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

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Last Week in TV #32



Still behind on Revolution, as Dr. Bitz says the one I missed is worth watching. So I'll check that out online, but in the meantime, here's some thoughts on stuff on I did watch. 

The Simpsons: Pulpit Friction


I don't like to play this card too often, because New Simpsons is what it is and if you're still watching it you know what to expect, but man, did this episode feel like it had more recycled plot elements than usual. The destruction and replacement of the couch, a plague shipped in via mail order, a crisis of faith for Reverend Lovejoy, etc. It wasn't a bad episode, necessarily, but it felt especially unoriginal.

Other Thoughts
One of the more original highlights was Ned immediately turning Bart and himself in for plotting against Homer, and then Bart's discussion with Milhouse about bailing him out.


Bob's Burgers: Boyz 4 Now


We can now put "Louise freaking out over a boy" on the list of comedy gold. The best part about this episode though, was the way it had Louise behaving uncharacteristically (freaking out over a boy) but doing so in a way completely in character (wanting to express her feelings via slapping).

Other Thoughts
The subplot was also pretty strong, mainly for the random bizarreness of Gene's proficiency for tablesettingscaping, and the way it brought out Bob's always-a-pleasure-to-see competitive side. 

Tina: I’m no hero. I put my bra on one boob at a time like everyone else.

Louise: Cute? He’s the reason faces were invented!


Family Guy: Total Recall


The main plot, involving Lois usurping Peter's place in his group of friends, had some good laughs along the way but ended with some really uncomfortable gender politics that I'm not even going to get into (if the show can't be bothered to address this stuff neither will I; let's just say the ending was ridiculously outdated to the point where I almost wondered if that was the joke, except it wasn't). The B plot played more like a watered down "Road To..." episode, but got the job done, with some particularly strong gags at the end (like Brian trying to hit the stop button with a Nerf gun).


American Dad: The Full Cognitive Redaction Of Avery Bullock By The Coward Stan Smith


You simply can't go wrong setting Stan off on a whacky series of adventures with Patrick Stewart, especially if they involve visits to the Kevin Costner compound and dog costumes. The B plot, meanwhile, featured one of the better "revenge over a petty slight" Roger plots in awhile, featuring the return of Stelios Kontos and his awesome theme song.


Once Upon a Time: The Evil Queen


I'm not sure which is more ridiculous: that Fairyback Regina could honestly say Snow is the villain, not her, moments after slaughtering an entire village of people, or Storybrooke Regina possibly thinking Henry would be willing to go along with the death of everyone in town in order to go back to the Enchanted Forest with her. I know I've harped on this to no end, but with so much of this season's final arc tied to Regina, it's a shame the character is so inconsistently written, being as dumb or clever or evil or not as the plot demands.

Other Thoughts
Another largely superfluous fairyback (this was, what, the story of how Regina accepted the "Evil Queen" moniker? We're not too far removed from "how Regina picked out that one outfit" or "how Jack got his tattoos" territory at this point), though it's always fun to see Snow in butt kicking mode, and establishing that Rumpelstiltskin asked Regina to cut off trade with King George was a nice touch (it all ties in with Rumpelstiltskin's overall plan to harness the love of Snow and Charming or whatever). 

Speaking of which, Snow mentioned being taught survival skills by someone in another forest; I'm guessing that's setup for a future Snow/Robin Hood fairyback.

 It's a shame that Owen grew up to be this Greg guy, who's now not even all that interested in finding his dad after all. Also, we'll see how it all plays out, but on the surface, this whole "using science to stop magic" business smacks of The Initiative from season 4 of Buffy, and frankly, a bracelet that somehow uses "science" to block Regina's powers is pretty much just magic by another name. 

I wonder how many times Regina has done that mindwipe trick on Henry?

Neal recognizing Henry's attempt to warn Emma about his arrival because he taught Emma that trick was pretty funny.


How I Met Your Mother: The Bro Mitzvah


You win this round, show. From the very beginning of this episode, everything felt ridiculously forced. The catering deposit being in cash, the boys grabbing Barney the same night he was supposed to have dinner with Robin and his mom (like they wouldn't have cleared it with Robin?), the increasingly lame bachelor party that Ted and Marshall had to know wasn't up to Barney's standards, etc. Because this show has shown itself, of late, to be capable of churning out an episode this bad, I bought it all, hook, line and sinker. I figured this was just going to be another example of how the Barney/Robin relationship just doesn't work no matter how hard the show tries to sell it. But in the end, it turned out everything feeling forced was because it was forced, a long con pulled not only on Barney, but the audience, and the end result was one of the season's better episodes, as well as a worthy bachelor party for Barney. Bravo.

