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No new Office or 30 Rock so let’s look what lies ahead


There’s not a lot of The Office or 30 Rock in the near future.

In fact it’s reruns only tonight, with the hilarious “Baby Shower” and the less hilarious “Retreat to Move Forward,” respectively. But it’s a good time to look ahead and see what’s in store for future Peacock Thursdays.

30 Rock returns next week, Feb. 26, with “Larry King,” which may or may not actually be titled “Jalisa.” Here’s the summary…

Jack considers taking the next step with Elisa, but will he be able to choose between his commitment to her and his demanding career? Meanwhile, Tracy’s interview on “Larry King Live” sends New York City into a panic. Out in the chaotic city, Liz Lemon recruits Kenneth to venture out to Queens to retrieve her lost cell phone from a surly cabbie.

I don’t give a %*&# about Jack’s next step with Elisa, but I expect great things from Tracy’s interview old Larry. Rounding it out with some heavy Kenneth action should offset the plodding story of Jack’s love life.

A week later, on March 5, both shows return. Check out the summaries after the jump.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, February 19th, 2009 at 12:05 pm |

Paper company workers searching for Earth?


I had to share these Battlestar Galactica/The Office opening credits crossover sequences because I thought they were quite awesome.

I can’t decide which one I like better, but I love the fact that someone else loves my two current favorite shows as much as I do and put the effort in to create them.

Battlestar Galactica – Office Style

Battlestar Office-ica (Now with Cylon Opening)

Posted by Brian Howard on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 at 11:00 am |
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The Office Recap: Lecture Circuit, Pt. 2 (kind of a meh-pisode)


If, in 22 minutes we see one Scrantonite lick her cat and cough up a hairball, another take a birthday catnap under a table and a third get catty towards his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend and all his co-workers, you’d have to figure it was a pretty good episode of The Office.

Instead, to borrow a phrase, it was pretty much a mehpisode. That is, my main reaction was “Meh.” (Of course that didn’t stop nearly 9 million people from tuning in.)

I didn’t love “Lecture Circuit, Pt. 2,” but I sure didn’t hate it either. There was a lot about it I liked a lot; I’d say I liked it a lot. I just didn’t love it.

And I think the reason is the missed opportunities.

Check out the episode here, and check out my recap and reactions after the jump…

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Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Friday, February 13th, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
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Looking ahead at The Office and 30 Rock, a little spec and a Bale-esque rant


We’re getting a three-week hiatus from The Office and, apparently, from 30 Rock.

“Lecture Circuit, Pt. 2,” the sequel to last week’s Office cliffhanger, airs tomorrow night and we get to see what becomes of Michael and Pam’s jaunt to Nashua where Michael (Steve Carell, pictured with his real-life “Holly” Nancy Walls) will seek closure from Holly. Here’s what NBC says we can expect…

Michael and Pam continue their tour of the branches with Michael taking a lesson from their visit to Utica. Dwight and Jim struggle to fulfill their new party planning duties with a grumpy staff. Angela’s new cat causes a stir.

That sounds pretty good, but you know what? I think I can do better. Here’s my prediction of how this plays out, at least from Michael’s perspective…

Michael arrives in Nashua. In typical melodramatic fashion, he sprints from the car before Pam can even come to a full stop. He bangs on the outside doors, even though Dunder Mifflin is on the second floor, and screams, “Holly! I neeeedd clooooosurrrrree!!! And I want to squeeeeeeeeze theeeemmmmm!!!” (Callback to “The Job” from Season 3)

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 at 11:08 am |
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Stress Relief preview: The post-Super Bowl episode is so good you’ll forget there was a game on before it


I read with jealousy and also bitter envy the reviews of those bloggers lucky enough to land an advance copy of Sunday’s hour-long, post-Super Bowl episode of The Office, titled “Stress Relief.”

Then I thought, hey I’m a blogger with a fairly large media outlet. Where’s my screener? Turns out it was in our main office. A quick trip via interoffice mail later (not for me, for the screener) and I had what I boldly call the funniest episode of The Office since Season 2 — with the possible exceptions of “Beach Games” and the copier scene in “Branch Wars.”

