Thursday Night’s Alright (For Laughing)

All is right with the world once more. That’s right, after five long months of deprivation, we’ve finally got our Thursday nights back again. I’m referring, of course, to NBC’s comedy lineup–My Name Is Earl, 30 Rock, The Office and Scrubs–which is back tonight with all new episodes for the first time since the writers strike torpedoed the season.

It’s a rare convergence of television programming that brings four comedies of this caliber together in one block. Not since the Golden Age of Must See TV–dominated by the Holy Quartet of The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers and Night Court–have we had this much reason to look forward to Thursday nights.

First up tonight, Earl picks up where last week’s episode left off, with Randy taking over a comatose Earl’s list. Okay, Earl’s imaginary sitcom within a sitcom may be further evidence that the show’s gone a bit off the rails this season. But I’m willing to grant some leeway to any storyline that gives Ethan Suplee’s Randy a chance to step into the spotlight.

On 30 Rock, a throwaway line from earlier in the season becomes the focus of a whole episode, as Jack tries to figure out which TGS staffer has been badmouthing his reality hit MILF Island. Best Week Ever‘s Rob Huebel guest stars as the host of the fake show, described as “25 super-hot moms, 50 eighth-grade boys, no rules.” Look for it on NBC’s summer reality schedule.

The Office finally returns from hiatus with Michael and Jan hosting a dinner party that’s sure to be as appalling as it is hilarious.

And on Scrubs, Turk learns Spanish to celebrate his and Carla’s anniversay, Dr. Cox plays games with Kelso’s breakfast, and J.D. will probably have a daydream or two. Enjoy it while you can, because NBC won’t be bringing back Scrubs, and there are only a few pre-strike episodes left to air on the network before it presumably makes the jump to ABC.

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