“Turn This Car Around”
March 24th, 2010
Earlier this week, How I Met Your Mother did an episode which more or less spoke to one of the more popular readings of the show: people think that Ted is a jerk, so they did an episode where the characters discussed whether Ted was a jerk. In the process, at least to my mind, they were able to control the narrative of Ted’s behaviour and use that unpleasantness in order to say something about their friendship.
I guess you could say that “Turn This Car Around” says the same thing about the love of wine and sleeping with younger women on Cougar Town. The episode becomes about “change,” which is one of those really terrifying words on most sitcoms (Chuck Lorre is shaking in his boots at the very thought of it, I’m sure), and the show ends up making a compelling argument for small changes, rather than large ones. Combine with a completely useless subplot that made me laugh a lot, and you’ve got a nice half-hour.
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.