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Straight Out of Lackawanna and Other Viewing Notes

By admin Published: October 30, 2009

Above, the "Male Prima Donna" video. Three minutes of "Office" merriment. After the jump, notes on "The Office," "30 Rock," "Grey's Anatomy," "Survivor: Samoa" and "CSI." And, before we get there, you can find my latest chat with Lynne Sherwin about "Dancing With the Stars" here.

So-so "The Office"; the "Male Prima Donna" video, part of a new bunch of webisodes, was better than the episode. This was one of those too-real-to-be-funny ones, and not even the idea of Michael falling into the koi pond was all that great. So good character pieces -- including yet another reminder how much Michael has suffered post-Jan -- but not a sustained episode.

Also wasn't knocked out by "30 Rock," another case of an idea made into, well, not much more than some kind of Afterschool-Special-Meets-Andy-Griffith message about Southerners and our collective differences. I am wondering if the presence of other strong comedies, including "Modern Family" and "Community," is either making me hold "30 Rock" and "The Office" to a higher standard -- or just meaning that I'm getting my laughs elsewhere and so less in need of amusement by 9 p.m. on Thursday.

"Grey's Anatomy" has been of considerable interest the last couple of weeks -- I caught up with last week's just before watching last night's -- although it has me thinking that there's serious caffeine overload in the writers' room. The multiangled death-in-the-ER from a week ago moved constantly, but the bride and I noticed early on that the doctor had failed to check the patient's throat, so everything else was just a matter of waiting for all the investigating to come back to that moment. The inoperable-tumor story last night was suitably tense, and I like that we have gone two weeks where medical stories are of greater importance than domestic drama among the staff. Still, both episodes included some of the ongoing personality issues, but integrated them into the medical stories. Not bad at all.

"Survivor: Samoa" remains something I watch, but I can't say I am enjoying it. The Good Russell medical ouster a week ago was harrowing -- far removed from the escapism in which the show usually operates, even during previous crises -- and Evil Russell's crowd is just so awful at everything that it is indeed, as Jeff noted, one of the worst tribes ever. Not the worst, of course, but down there. Still, I'm not invested enough in any character to bring much passion to my viewing.

I like "CSI" but it, too, was lacking something -- or at minimum didn't have enough to drag part of my attention away from FarmVille. Good confession scene at the end, and an interesting blending of cases, but just not great.

Any comments?

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