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The Office returns with a baby bump and 100 episodes in the bank

September
17

What a difference a DVD makes.

I’ve slowly been making my way through my Office Season 5 DVD set, having watched all the deleted scenes, the blooper reel and two of the commentaries so far. But it was the “100 episodes, 100 moments” montage, eight and a half minutes of highlights from the show’s every episode, that reminded my why I still care.

gossip-dwight-ryanYeah, the first 28 outshined the final 72, but there were stellar moments throughout. (Nothing to see here, by the way.)

And since then I’ve been pretty pumped up for tonight’s Season 6 premiere. Set your DVRs for 8:57 p.m.

Gossip — Michael feels left out as the rest of the office gossips about the summer interns. While Michael searches for the next juicy rumor to share, Andy struggles with heterosexuality.

Not much to go on there, but there are plenty of reviews of the pilot out there. I didn’t get my screener in time, and I wouldn’t have wanted to be spoiled for the premiere anyway. ign.com, for one, loved it.

I’ve given up on expecting the episode summaries to accurately reflect the episodes. Random predictions are as likely to be accurate.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, September 17th, 2009 at 10:59 am |
| | 2 Comments »

Should you watch NBC’s Community tonight?

September
17

In a nutshell: You betcha!

NUP_136156_1557

Community‘s a quirky little comedy that fits right in amongst NBC’s other Thursday night quirkfests: The Office and 30 Rock. (Sorry, I can’t muster up much enthusiasm for Parks and Recreation – at least not based on last season’s lackluster laughs.)

It’s a little bit snarky, sure – but personally, I’m a big fan of the snark.

Joel McHale excels as a slimy lawyer who needs a college degree and fast – don’t ask, it’s a long story – so he enrolls at Greendale Community College. A supporting cast of oddballs – including Bedford’s Chevy Chase in his first regular TV gig since SNL – rounds out the show nicely, too.

Check out my full review of the first episode here – and check out the show yourself at 9:30 p.m. tonight!

(Photo courtesy of NBC)

Posted by Heather Salerno on Thursday, September 17th, 2009 at 8:00 am |
| | 2 Comments »

Reader Poll: Chuck is embarrassing Dunder Mifflin, Losties

September
11

Chuck doesn’t return to the NBC airwaves for another seven months, but Remote Access readers apparently look forward to its return far more than the nearer premiers of The Office or Lost.

That’s pretty unbelievable, when you think about it.

OK, the vote totals are pretty low. Still, as unscientific (read: meaningless) as it is, it’s still an embarassment in black-and-white to fans of other great shows coming back this fall and promising new ones making their debuts. (Glee, anyone?)  I won’t let factual accuracy keep me from making a big deal about it.

So come on. Cast your vote, write in your favorite show, then clear your cache and vote again if you want.

Tell us what new or returning show are you looking forward to most?

Posted by Brian Howard on Friday, September 11th, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
| | 9 Comments »

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The Office is returning and I’m trying to get pumped up for it — Thoughts?

September
4

I have to admit, I don’t love The Office anymore.

I really, really, really, really like it, but the obsession I once had for the show has waned in recent seasons. There’s still so much that’s great about it, and it’s probably the most consistently good show on television. It’s clearly the best sitcom on the air, and it’s one of NBC’s best offerings overall.

But the brilliant first two seasons have become distant memories, followed by some seriously misguided and strike-hampered story arcs in the next two seasons (though they weren’t without great moments). Season 5, though, marked, if not a return to form, at least an intermittently stretches of great storytelling.

(Check out my bullet-by-bullet take on Season 5 after the jump.)

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Posted by Brian Howard on Friday, September 4th, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
| | 3 Comments »

Blackmail: Office webisodes seem like something they should probably just stop doing

June
1

If I could make two requests of The Office writers/creators that had nothing to do with the main storylines or stylistic choices of the show, they’d be as follows:

  • Don’t overuse Creed Bratton; and
  • Stop making webisodes.

Alas, I’m too late. They went ahead and released the latest series of webisodes, Blackmail. I couldn’t even be bothered to watch them when they first came out. I waited until the fourth and final installment showed up on Thursday and only just watched them all the way through.

