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Friday, November 30, 2012

Last Week in TV #11

The Simpsons: A Tree Grows in Springfield


Once again, The Simpsons gets to the party late, skewering the iPad long after it moved from the tip of pop culture's tongue. Timeliness issues aside, this episode was a vast improvement over the previous two. While still not terribly funny, it was at least amusing in places, and the last two acts flirted with the kind of introspection/deeper meaning the show was capable of handling in its earlier golden years.

Other Thoughts
That "Logomania" short at the end, that was...random and odd, wasn't it? 

Hot Dog Announcer: Apparently, I’m married to a pork chop, and I have drumstick children. How did that happen?

Marge: It looks like you’re putting all your eggs in one basket.
Homer: What would you have me do, one basket for each egg?
Marge: Hmm, I guess you’re right. I guess I’ll have to scratch that off the list of things I say.


Bob's Burgers: The Deepening


As it did with the episode inspired by The Goonies last season, Bob's Burgers returns once more to loose movie parody, with similarly hilarious results. Lots of little character bits, like Bob's reaction to every one of his plans to stop the shark making things worse or Tina's oddball-but-typical-for-her attachment to the shark helped keep things grounded (and helped keep the characters from being overwhelmed by straight parody). Even Teddy was well served (I wonder if this particular element of his background will ever be mentioned again?).

Tina: Listen to me! I know how the shark thinks. It’s confused. It doesn’t know why you want to kill it. It just wants to go home.
Bob: Tina, it’s a machine. It’s dumber than our toaster.
Tina: Our toaster is also confused. It doesn’t know why we put bagels in it.
Bob: Oh my god.

Tina: I’m torn. Dad raised me, but the shark gets me.

Bob: I am literally grasping at straws!


Family Guy: Lois Comes Out Of Her Shell


In terms of the A story, nothing here was terribly groundbreaking for either Family Guy or sitcoms in general, but the end result was plenty funny enough (Brian and the kids' reaction Peter and Lois' lovemaking got the biggest laugh from me). The B story was even better, giving Stewie a fantastically rendered "Big Chicken" style adversary that I hope makes a return appearance (also, maybe it's a guy thing, but I wouldn't mind being referred to as a reliable Plow Horse...). 


Once Upon a Time: Into the Deep


The previews (and the opening credits) were hyping this as a Henry-centric episode featuring zombies, something that didn't exactly make me too excited for the episode. Thankfully, both of those things were very downplayed in the actual episode, and the end result was a decent enough lead-in to the show's fall finale (there's that term again...), moving the characters into place for what will hopefully be some significant plot development next week.

Other Thoughts
How did Hook get Aurora's heart? I thought that whole business was terribly unclear.

Nice to see Snow kicking ass and taking names.

I rolled my eyes a bit at how everything (including more poppies) is just randomly somewhere in the forest, never more than a long walk away...

Another mermaid hint; I'm pretty sure the producers have said Ariel will appear at some point. Given the show's effects budget, I shudder at the thought.

Why would Rumpelstiltskin have a store of the ink which imprisoned him in his prison cell?


How I Met Your Mother: Twelve Horny Women


I can't decide if the (obviously intentional) incorrect and overly dramatized legal elements prevented me from fulling enjoying this episode, or if the episode just wasn't funny enough to not make me care about that stuff. I did like the twist that Marshall was appearing before the judges not because of some element of poor conduct in the course of the trial, but because he was applying to become a judge himself. It was one of the few times in the show's recent history that the "the whole show is a flashback" gimmick was worth the effort (I also appreciated that the show didn't wait too long to return to the case after teasing it in the last episode).

Other Thoughts
The whole "who has the worst rap sheet?" subplot was pretty lame, though it is always fun to see Robin Sparkles. And thought the scene at the end between Robin and Barney featured a pair of great performances, the show has played the "two ships passing in the night" card with them so often that it's lost all meaning. 

Why, exactly, did Brad's ridiculous "sex up the jury" strategy require a working a knowledge of Marshall's strategy for the case?

