The Office: Goodbye, Tobey
May 15, 2008

NBC, Thursdays at 9:00PM

Genre: Sitcom

Conceit: Its Funny Because Its Oh So True.

Meet the old boss, not at all like the new boss.  With Tobey moving to Costa Rica, Dunder Mifflin Infinity sends a new HR rep to DMIS.  Holly seems like she’s going to be an interesting addition to the crew.  And all it took for Michael to fall head over heels in love with her was her patronizing ribbing of Tobey.  He wanted to make her a mix.  Did anyone else laugh out loud when he told her he wanted to make a mix?  But, I can’t deny that seeing Michael try to impress her was fun.  And her reciprocating was even nicer.  Yoga.  Yoda.  Turns out she’s the best thing to happen to the company since World War II.  Excellent.  But Michael Scott just can’t have everything he wants, can he?  Is there any insult greater than finding out your ex went to a sperm bank WHILE you were together because she wanted to get pregnant but just not by you?  Wow.  And didn’t Michael’s hurt just seem so real?  Michael does “the right thing”, which is bizarre because it isn’t his kid, but is expected, because its Michael Scott.

I have to admit, the bit with Dwight telling Holly that Kevin was slow was pretty hilarious.  How it kept playing out was even more funny.  Kevin is seriously one of the best of the B-cast.  What did made me sad was when Holly decided to sit in on Tobey’s exit interview.  I’m pretty sure everyone wanted to see the “bruisin'” that Tobey was surely “cruisin’ for”.  

Jim Halpert.  Man, when you get a head of steam going, you just keep going with it.  He even left Ryan a voicemail saying that he won’t back down.  Unfortunately, Ryan had bigger problems as his failed website inevitably lead to fraud.  And arrest.  From temp, to executive, to jail.  The classic story.  Speaking of classic stories: Jam.  Pam’s going to school for the summer and Jim decides its time to propose.  And Pam even sees it coming.  The smiles on their faces right before he was going to ask.  Then Andy grabbed the mic.  He asked Angela to marry her, and she said “ok”.  Dwight’s admission that it was his own fault…killer.  This stopped Jim dead in his tracks.  And made Pam think that he was never going to ask.  Dang it!

And then there was the ending.  Could’ve never called that.

This show had a home run fourth season.  And I’m thoroughly excited to see the fifth season.  Exactly what a season finale should be.

Final Grade: A

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Smallville: Arctic
May 15, 2008

CW, Thursdays at 8:00PM

Genre: Sci-Fi Drama

Conceit: Superboy Meets World.

Supergirl was always an iffy concept, even in the comic books.  It was basically a girl Superman, who was more immature.  Not terribly compelling.  In Smallville, Kara Zor-El was suspect because Laura Vandervoort is not much of an actress.  From her introduction in the beginning of the season, it was obviously that Vandervoort was cast more for her looks than for any acting ability that she may have.  But give the girl some edge and she’s actually interesting to watch.  Flying out of exploding planes, double dealing Lex, this is a Kara I can get with.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t Kara, was it?  It was Milton Fine, Brainiac.  Kara was sent to the Negative Zone  Brainiac.  He has been the villain of choice this season.  I know that Brainiac is an important character in the Superman universe, but I’ve been terribly bored by him this entire season.  Which is why I took so much personal satisfaction in Clark’s slow motion punching him in the face.  I also took personal satisfaction in Clark killing Brainiac.  This has always been central to the Superman mythos: when it means more than who he is, can Clark break his own moral code?

And Lana is gone.  Man, what a lame way to get rid of her.  I mean, I know that Kristen Kreuk wanted off the show, and I know the reality is that Lana and Clark don’t end up together, and I even know that Clark and Chloe are more entertaining that Clark and Lana ever were, but that was a weak send off.  Here’s hoping for the occasional guest appearance.  

We finally got the face off we’ve waited seven years for.  Lex finally knows.  No gimmicks.  No memory wipes (yet).  Michael Rosenbaum shows why he knows the character of Lex Luthor so well.  An even balance between a desire to do the right thing and flat out narcissism.  To “save” the world, Lex needs to control Clark.  And so the fortress collapses in on itself, in this less spectacular special effects.  And that’s it. 

I know that season finales are supposed to be cliff hangers, but that was just…meh.  I mean, the show faded to black with no real pay off.  With nothing to wonder about.  Sure, Kara’s in the negative zone.  Yawn.  Chloe’s been arrested.  Ok semi-interesting.  Black Lex cradling Clark in a dying Fortress.  Lame.  Here’s hoping that next season (which I’m pretty sure is the last season) finds a workable path and sticks to it.

Final Grade: C

Scrubs: My Princess
May 8, 2008

NBC, Thursday at 8:30PM (Never Again)

Genre: Sitcom

Conceit: Imagine If Grey’s Anatomy Was Funny…And Just Better

To start off, Natalia Imbruglia had two good songs: “Torn” and “Wrong Impression”.  I’m just saying.

Ok, I missed the teaser on this episode, but can someone explain to me how we moved back in time?  All of a sudden, we’re only a month from this season’s premiere, Kelso is still chief, and Keith returns from his post-strike banishment.  My guess is that this episode was ready before, but realizing it was going to be an abbreviated season, the show decided to use this as the series finale.  I just wanted to know if they explain the time shift in the beginning.

So Scrubs takes its bow on NBC.  And it does so with a concept show.  In the last two seasons, Scrubs delivered two excellent concept shows.  “My Way Home” was a truly clever ode to “The Wizard of Oz” which was funny and very subtle in a lot of its funnier jokes.  “My Musical” was a highlight of the series.  Its easy to make a musical episode.  Its hard to do it well.  Scrubs did it well.

“My Princess”, which was by far the biggest in scope concept episode thus far, was a clunker.  Dr. Cox is telling Jack a fairy tale using the cast as characters.  This is where Scrubs misses first.  “My Way Home” and “My Musical” both used clever conceits for the episode.  This was the exact opposite.  Most of the episode referenced JD and Eliot’s unresolved feelings stemming from their near miss in the season premiere.  Again, the fact that this episode can be time misplaced by several episodes and that still be true is further proof that this “Will They Won’t They” thing is tired and needs to be abandoned.  I’m pretty sure EVERYONE preferred JD & Kim and Eliot & Keith to JD & Eliot.  The only bright spot was that Zach Braff finally seemed to find his voice as JD again, as that had been missing since the end of last season.  Per usual, Janitor and Turla (that’s the Turk and Carla connection for those who don’t know) really stole the show throughout.

And with that, Scrubs is done on NBC.  The cast as we know it is probably done as well.  Budget cuts are probably going to demand that some of the casts background players (Laverene’s sister, Ted, and…dare I say it…The Todd) may have to go.  Its sad that they couldn’t leave NBC on a note that really showed how great this show was for showing that single-camera comedies could work.

By the way, Bill Lawrence, more Dr. Cox and Jordan next season, please.

Final Grade: C