Friday, January 30, 2009

The Super Duper Bowl: Office to Relieve some Stress

"If it were an iPod it would be a shuffle" so says our Pam Beesly during a roast of boss Michael Scott. A little teaser from last night's Tonight Show where Jenna guested and told tales of boxing workouts and haunted New York City hotel rooms. (I keep Googling the phrase Haunted Hotel Rooms NYC to see if I can find the room she's talking about).

NBC is building up Super Bowl Sunday to be a network fest of football coverage, high priced ads, and lots of prime time promotion, culminating in a very special one hour episode of The Office entitled "Stress Relief". Kath at GMMR and KorbiTV at Zap2It have taken a look at the episode, and were blown away. Jack Black, Cloris Leachman and Jessica Alba will appear as themselves playing characters in a movie downloaded into a laptop of office viewing. Pam gets some bad news about her parent's marriage which will cause a little disturbance in the future Halpert household - but not for long. Dwight sets the office on fire and locks all the doors so he can practice his rescue techniques (why he isn't in jail, we'll never know), making Stanley panic himself into a mild heart attack. Michael tries to lighten the load by organizing a roast of himself, which doesn't go all that well - although if Pam's bit has anything to do with it, the event seems to go just find in my book. Looks like our Beesly is back too, participating in the high jinx. The episode is noted to be hilarious, bittersweet, and back to the old Office we all know and love. I hope so. I will always love this show, even if it tends to fall off track, but if he can get back to that hilarity with wonderful moments of surprise jaw dropping wow-ness as tears well in your eyes kind of loveliness, I will be very happy on Sunday night.

Here's Jenna Fischer's appearance on Leno Thursday night. Includes clip of "Stress Relief"

Here's Rain Wilson's appearance on Leno from last Tuesday night. Includes clip of "Stress Relief"

The Office "Stress Relief" will air after the Cardinals kill the Steelers at 10:30pm ET/7:30pm CT.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

30 Rock: Mmmmm...Frosting

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you open up a door, or a closet and a whole wonderful universe of happiness, and prettiness and every person you've ever loved exists? And you get to hang out with all your crushes and people you admire in a state of fluffiness? Then you wake up and life sucks again, but you're left with that dream crush or weird feeling of being in love?

That's what next week's new episode of 30 Rock ("Generalissimo") will be like. Jon Hamm is Liz's real life fantasy on the other side of the door, with frosting and ice cream makers ready for the making. Oh yeah...and he's a gorgeous doctor. Please...don't wake me up.

"I want to go to there." Yes, Liz. So do we.

Oh, and there's a story about Jack Donaghy trying to impress Elisa's Grandmother, who hates him because he looks like a baddie on a telenovela. It looks absolutely funny.

Back to my dream of cupcakes and Dr. Baird....

Monday, January 26, 2009

SAG Awards: Is It Getting a Little Boring in Here?

We are smack in the middle of awards season, and I'm already bored to death with the red carpets, the actresses turn models on the runway, pointing their Jimmy Choo's and flashing their Chopard borrowed braclets.

Last night was a snooze fest. Yawns-ville.

The only cool thing were presenters Krasinski and Poehler renacting a scene from Revolutionary Road that picked up the pace minute and forteen seconds.

The rest was just self congratulating, tiresome drivel with only a few yippees for personal favorites, and mild, GOB Bluth-like "Come On!" shout outs for those winners less deserving, in my humble opinion. I'm a very biased TV viewer and commentator.

Ok, so 30 Rock did take home the Best Ensemble in a Comedy award last night at the SAG Awards. It's my favorite show, so I'm incredibly pleased for Tina and her crew. I shouldn't have expended so many words over Lonnie Ross and his absence when we there are others involved in the creation of such a great sitcom. Jane Krakowski is goofy fun. Tracy Morgan is insane. Judah Friedlander is all kinds of crazy, and Alec Baldwin is a tour-de-force in the comedy world. Speaking of which - it was lovely to see him with his daughter Ireland. She is so beautiful, and he dazzled with pride and happiness with her by his side.

It seems that the wonderful work of Steve Carell will be shuffled aside for the man who portrays the acerbic, quick witted, terrifically sexy Jack Donaghy. Unless the writers of The Office start cranking out better scripts, Baldwin will own this award whether it be Emmy, SAG or Golden Globes. I'm conflicted between Carell and Baldwin. I love them both, and hope some mythical god will allow tie wins in a category. Nevertheless, Baldwin deserved the win last night.

