One of the most vivid memories of my childhood has me lying in bed, late at night, listening to my parents--mainly my mother--laughing out loud at the Jack Paar Tonight Show. Or maybe Carson. But most likely Paar. I didn't realize it at the time, because I was a KID and KIDS realize nothing about comfort and contentedness and happiness and well-being. All these notions kick into place when it's much too late in life to appreciate them. But, in recollection, I appreciate those out-loud laughs emanating from the TV Room. Which brings me to Thursday Nights on NBC.
NBC as a network, if you follow the showbiz news, is not performing all that well. Matters not a whit, because NBC provides us with Thursday nights from 8 until 10 and some excellent comedy. True, it has taken COMMUNITY and PARKS AND RECREATION time to settle in. P&R, in fact, is now in its second year and is just finding its comic legs. But, though it may be too late as network brass are probably already looking for a replacement for the show, it's getting better, and last night I LAUGHED OUT LOUD at least three times during the show, as guest Megan Mullalley played a manipulative ex-wife with an agenda, up against Amy Pohler's rigidly comic Leslie Knope. COMMUNITY is newer, but has leapt forward over the past few weeks as Joel McHale's character has subtly evolved into what the central character on a sitcom needs to be--the anchor and observer, rather than the looney comic instigator. And last night, finally, I found myself LAUGHING OUT LOUD at Chevy Chase, who has taken over 20 years to re-find his comic pulse. And then there's THE OFFICE, which has sustained a high comic sheen throughout its six-year run, and in which John Krasinski has turned his character of "Jim" into a work of art. Steve Carrell, also, is brilliant on a weekly basis, as is the raucous cast of supporting characters. I hope the producers and writers can find a way to bring back the incredible Amy Ryan for a week or two or three as Carrell's love interest. Rarely has a guest spot in a television show been so perfectly filled. And 30 ROCK, if you're out of your mind (in a good way) rarely fails to hit for extra bases. Many times last night I LAUGHED OUT LOUD, especially when Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy not-so-subtly did promos for the network (touting NBC's Winter Olympic coverage as he dumped on it) and for an Internet conferencing service. I even ALMOST LAUGHED OUT LOUD at Tracy Morgan last night, and, for me, that's an accomplishment.
Okay, so I live alone and nobody here in my apartment hears me LAUGHING OUT LOUD.
Maybe Ma does, though.
That'd be nice.