April 2014 TV Comedy Roundup

There’s been a lot going on in the world of comedy this month. We saw many season finales, major developments, and a Jon Hamm cameo because Jon Hamm will do absolutely anything. Let’s not pussyfoot around and get right to it.

A Parks and Rec Seri-, um, Season Finale

Parks and Recreation season 6 episode 21 Moving Up (7)

Since the beginning of Parks and Recreation, the show has been threatened with cancellation. It’s why every possible conclusion for the show has been done over the past 6 seasons. However, none of them have felt as finite as the one the show did last Thursday. It’s easy to focus on the massive concert scene or Amy Poehler’s magnificent mania in the face of Michelle Obama, but that’s not where the greatness of Parks and Recreation lies. The best part of the show is in the show’s understanding of its own world, not the people who come by for a visit. The season’s final episode alone featured a payoff to a throwaway Ginuwine joke made three years earlier. The show’s characters remain some of the fullest and well-drawn characters on television. The writing remains in tip-top shape, and the twist at the end of the finale will give the show an energy in its final season it definitely needed. Suddenly, a show that felt tired is reinvigorated. Granted, NBC will probably sacrifice it to CBS’s Thursday football slate this fall, but the fans of the show still standing won’t care. The NFL will continue to exist after 2014, but we’ve only got one more season of one of the best comedies I’ve seen. Whenever it returns next season, it will be something worth savoring.

Who Wore It Better: Breakup Edition

New Girl Season 3 Episode 21 Big News (1)

Two of Fox’s Tuesday’s Underappreciated Comedies (Their trademarked name, I believe) recently underwent a decoupling. One was brief, one ran for awhile, but the end result is the same; one has now become two. The viability of the couples will differ among the fans of the respective shows, but what’s interesting to note is how New Girl and The Mindy Project chose to handle their breakups. The Nick and Jess relationship was given a lot of time to season, and seemed to be heading in a solid direction. However, the relationship did seem to stagnate as it progressed. That may be more indicative of the problems with the series as a whole, but this incaranation of the Nick and Jess relationship had to be scrapped. I’m sure they’ll come back to it at some point, but it’s good to give their characters time to develop on their own before coming back to it.

On Mindy, it’s more about the tenable nature of the Danny-Mindy relationship. Danny is a 65 year old man in the handsome package of a thirty-something, and Mindy is a flighty, romance-obsessed tornado. It seemed kind of ridiculous on paper and seemed headed to play out that way before they pulled the plug. As with Nick and Jess, some character changes over the next season or two (if the show hangs in there that long) could produce a better match. The chemistry is undeniable, but the idea of them as a couple doesn’t work for the moment. Give it time ‘shippers.

Owners of the Comedy Conch: HBO

If you’re unfamiliar with the conch shell, read a book. I’m just kidding; don’t do that. In all seriousness, I wanted to institute a new monthly feature here on the Comedy Roundup: The Comedy Conch. The Comedy Conch will be issued to the network with the highest comic appeal at the moment. In my mind, there’s no doubt the current owner is HBO. With Veep in its third season and upstart Silicon Valley drawing laughs, HBO’s 10 PM hour has quickly become a hotbed for awesome comedy. Veep has picked up where it left off at the close of its second season. It has roared out of the gate with an exceptional brand of storytelling to go along with its usual quick wit and gnarly sense of humor. Silicon Valley is a surprising achiever in this category given its low stakes cast and story. Still, the beats are exceptional, and its particular brand of snarky comedy actually produces a much more positive worldview than that of Veep. Silicon Valley does trade in parodic absurdity, but there is some real heart lying beneath some of the easier punchlines. The show does have a recognizable face in the form of T.J. Miller, but the show would be wise to temper its use of him. He’s the biggest star there, and he acts like it. As long as the show can use him in the proper dosage, it will be fine.

Regardless of its few issues, HBO currently has the best comedy on television. May brings about the return of Louie, and Amy Schumer may push Comedy Central over the top of these months, but right now, it’s HBO world and the rest of the comedies are just living in it. Be quiet and take in the words of the conch holder.