Also, a category of personal interest was Best Male Role in a Television Drama. Hugh Laurie and I go way back. I've followed his career since A Bit of Fry and Laurie hit the BBC back in the 80's, and continued to trek through his amazing comedy work; however, I wanted Jon Hamm to get this one. Don Draper feels more like damaged goods than House, considering the era in which he lives. Congratulations to Laurie, but I am sorry Hamm got slighted again.

Another sadness is Elisabeth Moss' snub for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Drama. That went to Sally Field. Judging from the clip from Brothers and Sisters, it looks like screaming hissy fits and tears made fellow actors happy to vote for Sally. Field is a treasure, don't get me wrong, but doesn't she have enough of these things? Moss' portrayal of Peggy Olsen on Mad Men is a subtle, elegant experience. SAG showed a clip from the marvelous season finale, where she tells Pete about their baby. Her eyes and voice projected more emotion and said more than any loud, eat-the-scenery performance ever will. Moss was robbed.

However, Best Television Drama went to Mad Men. Well deserved, of course. After all, I'm very partial to this show.

After that was wrapped up, I turned over to HBO for Flight of the Conchords, which wasn't boring at all. In fact, it was hilarious, and the music was excellent. I'll gear up another post about the boys soon.

Photos courtesy of WireImage

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The SAG Awards Tonight! 30 Rock Favored for Best Ensemble, But Whither Lonnie?

The Screen Actors Awards are on tonight on TBS and TNT starting at 8:00pm ET/7:00pm CT. Red Carpet coverage will be on E! starting 6:00pm ET.

My personal interest is in the two top comedies The Office and 30 Rock. Last year Office won Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series, and judging from the look on Tina Fey's dumbstuck face, it seemed as though her cast was getting ready to get up as the winner was called. I love Tina and her cast. They out funny The Office on any given week; however, Carell and the cast that support him are solid, and prove that the show itself is based on cohesive cast contributions. Each character is part of arc development, integrated exclusively into the pacing of the show. At least that is how SAG saw it last year. This year, the cast of 30 Rock are the darlings of television; however, if they do win tonight, it will not be due to cohesive cast grouping, but for the popularity of Fey and Baldwin, and the hilarious writing, which is another awards show. For instance, the character of Frank wasn't brought into a storyline for the first several episodes. TGS producer Pete Hornberger was also left out for a few.

But one absence is on the minds of many a Rock fan: Where's Josh? Lonnie Ross, who plays the sweet, bumbling Josh has gone missing, not yet shown in a season three episode, although his visage does appear in a bumper slide on a monitor in last week's show. Fans ask about his whereabouts. We miss him. He adds that sweet Jimmy Fallon-esque ingredient to a group that includes the amazing Alec Baldwin, Judah Friendlander, Jane Krakowski and Tracy Morgan. If you drop one of the lovable castmembers for the first half of a season - winning the Best Ensemble award tonight will be puzzling.

Yet, if 30 Rock does pick up the prize, beating The Office, Desperate Housewives, Weeds, and (ugh!) the very unfunny Entourage, I will still applaud. The show kicks it with laughter every week. It's time has come; yet, in terms of ensemble, it's only fair to keep all your characters featured and woven throughout each or every other episode. Or else it's not an ensemble, but purely a show starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. Two wonderful talent, but not the only characters on the set.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Office: Prince Family Paper or Is Hilary Swank Hot?

So, is she? The debate raged on in last night's episode "Prince Family Paper".

Spoiler alert: the Dunder Mifflin "Hilary is Hot" crowd won.

It's gotten to the point where the network website isn't giving The Office the push it needs today. Two minute replays and deleted scenes are usually available on Friday morning. There is nary a one as of this writing. Last night's episode, "Prince Family Paper" was mediocre. Not bad at all, but not great. When one views The Office, one expects, not perfection, but a level of greatness. This didn't quite deliver, but it wasn't a disappointment either.

Here's Jim in a classic cold open prank. Notice Dwight on the pole outside.

For instance, the Scranton team debate had a nice ensemble feel. Little verbal gems such as Kevin explaining, "A painting can be beautiful, but I don't want to bang a painting" while weighing the "Is Hilary Hot?" debate was pure Office. Michael's glance at the Hilary photos and tipping the scales in favorite of her hotness was fun. Each team member stood up for a rebuttal. The oddest more meta-like one from Jim, whose talk about celebrity and red carpet presentation was strange coming from an actor who is speaking to other actors who are famously seen at awards shows and best/worst dress list in the real world. I know this is pretend, but still. The clash with the fictional and reality was warped here, but that just might be the Office obsessive me.

