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Monday, March 21, 2011

Last Week in TV #26

Bob's Burgers: Art Crawl


This was another excellent episode, filled with animal anuses, hilarious asides from several characters and a more manic-than-usual Louise. Bob cutting loose and throwing sense out the window is always good for laughs, and his sudden support of the anus pictures in the face of censorship came to a hilarious climax as he rampaged through the art store, drawing anuses on everything in sight. It was one of the show's funniest sequences to date. Combine that with Louise's role as a whip-cracking taskmaster trying to sell tourist art and you've got one of the show's best episodes yet.

Also, the store next to Bob's Burgers in the opening credits (which changes each episode a la the couch gag on The Simpsons) had me laughing before the first line of dialogue was spoken: Attempted Crepes.

Louise: Dad, why does Art Crawl suck so much? 
Bob: Well, it's just a very loose definition of art, Louise. Don't say "suck".
Louise: 'Don't say suck', PLEASE.
Bob: You're right though, it does suck. I don't want you kids thinking this is what art is.
Tina: We should go to a museum.
Bob: Whoa, whoa, let's not overdo it. Let's just walk around making fun of this stuff. 

Teddy: They're like Mona Lisa's eyes. They follow you wherever you go.

Louise: Now listen, Gene, I'm going to have trouble cutting through the cartilage at first, so while I'm doing this, just think about your art. 
Gene: Okay, ninjarobotninjarobotninjarobotninjarobot....

Bob: What are you kids doing? 
Louise: What knife?
Bob: What do you mean 'what knife'?

Louise: Pretty manipulative, dad. I see where I get it.
Bob: Thank you. You should see my taxes.

Seriously, I think I could just quote almost this entire episode...


Family Guy: Trading Places


This episode took a fairly standard sitcom idea (the kids and adults both think the other has it easier) and ended with a fairly standard resolution (life sucks, but family helps) but in between, took the whole "trading places" premise to a level of unreality that only Family Guy can, and some decent hilarity ensued. Chris' stressed freakout in Lois and Peter's bedroom especially cracked me up ("let's see the money") and this week's patented "uber long Family Guy joke", in which Carter tries to destroy a park bench Peter "loves", had me laughing throughout, possibly because it reminded me of how effing difficult those digger things they have in parks were to manipulate when I was a kid...

Mayor West: I guess I'll just disappear into that field of corn...help! I'm lost in corn!

Peter: No, Lois! I will not allow you to look down on Amber just cuz she goes to an alternative high school. There's different ways to measure intelligence besides someone's grade point average. Fact is, she rumpled up some poetry she wrote and threw it away in a fit but I unrumpled it, and it was really good!

Lois: What do you mean, all day? What about all the housework?
Meg: I did it in like an hour. I don't understand why you're such a freakin' martyr all the time. It's a house. It's a finite area. I'm not cleaning a town.


Glee: Original Songs


Going into this episode, I was not the biggest fan of the idea of original songs. Music-wise, I enjoy Glee when it offers new or different takes on songs that I know. The more familiar I am with a song (and the more uniquely Glee performs that song) the more I enjoy it. When Glee does a song I'm not terribly familiar with (which, contrary to what my wife believes, are not ALL the Top 40 songs they do) I tend to enjoy it less. So of course, an episode featuring original songs, songs that by definition I've never heard before, didn't hold a lot of appeal for me.

That said, the original songs weren't all that bad, actually. I wouldn't want Glee to go all original, all the time, but for an episode, they worked. Generally speaking, the competition episodes of Glee are usually pretty good since they enforce some semblance of logic and structure where other episodes can get random and meandering, and for the most part, this episode held true to that idea. I particularly enjoyed how the show managed to combine Blaine and Kurt getting together with the Regionals showdown, giving the characters a reason to be happy without resorting to another tie just to keep fans of those characters happy. And while, sadly, the fact is that in real life the group singing Jesus songs probably would have won handily in this day and age, especially with a Tea Partier on the judging panel, this is one of those times it's good that the show eschewed reality in favor of the dramatic. New Directions losing to Aural Intensity might be more realistic, but it's significantly less satisfying.    

The return to regionals was also a reminder of the annoying back and forth going on with Sue's character, as it was at the last regional match that Sue actually voted for New Directions and extended the life of the club, whereas now she's back to her old "destroy the glee club" tricks and punching out the Lieutenant Governor's wife for announcing them as the winner (which was, admittedly, hilarious).