I don’t want to bash them too harshly. After all, I just watched the short interview with the webisodes writers, Jonathan Hughes and Nate Federman. It’s harder to bash a writer’s work after seeing who they are and what they look like. It’s much easier to bash anonymously.

Besides, maybe it’s just me. Maybe people still love these the way I did two summers ago when the 10-clip “Accountants” webisodes first came out. They weren’t great either, but at least they had a novelty factor going for them.

Decide for yourselves, I guess. Here’s the first part, with parts II-IV and the writers clip and a Behind the Scenes clip after the jump.

Part I

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Posted by Brian Howard on Monday, June 1st, 2009 at 8:45 am |
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100 Office episodes in 30 seconds, courtesy of Michael Scott

May
29

This made me laugh. The guy hasn’t seemed to age.

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Posted by Brian Howard on Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
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NBC Finale Thursday: The end of a beginning, a centennial event and Lance Armstrong’s ex-wife

May
14

Here’s the rundown for tonight’s comedy line-up on NBC. I’ve been in a kind of denial about the approaching season’s end, but this is it for the season for me. I haven’t given much thought to summer fare yet, either.

Oh well, let’s enjoy it while it lasts — which is just a few more hours.

8:30 PM — Parks and Recreation

Rock Show Leslie attends an important meeting with a local bigwig while her sub-committee members go to Andy’s first concert since breaking his legs.

That is the worst picture of Rashida Jones since she left The Office. Not only is it decidedly Filippelli-ish, but it’s about as far a cry as you could get from the glam look she was sporting last week. I’ve never seen a woman be so pretty when smiling and so off-putting with a frown.

All I can say about this one is that it looks like a mega-dose of Chris Pratt’s Andy, which is to say, mucho awesome. He’s been the funniest thing about this show through the first five episodes of this short season, so funny I don’t think I can even repeat any of his band names. OK, Just the Tip, but that’s it.

It sounds strange to split Leslie up from her crew when this is the last glimpse we’ll have of the show before sometime in October. Hopefully, by then the show will return with its own voice apart from its Office roots but without sacrificing any of the funny it’s already bringing.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, May 14th, 2009 at 11:00 am |
| | Comments Off on NBC Finale Thursday: The end of a beginning, a centennial event and Lance Armstrong’s ex-wife

The Office recap: Casual Friday

May
1

The Office is really on a roll, such that you have to wonder where this wellspring of creativity comes from so late in the game.

That’s not a knock on the show and what roads it’s been down the last few years. Well, OK, it is a little. But while the show has been very good, often even great, for a long while, it hasn’t been transcendent for some time — just about three full seasons, actually.

But an episode like “Casual Friday” or recent installments like “Prince Family Paper,” “Broke” or “Michael Scott Paper Company” have revived a dormant vibe that made 22 minutes of Dunder Mifflin more than the sum of its eclectic, bizarre and sometimes all-too real parts.

I’m not even saying this was a great episode. But it did have a great feel to it.

I can’t put words to the feel, but I can talk about one thing the writers did that they so frustratingly wouldn’t always seem to do for a while. For starters they address issues before they become nagging questions.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Friday, May 1st, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
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Recap stalling tactics: Encouraging Chuck news (and some great disguises) and Pam changes seats at The Office

May
1

Full plate here at work today, so no time just yet to recap the awesomeness that was last night’s comedy lineup on NBC, aka “When Gibbons Attack.”

But to tide you over in the meantime, I’ll just share one of the best deleted scenes The Office has had in a long while. It addresses the oh-so key issue of Pam joining Jim’s and Dwight’s sales desk cluster. As usual, the best deleted scenes are the ones that never should have been deleted.

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Also, things remain active on the “Save Chuck!” front, with the webisphere keeping the attention level up and the fandom tensely awaiting word from NBC, which should make its decision on or before Tuesday.

