NBC offers fall comedy

Jenn Orr
Journal Staff

Ladies and gentlemen, start your televisions! Turn on, tune in, and watch out; for the Thursday night NBC fall schedule is upon us. We have reached a point in time where there is no reason to feel guilty about planting yourself on the couch for two solid hours of primetime programming.

The currently awesome lineup, which runs from 8 to 10 p.m., is as follows: “Community,” “30 Rock,” “The Office,” and newcomer “Outsourced.” For those of you who have yet to relish in the hilarity of NBC Thursday nights, here are some reasons why it is now justified to sit back, relax, and enjoy four shows in a row.

Community. Now in its second season, “Community” has proven itself as deserving of the ever-coveted 8 p.m. timeslot. Look no further than the show’s creators, Dan Harmon of “The Sarah Silverman Program” and Joe and Anthony Russo of “Arrested Development.” And then there’s the cast, which includes comic veterans Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, and Ken Jeong. This season of “Community” finds the old study group joining forces once again in an effort to maintain both grades and often awkward relationships. Highlights thus far include Betty White guest-starring as a crazy huntress- professor who merely receives a paid administrative leave after beating the crap out of Joel McHale with 18th century weaponry.

30 Rock. Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Judah Friedlander, and Jack McBrayer: self explanatory. The players are hilarious and really have a grasp on the insane tendencies of their respective characters. This season features cameos by Matt Damon as Liz Lemon’s new guy who very well could be “the one,” based on the fact that they’re both huge weirdoes. But what could be a better reason to watch a show than for its extremely bizarre yet witty characters? Jack Donaghy (Baldwin) is a power-driven executive who eats, sleeps, and breathes sociopathic business practices. Tracy Jordan (Morgan) is a lunatic movie-turned-television actor whose repertoire includes “Honky Grandma be Trippin’” and “Who Dat Ninja,” among the other B-grades that made him the prima donna he is. And Liz Lemon is the food-wearing, Star Wars worshipping TV writer who somehow keeps her circus of coworkers together. If the characters and the up-to-date subject matter of the show aren’t enough for you, then consider the fact that this is Alec Baldwin’s last season—and possibly the last time he’ll ever make you laugh.

The Office. The Scranton Branch is at it again… whatever it is they actually do. The first episode of the season boasts one of the funniest, most awkward dance sequences known to common man. We’re learning more about Michael Scott (played by Steve Carrell) and why he is the hilariously ignorant fool that he is. Dwight (Rainn Wilson) has already annoyed the hell out of his coworkers and Angela (Angela Kinsey) has already found strange places to hide her cats, i.e. a car trunk. Then there’s Jim and Pam, whose relationship will probably never be annoying, unless their new daughter decides to be a baby and mess things up. Highlights thus far: Creed has a Twitter account; who knows why. And its Steve Carrell’s last season, so just watch it.

Outsourced. “Outsourced” is NBC’s newest addition to workplace comedy, and although it seems like a bad idea for a show (outsourcing American jobs is not exactly popular right now), it’s actually pretty funny. The show centers on an amusingly ignorant American manager (played by newcomer Ben Rappaport) who moves to India after his company’s call center has been outsourced to India. The funny part? The company sells novelties (ahem, junk) such as whoopee cush ions, Green Bay Packers cheese heads, and wallets made of bacon. And the supporting cast really delivers in making Rappaport’s character look like the arrogant yet culture-shocked joker he is. It’s not an offensive show; quite the contrary. So give it a chance, unless you want to see “Parks and Recreation” come back before midseason—in which case, ignore this show completely.

We’ve all crossed paths with a Liz Lemon or a Dwight Schrute, and if not, then we’re seriously lacking in fantastic weirdness.

The great thing about these shows is that even after watching two consecutive hours, your brain doesn’t feel like a muddled vegetable. They’re clever, well-written, and up-to-date for the most part. It’s the combination of comedy, character appeal, and camaraderie that draws us to our televisions every Thursday in anticipation for more.