Stanley thinks Hilary is hot. And he only has another 20 years to live, not he's not wasting time on a no hottie

However, the meeting of the Prince Family was a heartbreaker. David Wallace is relying on Michael to do some dirty work by stealing the sales of a local family run paper company, whose claim on the region has been sapping potential money from Dunder Mifflin's ledgers. Seeing Michael going for the juggler by pretending to be a "genius" lawyer in need of paper, while Dwight came along for the support, was amusing, slightly boring, culminating in another exercise in bumbling sillyness at the expense of decent folk. This brought to mind "Branch Wars" in season four, when they visit Karen Fillipelli's Utica branch to steal her top salesman. The familiarity is altered by the difference in tone. Karen knew they were being idiots in their task. This sweet, unsuspecting family hadn't a clue about their intentions. Luckily the family's good grace in helping the duo with a smashed bumper melted Michael's cold, cold heart, making him not want to provide the client list to Wallace. Yet, Dwight forced him to hand it over. And he did.

Perhaps I'm a bit worn out on The Office, but I've grown tired of Dwight and Michael A stories. Dwight has been portrayed as a lunk head, overgrown nerd who uses sci-fi cult fiction and Lord of the Ring analogies to get through life. The guy is waiting for the right moment to book his trip to Mordor. His antics, such as making bombs out of bottles, gasoline and a wick (as in "BranchWars"), his need to cockhold Andy, plus the souless act against the Prince family solidifies his unsympathetic nature. Dwight's breakup with Angela in season four broke down the barrier, providing him with human emotion, but this year has made him hard to enjoy. How does a person like this stay employed? Good sales numbers? In an upcoming episode, he'll be setting the branch on fire so he can provide a safety training situation. How is he not in jail? No wonder why Jim goes through great lengths, such as in the cold open, to prank the living daylights out of him. This is the punishment he's not getting from the authorities.

Jim and Pam. Again? Nothing? No interaction? No discussion of their upcoming wedding? Spoilers for future episode reveal that there will be some interesting developments between the two, but do we have to be starved of the future Halperts goofing with each other, or talking about how stupid Dwight is being now? Giving us a Jim/Pam drought is just not cricket. "Respect the game."

Unfair, Office people...unfair.

Major beef: Prop Masters, set designers, technology wizards of CGI, please do something about the green trees and palm trees we are seeing around what is supposed to be a bad ass cold, freezing north eastern winter. There are no leaves on trees this time of year. It's a vast wasteland of branches and brown, hard, frozen ground. There is snow everywhere.

Since when are the leaves in bloom in Scranton in January? See them outside Michael's window?

I didn't know palm trees (as seen as round blurs out of Dwight's window) are suddenly sprouting in PA...

Look, it's understandable that with a crammed production schedule little details will go unattended. There were even slight slip ups in the treasured season two series. Yet, when one episode after the other is showing design and continuity errors, it looks lazy. This is supposed to be a "realistic"mockumentary. Extra effort has to be made. The early Office episodes were so real, the thought that a location was really Los Angeles never crossed my mind - even if I did get a quick glimpse of a fully bloomed tree outside a window in January.

I bitch about this show...because I love.

The next new episode, "Stress Relief" will air on Sunday, February 1st after the Superbowl on NBC. Here's a sneak peek:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Office and 30 Rock Thursday - January 22nd

Tonight's episode of The Office is entitled "Prince Paper Company". Michael and Dwight set out to spy on their local competition. Also they group debate whether or not Hilary Swank is hot. I'm sure Swank is very pleased to hear that this is being questioned on a prime time show. Nothing to report in terms of hoping for ground breaking story lines here, but it should be a stress free episode, unlike the "Jam" packed post Super Bowl episode on Sunday February 1st known as "Stress Relief".

The Office airs tonight at 9:00pm ET on NBC.

30 Rock is new tonight in an episode marked "Retreat to Move Forward". Jack encourages Liz to go on a retreat with him, while Jenna pours into Method acting while preparing for her movie role as Janis Joplin. Fun should be had by all. The promo of Lemon above makes her look constipated.