Overall, I could care less about all the various love triangles and whatnot, but I did like that Rachel called Quinn on her BS (see show? Consistent characterization can be a good thing! Now, decide whether or not Quinn is still obsessed with status or grown past such things, and stick with it for awhile) and that Quinn gave Rachel an honest, telling answer about her future vs. the futures of Quinn and Finn. Granted, it was still catty and selfish in its way, but Quinn's picture of the future probably wasn't that far off that mark. I like Glee the best when there's an undercurrent of sadness to it, the idea that life can suck and dreams don't always come true for everyone, and the show has been missing that feeling lately in favor of wacky hijinks. This scene brought a bit of it back to the table.

Things I Shouldn't Worry About: Okay, original songs, fine, but seriously, the club managed to write (music and lyrics), memorize, choreograph and practice their entire set of songs for Regionals in less than a week? That's just ridiculous. That's too little time to prepare using existing songs, let alone ones written that week. Also, I'm still bugged by the fact that Vocal Adrenaline wasn't at Regionals when they were there last year, and that the Warblers were at Sectionals when they weren't there the year before. It makes no sense!

Favorite Song: "Blackbird". Like I said when Kurt sang "I Want To Hold Your Hand", I'm a sucker for re imaginings of Beatles songs.

Kurt: Your solos are breathtaking. They're also numerous.

Rod: Can I add a dash of Rod to this lady soup

Will: What's your favorite song of all time?
Britanny: My Headband.


Top Chef: Island Fever


Well, Tiffany finally ran out of people to be one-better than (and her Quickfire teammate Antonia proved once again to be the Black Hammer), but since most people seemed to have felt her elimination was only a matter of time and she'd already lasted longer than she should have, the real story here is stupid Mike Isabella stupid winning again. I mean, really? The hell show? And what was up with the weird voiceover from Tom announcing him as the winner? Why didn't the guest judge do it, like they usually do? Honestly, Mike's winning wouldn't be so bad if he was the least bit humble about it (I didn't mind him doing well when he was crying about his grandma) instead of smugly arrogant, like it's a foregone conclusion and it's about time everyone else saw how awesome he's always thought he was.

With Tiffany gone, it's down to Richard or Antonia for the win. Honestly, as much as I like Richard, there's part of me that wouldn't mind seeing Antonia win simply to watch Richard turn into a mushy pile of neuroses (well, moreso). Either way, I just don't want Mike to win.

Episode-wise, once again, the finalists were stuck with a needlessly complicated elimination challenge. It almost seems like the producers saw what happened the last time these contestants had a challenge with little contraints (everyone was too good and the judges couldn't make a decision) and became determined to throw as many obstacles at the chefs as possible to ensure one of them trips up definitively. I mean, the idea of "cook a dish highlighting conch, a local ingredient" makes sense for a finale; adding in "but do it on the beach, with inconsistent woodfire grills as your only heat source, after you've exhausted yourself "hunting" for the conch" just makes the whole thing seem like the kind of challenge that should have appeared earlier in the season.

Other thoughts:
Which do you think made Padma feel dirtier: the pandering bikini shot (not that I'm objecting, mind you) or "in the name of corporate synergy, your guest judge today will be from another cooking show the company which owns this network is trying to get off the ground"?

Why couldn't Casey have lasted until the challenge where the contestants had to don swimsuits? 

Having the judges and yacht club members all decked out in flow-y white and khaki garb made them look like they'd come to the island to drink some Kool-Aid and board a passing comet.

There are two more episodes left, which apparently, constitute the actual finale, and what we've been watching for two weeks isn't really the finale. In an interview with the Onion AV Club, Tom likened the previous two set-in-the-Bahamas episodes as the playoffs, with the upcoming two-part finale being the Super Bowl (and from some comments he makes in that interview, there will be a reunion show). Which is all well and good, but that's not how the producers framed it going out of the Ellis Island challenge, and these last two episodes have felt more like "mid-season lull" episodes than "exciting playoff action!"


Saturday Night Live: Zach Galifianakis and Jessie J


The show felt off this episode, with no real standout sketch and lots of flubbed lines, but if the high wasn't terribly high, things were pleasantly consistent, with no real turd of a sketch (the Canadian talk show was the worst sketch, but it was more unoriginal than unfunny). Maybe it's just the effect of Galifianakis' offbeat, low key style.

