GREAT NEWS Review: “Award Show”

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It’s time to recognize (said in a sassy voice) in this week’s episode of Great News, “Award Show.” The first episode of the season not to include Tina Fey, the episode does the show justice with a focused story and some great moments for the cast.

This episode really demonstrates the mastery the show’s writers have over sitcom writing. While nothing in this episode is particularly laugh-out-loud funny, the pacing is good, the gags are good, and the moral of the episode is solid. That said, I think this episode also demonstrates how much TV preferences are changing, particularly when it comes to comedies. More and more, people are looking to serialized comedy, like The Good Place and You’re the Worst. Slowly, shows with a certain level of the reset method at play are fading away. Audiences are more intrigued by character arcs and development than what’s happening right in front of them. Viewers stick around to find out if A and B finally get together, not because they like watching A and B handle workplace situations every week. 

This show is very much in a strange sort of place, straddling two lines: it’s style and format are very much more part of that category of television that seems to be fading away, while its tone and comedic style is very modern and absurdist, in much the same vein as 30 Rock (which makes total sense, obvi).

Last week’s episode was particularly exceptional because for once, the show did something that was very forward-thinking. To take on such a topical subject (which, even before Harvey Weinstein, sexual harassment was still very relevant) was an exciting leap forward for the show, demonstrating that it can express modern ideals and therefore entice a modern audience. Obviously addressing a different social issue in each episode would start to feel a little preachy, but I think the show needs some sort of spark to continue to thrive.

This isn’t to say I don’t like the show, and didn’t think this episode was particularly good; on the contrary, I very much like this show and think this episode was a strong continuance of what the show has aimed to be. I just feel that it could do more to feel a bit fresher, and therefore possibly more fun. 

Still, the lesson learned at the end of this episode was a bit more clear and well addressed than in some previous episodes. And for once, the dynamic between mother and daughter actually felt a bit relatable. Overall, this helped the episode feel cohesive and gave the show room to comfortably fit in a number of gags and punchlines that complemented the character personalities, rather than push them over the top.

Speaking of character personalities, this episode was also interesting in its use of the cast as one group character for most of the episode. This is something new we haven’t really seen the show get to do in the past, and it adds a nice dynamic to how we view the characters of the show. Again, seeing most of these personalities used to complement each other in sight gags and punchlines makes each them feel a little less over-the-top and a little more relatable, which is something this show has needed to do for its characters for a while. 

The storyline between Carol and Katie is a great example of this in this episode, as Katie worries that Carol is going to embarrass her during the awards ceremony because Katie has been individually nominated for a new piece she produced. However, the show has also been nominated for an award overall, and Carol is actually excited about that award, since she’s part of the team and feels that she’s had a hand in helping the show receive its nomination. Katie, however, doesn’t realize this and tries to get her mother excluded from attending the award show. However, when she finally realizes that by assuming her mother would make it all about her, Katie was the one actually making it all about her, she feels terrible. The two reconcile, but then, when Carol is disappointed that the show doesn’t win the award, Katie turns into her mother and “Kanyes” the award winners.

Okay, so maybe most mothers and daughters wouldn’t interrupt an awards ceremony to steal the mic from someone else, but the assumptions and making things that are not about them about them is a very relatable experience that I think many people with overprotective mothers can relate to, and it definitely adds a more realistic side to Carol and Katie’s relationship, which will hopefully add to relationship-related jokes the show has in the future.

TB-TV-Grade-A-

Season 2, Episode 4 (S02E04)
Great News airs Thursdays at 930PM on NBC

Read all of our reviews of Great News here. 
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Tasha is a freelance writer currently based in Los Angeles. Originally from Kansas, when she’s not writing about or watching TV, Tasha is searching for the best BBQ place in LA to fill the KC BBQ hole in her stomach.
Keep up with all of Tasha’s reviews here.

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