Marshall: May I say those robes really do you… justice?

Barney: I don’t want to sit in that courtroom all day
Ted: I’ll bet you don’t want to sit anywhere with those hemorrhoids.

Lily: You were never a badass.
Ted: Au contraire!
Lily:  Off to a good start.


Revolution: Nobody's Fault But Mine


As a "fall finale", this was, perhaps, a bit underwhelming. Even in the context of this show, a cliffhanger involving the heroes facing down the multiple barrels of a functional attack helicopter isn't all that jaw dropping (I was hoping for more of a "holy crap, this changes everything!" cliffhanger, and while Monroe having power technically fits that mold, it didn't quite hit the "holy crap" scale since we saw Rachel finish the amplifier earlier in the episode). The rest of the episode was effective enough. I enjoyed both Rachel and Danny's appraisal of Charlie being a badass (which would have been more effective if she hadn't come into it just last week) and the showdown between Miles and Monroe more or less lived up to the hype the narrative had given it leading up to this episode. With Danny rescued and Rachel free from Monroe, this hopefully means a new status quo for the second half of the season, and that we can finally put the Quest for Danny to rest.

Other Thoughts
Okay, the Miles/Monroe confrontation was great, except for the dramatically-forced stupidity of Miles lowering his gun, then apologizing to Monroe and telling him he's going to kill him, thus allowing Monroe to not get shot. Give your little speech, Miles, with the gun raised, then shoot him. Or just, you know, shoot him.

Similarly, I can think of no good reason why, once Neville brought Nora and Aaron to Miles, that he didn't kill Neville. Leave his wife alive, fine, but leaving Neville alive is only going to cause problems for you and plenty of other people in the future.

Also, Rachel, instead of hitting Miles, that time would have been better spent smashing the amplifier and/or or pendant.

Nice to see Mark Pellegrino's character again. Wonder how he feels about all the bullets Monroe's men were using?

It's still unclear exactly how far the range of the amplified pendant is, but considering the power plant didn't whir to life even when the amplifier turned on, I'm hoping the range isn't so great that no more than a helicopter or two could take advantage of it at once. That would give Monroe a decided edge without making it insurmountable. 

I'd like to see more flashbacks like the brief opening look at the Trenton Campaign. Like the current political/military state of the world, I'm also immensely fascinated by how the Monroe Republic came to power in the first place.

Nice touch that the "M" sigil goes all the way back to Miles and Monroe's childhood.

Oh, Harry Potter. When will the killing stop?

Despite my better judgement, I find myself intrigued by Rachel and Miles' past, something which is clearly more than just the usual brother/sister-in-law stuff. 

That's it for this show until March, if you can believe it. It's been one of NBC's biggest hits in awhile, especially in the 18-49 demo, but the network is reportedly concerned about moving it away from its Voice lead-in, so it's getting shelved until that show returns. As we've discussed 'round these parts lately, fall finales are pretty standard for this kind of show, but four months is a long time in the TV world. Hopefully the break won't kill whatever ratings momentum the show has picked up.


Top Chef: 50s Food Flashback


Another clever re-imagining of an old challenge (redo an existing menu), and once again I'm surprised to see a non-team challenge this early in the season. As a result, it's getting easier to know (and root for/against) the contestants, which is always good. In that regard, I wasn't at all surprised to see Chrissy go, since she'd yet to make really any impression, and those are the people who get weeded out early. I was surprised to see Carla go so early, since she clearly generated conflict in the kitchen, but given she was up against fan-favorite CJ and possible villain/antagonist Mustache McGee, it made sense.

Other Thoughts
I really don't like Mustache McGee, even moreso than John, who does bug me as well. John completely missed the point of CJ's argument at the beginning, and his tendency to wear his glasses on his forehead, instead of over his eyes or on top of his head, drives me NUTS.

Like non-team challenges, I also approve of double eliminations this early in the season.

Last Chance Kitchen is back, helpfully setup by the contestants in a bit of clearly-led dialogue earlier in the episode. I didn't watch it, but I understand that Kuniko, not surprisingly, won the first round. 