Thankfully, the show gave him plenty to do. Comedians usually have good monologues (and excuse the writers from having to finish it off with song) and the monologue this week was fantastic, with some great one liners ("The only good time to yell out, 'I have diarrhea,' is when you're playing Scrabble."). The Talk sketch was parodying a show I, frankly, didn't know existed, but caught the gist of it pretty quickly (I liked the line, "a show like a book club where no one’s read the book, or any books."). The digital short, in which Galifianakis interviewed random kids for the job of his assistant, was funny in a dry way, and the Titanic sketch ended weirdly (as many late-in-the-night-sketches do) but contained probably my favorite single line of the episode, from the captain's log: "Iceberg up ahead, think I'll blast through that sucker. But first, tequila shots!"

Favorite Sketch: My favorite sketch though, was Scared Straight, this time featuring Galifianakis as a cannibal. Like "What's Up With That?" it's a recurring sketch with the same gag replayed each time (the cons use movies to setup anal-sex-in-prison jokes) but like "What's Up With That?" I'll be damned if I don't laugh every time, and at least they can vary the movies a bit each time.

8 comments:

  1. ohh top chef. I mean, WTF? Isn't the swimming for and cooking with Conch enough? Couldn't they at least provide them some gass grills?
    Also, ladies, why the fuck didn't you cook conch 1000 different ways before coming to the bahamas like the guys did? Preparation Fail.
    Also, i always find it weird when people (like Richard) can't swim well.

    I'm back to hating Quinn on Glee. I mean, really? Why did she have to be such a bitch to rachel? And her prediction for the future was BS because the reason she broke up with Puck was because she knew he'd always be stuck there and she didn't want to be. But then she goes and says she is going to be stuck there to rachel? Not only can the writes not keep any character continuity, they also seem to be losing a tight grip of the plot.
    Also, i was like you regarding the music - i watch glee to watch them sing songs i know, so original songs was a downer to me. But they were good, so i didn't mind.

    Haven't watched FG yet

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  2. haven't watched FG yet, so on to Glee

    Which i see Sarah stole my comment (and this time she actually STOLE my comment as i said that whole Quinn/Puck thing to our parents last week when we were discussing Glee. bitch).
    Yeah, the songs were catchy but i'm like everyone else that watches the show. Also, why did Rachel get BOTH regional songs? And as i said last week (i think)- the nationals judges better be serious or i'ma be pissed

    For Top Chef- your litte facebook comment 'Not Mike Again' actaully spoiled the win for us, as we didn't get to watch it until the next night. hang your head in shame
    That being said- Richard better win this freaking thing

    We loved the Annie outfit Zack wore in his opening monologue

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  3. @Sarah: ? Isn't the swimming for and cooking with Conch enough?

    Ha. I like that you referred to it as "swimming for" conch, since those conch were clearly seeded by the producers so the contestants weren't so much hunting for conch as picking them up from a wet grocery store.

    Also, i always find it weird when people (like Richard) can't swim well.

    Ditto. Some of them also seemed extra-buoyant. Like, it's not that hard to swim a few feet to the bottom for a couple seconds. Though, as Mrs. Teebore pointed out, they were probably dealing with some tough waves that probably made things harder.

    the reason she broke up with Puck was because she knew he'd always be stuck there and she didn't want to be.

    Good point. I (like the writers) had completely forgotten about that. But I agree, the inconsistent characterization drives me nuts. One episode, she's scheming to become Queen Bee of the school again, the next, she's above such things and confident doing her own thing. Which is it, show?

    @Anne: and this time she actually STOLE my comment as i said that whole Quinn/Puck thing to our parents last week when we were discussing Glee. bitch

    Aw yeah! TWIN FIGHT! TWIN FIGHT!

    Also, why did Rachel get BOTH regional songs?

    Because she's the bestest, apparently. Though that second song was a little more of a group number.

    And as i said last week (i think)- the nationals judges better be serious or i'ma be pissed

    I have the utmost confidence that Nationals will be just as head-scratchingly nonsensical and completely unlike any real choir competition as Sectionals and Regionals have been.

