Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NBC Sitcom Roundup — "WUPHF.com," "College," & "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design"

The Office, Season 7 Episode 9 — "WUPHF.com"

If you read too many TV blogs and forums like I do, this was among the most fascinating episodes of the season solely for the wide range of reactions it got. I read comments and reviews ranging from "best episode of the season, it felt like season two again!" to "this is fucking terrible, I'm done" and everything in between. I can't remember the last time I saw so little consensus. But I'm afraid I have no strong opinion one way or the other and must take the pussy middle-of-the-road stance of declaring it okay.

"WUPHF.com" was light on belly laughs, the only two I recall being Stanley sharing his lighthouse fantasy and the very clever "Washington University Public Health Fund" reveal. Kevin getting lost in the hay maze won a chuckle for the way Brian Baumgartner sold Kevin's panic, but there isn't a human being on earth who didn't know exactly what was going to happen the second he stepped into the maze. But what's actually interesting is that, outside of Michael and Toby's moment in "Counseling," this is the first episode that legitimately felt like part of Michael Scott's farewell tour.

Ryan Howard isn't really a character. Perhaps he was in the first three seasons as the temp filled with thinly-veiled contempt for Dunder Mifflin and all his coworkers, and maybe even in season four when he became Evil Ryan the VP, but since getting arrested and resurfacing as a bizarre hipster stereotype he's just a walking punchline who no longer has much of a place in the ensemble (and has fittingly had his office relocated to the closet). But the way Michael projects his need to be a mentor and father figure onto Ryan has always been a key part of Michael's character, and this episode put a small bow on this longrunning subplot by having Michael admit that Ryan is lazy and selfish and using everyone but saying he'll stand behind his employee nonetheless. I don't know if the show has any additional Michael-Ryan stories in store for Steve Carell's final seventeen episodes, but if this it I could live with that.

The main thing I hated? The sudden, out-of-nowhere subplot about the cap on sales commissions, which spat boldly in the face of the "sales is king" Sabre policy that shuffled Jim back down to his old position last season. I know this isn't a mythology show like Lost and loose continuity isn't a huge deal, but even as someone who only watched season six's episodes exactly once each I was immediately like "wait, what? Bullshit!" It led to a somewhat amusing moment at the end with Jim's prank on Gabe, but I'm going to be frustrated if this is a running subplot in coming weeks (and since Jim no longer has incentive to do his job, I don't see how it couldn't be).

But as a positive closing note, I thought there was a marked improvement in the character of Erin this week. I was getting fed up with them writing her as an absolute moron too dumb to convincingly breathe, let alone work as a secretary, and her protectiveness of the color ink is much more along the lines of what they should be doing with her; weird and neurotic, but not fucking retarded.

30 Rock, Season 5 Episode 8 — "College"

I said last week that season five is noticeably better than the fourth, and upon a little introspection the reason is clear and singular: we've finally moved beyond the turgid, seemingly endless love triangle between Jack Donaghy, Avery Jessup, and Nancy Donovan. I don't care that it was packed with famous actors, I absolutely loathed that subplot, and it seemed like it was all the show's greatest comedic weapon was stuck with for months on end.

But now corporate shark Jack is back, albeit a noticeably softened and humanized version from how he appeared at the beginning of the series. But that's okay; that's just character development, stemming less from Avery and his unborn daughter and more from his friendship with Liz. Watching him let go of the microwave division in this latest episode was a solid little Jack story (even if I could have done without the engineers explicitly noting the deliveryman was played by Alec Baldwin... thanks, I got it, 30 Rock), and I loved the way it collided with the pranking of Pete in a funny-yet-melancholy, pizza-shotgunning belated college party in Jack's office. It was great to see some writers room antics again too.

Liz's brief taste of popularity stood out less than the rest of the episode but was still amusing. Her threat to put her crewmember's dog down "with a smile" at the end was hilarious and ballsy in its willingness to make the show's protagonist aggressively unlikable. All in all, another pretty good 30 Rock joins a pretty good season.

Community, Season 2 Episode 9 — "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design"

Another Thursday, another outstanding Community. I'd be bored with the consistent goodness if it wasn't so goddamned good, but with "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" I have officially decided that Community has surpassed the peak years of both The Office and 30 Rock (as well as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Party Down, Always Sunny, and whatever Fox cartoons and laugh track CBS shows you care to name) as the best post-Arrested Development sitcom. It's simply brilliant and the current shining example of how film is lagging behind TV when it comes to comedy.

