Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

So it’s come to this: A 2010-2011 television season retrospective

Nick and I spoke via Facebook last week (because actually calling someone is too much work) and decided that we would offer our thoughts on various forms of media via good old fashioned text. Podcasts are great, but not everyone can listen all the time and text still has a ton of appeal. I know that presented with the choice of text, video, or podcast, I will almost invariably choose text. Thus, my retrospective of the 2010-2011 television season will be written.

I watch very little television anymore. I work evenings and as such I am often on HULU or whatever to gobble up available seasons of television shows now. I still vehemently watch Survivor (CBS’ media player is the absolute worst of the big networks, btw), Modern Family, The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Community.

I have quit following entirely any and every hour long procedural drama. There are no longer any sci-fi/action/dramas worth watching (RIP Lost). There are very few traditional sitcoms worth watching (I watch Big Bang Theory, but let’s be honest… that show is stupid). I don’t have HBO or Showtime, thus no Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Weeds, whatever. Also, Breaking Bad is still on hiatus and Mad Men won’t be coming back until 2012 probably. So I’m left with very few precious shows.

The Office

What a bizarre season the office has had! I’ve found out very little about the Office this season, except that focusing stories entirely around Andy Bernard don’t work (though I love the character), Gabe and Erin’s relationship was trite and ended weirdly, big-name guest actors are capable of completely sucking the air out of the room, and this show just won’t work without Steve Carrell. I’m pretty down on the Office at the moment, though I have enjoyed a few of the episodes this season anyway. Micheal’s reunion with Holly has been a joy to watch as the characters were made for each other. Dwight, Jim, and Pam have been pretty insufferable. Darrell, Kelly, Erin, and Andy are also clearly too talented for this show right now. I’d like to see them in projects that better utilize their talents.

Parks and Recreation

Though many disagree with me, I really feel like the addition of Adam Scott and Rob Lowe to the cast has been a bit of a letdown. I miss the homegrown hometown feeling of the second season. Lowe’s character has been just a bit too unrealistic, and his relationship with Anne was incredibly forced and kind of bizarre. Speaking of forced relationships, I do not like the inevitable Leslie/Ben pairing. Part of what makes Leslie so great a character is her can-do attitude and blind dedication to her job. I can’t help but see her impending relationship as a huge downer for the spirit of the show. This season has had many bright spots, however, including Ron Swanson reuniting with ex-wife Tammy, Jerry unintentionally painting a nude picture of Leslie, and the impromptu wedding of Andy and April (who have the show’s strongest relationship).

Community

Community has had a fairly up and down season but has managed to stay interesting and funny throughout. We’ve seen the worst of it (Abed as Jesus) and the best of it (Dungeons and Dragons). Part one of the season finale was pretty amazing (part 2 airs tonight). As a send-up of Clint Eastwood westerns, it worked very well and managed to be both funny and exciting. It is also a more than worthy sequel to the excellent episode Modern Warfare episode that served as season one’s finale.

Survivor

After a dreadful fall season, Survivor’s spring edition has been absolutely amazing. Boston Rob Mariano was clearly born to play this game. His mind-blowing strategical moves, game-dominating immunity wins, and hilariously entertaining antics (throwing the idol clue in the volcano was great) have made Survivor: Redemption Island pretty fantastic. I just with the Redemption Island gimmick had been better implemented. It is the weakest part of a solid season.

Modern Family

ModFam (a nickname I hate but one that I’ll type anyway) has had a very inconsistent second season. We get great episodes like the Mother’s Day ep interspersed with weak episodes like the Jay’s brother ep. Still, the cast has amazing chemistry and certain actors (Sophia Vergera in particular) are a joy to watch. Ty Burrell’s physical comedy alone should get its own Emmy. So, this is my 2010-2011 retrospective.

This season of television has been a fairly surprise-free one. There were no real breakout hits like Glee and Modern Family last year. Critical darlings such as Parks and Rec and Community have been renewed for next season, which pleases me immensely. Have you enjoyed the 2010-2011 television season? Drop us a line and let us know your thoughts at znculturecast@gmail.com!

-Z-

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