I hate June. It’s hot, and there’s nothing good on TV. Last night, I watched the Bravo! A-List Awards. It was sort of excruciating.
News is slow. Everyone is either off filming movies or hanging out with their kids. In my town, a significant portion of the summer is spent in Congressional recess, meaning that there’s not much for any of us to do. It’s ironic, really. I have a practically infinite amount of time to blog during the summer, and nothing about which to blog.
Yeah, I think that’s one of those things that’s not really ironic persay. It just sucks.
Anyway, during the hiatus, news outlets and bloggers alike are hard-pressed to find stories. So today I’ll be talking about the Office spinoff and the tiny pieces of information recently released.
Variety reports that Aziz Ansari is the first hire of the spinoff, though producers are remaining quiet on the role Ansari will play. By producers, we mean Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, who will be exec-producing the spinoff. Stepping in for Daniels as showrunner on The Office will be Paul Lieberstein, which I suppose we should’ve seen coming since his character was seemingly written off there in the finale.
First of all, way to go, Mose, for getting a promotion, but I’m slightly heartbroken by this. Greg Daniels and Michael Schur are, in my professional opinion, the two best writers The Office has. Greg adapted these characters, he Americanized them, he made the Jim and Pam storyline so much more powerful and angst-ridden than Tim and Dawn could have imagined. And Michael Schur has graced us with “The Alliance,” “Christmas Party,” “Traveling Salesmen,” and “The Negotiation.” It kills me that they’re leaving their posts at The Office and leaving Paul Lieberstein of all people in charge. Lieberstein wrote “The Carpet” and “The Coup,” which are just awful, as well as “Goodbye, Toby,” which of course made me want to shoot someone in the face, namely Paul Lieberstein.
Before the season finale aired, I was terrified of Toby pulling a “Casino Night” and confessing his undying love for Pam. I said, “If he actually throws Jam out of whack, I will slap someone. A writer or Toby or a producer...looks like it’ll be you, Paul Lieberstein.” Looking back, I almost wish Toby had done something drastic, as it would have at least given the finale some semblance of plot. But I don’t trust my show—much less my ship—in the hands of this guy. I think he would be more than willing to sacrifice Jam for what he thinks is funny, and frankly, I don’t value his opinion on funny. I’m very nervous.
There still isn’t a plot for the spinoff. It’s good that Greg and Mike are taking the time to work on it—and nice that the network is giving them such freedom—but I’m really curious at this point. I think the market for office comedy is pretty saturated with just The Office. Obviously, though, The Office—with its steady cams and talking heads—has a unique format. You take that format to a non-office situation and it’s still perhaps an Office spinoff without being, say, Dunder-Mifflin: Utica. (Variety says Rashida Jones has signed a talent agreement with Universal, which could be linked to anything in the Universal universe. This is a bad move for the production company, who probably would have known better if they had watched an episode of Unhitched.)
Damn, I’m bitchy today.
I’m also really miffed at NBC in general. They’re way too focused at this point on recreating the NBC of, like, 2000. They would like to instantly have a Must-See TV Thursday, a handful of awesome dramas, and the occasional piece of quality reality television. In grasping for monetary success, they’re not nurturing the high-quality television they’ve got working for them right now.
I’m catching up on season two of Friday Night Lights right now and let me just say that this show has undeniably the best acting on television. Connie Britton is amazing. Kyle Chandler kills me every episode with the simplest facial expression. I am consistently blown away. And yet if you look at this Emmy campaign NBC Universal put together, you’ll see that they’re lobbying harder for Life. Why aren’t they making a huge freaking deal about Friday Night Lights? Why are they not doing everything in their power to promote FNL and stand behind it? Their DirecTV deal for a third season was done almost reluctantly. Which I absolutely do not understand since FNL consistently stays on schedule, isn’t ridiculously big-budget (hello, Heroes?), and yet remains an unparalleled show in terms of quality. It’s also a family show. Holy crap! What’s the problem, monkeys!?!
The good news? Fresh minds are being brought onto The Office’s staff to fill in for Greg and Mike, and they include Paul Feig, who created Freaks and Geeks and has directed a handful of Offices, Arrested Developments, as well as the awesome 30 Rock episode “Cleveland.” Thanks, IMDb!
NBC is digging themselves into a huge hole. I have issues with their handling of Friday Night Lights, The Office, 30 Rock, ER, Scrubs, and Studio 60 in the past two years. The network deserves to be in fourth place; the first-place shows that have somehow survived being manhandled by Jeff Zucker and his team of monkeys do not.