I won't bother going through everything I liked about this 70s conspiracy thriller spoof because that would just be summarizing the whole episode, but I'll note that it was interesting how half of the main cast either put in tiny cameos (Britta, Pierce, Shirley) or was entirely absent (Chang). Even Troy and Abed's role was pretty small in terms of screen time; this was really the Jeff, Annie, and Dean Pelton show, all the way from the hilarious "explosive" message to Annie to the Dean crying "would that this hoodie were a time hoodie!" in a scene that showcased exactly why Jim Rash should be added to the primary cast posthaste.

If the climactic scene featuring five subsequent fake shootings felt vaguely familiar to you, don't worry, that just means that you have good taste in sitcoms and were having flashbacks to "Pier Pressure" and "Making a Stand," the two Arrested Development episodes featuring J. Walter Weatherman using his missing arm to scare people. Both involved fake injuries to teach lessons and both were hilarious. But even more so than those Arrested episodes this demands a second viewing so you can see it knowing all the layers of conspiracy from the very beginning. It's just such an efficient and elegantly written 22 minutes of television even removed from the comedy that I can only applaud.

I was initially concerned that Abed and Troy's blanket fort was going to be superfluous and disconnected (not an entirely unfounded fear, if you look at recent Community episodes like "Aerodynamics of Gender" and "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples" where the different stories seem to take place in different worlds), but the way the traditional 70s thriller chase involving Jeff, Annie, and Professor Professorson cut through it justified the whole damn thing. I was also impressed by how good it looked — after last week's bottle episode I assumed they were cutting back on costs, but these were some nice production values when it would have been easier and cheaper to just use vanilla dorms. I also kind of hope that Abed and Troy writing a screenplay together wasn't just a throwaway line and actually comes up again!

However, in spite of all that, the funniest part of the episode was near the beginning when Annie blew off walking, then blew off standing, then blew off talking language, then writhed on the floor of a busy school hallway shouting "BLEE BLOO BLUH BLOO BLOH BLEE BLUGH BLUGGHH" at Jeff as he walked away. Alison Brie is a national treasure.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NBC Sitcom Roundup — "Viewing Party," "Brooklyn Without Limits," & "Cooperative Calligraphy"

The Office, Season 7 Episode 8 — "Viewing Party"

This latest Office was distinctly okay. Which is actually a relief, because fresh off of last week's ghastly episode "Christening," I'll take any laughs we can get and be thankful in light of how much worse I know it could be. I was cringing during the first five minutes or so with all the Glee jokes — I'm apathetic towards Glee, I neither love it nor hate it, but I sure as fuck don't want it invading other shows I watch — but the Glee references ironically toned down in favor of a mishmash of subplots as soon as the titular Glee viewing party actually started, and the episode became much more tolerable.

My favorite story was probably Dwight's unexpected connection with CeCe, Pam's relief, and Jim's emasculation, capped off by a strange but vaguely sweet conversation between Pam and naked Angela in the back of a car. I'm not much for baby humor — in fact, that was part of what made "Christening" so terrible and also why I quit Fox's Raising Hope after three episodes — but Dwight's simultaneous benevolence towards Pam and CeCe and malevolent humiliation of Jim made for an amusing contrast. Andy's pining over Erin is one of those subplots I've become tired of but it was spiced up this time by the inclusion of Darryl, who I'm increasingly hoping takes over as boss when Michael leaves. However, Andy swallowing the drugs or whatever then having a freakout wasn't funny. Other than not being pot, it was to identical dozens of "I'm so high!" scenes in any number of shitty straight-to-DVD comedies.

Michael's subplot was a mixed bag. As I've mentioned before, I actually, unlike many Office fans, really enjoy it when Michael turns into a raging, petulant manchild to the intense discomfort of everyone around him. Yeah, it's bizarre and it's awkward, but it's what separates him from every other sitcom protagonist on television. So I liked his anger at Gabe and his storming off to the other room. However, the whole "I'm not your father!" thing with Erin was just weird. For a show that used to earn its dramatic character beats (think back to Jim and Pam in the second season finale), that came out of fucking nowhere. Maybe it could have worked near or during Michael's departure episode if they spent a lot more time this season building a father-daughter dynamic between Michael and Erin, but as is it felt like the resolution to a character arc we never even knew existed.

