The Simpsons: Adventures in Baby Getting
This struck me as another story which would have worked better if the characters were allowed to age, however slowly. The episode at least acknowledged the idea that Maggie is still essentially a baby, but it still felt strange to watch Marge pine for a baby while Maggie is around. That aside, it was a pleasant enough character-based episode for Marge, with some particularly hilarious act breaks (after Marge declares her desire for another baby, Homer thinking, "I should have fixed the faucet"; imagining twins that look like Patty and Selma, Homer screams repeatedly).
Way to learn a dying language, Lisa. Her plot was slight but amusing.
Who was watching the kids while Homer and Marge had their evening away?
Bart: I write stupid stuff on the chalkboard. And if you have any ideas, I’m really running out.
Bob's Burgers: Bob Fires the Kids
While still funny, the antics of the kids while working for elderly pot dealers wasn't nearly as good as the opening scenes reflecting on Bob's lousy childhood and pitting the kids against Bob. Tina as the unknowing "blueberry" delivery girl was also pretty great, as was the return of Mickey, from last season's fantastic "Bob Day Afternoon", but I would have liked more hilarity to come from the elderly pot couple (their "getaway" on the tandem bike was fantastic though).
Louise: It's like I'm sad... for another person. Is that a thing? AM I GOING CRAZY?
Family Guy: The Old Man and the Big C
Plot-wise, this was a pretty scattershot episode, ricocheting from one to another, and giving the "main" plot (Carter refusing to release a cure for cancer) less space than perhaps it deserves. But the whole thing was also pretty funny, wringing laughs from Carter's villainy ("Are you challenging me to a Brewster’s Millions?") as well as Quagmire's apparent baldness (thankfully, he got a hair transplant so it'll never come up again), along with some better-than-average cutaways (I liked the one with Stewie trying to get Lois off the phone; I still get like that when I'm around my mom and she's on the phone).
American Dad: Can I Be Frank With You?
The idea of a wife wanting to spend more time with her husband isn't just a standard sitcom trope, it's something American Dad has covered plenty before (heck, even this season). One of the advantages this show has is that all kinds of insane things can realistically happen within the show, so it can dress up these standard ideas in new and different ways. In this case, it dressed Francine up in a man suit, complete with a fart machine, allowing her to hang out with Stan, and ultimately, after Stan believes Francine's alter ego killed her, give Francine what she wants (Stan's confusion as Francine emerged from "Frank" was the comedic highlight of the episode).
Meanwhile, Steve was involved in a subplot that pretty much just built to one gag, but when the gag was a spot-on parody of boy bands and how they're marketed, it was worth the time to get there.
Very little Roger this week, but he was used well, and it's in the show's best interests to keep him in its back pocket occasionally.
Roger: I feel like talking to Klaus, that’s how bored I am.
Once Upon a Time: Tallahassee
Despite my better judgement, I actually found myself enjoying Emma and Hook's banter this episode (illogically stopping whilst climbing a beanstalk to discuss love aside), and for the first time, I found Hook as roguishly charming as his guyliner and the show keep seeming to insist he is. The focus also helped the episode, cutting back and forth between Emma's adventures with Hook and her adventures with Henry's father in a manner so reminiscent of Lost I was expecting to hear "whooshes" as we cut to the flashbacks.
More Lost connections: Apollo candy bars at the convenience store, Tallahassee was Emma's randomly selected dream destination, and of course, Jorge Garcia appeared as the giant (he was fine; nothing spectacular, but it's probably tough to act alone against a green screen).
Speaking of, the effects in this episode were particularly dodgy, with most of Emma and Hook's time in the sky looking terrible. Hook banging the bone against the shield was particularly egregious.
I appreciated the connection made between Aurora and Snow over their shared experience with a sleeping curse (though who sleeps in broad daylight draped awkwardly over a log?).
So as many suspected, the guy from the opening of this season was Henry's father (and August is the one who sent him the postcard, somehow), but the question remains as to who he is (because he has to be somebody, right?). Baelfire remains as likely a suspect as ever, but mainly because I can't think of anyone better who wouldn't just be a random character whose importance hasn't been established yet.
Speaking of, it was fun to see August again. What was in his box that showed Neal the light, so to speak? I doubt it was his typewriter this time.
How I Met Your Mother: The Autumn of Break-Ups
Oy, this was not very good. I appreciate that Victoria 2.0 departed on a stronger issue than "messiness", but didn't we address this whole Robin thing last season? Granted, the audience is operating with the benefit of
The less said of Marshall channeling a sassy black woman, the better. Jason Segel did his best, but even he couldn't save it.
The Robin/Barney plot was probably the best of the night, not that it was terribly funny or as poignant as it wanted to be, but it wasn't poorly thought out or ridiculously unfunny.
Not surprisingly, I did enjoy the idea of "Squirrelock Holmes", the alleged-trained squirrel member of the Mosby Boys. In fact, I appreciate any mention of the Mosby Boys.