Glee: Glease


This might possibly be the most maddeningly illogical episode of Glee yet (and that's saying something). Why in the world is Santana brought in to play Rizzo, when she's not even a student? How is that possible? How does Tina, who apparently knows a thing or two about creating clothes, not realize that Marley's costume is being tampered with? How do both Tina and Marley, who seems like reasonably intelligent people (I mean, they can sing AND dance at the same time, after all), not know that it's physically impossible for Marley to lose the kind of weight her suddenly-snug costumes are suggesting she's lost? Why does Marley not hear Kitty mocking her via song when she's just on the other side of a door in the same room, and why do the other girls, especially Tina and Unique, seem to go along with it? How in the hell is Cassandra July still teaching at NYADA if she's sleeping with students? Do the kind of educational standards that allow Sue to continue to be a teacher apply to all schools across the country in the Glee-world? Also, Mercedes, do you know what would make juggling classes at UCLA and doing backup vocals easier? Not flying across country to hang out in the background of your old school's production of Grease for weeks. 

Other Thoughts
Oddly enough, Sue's antics turned out to be the most logical part of the episode. I still cannot stand the show's insistence on reverting her to outright villainy (they even reused the Carmina Burana music cue), because it's boring and repetitive and a waste of the actress, especially when they've got New Sue up in New York, but at least they made it clearer that she's against Unique's involvement in the play as an attempt to protect her, and by establishing her new-found vendetta against the glee club is being triggered by Finn's involvement, there's at least SOME motivation, however ill-advised, established for her return to season one status quo.

That said, her jokes about Finn's weight seem odd. If anything, he looks thinner than he did last year.

Sue says Finn has hate in his heart (to which there may be some truth; this wasn't the first time he's let a derogatory term slip out), but jeesh, kettle/black much, Sue? Sometimes I wonder if the writers are intentionally writing her as self unaware, or if they just don't realize what they're having her say.

I appreciated that Unique's parents were neither bigots nor so supportive they'd allow their child to be put at risk. It's easy to paint people as being 100% on one side or the other, but in reality, there's probably a lot of people like them out there.

I was going to call shenanigans on the idea that any paper would cover the school musical, until they made it clear it was for the school's paper. That said, the review was awful. 

For all the leaps of logic in this episode, one thing it got right was that feeling of coming back to your old school, and of coming face to face with your recently departed ex. The standoff between Kurt, Blaine, Rachel and Finn was painfully awkward in a very real way. 

Favorite Song: Not being a big Grease fan, this was a rough episode for me, music-wise. I'll go with "You're the One That I Want", for the staging and intercutting between Directions New and Old as much as the song.

Finn: You're kind of my moose
Rachel: It's muse.
Finn: I know, I just wanted to make you smile.

(I could not stop laughing at that...)

7 comments:

Anne said...

Bob's Burgers was wacky but hilarious as usual. grasping at Straws had us laughing the loudest.

Family Guys was meh- i liked the Turtle plot the best- and it made us want to have a pet tortoise

Top Chef- we really like Josh (mustache mcgee) and we're glad he's standing up against jerkass John. Looks like winning this season is turning out to be a curse and that's two eps in a row that the winner from the previous ep was sent home on the next one.
We also don't watch Last Chance Kitchen, but glad to hear Kuniko moved on- we definitely wanted to see more of her on the show.
This season it seems like i actually like most of the contestents so it's hard every time they have an elimination (except John- i'd be fine with him leaving, but he's obvs not going anywhere). And crap- the next time implies they all do shit and they send another duo home

Glee- the biggest problem i had with the whole costume tampering/weight gain was that Marley had to notice that her actual, regular clothes still fit just fine, so it was OBVIOUSLY a problem with the costume and not with weight gain. Also- while i get that the conversation with her mom was supposed to be nice and motivatonal, it smacked of fat-shaming ('you're thin and beautiful!' ie: if you were fat like me you would not be beautiful). Also- i'm sick of people taking advice or listening to what arch enemies or adversaries have to tell them. wtf- Kitty is a bitch- why would you put stock in anything she has to tell you? why would you even go to a sleepover at her house? stupid gleeverse

Teebore said...