Another weird part was when Oscar pointed at Dianna Agron and incorrectly proclaimed that she had been in a couple episodes of Friday Night Lights, because one of the main credited cast members on Glee was in fact in several episodes of FNL, but not Dianna Agron.

30 Rock, Season 5 Episode 7 — "Brooklyn Without Limits"

With its third quality episode in a row, I think I'm officially ready to declare 30 Rock once again better than The Office. I know I said the exact opposite at the start of this season and labeled the show decrepit, but I was talking about the fourth season, and 30 Rock is one of the only shows I've ever seen (except 24 and maybe Friends) that has actually become better in its fifth season than it was in its fourth. I don't know if they got some fresh writers or they changed the coffee at the production office or what, but the show is feeling alive again in a way that most of season four didn't.

Of course it helps that this episode felt tailor-made for me, being primarily dedicated to skewering the Tea Party and with a bonus hilarious Nintendo reference ("Lesbian Mario Brothers!"). John Slattery's guest spot as a lunatic congressional candidate who wants to take back America and possibly reinstitute slavery felt a little reliant on being familiar with him from Mad Men and knowing that he was playing against type (not to mention it seemed like it was meant to air before the midterm elections, which makes me wonder if the show got knocked off schedule at some point), but it was an amusing satire nonetheless. I also loved the way Tracy Jordan's subplot mocked both the shallowness of campaigning for acting awards and ultra-gritty urban dramas, not to mention that the continuity of his fictional film Hard to Watch has been maintained across a couple seasons now.

The story about Liz's new jeans was a bit more generic and forgettable outside of the aforementioned Mario Bros. joke, but it didn't change this being a solid, funny, sharp little episode. 30 Rock has regained my trust.

Community, Season 2 Episode 8 — "Cooperative Calligraphy"

"Cooperative Calligraphy" is both a "bzzt, wrong!" to anyone who thought the show had lost its ability to entertain outside of broad, high concept gimmick episodes and the episode that made me start to consider that Community may one day be remembered as one of the greatest television series of all time. Not comedies, but series, period. Community is a brilliant fusion of great ideas, sharp writing, pop cultural awareness, distinct and likable characters, and a terrific cast with tons of chemistry and no weak spots, and it's definitely threatening to usurp the early years of both The Office and 30 Rock to win the title of my favorite post-Arrested TV comedy.

This was, of course, a textbook bottle episode, a budgetsaving measure presumably made to counterbalance the cost of the zombie episode from a few weeks back by featuring no guest stars (no human ones, anyway; there was a monkey, a cat, and some puppies) and no scenes set outside the library's study room except for the closing credit tag. And like all the best bottle episodes it expertly deconstructed the characters and their relationships. Secrets came out, fights were had, and emotions laid bare. Abed's socially uncomfortable observations and Annie's neuroses and even Shirley's possible pregnancy all had the light ingeniously shined upon them via the whodunnit mystery of the missing pen, but more importantly the pen became emblematic of the friendship among the group at large. The true success of Community is not just that I like these people but that it genuinely seems they like each other, something few sitcoms successfully replicate.

Toss in some strong continuity — Shirley's hookup with Chang, Pierce's broken legs, Troy's monkey, Abed knowing all the girls' menstrual cycles — and you got 22 golden minutes of television. I loved this episode and I love this show. It must get a third season.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ranking Fall 2010's New TV Series UPDATE

I said about a month back when I first ranked this season's new TV shows that I would, quote, "go back and edit this post to insert the new shows in my rankings." But I've done like the Republican Party's fictional version of John Kerry and flip-flopped, deciding that editing my original rankings would border on dishonest. No, I must reap what I've sown and allow my original rankings to remain online until the internet finally crashes forever, so I will instead do brand new (but mostly similar) rankings and explain any shifts I've made.

