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Friday, January 11, 2013

Last Week in TV #16

The Simpsons: Homer Goes to Prep School


I haven't seen more than twenty minutes of any episode of the doomsday preppers show this episode is parodying, but nevertheless, I got a kick out of this. Pairing Homer up with a group of people similarly inclined to going to extremes led to some great laughs, and while the reveal that the world didn't end after all was so obvious it barely constitutes a twist, the reaction of the preppers to both the perceived end and the final act reveal was still pretty great.
 
Other Thoughts
I also laughed relentlessly at the sight of Lindsey Nagel propelling herself down the road via machine gun bursts while sitting on a wheeled office chair.

Marge: Homer, I told you! Don’t call me Mom.
Homer: Sorry, Mrs. Simpson.

Homer: The apocalypse is coming! Maybe not tomorrow, maybe never. But it’s coming! And soon!


Bob's Burgers: Mother Daughter Laser Razor


Not that Bob's Burgers has been on the air as long as Simpsons (or Family Guy), but I was still surprised to realize during this episode that the show had never really explored the relationship between Louise and Linda before. Louise's disdain for her mother made a lot of sense, and, as expected, led to some pretty hilarious stuff.

Other Thoughts
The Bob/Tina counterpoint was also excellent. I loved Tina's random Terminator 2-inspired vision of the death of her leg hairs.

Logan was, I believe, the kid who stole Louise's hat in the season premiere. 

I wish real laser tag could be like it is in TV, where you could actually see the finite beams of light and have a better idea of what you're hitting.

Gene bouncing back and forth from pair to pair, screaming along with everyone else, was comedy gold.

Tina: Gene! Hide my legs!
Gene: On it!

Linda: Just shave up to the knee. Only strippers shave above the knee. The good ones anyway.


Family Guy: Space Camp


Maybe it was just the buzz from a decent Simpsons episode and a great Bob's Burgers, but I thought this episode was pretty damn funny too. The first act had some great cutaways and bits (like Peter being hypnotized by Breaking Bad, which I'm not entirely sure isn't what happens when people watch it, and was later hilariously recalled in the third act), and there was a lot of decent material once the family got launched into space as well: Peter checking the baseball score on his iPhone while on a space walk, Stewie opening the cargo bay doors on Meg (something I laughed at way harder than I should have) and Peter suggesting they try the Konami code. The through line of Chris trying to prove he wasn't an idiot kinda got lost (if anything, this was a really strong episode for Peter, comedy-wise), but when the end result is this funny, I can overlook that.

Other Thoughts
There were a ton of cutaways in this episode. I particularly liked the guys whose wives are friends ("Porn?" "Porn!") and Canadian Horror Story.

I choose to take the jab at the quality of Bob's Burgers' animation early in the episode as a sign of respect; you know you've made when the other shows make fun of you, like when Peter was depicted in the group of Homer clones in that one Treehouse segment. 

Teacher: Nathanial Hawthorne, what are you doing?
Hawthorne: Oh, just ruining 9th Grade for everyone.

Peter: Is failure an option?
Lois: No! It’s not!
Peter: Aw! That was my suggestion.

Brian: Look, it says autopilot engaged!
Peter: Good for him. I’m glad he found someone.


American Dad: Finger Lenting Good 


This episode rounded a really good night for the animation lineup. I've said before that any excuse to get all the characters interacting with each other in one story is good for laughs, and this was no exception. The way the attempts to trick someone into being the first to break their resolution built on each other and escalated throughout the episode was a fantastic bit of writing.

Other Thoughts
Roger's B-plot was, not surprisingly, also hilarious and bizarre.

More evidence of American Dad's bizarro production schedule: the fill-in for the aborted Christmas episode is followed by a Mardi Gras/Lent episode.

Stan: Stop flipping channels yesterday!


