Annie’s Boobs May Really Be Gone Forever

NBC is baffling.

It’s half-heartedly been trying to hold on to its identity as the place for Thursday night comedy for then last six years, never fully committing to it. The network finally had the chance to get its four best comedies on, in a row, starting in January, but it instead made the decision to bump Community from the schedule and not announce whether it would come back or not. Instead, it’s moving the vastly inferior Up All Night there to create yet another comedy void within its should-be-formidable Thursday night comedy lineup.

And it makes no sense. Why deprive people of this?

There’s too much history for the network to just let Thursday comedy slip away. Cosby. Alex P. Keaton. Sam Malone. Seinfeld. Ross and Rachel. Frasier Crane. Dave Nelson? No, not Dave Nelson. Can’t blame me for trying. These are some of the biggest characters in television history, all of whom contributed to make NBC the most-watched television network for 20 years.

fear the stache.

The characters of the last five years — Earl Hickey, Michael Scott, Liz Lemon, Leslie Knope, Jeff Winger — never will be as big as their predecessors. NBC would have been foolish to expect them to be. But what those earlier characters had that these ones don’t is some semblance of continuity. This new midseason schedule continues a string of schedules with no continuity on its Thursday night comedy block.

It’s got four fantastic, funny, critically acclaimed comedies sitting there to play with. Anyone with a quarter of a brain can see the lineup should be 30 Rock at 8 p.m., Community at 8:30, Office at 9 and Parks and Recreation at 9:30. Bam. Maybe not everyone in the world is going to watch those shows because they don’t appeal to the broadest demographics. There’s just no way a retiree in Iowa is going to “get” Abed and Troy’s jokes. But it doesn’t seem like NBC is even marketing it that way. It doesn’t even know what its got.

These new batch of power comedies are like a baseball team that can’t get everyone healthy at the same time. You keep saying, “Wait til we get everyone back, then you’ll see what we can do!” Well NBC can’t seem to get everyone healthy. Only it’s the NBC executives that are purposely pulling the hamstrings of their players.

If NBC wants to stay committed to a Thursday night comedy lineup, is it really putting its best effort out there? Here is what the Thursday schedule has looked like since it fell into The Office and My Name is Earl in 2006:

2006-07: Earl, The Office, Deal or No Deal to start the year, then Earl, 30 Rock, Office, Scrubs/Andy Barker P.I. by midseason. We’re getting closer.

just when it seemed nbc may have the thursday thing figured out

2007-08: Earl, 30 Rock, Office, Scrubs. And there it is. The schedule it should have stuck with for the next couple years. but it screwed up Scrubs for years and never could get it in the right place. As soon as it did, it canceled it.

2008-09: Earl, Kath and Kim, Office, 30 Rock, with Parks and Recreation premiering and replacing Kath and Kim (mercifully) in April

2009-10: And the juggling begins. Earl is canceled and the season starts with SNL Thursday Update, Parks and Rec, Office and Community. When 30 Rock comes back in mid-October, Community moves to 8, and we have our best lineup from mid-October to May. Too bad Community didn’t get really funny until about January. So from January to May, we had the ideal schedule.

2010 start of the season: The head-scratching begins. We’ve got Community, 30 Rock and The Office — but Parks and Recreation is benched to midseason so NBC could produce the just-OK Outsourced. When Community replaced the still funny but wobbly Earl in 2009, my thought was, “If you’re going to ditch Earl, then whatever you’re coming in with better be funny.” And Community was. Same goes for Parks and Rec. If you’re going to bench it, then Outsourced better be just as funny. It was not. And that’s why this schedule failed.

2011 midseason: NBC could have just done the right thing and chopped off Outsourced to give it its power lineup. It could have done that. But instead, it decided to keep Outsourced on, added on the horrible Perfect Couples and the completely unwatchable Paul Reiser Show and created a three-hour comedy block that would have been genius if it worked, but now looks like a pretty dumb decision.

2011-12: Community, Parks and Rec, Office, Whitney, and now midseason, 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, Office, Up All Night.

If you’re counting, that’s one full season (2007-08) when it had its best lineup. Then another five months in 2010. So one year and five months out of six years.

Excuses? Anyone?

if the plan was for community to beat big bang theory in the ratings, maybe nbc really should just be taken off the air. i'm not joking anymore.

NBC finally has the chance to get its power lineup in the game, the lineup that gives it its best chance to win. While Community has proven it can’t hang with Big Bang Theory — not even close — are you telling me NBC didn’t know that would be the case? I’m sure they hoped things would go differently, but you’re talking about a 0.00001 percent chance Community would have held its own with the mammoth Big Bang Theory. The 30 Rock numbers aren’t going to be much better, either. If NBC thought for a second Community would roll right with BBT, then there are much bigger problems than scheduling at NBC.

You just don’t know if its best lineup — once again, in the hopes that someone from NBC is reading this and getting it drilled in to their heads, Community, 30 Rock, Office, Parks and Rec — can be successful because it’s never been given the chance. That’s NBC’s fault. And if Community doesn’t get a fourth season (looking pretty iffy right now) NBC better find something just as funny to put in its place or it would have wasted yet another couple months without its best possible Thursday comedy schedule.

Poop or get off the pot, NBC. Or just go off the air. I’m not sure many people would notice one way or the other.

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