There are two different "You had to be there" barriers in place for maximum enjoyment of HBO's "The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway" - which as at least one more barrier than I'd expected going in.
You had to be there - twice over - to truly appreciate Pee-wee's comeback
Enver Gjokaj from "Dollhouse" befriends Troy, Abed and Britta
An episode done in the style of Angie's reality show
Leslie's big project runs into trouble in a hilarious episode
With '30 Rock' already renewed, NBC's top sitcoms will all return
Watch the opening scene of tonight's hilarious episode
Tonight's "Parks and Recreation" (airing in the show's usual 9:30 p.m. timeslot on NBC) is an important episode in several ways.
It's the first episode of season 3 that was actually written and produced as part of season 3, where the previous 6 episodes were all made last spring in the race to get some shows in the can before Amy Poehler had her baby. It's also the culmination of the Harvest Festival storyline that's been running through the season so far. (Though if you haven't watched the show before now, it's in no way difficult to jump into with this one; this isn't "The Wire," much as co-creator Mike Schur might sometimes wish it was.)
It is also a fantastic episode: hilarious and sweet and silly in all the ways that "Parks and Rec" has proved itself to be over the last year and a half. It manages to spotlight the town of Pawnee, and every regular castmember save Rob Lowe (who's absent tonight but back next week) and demonstrate just why Pawnee, Indiana is the best, funniest place to visit each week on TV.
I'll have a pretty long review going up tonight after it airs, but to put you in the mood, I've embedded the Hulu clip of tonight's opening scene, which introduces a local Pawnee celebrity. The one piece of advice I will give is to focus as much as you can on Nick Offerman and Aziz Ansari's reactions to this celebrity. Offerman in particular will show you a side of Ron Effing Swanson you may have never expected.
Enjoy, and see you back here tonight at 10.
Is the show being too tough on the chefs this late in the game?
Liane Bonin has a more thorough recap of last night's "Top Chef" - plus a Padma bikini photo, for those who enjoy such a thing - up at our Monkeys as Critics blog, so I'm going to keep my thoughts brief this week, coming up just as soon as I shamelessly plug another NBC Universal reality competition from Magical Elves...
Winona gets in trouble, and Art chases an old nemesis
What happens if the service starts producing its own content?
During the brief, glorious run of the catering comedy "Party Down," I encountered very few people who actually watched the show on Starz. (Which is the reason the run was so brief, if glorious.) Most watched it via Netflix's streaming video service. One person I met was even surprised to learn that "Party Down" was available anywhere but Netflix.
That's an extreme case involving a microscopically-rated show, but the ubiquity of Netflix Instant - particularly for people who have Blu-Ray players, video game consoles or other devices that allow them to stream movies and TV shows directly to their TV sets - is becoming a real threat to the traditional TV business. Why bother spending a lot of money for a cable subscription - and/or why bother trying to watch any show live, with commercials - when there are thousands upon thousands of hours of fine shows available to stream on whatever schedule is most convenient for you?
Lights and the show try to move on without Ed Romeo