It’s the dawn of an exciting and frightening new era on The Office, as we’re treated to our first post-Michael Scott episode (although, as I said last week, the real test won’t come until the beginning of the 2011-12 season). Meanwhile, 30 Rock winds down its penultimate season with tonight’s finale. Archer has already wrapped and isn’t showing re-runs, so, again, this will be a two-horse race.
Can 30 Rock defend its title against the revamped Office? This was SitCombat for May 5, 2011:
30 Rock (NBC)
Tonight’s Episode: The fifth season of TGS is in the books, and the gang decides what to do during their time off.
Good Stuff: “Allll right. Now that the popsicle’s melted, we’ve got ourselves a tongue depressor” . . . “There are four things I want to do this summer, but they’re roommates…so, it’s tricky” . . . “I could hardly drink my morning shower-scotch” . . . With Performer TBD . . . “How’s this for growing up: Last night, for dinner, I put milk in my Apple Jacks” . . . “DON’T LOOK AT ME” . . . The old Parcell family recipe including “Union soldier meat” . . . “Deer God, thank you for this venison…” . . . “I’ll cancel the sitter for tonight, tell him he won’t need to come sit on us after all” . . . “I did it! I spoke!” . . . “GAVEL, GAVEL, GAVEL!” . . . “Do you honestly not see me? Or are you just being rude?”
Non-good Stuff: The Wool Council courting Jenna didn’t make much sense . . . Jack’s fixation on Kenneth, ditto. Very weird . . . The baby talking . . . That last scene was something of a car wreck.
Line of the Night: “You just made a very dangerous enemy, Kennth!” “Thanks for the heads-up, Jonathan!” – Kenneth, not fully grasping the gravity of the situation.
Overall: 30 Rock came out with guns blazing for the 100th episode. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the season finale. This was. The short scenes with Liz in the doctor’s office and the courtroom worked very well. The rest didn’t. Jack and Jenna were as unfunny as I can remember them being in at least two seasons. “Unfunny” isn’t the right word. They were still funny, just not nearly as funny as usual. This episode was a whiff by 30 Rock standards, but that still makes it far better than most of what’s on television. A less-than-stellar outing to close the year doesn’t detract from what was otherwise a very strong season.
The Office (NBC)
Tonight’s Episode: Deangelo takes full control of the office, and the team tries to cope with the changes.
Good Stuff: Deangelo’s subtle Western jewelry . . . Inner circle paranoia . . . Hitting the park after dark and picking up some sausage . . . Deangelo’s relationship with his son . . . “Sure thing, Mr. Howard” . . . Deangelo hiring the random hot girl I spotted last week in response to accusations of sexism . . . “I’m going to infiltrate and change from within!” . . . “He’s just a big fraud, Deangelo. He’s like Rango” . . . “Why don’t you just finish stuff up, leave it on my desk, and I will see you at your place around two a.m. (slaps Kelly’s butt)” . . . “The man is paying me to take Chinese. I will say what I need to say, and, soon…I will say it in Chinese” . . . “THE DOCTOR IS IN!”
Non-good Stuff: The juggling stuff was dumb . . . Pam’s books for young adults . . . Will Ferrell getting taken out by the basket wasn’t exactly a satisfying plot device, but I guess we’ll have to take it . . . Other than not raising his hand when Deangelo asked about loving someone who has a vagina, Creed did absolutely nothing in this episode.
Line of the Night: “What’s the argument, here? NBA, WNBA. One is a sport, one is a joke. I love sports, I love jokes. Room for all.” – Dwight, assessing gender relations in the office.
Overall: It’s difficult to judge this one completely without seeing next week’s episode. I enjoyed it overall, but the ending seemed abrupt. Most of the jokes worked, and that’s the most important thing. Ryan shined tonight. On the other hand, Creed had no lines whatsoever. It seems strange to me that they would de-emphasize some of the minor characters right as Michael was leaving / just left. On the other hand, it’s one episode. I still think that feels like a missed opportunity. I’m not sure the new girl is going to work out. She was kind of a nothing in this one. They’re going to have to make her nerdy / geeky (which is quite possible) for her to occupy a currently-blank spot on the female character canvas. Naturally, this means that she’ll wind up with Gabe if she sticks around. Watch for that. Say what you want about Deangelo Vickers, but I enjoy the way he does business. Good show.
Final Thoughts: The Office wins handily this week. Just about everything the Office did worked, which is a good sign in the wake of Carell’s departure. The ending was a little strange, but I can live with it. Meanwhile, 30 Rock has been running on fumes for a while, yet somehow delivering great episode after great episode. I think they finally ran out of gas this week. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it felt like they were just trying to get to the end of the season. There were some good bits, but the storylines themselves were uneven.
WINNER: The Office (new champion)