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Monday, January 24, 2011

Last Week in TV #18

Slightly-briefer thoughts than usual, as I did watch some stuff last week but didn't have much time to write about them. And with the Oscar nominations due tomorrow, best to get this done while I can.

Fox Sunday Night Animation


Last week's Simpsons ("Flaming Moe") was actually pretty good (I appreciated the callback to past "Moe turns his bar into ___!" episodes) with two strong stories featuring supporting characters and little interaction from the Simpsons (aside from Homer and Marge voguing and Bart assisting Skinner's romantic machinations). Last night's was pretty good too until the random fourth act ending. Until then, I greatly enjoyed Homer's embrace of 80s sitcom mores and the corresponding parodies.

Bob's Burgers is definitely growing on me. I liked the previous episode with Bob stuck in the wall ("I'm funny in the wall") more than the most recent one, but last night's episode had it's moments too ("THIS IS THE BEST DREAM I'VE EVER HAD! EVERYBODY PEE ON THE FLOOR! WHO'S WITH ME!?!")

We missed last week's Family Guy (technical difficulties) and this week's was a repeat, so nothing to discuss there...

Last week's American Dad had some fun time travel stuff, but was otherwise a pretty standard "sitcom wife breaks free" episode. Last night's episode was great though, and Mrs. Teebore and I laughed so hard we cried at the extended parkour scene. I knew Stan was going to fall when he leaped off that first building, I just didn't expect him to crash through a graffiti-ed window one floor below the roof, then get up and keep going.


How I Met Your Mother: Last Words


This episode made the most of the sad and tonally-dissident surprise ending to the last episode, managing to depict grief and still be funny. My minor quibble (which I shared with Alan Sepinwall, though it seems to have bothered him more) with it is that, for all the emphasis on final words, neither Marshall nor anyone else points out that while Marshall's dad's technical last words may not have been terribly meaningful, they came at the end of a visit in which Marshall did have a life affirming and inspriring conversation with his dad on par with his brothers' walk in the woods and teaching ice skating stories. So while yes, the last words Marshall shared with his father were less than profound, it isn't like it'd had been ages since the two had a significant conversation.

That quibble aside, the episode worked well. Robin as a vice-laden Mary Poppins known for getting things was a wonderful repeating gag that kept an undercurrent of humor running through the episode, and the entire cast did some great dramatic work, especially during the scene in which Marshall railed against God. It was Marshall's moment, but you could see the thoughts and emotions on everyone's faces.

Ted: You’re like Mary Poppins if her bag was filled with drugs.
Robin: If?!?

Ted: That guy gave you noogies? What, did he carry a stepladder?
Marshall: ... He made me carry it.


Top Chef: Restaurant Wars: One Night Only 


I'm bummed but not terribly surprised that Marcel was sent home. As soon as he was named the second captain, I turned to Mrs. Teebore and said "he's going home" (how awesome am I, right?).

And while it made sense that he was sent home (his restaurant clearly lost, and he was in charge) there is something to be said for his complaint about people not listening to him. If he asks Mike Isabella how long something will be, Mike replies vaguely, Marcel asks him to clarify and Mike simply says "don't talk to me like that" because he doesn't like Marcel, well, it's not Marcel's fault Mike's a dick. Now, Marcel as a leader who tends to annoy people should have found a way to communicate with his team and get them to listen to him, but still, the loss wasn't entirely on his shoulders. What it boils down to is this: Marcel is clearly a phenomenal chef (as far as we can tell, obviously), creatively and technically, but where he flounders is in dealing with people, who either pick on him because he puffs himself up or fail to recognize his fairly dry sense of humor for what it is. So it's certainly fitting that he was sent home for a challenge in which effectively managing people is a large part of the success. 

All that aside, how happy do you think Dale and Tre were to not be sent home because of Restaurant Wars?


The Big Bang Theory: The Love Car Displacement


Another Big Bang, another episode petering out instead of ending (to be perfectly honest, I was surprised they actually got to the conference. I figured the whole episode would be the road trip). Lack of ending aside, everything was decent enough (the "Raj texts Leonard who calls Bernadette" gag was probably the best use of the stupid "Raj can't talk around women" bit in some time) until the laughable panel in which all the main characters were inexplicably participating then unprofessionally airing their personal lives. It was all terribly unrealistic and out-of-character.


Community: Asian Population Studies


Now that Parks and Recreation is back on the air, Community has competition for the title of My Favorite TV Comedy. It's tough call, as both episode this week were excellent. The cold open of "Asian Population Studies" alone was a microcrosm of what makes that show great ("Was it Black Michael Chiklis?" "Or White George Foreman?" "They're the same person, and he's bi-racial!" "We should really learn people's names.") and I loved the crack about guest star Malcolm-Jamal Warner wearing a Cosby sweater (he got it from his dad...). 


Parks and Recreation: Go Big or Go Home


Parks and Rec is back! After a far-too-long hiatus it was great to see all these characters again. Highlights include Ron Effin' Swanson's pyramid of greatness and his turn as a Bobby Knight-esque coach of little league basketball, Tom serving as the game's referee simply because he was wearing his Foot Locker uniform and clearly knowing nothing about the game ("Foul on Number Three for taking a Number Two on Number Four!") and the surprisingly-funny Rob Lowe (his brief appearances at the end of last were fairly broad, but this episode did a lot to humanize him while also making him funny).