Once Upon a Time: The Cricket Game


A frustrating return episode, mainly for the wheel spinning suggested by Cora's frame up of Regina. I've made no secret of my preference for the "working to reform" iteration of Regina on display in the first half of the season (not surprisingly, Lana Parilla plays that much better than she does Regina's usual one dimensional evil), and while I can appreciate making that journey as difficult as possible, I'd hate to see the show toss out the forward momentum of its plot by having Regina revert to outright villainy as a result of Cora's machinations. Hopefully the fact that Archie is still alive is a sign that the show intends to eventually put Regina back in a state of uneasy alliance with Emma, one now colored by Regina's knowledge of how easily Emma chose to believe the worst in Regina.

Other Thoughts
Which was the other frustrating thing about this episode: the speed at which Emma, Snow, and Charming convinced themselves of Regina's guilt. Emma gives a big speech about how Storybrooke isn't Fairy Tale Land and Regina is subject to due process, then folds as soon as she sees Regina attack Archie in the memory of a dog viewed via a magic dream catcher (I'm pretty sure neither the dog's testimony, nor the dream catcher, are admissible in a court of law).

Snow and Charming are even more frustrating: despite what they themselves went through last season in terms of someone being framed for a crime, and despite the fact they come from a world where magic is as much a part of life as electricity or oxygen, they can't possibly fathom a scenario in which someone could, I dunno, magically appear as someone else? Nor can Emma, who has now dealt with magic a fair amount herself, and specifically pointed out how much the crime screamed "frame up"? Shenanigans, I say.

For that matter, (even though we know this isn't the case), how are Emma, Snow and Charming certain Gold didn't setup Regina? Yes, Emma magically powered the dream catcher, but Gold loaded the image, so to speak; how can they be certain it came from the dog and wasn't just fabricated by Gold to show them what he wanted to see (its the equivalent of someone doctoring a photo but then let off because someone else turned on the computer to view to the picture)?

Also, remember Emma's super power to always know when people are lying to her? Seems like a handy thing to whip out in this case. 

The fairyback was pretty basic stuff, tying in thematically with the events in Storybrooke while filling in some of the plot details for Regina between Snow and Charming conquering King James' kingdom and Regina threatening to cast the curse at their wedding (as seen in the pilot).

It's been said that the less ridiculous the costume, the better Lana Parilla is at playing Regina, and that was certainly the case in this flashback (though it may have just been a coincidence, and she was just given better material to play in this fairyback than in past ones).

It was a nice touch that Rumpelstiltskin helping Snow test Regina led to his casting a protection spell over Snow and Charming, thus giving Regina a motivation for casting the curse, all of which tied into Rumpelstiltskin's desire to get to the real world.

Regina: May I remind you of your PhD from a curse?


Top Chef: The Battle Before the War


A decent spin on the well entrentched Restaurant Wars challenge (always good to see the producers changing things up this late in the show's run). Kristen is clearly the win-it-all favorite (with Brooke a distant second) but I think next week we'll see that she made a critical error in picking Josie over Micah. Bottom line, even if Josie had gone home, Kristen would have been better off cooking shorthanded without Josie than cooking with her. I'll be amazed if any food even makes it out of the kitchen.

Other Thoughts
Also thought it was odd that Kristen didn't pick Stefan, though I get her picking Brooke first.

Sometimes the editing sets up a narrative that ends in a twist; sometimes it foreshadows the obvious, which was the case here with Micah and his raw food concept. Not a good idea in the first place, when competing on a show about cooking, and the lack of quality ingredients at the store should have told him to change up his idea.

Josie has reached the point where she's not just annoying, but that she's painful to watch. Seriously, shut up and plate your food.

The returning sous chefs pretty much amounted to nothing.

Last Change Kitchen: CJ continues his remarkable run, having taken out John last week and Micah this week.  

8 comments:

Sarah Ahiers said...

Bob's Burgers was awesome, as usual. I really enjoyed that Bob is actually a good dad and got his legs waxed too. And of course, the kids are always hilarious.

