Sitcom Superlatives: Best, worst, and wedded bliss
Sitcom Superlatives takes a look at the best, worst, and most notable of this week in comedy television. This time around, it’s ’30 Rock’s’ wedding, ‘New Girl’s’ “Eggs”, and that talking fish on ‘Suburgatory’.
Best Wedding – Liz and Criss, 30 Rock
If I had to choose a favorite TV wedding, I should probably say that my favorite is Monica and Chandler’s, or Jim and Pam’s, or Marshall and Lily’s. But as I’ve mentioned before, my stance on weddings is, to put it lightly, highly atypical. And my wedding, should I ever have one, is going to resemble Liz and Criss’ on this week’s 30 Rock far more than anyone in my life probably feels comfortable with.
Look, I’m with Liz (shocker) — the wedding-industrial complex is nuts and I have no desire to have a big party where I have to be nice to people I never wanted to invite and look the most like I a beautiful princess I have ever looked in my life. Weddings, in my opinion, should ideally reflect the couple and the kind of life they want to share with each other. And maybe some people want to share a perfect fairytale life, but that sounds like a lot of pressure to me. Give me a small, personally significant, completely ridiculous and goofy wedding any day, because life is never going to be a perfect fairytale. But if you’re lucky, it will be a fun, silly gathering of close friends who love you, and of course, a few who don’t but are just there for the ride. And let’s be real, who wants to be Cinderella when you can be Princess Leia? No one I want to hang out with, that’s who.
Show Finally Coming Into Its Own - The Mindy Project
I have in my drafts folder the beginnings of an article on how The Mindy Project was both my most anticipated show of the season and also my biggest disappointment, because I could see all the potential it had but it just seemed so scattered and unable to reach it. I kept watching, though, because I like to give shows I see potential in what I call “The Parks and Recreation cushion”, i.e.: six or so episodes to try and find their voice, and The Mindy Project seems to have done that. They seem to have realized that what works best is not trying to occupy every character, but to have a Mindy plot and a B plot, and give Mindy Kaling time to do what Mindy Kaling does best: opine on vaguely girly matters in a down-to-earth, slightly ridiculous way. For example, on the phone to her BFF: “Gwen, you’re so smart. I wish we were lesbians so we could get married. I mean, I wouldn’t want to have sex or anything. Maybe a little kissing.” Raise your hands if that’s a conversation you and your BFF have had. I’m guessing pretty much every hand just went up.
Most Disappointing Episode - Suburgatory, “Friendship Fish”
I was really in the mood for Suburgatory this week. It was one of those weeks where I was gleefully anticipating Wednesday and watching old episodes on Hulu. But sadly, this week’s Suburgatory fell victim to one of the classic episode ruiners: product placement. Usuually product placement is a throwaway line about a character’s great new car, but this week Tessa’s entire storyline was about her new Windows tablet, and it was terrible. Even George and Dallas’ fun and frankly adorable storyline about George losing his city edge couldn’t make up for a storyline that was so bad it involved a talking fish. I think that should be a new rule of television writing, actually: if your storyline involves a talking fish giving life advice, it’s probably a good idea to do a re-write.
Best Episode of the Week - New Girl, “Eggs”
Here is how you know this episode of New Girl was great; as I sat write this section I reached a dread writer’s block, which I dealt with in the normal way – going to the bathroom, cleaning my gerbils’ cage, and finally sitting there drumming my laptop and saying in my best Nick Miller voice, “I got nothing,” while the Winston voice in my head went, “it’s like you don’t want to write!”
No, Winston voice, sometimes I do not.
Therein lies the genius of this week’s New Girl, it’s relatability. Everyone has written a paper the way Nick wrote Z is for Zombie (which, incidentally, I would give a lot of money to read). Everyone has been Winston, trying to be responsible and settled while their friends are still running around and not respecting their adjusted schedule. Everyone’s been Schmidt and realized too late that they have feelings for someone they never wanted to have. And everyone’s been Jess and Cece, both wanting the future to happen and being terrified of the ticking clock we all try so hard to ignore. And on top of that relatability we got layered in what New Girl is best at: Jess and Cece’s amazing friendship, Schmidt balancing ridiculous with accidentally deep (that sound you heard during the monologue in the gynecologist’s office was the sound of Max Greenfield nominating himself for an Emmy), and tying it all together, the feeling that Jess and her boys in apartment 4D are the strange and wonderful sort of found family that everyone wants to one day find.