There’s been much chatter about this episode, what with the famous guest stars, the prime time slot and the supersized run time. What can I say? It lives up to every bit of they hype. When my pal GMMR compared it to the vaunted second season, I thought it was hyperbole.

It wasn’t. It’s that good. I’m not going to spoil any of it, but spoilers are in the eye of the beholder so read on duly warned.

First off, for the Jam fans, the Jim-Pam storyline about Pam’s parent’s fighting and Pam wondering how that bodes for her relationship with Jim Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Friday, January 30th, 2009 at 10:00 am |
| | 1 Comment »

Your weekly Office/30 Rock preview


Can I call it a weekly preview even if I’ve never combined them before and don’t necessarily preview either show a lot of weeks?

To paraphrase the president, yes I can. (Also, Malia, don’t touch that red phone, sweetie.)

I have to admit, Thursday nights wear me out. Yes, a TV blogger is whining about TV blogging. But hear me out. I recap both 30 Rock and The Office, and I can’t start watching either until 9, and they’re not over until 10. Factor in time for pausing the DVR while I scribble down funny quotes and any inspired musings I may have, and it’s closer to 10:30 before I start recapping.

Most times my plan is to recap one that night, usually The Office, and recap the other, usually 30 Rock, on Friday morning. Most times, this plan falls through because I put off both until Friday, when real work keeps me from getting to at least one of them. Then I post one or both a few days later (and every now and again not at all).
So I’ve tried to scale back my ambitions. Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
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Anticipating the return of The Office


It’s Office Thursday! Well, not quite. But in a week it will be.

So in honor of the winter hiatus’s impending close, I thought it time to open my spoiler-free eyes and take a look at what’s coming up.

When last we left Dunder Mifflin Scranton, the most depressing Christmas party ever culminated in Phyllis revealing Dwight and Angela’s illicit affair to everyone but Andy. Pam was back from New York. Michael was seemingly over Holly. And Meredith completed the shortest rehab stint ever.

First off, here are your next three episode titles and summaries…

Jan. 15: Duel — The office is on eggshells because Andy still hasn’t found out about fiancee Angela’s affair with Dwight. When Michael spills the beans, Dwight and Andy take matters into their own hands. Meanwhile, Michael is nervous about being called down to corporate for a meeting with Wallace.</p>

<p>Jan. 22: Prince Family Paper — Michael and Dwight go undercover to do a bit of industrial espionage on a paper company competitor. Meanwhile, the rest of the office holds a debate to settle the question: is Hilary Swank hot?

Feb. 1: Stress Relief — No summary released yet but Paul Lieberstein is the writer. Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, January 8th, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
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A merry Office Christmas video because it still ’tis the season


Retail-wise, Christmas 2009 is a memory, but religiously speaking it’s not even halfway through. I think we’re on Six Geese-a-laying by now, in fact. And since the retail figures rolling in are about as sad as your last 401k report, perhaps we should be turning to a higher power.

With ongoing Yuletide in mind, I give you The Office‘s Leslie David Baker and Bobby Ray Shafer detailing the office Christmas tree, a Charlie Brown variety if ever there was one. What this video lacks in image quality, it makes up in horrendous audio quality.

It also boasts the most mis-applied “That’s What She Said” ever uttered on The Office set.

Leslie gets the second place cast award for most disturbing real-life voice. Naturally Brian Baumgartner ran away with that category.

All that said, I think, as Mame put it, we could use a little Christmas, right this very minutes. So for that, thanks guys.

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Speaking of Baumgartner, this Atlanta Journal-Constitution interview is a must-read. I’ve been following this show closely for almost three years and I’m surprised I can still learn new things about the cast. What steered the future Kevin Malone from sports to theater is one example.

The role he played on CSI is most definitely another.

Posted by Brian Howard on Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
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SAG Award noms bring some familiar matchups while Office workers moonlight and Salma Hayek goes deep


So the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations were released the other day, and the comedy match-ups are pretty familiar.