30 Rock airs tonight at 9:31pm ET on NBC

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Life On Mars: Must See Stuff

My heart will always be with Mad Men when it comes to current drama, but it now has a little competition. ABC-TV's Life on Mars returns from a two month hiatus next Wednesday at 10pm ET/9pm CT. It's an American adaptation from the highly acclaimed BBC Series, and it's a tour de force in network television drama.

The premise: A New York City detective, out to find a serial killer in 2008 gets hits by a car and falls into a coma . He is plunged into another era as himself, in the same precinct ... in 1973. Jason O'Mara stars as detective Sam Tyler, and is a composite of Paul Newman and Steve McQueen in a 70's portrait. Harvey Keitel plays Lt. Gene Hunt, the hard bitten, crooked 70's dick (and I do mean dick) who welcomed detective Tyler upon his arrival with a swift pummeling for shooting off his mouth. Gretchen Moll plays Policewoman Annie Harris (aka No Nuts), who still lingers in the outskirts of acceptance as a woman smack dab in the middle of a police boys club. Michael Imperioli sheds his Sopranos skin, enlivening the cocky detective Ray Carling.

Life on Mars gives you that television cop drama feel with a gritty, funky musical soundtrack. The stories are set up with David Bowie songs and AM transitor radio buzz as metaphors, while Detective Tyler tries to solve the mystery of his own past. Is he in another dimension? Or is he languishing in a deep dream within his coma? This ethereal twist is woven with retro time lines of old television prime time. It brings you back to Mannix or Cannon, Hawaii 5-0 or Kojak. The streets are mean, the polyester is fierce, cops don't live by the rules, and New York is a bankrupted dump. Oh, 70's. Such memories. This superb cast makes this show a stunning, heart stomping trip down memory lane - if you're old enough to remember.

Last we left off, Sam was being summoned to the basement... (musical sting...yet spoiler free for the uninitiated).

Please watch this show. Again - Wednesdays at 10pm ET/9pm CT starting next week.

John Krasinski Premieres "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" at Sundance

With the entertainment industry's attention focused on the Inaugural activities in Washington D.C. this week, it was easy to forget that the Sundance Film Festival has been underway in Park City, UT. Although TVBlogster doesn't focus on film, it's hard not to discuss the medium when one of its favorite television stars, such as The Office's John Krasinski, makes his screenwriting and directorial debut in a passion project coveted since before the small screen made him big.

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men is an adaptation of David Foster Wallaces' book of short confessional essays that focus on variable elements of the male psyche. With it's dark undertones, humorous musings, and sexual themes, it packed a punch for the aspiring Krasinski upon his first reading several years ago while majoring in playwriting at Brown University, when he was asked to participate in a staged chapter from the book. It was a moment that changed his artistic direction, propelling him to gain the film rights in an act of tenacious bravery and persistency reasonable to any young, stubborn artist: he simply wore down Wallace's agent until she gave in. Considering John was not the famous person he is today, it was a personal triumph. Wallace himself was bemused by the enthusiasm Krasinski displayed, and was intrigued by how he developed a new character in the screenplay, in the form of a therapist spurned by her long time boyfriend (played by Krasinski himself), fleshing out the book's unknown entity to which the male subjects were speaking. Tragically, Wallace would not live to see this film come to fruition, having taken his own life in September 2008.

Brief Interviews was filmed in 2007, and stars, among others, Julianne Nicholson, Christopher Meloni, Will Arnett, Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Rashida Jones. It has gained some positive to mixed buzz amongst critics who've attended screenings at Sundance. Here are links to commentaries and interviews with John Krasinski: (The Carpetbagger) (Has an interesting Q&A) (Info on the film and screenings - if you're lucky to be at the festival) (Interview w/Cinematographer John Bailey) (Interesting early insight on the film and Ben Gibbard - originally posted in 2007) (nice three part interview with John)

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Presidential Inauguration

Sunday's concert on The Mall was spectacular. My heart swelled with pride. From Bruce to John Cougar Mellencamp to Beyonce and John Legend - only to name a few - America was represented by the music and the artists so pertinent to the fabric of the United States. U2 - our adopted Irish sons - mesmerized the throng along the reflecting pool.

Tomorrow is the big day. President Elect Barack Obama will be sworn in as the forty forth president of the United States. It's a new era, a new chapter in this country's history. I won't get through it without tears of pride for this country.

Coverage of this event will begin at 5am EST on NBC, with continuing coverage on all networks, all day. Check your local listings.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What's on This Weekend: Flight of the Conchords! SNL! Ricky!

