Channel Surfing: FRINGE, 30 ROCK & COMMUNITY

Putting aside for a moment what might be perceived as a slight bias as a result of our blink-and-you’ll-miss cameo (see if you can spot the back of our head in the video above), we’re fairly confident that even the most critical of FRINGE fans would be hard-pressed to find fault with last night’s fantastic episode. In fact, between the heartbreaking storyline involving part-time Walternate operative/full-time police officer Duffy that saw him slowly come to the realization that the life he had built with his wife and son was all but over courtesy of a well-timed bullet in the head by Newton (who may-or-may-not have ended off the episode dead in prison), to the much-anticipated hook-up between Fauxlivia and Peter (who clearly has let love blind him to the obvious fact that our Olivia is trapped on the other side!), the only letdown to be found was the realization that we now have to wait until November 4th to find out what happens next.

Equally awesome, despite the slightly off-putting nature of the live audience and lack of polish was last night’s 30 ROCK shot live from the hallowed studio 8H that normally houses SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. Seriously. What 30 ROCK Live may have lacked in LPM’s (that’s laughs per minute), it more than made up for by delivering a zany meta-filled (Baldwin to Fey “Does it seem weird in here to you?”) episode perfectly crafted for the live studio audience complete with an endlessly surprising parade of memorable guest appearances including John Hamm, Rachel Dratch, Matt Damon, Chris Parnell, Bill Hader and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The latter of which was put to brilliant use as a slightly more beautiful and wealthier (thanks to her SEINFELD money) “Liz Lemon” in flashback form.

Not nearly as successful was last night’s COMMUNITY adventure in “space.” And while creator/executive producer Dan Harmon deserves big props for his penchant for pushing the story-telling envelope, “Basic Rocket Science,” which saw our intrepid gang (with the notable exception of Abed) “trapped” in a space-like contraption (sponsored by KFC!) as Greendale Community College attempted to beat their rival City College to the Simulation Program Punch was bit hard to swallow. Which is to say we’ll let an awful lot slide in the name of laughter, but building a plot — funny as it might have been — around Annie threatening to transfer from Greendale for the second time. Ummm… yeah, producers, we have a problem.

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  • Nick

    I admire the 30 Rock crew for doing a live broadcast, but it just didn’t feel very funny, somehow. Tracy’s bit, in particular, really fell flat. How cool to see Julia unexpectedly, though. And there were a few really good lines. There’s something about tape vs. film, however; laughs are hard to come by on live videotape.

  • kevin

    completely disagree about community. i thought it was one of the funniest yet.

    as an aside, kfc is getting a lot of product placement in the last couple weeks. last week it was prominently featured in running wilde and the good guys.

  • Sourabh

    Community had a pretty good episode, and KFC’s product placement was also pretty great. Unlike other brands we know (Microsoft).
    30 Rock (I only watched the East coast version, will watch the West coast one later) was great and I think Tina Fey should come back to SNL more often.

  • The TV Addict

    I liked the episode, and the KFC product integration was funny. But funniest yet? Chicken Fingers and Modern Warfare paintball were definitely a cut above.

  • Sourabh

    Also, when I watched Fringe, I wondered if you were in the episode. They didn’t show your face did they? (can’t get on youtube right now so can’t see the clip)

  • The TV Addict

    You see a bit of the left side of my face, but mostly the back of my head gets a remarkable amount of screen time.

  • kevin

    i said it was “one of” the funniest yet. i don’t think anything will ever top modern warfare paintball.