Two guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Last Week in TV #26

Bob's Burgers: Synchronized Swimming


Bob's Burgers leaves behind the film parodies for what might possible be called the show's first Linda-centric episode, though a lot of the laughs still came from the kids themselves (so far this season, the kids have pretty much always been on screen together, and while I don't think that would work forever, their interactions have yielded some pretty good gags). This was pretty much just the show being its weird self, with no homage or parody to anchor it, and it worked pretty well, with Louise elegantly but shortsightedly working the system before the entire family is nearly brought down by authoritative bureaucracy (represented in this episode by the kids' guidance counselor ). The pregnant yoga gag from the beginning even paid off at the end, and Louise's various schemes to shut down the pool were great.

Louise: I could read it, but I retain it better when Mom tells it to me.

Linda: Time to let my little birds fly! My bratty little baby birds fly with their crappy little wings.

Gene: Next time we do this, I'm getting an epidural.


American Dad: Less Money, Mo' Problems


As the episode began, I figured we were in for another rare Haley/Jeff storyline, and got excited by the idea. Then, it looked like instead it was going to be another "Stan/Francine do something extreme" story, which is always fun (the Parkour episode remains one of my all time favorites). Then, Francine quickly said "nuts to this" and it became clear this was going to be a "Stan does something extreme" story, but that was okay, because those are usually pretty good too (this show thrives on farce). And so despite all those revised expectations, this was still a funny episode. The Steve/Roger plot was fairly slight, but that was probably for the best, as I don't think they could have gotten much more story out of that idea, and it intersected with Stan's story nicely (and yes, there's a political element to this episode, with the whole idea that minimum wage isn't enough to live on, but the episode always seemed to downplay any commentary for laughs, and I didn't really catch the political angle until thinking about it after the fact; during the episode, I was just laughing at stuff). 


Once Upon a Time: Hat Trick
When I heard "Mad Hatter" episode, and then saw the preview for it, complete with both Emma and Mary Margaret tied up and threatened like they were in a horror film, I wasn't expecting much, and I certainly wasn't expecting one of the most mythology-heavy episodes of the series yet. But this episode turned out to be a pleasant surprise. In FTL, we got perhaps one of the most radical re-imaginings of a fairy tale character (or, in this case, a Disney character, as Alice isn't exactly a fairy tale) yet, and while the story itself was predictable, there were some fun surprises in the re-imagining (like the idea of the various fairy tale worlds being different realities, an idea also fronted by the Hatter in Storybrooke).

Back in Storybrooke, what looked like the start of a really bad horror movie, turned instead into a discussion of the relationship between Storybrooke and Fairy Tale Land, as we learn the Hatter of Storybrooke, like Regina and Gold, remembers FTL. Frustratingly, he pretty much lays it all out for Emma, including the idea that Storybrooke and FTL are simply two different alternate realities and the knowledge that things started to change once Emma arrived, and yet Emma obstinately insists on disbelieving all the fairy tale stuff. Because she's apparently one of the dumbest characters on TV, the fact that multiple people have now expressed the same "delusion" seems lost on her, and she continues to insist there is no truth to Henry's beliefs despite other people who have never met Henry expressing them as well.

As the show's first season nears its end (there can only be a few episodes left, right?) and next week's episode looks to answer the "what did Snow do to Regina?" question that remains the biggest lingering question in the FTL narrative, forward momentum on the show's overarching plot is needed. But the show also needs to stop portraying Emma as an idiot and have her realize that enough weird shit has happened that maybe Henry is right about FTL after all. There is little on TV more frustrating that a main character who remains dumb simply to draw out the plot longer.  

Other Thoughts
Regina was referred to as such in FTL, the first time (I think) it was confirmed that she has the same name in both realities.

So Gold is working with Regina to frame Mary Margaret (apparently). In addition to Emma's ongoing stupidity/stubbornness regarding FTL, her complete lack of genuine help is becoming tiresome. Every time it looks like she has an ally against Regina, we get an episode-ending cliffhanger that takes away that ally (Graham was killed, Sydney and Gold turned out to be working with Regina). Maybe that's what the show is positioning Mysterious Sexy Writer to be, Emma's actual ally? 

The discussion about history books vs. fiction was also fun, vis-a-vis the alternate reality scenarios.

Regina disguising herself as an old woman was a nice touch, though I didn't really need her to flash her real face to the Mirror for the slow kids. 

Mary Margaret showed off some of Snow's fighting abilities, another bleed through between the worlds.


