Welcome to day three of our 2012 tv year in review! In case you missed the first three, they can be found here and here and here. Thursday television is an embarassment of riches, so check out our thoughts on what we liked, what we didn’t and our thoughts on some behind the scenes drama. Then hit the comments with your opinions, shows we didn’t mention, all of that!
Elena is a vampire now. ELENA IS A VAMPIRE NOW!! I’m still not over it – and by ‘it’, I mean my excitement about this development. I’ve loved this show since SB convinced me to start watching it halfway through season one, but if there was one thing I was never crazy about it was the idea of Elena as the perfect, desired-by-all heroine. It’s a difficult role because she has to be special enough to justify the fact that she’s the center of the (show’s) universe, but she also has to be relatable and likeable. For the most part, TVD has done as good a job as they could, but I still found her to be the most boring part of a show filled with much more interesting characters. She was so serious, so angst-ridden, so worried and SO FUCKING PEFECT all the time. Like, I get it Elena. Can you just go and get drunk at a party for once in your freaking life? But now, there is so much potential for the character to be exciting, fun and DANGEROUS. I love it. And The Dobrev is clearly talented enough to pull off whatever they throw at her. Just please, don’t make her into a sad, angsty vampire. To the writers – think more Caroline with a twist of Damon, less Good Stefan. What else? I’m glad Jeremy made it to season four. Same goes for Matt. I’m glad that Klaus is not gone for good. I still don’t really get what’s going on with him and Tyler and Bonnie, but I’m glad it’s happening. I’ll miss Alcoholaric a lot. Who’s Damon going to drink with now? (Note – this is of far more concern to me than any aspect of the love triangle, as it should be.) Lastly, an open plea to Julie Plec – I know that tv is a business and viewers are your customers, but please don’t let the inmates run the asylum. Those crazy assholes who storm twitter every Friday with Team Whatever-motivated death threats? They’re fucking nuts. Don’t cater to them. Tell your story, whatever it is. Let the crazies make their charts counting the number of Delena vs. Stelena scenes (ugh, I hate portmanteaus so much). If the show is good, we will watch it. That is all.
Well, unsurprisingly, I pretty much agree with everything that Nicole said, especially that I’m miss Alcoholaric. Except I am BEYOND excited about his new show, so I’ll allow it. Also, I reiterate my concern that the show has turned a little pussy about killing people off for real, because even though it makes me sad, it’s really a necessary part of what makes this show so GOOD.
Obviously, I break the show down every week and you all pretty much know how I feel about all of it, but as far as the season on the whole went, I enjoyed it. For me, the first season was still the best. It was always really fast-paced and shocking. The second season kind of dragged for me, and this one was an improvement, but it was also a little uneven and had a couple issues, mainly that the cast was getting too massive with the Originals and parents and god knows what else, and also that Bonnie is still alive. But the biggest problems were that, first of all, everything could be done or undone with magic (too easy), and the plot twists and turns didn’t always make logical sense. It seems like they must have gotten some new writers. But I did feel like, in spite of those things sometimes, the last part of the season was wonderfully entertaining and engaging, and I feel like they definitely chose the right time to make Elena a vampire. The show needs a shakeup, and I think that’ll be perfect. I’m really, really excited for next season.
The Secret Circle
Well, as with Pretty Little Liars, my favorite thing about this show was Nicole’s hilarious recaps. The biggest thing for me was that I just was BORED with this show. When it was good, it was never good enough to be awesome, and when it was bad (until the end), it wasn’t bad enough to be hilarious. By the end, it did get good enough that I kind of felt like, okay, maybe I DO want this to come back next season! And then it was cancelled that night.
The other thing is … we’re now two shows in with her, and I think it’s safe to say now that I am just not a Britt Robertson fan. I’m sure she’s a lovely girl, but Lux was one of the most grating characters I’ve ever seen on TV. And then there was Cassie, who didn’t even start out like Lux, but eventually became her. And the ONLY redeeming part of all that was watching Diana call her out on being a self-centered bitch. So yeah, while I’ll be interested in following many of these people to new shows, she’s not one of them and I’m making it official.
