Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Funniest Show on TV

In case you hadn't noticed, The Office is no longer the funniest show on television.

Not that it's any less funny.

I had my doubts last May that the show would be able to pull off the difficult task of keeping things on track once the Jim & Pam romantic tension had been released.

I was wrong about that. By mixing in some new blood from the Stamford office -- then one by one giving all but Karen and Andy the boot (for now, anyway) -- the show has been able to keep all the balls in the air. The last three episodes in particular ("Benihana Christmas," "Back From Vacation," and "Sales Teams") have been comic genius.

Unbeknownst to our Scranton crew, however, a new show, set up the interstate in New York, has quietly lapped them.

30 Rock is now the funniest show on television.

It began life as a vehicle for Alec Baldwin's deadpan -- and it surely remains that. But it also became a vehicle for Tracy Morgan's insanity, Rachel Dratch's one-off cameos, and the most killer combination of subtle humor (the faux-Springsteen soundtrack accompanying Liz Lemon's bridge & tunnel boyfriend on screen was the moment I fully realized that something special was up here) and over-the-top larfs since the heyday of The Simpsons.

Last weeks episode, "The Rural Juror" was when the show finally hauled itself all the way to the top of the heap and planted its flag. The guy who posted this clip on YouTube had it right: "When 'Barbara Walters' said 'curly haired surfer named Roberta' I laughed so hard I almost coughed up blood."


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