The Return of Must See TV

By Naychelle Lucas

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How many times have you heard, said or thought, “There’s nothing good on TV.” Whenever there isn’t a new episode of “The Jersey Shore” or “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, it seems like there is no reason to turn on your TV during prime time, but Must See TV has returned.

Back when the slogan was introduced by NBC in the 1990s, “Must See TV” dominated the ratings and pop culture. For years, Thursday night prime time was the place to be. Millions of people tuned in and, for the first time, TV stars of scripted sitcoms like “ER,” “Will & Grace” and “Friends” were more popular than musicians or movie actors.

Thursday night was not to miss. Everyone remembers anxiously awaiting the end of the week, being glued to their couch and fixated on their TV, watching Ross and Rachel or Will and Grace. Then, with the emergence of new shows like “CSI” and “Survivor,” one by one comedy favorites were given the ax and it seemed liked prime time would never be the same again.

But, oh happy day, Must See TV has returned and it’s better than ever.

The classic front-runner for scripted comedies, NBC has reclaimed its throne and returned the gift of smart, fun and downright hilarious. In January, the network reintroduced the three-hour comedy block to Thursday nights, six half-hour scripted comedies back to back.

The block is as follows:

8:00 p.m. “Community”

8:30 p.m. “Perfect Couples”

9:00 p.m. “The Office”

9:30 p.m. “Parks and Recreation”

10:00 p.m. “30 Rock”

10:30 p.m. “Outsourced”

In addition to NBC’s Thursday night block, ABC has introduced its own comedy block on Wednesday nights. That’s right, not one, but two nights of comedy. The ABC block is:

8:00 p.m. “The Middle”

8:30 p.m. “Better With You”

9:00 p.m. “Modern Family”

9:30 p.m. “Mr. Sunshine”

With these two nights, you now have one more reason to skip doing your homework.

On NBC, “Community,” “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation” and “30 Rock” continue to be genius. Smart, witty, sharp writing, complex character relationships and hilarious plots more than justify the countless number of Emmys and other awards they have won. When you watch NBC Thursday nights, you’re getting your favorites like Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Aziz Ansari and Amy Poehler at their best. This alone is reason enough to watch.

On ABC, an okay episode of “Modern Family” is better than a great episode of most shows. If you are not already watching, embarking on this series is a great way to fill the black hole in your life. “The Middle” and “Better With You” are also strong shows that have gotten great reviews. “Cougar Town” is on hiatus until April and in its place is a new comedy, “Mr. Sunshine.”

Like NBC’s newbie’s, “Perfect Couples,” “Outsourced,” and “Mr. Sunshine” arn’t in the must watch category just yet.

“Outsourced” a comedy about an American manager for a novelties company who is relocated to India, is not only unfunny, but sometimes downright offensive. Each week you are supposed to believe the Indian employees at this company are so ignorant to American culture that the only person who can teach them is this half-hearted American man. Hopefully this one gets chopped off the block and soon.

When it first premiered, “Perfect Couples” seemed like just another relationship comedy with the typical “men are from Mars women are from Venus,” premise. Since the pilot, the show has been redeeming itself little by little, mostly because of actor Kyle Bornheimer, whose comedy is a refreshing and funny relief from the other outrageous and sometimes downright cartoonish couples.

Lastly, ABC’s, “Mr. Sunshine” marks the return of prime time alum Matthew Perry. In the workplace comedy, Perry plays Ben, the manager of the San Diego Sunshine Center. The pilot, to put it kindly, was not so good. Ben’s personality was as dark as the setting of the center in which he works at. However, one should stick with it. Perry and the writers have listened to audience feedback and improved the show. Last week’s episode was actually funny, and it’s probably only going to get better from here.

Naychelle Lucas can be reached at [email protected]