Tag Archives: Chris Pratt

Handicapping the 2010 Emmys: Comedy Acting

Handicapping the 2010 Emmys: Comedy Acting

June 2nd, 2010

In comedy this year, a lot depends on what shows make it big: we know that Glee and Modern Family are going to make a statement (as noted in my piece handicapping the Comedy Series race), but is it going to be a statement of “this is a great show” or a statement of “this is the greatest show since sliced bread?” The difference will largely be felt in the acting categories: both Modern Family and Glee have multiple Emmy contenders, but it’s unclear whether some of the less heralded performers will be able to rise along with the big “stars,” or whether the halo of series success won’t help them compete against some established names already entrenched in these categories.

Ultimately, I’m willing to say that there’s going to be some pretty big turnaround this year in some of these categories, but others feature quite a large number of former nominees who likely aren’t going anywhere, so it should be interesting to see how things shake out on July 8th. In the meantime, let’s take a look at the four major Comedy Acting Emmys and see where the chips lie.

Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Emmy Awards

Season Premiere: Parks and Recreation – “Pawnee Zoo”

parksrecreationtitle

“Pawnee Zoo”

September 17th, 2009

“Everyone is just who they are”

Leslie Knope was the problem, and Leslie Knope was the solution.

When Parks and Recreation struggled to get off the blocks in the Spring, there were plenty of excuses. The show was rushed to get into production before the season began, and had a strange road from would-be Office spinoff to a show unconnected to that universe but staffed by the same people and even featuring Rashida Jones, who spent time on Greg Daniels and Mike Schur’s other show. So, when the show took some time finding its footing, I was willing to give it plenty of chances because the show was confused about what precisely it was going to be.

It was a show that had some strong supporting performers (Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Christ Pratt, Jones), and a promising premise, but it was really let down by its inability to pin down Leslie Knope, our central character. It wasn’t that Amy-Poehler wasn’t charming or engaging, or wasn’t up to the task of making us like this character. Instead, the writing just didn’t know what they wanted her to be, and as a result the show seemed to flit around aimlessly as it was content to coast on a pre-set storyline and let the character go with the flow.

But in the season’s final episode, “Rock Show,” and in “Pawnee Zoo,” Leslie Knope is a finely tuned character designed to entertain us as a viewer and, more importantly, to drive stories. The storyline from the premiere is driven by Leslie’s well-meaning mistake, but what comes afterwards is made funnier and more complicated by her desire for people to like her and also her unwillingness to back down. The character felt, as it did by the end of the first season, consistent in both the writing and in Poehler’s performance, a perfect harmony of script and performer which allows the show to move forward with its great supporting cast to provide a great half hour of comedy.

I won’t say that it’s reached its full potential yet, but this is a show where an initial identity crisis is ancient history, and where things are finally looking up in Pawnee.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Parks and Recreation

Season Finale: Parks and Recreation – “Rock Show”

parksrecreationtitle

“Rock Show”

May 14th, 2009

When The Office ended its six-episode first season, it really didn’t have anything to wrap up or even celebrate: “Hot Girl,” the season finale, was noteworthy for its first real sense of Pam’s jealousy of Jim dating anyone, but it was just another episode of the series in a lot of ways. Since Parks and Recreation is not only from the same creative minds but is also getting exactly the same six-episode first season leading into a normal second one, it’s hard not to compare “Rock Show” to the finale that came before it.

I’d say that Greg Daniels and Michael Schur have learned some lessons since then, as this is without question a more suitable finale, but intelligently not one that pretends this was a normal season or that we really know these characters. While the party at the center of the episode was successful in its efforts to display some humorous sides to the show’s funniest characters, and the various musical interludes let us enjoy the hilarity of Chris Pratt’s Andy, for the most part the episode shed some light on the three people who are probably the closest to being real characters, giving them each an added touch of humanity that will serve the series really well as it moves forward.

It may have taken six episodes to get there, but I think we’re to the point where Parks and Recreation has put its cards on the table, and earned its spot in NBC’s fall schedule on its own merit as opposed to that of its big brother.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation – “Boys’ Club”

parksrecreationtitle

“Boys’ Club”

April 30th, 2009

We’re now four episodes into the shortened six-episode season for Parks and Recreation, and this week’s episode was another one that isn’t going to change anyone’s mind: if you thought the show was a charming if slight investigation into an interesting work environment, “Boys’ Club” did nothing to change this opinion. However, similarly, if you were amongst those who felt that Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope hasn’t been given enough of a character to resonate within this environment, there isn’t much in her obliviousness and aloofness in this week’s central storyline that shows that they’re viewing these six episodes as some sort of character arc.

As someone who tends to fall into the former category, I thought the episode was quite solid, providing a tiny bit more nuance to Leslie’s character (even if the comparisons to The Office became even more pronounced with one particular scene) and utilizing the comic talents of Chris Pratt to deliver a really charming B-Story. As someone who understands the second perspective, though, I think I see what part of the problem is.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation – “The Reporter” and Other Thoughts

parksrecreationtitle

“The Reporter”

April 26th, 2009

One of the downfalls of my trip to California was that I was away during the period where a number of solid debuts took place: Southland seems like a potential keeper for NBC, The Unusuals is still technically in the mix for ABC, and the long-anticipated Parks and Recreation debuted. So while I took time out of my schedule to take a gander at the first two episodes detailing the adventures of Leslie Knope, I didn’t quite have the time to sit down and wrap my head around what I really thought about it.

“The Reporter,” in many ways, actually makes this out to be a good thing: it isn’t that this week’s episode (the show’s third) was substantially different than the two which preceded it, but it demonstrates that the qualities I saw as potential for the future remain firmly intact, and the ability for the rest of the show to fall in around them remains present. The show’s main problem, that it and its protagonist lean too closely to The Office, isn’t even necessarily a problem as long as the elements it is cribbing from its stepbrother are the ones that you like about the show; for me, thus far at least, this seems to be the case.

In many ways, the show is kind of like the park being proposed within the current main storyline of the series: it has plenty of early media attention, and lots of things going for it, but it needs to keep itself afloat during this key development period in order to survive. And while the verdict may still be “We’ll see,” I think that’s exactly where the show needs to be right now.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Parks and Recreation