For all the latest news, and Web master James Fan’s action proposal to the network, check out PleaseSaveChuck.com. James links to some encouraging reports from The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

And for a few laughs, check out this blogger’s carefully (and obviously painstakingly) compiled list of John Casey’s best disguises. A lot of people love the DJ, as do I, but my favorite has to be the nerd, from “Chuck Versus the Dream Job.”

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Posted by Brian Howard on Friday, May 1st, 2009 at 9:40 am |
| | Comments Off on Recap stalling tactics: Encouraging Chuck news (and some great disguises) and Pam changes seats at The Office

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Save Chuck! Oh, and check out tonight’s comedy lineup on NBC

April
30

Well, I’m down to three shows that I watch regularly and they’re all on Thursday nights.

Chuck, Heroes, Sarah Connor, BSG and Flight of the Conchords have all called it a season. I kind of wish what remained were spread out a little more. It makes for a solidly funny but exhausting effort for this whiny TV blogger.

Before I lay out the must-see lineup, I want to remind you all to check out PleaseSaveChuck.com for the latest on the efforts to save the best show on television. The NBC upfronts are Tuesday, so a decision on Season 3 is imminent. Watch the show on Hulu, buy a Subway footlong, send a letter to Ben Silverman and tell your friends. Saving Chuck is the must crucial task facing our nation. You know, besides all the other stuff.</p>

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Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, April 30th, 2009 at 10:01 am |
| | 4 Comments »

The Office recap: Broke…’Yeah Jim, like I would use a bad apiarist’

April
26

Michael’s balls were in Wallace’s court, the one place none of us ever expected to find them.

And in the end, things wrapped up rather tidily for The Office. This might be cause for a tirade at some other point in the series. Not this point, though. No, this happy ending was earned, and I just didn’t think that would be the case Michael walked out and took Pam with him.

I didn’t trust the writers, but this was one time a measure of trust would have gone a long way.

“Broke” might describe MSPC’s ledger sheet, but it says nothing about the idea factory calling the shots at Dunder Mifflin.

The very tone of this episode — desperate, uncertain…suspenseful? — was palpable. Pam seemed in crisis. Jim seemed suddenly optimistic. And Michael shined when it counted, recognizing a job is indeed a good thing to have, more so than a buyout.

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Posted by Brian Howard on Sunday, April 26th, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
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The Office recap: Heavy Competition

April
17

There can be only one. One Highlander, that is. There can be a bunch of greater Scranton-area paper salesmen. But still, the showdown between two of the best was a sight to behold.

You knew Michael was going to smack down his padawan learner. But that’s only because he knew not to say the color-coded things listed in his Rolodex. And orange you glad he did? Maybe Dwight was wearing those tight white sleeves for too long and couldn’t help but blurt out that bit about Mr. Schofield’s son.

Jim, meanwhile, got out from under Charles’s thumb for once and used his free time to play to Andy’s weaknesses, convincing his a capella pal that he’s needy and pathetic — just like Andy! It was kind of mean and kind of funny, but in the end it was a pretty cool gesture to show the Nard Dog that things could be worse. A lot worse. He could have married Angela.

I liked this episode a lot. It wasn’t epic or even momentous, but it had a great tone and simple aims. It was mostly funny — loved the cheese puff tossing and Dwight’s proof he wasn’t wearing a wire — with serious moments that had impact — Jim leveling with Andy about his relationship and Andy’s lack of one. Some moments offered both: Jim embracing Andy was a great sight gag and a nice moment.

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Posted by Brian Howard on Friday, April 17th, 2009 at 11:26 am |
| | 1 Comment »

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USA Today breaks down which shows are coming back, which one’s probably aren’t and which are on the bubble

April
16

Upfronts, the event where the networks woo advertisers with glitzy presentations of their fall schedules, are a month away, but speculation has been rampant for months about what current shows will survive the summer.

Fortunately, USA Today has done what it does best: created a graphic that breaks it all down for easy consumption. You can view it here.

What’s immediately clear to me is how few shows I watch, considering I blog about TV almost daily. I can take personal credit for contributing to the potential or impending demise of dozens of these shows that I’ve never seen. If you’re a fan of one of these, sorry.