It’s not surprising the same names keep coming up in these contests, since there are so few comedies on TV these days.

As usual, Alec Baldwin and the cast of 30 Rock go up against Steve Carell and the cast of The Office in the Outstanding Actor and Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series categories, respectively.

There’s every possibility, however unfair, that Jeremy Piven and the cast of Entourage could send both home winless.My money’s on Baldwin and The Office. My heart is on Carell and 30 Rock.

Weeds is up in the comedy series category, too, as is star Mary Louise Parker for Outstanding Actress, though my heart and money are on Tina Fey, but only by a little.

The 15th Annual SAG Awards airs Jan. 25 on TNT and TBS.

Speaking of SAG, by the way, OfficeTally has sifted through and pulled out all the Office folks from the list of some 130 actors opposing a strike by the union. Really? After what a hoot last year’s WGA strike was?

One curious omission struck me: Jenna Fischer. Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Friday, December 19th, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
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Post-Super Bowl Office a star-studded affair (for better or worse)


Info has been trickling out all week on the post-Super Bowl episode of The Office.

First there was the reveal that Jack Black will guest star. Then came news Jessic Alba would be joining him. (ETA: Almost forgot, Cloris Leachman too.) This is starting to sound like a modern version of The Love Boat. The reassuring part is that they won’t really be in the episode. Instead they’ll be the stars of a bootleg movie one of the staff secretly tries to watch.

My question, then, is why bother?

I mean, I’m glad they’re not going the stuntcasting route. 30 Rock perfected that tack before flubbing it repeatedly this season. The Office, deliberately by some accounts, has always avoided actors whose recognition factor would take viewers out of the show.

So you’ve gotten Tim Meadows as the hilarious Lackawanna County official Michael woos in “The Client” or Amy Ryan, whose Wire stint and Oscar nominations were common knowledge among only a savvy few. Amy Adams is another good example.

The thought of Black or Alba swinging by Dunder Mifflin bugs me more than Liz Lemon sitting next to Oprah on a plane (even if it was only a hallucination).

Posted by Brian Howard on Friday, December 19th, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
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Goodbye to The Office for 2008…Welcome back Karen in 2009


I previewed tonight’s episode of The Office yesterday, but I failed to mention — because I didn’t realize it at the time — that it’s the final episode of the year.

A quick check of the NBC media site and the always reliable OfficeTally calendar, just to be sure, reveals that after tonight we’ve got a month of repeats before new episodes resume.

Replays of “Crime Aid” and “Customer Survey” will air Dec. 18. “Goodbye, Toby” is up on Jan. 1. New episodes resume Jan. 15. So this is it. E

njoy your new Office fix while it lasts. It also occurs to me that tonight’s episode, “Moroccan Christmas” is only a half-hour long.

How is it not an hour long? The schedulers at NBC have next to no idea when to supersize and when not to. (I know, they technically don’t supersize anymore since that referred to the odd 40-minute episodes like “Casino Night.” I think the term should still apply to anything longer than the standard half-hour episode.)

By the way, in case you  haven’t heard, Karen’s coming back.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, December 11th, 2008 at 10:44 am |
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‘In Treatment,’ ’30 Rock,’ ‘Mad Men’ lead Golden Globe nods


The 2009 Golden Globes were announced this morning, and in the TV categories, the big winners were the cable networks.

Of the 10 nominees for Best Comedy and Drama series, seven air on pay or basic cable channels.

In comedy, the nominees are: “30 Rock” (NBC); “Californication” (Showtime); “Entourage” (HBO); “The Office” (NBC); “Weeds” (Showtime).

For drama, the nominees are: “Dexter” (Showtime); “House” (FOX); “In Treatment” (HBO); “Mad Men” (AMC); “True Blood” (HBO).

HBO’s “In Treatment” was the big surprise of the TV nominees, scoring a total of 5 nods, including Best Actor for Gabriel Byrne and Best Supporting Actress for Dianne Wiest.

