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Comedy showdown

CBS gives NBC’s Thursday sitcom block a challenge this season 

LEFT: “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS) RIGHT:  “Community” (NBC)


LEFT: “The Big Bang Theory” (8:00 CBS) RIGHT: “Community” (8:00 NBC)


Premiere plot:


1. “Big Bang”: Penny (Kaley Cuoco) is shocked to learn socially inept brainiac Sheldon (Emmy-winner Jim Parsons) will be going on his first date. Naturally, she tags along.


“I never thought we’d stumble upon a female that he communicated with,” Parsons says of his character. “Is he going to get it on? I wouldn’t hold anything past anybody at this point.”


2. “Community”: It’s a new semester with new classes to tackle, so the study group meets for Anthropology 101 and to watch Jeff (Joel McHale) attempt to remain friendly with both Britta (Gillian Jacobs) and Annie (Alison Brie).


Guest stars:


1. “Big Bang”: Mayim Bialik reprises her role as the brilliant Amy Farrah Fowler, who appears to be Sheldon’s — gasp! — girlfriend when Season 4 opens.

2. “Community”:
Did we mention Betty White happens to be the Anthropology 101 professor? “She’s the sweetest and most dangerous person on our campus,” McHale says.


Verdict:


Watch “Community” live for Betty White alone, obviously. DVR “Big Bang.”




LEFT: “$#*! My Dad Says” (8:30 CBS) RIGHT: “30 Rock” (8:30 NBC)


Premiere plot:


1. “Dad”: Based on Justin Halpern’s Twitter feed about his cranky, quotable pops, William Shatner stars as the curmud­geon whose son (Jonathan Sadowski) loses his job and moves back home.


“I don’t Twitter,” Shatner admits. “What I’ve done is I’ve hired a young man out of college, whose very fingers are the extension of computer keys, and he Twitters. He does the mechanics, but I very carefully modulate what I say. It’s been an exploration in the immediate language of being short-termed and pithy, and I have had a growing and glowing experience with Twitter.”


2. “30 Rock”: Liz continues her relationship with Carol — but not if Jack can help it.


Guest stars:


1. “Dad”: With Shatner in the lead, we’re not sure this sitcom could handle any other big personalities.

2. “30 Rock”:
Matt Damon reprises his role as Liz’s pilot beau, while Elizabeth Banks returns as Jack’s baby momma.


Verdict:


Watch “30 Rock” live, but you’re better off sticking to the Twitter “Dad” altogether.



TOP: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (9-10 p.m., CBS) BOTTOM LEFT: “The Office” (9 p.m., NBC) BOTTOM RIGHT: “Outsourced” (9:30 p.m., NBC)


Premiere plot:


1. “CSI”: The aftermath of serial killer Nate Haskell (Bill Irwin) literally stabbing Langston (Laurence Fishburne) in the back at the end of last season is revealed. Wait, there’s nothing funny about that. …


2. “The Office”: Michael (Steve Carell) refuses to fire the new office assistant, but we’re afraid he’s going to be the one looking at a pink slip soon. “It was a suspicion, then a dread,’” says star/exec. producer Mindy Kaling about Carell’s impending departure. So is Kaling’s Kelly Kapoor ready to step up as manager? “We just shot some stuff where I went through the minority training program,” she teases. “Anything can happen.”


3. “Outsourced”: After completing management training, American Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport) learns he must relocate to oversee a new group of employees — in India. Executive producer Robert Borden calls the sitcom “a workplace comedy with a big ‘fish out of water’ element,” but the pilot has faced a lot of criticism for resorting to Indian stereotypes.


Guest stars:


1. “CSI”: ... Oh, but this is pretty hilarious: Justin Bieber makes his acting debut as a political rabble-rouser tonight.

2. “The Office”:
Michael’s goofy former flame Holly (Amy Ryan) will be back.

3. “Outsourced”: Diedrich Bader stars as another American working in Todd’s Indian office building. He’s also the voice of Batman on “Bat­-man: The Brave and the Bold.” If we close our eyes, we can pretend the Caped Crusader has swooped in to save this sitcom.


Verdict:


It’s Carell’s final season, so check out “The Office” live. Tune in to “CSI” for its second half to catch the Beeb and join in the inevit­able conversation about his hair on Friday morning. But don’t worry about “Outsourced” — unless you’re into cheap jokes about Indian food.

 
 
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