Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Posts Tagged ‘It’s Always Sunny’

“The Office” and “It’s Always Sunny…”: Targeting Mr. Feeny

Posted by Mr. Feeny on October 9, 2010

I haven’t blogged yet about either The Office or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia yet this year. But the writers clearly knew what I had been thinking. Or maybe they just assumed “he’s not reviewing our shows because he’s not enjoying them.” That’s partially correct. I’m also pressed for time. But unlike Modern Family, I haven’t been that entertained by the early outings of those two long-running comedies.

Until this Thursday. In an attempt to coax me out of my blogging seclusion, both shows knocked it out of the park with episodes about two of my favorite activities: radio and musical theatre.

Here’s a rare peak into my personal life. I work in radio, and in my spare time, perform on stage. I enjoy both tremendously. It’s no coincidence that I created a list of the Best Musical Episodes and also am a loyal viewer of Frasier and NewsRadio. Sunny‘s radio plot wasn’t as good as some of those show’s outings, and “Andy’s Play” wouldn’t qualify for my musical list…but it was still a fantastic night watching these two comedies.

Let’s start with the best episode of The Office in a long, long time. As you could guess from the title, Andy Bernard is in a community theatre production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. As soon as the episode opened with Andy singing, in costume, “Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd…,” I knew we were in for a treat. But not just because of the music (though Ed Helms does have a very nice character voice, singing “Johanna”). This episode was fantastic because it focused on the relationships between characters. It reminded us that The Office, in its heyday, wasn’t about the antics of Dwight and Jim and Michael. It was about people working and living together.

The first part of the episode is spent with Andy trying to convince the office to see his play. I sympathized with him there. When I was in a show last year, not one person from my work came to see me. And this year, only one person from the radio station. It hurts, and Helms portrayed that well. But, eventually, everyone does come. They don’t have to. They could easily skip it (like most did when Pam had an art show…in what is one of my favorite Office scenes, when Michael shows up at the end). But everyone came, even Stanley. And even Erin, who was supposed to be babysitting Jim and Pam’s baby. She was the whole reason Andy wanted people to see the show…to win her back. Who hasn’t tried to impress a would-be lover? Helms nailed every minute of this episode, from his theatre acumen to his highs and lows with Erin (she’s coming, she’s not, she’s here, she’s going to be with Gabe…every moment was pitch perfect).

The writers could have easily made this more overtly funny. A casual viewer may not like it because they’re weren’t that many hearty laughs. But there could have been, if Michael slipped into his toddler-like state when he found out he wasn’t cast in the show. It wouldn’t have surprised me at all. But he actually behaved respectfully. And the only times he caused a disruption were by humorous accident. And at the end, he gave a great pep talk to Andy saying how awesome he was. It was just nice to see everyone hanging out together to support another member of the office.

There were a lot of funny moments, though. Darryl pointing out that they need to listen to the overture or they won’t recognize the musical themes later. Creed writing a critical review for no reason. Jim and Pam sitting in the wrong seats to avoid being next to Michael. Even Andy’s cell phone ringing on stage, which could have been stupid, was played well. I just loved this episode.

I enjoyed this week’s episode of Sunny almost as much. There were two plots. One, Mac wins a chance on the radio to shoot a goal at a Flyers game, and Charlie coaches him. Classic slapstick (pun intended). It was a realistic plot, with a Sunny spin (Mac wants to hit the goal so he could be a Philadelphia sports legend…always taking it to the extreme) that made it enjoyable to watch.

But the other plot was even better. Dee and Dennis decide they could do a better radio show than the one Mac listens to. They just yell and talk about stupid things and play sound effects, they say. If they had a show, they’d talk about issues. So they start a podcast…which inevitably turns into Howard Stern-like radio…complete with yelling, stupid things and sound effects. It also allowed several reoccurring guest stars to return. Reminded me of Kramer’s talk show in his apartment. The reason I probably found it so funny, though, were all the meta radio jokes that most of you might not enjoy as much.

This week’s Community, 30 Rock, The League and Outsourced…not nearly as good. But with 6 comedies on Thursday, I’m fine with 1/3 being funny every week.


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It’s Always Sunny in Quotable Philadelphia (S5:E1)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 18, 2009

One of the most inappropriate, disgusting, insensitive…and hilarious shows on television returned last night. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia takes the common concept of scheming friends but puts them in ridiculous situations. The thing that really sells it is that each of them truly believes they’re intelligent and can handle anything…but in fact can barely run a bar. It takes a while to get used to, and last night’s episode wasn’t the best, but it’s definitely entertaining. It’s based more on those situations, sight gags, and fantastic acting than quotable jokes…but we’ll try it anyway.

“The Gang Exploits the Mortgage Crisis” (S5:E1)

Plot Summary: The four guys try to flip a house that was foreclosed, while Dee tries to become a surrogate mother.

Great Moment: I love the meta joke at the beginning, literally saying exactly what the show does every episode. Frank and Dee present two get-rich-quick schemes, and Dennis tries to hash out which one they should devote their energies to. The mortgage plan becomes the “A” plot while Dee gets relegated to the “B” plot. It was like a peek inside the writer’s room.

Weak Part: Dee was really more insulting and crasser than she usually is. I mean, she normally has no tact. But she can sometimes see when she’s crossing a line. Not in this episode. I can’t believe the would-be parents didn’t just kick her out of their house immediately.

Top 3 Jokes/Gags

  1. Dee: “Let me throw something at you guys. Brace yourself. What are your thoughts on doubling down so to speak and going for twins? If it’s a matter of price, I’m willing to cut you a deal on the second one. And, we don’t have to stop at two. I’ve typed up a price sheet I’d like you to peruse. If you’ll look down around number four or five, that’s where you really start to see some savings.”
  2. Dennis: (speaking in front of a family whose house they’re trying to take) “Look, OK, absolutely we could cave the husband’s skull in here. Yes, we could take the wife down to the basement and have her friends eat free-for-all with her. We could tie the kids up in their little rooms upstairs so they wouldn’t hear anything.” Mac: “But in that scenario we’d have to kill the kids because they would have seen our faces.” Dennis: “Right, then we could smear the walls with their blood. Guys, there are any number of twisted scenarios that could play out here, but I think the easiest thing, really, is to just go get the deed.” Charlie: “Right, why get weird.” Dennis: “Let’s just keep it simple.” Frank: “For now we take the high road.”
  3. Lawyer: “I can see clearly you know nothing about the law. It seems like you have a tenuous grasp on the English language in general.” Charlie: “OK, um, well……..fillibuster.”

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