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Monday, October 25, 2010

Last Week In TV #6

More thoughts on what I watched on TV last week. 


The Venture Bros: Bright Lights, Dean's City


A quasi-sequel to last week's episode, according to the pre-show bumper, Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer started their respective episodes at the same time, and Hammer finished first, so Hank's episode aired first. His episodes tend to be more emotional and concerned with fleshing out the characters (along with the funny) while Publick's are more pop culture-y and filled with rapid fire jokes, and that was true of this duology, as Hank's episode moved his character forward significantly while in this episode, Dean was largely just witness to a lot of crazy, funny stuff.   

The formula every super-villain team should follow: SPAWM. Speed, Power, Air, Water, Magic. W can also be Weather or Wind, something natural. I'd argue every team needs an energy projector of some kind, but I suppose the "P" could cover that...

The history nerd in me also got a kick out of super-villains Ladybird and Lyndon Bee.
 

Prof. Impossible: Let's not squabble, Hamilton!
Phantom Limb: Very well. Positives. On the upside, Verner did an excellent job as the cabbie. Until you gassed him!
Prof. Impossible: Alright, that's just passive-aggressive, friend. I see exactly what you're doing there.

Phantom Limb: I thought Manhattan was the epicenter of supervillainy.  It's more like the Island of Misfit Toys.

Doctor Venture: Fine!  I don't even like your dimension anyway!  It's an asshole dimension, what do you think of that?


The Event: Protect Them From the Truth
The Event has reached a point where I think, like Glee, random thoughts, observations and questions will work best for discussing it.

So Zelko learns about Sean, tells a subordinate to take care of him, and immediately thereafter a goon squad that answers to the people holding Leila shoots up the FBI office where he's being held; should I even be doubting that Zelko is in league with those guys at this point? I'm not sure if the show is doing a bad job of trying to keep us guessing on that score or doing a bad job of confirming that yes, the head of the CIA is involved with the plot to kill the President. 

The show has given me little reason to suspect, aside from my own desire for shows to use time travel whenever possible, that perhaps the aliens are actually future humans come back in time to ensure some such thing or another, but there was a line in this episode that triggered my time travel sense. I forget exactly what it was (I think Sophia said something to the President about not being to tell him the truth "at this time" or something like that), and it was almost certainly a throwaway turn of phrase, but it did make me recall the idea of the aliens being time travelers.

In real life, I'd never condone torture, but on TV, it frustrates the hell out of me when characters don't use it to get more information. Curious.

So all the dead plane crash survivors are waking up; my first thought was that the aliens somehow transformed them from humans into aliens, but that's probably way off.

The Event: A Matter of Life and Death 


I've always understood it that the President and the Vice President are rarely in the same room together for security reasons, yet it seems like everywhere the President on this show goes, the VP is there, too. And yes, this is the detail I'm nitpicking...

While the whole "make Leila think she's escaped just so she'll call Sean" con was horribly convoluted (why not just have her call him at gunpoint? Or "accidentally" drop a phone instead of a glass shard) and existed simply to create a "gasp" moment at the end, I'm glad there was a reason the cops were so relaxed about a woman showing who is claiming to have escaped from kidnappers. I mean, I don't care how podunk the town, I think real cops would have reacted to Leila a little better. 

Hal Holbrook (trust me, you'll recognize him when you see him) was listed as a guest star, but didn't show up, so I'm betting he's the voice on the other end of Vicky's phone at the end.

I'm not sure why, exactly, but I kinda like Sean's FBI agent pal. 

Earlier this week NBC gave The Event a full season pickup, so we should at least get a full season out of it. The show's creator also said that while he certainly hopes the show to last longer, he already knows how he'd end it in one season and still provide a satisfying ending.


No Ordinary Family: No Ordinary Ring
I continue to enjoy scenes of Jim learning how to use his powers (and/or smack baseballs with super strength), but seriously, how stupid does he have to be to lie to his telepathic daughter? I liked George's method of keeping Daphne from learning what he was up too; he needs to teach that to Jim.

Also, it seems JJ's super smart power extends beyond mathematics, which is a good cuz super math skills in and of themselves are pretty lame (and less prone to dramatic, TV-worthy events). 

George (to Jim): You dance like you're trying to get away from angry villagers.


Running Wilde: Oil and Water
A little better, in that it didn't outright suck. I quite liked the running gag of Steve's childhood tutors, and the walk-in Vodka freezer set piece. It also helped that by going to work and actually getting along with people, Steve came across as a real and somewhat sympathetic person.

The ratings on this aren't great, so I'll probably be riding it out until its inevitable cancellation.


Modern Family: Unplugged
I really think Alex had a point about being allowed to access the internet for the purposes of homework. There's making a point about not being plugged in during family meal times, and then there's being ridiculously out-of-date and damaging your daughter's grades to make a point.

Also, Luke sticking his head into the cereal bowl in order to continue playing his game while eating breakfast was one of those moments where I was reminded that it will be very difficult for me to discipline my kids when they do something that's wrong but also funny. Also really liked his apartment building made out of recyclables, which he subsequently destroyed ("There's no fire escapes! They cut corners!").

Gloria: Oh, here we go, because in Colombia we trip over goats and we kill people in the street! Do you know how offensive that is? Like we're Peruvians!

Alex: What's the difference between a gamete and a zygote?
Phil: Don't fall for it Claire, she's just making up words."


The Big Bang Theory: The Hot Troll Deviation


Honestly, if you'd told me I'd enjoy a Howard (easily my least favorite character on the show, mainly because he's little more than a lazy stereotype) episode this much, I'd have called you a bold-faced liar. It was nice to see Howard involved in something other than pervy subplots, a main story that didn't feature Sheldon, and the Howard/Bernadette break-up finally addressed (and even better, rekindled).