@Anne: grasping at Straws had us laughing the loudest.

Both the line itself and the delivery. Great stuff.

it made us want to have a pet tortoise

Really? It made me not want one, for fear of getting my throat slit in my sleep. :)

This season it seems like i actually like most of the contestents so it's hard every time they have an elimination

Yeah, other than Josh and John (and Micah, whose cockiness bugs me), most of the contestants fall into the "like" or "indifferent" categories.

Marley had to notice that her actual, regular clothes still fit just fine, so it was OBVIOUSLY a problem with the costume and not with weight gain.

Excellent point.

Also- while i get that the conversation with her mom was supposed to be nice and motivatonal, it smacked of fat-shaming

Yeah, that's a good example of Glee having its heart in the right place, but then kinda mucking it up in the execution.

wtf- Kitty is a bitch- why would you put stock in anything she has to tell you? why would you even go to a sleepover at her house?

Yeah, I should have included that in my rant. I get that Marley is a "good guy" but that just means you don't get to be a bitch back to her. It doesn't mean you have to stupidly accept her clearly-manipulative attempts at friendship.

Blam said...


The Simpsons: A Tree Grows in Springfield

I just watched the "Logomania" short online, because I'm a sucker for logos and clever filmmaking. This really barely had either of those things — it's creativity was lacking and the logos were parodies and/or belonged to Simpsons Universe products.

A couple of years ago there was an Oscar-nominated (maybe even Oscar-winning) short using actual, real-world logos. It was seriously disappointing given the possibilities. Maybe this was a response to that? Unless it tied in with the main episode somehow, I can't figure out the purpose — because really it didn't even use the logos as part of the action, cleverly or otherwise, except for the faux Brawny Guy falling for the truck flap at the end.

Homer: What would you have me do, one basket for each egg?

Win!

Once Upon a Time: Into the Deep

How did Hook get Aurora's heart? I thought that whole business was terribly unclear.

Ditto. At first I was kind-of blinded by the "I see what they did there, revealing that they hadn't really showed us the end of that scene after we thought we knew where it was going" trick, but then, like you said, it opened up questions not easily answered.

Why would Rumpelstiltskin have a store of the ink which imprisoned him in his prison cell?

Not unlike that.

How I Met Your Mother: Twelve Horny Women

So that's at least three eps in a row that've ended on Barney/Robin. I don't mind — it's more of a curiosity than a complaint — save for how (again like you said) it's just become a tease, but maybe this will end that.

Why, exactly, did Brad's ridiculous "sex up the jury" strategy require a working a knowledge of Marshall's strategy for the case?

The same thought occurred to me and then just got lost in the general stupidity of the whole courtroom thing. For me the show earns a pass on believability much more easily with its outright weird stuff (the lookalikes, suiting up, the slow drama of the slap bet) than it does with its silly lowbrow eye-roll stuff.

Blam said...


Glee: Glease

Why in the world is Santana brought in to play Rizzo, when she's not even a student?

Especially when Kitty just did it in "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee".

And, by the way, I'm pretty sure that it's in the rulebooks somewhere that you can't sing that song without the "fongool".

That was a killer "There Are Worse Things I Could Do", though.

You're right about the other questions too, especially Marley's weight loss — bonus points to Anne for pointing out just how nonsensical the fake-out is — and (in a totally different context) Finn's weight loss. The guy looks absolutely trim, and it would've been a lot more logical to have Sue make some kind of "Just because you dropped a few pounds" barb.

The standoff between Kurt, Blaine, Rachel and Finn was painfully awkward in a very real way.

Indeed.

Other notes:

As we've established, I have near-unshakeable nostalgia for the 1978 Grease film — even as a acknowledge that much of it sends the wrong message — so I look upon this episode with a different critical eye than you. That said, I can't be sure that that was the lamest version of "Greased Lightnin'" ever, since, y'know, I haven't seen them all, but it was sad.

