Friday, January 05, 2007

In a VAN DOWN BY THE O.R.!

Spoilers for, in order, "Scrubs," "30 Rock" and "My Name Is Earl" coming right up...

I've already seen an advance copy of the "Scrubs" musical (short version: "Buffy" did it better, but still a lot of fun), so I kept being distracted during "My House" wondering when somebody was gonna sing. Good episode, and a more extended look at the eerie Cox/House parallels that we've all been noticing for a few years now. Frankly, I wish they could have really gone to town on that subplot, but servicing four stories in 20 some odd minutes makes that tough to pull off. (And a question for the many medical minds out there: in the original Orange Guy story in the "House" pilot, it was the carrot juice -- or maybe some kind of carrot-y vitamin, I forget -- that turned the man orange, where here Cox said that would make someone yellow. Who's right?)

Few other random thoughts before moving on to "30 Rock":
  • I really wish they had brought Elizabeth Banks in for a different storyline that just let her be funny all the time.
  • The Janitor's art (as seen above) rules.
  • Hands up, anyone who somehow didn't realize it was Carla crying as soon as Party Doc mentioned it to Cox. They've been subtler.
  • Hands up, anyone who intends to incorporate "mega-loathe" into everyday speech.
  • Dave Foley! Love Dave Foley. Still trying to figure out exactly when this whole Satanic imp look of his started, however. What was he up to between "NewsRadio" and the celebrity poker show?
Now, "30 Rock." Is there any circumstance under which Alec Baldwin doesn't win the supporting actor Emmy? Big name star, satirizing cluelesss Hollywood executives, and screamingly funny all the time. The stress eating. The casual way he delivers lines like "My mother sent me to Vietnam to try to make a man out of me. I was 12." The contempt he puts into phrases like "trawling for seed." The rage behind "YOU CUT POP'S BALLS OFF! AND LEFT HIM IN THE STREET TO DIE!" Amazing.

A good Liz episode, too, and I never get tired of hearing Tina Fey refer to "my junk." Dr. Spacemen returns (and reveals multiple specialties), Tracy casually refers to "sex pooping," and the dubbing on the Jack and Tracy impressions was just obvious enough to actually make them funnier. (The faux-Baldwin sounded like Tom Davis dubing for Bill Murray in "Il Returno De Hercules.")

But the funniest show of the three, by quite a stretch, was "My Name Is Earl." This is why I've been arguing for more of Bad Earl. This right here. And you can tell the writers have wanted to go here, too, because the entire season's been leading up to it, notably his babyishness during the Mexico two-parter. Earl (man and show) gets funnier and oddly more likable the worse he behaves, and the entire episode felt packed with gags that the writing staff had been saving up for the right occasion (the stolen artificial voice box, the photo booth bit, Randy's "I love stealing!"). How do I not remember that Tim Stack (as himself) lives in Camden County? His IMDb entry -- which, at the moment, has 63 acting entries, not 62 -- lists him in an early first season episode. Did I miss it, or did it not address the fact that it was Tim Stack as Tim Stack? I love that guy, and great to see him in the Notch Johnson costume again.

But the highlight -- especially in light of the "Pardon the Interruption" discussion below -- was them recreating the bear/trampoline video that Tony played, like, three times a week for most of 2005.

What did everybody else think?

23 comments:

Roper said...

I think my favorite Dave Foly line was when he called JD a D-bag. I thought you could say douche on tv but either way it was definitely better as D-bag. Glad to see Dave Foley anywhere these days.

On a side note, I've been watching the Season 1 DVD of HIMYM and I think Marshall dancing is soon going to rival Turk dancing in spontaneous hilarity and guaranteed laughter.

the2scoops said...

Roper: If you dug Jason Segal's dancing as Marshall, do yourself a favor and watch the final episode of the show Freaks & Geeks, where his character gets into disco.

I think HIMYM would need to provide a few more "Marshall Gets His Dance On" scenes before he can go up against Turk. His little "A Brother's Gonna Have Some Sex" dance from last season was brilliant.

Anonymous said...

So were the impressions really just dubbed? I kept trying to figure it out because they sounded too good to be real impressions, but just off enough that they didn't seem like dubbing.

BF said...

Stack was the celebrity host of Joy's Prettiest Pretty Beauty Pageant.

House's Orange guy was a carrot + vitamin combo instead of carrot + tomato.

SO Many other Earl highlights:
Donnie Jones' snake pants.
The origin of Eyepatch Mailman.
Joy's "I'm not having an affair with a black man!!!"
and of course...

"You had me at balls".

Isaac said...