Revolution: The Children's Crusade
Another side quest, and though I rolled my eyes at the beginning when Charlie suddenly decided it was time for another ill-advised mission of mercy and Miles suddenly discovered his conscience and backed her up, the end result was a pleasant diversion, thanks to the surprisingly-effective moment when the lighthouse turned on and watching Charlie's edges continue to harden (she's been branded, and she killed another guy). Plus, the flashback provided some more info about the blackout and Grace and Randall popped up again, allowing the overall narrative to peter forward slightly.
The flashback also taught us that Rachel has always been a sellout when it comes to her son. At least she's consistent.
I enjoyed Aaron playing the "this is insane, why are we doing this card?" this week, and his confrontation with Miles over the pendant was one of the show's best scenes yet.
The two brothers leading the group of kids were named Peter and Michael; I'm pretty sure those were the names of Wendy's brothers in Peter Pan.
I seem to recall that what little we saw of Randall when he captured Grace was more hulking than Colm Feore, but I'll let it slide because Feore is suitably creepy and I'm intrigued by the idea of someone (particularly someone who worked in the DoD and presumably played a role in turning off the power) working against Monroe.
I really hope Miles and Charlie took the opportunity to sink or otherwise damage that boat, so as not to just allow the militia to move back in and resume using it as a base for indoctrination.
Miles: It’s irritating when a dumb kid tells you what to do, isn’t it?
Top Chef: The Ultimate Chef Test
As "picking the contestants" methods go (which is apparently what this show has decided to do moving forward), this method of having each judge pick from a small pool of candidates based on whatever criteria they prefer worked a lot better than last year's "cook for a panel of judges and get selected based on a simple vote" (it was also reminiscent of The Next Food Network Star's retooling this last season to feature the contestants grouped into teams led by an established star; it'll be interesting to see if Tom, Wolfgang, etc. develop a rooting interest in the contestants they selected). It still leaves this premiere episode feeling more like a "zero" episode than a premiere, as we really only get an idea of which contestants will actually be on the show at the very end of each segment.
Still too early to have many thoughts on the actual contestants, but it's almost painful how hard the show was setting up John, the first guy Tom sent to Seattle who is an "asshole chef", as the season's villain.
How much would it suck to land in Tom's group? While the other three judges put their contestants to pretty standard (albeit deceptively simple) Top Chef-style challenges, with clear delineations of what they wanted, Tom was pretty much like "go to work for me and we'll see what happens". I love Tom.
I'm also excited to have Wolfgang Puck on the show more regularly; I always picture him as this fiendish imp bouncing through kitchens. He cracks me up.
All of those omelets looked terrible.
Best line of the night: Mrs. Teebore, when Wolfgang Puck came onscreen. "He should make them all cook a pizza."
30 Rock: There's No I in America
A suitable ending to the election two-parter, with most of the election-based humor coming at the front of the episode during Jack and Liz's debate (I particularly enjoyed the stream of nonsensical buzz words that constituted Jack's closing argument), with the back half, appropriately enough tying things back to the idea of this being the final season, handed over to a depiction of just how much Jack and Liz have rubbed off on each other during their time together.
Kenneth's subplot was pretty good, with the usual hillbilly jokes landing for me more than they have lately.
Pete's subplot was also a nice bit of subtle political commentary, and surprisingly poignant (Pete's sadsack nature is usually just played for straight laughs).
Saturday Night Live: Louis C.K. & Fun
I think I went into this one with too high of expectations. I've never watched Louis C.K's show on FX, but I know it's supposed to be fantastic and that he's an accomplishment comedian, plus, I enjoyed his brief turns on Parks and Rec. Add in this being the last episode before the election and the first episode post-hurricane and I figured the show was poised to knock it out of the park. But the end result was a letdown. It wasn't a bad collection of sketches, just not an especially good one, with pretty much every sketch after Fox & Friends feeling like it could have been slotted in as the last sketch of the night in other weeks. I was expecting a home run, and got a double instead. Still good, but not, you know, a home run.
Not surprisingly, Louis C.K killed the monologue, which he essentially turned into a stand-up bit. Predictable, but when you've got an actual professional comedian as the host, it's the way to go.
It seemed like Louis flubbed his lines in a few sketches; not sure if he was nervous or just wasn't used to cue cards, or what.
With both the cold open and Fox and Friends handling the hurricane, "Weekend Update" had to do all the heavy political lifting, with the end result feeling very rushed. I'd have cut the "girl you wish you hadn't talked to at a party bit" (which is usually okay as far as recurring "Weekend Update" characters go, but felt like a time killer in this episode). We got Mitt Romney, but it's hard to believe Obama never showed up on the episode before the election.
Favorite Sketch: As I said, I've never watched Louie, but even still, I loved the mash-up of it with Abraham Lincoln. I'm a sucker for anything that points out how batshit insane Mary Todd Lincoln was. I also enjoyed the always-reliable Fox and Friends and the bit with Bobby Moynihan checking out of a hotel "Sixteen cubic meters of Argon, $65. Argon, sir, it’s a noble gas."
Least Favorite Sketch: The thing with the Australian actors was pretty awful, and someone clearly thought the sketch with Louis C.K. blowing a ram's horn was funnier than it actually was.
Episodes Featuring a Game Show: 0/6
Episodes Featuring a Talk Show: 5/6
Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song: 3/6