nbc comedy block The NBC 3 hour comedy block endurance test

To make their newer sitcoms more appealing, not worry about producing another scripted drama or for some third, mysterious reason, NBC has decided to turn Thursday nights into an orgy of comedy.

That’s six shows — “Community,” “Perfect Couples,” “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation,” “30 Rock” and “Outsourced.”

That’s three hours — three hours of presumably funny programming that should in no way cause you to have bloodshot eyes or question your affection for TV after watching all of them in one sitting.

We were curious to see just how much enjoyment can be found in taking in three straight hours of NBC comedies at once, so we sat down for its inaugural run and let the good times roll, commercials and all. Here’s how it all went down:


0:00 – The night kicks off with one of those “Office” shorts NBC presumably made to hold our interest through the night. And if they all include Mindy Kaling’s Scarlett Johansson impersonation, they will do just that.

0:01 – “Community” time! And Annie has a boyfriend — or a crush — and everyone’s making guesses as to who it is. Do we know him? Is it Starburns? Please, Starburns!

0:05  – The crush reveals himself, it’s Dr. Rich (we don’t know either).

0:08 – Malcolm Jamal Warner! That is all. Or not… because Shirley is pregnant with his baby… or Chang’s.

0:09 – The little girl in the “Just Go With It” trailer who says “‘ello” in a British accent is awesome. We’d let her join study group.

0:12 – “I spell Kettle Corn with a Q-U.”

0:15 – It’s been so long since a Jeff Winger lawyer… lawyer speech. We’re almost swayed, except Chang is best Chang’d in some Chang-tions.

0:21 – Are you excited about “Perfect Couples?” Maybe this promo will fix that… Nope? Then you have 9 minutes of happiness left. 

0:24 – We googled “Karistina” and many variations of it. It is not an almond facial rub from Finland. It’s nothing!

0:29 – Troy and Abed in the mooooornin’.

“Perfect Couples”

0:30- “Perfect Couples” commences with a montage of ladies taking up too much space in the bed. It’s funny because it’s true?

0:31 – It’s impossible to think of Mary Elizabeth Ellis as anyone but the waitress from “Always Sunny.”

0:33- If you like “Perfect Couples,” you’ll probably like “No Strings Attached,” in theaters Friday, Jan. 21.

0:36 – Who’s this poor girl who has to be on this show and not even be in one of the couples?

0:38 – Ruh-roh, was that a LOL? The waitress’s reaction to game night is fantastic.

0:41- “Who wants to get wasted?” “Alcoholics, Rex.” No, this is not allowed to be funny! Good thing there’s all this unrealistic making out, exaggerated fighting and “Dreamgirls” referencing to bring us back down.

0:50 – The 2014 Winter Olympics are in 2014? At least we learned something — or got subliminal messaging from NBC.

0:55 – There is an awful lot of wine talk going on. Where do they think they are, “Cougar Town?”

0:59 – Meh. “Perfect Couples” wasn’t nearly the buzzkill we’d anticipated, but it’s nothing compared to the raw, unadulterated 1.5 hours of hilarity that is about to ensue.

“The Office”

1:00 – Let’s acknowledge for a moment that we’re an hour into this experiment and NBC is sort of pretending that this whole thing isn’t going to end in “Outsourced.” We still know it’s coming.

1:05 – “Paula Poundstone live in Poughkeepsie” is both alliterative and absurd. We thought she now existed to occasionally appear on “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me.”

1:07 – Still thinking you might like “The Office” without Steve Carell. Re-watch his celebratory dance to Kelly Clarkson while watching a congratulatory video message from himself and get back to us. The high point of the night so far.

1:19 – Michael’s tantrum during the resolutions meeting sort of reminds you why maybe “The Office” will be better, post-Carell.

1:24 – Andy Bernard. Ice-skating. To Dave Matthews Band.

1:28 – Aaaaaand Holly’s single.

“Parks and Recreation”

1:30 – Confession: We’ve already seen the season premiere of “Parks & Rec.” And we’re watching it again, because — spoiler alert! — it’s awesome.

1:35 – The Swanson Pyramid of Greatness, if you haven’t had time to study it, is an incredibly valuable resource. Fish meat is practically a vegetable.

1:39 – Leslie is describing things she’s finds sexy, simultaneously revealing Ann Perkins to be a renewed asset to the show now that Mark Brendanawicz is out of the picture.

1:43 – Uh oh. They’re really starting to push “Outsourced” on us.

1:45 – If you had any reservations about Rob Lowe on this show, please admit your mistake now.

1:53 – We’re starting to really feel the wear of all this television. “30 Rock” is usually the highlight of NBC Thursday’s for us, but we’re sort of dreading having to keep watching.

1:54 – Again with the Rob Lowe thing.

1:57 – “Will the Harvest Festival save the parks department? We have a whole season to find out.” [spoken in a dramatic voice] This show is like the sitcom equivalent of “24.” Or maybe we just think that because of the whole clock thing we have going on.

“30 Rock”

2:00 – Comedy at 10 p.m. What is this, premium cable? Jack accidentally married Liz, credits! We’re already a bit revived.

2:04 – All those publicity stills of Tina Fey in bizarre white garb isn’t a part of some ethnic ceremony, it’s a men’s tennis shirt and a government-sanctioned net.

2:05 – Dr Spaceman tells Tracy he’s dying. They are already writing him out for that whole kidney thing.

2:06 – It’s Danny, and they’re joking about how he’s never on the show. Yeah, about that… maybe more of that.

2:11 – Does “Dexter” narrate car commercials now? Because the “Mad Men” guys already do a wonderful, non-creepy job.

2:13 – NBC’s second highest priority is to “make it 1997 again, through science or magic” — just behind “The Biggest Loser.” Maybe “The Biggest Loser” can take an add an extra hour a week.

2:16 – Is this Sherri Shepherd and Tina Fey’s first real scene together? Their exchange is unfamiliar and amazing.

2:19 – All of the NBC jokes are OK, because Liz is aggressively pro-Bravo.

2:22 – Liz is on local news, imitating Jackie O, announcing “The Jack and Elizabeth Donaghy High School for the Arts and Feelings.” This show is so fantastically off the rails. Liz confesses her Jackie was actually Drew Barrymore in “Grey Gardens.”

2:27 – It’s the second declaration-of-love fake-out of the night!

2:29 – We would watch Angie’s Bravo show. We may have already.

2:30 – “30 Rock” went by too quickly. And, because of our fatigue while watching it, we’re going to have to re-watch it later to fully appreciate it. Not later tonight, though. In like 3 days.


2:31 – Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand racism.

2:35 People in India know who Susan Boyle is. Th
ey do have computers there.

2:37 – We’re pretty sure “Merriam-Webster” was just referred to as a person.

2:40 – Even considering the mediocrity of “Perfect Couples,” this show is still so wildly out of place with these other series. It’s like the aggressively unfunny black sheep of the family that’s been pushed all the way to the other end of the 3-hour table.

2:46 – Interpretive dance set to ’80s music used to make us happy.

2:48 – If we knew how many trailers for James Cameron’s “Sanctum” there’d be, we would have counted them from the beginning.

3:00 – “Watching ‘Outsourced’ is one of our sacred customs.” Even the patronizing white lady voice-over for this show’s promos are racist.

The verdict: Show-wise, our favorites are still our favorites, and the newbies are still dispensable, if occasionally not that bad. But no two-hour lump of these programs is appropriate in one sitting, let alone a three-hour one. It would take an entire week to knock all six of these of our DVR if we were capable of committing to all of them. Which we’re definitely not.

Posted by:Mikey O'Connell