The Week That Was: November 2nd

The usual sitcom suspects are all present, Dexter was planned for watching this weekend but was bumped due to real life commitments. From what I've heard I'm definitely interested in catching up, I have some holiday time I need to spend before the end of the year, so I'll probably use that for doing so.

It's also been hard to get excited about Dexter because I'm watching and writing about the third season of The Wire for the third part of my Watching the Wire feature - it's my favourite season and as great as Dexter is, it does struggle when I'm watching at the same time as The Wire. I know I shouldn't compare them, but it does happen and Dexter always comes off unfavourably - which spoils my enjoyment of Dexter. I know this time last year I was watching the final season of The Shield and Dexter was positively awful in comparison. I know it was a weak season for Dexter, and comparing it to the strongest season of The Shield (and The Shield's swan song) is completely unfair. But it happened, and as such I'm trying to avoid that happening with the fourth season.

"Introduction to Statistics"

The episode was so great that it made it into my favourite Halloween episode list on Saturday. I shan't repeat myself too much here - I think it's enough to say that Community presses all my buttons comedy-wise. A great cast with fantastic stories and jokes. That is all.

The Office:
"Koi Pond"

For a show which has managed such amazing Halloween episodes in the past The Office didn't really try this year. It gave us a Halloween themed cold opening and then moved onto the main story, I guess the writers didn't really have much they wanted to involve Halloween in this year and as such they only included the opening skit to make it a Halloween episode.

For once I did think that everyone overreacted a little too far to Michael's costume of a hanged man, Halloween should be about scaring kids - within safe boundaries which do not put them in physical danger. I do think children are a little too protected these days and a good scare is not a bad thing for them. (Talking about suicide is a different matter though, even in the context of "it's wrong".) I'll tell you one thing, I'm glad that the present Michael had hanging over his crotch was not where the children were supposed to collect their candy from. Aborted joke maybe?

The rest of the episode was reasonable fair, I didn't really enjoy Pam and Andy out on sales calls, it felt exceptionally forced and unpleasant. Andy's a great character, but at times the writers take him a little too far along the scale and place him in overly creepy land. Considering what's happened to him it's not surprising he reacted the way he did, but ugh. It was not pleasant to watch.

On the other hand Michael falling into the Koi pond was pleasant to watch, as was the revelation about Jim's reaction at the time. This co-manager thing is really working well for The Office, I wasn't sure it would - but it's great.

Last of all, I did like the final pay off from the Pam/Andy storyline with Pam talking to Erin about Andy. Erin's just a lovely breath of fresh air in the show, she's nice, lovely and doesn't do the unpleasant things everyone else seems to get involved in. I could tolerate an Andy/Erin matching, but I'm pretty sure Andy would botch things in his usual indomitable fashion.

Curb Your Enthusiasm:
"The Bare Midriff"

An odd one for Curb, it travelled off into toilet humor - something I don't normally associate the show with. I'm not sure why to be honest, the shows first ever episode is titled "The Pant Tent" and is about erections. But I think it's the utterly slapstick way Larry's peeing is depicted, the amount of splash and the volume of the stream is ridiculous.

Still, the episode was frankly fantastic - if exceptionally Seinfeld in it's feel. Larry is falling into the role of George when Jerry's around on screen, this is not surprising as George is based on Larry, but it is giving the show a different feel. You could probably swap out the Curb theme and put in the Seinfeld music stings instead and you'd have an episode of Seinfeld. This, of course, is not a complaint - it's an observation.

30 Rock
"Stone Mountain"

An episode with some good moments, but on the whole it was pretty mediocre. As observed over at Cultural Learnings (a site I recommend you consider adding to your reading list) 30 Rock is very uneven in quality when you're dealing with their holiday specials. This one was not great.

The better moments included a few throwaway gags like Jack McBrayer appearing in the background as a "Female Kenneth" and a "Mustachioed Kenneth" and the always entertaining Tracy Jordan method of just setting him off in a direction riven with paranoia. But it didn't grip me too hard, Halloween felt like a barely present event. Now you don't have to do a Halloween featured episode in every sitcom, that's not a law
(though maybe it should be), but if you do include it either embrace the event or have a short segment on it and then move on. Don't have it sitting about like an elephant in the room all episode without handling it correctly.

30 Rock seems to have slipped a little in it's standard this year. But it's early days, so I'm hoping it'll pick up again.

In other news How I Met Your Mother wasn't on this week (so no return of the Slutty Pumpkin, which is something I hope for every year), and on the DVD front I've just been enjoying my way through the first three seasons of Futurama. Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad are still 'to be watched' and 'Parks and Recreation' has made it's way onto my to be watched list as light entertainment.

I was going to pick up the fourth season of Bones, but it was completely sold out everywhere I looked for it, there were piles and piles of Tru Blood and Lost season 5s around, but absolutely no Bones Season 4. I found this amusing for some reason.


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