FG - I also took the jab at Bob's Burger's to be in good nature and not mean spirited. Because, yeah the animation is different, but it's not inferior to anything else that's out there.

AD - I pretty much love any episode where Bullock plays a major role, because he's hilarious. Though due to the simpsons running over just a bit (due to, what? Football or something) we missed the last little bit (we saw them reveal Bullock naked in the trap door, but didn't get to hear what he said)

Top Chef - it was a great spin on how to set up restaurant wars and i hope they keep it for future runs. And yeah, wth was Kristen thinking, picking Josie? And also, why didn't she pick Stefan? I mean, in a comp between Stefan and Josie, one of them is clearly above the other. And even if she thougth stefan was going home (and why would she think that?) he's still better than Josie and also, he's her friend and she should have picked him for that alone. Even if he was a shit chef, which he's not, if you're friends, he's going to work hard for you. Whereas from what we saw in the preview for next week, Josie doesn't cook well for retaurants or food concepts that aren't her own (so i guess, she's never been a sous chef or something).
We really dislike Josie. And as much as we didn't care about Micah, we were still pretty shocked he went home instead of her.

Teebore said...

@Sarah: I really enjoyed that Bob is actually a good dad and got his legs waxed too.

Yeah, he strikes just the right balance between not giving in too quick and still being a good dad.

we saw them reveal Bullock naked in the trap door, but didn't get to hear what he said

He said something along the lines of "can you believe I made this just now?" The gag was definitely that he just slunk down into a trap door.

(Also, you should set your DVR to overrun AD by ten minutes or so every week, just in the event of football overruns, not that it matters much now that football is over for the season. That's what I did before Prime Time Anytime came along and took care of it for me).

Even if he was a shit chef, which he's not, if you're friends, he's going to work hard for you.

The only thing I can think of is that maybe she was worried that, because of their friendship, he wouldn't take her seriously or something?

Whatever her reason for not picking him (and I agree she should have), there was absolutely no reason to pick Josie over Micah. Because like you said, you don't want Josie, period.

And as much as we didn't care about Micah, we were still pretty shocked he went home instead of her.

Yeah, I wasn't sad to see Micah go, but I was surprised Josie didn't. And I want her gone, like, yesterday.

Hannah Kincade said...

I'm getting real tired of the Regina gauntlet as well. I mean, come on! They just saw Cora in Fairyland take the form of someone else. JUST. That coupled with Emma's observation of Regina's shock of Archie's death, they should have more than reasonable doubt. It's frustrating me to no end. I hope they redeem her soon, because it's pissing me off.

And you're right, what made Gold still so innocent? Like he couldn't do magic to load whatever image he wanted in the dreamcatcher and then make Emma see it. Ugh, the rage!

Okay, I'm done now.

Joan Crawford said...

I finally tuned into Bob's Burgers last week - thanks to your seal of approval. Holy smokes. This show is hysterical - when Linda goes in to wake up Louise to read her the story and ends up screaming it at her! The best.


I am now a fan :)

Blam said...


like Peter being hypnotized by Breaking Bad, which I'm not entirely sure isn't what happens when people watch it

Ha! In my defense, I've still never seen The Wire and I don't watch Homeland, so I'm not entirely One of Them.

Once Upon a Time: The Cricket Game

I think I'm getting used to the weirdness of how modern everyone sounds in FTL. And I liked seeing the characters at their round table — the Justice League of Fables, as it were.

Also, I hear you both on what the show seems to be doing with Regina and on Lana Parrilla. My first exposure to her was in the brilliant-but-canceled Boomtown (maybe I am One of Them...) as a young and innocent EMT, so it's been weird seeing her play connivers in 24, Swingtown, and now this, even though she does conniving well; the first time we saw her as young Regina in FTL, before Snow blew out the fire in her lab with super-breath and the chemicals made her lose her hair, it surprised me as much as anyone even though I knew what Parrilla was capable of.

