Making Me Laugh (and Cry)

As you all well know, I watch a lot of television. I’ve already spoken about a few shows already (Continuum, Cougar Town, Homeland, Justified, and The Walking Dead), and now that the main television season is over (mostly), I think it’s time to tackle a few more. Please note: this is not, nor is it meant to be, a critical examination of these shows. These are NOT reviews. Rather, I’ll just be sharing my reactions to the shows listed below. And because Game of Thrones will be ending its second season in a few weeks and my hubby and I are catching up on Vikings, today’s installment will focus on comedies, including the series finale of The Office.

So, if you’re interested in hearing about the following shows, keep on reading! No spoilers, I promise! πŸ™‚

Community, season four
The Big Bang Theory, season six
Modern Family, season four
New Girl, season two
The Office, season nine
Parks and Recreation, season five

Community, Season Four (NBC)

So yeah. I love this show. It’s weird and wonderful, but I was ready for it to end. Not because of the showrunner changes, not because of the trouble with Chevy Chase, but because the show is constantly on the bubble, and frankly, each season has focused on an academic year at Greendale, and it was already pushing the envelope (as I know it) to ask me to believe that a community college would be a four-year commitment rather than a two-year one. This being the fourth season, I expected it to be the fourth and final year. But NBC only ordered a half a season, and then didn’t air that season until 2013, which created an interesting conundrum: would Community get canceled during mid-terms (their time), or would the show live to fight for one more semester in the guise of season five? I’m not one of the “six seasons and a movie!” fans, so I’ll say this: season four ended on, as far as I’m concerned, a fantastic note: if the show had gotten canceled, I would’ve been fine with that as a series finale. Jeff’s facing graduation and all that entails, and all that entails brings some really interesting closure to the series. However, everyone else in the study group has one more term left, so I’m good with the prospect of one more season. But while it’s sacrilege, I hope it’s the last. I’m ready for closure.

The Big Bang Theory, Season Six (CBS)

The Big Bang Theory is a show that continues to entertain me. I can’t sit down and give you stand-out moments, but if you’re a fan of the show, I don’t see why this season wouldn’t continue to cultivate that love. Furthermore, I love what the girls bring to the cast: Bernadette and Amy Farrah Fowler are absolute delightful characters in their own rights, and I love what they bring out in the cast. We saw major growth for Penny and Leonard this year, as well as some much-needed growth for Raj. It’s probably no coincidence that the season finale focused on the characters who faced the most growth this season (and therefore, had the most to lose), but it was a fun season with a lot of laughs, and I’ll easily be on board for next season. Also, Howard got some GREAT moments this season. I was really impressed. πŸ™‚

Modern Family, Season Four (ABC)

This is the show people seem to love to hate, because it keeps winning all the awards. I’m still a fan, because I love the way this big, extended family interacts with each other. I also love the way the show’s writers continue to provide its audience with so many different KINDS of humor: everything from physical comedy to slapstick to innuendo to irony to really smart humor. Some of the stuff you just can’t get unless you just know the characters, and I adore them all. People complain that the characters don’t grow and change, and I just kind of shrug my shoulders. It entertains me, and that’s what I request of a comedy. I don’t need an endgame, nor do I need it to push the envelope. I just want it to stay true to the characters, while perhaps revealing new shades of them or providing snippets of growth, and I want to keep making me laugh, or at least smile. Of course this stays in the queue!

New Girl, Season Two (Fox)

Greg wanted to cut Cougar Town from our viewing schedule. I wanted to cut New Girl. Season one did find a nice stride, but I hated how freaking WEIRD and QUIRKY Jessica Day’s character was. At times, she came off like an overplayed, unwelcome Kristin Wiig sketch (and if you’re a fan of her, I’m sorry, but when she came back to SNL this season and revisited all of her old characters? I remembered why I was glad she was gone. Kudos for her work in the movies, though!). However, season two took the stride found in season one and really played with that. I always thought the trick was taking the weirdness and spreading it around to the entire cast, giving Nick, Schmidt, and Winston all their own, goofy issues, and allowing Jess to normalize a bit while still maintaining her unique view on the world. After the finale, I saw one critic describe the show as being toned down to a regular rom-com, but you know what? While that’s not an entirely wrong way of viewing the show, that’s not a bad thing either. Because it kind of is, but it doesn’t focus on the titular character’s quest for romantic perfection, but rather the whole cast. It’s been a lot of fun this season, and I’m glad I stuck with it.

The Office, Season Nine (NBC)

Just go ahead and pass me the tissues. I jumped on The Office bandwagon during the Halloween episode of season two and haven’t looked back since. I’ve always seen myself in Pam in so many regards, so to watch her grow and change and find love and happiness while STILL trying to find her role in the world (as represented by Dunder Mifflin itself) has always been wonderful, and this season knew how to take my emotions and punch me in the gut. The show has had its ups and downs since Steve Carrell left, but when it’s good, it’s been GOOD, and this season was fantastic for being able to tie up the knots and close it in a way that was really wonderful and meaningful for both the characters and the viewers. I loved the finale. It hit all the right notes in all the right ways, even if those right ways were a bit predictable (though some weren’t). The Office has long since stopped being a show I turned to for laughs: rather, it was the show I turned to because the characters, for better or worse, were like family, so the finale gave me exactly what I wanted, with some very happy smiles along the way. I’m so gonna miss this show, but I can’t wait to get the complete series on BluRay and watch it all over again. πŸ™‚

Parks and Recreation, Season Five (NBC)

Honestly? I think Parks & Rec is my favorite comedy. The characters are all unique, wonderful people that you can’t help but love, and the show itself has this wonderfully healthy dose of positive and optimistic humor. When humor is had at other characters’ expense, there’s always a way for the character (Jerry) who gets crapped on to have their own redeeming moments. This show, which is criminally not awarded (how can you not award the excellent Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson?), is one of the best out there, and it’s the one that’ll take The Office‘s place in my heart about my not caring whether or not it makes me laugh: I just want to spend time with these characters and see where their journeys take them. For anyone who bailed on this show during its very awkward attempts to find its own voice during season one, I highly encourage you to pick up with season two and run with it. Because it found its voice, and it’s been its own, unique, wonderful voice ever since. And it made me adore Amy Poehler, whom I didn’t care for on SNL outside of Weekend Update, so that’s high praise. πŸ™‚

Next time (probably in a few weeks), I’ll focus on the dramas (especially since some of you have been asking). I’ll tell you my thoughts on The Following, The Americans, Once Upon a Time, Vikings, and Game of Thrones! Although I should note that Veep and Hannibal are still airing new episodes, so there may be yet another post following the drama-focused one!

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