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Great News - Early Retirement - Review: The Great Carol Wendelson

26 Jan 2018

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Well everyone, here we are. The second season of Great News has come to an end and honestly what a great episode to leave us on! After last week's shenanigans that ended with Carol quitting and resuming her full-time social life, we were gifted with a truly wonderful episode that tied this season (and show?) up in a nice little bow. Last week's episode wasn't my favorite, but this week really brought it home in a satisfying and hilarious way. If this really is the end, I couldn't have asked for a better ending. Let's review it!

Now that Carol is a full-time mom again, she's enjoying the little things like packing Katie her lunch and dropping her off at work. Most importantly she has more time with Angie who politely sends her messages to let her know The View has not started yet. Where do I sign up to get a reliable friend like Angie? Carol talking about Angie as casual throwaway jokes was always this show's peak comedy and I'm grateful we were given just a little bit more for the finale.

Back at The Breakdown, Diana St. Tropez (Tina Fey) reappears during a meeting to let them know Fenton Pelt (Jim Rash) has dropped his lawsuit. Everyone is celebrating but this is a finale, so surely it can't be that easy. Of course, his one condition is that Chuck retires live on air that night and admits that he's wrong. The gang protests, but Diana quickly shoots them down because there is no time to come up with a Chuck-saving plan. Fenton has already sent the invites out for a Post Revenge Nacho Party, and those things are hard to cancel. I've tried to cancel them multiple times in my life and every single time, people still came and demanded nachos. It's a nightmare!

Always striving to be the best reporter she can be, Katie decides to ignore Diana's instructions and pursues her lead regarding Fenton and his old business partner, Anthony Lyon. To make matters worse, Greg comes to tell her he's started planting seeds to end things with his girlfriend instead of outright breaking up with her to be with Katie. Why does Katie like Greg again? Not important. The point is, he's going to break up with her. Katie believes him and so do I!

Spoiler alert: Greg does not break up with Cat but instead she dumps him. He assumes this is exciting news, but something about the lack of passion behind it all has bummed Katie out. Fortunately she doesn't have a lot of time to think about it because a surprise visit from Carol strikes inspiration in the Anthony Lyon investigation: Carol knows everyone in New Jersey, and she's going to help find him. To heck with guy problems!

Apparently agreeing to the terms of his retirement, a disheveled Chuck shows up at The Breakdown and prepares to announce his retirement on air. In a surprising twist (in sitcom world, this twist is not even a little surprising) it's Portia who pushes him to fight back against this absurd demand. She wants to see the old Chuck, the man with principle who inspires Portia and made her realize (yesterday) that she has journalistic integrity! And it's Portia who "does a journalism" and finds a clause in his contract that he's allowed to say anything he wants on his last show and they legally can't cut him off. All he needs to do is stall until Katie and Carol find Anthony Lyon.

After a very fun montage of the Wendelson women following leads through New Jersey (including Ray Liotta as himself, who calls out Carol for not paying for brunch when they sat four seats from each other one time), they find Anthony Lyon (guest start Nax Faxon). His refusal to talk Katie, a reporter, leads us to one of the best scenes this show has delivered. Katie knows her mom is their only hope to convince him to go on air, but Carol doesn't have a Carol to push her out of this retirement funk. She's been understandably lost since Oprah ended her talk show seven years ago just like the rest of America, but now it's time for her to be her own inspiration and save the day. Needless to say, Andrea Martin knocked this scene out of the park.

They arrive just as Chuck is running out of things to say after seven hours of stalling. Anthony Lyon confesses on air that Fenton Pelt pretended to be his father, threw his kidney in a lake, shot him and stole his patents. Fenton Pelt is disgraced as the entire news world reports the story (except for Fox News, obviously) and Chuck is saved. Diana lifts his suspension and even promotes Carol to an undisclosed paid position after Greg threatened to quit if she wasn't hired. It's this grand gesture that finally gives Katie a confirmation from the universe that they're meant to be and the two share a kiss. And in case anyone forgot, Beth even gave birth in a stairwell as one last joke.

Great News was not a perfect show. It sometimes failed to connect all of its parts and some jokes fell flat when they could have been better. But at the end of the day it was a really wonderful addition to the world of comedy and if this is the end, I'm going to miss it. I'm grateful that they ended the season with an episode that doubles as a series finale to help lessen the blow. 23 episodes of a genuinely funny comedy is better than 12 seasons of Two and a Half Men. Sorry if that's too mean to Charlie Sheen.

The truth is, it's going to take a miracle for us to get a third season. I don't mean to be so pessimistic but NBC would be insane to renew it. Here's hoping that they will be insane and we'll get a tiny third season order for schedule filler over the holidays, a summer run, or to air disguised as an SNL sketch every Saturday at 2 am. We'll take anything, especially anything that provides little things like this fun insert joke to the right.

(But if there is a third season, can we please let Portia and Carol become best friends that frequently have A-plots together?)

What did you guys think of the end? What were your favorite moments in Great News? What would you want to see in a hypothetical third season? Would you want a robot to hang signs for you? Let me know!

That's all for me. See you guys in 2031 when TNT Jr. revives Great News as a children's animated series!