    For Top Chef- your litte facebook comment 'Not Mike Again' actaully spoiled the win for us, as we didn't get to watch it until the next night. hang your head in shame

    No shame here. If you don't want to be spoiled, stay off Facebook. That's what I've learned to do if I don't catch the episode the night it airs. ;)

    We loved the Annie outfit Zack wore in his opening monologue

    His whole monologue was very, very good.

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  4. This was another excellent episode, filled with animal anuses

    I would normally take that to be a contradictory statement, but "Attempted Crepes" has me laughing out loud and so does some of that dialogue, so maybe I'll give this show a try.

    Going into this episode, I was not the biggest fan of the idea of original songs. Music-wise, I enjoy Glee when it offers new or different takes on songs that I know. The more familiar I am with a song (and the more uniquely Glee performs that song) the more I enjoy it.

    It's like we're twins — twins, I say, twins! First I was totally aghast that the show would even try this, then I was gobsmacked at how good the original songs were. The attempts by everyone who wasn't Rachel — ''Trouty Mouth"; "Big-Ass Heart"; "Hell to the No" — were particularly good: short but sweet and seriously funny.

    punching out the Lieutenant Governor's wife for announcing them as the winner (which was, admittedly, hilarious)

    On one hand that was a pitch-perfect moment of the Sue Sylvester I want to see; on the other hand, as you say, it contradicts her previous behavior (or, more to the point, contradicts some of her most relevant previous behavior)... and, even in the world of Glee, would (like her temper tantrum of last month) get her suspended if not arrested.

    original songs, fine, but seriously, the club managed to write (music and lyrics), memorize, choreograph and practice their entire set of songs for Regionals in less than a week

    I know, I know, I know, I know, I know... Like I said, your brain will boil in your head, but it's impossible not to think about it because they do have this framework that approximates reality.

    "Blackbird" was indeed just beautiful. And the lines you quoted were also great, especially Brittany blurting out "My Headband" in a double-edged WTF?!?!?! moment of (1) that being such a terrible choice and (2) her even knowing about it, let alone liking it that much and thinking that it's an appropriate response.

    the monologue this week was fantastic

    I agree. The rest was pretty so-so except for some flashes of inspired weirdness. I've never seen The Talk itself, but I've heard of it and even seen some promos, and the sketch to good effect pretty much skewered exactly what came to mind given the format and odd combo of personalities involved.

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  5. @Anne: the nationals judges better be serious or i'ma be pissed

    I don't mind the idea of local "personalities" and washed-up, camptastic, or otherwise ironically used famous folks as judges, but the Kathy Griffin character was terribly flatly written and acted, particularly disappointing given the potential.

    @Teebore: Aw yeah! TWIN FIGHT! TWIN FIGHT!

    Wait... They're twins? But one is a vaguely androgynous Asian and the other is a big stone eye.

    @Teebore: I have the utmost confidence that Nationals will be just as head-scratchingly nonsensical and completely unlike any real choir competition as Sectionals and Regionals have been.

    Magic 8-Ball says, "Duh." 8^)

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  6. @Blam: so maybe I'll give this show a try.


    Like any new show (especially any new animated show) it's still finding its legs, but it's already aired a few excellent standout episodes (including the most recent two episodes) and even the non-standout episodes have enough enjoyable material to make them worth your time.

    Plus, coming from the Dr. Katz/Home Movies team, the show has a distinct feel to it different from the shows which precede and follow it, which is always nice.

    The attempts by everyone who wasn't Rachel — ''Trouty Mouth"; "Big-Ass Heart"; "Hell to the No" — were particularly good: short but sweet and seriously funny.

    Agreed. I think the inclusion of those funny, fun but short songs helped sell me on the idea of original songs early in the episode.

    even in the world of Glee, would (like her temper tantrum of last month) get her suspended if not arrested.

    Yeah, tyranny at the school is one thing. Punching the wife of a highly ranked government official would, I'd think, land her in jail, regardless of how many Nationals trophies she's won (especially since the whole point of her current arc is that, having failed to reach Nationals for the first time in years, she's dealing with a loss of clout).

    I don't mind the idea of local "personalities" and washed-up, camptastic, or otherwise ironically used famous folks as judges, but the Kathy Griffin character was terribly flatly written and acted, particularly disappointing given the potential.

    Ditto on both counts. I've always liked that the judges end up being a hodgepodge of government functionaries and local "celebrities", but man, was that Tea Party character a complete waste of Kathy Griffin's talents and the potential for some fun political satire, or what?

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