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

Friday, March 8, 2013

Last Week in TV #24



Another short week, thanks to Mrs. Teebore's absence and the end of February sweeps, so the networks are safe to go back to scheduling new episodes intermittently until May. I am about three episodes from the end of Last Resort (which is really picking up some plot momentum as it goes along; I'm enjoying it) and finally finished the first season of Revenge, and started the second.

Anyways, here's some newer stuff I did watch this week. 

The Simpsons: Gorgeous Grampa


Someone on the writing staff must really like Grampa. In just a few months this season, we've got one episode that revealed he used to be a lounge singer married to a heroin addict, and now we've leaned he also used to be a famous professional wrestler. While it's never a good idea to get too worked up about continuity when it comes to this show (and nothing in this episode overtly contradicted this), when Mr. Burns was trying to convince Grampa to wrestle once again, I couldn't help but recall the time we learned the pair had been in the same company in World War II, and then Mr. Burns tried to kill Grampa to get the Hellfish bonanza for himself. Seems like something that would have been worth mentioning.

Other Thoughts
The episode itself was fine. The Storage Wars parody was humorous (as was the list of reality shows when Homer was channel surfing, including my favorite, Porn Hoarders: Texas), and there was some fun "inside baseball" stuff with the wrestling bits, but Bart's arc was pretty inconsequential (I mean, he's always kind of been an asshole at times). 

For the record, the first time I'd ever seen any version of the Harlem Shake was this episode's couch gag, because I am an old man.


Bob's Burgers: O.T. the Outside Toilet


I'm not the world's biggest E.T. fan, but there's no denying that swapping in an advanced, talking toilet for the alien wouldn't have improved things, and perfectly fits the aesthetic of this show. Gene's affection for the toilet (he's apparently prone to developing attachments to inanimate objects) was genuinely touching. And the B-plot was just as good, with Bob discovering new doors opening to him as a result of a sharp new suit, and then him and Linda getting so drunk they forgot to eat dinner.

Other Thoughts
Gene's repeated failure to hang onto a flour sack baby was a brilliant bit of physical comedy. Just absolutely hilarious.

The whole bit with Teddy thinking Bob's name is "Bob Burgers" because that's what it says on the window, was also fantastic.

The ease with which this episode was able to work in some of the recurring kid characters like Andy and Ollie is another of the show's strengths.

Jon Hamm provided the voice of the toilet and did, not surprisingly, a great job with it.

Bob: You said 'snatchy'.
Linda: Shut up! DRINK.

Louise: Everyone know what they're doing?
Tina: In general or in the plan?
Louise: The plan, Tina.
Tina: Phew.

Bob: It's not easy to take care of things. I mean, one time when you were a baby, you ate a fern, and you could have died. But you didn't.
Gene: Huh.


Parks and Recreation: Ben and Leslie
As I mentioned last week, this episode and the previous one were written as a potential series finale for the show, had it not received a back nine order and/or been cancelled. And while I'm certainly glad the show will be continuing (I've already got more episodes to watch on my DVR), there's no denying this would have been a sublime final episode for the series. If the previous episode served as a goodbye to the show from a plot perspective, offering one last seemingly-impossible task for the characters to overcome, this episode functioned as a goodbye to the characters themselves. Everyone got a moment to shine, either dramatically, comedically, or both, and, fittingly enough, Leslie stood at the center of it all. It was heartwarming and hilarious, from top to bottom. Thankfully, it's both not the final episode of the series and a superb episode nonetheless.

Other Thoughts
Amongst my favorite bits: Andy's glee at knowing someone who works for the city that can get a marriage license, Ann's assertion that all the whacky hijinks Leslie has put her through have been leading to this, Ron's handmade rings (buying things is for suckers), the scene between Ron and Leslie outside the parks department and the surprisingly touching scene between Chris and Ben, Ben's vows, and Ben and Leslie walking backwards towards each throughout the episode, calling out their dorky codenames, so as to not see one another before their wedding, which was pretty much a perfect encapsulation of their characters.

