The Office Outdoors [Remote Control Freak]

Wife Swap was over and there was nothing else on. It was Thursday and Grey’s Anatomy was a repeat. Yes, I understand this is how I choose to represent my television viewing interests for the first time. And no, I promise it’s not all embarrassing. First of all, it was Wife Swap – Biggest Loser Edition. A fitness crazed, Jillian Michael’s wannabe wife swapped with an obese Italian wife who’s entirely family boasts a cumulative weight of around 1800 pounds – You can only imagine how that inspired ABC’s ratings for the night.

I flip through the Guide on my t.v., the one without the DVR and browse through Fios On Demand and I got nothing. My girlfriend who’s half asleep next to me says, “I think Patton Oswalt is supposed to be on Parks & Rec tonite.”

Seriously? Parks and Rec? Isn’t that just, like, The Office outdoors? “Yes.” She says. I think I saw half an episode once when it first debuted and was put off by the fact that it was another of those single camera shows that became popular at the time. I don’t get the humor of The Office whatsoever. And I’ve tried. Maybe it just isn’t MY sense of humor but I don’t really get the mock reality show idea in general. There’s enough faux reality in reality shows, do I need a show that’s faking the fake reality I already try to avoid? Yes, I realize the hypocrisy in that statement. Don’t judge me.

I believed that one has to have a certain proclivity for these single camera faux reality shows. I’ve seen maybe one entire episode and several minutes of The Office here and there and the mindlessness of the humor (I know, I know – I just don’t “get it”) simply doesn’t appeal to me. This particular show has to be the worst of them in that they break the fourth wall to talk to the camera as though they literally are a reality show. Modern Family is the same in that sense, but I’ve come to appreciate the fact that it’s actually funny in its subtle humor. It portrays the interactions between a family that might actually occur. I can’t imagine any office that behaves like the office in The Office.

Back when Parks and Rec first started, I didn’t realize that’s the kind of show it was. So I watched the pilot and hated that it was using this faux reality format. Plus it wasn’t funny. And now there’s nothing on. Ugh.

But I like Patton Oswalt, so what the hell.

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like to admit when I’m wrong. So it’s a good thing this is being recorded into history. I guess.

The first minute of this show has me laughing my guts out. The humor was smart and brash and told a real story. It had heart, but more importantly it had sarcasm. And really, what else do you need in a good sitcom? That and Patton Oswalt gave an 8-minute improvised filibuster of what the next Star Wars movie should be (on youtube @ ) to Amy Poehler’s repeal of 110 outdated laws from the Pawnee town charter.

I was convinced this would be my new favorite show. Then another episode came on. And I realized that even bad sitcoms can get it right once in a while.