The recent Emmy winner for outstanding drama – AMC’s “Mad Men” – received 3 nominations. Fans’ beloved Don Draper himself (Jon Hamm) made the list, of course, but so did Don’s long-suffering wife, Betty (January Jones, who is, no doubt, saying “Suck it!” to the Emmy voters who overlooked her in September).

As far as other TV actresses go, Anna Paquin’s nomination for her role in HBO’s vampire romance, “True Blood,” was also a bit of a shocker. The series was recognized as well.

And in the comedy categories, Tina Fey continued her march toward world domination: She and “30 Rock” co-star Alec Baldwin were nominated, as well as the series.

As for HBO’s “Entourage,” we wonder if Jeremy Piven will continue his lucky streak: He snagged his third Emmy for playing hyperactive agent Ari Gold last fall, and he may just repeat last year’s Golden Globe win. Interestingly, though, co-star Kevin Connolly was nominated in the Best Comedy Actor category, while Piven stayed in the supporting actor group.

Go here to find out who else was nominated from your favorite TV shows – and movies, too (Heath Ledger got a much deserved posthumous nod for playing the Joker in the summer blockbuster, “The Dark Knight”).

Looking over this list of worthy adversaries, all I have to say is this: Who says there’s nothing good on TV?

Posted by Heather Salerno on Thursday, December 11th, 2008 at 10:10 am |
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The Office recap: ‘The Surplus’ divides the staff, unites fans behind a vintage episode


I’m not waiting until tomorrow morning to get down on paper (well, on screen anyway) how awesome I thought tonight’s episode of The Office was.

You know those 712 reasons why you loved this show at its best? This episode had 645 of them, and it wasn’t even supersized.

This  episode was about next-to-nothing. Seriously, a rift over how to spend a $4,300 surplus would barely constitute a B- or C-story most episodes. But the writers blew it up. They took a completely relatable scenario and dissected the petty office politics that would erupt when put-upon office drones are forced to choose between basic comfort and the tools they need just to do their jobs. It was like they were stuck for what to write about, so they called in a security guard to settle the matter.

And for good measure, they split Pam and Jim on opposite sides.  On that note, Pam is a fiercely competitive individual, and she’s not afraid to use her feminine wiles to get what she wants.

Not that it works on man-child like Michael who no doubt sincerely views her as a daughter. Or a sexy sister-in-law. Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, December 4th, 2008 at 10:59 pm |
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First Webisode up! ‘The Outburst’


Updated: Watch the first Webisode and other related videos after the jump!

Since they debuted, the periodic Office webisodes have been a mixed bag, a welcome fix in times of hiatus but usually subpar in terms of hastily assembled scripts and sometimes stilted acting.

I sometimes got the feeling I spent more time making my lunch than they spent on this past summer’s installment about Kevin’s gambling debt.

I’ll just throw out a spoiler alert now, even though I don’t plan to be too spoilery.

The latest round of webisodes, which debut at NBC.com tomorrow (Nov. 20), are pretty awesome. For starters, the run times are a little longer than the usual two-minute in-and-out. The casting involves pretty much everyone on the show short of Steve Carell, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson and John Krasinski (aka the convention no-show quartet).

And of those characters that do appear, easily a half-dozen of them could be said to be showcased.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Thursday, November 20th, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
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I take it Michael Scott would be wearing waterskis and a leather jacket?



The Office isn’t what it once was. No show is after 70-something episodes. And to be fair, it’s still better than most of what’s on TV. That said, honest fans can see a finish line in the distance, even if the Scranton branch still has a few seasons left in its bag of tricks.

But I came across an idea for a way to make it end immediately, or at least make the most diehard fans wish it would: Have Ricky Gervais appear as his character from Extras. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? So he tells TVGuide.com…

“I’d quite like them to maybe be watching an episode of Extras, and Michael Scott comes along and goes, ‘This guy is no good. If they ever do a remake, I think I should do that part.”

Maybe it was just an offhand quip, but I can see the sharks circling on Lake Wallenpaupack as I write this, because that would be the show’s ultimate shark-jumping moment.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Brian Howard on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 11:11 am |
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