As voice of (semi) reason Jeff Winger remarked at the end of last night's holiday-themed episode of Community, "Regional Holiday Music," it's been a dark semester for our favorite Greendale students, what with Jeff "basically killing a guy", Dean Pelton going mad in the jungle and the creation of an alternate timeline with evil versions of Troy and Abed. So it was thoughtful of the writers to offer up a light-hearted, music-filled Glee spoof for the show's last episode of 2011. Of course, then we remembered that this could potentially be the last Community episode of the entire midseason and we got dark and depressed all over again. So we watched "Regional Holiday Music" a second time and its spot-on side-swipes at Glee (particularly Taran Killiam's scary-good Matthew Morrison impression as Cory Radison or, as he prefers, "Mr. Rad"), glimpses of the Inspector Spacetime Holiday Special (we'll get to see more of that one day, yes?), the sweet finale with all the gang together and -- best of all -- the musical numbers that raised our spirits all over again. Here's how we graded each original tune.
Stephen Colbert's holiday special, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All was conveniently timed to come out on DVD two days after it premiered on Comedy Central, which is fitting, because by the time you get to the end, you realize you've been watching an extra-long commercial for the DVD version all along. But with all of the hilarious extras on the disc, it's okay (in this case) to fall for the spiel hook, line and sinker. Hell, they should have advertised the soundtrack album, too, because that alone is worth having, if only for car-trip sing-alongs. Here's what you get if you spring for the DVD, instead of just watching it on the teevee.
Growing up in the 1980s, I didn't watch a lot of traditional "holiday specials." No special guests coming over, no singing songs by the fire, nothing like that -- just Charlie Brown, the Grinch and little Ralphie for me. So all I know about the golden age of holiday specials is what I've seen parodied on Saturday Night Live ("I'm Gumby, dammit!"). But from what I've seen, Stephen Colbert really nailed it in A Colbert Christmas, his Comedy Central Christmas special, which aired last night, although I can only imagine that his was a million times funnier, and that this time the humor was intentional. I would even go out on a limb and call it a new holiday staple, like A Christmas Story, although I don't know if I'd want it to play 24 hours in a row. Here are the five funniest moments from last night's airing.
Sometimes when I watch 2 Broke Girls, I'm reminded of Freaks and Geeks, in the sense that it's a network sitcom airing during primetime that explicitly talks about (and shows) people doing drugs with basically no consequences. Of course, this is one of the main reasons NBC cancelled that series, and I don't see CBS pulling the plug on this show any time soon. Not that I think they should (hey, it's better than most any other sitcom they've got), or that I think 2 Broke Girls deserves any further comparison with anything Paul Feig has ever done. Seriously, for a show that is this obsessed with drugs, you'd think the writers would have any idea whatsoever on how to create a realistic stoner scene. Poor Beth Behrs should stick to slapstick.
Parenthood is making it on to Best of 2012 lists, y'all. People are celebrating the Bravermans... influential people who sway executives to order more episodes and give extra money to shows. And after watching "What to My Wondering Eyes," is it really so surprising? My biggest complaint about this episode is that I don't get to sit around Zeek and Camille's Christmas tree (along with Max's sweet train) or wear new matching family scarves with the Braverman women. And where's my potty doll?
It was a Christmas to remember -- though some, like Sir Richard Carlisle, would probably prefer to forget it -- at stately Downton Abbey on the Season 2 finale of the eponymous British import. (Overseas, of course, this 90-minute installment aired as a standalone special, but PBS is billing it as the season finale. Either way, it's the last we'll see of the show stateside until January 2013, which seems like an eternity.)
Now that Leslie and Ben are finally together forever, Parks and Recreation faces the challenge of giving us satisfying struggles for our power duo, and I think that "Citizen Knope" is so far covering that ground well. In last night's episode, we got to see Sad Ben make sense of his career plans and Leslie lose her campaign managers -- and while both plots where kind of predictable in their outings, their conclusions were unexpected yet sweet, while still managing to be believable and zany.
Glee is full steam ahead on the stunt casting.
It hasn't exactly been a banner season so far for Modern Family (though I'm sure the show will still sweep the 2012 Emmys). Other than "Go Bullfrogs!", the show has, for the most part, been forgettable and bland. My dissatisfaction probably stems from the fact that all of the things I like about the series -- the relationships, the vulnerability of its characters, the heart and even the comedy -- are done much better on Parks and Recreation and Community. Wednesday nights have become a layover for me as far as comedy is concerned, where I'll watch Modern Family -- and not just because I cover it -- but don't actually look forward to it.
Sitcoms get to have all the fun during the holidays, leaving dramas out in the cold when it comes to warm and fuzzy (and sometimes bloody) winter episodes. There are a handful of scripted series we'd love to see celebrate the season with themed episodes, and we're so convinced of their potential that we've even come up with suggested plotlines for them. You can thank us after New Year's.
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