Thursday, November 18, 2010

Must Not See TV

The first four seasons of "The Office" were as funny as any television show has ever been.

It was impossible to watch any episode of the show in that time without having an absolutely hysterical moment, and the show developed at least two of the funniest characters - Michael and Dwight - and possibly a third - Creed - in the history of American sitcoms.

The next two seasons were okay, though they were definitely a step down from where the show had been. This season, the seventh, has been very disappointing.

It actually reminds TigerBlog of what happened with "Seinfeld," which was also as funny as any show ever for four seasons and then disappointing for the final five.

TigerBlog knows what went wrong with "Seinfeld." The first four seasons were four very believable characters doing very believable things, and the show was funny because you could watch it and say "that happens all the time."

The last five seasons turned the four characters into caricatures, and the show became more interested in having people start to use its jargon - "low talker," "soup Nazi" - than it was in being funny. The plots went away from "that happens all the time" to "this is ridiculous."

Still, because of how great the first four years were, TB and everyone else remained loyal to the very end, which was about the worst final episode of any major show in history. Even now, TB will watch the reruns, even of the ones that aren't funny.

"The Office" is the same way. TB won't miss an episode, even if the show isn't nearly what it once was. In the case of "The Office," it seems like the running plots dealing with relationships have taken over, making it more of a soap opera than a sitcom.

Anyway, like "Seinfeld," "The Office remains a must-watch for TB, since he never gives up hope it'll recapture the magic.

This week's episode will have to wait for viewing on the computer at a later date, though.

Why? There are two bigger must-watches in Princeton sports tonight.

The first is the men's soccer game against UMBC in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Princeton, still smarting from not getting a first-round bye, will host a team that has been almost as hot as the Tigers down the stretch, going unbeaten in its last six to win the America East Conference championship.

Princeton has won 12 straight, a school-record, and put together the first perfect Ivy season in program history. The Tigers were 1-3-1 in mid-September; they enter the tournament at 13-3-1.

The Tigers will be playing in their second-straight NCAA tournament, and this year's game will be different in many ways from last year's 1-0 loss to Bucknell.

For starters, that game was delayed by lightning and played in a downpour. The forecast for tonight is about as perfect as you could hope for Nov. 18.

In addition, Princeton was thrilled to be back in the NCAA tournament a year ago, when the team was the recipient of an at-large bid and happy to get a home game. This year, the Tigers got the Ivy League's automatic bid, and a first-round loss this time will be more disappointing.

Also in that game against Bucknell, Princeton was without Antoine Hoppenot, who couldn't play because he had received too many yellow cards. This time, Hoppenot - the Ivy League Player of the Year - will be out there as Princeton's top scoring threat.

Of course, that game will start 30 minutes before and 15 miles south of the women's basketball game at Rutgers.

Princeton hasn't beaten Rutgers in women's basketball since Jan. 5, 1978, when no current player on either team was even close to being born. RU leads the all-time series 14-3, and two of Princeton's three wins were against Douglass, before the women's teams competed for Rutgers.

This time around, Princeton is coming off a 26-3 season that included a 14-0 run through the Ivy League and a first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament. Princeton's season-opener this year was a 41-point win over FDU.

Rutgers, led by Hall-of-Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer, opened its season with losses against Cal and Stanford and come in at 0-2. Still, the Lady Knights are one of the best programs in Division I women's basketball, and other than the 14 Ivy games, there is no game Princeton more wants than the one tonight.

So pick your game. Men's soccer at Princeton. Women's basketball at Rutgers. And get there.

Like TB, you can watch "The Office" tomorrow at work.


Anonymous said...

Sitcoms always assume a big risk when they take two characters whose sexual tension is a fundamental part of so many plot lines and marry them off. Even in the best of circumstances, Jim and Pam getting married probably would have been the beginning of the end for "The Office," as it has been for so many sitcoms in the past. But the collapse in funny-ness of "The Office" this season rivals the deterioration of any sitcom in history. Steve Carell saw the writing on the wall and said "I want out."

CZ said...

And let's not forget about M*A*S*H. In the beginning it was the stick by which all others were measured – extremely funny with characters you loved (Hawkeye, Trapper John, Col. Henry Blake, Radar) and hated (Frank Burns, Margaret Houlihan). Unfortunately that show jumped the shark several times well before the term was ever coined (from Happy Days which is another sad example).

Right now I’d throw The Simpsons up there (what a poor Halloween special this year, right?). I guess eventually all good things must end.

I know I’m dating myself but honestly the only shows that I can recall that kept their humor at a consistently high level right up until the end was the original Bob Newhart Show.

Good Luck tonight to both the Men’s soccer team and Lady Tigers basketball team!

Anonymous said...

Too bad the away crowd was better than the home crowd, and UMBC came away with the victory. UMBC BABY WOOOOAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!