This was a fun ‘one and done’ season of tv. It wasn’t without its problems (SADam and Cassie primarily), but I had fun recapping it, especially when shit was bananas (morphing jellyfish crystal skulls, comatose teenage demons, SEX BIRDS). It didn’t grab me in the same way that The Vampire Diaries did in its first season, but by the end I felt connected enough to the characters that I would have been back to watch season 2. Especially given the setup at the very end of the finale – the other Balcoin kids, Evil!Adam, Faye and Melissa having fun with their newly restored powers…it was all very promising. Not to mention I was really starting to get used to getting a weekly dose of Gale Harold on tv again. I was pretty surprised that the CW decided to cancel it and renew, say…90210hmygodthisisstillon???…but they made their choice, so it’s time to move on. I’ll watch for a lot of these actors in other projects – I loved Phoebe Tonkin as Faye, Shelly Henning as Diana and, even though I think his character was problematic for most of the season, I really like Thomas Dekker. And Zylka is sooooooo pretty. I’m sure they’re all going to be fine. Something that, judging from the online reaction to the cancellation, I’m not sure can be said about the fans. There’s always fanfiction, you guys! You can keep it going forever if you want. And if anyone writes one where Jake and Adam are compelled to conjure some sex birds of their own, send it my way, kay? (Kidding.) (No I’m not.)
So…. This show was…on television this season. It might have even had a couple of funny moments. But overall, it was a fucking mess. And it pains me to say it, because I had been an early and vocal defender of the idea of a post-Michael Scott Office (I can’t even remember why at this point) and holy hell, was I proven wrong. SO FAR. (I can be disturbingly optimistic when I want to be). I think that the entire introduction of Sabre as a concept has proven to be a failure, as was the use of James Spader, who was as enjoyably creepy as ever, but just did not fit well within the confines of the show, which is supposed to operate in a world that at least partially resembles reality. Nellie was a good character but she was horribly misused, to the point where I find it hard to imagine her fitting back in under Andy’s management next season. Once they had her taking Andy’s job just because she felt like it, and then the CEO ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN as if there were no such thing as employment laws and wrongful dismissal suits, it was all over. It was so far off the reservation that even I, ever the optimist, wanted to say fuck this noise and bail for good. Previously great characters like Jim and Pam have been reduced to Jim & Pam shaped voids of personality. Andy is a cartoon. Up is down, down is up. Nothing makes sense in Scranton, PA anymore. The one saving grace at the end of the season was the return of David Wallace – I want to take it as a sign that the show will be returning to the smaller, quieter, more dry humor that it used to absolutely OWN and away from the total circus that it’s been lately. However, the fact that Wallace had no issue with donating a million dollars to Robert California’s plan to do ‘charity work‘ by banging foreign dancers or whatever, did not instill a lot of confidence. David Wallace is supposed to be smart. Remember how he never used to have time for Michael’s shenanigans? We need THAT David Wallace at the helm. Please show – use him to elevate the show back to a semblance of its former self rather than letting the show drag him down to its current level. If it works out, maybe we can all just make a pact to never, ever mention season eight again. EVER.
Me and Billy were actually just talking about The (post-Michael Scott) Office last night. I definitely cut it a lot of slack, but it has devolved into a bit of a hot mess. James Spader … I don’t know. Nellie was CLEARLY an attempt at recreating David Brent, and everything non-managerial was just kind of there. I just feel like this season went on FOREVER. That’s not to say it was all bad, because I really think that there was at least one moment per episode that I truly laughed out loud at, but in general, here’s how I picture my future with The Office:
At the point where they do a Dwight spinoff, I’m out. Can’t do it. Until then, I’ll probably keep watching because I tend to be very all-or-nothing when it comes to my TV viewing loyalty. However, after it’s all over, I think that in my heart, Michael leaving will be the series finale, although I am willing to consider the end of Season 7 if only because the memory of Andy with D’Angelo Vickers and that little terrier makes me laugh to this day.
Well … hmmm. This season has been pretty good, in spite of the usual weirdness and problems. Mostly, I’ve just really enjoyed Liz Lemon and Criss Cross (or however he spells it) and Jenna and Paul. But it’s like … there’s never really much you can say about 30 Rock because it’s very little plot and a lot of jokes. So I guess I’ll just leave it at this–the Wiggles spoof at the end of that episode made me laugh so hard I cried. I was DYING. And also, I’m glad next season will be the last. I think it’s run its course.
As a FoTF (Fan of Tina Fey), I have been feeling guilty all season, because I haven’t watched a single episode of 30 Rock since last spring. I’m sorry Tina – I’ve been a bad fan. There was just too much happening on Thursdays and something had to go. But I will catch up (hello, James Marsden is on the show now, isn’t he???). I want to catch up. And especially now that we know that next season is the last, I will make sure that I do it sooner rather than later.
