Largely responsible for the elevation of the ninja to near-mythical status, American Ninja is a hodge-podge of admittedly better 80s films, including The Karate Kid, James Bond, and probably anything to do with Chuck Norris. Yet it pushes so hard the ninja aspect that instead of being mediocre today, it’s actually endured as a cheesy cult classic that features genuinely enjoyable (if ridiculous) action.
As lackluster, short, and — let’s face it — nearly irrelevant as season one of The Office was, the decision to pick it up for a 22-episode second season was as surprising as it was fortuitous. Maybe it was Steve Carrell’s charisma that convinced the network to do so, but good decision, boys!
I consider the first episode of the second season to be the “real” start to The Office. A lot of work went into rethinking characters and getting into a comfortable groove, and the employees of Dunder Mifflin that we know and love today emerged as a true ensemble force here. And looking over the episode list, I’m amazed at the sheer quality of hilarious stories that are packed into this season, which is why it propelled The Office into a “must watch” type of show.
There’s a sort of hipster shibboleth that you’re supposed to claim that the two-season British original of The Office was, hands-down, the best. Say that, and you’re in with all of the cool critics. While it was sort of funny, I never warmed to it the way that I have since latched on to the American version, which I now consider one of my most favorite TV series of all time.
I guess I won’t be invited to their snooty parties. That’s fine with me; I’d rather be hanging out with Jim, Dwight, Michael, Pam, and the rest anyway.
I’ve seen the entire nine-season run of The Office several times through now, as it’s one of my constant “comfort foods” in my TV time. Sometimes I even listen to episodes in the car, because by now my brain can fill in the visuals. The delightful mix of insanely awkward moments, sincere emotion, and hilarious corporate antics have always made me feel that I’d gladly get a job at Dunder Mifflin if it was with people like these.
So let’s go through the seasons, one at a time, and see the evolution of the characters, the company, and the show.
The Scoop: 1984 PG, directed by Ken Wiederhorn and starring John Mengatti, John Larroquette, and Paul Reubens
Tagline: The insanity continues…
Summary Capsule: It’s kids doing wacky stuff at a wacky camp but completely failing to make you laugh.
Is it just me, or is the movie soundtrack in decline in pop culture? It used to be that a movie could really launch a song into the stratosphere and that films would have robust soundtracks, but I am hard-pressed to think of the last major non-Chipmunks movie that sent a song to the Top 40s. Perhaps the greatest era for the movie-tune partnership was the 80s, and today I’m going to list six memorable tunes and why they still mean a lot to me.
As in real life, time and change go hand-in-hand with the quirky college show Community. During season 4, Jeff and Pierce graduated from Greendale, new showrunners came in to take over the series, and the ratings continued to plummet. The show was in a more precarious situation than it ever had been before, but those sorts of odds never disheartened the dysfunctional study group nor its internet legion of fans.