First off, The Walking Dead has been inserted into the good tier, because it's a good show. Little explanation needed there. But I will say that FX's Terriers has developed into a truly wonderful season of television, one that everyone should watch, and I went back and forth a million times on whether or not to switch it to #1 and move Boardwalk Empire down to #2. I eventually decided to stick with Boardwalk as my top pick because its gorgeous production values and epic sociopolitical scope are hard to beat, but there's no character or performance on Boardwalk that I love as much as Donal Logue as ex-cop private investigator Hank Dolworth on Terriers. Easily my favorite new TV character this year, brought to life by a performance that deserves awards recognition. Consider the two shows for all practical purposes tied.

You may notice that I've notched ABC's No Ordinary Family, which I originally shit on and declared worse than season four of Heroes, up into the watchable tier alongside Running Wilde and The Event. And yes, I'm still watching it. I'm not taking back the spirit of what I originally said, as I still think the family drama subplots are overwritten after school specials, but the main story of the superpowers can be fun and it has fine comedic supporting performances from Autumn Reeser and Romany Malco. I also read an interview with the actress who plays the daughter where she named Friday Night Lights as one of her favorite shows, which brutally twists my arm and demands I keep an open mind. So I take back any claims of No Ordinary Family being horrible — it's merely ordinary.

The biggest change other than No Ordinary Family's meteoric rise is me dropping Greg Garcia's white trash family sitcom Raising Hope from #7 all the way down to #12 and the poor tier, the result of me attempting to watch a few more episodes and finding that the humor and tone isn't particularly far removed from Garcia's last white trash sitcom My Name Is Earl (that, and I loathe the grandma character). The pilot tricked me into thinking the show was more subversive than it really is with the bizarre visual of a man vomiting on his baby daughter, but subsequent episodes quickly settled into a boring groove, and I'm done.

And to the shock of TV critics everywhere who decided they wanted to take down a show this season and that show would be Outsourced, I've notched Outsourced up a rank into the inoffensive tier. It's still the worst of NBC's Thursday night comedy lineup by a million miles and has a frightfully bland protagonist, but if I had to pick a place to spend 22 comedic minutes a week I'd rather it be Mumbai than white trash America (and yes, I'm aware that both Outsourced and Raising Hope are shot in Los Angeles, probably mere miles apart, but it's the spirit of the thing).

Other than that, I bumped Hawaii Five-0 down to the poor tier when I tried to watch a second episode and couldn't get past the fifteen-minute mark when I realized it's just another cop procedural beyond its Hawaiian location shooting. It's still the best new CBS show and better than ABC's cop procedural Detroit 1-8-7, but only by a hair. And I switched Better With You and Chase in the awful tier as while they're both moronic and terrible thinking back on Chase makes me feel just a little bit more ill and exhausted. The apocalypse tier is unaltered.

Day 1: Outlaw, Boardwalk Empire, Chase, The Event, Lone Star
Day 2: Detroit 1-8-7, Raising Hope, Running Wilde, Better With You, Undercovers
Day 3: My Generation, Outsourced, No Ordinary Family, Law & Order: Los Angeles
Day 4: Blue Bloods, The Defenders, Hawaii Five-0, Mike & Molly, $#*! My Dad Says
Day 5: Hellcats, Terriers, Nikita, The Whole Truth
Day 6: The Walking Dead

Beyond the jump, the rankings!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

TV Pilots, Day 6 — The Walking Dead

Okay, I'm a little embarrassed. I said a month back when I posted my recaps and rankings of fall 2010's new TV series that I would wait a few weeks for the final batch of premieres then do a sixth days of pilot reviews. Soon after was the premiere of AMC's The Walking Dead, but I didn't want to do a post consisting of a single review, so I waited a couple weeks, sure that more pilots were on their way. Hell, I would've taken just one more. But nope (excepting TBS's Conan, but I'm only covering narrative fiction here), and now my Walking Dead writeup is not only alone but no longer even a pilot review so much as a "half of the season" review.

Now it looks (according to Wikipedia) like there will in fact be about twenty new series premieres beginning in early 2011, so I'll get back to doing multi-show pilot review extravaganzas then. But for now, enjoy this extremely lonely review of The Walking Dead and the revamped rankings I'll post soon after:


The premise in ten words or less? Zombies, zombies, zombies!

