Thursday night prime time round up

Jeff gets Pierced on Community. The Big Bang Theory gets disturbing.

SPOILERS

COMMUNITY

Community’s cliffhanger was probably the strangest from last season. After a good dozen or so episodes of being villainous, Pierce left the study group at the end of last season. The writers handled it well with Pierce simply returning and saying “I’m back.” It’s also a testament to Pierce’s development last season. Though he has always been antagonistic and offensive, the thought of his absence wasn’t pleasant.

The opening dance number did nothing for me, and it seemed odd that Jeff would be fantasizing it given his admission that he doesn’t “get” Glee, but I did appreciate the work behind it.

When you look at the work behind the season opener, Community’s was doubly impressive. There were parodies of 2001, Dr. Who and a British version of Cougar Town thrown in, as well as quite a few set changes.

The only real issue with the opener was its length. It probably needed to be an hour long. There was a LOT crammed into the show. There wasn’t a moment where we weren’t risked away to a parody or a new character or another frenetic plot device. Community is at its best when the gang is sitting around the magic table talking.

Still a good start though.

THE BIG BANG THEORY

BBT started with a double dose of episodes. Our questions were answered. Our expectations were set. Our minds were shattered.

The main question to be answered was exactly what happened with Penny and Raj. We learned that the two intended to have sex, but Raj’s part ended prematurely before he could get the condom on.

Is that really an important detail?

I understand the idea. The show is built around the romantic tension of Leonard and Penny. Strangely, Penny and Leonard can date anyone in the show’s universe, except for a recurring character, then it gets weird. It’s the Friends’ Effect. When Rachel and Joey came close to having a romantic encounter, things got uneasy.

The difference with BBT is that Penny and Raj did have a degree of sex. We’re never told exactly what happened before the abrupt ending. And there’s a LOT of room for different acts.

It should also be noted that BBT featured one of the most disturbing scenes in TV history. Howard procured two mechanical mouths. The mouths could be connected via the Internet, and kissing one would cause the other mouth to move. Howard and Raj then tested the mouths on each other in a lengthy make-out session.

I don’t know if I can actually quantify the scene for you. I can only say that it was disturbing, hilarious and exactly what you would expect Howard and Raj to do.

THE OFFICE

The writers gave us all of the info we needed in the first few seconds. Andy is the manager. Robert is the boss. Pam and Angela are pregnant.

The question remains can the show continue to skewer corporate life without Michael Scott? Scott was the embodiment of corporate psychology taken to the edges of insanity. Can Robert and Andy fill that role?

I don’t know if The Office can maintain the magic of Michael Scott, but I also think it was already fading fast on its own. Show quality had already dropped off the last two seasons, with the writing growing satisfied and complacent. Now the writers have new tools to work with. It’s interesting again.

The opener was good but not great.

PARKS AND RECREATION

Watching Leslie run for office is going to be the highlight of the season. That’s a given. You can already feel the episodes writing themselves. There will be a debate. There will be a scandal. There will be election night. There will probably be betrayal. It should be worth the trip.

The highlights from the opener were Ron grabbing his secret Tammy stash and the reporter who interviewed Leslie after the penis incident.

WHITNEY

If nothing else, we’ll hopefully see fewer of those damn promos. The show was hyped so much, that I had already seen most of the pilot.

The first problem is obvious. The show is on the wrong night. You can’t follow an hour and a half of single-camera comedy with a traditional multi-camera show. The laugh track threw me off big time, and the delivery is so different that it took me a few minutes to remember this wasn’t a parody of a sitcom.

I do think there’s potential here, but they should reconsider the time slot. Whitney would probably play better in the 8 p.m. slot with Community moving after The Office.

They should also reconsider Alex’s look. He looks like a cross between Judd Nelson and Wolverine.

Whitney’s friends also need more layered personalities. They feel like the same types of characters we see again and again.

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