Alan -- I didn't watch House, so I didn't know it used this as well, but that whole orange-guy thing is pretty much lifted in its entirety from a book by Berton Roueche called "The Medical Detectives," a collection of pieces (New Yorker and elsewhere) about doctors figuring out bizarre diseases. Let me know if anybody on a doctor show gets poisoned by tomato cross-bred with a tobacco plant; that's a Roueche piece as well.

Anonymous said...

Great Earl episode last night...I was beginning to lose interest in the show but burst out laughing a bunch of times. Thought it was the best episode of the 4 comedies on NBC last night.

Line of the night for me was "I skinned my pecker".

Eric said...

Here's where Dave Foley started the whole Satanic Imp thing.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Eric, Hecubus didn't look like Foley looks now.

"Dirty dirty liar! Evil evil white boy!"

Oliver Willis said...

Did I read the credits wrong, or didn't it also list Stack as a writer for this episode?

mschlock said...

Ditto on the Orange Guy coming from that book. Several episodes of House have also been lifted entirely from Roueche -- a kid who contracts anthrax from dust, organophosphate poisoning from tainted pants, and at least one other I can't remember right now.

I didn't spot any direct lifts in the most recent season, so maybe they've put the book down for now...

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"Let me know if anybody on a doctor show gets poisoned by tomato cross-bred with a tobacco plant"

Wait, wait...tomacco is BAD for you?

Mac said...

O-Dub's right -- Stack was the credited writer of the episode.

Isaac said...

Chris -- seriously, if you ever decide to shunt a tomato plant into a tobacco plant, (a) it will work; and (b) God will punish you for messing with nature. It killed the farmer in the book.

J said...

Krakowski had her first funny moment, last night, letting Kenneth sing almost half a line of "Greatest Love of All." Old joke, but great timing.

This 30 Rock was a bit too frantic out of the gate for me, but caught up once the Baldwin/mom revealed itself. The Morgan impersonations were hilarious (what was it, "Space Cougar?"), and the baby theft moment was perfect.

Two stolen infants, last night. Is this NBC's next wave of product placement? Am I supposed to be shopping for babies and Snapple, now? Because you know the same thing's going to happen to Jordan over on Unfunny Sorkin Program.

Loweeel said...

More specifically, I think the Orange guy was also a reference to the end of Season 1 House-on-House "Three Stories" Episode. Recall that he was coloring with crayons (red, yellow, and brown) to make his "tea-colored" urine point.

Anonymous said...

Here's a great clip for Dave's great character Hecubus:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=b7mwpYiVuY8

Dave shows up about 1:05 in.

Katie V said...

About the orange guy plot: speaking from experience, when my son was a baby, he loved orange veggie baby foods (carrots, squash, sweet potatoes) and he most definitely turned orange. Not like the guy on the show, obviously, but it was certainly noticeable. When he took a bath with his 2 year old sister, it was very obvious he was orange compared with her. It's the beta carotene. Jaundice turns you yellow, but beta carotene turns you orange (this happened to my dad to a lesser extent when he OD'd on the beta carotene vitamin supplements).

Manuel said...

Ican't help it, but I find Scrubs so tired these days. And it used to be my favourite show. I hope they put it to rest after this season.

filmcricket said...

See, I always thought Foley's current look was inspired by the closet demon he played in one KITH sketch where Kevin McDonald has his house re-modeled and it looks exactly the same, except he has a demon. ("I hate your FEET!")

Foley has certainly been working this look since he played Jack's boyfriend on Will & Grace three years ago.

Alan Sepinwall said...

All I'm saying is that I can't imagine the current version of Dave Foley making an attractive woman the way the old Foley did.

DonBoy said...

Hands up, anyone who somehow didn't realize it was Carla crying as soon as Party Doc mentioned it to Cox.

The spoiler in the TiVo plot summary didn't help, either. ("Carla begins to show signs of post-partum depression.")

Anonymous said...

My favorite part of 30 Rock is when Alec Baldwin's mom was asking him (or who she thought was him) about his bowel movements.

"Yes, mom. This morning."

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that RAF pilots in WWII turned orange because they were on a regimental diet including loads of carrots, for their eyesight. Hey, whatever works!

The fertilizer-on-the-pants plotline was also done in the first and only season of Medical Investigation, which ran concurrent to s1 of House, and got the jeans plotline a week or two ahead of that show. I haven't read Roueche's book, but I'd bet that MI took a few other plots from it; MI was abotu small outbreaks of rare diseases, either a single thing poisoning/infecting multiple people, or contagions, and it looks like Roueche's book has a few of those.

Scrub's House gag was great, but of course he didn't solve Carla's problem, becauseit's the only one that could possibly carry on into the next show and one after that. We could see any of the others just once in the future, but then they're out.