Emotions have been running high lately on NBC's best Thursday comedies. Saying goodbye to beloved characters can have that effect. Last week, Community sent Abed's playmate Troy (Donald Glover) off to sail the world with LeVar Burton, but not before staging one last epic stunt that turned Greendale into Lava World. This week, the focus shifts to a more grounded yet fictional Indiana — where, incidentally, there is an actual Greendale (I grew up there) — as Pawnee prepares a going-away bash for Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) and Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) on Parks and Recreation that may not be as surreal as Community's but compensates with a reservoir of genuine emotion and character-rich moments.
Here's the thing about satire: Parody has a sharper sting if what's being ridiculed is actually relevant. And while it looks like everyone's having a grand time lampooning the old-school histrionics of the classic TV miniseries "epic" in IFC's elaborate all-star Funny or Die put-on The Spoils of Babylon, I'm afraid the fun isn't all that contagious, in part because the joke is such a stale one to begin with.
The whole enterprise, which consists of six half-hour chapters (the first two airing back-to-back starting Thursday at 10/9c), has the musty whiff of one of those movies derived from so-so Saturday Night Live sketches. Each installment opens with a staged intro, featuring a heavily made-up Will Ferrell as a rotund Orson Welles-like egomaniac impresario (described as "author, producer, actor, writer, director, raconteur, bon vivant, legend, fabulist" — and that's just the first episode's credits) who sinks further and further into his (wine) cups as he reflects on his lost late-'70s "masterpiece," which he self-financed as if he were Scrooge McDuck.
Eydie Gormé passed away Saturday in Las Vegas, her rep Howard Bragman tells People. She was 84.