A few entries jump out at me:

Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, April 16th, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
| | Comments Off on USA Today breaks down which shows are coming back, which one’s probably aren’t and which are on the bubble

The Office double-bill recap: Dream Team and Michael Scott Paper Company

April
12

Thursday night on NBC was all a bit much, and that’s a shame because the quality matched the quantity.

This was a night of television I’ll look back upon wistfully in late July when all I’ve got to choose between will be Mets-Nationals and Entourage reruns. The bounty of hilarious TV NBC foisted upon us all at once will make the summer TV hiatus feel longer and bleaker than hot summer nights ought to.

Between Parks and Recreation, the funniest debut of a new sitcom since 30 Rock, a brand new episode of 30 Rock itself and two new, nonconsecutive episodes of The Office, it was an embarrassment of comic riches. Not to complain, but it all kind of flowed together in the end.

That said, flowing together was what I was aiming for when I employed my DVR to watch The Office installments back-to-back, hour-long-style. Where “Dream Team” jumped off the screen with a new kind of Office vibe and lots of yuks throughout, “Michael Scott Paper Company” dragged a little even though it had its share of yuks too.

All in all, though, I really like where they’re taking things. (Here’s my P&R review, and I’m still working on a holiday weekend-delayed 30 Rock recap.) Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Sunday, April 12th, 2009 at 9:24 pm |
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No Office or 30 Rock tonight, but at least you’ve got me…right?

April
2

I’m somewhat at a loss here on a Thursday with no Office or 30 Rock to look forward to tonight.

But never fear, your faithful Remote Accessory is here with a few items to get you through the off-week. Just a few, mind you.

For starters, here’s the link to Liz Lemon’s 1-800-OKFACE ad from last week’s 30 Rock.

One question: if they don’t take credit cards, how do you pay the 70 cents a minute? I’m only embedding the actual scene from the episode because the faux ad expires in two days.

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Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
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The Office recap: Two Weeks

March
26

If you’d told me after Michael quit that he’d come crawling back I’d have believed it, but that’s not how I would have thought it’d play out.

And those few zany moments with Michael on his belly marked the only unnecessary padding in an otherwise cohesive episode. I’m not sure if cohesive is the right word for “Two Weeks,” but it flowed for me from the plot-relevant cold open all the way through. I wanted to keep watching to see how things played out, and the payoff was satisfying.

So was it a great episode? I’m going to have to mull that a while. I think what it was was another chapter in an ongoing story we’re being told. That’s no minor feat considering this whole season has had a meandering feel about it, where episodes stood well on their own but offered no continuity.

So yeah, I liked that.

Charles Miner is not long for the world of Scranton, I predict. The man who ran off Michael and put Jim in his place has put Kevin on the phones and made Stanley his productivity czar. Never mind that sales are about to plummet. People are going to chafe under his steel grip. This is not a career for these people; it’s a job.

And he just took away the sideshow and replaced it with toxic tension.

Like Toby said, when that in-flight movie ends you’re left wondering how much longer you’re going to be on that plane. And you can only live vicariously through someone else’s quitting story for so long before you realize only you can take charge of your future. No, those folks are going to rebel. Two episodes down and four to go for the man from Saticoy Steel, and his exit is already taking shape.

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Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
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The Office recap: New Boss

March
20

I admit it, I didn’t see it coming. Michal quit.

I didn’t buy it either. I can already see Michael-as-Nealon-as-Ahnuld announcing, “I’ll be back. I am back. For gooood.” His name’s not in the title, but it’s still The Michael Scott Show, at least when it’s not The Jim and Pam Show, anyway.

That said, good for you Mr. S. You gave up raises and girlfriends and committed yourself to this company. (You even put off having a family, whether they asked you to or not.) And in the end, they won’t even take your phone calls. They stick you with a taskmaster for a boss, and then they think they can make things right by throwing you a party.

So good for you. And it was Wallace who drove you out, not the new boss.