The B-plot involving Sheldon and Raj was also good, especially as it was nice to see someone outsmart Sheldon and to see Sheldon dealing with someone's personal hangups for a change. Even Leonard and Penny got some good lines in (I particularly enjoyed Penny bringing Howard the check for his "free" nachos).  

Also, my team name for Survival Football one year was Brobdingnagian Behemoths, so I got a chuckle out of Sheldon using the word.

Sheldon: Why do you even want this here? Its size is completely disproportionate to its purpose!"
Raj: Seeing as its purpose was to piss you off, I'd say it's spot on.

Sheldon: Why are you telling me this? 
Leonard: I don't know. Sometimes, your movements are so life-like, I forget you're not a real boy.


Community: Basic Rocket Science
This didn't work quite as well as "Modern Warfare", Community's other big parody episode, possibly because this one lacked the character moments of "Warfare", or possibly because action movie cliches are just funnier than space movie ones.

Either way, this was still pretty damn funny, from the absurdity of the space race to the KFC branded capsule (SANDERS) to the constant acknowledgments of how fake it all was ("We are 40 light years outside of the buttermilk nebula, although it's possible that ... yeah, this is a sticker") and, of course, the butt flag.


Annie: Keep snickering. Pack yourselves with peanuts and really be satisfied.

Jeff: Pierce. You're talking to an Atari cartridge. Sit down.

Troy: There is a time and a place for subtlety, and that time was before Scary Movie.


30 Rock: Let's Stay Together
I think the "House Subcommittee on Baseball, Quiz Shows, Terrorism and Media" might be the most hilariously apt fake subcommittee.


Saturday Night Live: Jane Lynch & Bruno Mars


After Bryan Cranston's near absence from the episode he hosted, it was nice to see Lynch do something in almost every sketch. Of course, Wiig was, unfortunately, right alongside her for most of it. 

SNL has this annoying habit of, when parodying the TV show or movie the host is known for/promoting, working one of their existing characters into said parody. So of course, SNL couldn't do a Glee parody without working in easily the worst of Wiig's recurring characters, Gilly. I'm frankly surprised they haven't tried a Gilly movie yet, the way the show seems to love her.

Loved the "mom filter" for Facebook app, especially the edited pictures.

The sketch involving Denzel Washington working the returns counter at Macy's was clearly meant to simply give Jay Pharaoh an opportunity to show off his Denzel impression, but since it was so damn good, I really don't mind.

The "Jane Lynch singing the Sunday Night Football Theme Song" sketch was funny if only for the line about how the game has already started, which is how it feels sometimes.

Best part of Weekend Update was Andy Samberg (who also got a lot of play this week) as Mark Zuckerberg, defending himself. "You think Aaron Sorkin doesn't mention The West Wing on dates? We're men, we use what we got!

Favorite Sketch: Probably the Glee sketch, despite the presence of Gilly. Keenan's Mercedes was spot on, Jason Sudekis' Will had some good lines, and Brian Moynihan as Kurt's dad ("I love you Gay Son!") was great.

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for consistently review Big Bang Theory because I've seen like one episode this season and it's really bumming me out.

    Sheldon: Why are you telling me this?
    Leonard: I don't know. Sometimes, your movements are so life-like, I forget you're not a real boy.


    LMAO!!

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  2. I don't often get to watch SNL but I caught a few minutes of it this Sat and I LOVE Steffon, The Methed-Out New York Party Boy.

    Furkles. Heh.

    I don't really watch any shows but Mantracker *little hearts everywhere*, Conviction Kitchen (do you guys have this? It is a bunch of ex-cons who are being taught how to cook and run a restaurant. It is awesome!) and Hell's Kitchen. Following a storyline on TV is beyond my abilities right now.

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  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2DyBTz_i7E

    "Is that Mick Jagger?"

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  4. i'm gonna say this straight up - i would sell a piece of my soul to see a Rusty Venture broadway musical. For reals

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  5. @Hannah: Thank you for consistently review Big Bang Theory because I've seen like one episode this season and it's really bumming me out.

    You're welcome. Honestly, whenever I think about writing something for Big Bang, I think "I don't really feel like it, but I know Hannah looks forward to it, so I'd better come up with something to say."

    @Joan: I caught a few minutes of it this Sat and I LOVE Steffon, The Methed-Out New York Party Boy.

    I'll talk about the most recent SNL in next week's post (I just saw it myself) but I enjoy Steffon, too. He's a one-joke character but I'll be damned if that joke isn't hilarious, just for all the crazy things they come up with for him to describe happening at these clubs.

    "Knees like biscuits".

    I don't really watch any shows but Mantracker *little hearts everywhere*, Conviction Kitchen (do you guys have this? It is a bunch of ex-cons who are being taught how to cook and run a restaurant. It is awesome!)

    Holy crap, crazy Canadian TV! As far as I know, we have neither show, but Conviction Kitchen sounds hella awesome.

    @Falen: i would sell a piece of my soul to see a Rusty Venture broadway musical. For reals

    Ditto. I was singing the song for the rest of the day after we watched. "I'm Rusty/Rusty!"

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  6. i want to have Conviction Kitchen!

    When i went to school in Crookston (which was practically North Dakota and Canada all rolled in to one) we got the CBC channel- they had some great shows
    Good to see you around again Joan!

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  7. @Anne: When i went to school in Crookston (which was practically North Dakota and Canada all rolled in to one

    Haha! I love it.

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