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Funny Business: "The Office," "30 Rock"

By admin Published: April 17, 2009

I have seen only the first five minutes or so of "Parks and Recreation" (liked the Easter-egg-hunt bit) but I will save it for a separate post. I did get through the night's warhorses, "30 Rock," and "The Office," both of which were quite satisfying.

Let me start my "30 Rock" notes with some praise for Elizabeth Marvel, who played Emily, the woman luring Liz into a life of leisure. (I could call her a lady and be insanely alliterative, but I'll leave it at this.) She reminded me a little of a more powerful Molly Parker; in any case, she's apparently a New York stage actress with some TV credits, and I would be pleased if she had more of the latter. Definitely knows how to take over a scene, although there is no way I would risk joining her fight club.

Anyway, aside from my weariness with the saga of Jenna's Janis Joplin film, a very funny "30 Rock." Loved Liz's monologue as she descended into the leisurely, Tracy's attempt to be a fixer (and his realization that Liz Lemon was supposed to step in), the Kids' Choice awards, the Jenna tribute, her reason for refusing to go along with the faked death ... Very enjoyable. Never would have guessed "fight club" for the payoff, but it worked. And nice to see that the mention a week ago of Liz getting a suspension wasn't tossed away, but used as a plot point.

And it's pronounced "weiner slave."

Over at "The Office," the Michael separation continues to provide gold both for comedy and the characters. Liked the way the Jim/Andy bonding played out; Jim has been under enough pressure lately that it wasn't 100 percent clear that he was messing with Andy at first. And Andy is the perfect character for a joke like that because he is so eager to amuse, he took no offense from Jim's playing with his emotions; and Jim's turning it into a way to advise Andy made it even better.

Also like the way the Michael Scott Paper Co. is settling into a routine, even if it involves throwing food. Pam in particular has gotten away from her disapproval of office nonsense quickly enough, taking part in the food games and the cheers and even managing to enjoy it. And Pam's acceptance makes even clearer how difficult the new Dunder Mifflin is for Jim, Dwight, et al., because -- as Dwight pointed out -- Michael let them just go off and do well. Dunder Mifflin's most recent troubles were woven in, through Michael's sales pitch about office closings. To hazard a guess, I suspect that Charles's reign is going to end when the new sales figures come in, and corporate discovers that the dollars have dropped considerably since Michael left. Not only is he pirating clients -- and the Dwight/Michael war was a gem -- but the office itself just isn't running as smoothly. (Very good touch to have Dwight change his shirt before trying to protect his top client.)

Other good things: Dwight's reaction to Charles's offer to have a drink, how Michael uses a Blackberry, the Rolodex-info twist with Michael having color-coded what not to say and, of course, "Is it Stanley?"

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