Other Thoughts
Revealing the clown to be Billy Zabka was an absolutely perfect ending. Also, it was impressive how quickly he got that clown makeup off. Ralph Macchio was also a delight.  

Barney: The students have become the intermediate students.

Ted: You know the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City? You know the secret penthouse at the top of the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City? Boom, there it is: visible from our window!


Glee: Feud


In the real world, the notion of a teacher working through his issues with a former student who kissed his fiancee being worked out via song would be patently ridiculous, but it makes a weird kind of sense in the world of Glee, and forms the inspiration for a decent episode built around feuds. Granted, most of those feuds sprang up whole cloth for the sake of this episode (the Unique/Ryder business, and the subsequent bonding of the New New Directions, would have been a lot more effective if we'd ever seen Ryder and Unique interact with each other prior to this episode), but never let it be said that there isn't a theme Glee can't contort itself into using, and in this instance, it helps the episode rise above by giving it a thematic spine on which to hang its plot developments. 

Other Thoughts
The episode also helped that, in several cases, the musical feuding didn't help resolve the issues at hand, one of the few times the show has avoided its "music solves all problems" aesthetic. 

The whole "Ryder talking to a girl online" was an interesting narrative device (particularly keeping the identity of the girl he was talking to a secret), though I'm dubious about the whole "freak out over meeting him" ending, wonderfully shot and fraught with oddly mounting fear though it was.

As for the Finn/Brody confrontation, I was with Finn all the way through his coolly-detached and slightly-menacing declaration to Brody to stay away from Rachel, but the ensuing brawl was disappointing while his manic, almost-childlike cry of "stay away from my future wife!" pretty much wiped out all the credibility and good feelings I had about the Finn/Rachel relationship since their talk at Will's Not Wedding.

Even before Blaine revealed joining the Cheerios was his plan all along, I found myself wondering why he was resisting joining so hard in the first place. I mean, Sue can be a bitch, but she does win championships and was offering to make him a co-captain. Being the co-captain of a national championship cheerleading team would probably be a pretty sweet thing to put on a college resume, even for the presumably arts-based schools to which Blaine would apply.

I still can't believe no one is calling Kitty on her BS.

Even though there's no way this show is going to send Finn off to college for four years to become a teacher (unless there's a musical teaching school out there somewhere...), it was still good to hear someone point out the obvious to him. Having Marley be the one to give him the pep talk also took advantage of the show's history in a way it often fails to do.   

Only in the world of Glee: would someone who is essentially a volunteer student teacher with no college credit or formal licensure receive enough of an office that there would be something worth packing up when he left that school. Also, I'm pretty sure Finn teleported from Lima to New York in order to confront Brody.

Favorite Song: Much as the old boy band feud brings me back to high school, the "The Bitch is Back/Dress You Up" mash-up had the most energy of the various mash-ups and paired nicely with each other.

Sue (to Tina): Go find a new boyfriend. Maybe Lance Bass is available, or RuPaul.


Community: Herstory of Dance


This is one of those episodes that makes me frustrated with the self-imposed limitations I've placed on these posts, as it was the first episode of the season to really make me feel like there was a lot of material to unpack, what with all the metatextual, fourth wall-breaking antics from Abed and commentary of his growth as a character/person. But instead of devoting the time and energy to doing that unpacking, I'll instead just say that the metatextual, fourth wall-breaking antics were humorous and I appreciated seeing Abed grow a little as character even while that growth was being acknowledged by other characters and factored into the plot.

Other Thoughts
This was another strong episode for Pierce (making it two in a row), as he was once again allowed to act like a normal human being without abandoning his essential Pierce-ness (and the gag about him needing to use Britta's computer because that was the one that had his email on it was fantastic).

I hope Rachel shows up again; the prospect of Abed being in a relationship with someone who is odd enough to get him but more than just a female Abed clone is intriguing, and I liked the way Rachel was played in general.

Pierce: I need to get to my email. The post office is about to close.
  

Parks and Recreation: Jerry's Retirement
It makes sense, given that the show is ultimately about her, but I was genuinely surprised at how much an episode entitled "Jerry's Retirement" was really about Leslie realizing there's more to life worth celebrating than professional accomplishments. Granted, Jerry still got a fair amount of the spotlight, especially for a third tier supporting character, including an extended look at his marvelous home life (and the ongoing gag about how that life is absolutely perfect continues to kill), but I was still surprised at just how much of Leslie episode this was.

3 comments:

Sarah Ahiers said...

