Thursday Sitcom Review: Dueling Clip Shows, The Dundies, and Knope's 98% Perfect Match

To sit down in front of the TV this Thursday night and commit to NBC* was to witness an amusing juxtaposition.

At 8 o’clock, you had the Community study group “flashing back” to very funny memories that were new to us, yet not to the Chang gang. It was a spoof of the sort of “clip shows” Happy Days used to give us old-timers back in the day, but populated by fresh fare.

Then at 10 pm, 30 Rock marked its 100th episode by having Jack, Liz et al flash back to actual moments from the NBC series’ very funny past. While not an all-out Green It & Mean It-friendly recycling of old material, it was certainly in the vein of a classic clip show.

Community was every bit as wonderfully manic as Meg Masters’ TVLine teaser piece made it out to be. (And thanks to Meg for linking me to the Jeff/Annie “Gravity” shipper vid yesterday, lest I not pick up on that send-up.) Abed’s adventures as The Cape elicited loud belly laughs from me (“It’ll be on for three episodes!”/”Six seasons and a movie!”), while two montages — Jeff’s pep talks and the dean’s announcements — were other highlights.

As for 30 Rock, I was a bit on the fence about the episode — it seemed a bit of a cheat to get everyone trippin’ by way of some leaked gas — but I appreciated some of the more meta humor, like how they briefly worked in Jane Krakowski’s real-life pregnancy, and of course Alec Baldwin’s rooftop speech about how there’s no turning back for an actor who trades film franchises, Anthony Hopkins and Broadway for TV and being belittled by (gasp) Greg Kinnear. In the end, it was the Tom Hanks cameo, complete with “My Life” singalong, that sold me.

Jim Carrey Joins The Office‘s Star-Studded Finale

All told, ’twas a very strong night for NBC comedy – just as ABC enjoyed the day prior. The Office found a fitting way to tribute Michael (with a surprise singalong that made us as well as the outgoing boss man well up) and a painful way for Erin to dump Gabe (ouch!), while Parks and Recreation revealed why Leslie can’t couple with Ben just yet but is a perfect match for Tom N. Haverford aka he whose favorite movie is “books.” And Ron observing the wild life of the Grain & Simple? Hilarious.

* Though I like Mr. Paul Reiser (and once penned a Mad About You spec script for him/a pile on his desk), I cut away from NBC at 8:30 to catch the end of The Vampire Diaries – and just in time to see Katherine boogeying around, drunk. I stand by that decision.