Last night My Name is Earl made a lot of jokes about living in a post-9/11 world. Is it too soon?
When such issues come up, I always fall back to Crimes and Misdemeanors – “if it bends, it's funny. If it breaks, it's not funny.” I think last night bent. I think last night's episode was funny. For me, enough time and distance has passed. More importantly though, the episode was not making fun of what happened on that day, the episode was examining our reactions to it, from the “if you don't go to the movies you're letting the terrorists win” rhetoric, to our complete inability to find Osama bin Laden.
I actually thought last night's episode to be one of the funniest this season. Seeing Cops go after Camden County's reprobates works for me as concept. It wasn't new to the show, this was their “other” Cops episode (the first aired last season), but it still worked. I don't think it's a concept that the show can continually go back to, but it's made for two strong episodes (three, really, because last night was a double episode) so far. I know what you're thinking, it's a lazy way of putting together an episode because it's bunch of barely connected scenes. You may be right, but I'm going to say those scenes were funny and am going to give the episode a “W.”
In fact, I'm going to give all of NBC's comedies last night a “W.” The Office did well to bring back Karen for a single night. Not because of her character (which I like, but is not truly needed), but because of Jim's reactions to her character. Jim has been the voice of caution and reason before on the show, but to see him so visibly uncomfortable because of the Utica trip and encountering Karen was a new emotion for the guy. Once again, the show proved to have heart. Jim may have loved Pam throughout his entire relationship with Karen, but he still cared for Karen and last night proved that. His feeling bad about hurting her made him into an even more likable character. Of course, anyone in their right mind would have stopped Dwight from throwing Molotov cocktails at the Utica branch, but that is another tale.
What about Scrubs? It's a show that has had greater and lesser moments, but it's another comedy that always displays heart. I really felt for Turk last night, trying to beat his video game (was it Halo 3?) before JD's child was born. I understand where that desire came from.
Seriously though, JD was in a no-win situation last night. It's completely understandable that he doesn't want to be with this girl who lied to him about still being pregnant. I wouldn't want to be with such a person. I completely respect JD for both trying to stick it out and telling the mother of his child the truth about his feelings. I don't know that I want to see JD and Elliot get together at the end of the series this May, but the path is now certainly clear.
My path is also clear; it's nap time.