Not All of Us are Michael Freaking Scott

BlogHer Original Post

I admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Community when it started, but I’m a convert this season. The characters are engaging enough on a surface level that I don’t have to spend any time thinking about their motivations or histories if I don’t want to, and by 8 o’clock on a Thursday, that’s a welcome respite. I don’t have to think? Or pay terribly close attention? And you make me laugh? I’m in. So here's what I'm watching.

NBC’s newest offering Perfect Couples was one I was looking forward to. In the first episode viewers were introduced to three different couples: The normal couple and obvious leaders in the relatability competition, Julia and Dave have a seemingly normal and mostly healthy relationship. They have normal fights and a normal sex life and a normal Labrador retriever. Amy and Vance, the crazy ones, have crazy sex and crazy fights and do crazy stuff like lie about cheating on each other and elope 32 seconds after having a fight. The third couple is Leigh and Rex. They're the insanely attractive but completely dysfunctional, codependent and even sometimes mildly abusive ones in absolute denial about everything that is so obviously wrong in their lives and marriage.

Guess which stereotype you’re supposed to be identify with, women aged 18 to 45?

I mean I get it. We all see ourselves as normal but we also all have "those" friends we can relate the other characters too. What will be interesting to see is how the writing on this show progresses. If everyone stays in their pigeonholes this thing will get real boring real fast. They did make an effort to use the crazy and dysfunction of the other couples to highlight ways in which we're all crazy and dysfunctional, so for a first episode I wasn't disappointed. I am however, not entirely certain how funny it actually was.

I’m a pretty big fan of The Office. By "pretty big" I mean that I’ve watched every single episode at least 3 times, once made my husband stay up until midnight every night for a week watching old episodes and stole a poster of Dwight Schrute from Sparklecorn last year. Then I brought it home rolled up in my suitcase and hung it up in my office.

But. After Jim and Pam had the baby, I got bored for a while. This season has reminded me why I love the show. All is right with the world again, the writers have remembered what makes the show work and they’re working it. Jim and Pam are all mushy and adorable (his face in the Christmas episode talking about the comic book Pam made for him? I literally swoon.), Michael is pining over a woman, Angela has lines again and best of all Jim and Dwight are back to incessantly pranking each other.

Except… wait. Where the hell is Jim? Other than a brief appearance during the pre-credit teaser, he was nowhere to be seen for the ENTIRE EPISODE. Nor was he ever mentioned. It was slightly weird and honestly made me sad because I think he's hot and funny.

In her continuing efforts to create a real job of Office Administrator out of one she made up (best career move ever), Pam had everyone make resolutions to start off the new year and posted them all on an enormous board. Something innocuous enough in any normal office environment but at Dunder Mifflin/Sabre results in Michael taking out his frustrations about a still not single (but also not engaged) Holly, by force feeding Kevin broccoli in one of the funniest conference room scenes since the Michael/Oscar kiss. Also Creed screams F Bombs at a somersaulting Erin. Which is awesome.

(In addition, my secret and completely unsupported theory that Erin is really Michael’s love child from an illicit encounter in his past was further validated by Erin’s continued vehement and ridiculous assertion that Holly is all wrong for Michael.)

NPR told me today that Parks and Recreation is awesome and I that should watch it. When I heard Rob Lowe has been added to the cast, I decided it couldn't hurt. I'm glad I gave it a shot. While his portrayal of Chris Traeger as a super enthusiastic and well-meaning state bureaucrat would feel awkward and phony from anyone else, on Lowe it just feels adorable. It was like watching Sam Seaborne again but without all the political maneuvering and crisis of character stuff from West Wing.

While 30 Rock has been known to make me spit wine through my nose with uncontrollable laughter in the past, my favorite part of last night’s episode was when Kenneth fell backwards onto a table crying out for his “bones.” I’m also not convinced the Liz Lemon/Jack Donaghy shark is really one that 30 Rock needs to jump, and even though the two somehow ended up married (It’s being handled. Supposedly.) I was glad to see the writers back up a bit from that step tonight.

Frankly I remain conflicted about Outsourced. To me it remains vaguely funny, uncomfortable and offensive, but not enough of any of those things to make it a standout. But given that that was how I used to feel about The Office I’m willing to entertain it a while longer. Maybe it will find its rhythm and become my next obsession.

Then again, as Kevin reminded me tonight, not all of us are Michael Freaking Scott.

Photo Credit: NBC.

Mae Winter blogs at Parenting In Progress, tweets @tophersgirl1 because some poser who never tweets already took tophersgirl without the 1, and she's not giving back her Dwight Schrute poster.

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