Any good? Yes, it's very cool, with terrific production values, great cinematography for television, lots of violence and intensity, and a strong sense of horror, and this is coming from someone who generally finds nerd culture's obsession with zombies to be a little overblown and embarrassing. The Walking Dead is a truly visual show, unafraid to dwell on long stretches of eerie silence (most notably the protagonist's slow horseback ride into the ruins of Atlanta in the pilot being drawn out for five tense, dialogue-free minutes) and with some impressively disgusting-looking zombies. It's also extremely tightly serialized up to this point, with the first three episodes stringing seamlessly together as what amounts to the first act of a really long zombie flick. This will probably make a great series to watch on DVD for anyone who's already too late to catch up on TV (though anyone can check out the pilot on Hulu).

The show's only glaring flaw is thus far hamfisted writing when it comes to intergroup conflict among the survivors. Now don't get me wrong — zombie survivor conflict is a good thing. Necessary, really, even at two hours, let alone for the dozens of hours this series will run. But so far the loose cannons of the group are incredibly overwritten as dangerous, gun-waving, wife-abusing racist lunatics to the degree that you wouldn't blame the survivors for one second if they just put bullets in their heads. However, I trust the show will be able to iron this out given time to feel out the group dynamics, and all pure zombie stuff so far is badass.

Will I watch again? I already have! Half the season, in fact, since this first season is only going to be six episodes, but in case my above enthusiasm isn't clear, yes, I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

GoldenEye — Film vs. N64 vs. Wii Story Analysis

As someone who considers GoldenEye to be one of my top fifty favorite movies and GoldenEye 007 on Nintendo 64 to be one of my top ten favorite video games, I've watched or played through the same story dozens of times; hell, I even read John Gardner's novelization back in elementary school, although I remember finding it pretty insipid. I daresay I'm as close to an expert on GoldenEye's plot as probably just about anyone alive this side of Bruce Feirstein.

So I found it an interesting experience to play through the new remake of GoldenEye 007 on Wii. It seemed like a lot of whiners on internet message boards thought it was a travesty for them to swap in Daniel Craig and shift the story a bit (a lot of whiners who saw the movie once or maybe twice in the mid-to-late 90s, I imagine), but while it certainly doesn't replace the original I enjoyed experiencing a favorite story in a new light, just as I'm sure huge Shakespeare buffs enjoy the freshness of seeing Hamlet and Richard III with new actors and reinterpreted aesthetics every few years. Not that I'm comparing Bond to Shakespeare... Bond is clearly better.

Furthermore, this game actually adds back in a whole bunch of memorable movie scenes absent from the original game. Of course for every one of these there's also something they kept from the N64 version that wasn't in the film or something they changed or added that wasn't in either. It's an eclectic mix of story elements, as you'd probably expect from a narrative that's adapted from a game that is adapted from a movie while being updated from 1995 to 2010. So let's just break into down into bullet points, go through, and document everything I can think of.

We'll be doing this in five categories: first, film scenes absent from the N64 game that have been added back into this one. Second, changes the N64 game made that the Wii one kept (note that this is only analyzing story differences, not gameplay). Thirdly, film changes the N64 game made that the Wii version ditched. Fourthly, stuff the Wii game did that flies against both film and N64. And lastly, just for fun, stuff from the film neither game included. I'll leave out stuff present in all three because the broad framework of the story is consistent across all mediums and I don't wanna synopsize the whole damn plot. Obviously, full spoilers for every version of the story ahead.

Beyond the jump: get shaken, not stirred.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NBC Sitcom Roundup — "Christening," "Gentleman's Intermission," & "Aerodynamics of Gender"

The Office, Season 7 Episode 7 — "Christening"

I try to avoid over-the-top hyperbole when discussing pop culture, and unlike approximately 99.998% of people who can be found posting on internet message forums I don't fling around phrases like "best ever" and "worst ever" unless I truly mean them. That said, "Christening" is without a shadow of a doubt one of the top five worst episodes in the history of The Office. I can't call it the worst of all time — that is and I pray will always remain season six's "The Banker" — but it was really, really bad. I stared at the screen with a stony mask face for approximately 21 of the episode's 22 minutes and when it was done I actually said, out loud, "ugh."

The entire first half of the episode, documenting the christening of little CeCe Halpert, was somehow simultaneously the driest The Office has ever been (and not a good "Dinner Party" sort of dry, but a profoundly boring sort of dry) and cringe-inducingly broad and sitcommy. I'm blown away that the biggest punchline of the first half was actually "the baby pooed a lot!" That's a circa 1982 multi-camera sitcom punchline right there. A laugh track should have sounded. Give me a fucking break, Office.

