People tend to group all “Community” episodes into one of two categories: high-energy genre parodies, like the paintball episodes or the stop-motion Christmas episode, and the regular old sitcom episodes. And while it doesn’t hurt to group the episodes this way, I think it’s a gross oversimplification.
As we enter the week of finales, having seen “30 Rock” and “Fringe” conclude last week, let’s assess the field.
Rather than bending over backward to represent the lives of its viewers, or the idealized future lives of the teenagers staying up late to watch it without their parents’ knowledge, “Ally McBeal” brandishes the individuality of its characters and the mind of its creator.
In its artificiality, “Nurse Jackie” seeks to convey a truth of the human condition so often diagnosed through alternative programming. From its whimsically animated titles to the tap dance sequence in season two, this show displays awareness of its status as a television show without slipping into omnipotence.
I have regained respect for the American Movie Channel and have gleaned a new understanding of the procedural form from its newest serial drama, “The Killing.”
“Parks and Recreation” succeeds because it, unlike “The Office,” integrates experimentation into the fabric of its characters, plot and sense of humor.
FX’s foray into the niche universe of animated television with “Archer” combines genre parody with a procedural framework in an attempt to prove that men care about characters with the same fervency as women.
The 2011 winter television premieres, however, have not been good to either genre, between MTV’s salacious and sloppy “Skins” and Showtime’s casual attempt at comedy with “Episodes.”