Comments and spoilers about tonight's one-hour telecast, after the jump.
It took me about three tries to get going on a review disc of tonight's telecast, a bad but accurate omen. And it wasn't that I had already seen Jeff Zucker's opening remarks, since they were posted online ages ago. Those were funny enough for repeat viewing. Instead, it was the episode itself was never very funny, trying too hard for a big thing to mark the show's return.
So we got the hour-long plot. We got the pointless Paris Hilton cameo. We got the sitcom flourishes which weren't all that amusing -- more Miller-Boyett than MTM. We got the big Earl-might-die finish, complete with "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (on the review disc, anyway).
Oh, there were some funny things. Any episode with a generous amount of Crab Man will at least make me smile. But even an hour after watching, I am having a hard time remembering what exactly the funny stuff was. I hope this was all just a function of overreaching.
And, on a side note, when you think of some of the things in this telecast -- Joy's way of waking up Earl, Earl's showing his "limp" and such -- keep in mind that NBC Entertainment boss Ben Silverman has declared this a family show.