Alcatraz: Webb Porter


In its pseudo-penultimate episode (I don't know if this week's two hour finale was two episodes or one) the 'Traz thankfully continued the improvement the show has illustrated in the back half of the season, giving us another interesting and creepy 63 (albeit another with childhood issues, though to the show's credit, it's made it pretty clear that is going to be an actual thing and not just a huge coincidence) alongside some snippets of Hauser backstory and greater mythology. The ending takes us into the finale on a strong note, as Madsen and Doc learn the truth about Lucy just before Lucy herself is revived thanks to the con's super healing blood. Bring on the finale, and that's hope it's not the end for the show.

Other Thoughts
Once again, we had a con in the present who seemed much more vicious and casual about killing than he ever did in the past. This has to be a thing, doesn't it?

The bit with Beauregard struggling with how the web cam works is another instance of the show needing to decide how the 63s regard modern technology, though perhaps Beauregard, not being a convict, is a special case.


Community: Digital Exploration Of Interior Design


Last week I mentioned my anxiety over the apparent rift in the Troy/Abed friendship, but I didn't expect the show to follow up on it so quickly (of course, had the hiatus not occurred, we would have had at least one, if not more, episode between the last and this one). Thankfully, the show represented their rift in a way only it could: via an escalating blanket fort vs. pillow fort war that threatens to consume the school, all stirred up by a suddenly-bearded-and-pony-tailed Vice Dean Laybourne (he's going through some stuff). I genuinely hope Troy and Abed emerge from this with their friendship intact, as unrealistic as it might be, as their relationship is one of my favorites on the show. But in the meantime, I'm happy to watch the ensuring carnage that represents their conflict, and appreciate the way it ties into Laybourne's season-long efforts to coerce Troy into joining the air conditioning school.

Other Thoughts
We got THREE plots in this episode, and the Britta plot was easily the funniest of them all (the Troy/Abed stuff was more setup for next week), both for Britta's obliviousness (I love that she got neither the pun in the name of her "Britta Unfiltered" column, nor the completely irony in wanting to force someone to read 1984) and for the whole idea of corpo-humanization. It was also nice to see the Shirley/Pierce sandwich shop plot continue (it's always nice when Pierce is given an opportunity to do something other than be a complete boob).

The Jeff/Annie plot was okay but nothing exciting (despite me being an embarrassed Jeff/Annie shipper and thus appreciating Annie's little dig about making out with someone than ignoring them). I did enjoy the running "we saved Garrett/did we?" gag though.

John Goodman is always welcome, and the sight of him in red footie pajamas just about made me lose it.   

Absolutely loved the epic score at the end as the blanket/pillow fort war kicked into gear.

Subway: Eat fresh!

Pierce: Excellent whoresmanship Britta. 

Magnitude: Pop pop, Captain...

Annie: Put it in a letter, Jane Austen!

8 comments:

Blam said...


Once Upon a Time: Hat Trick

I certainly wasn't expecting one of the most mythology-heavy episodes of the series yet. But this episode turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

Yeah, I pretty much loved it.

or, in this case, a Disney character, as Alice isn't exactly a fairy tale

I'm glad that Wonderland got handled so well, being such an Alice fan — putting it in a more fantastic alternate realm made a lot of sense — but it was strange to have such a relatively modern story that originated with a known author included. The whole thing about all stories coming from somewhere (kinda like comic-book writers on Earth-Prime being subconsciously plugged into Earth-One, etc., in DC lore) was neat and made the potential problems on that score basically disappear. Although one can't help but realize that some very original, creative stories just recent enough to still be under copyright to non-Disney entities will never be seen.

and yet Emma obstinately insists on disbelieving all the fairy tale stuff

Maybe that's part of the curse? Ooh! I bet it takes True Love's Kiss.

I totally get what you're saying about the supposedly insightful Emma not putting the pieces together, but I knew from the moment that she was playing along with his "delusion" that she was just playing along; let's remember that she's a guarded person and practical above all out of necessity, so her BS detector is probably in overdrive and somewhat at odds with her detective skills.

Also, Hatter's laying so much out there comes from a long tradition of not just the viewers but a key character getting an infodump exactly when said character is guaranteed to be unable or unwilling to remember and/or believe it, leaving things "advanced" for us only. This holds true for not just plot/mythology but will-they/won't-they romantic entanglements and sometimes even both (Lois sees Clark use super-powers but they're both under a magic spell!).

Regina was referred to as such in FTL, the first time (I think) it was confirmed that she has the same name in both realities.

I think it was mentioned once before, very recently, because I remember being a little disappointed. Yeah, I know that I had a mini-rant about names like James (Charming) and David being different just because, but Regina's name being the same kinda takes away from the cleverness of her name being Regina in Storybrooke because she was the Evil Queen. "Blanchard" is still my favorite allusion, though. Hey... Do you think that one reason why Emma's name is Emma is that the creators were making a geeky Emma Frost reference, since she's the daughter of Snow White?

Regina disguising herself as an old woman was a nice touch, though I didn't really need her to flash her real face to the Mirror for the slow kids. 