Up All Night
This is a fun show, and it mostly comes down to the cast, because I feel like the writers are still working out the best way to balance Reagan’s home and work life. Sometimes they nail it, and other times the Ava-ness of it all threatens to overtake everything and turn the show almost into a farce. I think it works best when we’re just seeing regular, everyday snippets of the lives of this couple who are desperately trying to maintain their cool factor while also adapting to their roles as new parents. Maya Ruldolph is awesome, don’t get me wrong. I just think that sometimes Ava is so broad compared to everything else that’s going on that her scenes can sometimes feel like they belong in an entirely different show. But I laugh a lot while watching it, and Reagan and Chris are so perfectly written and acted that they feel very real. Even though I don’t have kids, I totally identify with their need to retain their youth while also trying to grow up. Oh my god, the scene where Reagan’s parents were visiting and she had a total teenage meltdown that ended with her lying face down on her bed listening to Depeche Mode? I literally lived that exact moment multiple times as a petulant 13-year-old. It was perfect. And Applegate and Arnett are really good together. I have faith that the show will figure out the tonal issues – season two is usually when a show like this hits its sweet spot – so I’ll definitely be watching in the fall.
Well, I like this show alright and I do feel like it got better as it went on. And the actors are so CHARMING. They figured out how to tone down Ava (and the addition of Jason Lee was kind of perfect, really) and bring in a few more ancillary characters. This isn’t really one that I laugh out loud at a whole lot, but it is enjoyable and I do see it staying in our rotation, and I agree with Nicole that season two will probably be when this show gets mega awesome. Also, shout out to one of my favorite lines of this TV year, when Chris walks in on Ava naked, and she tells him, “You caught me at my most hirsute.” LOL FOREVER.
Man, I don’t even know what to say here. I love this show so much (I am drinking coffee out of a Troy & Abed in the Morning mug as I type this), but it’s been such a roller coaster of emotion for Greendale fans in these past few weeks: the eye-rolliness of the public in-fighting between Chase & Harmon, the elation of the renewal, the shock of finding out that Harmon wouldn’t be the showrunner next year which was then tempered by announcements from the network that he’d ‘be involved’ to finally, the confirmation from the man himself that he had actually been unceremoniously fired and would most definitely NOT ‘be involved’ next year. For many shows – maybe even most shows – the showrunner isn’t the big story, or even a story at all. Sure, they run the behind-the-scenes, drive story ideas, staff writers’ rooms and work with the network. But in a lot of cases, the audience doesn’t feel personally connected to them, or even necessarily know who they are (outside of tv nerds like us, of course). But I’d argue that Community might be the one show on television that is MOST closely associated with its showrunner. The Community audience is literally comprised almost entirely of tv nerds. We are the only demographic that is regularly tuning in on Thursday (soon to be Friday) nights. We follow Harmon on twitter and tumblr, we read every interview he does, we know the neuroses and inspirations that he used to inform the basis of every character on the show. Community is basically an audio/visual representation of the contents of Dan Harmon’s brain.
So now that he’s no longer going to be running things, or even contributing, what does that mean for the Greendale 7? What does it mean that the network moved the show to Friday nights following WHITNEY for god’s sake? The new showrunners have been brought over from Happy Endings, which is a show that we all love (and it’s arguably the only show on tv that even comes close to Community in terms of the sheer volume of pop culture references). They are more than likely perfectly competent for the job. But, I can’t help but feel like the show will never be the same again (I imagine the cast is feeling pretty bummed about losing their leader too – well, probably not Chevy but does anyone even care if he returns next season?). I’ll be watching next year, but I’ll be approaching the show with cautiously hopeful curiosity rather than the unbridled enthusiasm that I felt just a couple of weeks ago when it got picked up.
Yes to ALL of that. God, I love this discussion. It could almost be its own whole post.
Let me first say that Chevy has always been my least favorite part of this show. On the show, he tends to take over with his Chevy-ness, which doesn’t really fit in, and he always just seems like such a pissy piece of shit (THERE’S a visual) about it in real life. I hope they do let him go, and hey … if that frees up the budget and keeps the show around a little longer, EVEN BETTER.
Regarding the Friday time slot … here’s the deal. I think that NBC kept Community on the air to placate the TV nerds and to avoid a total PR nightmare. (I don’t know why they kept Shitney.) And let’s face it, NBC is very likely going to have another bunch of flops next season. So really, ordering 13 episodes of Community to placate a bunch of geeks isn’t that much of a hardship. Plus, I think that Community may experience some of what Supernatural went through when it moved to Friday, and that’s diehard fans following it there and ratings not really being all that much different. The good news is, those ratings are much more impressive on Friday than they are on Thursday. I’m sort of optimistic about this, actually.
