Julia: I’m not sure what I expected from Community, but all the months of waiting and drama I feel like I wanted more than what I got from that first episode back. Is it just me?
Katie: About two days before the show aired, I started getting nervous that it really was going to be bad. So I had actually mentally prepared myself to be disappointed. Thanks to being a pessimist, I was mostly OK with the episode … even though there were some missteps.
Julia: See, I’m an optimist, so that could be my problem. I just felt like it was a little bit of a directionless episode, like there were some good ideas but not a lot of cohesion.
Best Kiss – Nick and Jess, New Girl
Nick and Jess were getting to a truly ridiculous stage of suspending disbelief that they wouldn’t just jump each other already.
There have been, in my opinion, two great developments in sitcoms in the last five to ten years. The first is getting rid of laugh tracks. The second is getting rid of the idea of the Moonlighting curse — ie: that a couple can never get together no matter what and relationships must be drawn out as much as possible to keep an audience invested via romantic will-they, won’t-they tension. Case in point, Nick and Jess, who were getting to a truly ridiculous stage of suspending disbelief that they wouldn’t just jump each other already. Nick was so obviously enamored with Jess that I couldn’t get my head around why he hadn’t made his move until the terrible, horrible, wonderful delivery of “not like this.” Ta da!
Of course Nick has thought about kissing Jess. He’s probably spent the last two years on and off thinking about it and cycling through self-loathing and reasons why not to … why it was never the right time, what the right time would be … and so to see him kiss Jess wasn’t just good because it was a great kiss (and it was a great kiss), but because we finally got to see Nick get over himself enough to make that move he’s been waiting to make for a long time. And Nick’s move was perfectly timed and placed; wait longer and it becomes unbelievable that Nick and Jess wouldn’t have hooked up sometime, or that when they did Jess wouldn’t cite their friendship as a reason not to continue. Do it earlier and there isn’t enough of a friendship foundation to make them hooking up high stakes. But have them kiss now, two years in, and the timing is just right.
Also, it was a really great kiss. Have I mentioned that yet?
When I first heard that Don’t Trust the B—- In Apartment 23 was cancelled, I thought that was the saddest news I would hear this week. While Don’t Trust the B was not perfect, it was enjoyable, with undeniable chemistry between June (Dreama Walker) and Chloe (Krysten Ritter), and my weekly recommended allowance of James van der Beek. But Don’t Trust the B was not the only sitcom or even the saddest sitcom winding up towards a finale or cancelled, and so for this week we have a special Sitcom Superlatives where we bid adieu to two very special friends.
Best episode of the week – Go On, “Gooooaaaallll Doll!”
Okay, so Go On was maybe not the total best (as usual, it’s hard to compete with 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation), but this week’s Go On was, even in my Tuesday overload of sitcoms, a surprise delight. Once again, this show gets therapy and the healing process so, so right. Gimmicks like this week’s goal dolls may inspire short-term change that feels like progress, but real progress is a slow, grinding process. The Sonia and Yolanda subplot was not only hilarious (“Three sugar cubes. Like the number of men I’ve been with… Today.”) but effortlessly illustrative of that. Putting on a brave face and changing everything in your life by a certain deadline isn’t how healing works. It’s a labor of love.
Best Import – Miranda
If you’re suffering from the mid-winter blahs like I am and find yourself in dire need of new laughs, I’d definitely suggest checking out the charming British sitcom Miranda. Think if a Liz Lemon-like character of similar failure-prone relatability in a sitcom with a mixture of the goofy sensibility of Happy Endings and the distinctly British embarrassment factor that the original Office had, and you have Miranda. The basic plot is of a large, very silly woman (played by the stellar Miranda Hart, who also writes the show) struggling to be mature and composed as she struggles through dating, work, and polite social interaction. Miranda also boasts a stellar cast of supporting characters that include her Lucille Bluth-ian mother, her best friend and co-worker Penny, and her longsuffering mutual crush Gary (played by the dreamy Tom Ellis, who Merlin fans will recognize as old baddie Cendred). It’s delightfully sweet, absurd, and poignant by turns. There is no technically legal way to get your hands on this show outside of the UK, and I don’t want to encourage anyone to break the law, per se, but if there’s a show worth finding a creative solution to watch, it’s this one.
New Favorite Friendship: Ryan and Anne, Go On
If at this time this year you had told me that there would be a middle-aged lesbian on my television, let alone on a show with as much diversity as Go On, and that she’d be handled well, I’d have asked what crazy optimism drugs you were on and where I could get me some. But Go On has really steadily delighted me this year, way more than I thought it would. Not only does Ryan feel very different from Chandler (something I needed from Matthew Perry but wasn’t sure I’d ever get), but his friendship with Anne is exactly what this show needs. Because healing through therapy two sides, really. (And oh, as someone who’s been in therapy over 75% of my life, I could write odes to how well psychological conflict is handled in this show.) There’s the blind, almost childlike belief needed to make a leap of faith that the rest of the group represents, but there’s also always that cynicism and grounded practicality that most of us have trouble letting go of. And watching Ryan and Anne not just fall headfirst into accepting every bit of feel-good advice Lauren dispenses is what makes this show work so well and keeps grounded instead of veering to the saccharine.
Even though I no longer review Merlin on the regular, being a fan of and blogger about Merlin has been one of the most truly rewarding experiences of my life, which is why I couldn’t say no to an opportunity to interview Bradley James (Arthur) and Katie McGrath (Morgana) one last time.
Alright, well, first of all, I just wanted to say thank you to you guys. This is my second time interviewing both of you, and as a fan you guys have been amazing and wonderful to interview, so thank you so much.
KM: Thank you so much!
Anyways, now for the harder questions …
KM: You were just buttering us up there so we’ll give you good answers, aren’t you?
A little bit! I did really want to thank you, but I had to butter you up a little bit.
KM: [laughs] No, that’s fine, we’re all actors, we like that.