Thursday is unparalleled in its television programming.
For fans of NBC comedies like 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and Community, as well as FX comedies including Louie, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Archer, Thursdays have set the bar high for channel changing and DVRing.
Of course, you could be one of the 15 million viewers of The Big Bang Theory or 12 million viewers of Two and a Half Men in CBS’ comedy block. Then there’s the dramatic follow up that somewhat lowbrow hour with the high-rated Person of Interest and Elementary.
Then came along Thursday Night Football. Though it airs on NFLNetwork, a non-standard cable channel, it still reels in around 5-6 million viewers a week.
Since I do not watch the CBS programming, this week’s recap will cover 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Always Sunny, The League…and Thursday Night Football.
8 p.m. – 30 Rock begins, with its episode “Stride of Pride.” The episode’s namesake is from the cold open, where Liz catches Jack coming out of a town car, kissing a woman goodbye and wearing the same “night tie” from the day before. While Jack is quick to call it a “Walk of Shame,” the sexually-rejuvenated Liz (ok, that sounds weird) puts a positive spin on the ancient phrase, calling it a “Stride of Pride.” But back to the “sexually-rejuvenated” part. Liz is no longer the squeamish character we’ve gotten to know these past eight seasons. In fact, she’s focused on having her own Sex and the City talks. But that story (thankfully) takes a backseat to the inevitable “women aren’t funny” topic coming up on the show.
Tracy Jordan, per usual, stirs up controversy by saying that women aren’t funny via Twitter. But in what is the best joke of the episode, he does it via responding to a sarcastic comment from “@TheRealStevenHawking.” Meanwhile, Liz has to deal with hiding magazines from Jenna which list her age as 56. However, we quickly find out that Jenna planted the story there to skip the middle-aged part of her career. Or, in her words, so she doesn’t have to compete with Julie Bowen over who will star in a Kevin James film where he gets tired of sleeping with her.
Anyways, to solve both their problems (Jenna is competing with Jamie Lee Curtis for some sort of chair lift spokesperson role) they perform a sketch from their classic Chicagoan comedy duo. We don’t get to hear any of it thanks to a typically hilarious 30 Rock musical montage, but rest assured, there are plenty of funny women. Like Julie Bowen!
Oh, and Jack has a problem with all the sex partners he and one of his sex partners have, and tries to figure out who he is to one of his women, only to find out that no, he’s not the great hair, the sex idiot, the Wall Street type, the one that would make the parents crazy, the dirty hippie, but the father type. Like Jenna, Jack, you must accept your age.
Episode Grade: A-
8:30 p.m. – So, with a lull between 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, I decided to watch some Thursday Night Football. If it wasn’t Richard Sherman, I’d be only somewhat interested in this game, but because he ran his mouth like he had just won a big playoff game, I was rooting against the Seahawks here (as opposed to neutrality if he hadn’t). The announcers spent most of the night talking about what a grind this game would be, with two elite defenses on the field, and they were right to do so. The running backs were really the stars here, with Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore both racking up over 100 yards rushing.
Nothing terribly exciting happens here, aside from Lynch going into Beast Mode in the clip above. Otherwise, I watch long enough to see a couple of field goals, though, David Akers always makes it fun. Anyways, I quickly change over to Parks and Rec.
To be continued…
9:30 p.m. – Tonight’s episode certainly wasn’t groundbreaking for either its own plot, or for sitcoms in general. The sex ed for old people angle that Leslie’s story took was nothing new, though hearing an old woman talk about having multiple sex partners at the same time was…gross. The real enjoyment that comes from this plot, aside from the usual pure giddiness that Christ Pratt puts into Andy, is the return of Perd Hapley.
Basically, Leslie’s sex ed for senior citizens is against the law in Pawnee, and her usual torch-wielding, church-going foe Marcia. Though, this time Marcia’s husband Marshall is in tow, and his sexuality is well…buried deep down inside. Well, at least according to him, his urges are. Anyways, Perd has some great one-liners, like calling his fans “Perdverts,” “The story of that commercial break is…it’s over,” and “It’s me, Perd, hosting a new segment.” Anyways, Leslie takes a wave of criticism because of her breaking of laws to teach senior citizens sex ed, and there’s learning, but not much in terms of a concrete, satisfying conclusion. Still, Perd really helped out with this one.
The other major part of the episode is Tom being sentenced to a week “without screens” after his tweeting caused a car accident. There are some great little jokes in here like Tom’s Tweets: “Four green lights in a row #blessed,” “Drive faster, blue civic. Daaaaaaamn. #soccermoms,” and the incriminating/best tweet, “Just hit a fire hydrant, but I survived. #Unbreakable. #WhatsMrGlassuptothesedays? #Whynosequel?”
Anyways, to get over his screen-free week, Tom spends time with Ron, but pretty much fills fishing, chopping wood, and staring into the fire listing every website he visits. Including Reddit and his Wikipedia journeys, one of which starts with Ray J and ends with Mars Attacks!. Ron seems underutilized here, but Aziz Ansari was such a scene-stealer this episode that I was ok with that.
The mini-plot of this episode is more office hijinks with Ben and April, who have really gelled in their roles this season. It’s pretty much a punchline plot, and it ends up being pretty funny. April assumes that congressman David Murray is a robot based on his cliche small talk, and the fact that he can stare straight at a computer for hours. Hey, at least him and Tom would get along!
What’s great about the April and Ben plot is how ridiculous it sounds at first, but somehow, April puts some doubt into Ben’s mind where they go in and basically test the congressman. In the end, it’s revealed that Murray is more a puppet than a robot, able to turn it on at a flick of the switch.
Episode Grade: B+