Tonight: Saturday, January 17th

SNL is live tonight, with guest star Rosario Dawson and musical guest FleetFoxes.
Airs on NBC at 11:30pm ET

Sunday, January 18th

After almost two years, they are back! Bret and Jemaine, our amazing, funny, goofy musical lads from New Zealand will return to HBO this Sunday at 10pm ET with a whole new season of Flight of the Conchords. The premiere episode could be anti-climatic for some. It's been streaming on FunnyorDie and for a while now. Yet, it launches a long awaited, WGA strike stunted season two of this hilarious and musically wonderful series. Watch it. Savor it. It looks as though this will be the last series the boys produce.

Monday, January 19th

Bravo TV's Inside the Actor's Studio will feature Ricky Gervais on Monday at 7pm ET/6pm CT.

30 Rock: Flu Shot

Our overworked Liz Lemon is in need of a "Calgon, take me away" vacation on the Island of St. Bartlesy, where black socks and sandals are accepted, walking turtles table your BLT's and cute guys serve you booze on a platter. But will Liz go? The flu has been going around the TGS studios, and flu shots are being given out like tickets for a Madonna concert: selectively - to only the "privileged", leaving the grips, set movers, sound techs to wallow in their infections and suffer. Only Liz, whose dream of languishing in the warm waters of no-feet land has been temporarily dashed due to over booking, stays on to help support the sniffling crew by not getting a flu shot in solidarity. That is - until her vacation is suddenly back on.

As infection grows around, claiming the souls of Kenneth and crew alike, culminating in a non-musical version of "Thriller"...

and turning a healthy Pete Hornberger into a flu zombie...

..Liz ditches the germ filled gang she fought for, and goes for the flu shot...

..because this "moi" needs a vacation. Dr. Spacemen...should she pull her pants down? No, she had to dance for him, reminding this blogger of the "Brick Dance" from Weeds.

Meanwhile, with no time for dating, Jack convinces his overworked girlfriend Nurse Elise, to go out on the town and enjoy the spoils of New York with him. Being the devoted elder care assistant, she brings her senile patient with them to Broadway shows and walks through Central Park.

Poor Kenneth is struck down by what he calls "Ox Fever". White, Pale and scary weak, with a sick Page crew and lack of support, the super eager Page Parcell is sick to fetch soup for the crew - an idea created by Jenna and Tracy in a moment of selfish kindness. They go out, only to come back forgetting the soup, but adding new tales of their fashion spree on fifth avenue. Their attempt to give the gang the healing power of laughter, falls a clown pratfall.

Other than the recurring guest star role that Selma Hayek has been enlivening in the very cute and sexy Elise, the new routine of stunt casting didn't rule the episode this week. It was a nice side step away from characters fully driven by those with star power. Funny as usual, Flu Shot falls in line with 30 Rock's classic way of creating funny themes and zany Liz Lemon's need to be loved.

Here's a two minute replay:

30 Rock airs on NBC Thursday nights at 9:31pm EST/8:31pm CST

Friday, January 16, 2009

Matthew Weiner Signs Deal on Mad Men

After two months of negotiations and much nashing of teeth by fans, Mad Men show runner Matthew Weiner has signed on with Lionsgate TV to a two year contract. The mastermind behind this wonderful drama will continue his role as Executive Producer and writer, plus have some other development opportunities.

Source: Variety

Amy Poehler' Not The Office Spin Off at TCA Press Tour

Cast of untitled Amy Poehler sitcom: Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, Amy Poehler at TCA Press Tour

What a wonderful bunch of months this has been for Amy Poehler. First, SNL goes through the roof with the 2008 Elections, then the birth of her son Archie, all culminating in her new sitcom, ready for production with an April 9th premiere date on NBC. The only thing missing is the title, but that is surely to come.

The TCA winter press conference continued in Universal City this week. Poehler and her co-stars Rashida Jones and Aziz Ansari took the stage at The Hilton with Producers Greg Daniels and Michael Schur to discuss the premise of the series. The show will be filmed in the mockumentary format similar to The Office. It takes place in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana. Poehler plays a bureaucratic boss named Leslie Knope who tries to advance her career by helping her friend(played by Rashida Jones) change a construction site into a park. She meets up with testy residents, developers and other challenges.

