Thursday Night TV Club – February 1st, 2007

Well, here we are on the first official day of February Sweeps. What better way to usher in the month than with a night chock full of juicy sweeps episodes of your favourite TV shows?

This is definitely a busy night, especially considering that we’ve got some cliffhangers to resolve, a series winding down to its finale, a series coping with a switched-gender addition to its cast, and some Office realities to deal with. Let’s get to some honourable mentions first:

30 Rock

Oh, Tina Fey and Co., why did you have to hurt me so? Don’t get me wrong, there were some flashes of brilliance in this episode. I enjoyed Kenneth as the angel, Tracy as the devil, and I think that some of the Jack/Liz banter was good for the show’s development (And Isabella Rosselini was really quite funny in what I would hope to see become a recurring role should the show get the chance).

But, I have to wonder who thought that Paul Reubens’ inbred Habsburg Prince (Pictured) was a good introduction to the show. The character was never funny enough to justify its silliness, and pairing him with Jenna only made me dislike her more. I like Will Forte, and I think he was the best part of the whole situation, but it was just dreadful to watch. It made for a fairly weak episode of a show that is usually a standout amongst Comedy Night Done Right. Still, it gets major props for mentioning the Defenestration of Prague which Dr. Duke would be proud of.

The Office

I want to talk about the office more indepth later today, but as for this episode it was merely mediocre. The show isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, and Dwight quizzing Ben Franklin (Pictured) made me incredibly happy. The advancement of Jim/Pam/Karen was somewhat stagnant, but at least it was there.

The rest of it was just blah. The Stripper thing seemed to stress Michael’s idiocy to a degree that somewhat bothers me, especially after we saw him play the straight man to Andy (Who I’ll get to later today) in the past few episodes. On top of this, the rest of the episode just kind of lingered there, never really finding a proper grounding, and the advice/insight brought by the stripper was limited at best.

Still, there were some moments of laughter, but not enough to keep me enthralled with the episode on the whole. Plus, we all know that Jim is going to dump Karen, and then Pam will have moved back to Roy. It’s being choreographed so much I almost think it’s a ruse.

Grey’s Anatomy

Two marriage proposals result in, apparently, two marriages. A patient becomes incredibly toxic. Bailey opens her free clinic remarkably quickly. Izzy acts like a complete bitch. And Ellis Grey wakes up from her Alzheimer’s coma and is also a complete bitch, but one who is entirely correct if a bit selfish.

The result of all of this is an episode that goes a mile a minute. I didn’t even get into the whole crazily horny Addison thing, where she’s sleeping with Sloane purely out of lust, or the entire fact that Ellen Pompeo actually acted (I know, it was shocking). And, in the end, I think that so many things going on was perhaps the episode’s downfall, never quite settling on one thing or the other.

George and Callie’s marriage is doomed, simple as that, whether Sara Ramirez was added as a regular earlier this season or not. Izzy might be a bitch, but she’s technically right, it’s a horribly ill-advised scenario. I mean, he was a sex-crazed maniac one second, and then husband the next? She has some issues she needs to work out.

This being said, I have the exact opposite feeling about Cristina and Burke’s impending nuptials. They reacted the way they would, being surgeons, neither showing their emotion in their contemplation. Their final moment of Cristina refusing to wear the ring, but then accepting the proposal was perfect, and then it culminated in a celebration filled with elation, happiness (Pictured). It was a fantastic piece of television, and certainly made the episode worthwhile, but I just felt like it was too cramped, too rushed to enter into my Top Three.

So, without further adue, let’s get to the top Three for the Evening:

3. Scrubs

Ladies and gentleman, this episode of Scrubs wasn’t laugh out loud in the least. In fact, it even centered on one of the show’s often forgotten characters, Dr. Kelso, even featuring more of lawyer Ted than we’ve seen in months. And yet, what I think Scrubs proved to me tonight is that its formula, sometimes appearing tired, is more than capable of coming through with something good.

Now, it’s not all positive, which is one of the reasons it’s in my Top Three (Let’s remember, it’s the shows of note that make it here…not that I didn’t already write a whole lot on the other shows too, but it’s kind of hard not to keep rambling like some sort of…ahem). I once read a writer’s blog from Scrubs that basically said that the usual first session for one of the writers was to come in with a number of different story points. Clearly, someone recently went into the office with “The Hospital starts discussing the Iraqi War throughout the episode after a patient who fought in Iraq enters Sacred Heart.”