Now, regarding Dan Harmon. I do agree with everything Nicole said, about the show being HIM. But I also don’t necessarily disagree with the decision to let him to. God. I am going to get burned at the stake for this one, but hear me out. TV is a business. We all know it, and all of us who love TV psychotically (which, if you’re here …) constantly forget. And Community has gotten WEIRD. Now, do I like that? Yes. But, was this my favorite season? No. It had a lot of really gimmicky episodes, and if you think back to the first season especially, when we all fell in love with the show, those episodes were fewer and further between (and therefore more special and awesome). I absolutely think that this show can be great and successful when it’s about a bunch of misfits at community college, and not just about being the weirdest show on TV. Will I miss the weirdness? Yeah, probably. But I’m okay with scaling it back, and really, I might even prefer that.
And truly, I think anyone involved with Happy Endings is a great choice to run the show. Again, looking at it from a business standpoint … Happy Endings shouldn’t even still be on the AIR. It was BARELY a midseason replacement–it got like six episodes aired out of order starting in the middle of April or some bullshit. And yet it was AWESOME, people loved it, lobbied for it, and it got popular enough to keep around. Community could use a little of that magic, and if anyone can do it, I think it’s that team. So I am pretty sure I’ll be in the minority here, but I actually feel more enthusiasm for next season than I did for the majority of this past one, Donald Glover rapping and shirtless Joel McHale aside.
UPDATE: I just had to jump back in after reading SB’s take to point out that I totally agree with her. When I say that I’m approaching the new season more wary than before, it’s only because what we’re going to get is a mystery at this point. But, I totally have her back on the ‘this show has gotten REALLY FUCKING WEIRD’ point and the fact that it might not be a bad thing to broaden the appeal just a tad (I mostly love the weird, but I can see why a faux Civil War documentary might make the majority of the viewing public change the channel). The new leadership could actually be great (especially if some of the original writers stay on to help keep the tone from shifting too dramatically). So, while I’m a little leery, I’m also hopeful. Community without Dan Harmon will undoubtedly be different, but different doesn’t necessarily mean bad.
Parks & Recreation
This show is just … incredible. It’s so good, so funny … consistently HILARIOUS even, and really fearless. I cannot believe that they went through with Leslie winning that election because OH MY GOD WHAT NOW?
One of my big concerns with this show, and I think long-time hardcore Office fans will know what I’m talking about, is that after such an amazing second season, I was worried that it would tank in the third. And let me tell you … it did NOT. I feel like the show has hit a perfect stride–April and Andy are awesome, Ann and Leslie’s friendship KILLS me because of how much it reminds me of me and That Bitch Amy, Ron Swanson continues to be used to excellent effect, Adam Scott is goddamn adorable, and Donna makes me laugh during every second of screen time. It just blows my mind that there are actually people out there who have never watched this show. I mean … why? Seriously, WHY? Do you hate happiness? Laughter? Are you a terrorist? What’s the deal?
When I was talking about Cougar Town in the Tuesday Shows post, I said that it had the most heart of any sitcom currently on the air. Well, I should have qualified that by saying ‘except for Parks & Recreation’, because this show is one big, beating, bleeding heart that also happens to be one of, if not THE, funniest sitcoms airing right now. A lot of that has to do with my personal hero and spirit animal, Amy Poehler – she is just the best. She has made Leslie Knope one of the most complex and admirable characters on tv, while also letting her be fallible and a total hot mess at times. The supporting characters are all insanely great too – I can’t think of one person who I would be willing to part with…well, maybe just one. LITerally one, if you get my drift. Even Ann, who gets shit on all the time for being a non-entity – to me, she’s essential because her friendship with Leslie is one of my favorite BFF pairings on any show. I love that April is starting to care about, and be good at, her job. I love that Andy is basically a giant labrador puppy. I love Ron for both his insanity and his quiet moments of support with Leslie, April and the rest of the team. I love Ben for being the perfect boyfriend and for looking exactly like Adam Scott. This show is pretty much perfect right now and I wouldn’t change a thing. Except they can always, ALWAYS use more Jean Ralphio. If you haven’t checked it out yet, treat yo self and get caught up over the summer. There will be 22 glorious brand-new episodes awaiting you in the fall.
Alright, folks–that wraps it up for the Thursday shows! Don’t forget to hit the comments and let me just tell you … Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has them and they’re all over the internet. So there’s no excuse not to comment!