Seriously people, watch this show; it's awesome.

10 comments:

  1. You know how I am with certain people and I hate Amy Poehlr. Hate.

    So therefore, I will never watch that show. Should I get over it? Sure. Should you watch Farscape? Sure.

    I still haven't gotten completely into Bob's Burgers yet. I find myself distracted when it comes on so it hasn't quite gotten my full attention. I've just been scrambling to finish last minute stuff before I watch Masterpiece...no commercials.

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  2. you didn't miss much on FG from last week. It was no big deal.

    Yeah i felt bad for Marcel when no one was listening to him, and Mike was clearly in the wrong in that little spat they had because Marcel didn't even have a bad tone.
    Still, i think Angelo handled it the best when he told the judges that no one on the team even acted like adults.

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  3. @Hannah: Should I get over it? Sure. Should you watch Farscape? Sure.

    Ah, but as much crap as I give "Muppets in Space" I'd give it a shot if I had the time. :)

    @Falen:

    I was actually really surprised that Angelo, of all people, was the closest that team had to a voice of reason.

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  4. Yeah, we'll see. A lot of my shows are actually ending, which is fantastic for my TV watching schedule. Although, Fringe moved to Fridays, the same time slot as Supernatural. Boo on you, Fringe! or rather, Fox!

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  5. @Hannah: Although, Fringe moved to Fridays, the same time slot as Supernatural. Boo on you, Fringe! or rather, Fox!

    Yeah, it'll be interesting to see how that move affects Fringe's ratings.

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  6. i love when Dale was like 'getting Fabio is like a super secret Draft pick'- he ROCKED front of house. And i like how he stood up to Dale in defense of his servers
    I LOVE HIM

    speaking of love (since i know how much you love Marcel) did you see how he's getting his own cooking show on Sci Fi? wtf

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  7. If I remember correctly, last week's Family Guy was the Lois porn episode, which I thought was one of the funnier episodes all season.

    Anyway, I had three problems with How I Met Your Mother.

    1. Marshall's whole yelling at his friends that they have no idea how he feels. Which is one of the more cliched lines that TV will pull out. (And it would piss me off if it was said to me.)

    2.I thought it was insensitive for Marshall to talk about everyone else's father's final words when Barney doesn't really know his father.

    3. I felt like part of the point of the episode should have been that a person and a relationshup is more than that person's final words. So while Marshall's last words with his dad might not have been what Marshall would have liked, his relationship with his dad was.
    So, long story longer, I felt like the message should have been Marshall accepting that his Dad's final conversation with him wasn't perfect but that didn't matter. And he kind of learned that, but then he pretty much got what he was looking for in the end anyway.
    It reminded me of a Full House episode where the kids learn that they don't always get what they want....and then, after that, get exactly what they want.

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  8. @Anne: getting Fabio is like a super secret Draft pick

    Yeah, that was pretty funny. Dale clearly put some thought into building his team.

    did you see how he's getting his own cooking show on Sci Fi? wtf

    I did not. WTF indeed.

    @Dr. Bitz: If I remember correctly, last week's Family Guy was the Lois porn episode, which I thought was one of the funnier episodes all season.

    Lois porn?!? Looks like I'll be checking that one out online.

    Marshall's whole yelling at his friends that they have no idea how he feels. Which is one of the more cliched lines that TV will pull out.

    Well, you don't know they feel!! Shut up!

    Seriously though, that's one of those things where, while it is indeed terribly cliche, I wonder if people actually say it. I've certainly never said it or had it said to me, but I wonder if it's one of those things that does get tossed out at funerals, or something TV just thinks gets said.

    I thought it was insensitive for Marshall to talk about everyone else's father's final words when Barney doesn't really know his father.

    Good point. I didn't think of it at the time because I, as an audience member, knew Barney was at a place where he doesn't want to know who his father is. But then Marshall doesn't know that. Or does he? I forget.

    Either way, it could have easily been avoided by having Marshall's point being about parents in general.

    I felt like part of the point of the episode should have been that a person and a relationshup is more than that person's final words... And he kind of learned that, but then he pretty much got what he was looking for in the end anyway.

    I think the point you mentioned was the ultimate point of the episode, just in a muddled way. I think the whole bit with Marshall keeping the real last words to himself and sharing the less elegant ones at the funeral was meant to underscore the point that last words aren't the be all and end all of our relationships.

    But I think that point got cluttered by giving Marshall the Full House ending. I would have loved for his dad's pocket dial to have not ended with "better" last words like we were all expecting it to. I think the point they were making would have been underscored much better that way.

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  9. Our sister once screamed "You don't even know who i am" at the dinner table at us. That's pretty close to the above cliche, yes?

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  10. @Falen: Our sister once screamed "You don't even know who i am" at the dinner table at us.

    A. That's hilarious.
    B. "I DON'T KNOW YOU! THAT'S MY PURSE!"

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