing Kenneth to take the blame for the leak. The ending with Jack knowing all along that Liz was responsible was ridiculously predictable. And the Pete subplot, seriously!?! Getting his hand stuck in the snack machine was funnier on THE SIMPSONS and SCRUBS five years ago.

Agree, disagree, put on your critic hat and post away.

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  • Hil

    The Office always seems off to me when they are not actually at the office for long stretches of time. I found a few moments funny, but it was mostly uncomfortable.

  • Okay, I thought it was just me being so tired or something…

    I rarely laughed out loud. chuckled maybe. But usually I was just horrified. still, the funny parts were funny, but mostly it was Pam and Jim (ah, how I missed Pam and Jim).

    Even 30 Rock was truly disturbing.

  • Lindlee Bullock

    I loved The Office. I thought it was one of their best episodes. Yes, it was awkward but for me it was never uncomfortable. I was laughing the entire time!

  • Vance,

    Do you think the whole Jim ditching Pam at the party foreshadowing of a rocky road ahead?

  • Julien

    The Office UK or US as always been ankward so it’s pretty usual, it was maybe more “dark” than usual, i tought this episode was excellent to be honest one of the best from this season

    30 Rock was also excellent, right up there with the 2×04

    On the other side Scrubs was a painnnn to watch, i didnt even smile one time, i was more ashamed for the people who write that than anything else, please bill wake the fuck up and do something great that will leave us with a great memory for the show

    Earl was in the middle for me, not great but not bad either, dont really like “the hickeys” but at least they try something new (and i like the teutuls too)

  • Julien,

    SCRUBS was really uneven. I didn’t like the first half, but thoroughly enjoyed the second half.

  • Jim

    30 Rock was the best of the bunch last night. Scrubs has gotten so unfunny. The best part was Space Invaders. That was it.

  • kayla

    i thought 30 rock was at it’s best last night. amazing even, just like that deborah.

  • I was disappointed in The Office only because a big deal had been made about the episode when the strike started. Much of the cast/crew hailed this script as “the best table read” they’d ever had and such, so I think my high hopes fell flat after a long time waiting. I think a repeat viewing in several weeks will find it holding up better than it felt last night.

    I thought Scrubs, on the other hand, was one of the stronger episodes we’d seen in a while. The last couple before the strike had fallen kind of flat for me, and I thought this one was really good.

  • Common Sense

    Watch The Office a second time. Guarantee you’ll realize what genius this episode truly was. Jan’s dancing is the funniest thing since Elaine’s kickjerking on Seinfeld.

    30 Rock? Oh my, what can I say? I’ll save it for the Best Quotes area.

  • dave

    I guess everybody else was watching different shows from the ones I saw. I don’t think I had my hopes built up that much, but I was disappointed with all 3 shows. Come rerun/syndication time, none of them will rank near the top, IMO. With all that time on their hands, I thought the writers might come back strong, instead I think they got rusty.
    To get more specific:
    30 Rock: one of the show’s strengths has been the clever, witty writing, with rapid-fire lines and topical references that force you to listen closely lest you miss something. That was missing last night.
    The Office: this one fell into the “seemed like a good idea at the time” category. Dinner party at Jan and Michael’s, let the laughs ensue. Or not. Some funny moments, but no belly laughs. I didn’t have a problem with the uncomfortable situations per se because that’s always been the source of The Office’s humor, but at its best The Office takes social discomfort and makes it painfully hilarious to watch. This was mostly just painful and the episode never really clicked for me.
    Scrubs: this show is built so much around set-piece humor that it’s rare for entire episodes to be uniformly good or bad, and last night showed that the writers haven’t completely run out of ideas. The Space Invaders bit was great. Otherwise not particularly memorable but if there’s one moment that will stick with me from last night that was it.

  • nick

    i second what you said about the Office Sarah!

  • Tim

    I enjoyed all 3 but my biggest laugh of the night came from Survivor.

  • Riles

    The Office was terrific. More true to it’s UK forefather than usual. Way more awkward than previous episodes, but I still laughed out loud many, many times.

  • Lauren

    30 ROCK was a huge disappointment.

    Everything seemed off: the camera angles, the lighting, lines, characters. None of the characters seemed congruent with the 30 Rock that I know and love. Even the fact that the whole episode took place in one hour? That’s never happened on the show.

    It seemed very slow compared to episodes past where the lines, rapid camera shots, and witty writing were just better overall.

    Anyone else agree?

  • Michelle

    I don’t get why everyone has to be so critical. It’s TV, for gosh sake. Enjoy it.

  • Michelle, We critique because we love.

  • Yey The Office is back! Michael kept the show awkward by crawling in the fetal position and Dwight was just weird as always…he’s a Freak and Geek which is one of his fave tv shows that he commented about here:

  • i thought the office was awesome last night! it was the best episode in a while. I cant say ive missed those awkward moments, but they are okay once in a while, i guess. I also thought that the jim leaving pam at the party thing might be foreshadowing that massive event in their relationship thats apparently gonna happen in a couple of episodes.

    i missed 30 rock, but im looking forward to the watching it tomorrow!

  • I thought 30 Rock’s writing was up to par. The parallels were awesome! As someone pointed out on our site, there were a lot of little parallels, like when the contestant took off her bra they blurred them, then 2 seconds later the TGS staff flicked off Liz, which was blurred as well.

    I admit the deviation from the normal 30 Rock was different. The show with in the show, the camera angles that more matched reality tv, ect. But I appreciate that the writers come up with new ways to tell funny stories! I think these deviations would have been more appreciated in the middle of a long run of episodes not after a 3 month hiatus.

    It’s almost like it was too fresh!

    I think Office and My Name is Earl suffered from the same problem. We just wanted to see life in the Office, or Earl and his list, not a dinner party or a dream-sitcom sequence as our favorite shows return. Had these episodes been in the middle of a run of new shows, they would have been a lot better.

  • BHcolin

    I thought The Office was great — so so funny. I just kept thinking my god what it would be like to be at that dinner party. Loved how Jan kept making comments to Pam. Jim at the end saying his house was on fire and Pam chiming in flooded. The whole episode was funny, yes awkward at times but really isn’t that what The Office gives us every episode