Various members of the TCA received scripts for the pilot episode, such as TV Guide and The Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Greg Daniels, showrunner for both The Office and the Poehler project has mentioned there still may be an Office spin off in the future.

An Excerpt from link:
"It's not possible, physically, for me to be involved in it right this second, but I'm talking to people over at The Office about another idea, and [The Office's British creator] Stephen Merchant came back and directed an episode of The Office so were were talking about the idea," Daniels told critics at NBC's annual Television Critics Tour on Thursday. "It's possible that some combination of other Office people could produce it without my giving blood for it."

The Office: The Duel and Some Good News

First off, good news from NBC front. It's really no surprise, but still comforting nonetheless to know that the network has picked up The Office for season six and 30 Rock for season four . Another year of Dunder Mifflin antics and Liz Lemon foot issues. Yay!

Now on to last night's Office episode, The Duel:

It was worth the wait. The Angela-Dwight-Andy bizarre love triangle went down in a ball of flames in last night's Office episode known around these parts as The Duel. It was a showdown between two lovable lunkheads. One Andrew Bernard: clueless and prone to major anger issues. And the other - Dwight Schrute: a ruthless farmer who can still sing his Nazi/Amish farm family rules one by one, and also believes he's a bad ass super hero who has cuckolded his nemesis since season three - one Mr. Andrew Bernard.

The office is sitting on very crunchy, razor sharp eggshells. Seventeen days have passed, and the audacity of Angela and Dwight's torrid love making on chairs and desks around DM Scranton is known to all except love smitten Andy. It is taking on a feverish pitch. Everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Angela is almost psychotic in her denial, allowing the situation to develop because we know how she loves to get off on men fighting. Dwight is like a proud rooster, who is as annoying as he is cocky. Andy - absolutely clueless to why everyone is not RSVPing for the wedding, is feeling "shunned".

Meanwhile Michael has been called to New York by David Wallace. Uh oh. What could it be? Now we're all freaking out a bit. Could Michael be in trouble? Is the branch facing another brush with closure? Insert musical sting here.

Fed up with this little secret that is so big it's the biggest elephant that ever roamed the planet, Michael does an Aaron Sorkin to Andy on his way out, "Andy? Walk with me". Yet, the fast talking turns into humming, hawing, stunted words and sentences. Hmmm...who does he remind me of? The deer in the head lights. The "I haven't got a single thought in my head" vibe. Could it be? A Sarah Palin moment?

He drops the bomb to the Nard Dog as he drives away, and it is here where we once again realize that Steve Carell is a genius in subtlety and perfect verbal timing. Andy is understandably stunned. Well played by Ed Helms. This is where the old Office heart comes in. It was a moment of heartbreak.
It's always great to see David Wallace. He's the sane connection from the corporate world that holds the strings to the sales branches out in the field. But why did he call Michael in? Well, the economy is in the toilet, and Dunder Mifflin is in danger of being flushed. Utica, Nashua, Albany - sales offices are really sucking in reaching their numbers; whereas, Michael's bunch is knocking it out of the ballpark. Wallace wants to know how Michael does it, even if he has to sit through unfinished, Sarah Palin-like meandering sentences. It's also nice to see the writers use the current economic downturn in this storyline. It will play a valuable role in the storyline down the road.

The beauty of all this? With Michael away, it provided another opportunity for Jim to test his manager mettle - this time amidst a potential violent altercation.
Jim handled it with Halpert calm, knowing where Dwight keeps his weapons, and making sure that any duel should be handled out of the office. Even Pam stepped up to the plate (I enjoy baseball metaphors), shouting to Angela "You have to make this stop!". I'm loving Pam here. That's my new confident girl - because someone had to say it.

The duel itself culminated in a parking lot brawl with a decoy note by Andy and a quiet Prius. Pinned to a very lefty hedge, Schrute and Bernard honk and yell, whip and shriek as Jim rushed to make sure no bones are broken. It is revealed that Angela and Andy finally had sex - twice, even though Angela told Dwight Andy sex never occurred. Dwight is now betrayed. Both men see the light. Andy calls off the wedding cake. Dwight throws his beloved bobble head in a bin. Angela is rightfully dumped by two men. The office whore now stands alone.

The Duel was a solid episode, with great ensemble interaction. Jim showed us that he's taking charge, claiming a new level of maturity that was needed to be seen. Pam laid low, but when she's not trying to ramp her new confidence ways down our gullet, she usually shines. Michael, hero of Dunder Mifflin corporate, whose humanity, which tends to come off cartoon-ish, was in full swing when he put his foot down and decided, in his own Michael way, to tell Andy the truth. The end result between Dwight and Andy was righteous, and Angela's end was satisfying.

