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It’s been a long winter, although not a particularly cold one here in New York (thanks, global warming!). The only things that froze around here were the storylines of my favorite TV shows, thanks to the writers’ strike. Luckily, the icy relations between the WGA and the AMPTP eventually thawed out, and TV will be blooming again this spring.
But not all of our favorite shows settled down peacefully for a long winter’s nap. Some left off with awkward cliffhangers, and others came to an abrupt halt just as their stories were gaining momentum. Here’s some advice to help a few creatively struggling shows grow to their full potential this spring:
Where we left off: A quartet of ill-advised hour-long episodes got this comedy’s fourth season off to a bloated, sluggish start. The stories we’d been salivating for over the summer –- Ryan taking over Jan’s job and Jim and Pam finally hooking up -- took a backseat to some excessively stupid escapades for Michael (holding a pizza delivery boy hostage, attacking the Utica branch), and a bizarre Dwight/Angela/Andy love triangle. Things got juicy again in the last pre-strike episode when Michael betrayed Jan at her deposition, but Jim and Pam still had nothing better to do than play ping-pong with Kelly and Darryl.
How to fix it: By keeping The Office in the office! With the exception of last season’s pivotal trip to the beach, the Dunder Mifflinites work best from their home base. All the excursions into the outside world make us forget how much fun it is to be trapped in an office with these characters. So now that the writers are back to work, let’s hope they’ll put our favorite paper company back to work, too.
Where we left off: George and Izzie realized they didn’t like having sex with each other (or, more accurately, Shonda Rhimes realized the fans didn’t like watching George and Izzie have sex with each other) and broke up. Lexie and Alex both came to the conclusion that he’s a jerk, and they broke up. Bailey’s husband blamed her for their son’s accident, and they broke up. Meredith found out Derek kissed a nurse, and they broke up, if they even were a couple this season. It’s getting hard to keep track with them. Seriously.
How to fix it: Remember how romantic this show used to be? It’s hard to keep the fans’ hearts racing when every relationship on this show crashes and burns so quickly. It’s true that only trouble is interesting, but are we really supposed to believe such pretty people are always this miserable? Next time the writers send a pair of these docs into the on-call room together, they should try keeping them there a little bit longer. Just as long as it’s not George and Izzie.
Where we left off: Jaime Sommers was given bionic body parts after she almost died in a car accident. One thing they forgot to improve was her personality.
How to fix it: Like spring flowers, not all TV shows are meant to bloom again. Let’s hope NBC will plant some better seeds this year.