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Occasionally manages to hit top gear.
on 12 February 2014
Yes, a solid season rather than a great one. After season five's weak run-in, i wondered how things would go. The answer is a somewhat moderate start, with a few highlights towards the middle and end. Perhaps that's a bit severe, but i suppose seasons one through four had left us with the highest of expectations. The truth is that it is hard for ANY comedy to remain as genuinely funny, throughout its entire lifetime.
Here, many of the backing characters become even more margianalised. Lovely Cerie, and her dismissive, vacuous behaviour, is hardly around. Lutz and Sue get more action, but they aren't the funniest characters. Chris Parnell (Dr Spaceman) appears only a few times and we miss his anarchic, anti-bread lobbying presence. (Just watch him in the live episode.) Steve Buscemi (P.I. Len) does one brief cameo, besides directing an episode. When these people do appear, we're instantly reminded of the great moments which came before. Kristen Schaal, as new page Hazel, is a good addition, but even Liz Lemon's situation of domestic bliss doesn't generate much in the way of genuine mirth.
The big "however" is that we still get a handful of great episodes. I especially enjoyed "Standards And Practices", as Kenneth struggles with his redeployment in the TGS structure. "Grandmentor" and "Kidnapped By Danger" are both excellent. "Queen Of Jordan 2" a very funny follow-up to season five's fly-on-the-wall mockumentary. "The Return Of Avery Jessup" has Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski excels throughout the season) doing a hilarious turn, prior to the good season finale. And the best episode of all, for me? "Live From Studio 6H", just as in season five. This really is side-splitting and........ yet again....... makes it all so worthwhile.
I'll go through this again, in a couple of months. It may improve on repeat viewing, you never know. It's still good, after all, whilst not necessarily being quite as great as before. (PS. The rerun confirms a solid start, a bit of a lull, an intermittent peak around the middle to late middle and a decent end.)