One gripe: It's getting very difficult to place this show in Scranton, PA when, in the dead of January winter, we see green bushes and blossoms in outdoor scenes such as the very funny cold open. The cast can pretend to huddle up and shiver all they want, but viewing lovely pink flowers growing through a fence when in reality it should be a mass of brown dead branches, takes us out of the Scranton reality, into the outskirts of the Van Nuys studios. Please Office people, remember when you put snow in the parking lot in season two and three during the winter episodes? Do that again.

Also, in Michael's "exterior" scene, you can tell he's so not in New York, but in front of a green screen. Ok, I'll give them that one. They even key in shots of Rockefeller Plaza on 30 Rock, but that show is a silly romp. The Office is supposed to be a documentary. Maybe they could have ditched the exterior shot and had Michael speak from the lobby of the building.

Finally, it's time for more Jim and Pam. I'm missing this.

Two Minute Replay:

Next week's episode: Prince Family Paper. The Office airs on NBC at 9:00pm ET/8:00 CT.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Office and 30 Rock Thursday

If the outgoing president keeps his farewell speech short tonight, we will be welcoming a brand new episode of The Office after a long, dry holiday season of reruns.

Last we left the Dunder Mifflin-ites, they were celebrating Christmas Moroccan style (do they even celebrate Christmas in Morocco?) as a drunken Meredith's hair went up in flames, and Michael Scott tried to woo her into rehab. Oh, and Phyllis announced that Angela and Dwight were having an affair while Andy was playing sitar in the other room.

All will be revealed to the Nard Dog in tonight's episode entitled The Duel. I wonder if the boys will plan it Schrute style - at dawn, beneath the elm tree far right from mother's grave in the family cementary at Schrute Farms, pistols in hand? Or will Dwight get out his Star Wars glow-in-the-dark sabers and have a go? Or on Second Life? Whatever the case, it seems odd that Andy would want any part of fighting for Angela after what she's done. I long for the days of The Office when regular human emotion and natural humor took over the story, not deliberate sitcom comedy. But I guess I'm in it for the long haul with this show, so...all aboard. The Office airs tonight on NBC at 9:00pm ET/8:00pm CT.

30 Rock, fresh from winning yet another Golden Globe for best Comedy Series, is brand spanking new this week (as it was last week) in tonight's episode Flu Shot. Liz refuses to get ill, and Dr. Spaceman's inoculations are being doled out to the TGS staff selectively by Jack Donaghy. Also, Elisa (Selma Hayek) is working seven day weeks, but tries to find time for Jack. 30 Rock airs tonight on NBC at 9:31pm ET/8:31pm CT.

Idris Elba Joins Cast of The Office

Looks like the cast of The Office will be welcoming a new recurring guest star. Variety has announced that British actor Idris Elba (Family Affairs, The Wire) will be joining the crew later this season, appearing in six episodes. He'll be playing a no nonsense new hire at Dunder Mifflin Corporate who will cause major problems for Michael Scott. This should make for a very interesting turn of events for the folks of Scranton's favorite paper supply company. Could this be the undoing of Michael? Stay tuned.

ET went on set at The Office to interview John Krasinski and the cast. See it here on Tanster's site on

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Steve Carell's Carousel Production Company Inks Universal Studios Deal

As per the Hollywood Reporter, Steve Carell's Carousel Productions has entered into a three year development deal with Universal Studios, and will establish a television division to be headed by former Daily Show partners Thom Hanke and Campbell Smith. Instrumental in the deal is head of NBC Entertainment Ben Silverman, who recently gave Jenna Fischer and Rainn Wilson the green light to produce their own projects for the network.

Conan Has A Message For the New York Times

Looks like Conan is a little uptight about an NYTimes correction:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gratuitous Golden Globe After Party Photos

Although the movie industry is highly lauded at the Golden Globes, the television world is also honored, kind of like a beloved step child. Here is some of my favorite talent. Most have already graced the big screen; but on Sunday, they came representing their nominated shows on telly.

Some favorite Television people at the NBC Universal/Focus and Moet & Chandon after parties.

I wish I could say I was there and took all these pictures, but I wasn't and therefore didn't. All photos are copyrighted by GettyImages and were provided by WireImage.