Ask any AV Club commenter: NBC’s recent mistreatment of Community, along with the abrupt end of 30 Rock, are the most horrible events in human history, comparable only to an atrocity like the cancelation of Arrested Development.
It’s easy to get all “life is unfair” about the apparent abuse of these brilliant shows, especially when a show like Two and a Half Men is still so hugely popular. But NBC is only looking out for its bottom line. Beloved as they are by critics and cult fandoms, 30 Rock and Community, as well as Parks and Recreation, have gone ignored by a significant amount of the general public. Why is that? You can pat yourself on the back all you want and say these shows are too witty and fast-paced for dumb ol’ regular folks, but are they really? Community and 30 Rock whip back and forth between scenes at the same rate as popular cartoons like The Simpsons and Family Guy, and Parks and Recreation is shot and edited exactly like the vastly more popular The Office.
And hear me out on this one: are the jokes that much cleverer, per se, on Parks than Men? Sitcom jokes are sitcom jokes. They take a certain wit to write and a certain grace to deliver.
No, what makes Two and a Half Men worse than any of these struggling sitcoms is that watching Two and a Half Men feels like being trapped in a public men’s room. I’m pretty sure its creator, Chuck Lorre, just hired all of your uncle’s nastiest friends to write it. It’s more depressing than any episode of Louie could ever be, because it takes place in a Mamet-esque chauvinistic moral vacuum.