The Simpsons: The Kid is All Right
A surprisingly-measured look at friendship amongst political differences, this episode wasn't the funniest episode ever (most of the laughs came from the always-reliable over-the-top-ness of the Springfield Republicans and Lisa and Homer's joint dream of not-dead Democrat ghosts) but still managed to tell a good story.
Family Guy: Life of Brian
Well, I was planning on writing up a whole thing about Brian's death, speculating about the motivation behind it and whether or not it was going to stick and commiserating on the end of time travel stories, but since I'm behind on writing about the episode, news has since broke that (spoiler) Brian will indeed be returning in the show's upcoming Christmas episode, so now any discussion of his "death" seems like a moot point (I will say that for whatever reason, be it a lack of surprise on my part, the way it was presented or the fact that it's hard to get too emotionally invested in Family Guy, I wasn't as moved by Brian's death as I would have expected, considering he is a favorite character, and a dog. Also, I kind of like Vinnie. I hope he gets to stick around after Brian comes back).
Sleepy Hollow: Necromancer
In principle, I like the idea of the Horseman being someone whom Crane knows personally, someone with a personal grudge against Crane that can ground their antagonism in something more than the overarching good vs. evil battle. But in execution, this is the rare case of this show's breakneck pace letting it down, as the revelation that the Horseman is (and was) Crane's best friend from whom he inadvertently stole Katrina would have had a lot more weight (and been more shocking) if we'd met that friend prior to the episode in which he's revealed as the Horseman.
I'm curious to know why Moloch needs Crane alive. Every show like this needs a reason for the Big Bad to keep the hero alive even when he has the hero at his mercy, but this show probably has something exceptionally whacky up its sleeve.
Agents of SHIELD: The Well
While I wasn't expecting Thor or Loki or anything like that to appear on the show, I would have liked the Thor 2 tie-in to amount to something more than a few scenes of the team cleaning up after the events of the film, before going off on another tangentially (at best) related mission. Yeah, they were dealing with Asgardian stuff, but nothing directly related to the movie. I mean, that staff was buried in a tree in Norway; it's not like one of the dark elves from the movie left it behind or anything.
That said, I did enjoy Peter MacNicol as an Asgardian, particularly his relationship with Coulson (who's buddy buddy with Thor). I wouldn't mind seeing him again, even on a regular basis (adding an Asgardian to the team would be nifty and bring in some variety).
The missus and I went to see Frozen last week,
and I enjoyed it much more than I was expecting. Olaf, The comic relief
snowman sidekick in particular (which was the main element of the film
that was dragging down my anticipation to see the film), who was heavily
featured in the promos for the film, turned out to be quite funny, in
an affably broad kind of way (it helped that he was voiced by Josh Gad,
and I was picturing Gad's overeager Skip from 1600 Penn, a show that I
believe was only watched by me, Mrs. Teebore, and the families of the
people involved, the whole time Olaf was onscreen) that kept the
historically-anachronistic jokes to a minimum. Meanwhile, the songs and
music were top notch, as were the vocal performances (you expect as much
from Idina Menzel, but Kristen Bell's singing voice impressed), and the
animation was spectacular, featuring an astonishing level of detail on
More importantly, this was another
Disney film (after Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph and Pixar's Brave) to feature a strong heroine with a
diverse set of interests and goals beyond finding and marrying a prince
(even while there are still romantic elements to the plots), a trend I'm
pleased to see Disney embracing. In the case of this film in
particular, I was particularly heartened (spoilers) by the fact that
while the climax of the film concerned an act of true love, it was, in
the end, an act of sisterly love and not romantic love that saved the
Top Chef: Piggin' Out
While I appreciated the elimination challenge for more or less giving the chefs free reign to do whatever they wanted (once they'd claimed their piece of the pig), it was a bit disappointing that it fell right after last episode's potluck challenge, since it essentially felt like the same thing: make a dish offsite for a bunch of people, the type of challenge that is all-too prevalent in these mid-season episodes.
Likewise, Louis' elimination continues the mid-season trend of cutting the low level chefs that haven't made their mark. And while the show has gotten better about this, as soon as they ran his interview piece talking about how many friends he's unexpectedly made on the show, I knew he was a goner.
I was really surprised Travis didn't get sent home for using store-bought ramen - that almost always ends up getting someone eliminated.
Is it just me, or does it seem early in the season for Restaurant Wars? Don't they usually do these when there's eight contestants left? Or maybe it's just that the remaining contestants are still fairly bland and generic, aside from Neurotic Stephanie, Asian Shirley and Unstoppable Nina. Heck, having the two remaining largely identical straight white guys as the executive chefs of each team sometimes had me confused as to which team we were watching at any given time.