I can't even express how hard we laughed over Bob's Burgers. We immediately crowned it the best episode ever. Louise's face when she starts to scream over Boo Boo was so hilarious. And then at the end when she's looking at the photo of him and is like "I hate your stupid, disgusting face. Slap" was the perfect ending.

Blam said...


Once Upon a Time: The Evil Queen

I'm with you on Regina's inconsistency and especially her self-delusion re Henry given how generally shrewd the character is supposed to be. A blind spot would be believable, particularly where Henry was concerned. Thinking Henry would be cool with her killing everyone in Storybrooke in the name of the pair of them going back to FTL to live happily ever after is not just a blind spot, though; hell, it's about as dumb as stopping magic with electricity.

How I Met Your Mother: The Bro Mitzvah

My reaction was pretty much yours, although I did figure something was up as things kept getting lamer. The reveal was not unlike that in "Trilogy Ted" but different enough, given that this series has a history of messing with our perceptions, that it didn't feel like we just did that trick. Ralph Macchio was quite funny, all the more so because it felt like a meta goof on Neil Patrick Harris' character of Neil Patrick Harris in Harold and Kumar, and Barney thinking that Daniel was the villain of the movie was perfect.

Glee: Feud

Will? That's what you get for making a 19-year-old former student your best man.

I love that Santana plugged in the iPod and there was suddenly a string section in the room.

Ditto pretty much everything that you said, in terms of plot details and eye-rolling anyway... Glee could not interest me less than a BNB/N*Sync "duel" because I'm aged out of that meaning anything to me; on the other hand, it's always nice — in theory if not in execution, since the music often has little to offer besides nostalgia and it's not my nostalgia — to see the kids doing music that you believe they'd have listened to contemporarily. Also, just so I have this straight: The "real" fantasy performance was the actual singing — and within the puppet strings, lighting, etc. that probably weren't actually there we got a metaphorical fight scene on top of it, Inception-style? Kuh-ray-zee!

Community: Herstory of Dance

I'm a sucker for romance. I totally hope that we see more of Rachel, too, just for the story possibilities and because Abed deserves it, as well as for simple continuity's sake.

Whatever self-imposed limitations you're talking about, I say to heck with them, as I'd love to see you go into unpacking mode and I'm not sure why this format doesn't give you enough room or options to do so.

Abed: "No matter how much awful stuff he does, he keeps getting another chance."
Troy: "Yeah. He's like the Colin Farrell of people."

Parks and Recreation: Jerry's Retirement

Now that we know Ben's gone back to Fringe Season 1 to check for plot holes, Teebore, I think it's clear that you have to watch it. 8^)

Chris: "Hello, Ann Perkins, my Fallopian Princess!"

Teebore said...

@Sarah: "I hate your stupid, disgusting face. Slap" was the perfect ending.

It really was.

@Blam: Ralph Macchio was quite funny, all the more so because it felt like a meta goof on Neil Patrick Harris' character of Neil Patrick Harris in Harold and Kumar

Good point.

Will? That's what you get for making a 19-year-old former student your best man.

Ha! Yes indeed.

I love that Santana plugged in the iPod and there was suddenly a string section in the room.

Right? It's like reality and unreality collapsing in on itself, which, come to think of it, is Glee in a nutshell.

The "real" fantasy performance was the actual singing — and within the puppet strings, lighting, etc. that probably weren't actually there we got a metaphorical fight scene on top of it, Inception-style? Kuh-ray-zee!

Indeed. And again, see above. :)

Whatever self-imposed limitations you're talking about, I say to heck with them, as I'd love to see you go into unpacking mode and I'm not sure why this format doesn't give you enough room or options to do so.

The limitations are entirely self-imposed, of course. My mandate with these posts this year was to not spend too much time on each show (hour long shows obviously getting more time/space because they're longer and usually more involved), which was an effort on my part not to get burned out and stressed out at the prospect of having to write a lengthy review/analysis of each episode every week (of course, I *am* burned out on it, as I am every spring, but whatever).

Now, obviously, I can break my own rules, but with everything else I have to write, here and elsewhere, I didn't really have the time and energy to unpack that episode of Community as much as I could have/wanted to, in part because I still needed to write about other shows (and other posts), and there's only so much creative/analytical energy to go around.

So basically, while I probably could have spent an entire post dealing with that episode, all the other stuff I also had to write about and limited time/resources forced me to keep it short. And while I usually feel like I can say what's important in the space I've allowed myself, in this case it was a bummer I didn't have the time or energy to discuss that episode more.

I think it's clear that you have to watch it.

It's on the list. :)