I wish they hadn’t, really. It was good for a few laughs, but on the whole I found that I didn’t really care. The episode really didn’t revolve around it, and I can’t say that it did anything to up the ante when it comes to comedy. It did, however, give an excuse for Zach Braff to get some time off, which was in the best interest of the show.

Handing the internalized monologues and narration over to Dr. Kelso was an incredibly smart move. Getting to see some fantasies featuring the cranky chief of medicine was quite fresh, and I must admit to laughing far too loud at the various Officer and a Gentleman parodies (Pictured). Sometimes, comedies like Scrubs can be at their best when they focus on a secondary character who doesn’t often get much attention. I like that they’re still doing this, and I think that the episode was one of the more refreshing of recent weeks. There seemed to be a heart and soul to his story, within the hilarity, which was something I think Scrubs has missed a bit on occasion as of late. (On occasion as of late? Oh jeez.)

Either way, it’s good to see Dr. Kelso in a larger role, but I think that the problems Scrubs faces (Subplots that kind of kill the show dead) were also evident.

2. The O.C.

There are two things that every show reaching its conclusion needs to do, and without a doubt The O.C. did them last night.

1) Deal with the show’s mythology: Sure, there isn’t much to The O.C. from a mythology standpoint, but the show did a very admirable job of heading into the distant past the shed some more light on its characters. Kirsten’s return to her aborted pregnancy with Jimmy Cooper, and then to her first meeting with Sandy (Pictured, played in his college days by Max Greenfield who played Leo, Veronica’s cop boyfriend on Veronica Mars. And who apparently doesn’t work much. I hope he eats), provided some resonance for the parental storylines, and I think it was for the best.

More importantly, we delved into Seth and Summer’s past, and learned more about the fated Mermaid poem that was actually written by Taylor, a contrived but enjoyable twist.

2) Be Self-Aware: This one was noted most clearly with a line about Justin Timberlake appearing at the Bait Shop (Season 2’s hangout featuring acts like The Killers, Death Cab for Cutie) and the line “One wonders how such a small venue can keep attracting such huge artists.” Which, unsurprisingly, is a major internet criticism of that particular dropped plot device.

Now, the whole Julie love triangle wasn’t a slam dunk or anything, but I don’t think it detracted from things too badly. Plus, unlike most of Julie’s storylines, there really wasn’t a terrible, awful decision in place. Sure, Hercules isn’t exactly the greatest catch, and he did some bad things, but it’s not categorically awful and this week showed him as more human than before. Still, Bullit and Kaitlin’s relationship is a highlight, and I hope we get a positive resolution for them as well.

With the show so close to its finale, things are looking like they’ll be able to wrap up in a satisfactory manner barring some sort of catastrophe.

1. Ugly Betty

So, Ugly Betty, I have to apologize. I didn’t have much hope that you’d be able to weather a storm of recently sex-changed formerly dead brothers. It was too soap opera esque, and I felt that it would only send you further down a rather terrifying road. Well, I was wrong, I’ll admit it. This episode, surrounding New York’s Fashion Week, was a perfect example of the show’s ability to balance these elements.

It went out of its way to humanize Alexis Meade, making Rebecca Romijn’s character insecure, impulsive, and not entirely villainous as she was made out to be. Her realization that her brother Daniel had changed, cared more, caused her to actually reveal her secret to him. Rather than dragging things out, there was a quick reveal to all as well, and I think that it will keep it from dragging the show down.

And, while all of this was going on, there was still those light-hearted moments that make the show work. The Betty/Henry (Pictured) situation is going quite smoothly, Hilda and Betty’s rivalry seemed natural, and Justin’s fascination with Fashion Week was well placed to provide humour, along with Marc’s attempts to steal the rabbit fur miniskirt…for some reason or another.

Sure, Ignacio’s stupid plot with the immigration worker is annoying, but the reality is that the show has successfully weathered this storm. It has shown itself capable of sticking with its established family relationships and characters even through soap opera melodrama, and this is what will keep the show grounded. While perhaps not the best episode of the season, I think it was the greatest achievement. They could have gone downhill and fast, but this Golden Globe winning comedy is instead doing quite well for itself. And for that, it wins the crown on this particular Thursday.

1 Comment

Filed under Television

One response to “Thursday Night TV Club – February 1st, 2007

  1. Rodrick Vicioso

    Every episode of Scrubs is online at streaming for free. watch them online.

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