How utterly appropriate was it that Leslie got married inside the parks department? You almost wonder why she didn't think of that.


Saturday Night Live: Kevin Hart & Macklemore & Ryan Lewis


This was a weird episode. Kevin Hart was in nearly every sketch, and he brought a crazy energy to every one. Sometimes that energy helped elevate a poor sketch, and sometimes it was completely let down by the material. There were also several shorter-than-usual sketches, and a recycled commercial, suggesting there were some kind of timing issues with the performance. Just a weird night all around.

Other Thoughts
It's rare that I have to do it, but this was an episode that, once it started, I had to get out my phone and look up the host on IMDB, because I had no idea who Kevin Hart was (musical guests, on the other hand, I rarely recognize, because I am musically unhip. Though I do know "Thrift Shop", thanks to my wife). 

Another strong cold open. The Village People gag was great, but I also enjoyed the inner city schoolteacher who was pleased to be losing her job ("This is greatest day of my entire life. Good luck reading Beowulf, you monsters.”).

A strong Weekend Update as well. Even though Kevin Hart had some issues with it, the "Really?!?" segment had some great material in it. 

Quvenzhane Wallis as the pope amused me more than it probably should have.

That the snarky employees bit is apparently recurring surprised me (because it's not very good), but, as a former longtime Barnes and Noble employee, I was far too distracted by all the little details they got wrong to care much (they don't wear uniforms, the name tags don't look like that, and the shelves wouldn't be labeled like they were). Yes, I understand the goal was just to evoke the image of Barnes and Noble, not get it all right, but what can I say?

The Walking Dead sketch was okay. Lord knows there's plenty to make fun of there, especially when it comes to race, but they went the obvious route. I did enjoy Nasim Pedrad's soulless Carl, though.

The Z shirts sketch was mildly amusing, until the gag surprisingly popped up again later in a seemingly unrelated sketch, at which point it became much, much funnier. I don't know that I've ever seen anything like that on SNL before. 

Least Favorite Sketch: Maybe it would be funnier if I watched the show, but the Shark Tank sketch was pretty awful, one of the times Hart's manic energy made things worse instead of better because it seemed so out of place. 

Favorite Sketch: Well, the "Really?!?" segment was my favorite of the night, but if you want a legitimate sketch, I'll go with Z shirts.

Episodes Featuring a Game Show: 2/15
Episodes Featuring TWO Game Shows: 1/15
Episodes Featuring a Talk Show: 12/15
Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song: 9/15

6 comments:

Sarah Ahiers said...

Bob's burgers is just so awesome. Gene with the flour baby was great, and that fact that all the kids didn't even question helping Gene at the end.

Also, did you ever have to take care of a fake baby? Because we didn't and i think it would have been a lot of fun

Teebore said...

@Sarah: Also, did you ever have to take care of a fake baby?

No. Not a flour sack baby, an egg, an elaborate doll, nothing. I'm more or less convinced the whole idea of that assignment was created by sitcom writers, or at least a remnant of an older time when that was an actual assignment, kept alive by sitcom writers.

Matt said...

The Z-shirt sketch was the highlight of SNL for me. I was cracking up.

My fiancee got me into Shark Tank and we watch it together every Friday, and I would go so far as to say the sketch is less funny if you watch it, because then you saw how awful the "impressions" were on top of everything else. Plus they were randomly missing one Shark.

(Also, I had no idea who Kevin Hart was, either.)

Teebore said...

@Matt: Also, I had no idea who Kevin Hart was, either.

That seems to be the consensus amongst most people I've talked to about the episode. So we're either all equally unhip, or he truly is an up-and-comer who hasn't quite hit it big yet. :)

Blam said...


the first time I'd ever seen any version of the Harlem Shake was this episode's couch gag, because I am an old man.

I first saw it via a Daily Show bit a couple of weeks ago but didn't know what they were doing until it was brought up on the 6:30 network news.

