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Thursday Viewing File, Part 1: "The Office," "Grey's Anatomy," "Parks and Recreation," "Bones," "Private Practice," "Community"

By admin Published: October 2, 2009

Brief notes on the shows mentioned above, following the jump. I hope later to get to "The Mentalist," "Survivor," "SNL Thursday," "CSI" and "Flashforward."

"Private Practice," which has had its problems, started the new season with a decent episode, particularly due to the work by Tim Daly. Structurally it was a little more confusing than necessary (deliberate though that may have been) as it went back and forth between the Violet crisis and the early days of the Violet-Pete relationship. It took me a couple of viewings to conclude that the funeral was for Pete's wife, partly because I should have been paying closer attention the first time I watched, and because it seemed to be taking place quite a long time after his wife died. But it was still a reasonably entertaining hour, and I will be back for what appears to be a bleak story next week.

The "Grey's Anatomy" business still strikes me as the show commenting on the budget cuts hitting TV shows, especially in the way it ended up getting rid of a lot of minor characters. But I wonder how it will proceed from here; surely Mercy West has its own staff, which will be competing with the "Grey's" gang for prime slots, and won't that mean some budget-busting cast additions? I would hate to think that the show has decided that it's done enough, and the "Grey's" staff will dominate the merged hospitals, and the baseball game was the end of that storyline. As for the characters, swell work from Sandra Oh, who is so especially good when she's being bad, while Izzie is back to being both foolish and irritating. Can't imagine a real-world Derek letting her stay in surgery, either.

I thought of "Grey's" again when watching "The Office," where the co-manager arrangement gave an example of what "Grey's" would have to address if it brought over some top doctors from Mercy West. And "The Office" did marvelously in underscoring both the strengths and weaknesses of Michael and Jim, and especially that Michael's management style has its benefits. Also liked the Pam-wanting-money bits, and the throwaways, including two demonstrating Creed's tenuous hold on reality. Well done.

"Parks and Recreation" was not as inspired as the penguins episode, but it was all right. In terms of the show as a whole, I liked the way it made clear that, whatever Leslie's flaws, she lives in a world with people a lot worse than she is. "Community," meanwhile, had some very funny business, and I loved the "Dead Poets Society" references, but the ending got a little sappy. Still, something I will happily watch for more weeks.

A very smart "Bones." The smart folks, used to unraveling complicated schemes, were confronted with a case that was ultimately both simple and random, and more poignant because of it.

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