Things got marginally more tolerable after the halfway point, key word being "marginally." The second that Michael and Andy hopped on the bus to Mexico it was incredibly obvious to every human being who had seen more than two episodes of The Office that the rest of their subplot was going to play out with them realizing the enormity of their commitment, panicking, and telling them to stop the bus, and then it did, exactly, with no deviation or surprises. Jim suspecting Angela of stealing the baby was more goofily broad sitcom humor, and although it could have been salvaged by lingering on Jim's self-inflicted discomfort at the end when he shouted his accusation, they dropped the ball on that too when they attempted to pass the awkwardness hot potato to Angela by revealing that she had stolen the scones.

The only parts of the episode I enjoyed were the tiny subplot dedicated to Toby's existential crisis and Erin and Michael's exchange when she picked him up at the end: "Get in, quick!" "Why quick?" "So it's faster." But two or three laughs does not a sitcom episode make. This was a near-complete failure, and I dread the possibility that it was anything other than an aberration.

30 Rock, Season 5 Episode 6 — "Gentleman's Intermission"

Whaddaya know, two great consecutive 30 Rocks! Admittedly my view of "Gentleman's Intermission" may have been positively skewed by watching it immediately after The Office, but I thought this was a genuinely funny bit of television by any standard, largely for the same reason I enjoyed the last episode "Reaganing" so much: the writers' realization that Jack and Liz's relationship is by far the show greatest strength, arguably one of the best platonic male-female friendships in the history of television. Once again this episode explored how they complement each other, why Jack needs someone to mentor, why it must be Liz ("Lemon is above average. She's got just the right amount of DIHC for me — I hear it, and I don't care!") and why she needs his blustery guidance. Hell, I may have even been the tiniest bit touched.

My only gripes about "Reaganing" were that it segregated Kenneth and Jenna into their own subplot and seemed to have no idea how to end Tracy's story, pitfalls which "Gentleman's Intermission" avoids entirely. Kenneth staging an attempted murder of a hero cat for Tracy to foil and become a double hero was beautifully absurd, and while I was initially cringing at Jenna's seemingly disconnected C-plot (which for the thousandth time shoehorned in a reason for Jane Krakowski to sing, as if it will one day become funny), it eventually collided with Tracy, Kenneth, and the hero cat in a wholly satisfying way. Not to mention that the hero cat was adorable, and you know how much I love a cute kitty.

All in all, kudos to Tina Fey; this was almost as enjoyable as Community. Keep it up, 30 Rock, you're on a roll!

Community, Season 2 Episode 7 — "Aerodynamics of Gender"

All the buzz I heard going into this latest Community was that it was a parody of Mean Girls with Abed and Hilary Duff vying for queen bee status of the Greendale cafeteria, so it was much to my surprise that the episode's true highlight (and by extension the highlight of last Thursday's NBC comedy block) was the B-plot I hadn't heard one word about, a beautifully absurd and non-sequitur parody of The Secret Garden starring Troy, Jeff, Pierce, a magical trampoline, and a white supremacist gardner. Every second of this subplot was hysterical, from Donald Glover sobbing and asking "why are you doing this?!" while double-bouncing Pierce, to Pierce's slow motion "faaaatthhherrrr" as he flew into the air, to the flashback of the swastika on the gardner's chest. I've seen this kind of elaborate parody on television before but never in live-action, once again cementing Community as not just a great sitcom but a great sitcom for people who love pop culture.

The A-plot was funny too, but not as completely successful as the trampoline tale. I enjoyed Abed's insults and eventual meltdown into an insulting Terminator who destroyed everyone in his path with bitchy putdowns, but the way it was going to unfold and end was pretty obvious halfway in. And while I appreciate that Community is pretty good about not letting their guest stars take over episodes, limiting people like Betty White and Tony Hale and Drew Carey to small supporting roles that take advantage of their exact comedic skillsets, Hilary Duff's role was so small and so nondescript that it could have been played by basically any pretty girl on earth. Wasn't quite sure I saw the point of paying her presumably larger salary. Nevertheless, a pretty good Community is still the funniest thing on TV all week.