Sunday , April 21 2024
It may not have the same audience it once did, but it's still funny.

Must See TV Still Exists!

It’s Friday, and you’re dying to know this sort of thing, so I’m going to tell you. Last night, I watched two hours of Must See TV. Sure, sure, I’m living back in 1999, but that was such a party I don’t want to give it up. And, despite the fact that the comedies NBC airs from 8 to 10 pm on Thursdays don’t garner the ratings they once did, they’re still awfully, awfully funny (at least for the most part).

Let’s admit it anyway, until Will & Grace appeared in one of those half-hour time slots, you don’t really know what aired at 8:30 or 9:30 on those heady Thursday nights. We both know that you didn’t watch Boston Common, and no matter how many times they tried to shove The Single Guy down our throats it never really worked.

Let’s look at what they put on last night, and you’ll see just how special it truly is. 

The first hour consists of My Name is Earl and The Office. Earl has Jason Lee starring as a reprobate trying to fix his life because Carson Daly explained karma to him. The show is funny because it’s just so wrong. There’s always the “I can’t believe he just said that” factor. For instance, when Joy gave birth to an African-American child last night, Earl consulted a doctor as to whether or not he and Joy could have produced such a child. The doctor looks at him calmly and states “Nine months ago your wife cheated on you with a black fella.” That’s it, he makes no bones about it. Okay, that’s just one example, and like much of the show, it has a very “you had to be there” flavor.

The Office? It’s the third funniest comedy on television. Better than it are only Scrubs and How I Met Your Mother. Happily, last night convinced me that I am not Dwight Schrute, which had been a growing concern. Sure, Dwight and I may have some similarities, but I stopped climbing up to roofs and inspecting chimneys during cocktail parties years ago. But I digress. The Office is the only show that in the span of five minutes can have you go from rooting for a couple to succeed (Pam and Roy) and really pulling for them to being thrilled that it didn’t work out. Genius, pure genius.

Scrubs is without a doubt the second funniest comedy on television. It’s one of those shows that people don’t watch, for some unfathomable reason. Scrubs is one of those comedies that has such a strong heart and soul while still being capable of being utterly hysterical. From the absurdness of The Todd (I was sad we didn’t see him last night) to J.D.’s struggles in love and life to just plain everyone there at Sacred Heart, I’m pulling for them to return for another season. 

Lastly, 30 Rock. I’ve told you why I like this show before, but there’s more to it than just that. Alec Baldwin, as people have noted what with his award wins and nominations, is a funny guy. Every episode he seems to bring his character’s assininity to whole new level, while never putting himself at such a distance from the audience so as to be completely unlikable. And, while Baldwin was great last night going through the art of negotiation, I really liked Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon (possibly for the first time). Right there at the end of the show, she broke the fourth wall and did a little wink and nod to the audience about patriotism not being incompatible with other ideas and ideals and it was brilliant. 

You don’t believe me still, and that’s okay, you’re entitled to your opinion, but give the new Must See TV lineup a chance. It really is worth it, and if you record it all and eliminate the commercials it’s not going to take up all that much of your time. Give it a shot, you won’t regret it. 

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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