Likewise, I agree with what you said about the good guys being so ready to believe the worst when they know all too well about framing and misdirection and doppelgangers. I thought for sure Emma's power would come to the fore here, specifically in that interrogation room, but the way it was played she believed Regina because Regina seemed genuinely worked up over disappointing Henry, etc., rather than because Emma's truth magic said so. I'm kind-of less upset with everyone being so quick to judge Regina, in fact, other than the predictability of the whole thing, than with the way Emma's not more confused about how her convictions failed her and also, as you say, with why nobody doubts Gold's motivations or machinations (even if in this instance we know he didn't necessarily rig the game before Emma did her voodoo).

Teebore said...

@Hannah: They just saw Cora in Fairyland take the form of someone else. JUST.

Ah, good one. I'd forgotten about that. Which isn't to say they should suspect Cora, but Emma and Snow should at least realize the possibility of someone appearing as Regina.

@Joan: This show is hysterical - when Linda goes in to wake up Louise to read her the story and ends up screaming it at her! The best.

Loved that bit. Great stuff. Glad you're a fan. :)

@Blam: And I liked seeing the characters at their round table — the Justice League of Fables, as it were.

Ditto. I was so worked up over the stupidity of the Regina frame up that I forgot there were some bits about the episode I genuinely enjoyed, like that.

so it's been weird seeing her play connivers in 24, Swingtown, and now this

Huh. I totally missed that she was on 24. Looking over her Wikipedia page, I blame it on the character being one of the near-faceless CTU staffers who didn't get to die memorably (and the fact that I've only ever watched each season of 24 once; I'd probably make the connection immediately if I'd gone back to watch season 4 now).

Also, Wikipedia tells me she was one of the two women guarding the Looking Glass station on Lost (another connection I've never made before), alongside Tracy Middendorf, who I do remember thanks to Angel and, especially, Beverly Hills 90210 (where she memorably accused Steve of date rape, then went crazy and tried to kill herself. Ah, 90210...).

the first time we saw her as young Regina in FTL, before Snow blew out the fire in her lab with super-breath and the chemicals made her lose her hair...

Ha! Regina's rage at Snow for an action well-intentioned with unintentional consequences does come dangerously close to matching Superboy and Lex in terms of inequality between the action and the subsequent response to it.

I'm kind-of less upset with everyone being so quick to judge Regina, in fact, other than the predictability of the whole thing, than with the way Emma's not more confused about how her convictions failed her and also, as you say, with why nobody doubts Gold's motivations or machinations

Yeah, if it was just a case of Emma standing by her while Snow, Charming, etc. assumed the worst, I could buy it. It would still warrant a "Snow and Charming should know better" comment, but not as much ire.

Emma's the one, for a variety of reasons (her instincts, her knowledge of actual crime, her unmentioned truth power, her awareness of magic and her distrust of Gold), whose acceptance of Regina as the culprit really bristles.

Blam said...


@Teebore: I totally missed that she was on 24

I'm guessing she stood out to me because I knew her previously from Boomtown; there may have been a small TV crush involved. Her role on Lost was so small I didn't bother mentioning it — I was actually upset when she showed up in the Looking-Glass and had so little to do.

I can't imagine watching a season of 24 more than once. Well, okay, I can, but I have a good imagination. I wouldn't want to, though.

Teebore said...

@Blam: I can't imagine watching a season of 24 more than once. Well, okay, I can, but I have a good imagination. I wouldn't want to, though.

Ha! Every once in awhile I think it could be fun to go back and watch at least the first season or two again, with the foreknowledge of where the show goes and to see again the genesis of some of the show's more repetitive bits (also, Mrs. Teebore watched some of the later seasons with me, but not the early ones, so it might be fun for her to watch some of the early stuff too - for example, Kim is pretty much a non-character to her, and it'd be a blast to watch her slap her head at Kim's stupidity like the rest of us).

But then I remember how much good TV is out there that we haven't watched yet, and the amount of better TV I have watched that I'd rather re-watch again, and it never happens. :)