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Thoughts on this week’s Fringe, Community, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation

Fringe (TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

Fringe: I’m not the biggest fan of Paula Malcomson (though, what Caprica watcher would be?) so I was initially skeptical of her appearance in last night’s Fringe. Thankfully, my fears were unsubstantiated; Malcomson did a fantastic job portraying her one-shot character (which required the right balance of neuroticism and pain).

My issues with last night’s episode lie primarily in the thematic issues presented. The idea of a woman who could not die seems typical Fringe, yet its actual execution was something I’d expect out of the sixth season of LOST. Fringe‘s mythology is too grounded in science for an audience to buy soul magnets or soul hijacking. William Bell makes it perfectly (or imperfectly) clear during the final minutes of the hour that while there may be some sort of scientific explanation (which didn’t actually make any sense, but that’s okay), the truth may actually lie in destiny and fate.

Thankfully, our-side Lincoln (from Hartford!) was great to see, as was Anna Torv as the surprisingly pervy William Bell. Astrid needs some lovin’, right?

Community: Enver, how I’ve missed you. The Dollhouse star showed up to an episode of NBC’s low-rated sitcom, bringing both his unparalleled versatility and his Lubov voice… with a few more sadistic qualities.

Honestly, this episode of Community wasn’t one of its strongest. The lack of both Annie and Pierce was odd (especially since they’re two of my favorites) even though the story never called for them. The Britta/Troy/Abed narrative also never really reached a moment that transcended typical comedy, aside from Britta slowly pronouncing “maybe we do?” that was simultaneously awkward and perfectly timed. Shirley, Chang and Jeff’s story elicits more laughs, yet the plot here is oddly dark: since we’re not sure who the father of Shirley’s baby is, Chang tries to reform himself in order to prove himself to Shirley. I enjoyed Chang attempted to teach Spanish to two kids who he believes are Shirley’s, but the storyline itself was almost too weird for me to find humor in it.

Community is at its best when it meshes the quirks of its characters with some exaggerated aspect of daily life. While “Custody Law and Eastern Diplomacy” initially fits that description, its strangeness and lack of imagination in one of its A-stories makes it a fairly forgettable half-hour.

30 Rock: I’ve been forced to sit through too many Bravo reality shows to count. Perfect. That’s really the only word I could find after closing Hulu. “Queen of Jordan” is so unbelievably spot on that it makes you wonder what took 30 Rock so long to parody these abominations.

Parks and Recreation: The parks department (and audience) had been anticipating this moment all season: The Harvest Festival. And of course, it takes a curse, a small ponyhorse and Jerry (maybe) to mess it all up.

What worked well: injecting something so silly, like a small horse Sebastian, into the history of small Pawnee. Is this what small-town America gets excited about? Perhaps. Ben’s consistently perplexed face only added to the mystique of Sebastian… the ponysmall horse.

Of course, the “atrocities” map might be the best thing about the episode; not only is it woefully accurate for small towns in the midwest, but Poehler also nails the timing so shockingly well. It’s not wonder why Parks and Recreation is one of the best shows on television: everything from the concept to the cast to the writing is of such high quality and meshes together so well

But like all episodes, some things weren’t perfect. I’m already sick of April and Andy fighting. Just get over it. They’re much funnier when they’re together because of their inherent differences. And Ann with a guido who is forced to utter the phrase “grenade”? Yeah, ok.


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