All that said, it's been awhile since we've had a Restaurant Wars this lopsided, as no amount of clever editing could disguise the fact that Sarah sucked as a hostess. Though there has been a recent trend in that the team that seems destined to win on paper (for being made up of the most consistent/winning contestants) ends up losing. It's become a thing where we can just assume that whatever team looks like it should win won't.
How insane was it that the Green Team was buying plates and still hadn't even discussed the food? I mean, what? How does anyone let it go that long? Just insane. They deserved to lose just for that.
Travis hasn't done much for me this season, but at least as presented, I have to admit he seemed like the best front-of-house person the show's ever had.
As much as I kinda liked Sarah, there was no doubt she was going home, and she totally earned it. I mean, not describing the dishes to the judges? That's Top Chef 101. I'm just sad to see the Twin Cities representative go down in so many flames.
She was right about that coffeemaker though. And "being positive" wasn't going to solve the problem.
Glee: The Quarterback
This is a particularly difficult episode to review (I have nothing but sympathy for the legitimate TV critics who had to write about it, and couldn't just skirt around the edges of it like I can), in that it's part of the show, yet so heavily influenced by a tragedy outside of its control. The only thing I feel inclined to comment on is how the show handled the details of Finn's in-universe death, because I'm torn.
On the one hand, I appreciate Kurt's hand-waving comment about not wanting to dwell on how Finn died because it refrained from establishing that he died of a drug overdose in-universe (which, while accurate to real life, would have seemed out of character for Finn), while at the same time, avoided writing in some other kind of tragedy that could potentially the belittle the reality behind Cory Monteith's passing.
But on the other hand, I worry that the show didn't do justice to the reality of that passing by ignoring (in-universe) the details of it. Yes, revealing Finn died of a drug addiction no one knew he had would have seemed out of character, but it also would have spoken to that disease's ability to affect people without even their closest friends or family being aware of it.
Like I said, I'm torn. Both approaches have their pros and cons, and I don't want to ding the show for choosing one route over the other. It's just a tough situation.
Also, where were Brittany and Quinn? Their absences (especially Quinn's) stood out to me. And was that the last time we'll see Puck? His final scene had a very "series wrap" feel to it. I could easily see him disappear, having entered the army, and only be mentioned (by Jake, presumably) on occasion from here on out.
One final thing: while everyone's grief was palpable (for obvious reasons), to the point where it was, at times, difficult to watch simply for the rawness of emotion on screen, the scene with Finn's mom was the most devastating of all.
Parks and Recreation: The Fillibuster
The most remarkable thing about this episode is just how many complete, fully formed stories it managed to tell in 22 minutes. And while the Donna/Ron stuff was mainly played for laughs, every other story managed to be both funny and say something significant about the characters involved. Impressive stuff.
I hope Tatiana Maslany as Nadia returns at some point.
While Leslie getting voted out of office is completely realistic, it's also frustrating simply because it is realistic: a politician of Leslie's idealism and do-gooder-ness, in this day and age in small town America most certainly would get booted out office for trying, with the best of intentions, to make her constituents' lives better, especially when the effort to remove her from office has massive corporate funding (heck, it's fairly unrealistic she was elected in the first place). But that realism is exactly what makes it so frustrating: we can see this happen in real life. In fiction, it's nice when the idealistic underdog comes out on top, simply because it happens so infrequently in reality.
That said, I can totally see why the writers went this way: there's a lot of storytelling potential in Leslie's last 30 days in office, and in what she sets out to do after leaving office. Still, it's a bummer.
Around the Internet
I was made aware of a fantastic website this week, Texts From Superheroes. It's exactly what it sounds like, and it's hilarious.
Also, there's this video which has been making the rounds lately. I still crack up every time I watch it. Plus, it's funny and festive!
Homer: You used to be fun.
Bill Clinton: Kevin Costner used to be a movie star—get used to it.
Gene: You love that turkey more than you love us!
Bob: I do! I love turkey!
The Big Bang Theory
Penny: For some reason I always pictured her as Indian.
Bernadette: I think that reason’s called racism.
Howard: You had to be taught not to play with cobras?
Raj: You had to be taught not to burn down the forest?
Raj: How come the key is always confidence? How come it’s never love handles and flop sweat?
Parks and Recreation
Ron: I’m not a sore loser. It’s just that I prefer to win, and when I don’t, I get furious
Ben: It’s loosely based on the Klingon greeting salute.
Ann: I just learned that, and if I had known, I would not have agreed to it.