For 22 minutes of not much fun and only some funny, “New Boss” was a pretty good episode. The Office has been here before, but it’s been a while. I often hearken back to Season 2, but I think you have to reach back to Season 1 to find the kind of uncomfortable tension, that actual workplace feel where you don’t dare even speak lest the boss smack you down like the underling you are. Funny that the last person to make an impression like the one Charles (The Wire‘s Idris Elba) did was Jan “Godzillary” Levenson-Gould.

She softened up when she dropped the Gould, and so did the show.

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Posted by Brian Howard on Friday, March 20th, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
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The Office recap: Golden Ticket (blows up in your face)

March
12

In the words of Stanley Hudson, “I do not think that is funny.”

“I’m talking about “Golden Ticket,” the episode of The Office that ended about 90 minutes ago. From the moment Michael walked in wearing that ridiculous Wilie Wonka outfit to the point at which David Wallace stormed out flabbergasted at the bizarre, disturbing and frustrating turn of events, I could only sit and wonder what had become of my Office.

I really felt kinship with the CFO at that moment, in fact, because like him I felt like little I saw made sense.

Michael is a fool, a sales savant perhaps, but a socially inept fool lacking in common sense. That’s the character, and all his actions proceed from there. Fine. But I can’t swallow that a guy who’s such a genius at sales and has worked at a job for 15 years not only doesn’t know that boxes of paper stacked together on pallets might ship together. He doesn’t even know what a pallet is! That’s not funny. It’s tiresome.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, March 12th, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

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Tonight’s Office and 30 Rock preview — But first, some not so nice words about the state of my favorite show

March
12

I am about to make myself very unpopular with many Office fans by saying I think the show has never been as good as it was before “Casino Night.”

Don’t get me wrong. It’s been great, just not as great as that run of 28 episodes over the first two seasons when the show had something definitive to say about the drudgery and mostly unintentional comedy of office life. It adhered to a mock documentary conceit and put character development and story ahead of sitcom cliche.

I won’t say it jumped the shark that night in May 2006 — though even Happy Days aired 100 episodes after Fonzie did just that — but I will say the show took a sharp turn away from what it set out to be and instead started becoming a very funny show with a moderately wide appeal but not a heck of a lot of what once made it great.

If it’s a criticism to call it not quite great, so be it. I still love the show, have never missed an episode and tap in to the online fandom on a daily basis. I hardly rewatch episodes anymore like I used to, though. And as much as I’ve enjoyed this season, all the episodes seem to run together with few standouts and no real sense in my mind what the overarching story is.

Think I’m crazy, confused or just plain wrong? Fair enough, but here’s someone who shares my view and expresses it very well. Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, March 12th, 2009 at 10:30 am |
| | Comments Off on Tonight’s Office and 30 Rock preview — But first, some not so nice words about the state of my favorite show

For the first time in a while, Thursday means both The Office and 30 Rock

March
5

It’s been a while, but The Office is back and is paired with a new 30 Rock.

The promos and episode summaries have me thinking we’re in for a pretty good night of TV between the two, from an utterly changed Frank to the worst place to pick up women this side of the morgue. Here’s what they’re all about…

9 p.m. “Blood Drive” — It’s Valentine’s Day at the office. Michael meets a mysterious woman at a Valentine’s blood drive. Dwight and Kevin pair up with single women at the office “Lonely Hearts Party.” Meanwhile Jim and Pam are banished from the office for being too publicly affectionate, and have an awkward lunch with Phyllis and Bob.

9:31 p.m. “Goodbye, My Friend” — Liz befriends a pregnant teenaged donut shop employee, in an attempt to adopt her baby. Back on set, Jenna vies for more attention from the TGS staff as her birthday approaches, but Kenneth’s plan to combine her party with one for Tracy derails her efforts. Meanwhile, Jack agrees to go on a guys’ night out to keep his mind off of his absent girlfriend, and bonds with Frank over their daddy issues.

I’ll be back with my thoughts, and a few cool links, after the jump.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, March 5th, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
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Grab a snack, pull up a comfy seat and join our staff as they share their thoughts on your favorite shows. Tune in daily for their comments and post your own on such hit shows as "Lost," "Grey's Anatomy," "The Office," "American Idol," "24," "Heroes" and more.

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