How weird is it that not long after 31 became a lot younger than it used to be it's "old man" land again because of how quickly and intensely youth culture changes? Generations are, I'm pretty sure, much shorter in terms of references and technology use than 20-25 years anymore.

Parks and Recreation: Leslie and Ben

If the previous episode served as a goodbye to the show from a plot perspective, offering one last seemingly-impossible task for the characters to overcome, this episode functioned as a goodbye to the characters themselves.

Very true. I completely loved this episode. What doesn't make sense is pairing it with the one that immediately followed (no spoilers in case you still haven't seen it) rather than doubling up the previous week — they were really the first and second halves of a two-parter. I'm not sure what the back-to-back of "Leslie and Ben" and "Correspondents' Lunch" was supposed to accommodate in NBC's Thursday schedule, if anything, but you can't tell me that skipping 1600 Penn one week and doubling up on it the next instead wouldn't have been worth to get "Emergency Response" and "Leslie and Ben" in tandem.

Saturday Night Live: Kevin Hart and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

This was a weird episode. Kevin Hart was in nearly every sketch, and he brought a crazy energy to every one. Sometimes that energy helped elevate a poor sketch, and sometimes it was completely let down by the material.

I agree with all of that. Really?!? was goooood. "Z Shirt" was acted perfectly, had spot-on set design and camerawork, and yet just totally flopped for me — but the callback was inspired, so I'm gonna hope that making the main bit a sort-of annoying nothing was part of the ploy.

What frustrated me about the Walking Dead sketch was how it only knew (or was only faithful to) its subject up to a point. At the risk of sounding like a complete geek — and I'm aware that this is totally a safe space in which to do so 8^) — the fact that they called the walkers "zombies" ticked me off.

That was not Don Pardo doing the voiceover on the opening credits, by the way — I think it might've been Darrell Hammond. Pardo semi-retired a while back but has continued to do the openings, recording them from home in Arizona instead of coming in to do them live from New York. Sometime last week I saw a news item that he was recuperating from a broken hip, and somebody else (maybe Steve Higgins mimicking Pardo as opposed to Hammond) did the voiceover this past weekend as well.

Teebore said...

@Blam: How weird is it that not long after 31 became a lot younger than it used to be it's "old man" land again because of how quickly and intensely youth culture changes?

Very weird. Pop culture just moves at light speed these days. I'm pretty sure kids coming of age speed through dozens more trends and fads than they did 25 years ago, which, of course, seems perfectly normal to them because it's all they know.

I'm not sure what the back-to-back of "Leslie and Ben" and "Correspondents' Lunch" was supposed to accommodate in NBC's Thursday schedule

It is quite mystifying. It wasn't even clear why they needed to double up episodes, since there wasn't a new episode last week anyway. But if they were going to double up, why not double up the two episodes clearly designed to be paired together? And isn't like they needed to move things around to get the wedding into Feb sweeps, either.

but the callback was inspired, so I'm gonna hope that making the main bit a sort-of annoying nothing was part of the ploy.

I wouldn't have enjoyed the bit as much if they hadn't done the callback - that elevated a mildly amusing sketch into a hilarious one, for me.

the fact that they called the walkers "zombies" ticked me off.

Nice catch! I missed that, probably because *I* still call the walkers zombies even though I'm well aware of Kirkman's absurd notion that zombie fiction doesn't exist in the world of the show and that thus no one on the show calls them that, but it's definitely another sign that whomever was involved in writing that sketch is probably, at best, a casual fan.

That was not Don Pardo doing the voiceover on the opening credits, by the way

I'd heard about Pardo's absence, but I'm very hit or miss as to whether or not I watch the opening credits. I almost always watch the show via DVR, either later Saturday night after it's started, or the next day, and depending on how tired I am/how much time I have, sometimes I'll fast forward through to the opening monologue.

So I happened to completely miss the Pardo-less opening for this episode (I made a point to watch the opening of the latest episode, and did notice Pardo's continued absence).