I'm still wondering how much of cutting Finn and Rachel into "The One That I Want" as Danny and Sandy was neat fan-service vs. how much of it was obnoxious fan (and star) service and/or just desperation.

While I'd miss Kurt, and I'd like Santana to come back occasionally, if you ask me this is when you write out the graduated characters (except for Finn, obviously). [I wrote the preceding after watching the episode in question. Since I've stayed pretty current with the series, not falling more than a week behind and being currently caught up, I shan't say whether my feelings have changed based on further plot developments, but I will add that the sentiment was at least as much about how I felt the NYC/Lima split has ended up a drag on the show as it was about the actual content of Kurt and Rachel's storylines.]

That Marley Rose kid is a star in my book.

Sugar: (amid crowd noise, after Mr. Schue tells the class he won't be around for sectionals) "Who's gonna drive the bus?"

Hannah Kincade said...

I was also pleased that this didn't turn into another show with a zombie plot. That would've annoyed me to no end.

I'm guess Hook took Aurora's heart when she was sleeping, but how did he get it? I thought you had to have magic. Unless he's being taught magic by Cora...and they just haven't shown us yet???

I think it was Rumple's whole plan to be imprisoned and that's why he has a store of the ink. His character confuses me though. Sometimes he's way ahead of the game and then others (like the barrier keeping them in town) he seems clueless. I don't know.

Teebore said...

@Blam: Unless it tied in with the main episode somehow, I can't figure out the purpose

It didn't. I watched the whole episode, and am as mystified as you.

For me the show earns a pass on believability much more easily with its outright weird stuff (the lookalikes, suiting up, the slow drama of the slap bet) than it does with its silly lowbrow eye-roll stuff.

Definitely.

That was a killer "There Are Worse Things I Could Do", though.

Yeah, I certainly don't MIND Santana popping up; I'd just like the way they shoehorn into an episode to be a bit more logical, even by the loose standards thereof when it comes to Glee.

he guy looks absolutely trim, and it would've been a lot more logical to have Sue make some kind of "Just because you dropped a few pounds" barb.

I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking that. It just makes Sue's already-somewhat-nonsensical barbs all the more nonsensical.

I'm still wondering how much of cutting Finn and Rachel into "The One That I Want" as Danny and Sandy was neat fan-service vs. how much of it was obnoxious fan (and star) service and/or just desperation.

For the moment, I'm going with the former, if only because the show was smart enough to remember it actually had those characters singing that song in rehearsal in one of its earliest episodes (the moment they flashed back), which then tied it neatly with theme of "going home" and the aftermath of Finn and Rachel's breakup (of course, wedging in the other "classic" New Directions members took if too far and muddied the thematic parallel they were trying to establish, but hey, props for making a connection to a past episode).

While I'd miss Kurt, and I'd like Santana to come back occasionally, if you ask me this is when you write out the graduated characters (except for Finn, obviously)

I wouldn't object to the show continuing to occasionally flit back and forth between New York and Lima, but outside of Finn, Rachel and Kurt, I'm at a point where I feel like any future appearances by alums need to be few and far between (and I'm writing this still a few episodes behind, but I'm still aware this won't be happening in the near future). I mean, Mike and Mercedes' presence in these last few episodes was beyond superfluous.

That Marley Rose kid is a star in my book.

I find myself really liking her as well.

Teebore said...

@Hannah: I thought you had to have magic. Unless he's being taught magic by Cora...and they just haven't shown us yet???

Yeah. I'm okay with the answer to things being "magic", but the show still needs to follow its own, somewhat limited, rules when it comes to that, and as far as has been established, you need some serious training to be able to take someone's heart. I'd be surprised if Hook had that training.

I think it was Rumple's whole plan to be imprisoned and that's why he has a store of the ink.

Sure, but wouldn't Snow or Charming have frisked him before imprisoning him? Did they just let him bring whatever he wanted into his cell?