With NBC moving The Office and My Name is Earl to Thursdays, I’m actually hopeful that the networks might start believing that comedy can thrive in primetime once again. The fascinating part of the press release is the mention that The Office has the second highest concentration of viewers with $100,000 plus incomes (behind only Will & Grace). Another reminder that, as always, it’s about the Benjamins people.
The Office, which I think a fair amount of people condemed at first for simply not being Ricky Gervais’ creation, has taken the opportunity with an expanded cast and a longer season to create even more small moments of uncomfortable comedy, even creating hysterical justifications for why the boss, in this case Michael Scott (Steve Carrell), can keep his job. Namely, that a fair amount of the business world still runs by off-color jokes and faux hilarity (see the episode featuring Tim Meadows as a reprensentive for a desirable account). I know the show’s working because I can’t bear to look sometimes. Or because I’m muttering “asshole”, as when Michael humiliates Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) during a fight. It’s an equal to it’s progentor, and simply might pass it, just by the larger sandbox the writers have made for themselves.
The other good news of this is the return of Scrubs (which was almost certain, but still nice to see back) and the continued strength of “Earl,” which I find enjoyable despite it’s sometime saccharine heart. Three funny shows on one network? What is this - 1997?
My Name is Earl and the Office move officially to Thursdays starting January 2, 2006.