Reno 911

Yeah that was us a few months back, telling you not to worry about The Office, that their superior writers would make magic out of Steve Carrell’s departure, and that it was Carrell, whose movies largely suck, who we didn’t think was particularly funny except when Michael Scott.  Will Ferrell, a titan of comedy, as the temporary replacement, Deangelo Vickers, was not Michael, but he is a big name and a comedic genius probably of greater stature than Steve Carrell and he could’ve pulled it off.

We don’t know that any of the candidates we were subject to seeing interview last night were capable of pulling off running Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch with the possible exception of James Spader, who we don’t naturally love, but we have to admit that he did interview more dynamically than the others, and was probably the most quirky and unpredictable.  We are definitely not impressed with the process so far, nor are we impressed at all with the apple of show management’s eye, Catherine Tate (above), who we are reading everywhere is in the lead for the role as of right now.

While we waited with baited breath for Danny McBride to sweep into the conference room–something we thought we were assured of and was confirmed–a very weak bunch paraded in instead, and we thought them weak in every sense.  We weren’t thrilled with Will Arnett over a Danny McBride or Rhys Darby, but we still thought he’d do fine.  Well, last night’s Office couldn’t even manage to give Arnett any funny lines, or that extravagant flair he displays as Devin Banks on 30 Rock and of course, as GOB on Arrested Development.  And where in the hell was McBride?  Very upsetting.

Ray Romano?  We love him and written well, the role would be a piece of cake for him.  But like everyone else, he was flat and watching him was a struggle.  Warren Buffett?  Sure it’s a gag, but do they really have time to waste on non serious candidates in the season finale?  They advertise Jim Carrey all week as a candidate and then bring him in as an after thought at minute 58?

And why is Paul Lieberstein so skinny?  Do you guys know that is health status was one of the most frequently queried Google searches in the last 12 hours?  Farbeit from us to speculate on what could be an unfortunate situation for Lieberstein, but he looked like a skeleton, and he has missed a lot of time in the last few years, giving way to Amy Ryan’s Holly Flax.

As for Ricky Gervais, could this guy go away already?  We get it, we get it.  He’s the original David Brent, and as such, has clawed out a de facto EP position on The Office, but this guy should spend more time working on his own projects, which aren’t very funny.  How many shows will HBO hand the man, and when will one of them make us laugh?

It used to be that if HBO gave you a foreigner, it was appointment television.  Then there’s the Ricky Gervais exception.  Can there be any doubt that he isn’t pushing for Catherine Tate, of Dr. Who “fame”?  And what about The Office producers interview with our favorite band manager, Rhys Darby, who played Murray Hewitt hilariously on Flight of the Conchords?  We subsequently read that The Office wasn’t interested in Darby after meeting with him, and failed to grant him the courtesy of any sort of call back.

Bad form!  We’re very disappointed.  We’ll hold out hope that it isn’t Tate, and we’ll give her a chance to change our minds if it is her.  Who knows?  She very well may, but from where we sit, this is not the female John Cleese by any stretch.

If it’s not too late to offer suggestions for new blood, we may as well give it a try.  We thought Thomas Lennon of Reno 911 (Lt. Dangle) was an excellent, quirky boss of funny, oddball types, and we loved the short shorts.  After seeing Catherine Tate tell the cameras she thought she was Jo’s best friend, we also felt a desperate need to push a last ditch campaign for another excellent comedic actor, Bob Odenkirk, who is phenomenal, and always insanely good in a well done show and fine cast.

Crack (,

Britta (L., Gillian Jacobs) and Jeff (Joel McHale).

NBC’s Thursday night comedy lineup has kept its fans guessing, waiting even, all year when it comes to three prominent romantic storylines: April and Andy (Parks and Recreation), Andy and Erin (The Office), and Jeff and Britta, on our favorite new comedy this year, Community, produced by Dan Harmon (The Sarah Silverman Program).  While Andrew Bernard–the “Nard Dog” has recently begun to make time with Erin, and while April is set to hatch a big plan to snatch Andy on the final episodes of P & R this  season (this Thursday and next), it was Jeff and Britta who were first to sexy time.  Finally.

Community’s ensemble cast, which we’ve been high on from the start, most especially because of comedic legend Chevy Chase and Mad Men actress Alison Brie (Trudy Campbell), hasn’t one weak link in the chain.  Unknown to us was Danny Pudi, who plays the enigmatic Abed, and his partner in crime Troy, played by Donald Glover–a fine comedic talent who Community pilfered from the writing staff of another NBC Thursday hit, 30 Rock.  Glover, a rising young comic, was hired by 30 Rock while still a student at New York University (Tisch School holler!).  Troy and Abed, best friends on the show, have provided an unpredictable element with their escapades, such as their pretend radio show, Troy and Abed in the Morning, Abed’s odd friendship with Spanish teacher, Senor Chang (Ken Jeong), and Troy’s off again on again flirtation with Annie (Alison Brie), with whom he went to high school, and who has harbored a secret crush for Troy, also the school’s star quarterback.

Troy and Abed, dancing (above).

Annie and Senor Chang (above), in Spanish class.

Chevy Chase (above), as the bumbling, politically incorrect Pierce.

Above, Britta, Annie and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), in the dean’s office.  Annie had never seen a penis before, and she was selected by Dean Pelton (Jim Rash, well known from Reno 911 as a whore mongering miscreant named Andrew) to demonstrate putting a condom on a penis equipped mannequin, at an STD fair.  Britta and Shirley decide to help Annie by breaking in to see the mannequin before hand, so that Annie can practice, in episode 9, The Politics of Human Sexuality.

In Physical Education, perhaps the show’s best episode yet, Jeff takes a billiards class, which he is thrilled about, until the instructor mandates that he must wear Greendale CC short shorts.  Jeff storms out, but returns to challenge his instructor, Coach Bogner (veteran actor Blake Clark) after Abed teaches Jeff that if he is comfortable with himself he can conform for others.  As the pool game heats up, a crowd gathers, and the clothes start coming off.  To win the match, a naked Jeff must make a shot that literally require his balls be on the table, and his legs spread eagle–one of the funniest television moments of the year.

Community has given us a bit of everything in its first season.  Costumes–Abed as Batman (below with Jeff) and Pierce, practical joked into dressing like the Cookie Crisp fairy, and big time guest spots by Lee Majors, Jack Black, and even the unlikely Katherine McPhee, as Pierce’s grifter step daughter.

A blonde Katherine McPhee (left), with Jeff.  And yes, he banged her.  But he didn’t bang Britta, the apple of his eye for 2 semesters, until last week when the Greendale campus devolved into a war zone for a paint ball game in which the winner would be given priority registration.  After a long day of paintball, the two finally did it, on a table in one of the university’s common rooms.

We hear that Jeff’s ex, Professor Slater (Lauren Stamile) will renew her interest in Jeff in the season finale, but our money is on Britta to win Jeff’s affection for the foreseeable future, which will be at least part of another full season, because Community was renewed for a full slate, and rightly so.  But we have one question still lingering from Jeff and Britta’s first time: did they use a condom?

Be Safe,

Crack (

P.S.  Community star Joel McHale, a fine performer in his own right, recently played The Music Box, at The Borgata in Atlantic City.