Posted by: ckckred | May 11, 2012

And now a short criticism for two particular NBC sitcoms…

For those of you who have the horror to think I’m going to complain about Parks and Recreation and Community, that’s certainly not the case.  Both shows I love very much and will probably make my Top 10 list for 2012.  This is about the other half of NBC’s comedy block: 30 Rock and The Office.

I’ll start with 30 Rock.  I stopped following the show back during season 4, where it was growing too painful and unfunny to watch.  I tried watching one episode from the current season and it may have been one of the worst things I’ve seen this year.

The real problem with the show is that it’s become extremely annoying.  Every single character on the show, with the exception of Jack, is irritating beyond belief and serves as a one-line joke.  30 Rock has become a mix between an Adam Sandler comedy and Family Guy, with the characters shouting out things like “blerg” (how is that supposed to be funny) and cutaways that serve no purpose at all to the story.

And then there’s Tina Fey.  Fey is a brilliant comedian, but she plays a poor version of herself.  Liz Lemon isn’t a very funny character or very well-developed.  How many story lines have the writers ditched about Liz?  How many boyfriends has she had?

Actors who play themselves usually try to over exaggerate their character.  Take Larry David for example.  On Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry plays an extremely mean, grouchy version of himself.  He constantly argues and fights with people, whether they be a girl scout or a judge.  But the audience knows that David is making fun of himself.  But Liz Lemon is pretty much what you expect a head writer for a comedy show to be, except of the constant wining.

Now for The Office.  Let me just say that I consider the American version to be better than the British original.  And I stick to the same statement now.  I consider the show to be one of the best comedies of last decade, and Steve Carell is perhaps by favorite comedian.

But the show started running out of steam by the sixth season.  The writers started repeating plotlines, except they made them more unlikable.  The show started resorting to gags that usually didn’t work.

Oh yes, and then there’s Erin.  Her character is one of the most irritating on television.  She’s not funny, she’s given way too much time, and the writers just seemed to add her to repeat a Jim-Pam storyline.

But I was loyal to the show.  I watched all the way up to Steve Carell’s departure.  But halfway through season eight, I gave up.

The Office could work without Carell, but at the start of season eight just had Andy replace him.  Ed Helms is essentially now doing a poor impersonation of Michael Scott instead of keeping Andy’s character.

As I mentioned before, Andy and Erin’s relationship is a huge rip-off of Jim and Pam’s, except it’s not interesting at all.  Erin is such a terribly annoying character that you root for her to leave the show.

And the ensemble has not worked at all.  The show has lost its focus on its characters.  Take Kevin for example. He used to be one of my favorite characters on The Office, but now the show now uses him to make fat, dumb jokes, all of which are lazily added in.  Yes, we always knew Kevin was moronic and slobbish, but the writers overuse the premise.  Take, for example, “Goodbye Toby,” where Dwight tells Holly Kevin’s mentally ill.  That’s funny because Kevin acts like a five year old, and it’s priceless to see Holly’s reaction towards it.  Compare that to  this season’s “Trivia,” which displays Kevin as openly stupid.  His character is now so forced that he’s no longer funny.

And next season doesn’t look any brighter either.  Paul Liberstein, Rainn Wilson, and Mindy Kaling are going to leave the show to make their own projects.  Ed Helms, Jenna Fischer, and John Krasinski’s contracts are ready to expire.  And Gregg Daniels, who originally developed the US version and left the series to work more on Parks and Rec, said the series might even get a reboot.

The sad thing is NBC doesn’t seem to notice this.  30 Rock will probably get a Best Comedy TV series and multiple other nominations, stealing them from far more deserving shows like Community.  And NBC will keep The Office on as long as FOX has with The Simpsons.  It’s a sad world that NBC is overkilling its comedies that once were some of the best of television.


  1. Your thoughts mirror mine on both shows, actually. I only tune into 30 Rock for Alec Baldwin and I only watch The Office out of habit at this point. I was shocked when the show got picked up for a 7th season, so imagine my surprise that it’s STILL GOING…

    It’s an absolute shame that it looks like Parks and Rec will get canned before the Office…

    • Baldwin’s always been the high point of 30 Rock, and the reason why I liked the show from the very start.

      I still can’t believe that NBC is giving The Office another season. Fortunately Parks and Rec got a renewal for 22 episodes next season, but it somehow gets lower ratings than The Office now.

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