Well, TV viewers am be stupid so us am need spell it out for thems. I also liked the callback to the traditional Old Crone guise in Snow White, though.

Alcatraz: Webb Porter

I don't know if this week's two hour finale was two episodes or one

Two.

The bit with Beauregard struggling with how the web cam works is another instance of the show needing to decide how the 63s regard modern technology, though perhaps Beauregard, not being a convict, is a special case.

I give them some leeway here in that he was 65 years old even back in 1963 and seemed pretty set in his ways then.

H'ain't seen last night's Community yet.

Blam said...


PS: I don't think that Mr. Gold is on anybody's side but his own, really, but it does seem that in this case he's playing Emma more than he is Regina — or at least working with Regina for his own purposes rather than with Emma and Mary Margaret — making it hard to believe that Emma (who did warn MM about him) or Mary Margaret would ever trust him again even out of necessity.

Blam said...


Community: Digital Exploration of Interior Design

Absolutely loved the epic score at the end as the blanket/pillow fort war kicked into gear.

Ditto to that and all the rest. My favorite part was the gunshot on the soundtrack during the slo-mo melee — not in a way that, you know, condones firearm violence, just for the absurdity of it.

Pierce: "Top notch whoresmanship, Britta."
Shirley: "Pierce!"
Pierce: "Sorry. Whoreswomanship. I forgot it was the '90s."
Shirley: (low) "Uh-oh."

Teebore said...

@Blam: kinda like comic-book writers on Earth-Prime being subconsciously plugged into Earth-One, etc.

That's exactly how I've been thinking of it.

Maybe that's part of the curse?

Maybe, though I thought the whole deal with Emma was that she was the prophesied curse-breaker, and thus, immune to it. But I could be making assumptions there.

Ooh! I bet it takes True Love's Kiss.

That said, yes, it probably does.

I knew from the moment that she was playing along with his "delusion" that she was just playing along

Oh, I did too, and I don't begrudge her ignoring most of what the Hatter was saying considering he was holding her at gun point, but there is a point where, should she look back over events in Storybrooke, the writing should be on the wall for someone as reasonably intelligent as Emma. I'm not sure we're at that point yet, but we're getting very close, and I hope the show has enough confidence it itself to not drag it out too far.

Do you think that one reason why Emma's name is Emma is that the creators were making a geeky Emma Frost reference, since she's the daughter of Snow White?

On most any other show, I'd say that has to be a coincidence, but with Horowitz and Kitsis at the helm, it could very well be.


I give them some leeway here in that he was 65 years old even back in 1963 and seemed pretty set in his ways then.


True. His circumstances are a bit different from the rest of the 63s.

or at least working with Regina for his own purposes rather than with Emma and Mary Margaret

Yeah, I don't think he's so much as allied with Regina as he is working his own angle. I was just disappointed that once again, just as it seems Emma has an ally against Regina who isn't Henry, it turns out to not be the case (not that Gold being in it for himself is at a surprise).

Pierce: "Sorry. Whoreswomanship. I forgot it was the '90s."

I love how many levels on which that line is funny.

Sarah Ahiers said...

We really love Bob's Burgers. We laugh constantly, and i don't know if that's because the show is just that good, or if it's because the show is still new, so we're taken by surprise easier.
I frickin loved the end when Bob was like "Are we just going to forget that louise pooped in the pool?" And Louise's response was "Forget about it? I named it. Jezebel."

AD was pretty good. I actually wish there had been more Roger and Steve, but what can you do. I loved when they drove past Klaus and his slow motion reaction

Teebore said...

@Sarah: And Louise's response was "Forget about it? I named it. Jezebel."

Yeah, I really wish I had the time to go back and take notes of great lines and stuff for shows (like professional TV writers can do), because there were a ton of them, and my memory has become shoddy enough that I can remember the gist but not the exact words after only one pass.

Blam said...


Teebore: I don't begrudge her ignoring most of what the Hatter was saying considering he was holding her at gun point, but there is a point where, should she look back over events in Storybrooke, the writing should be on the wall for someone as reasonably intelligent as Emma.

Given how out there the actual explanation of what happened is, however, I think it's a tricky thing. I mean, Storybrooke is supposed to be the real world, the only world Emma's ever known, so accepting all this fairy-tale stuff does not come easily; at the very least, though, it's certainly about time for her to wonder why various unconnected sources have the exact same "delusion". And I'd agree that the very fact that she could repeat what the Hatter believes back to him so convincingly should also trigger some suspicion.

Teebore said...

@Blam: it's certainly about time for her to wonder why various unconnected sources have the exact same "delusion"

Yeah, that's what gets me. I can totally buy her scoffing at such ideas in the heat of the moment, but eventually, she should start to wonder if maybe there's some truth to them.