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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Last Week in Pop Culture #27

The Simpsons: Days of Future Future


Future-set episodes (which have now occurred often enough to be their own thing) on this show are usually pretty good, because they allow the writers to put the character into new and different situations they can't use when everyone is perpetually stuck at the same age. That said, this was one of the weaker future episodes, mainly because the "it was all in your head" twist undercuts the arcs made by the characters within that dream. Bart still comes out the other end having gotten over Genda, but what about everyone else?

Also, the whole "cloning Homer" gag seemed pointless. It wasn't that funny to begin with, then it ultimately amounted to nothing when the end result was Homer getting uploaded into a computer. They could have skipped the clones and just started there and the episode would have been all the better. The repeated funerals for Homer's clones seemed ridiculous. Why wouldn't you stop having funerals after a while, and why would anyone keep going even if you did? 

Once Upon a Time: The Jolly Roger
Once again this show takes a "sink or swim" approach to teaching magic, mainly because it's not at all interested in showing anyone how to use that power in a meaningful way. So we just get "save yourself from this bridge before you fall into pixelated nothingness!" and then, ta-da! Emma can use magic.

So now Charming is torn between kissing Emma and robbing her of her magic or her family being killed. Seems like the kind of thing you should just admit up front, instead of allowing to drag out over numerous episodes...of your life.

Seriously, this whole Hook/Emma smoldering romance thing does nothing for me, even though Hook is probably the best character on the show now that Gold has been effectively neutered.

We're supposed to be laughing at, not with, the Charmings at this point, right? That whole driving thing was pretty ridiculous (though I did love Regina's reaction to it).

Agents of SHIELD: Providence


If this episode did anything, it made it pretty clear that Ward is almost certainly not a triple agent. I mean, maintaining cover is important, but there's a point where sacrificing your cover to prevent the release of numerous dangerous individuals and innocent deaths becomes necessary. And given all the times Ward has Garrett at his mercy, it's hard to fathom what more could be gained from keeping up the ruse, should it be in place.

On top of all that, the Ward we see with Garrett is different: darker, slimier, more cruel. He even stands differently. And again, that could be part of his cover, but it seems genuine, like we're seeing the real character for the first time.

And it must be said, this Ward is a lot more fun to watch than Cardboard Cutout Ward. It almost makes you appreciate the performance when you realize that the boring version of Ward was as much an act for the character as the actor. It's enough to make you wonder if he was rendered that boring intentionally, just to make this Ward more interesting.

At first, I was irriatated that Patton Oswalt was forcing Coulson to keep the news of Fury's survival a secret, thinking, "hey, we can trust all these people!" Then they cut to stupid Skye calling Ward and I was like, "oh, yeah, it's a good thing Coulson is keeping that to himself." Let's hope he continues to do so.

Speaking of, do we think Triplett might still be a double agent? He's proved himself to Simmons, but if I recall correctly, there was nothing in the previous episode that 100% vetted him. I'm glad Coulson ultimately brought him along (because the team needs people who can kick butt, just for the excitement factor), but I'm still a little wary of him, 

Presumably, Adrian Pasdar's Mustache will show up again as Glenn Talbot. I doubt they'd waste a character and a mustache like that on a brief appearance via video screen.

In addition to Talbot, a longtime Hulk antagonist, this episode included references to Z-list villain Griffin (the guy whom Garrett mentioned turned his hands into lions paws) and the Cube, Grant Morrison's secret SHIELD prison for alien beings. 

Community: Basic Sandwich
If this episode does indeed end up standing as the show's series finale (it's a toss-up at this point whether or not it will be back), it would be a worthy finale. This wasn't the show's funniest episode, but it did touch on so many of the things on which the show thrived: pop culture homages (here to The Goonies), fourth-wall breaking (as in Annie and Abed's discussion of pilots), Greendale as a character unto itself, and a surprising dash of heart, as Jeff's affection for his friends is strong enough to power Rosilita, open the door, and save Greendale one last time.

I hope the show comes back, largely because this all-too-brief season showed there's still some life left in the show, but if it doesn't, this was a good note to go out on. And hey, at least we know everyone ends up dying in that asteroid crash. 

Parks and Recreation: One in 8,000 


Is it just me, or are the percentages of characters on TV shows ending up with twins or triplets appreciably high? To the episode's credit, there's a line from Dr. Saperstein about the surprisingly-low odds of having triplets, but still: main character getting pregnant is an acceptable enough plotline for a sitcom; said character having multiple births is borderline cliche.

It does a make a certain amount of on this show, though: Leslie is such an indomitable force that having one kid at a time probably wouldn't slow her down. Throwing three at her might actually force her to react like a normal person.

Ben's stress-induced freakout was both hilarious and hitting a little close to home. I don't even have kids yet, and I still feel like I'm on the verge of having that freakout constantly.

Andy just dropping to the floor after revealing his neighbor is in Witness Protection was a bit of comedy gold. 

The Clone Wars: Season 6
While the final season of Clone Wars largely avoided any major wrap-ups of its storylines (a combination of Episode III marking the true end of this story, and the producers holding out hope that the series may live in on in some other form) and I particularly would have liked more information on Ahsoka's fate following the end of the previous season, there was still plenty to enjoy in these final episodes. We learned more about Sifo Dyas, the Jedi whom, alongside Count Dooku, ordered the creation of the clone army decades before the Clone Wars, more about the practice of Jedi becoming "Force ghosts" (something which also served to give the series at least a decent thematic ending), and more about Order 66 and how the clones were able to so easily turn on the Jedi they'd fought beside for so long.

Additionally, there were just some really fun episodes. The Mace Windu/Jar Jar Binks Western homage was surprisingly good, and one of the best uses of Jar Jar anywhere. And there was a lightsaber duel between Dooku, Anakin and Ob-Wan in "The Lost One" that rivals any of the live-action duels for sheer excitement and execution.

Other Shows I Watched
American Dad "She Will Survive", Bob's Burgers "The Equestranuts", Family Guy "The Most Interesting Man in the World, Veep "The Choice", Silicon Valley "The Cap Table" New Girl "Big News", The Big Bang Theory "The Relationship Diremption".

Quotable Quotes
The Simpsons
Homer: I’m as healthy as a horse.
Marge: Homer, horses only live 30 years!

Agents of SHIELD
Coulson: Tell me something good.
Skye: We have Internet.
Coulson: Yay...And boy, have I lowered my expectations.

Kaminsky: Hail, Hydra!
Garrett: Alright, alright. Put your arms down, Kaminsky. You look like a West Texas cheerleader at a pep rally.

Parks and Recreation
Dr. Saperstein: Oh, and there’s another one!
Ben: The baby has two bodies?

Leslie: Half of my tuition was paid for by the Indiana Scholarship for Pretty Blonds Who Like To Read! It’s now called the Virginia Woolf Prize… different time.

2 comments:

  1. we laughed so hard at Andy just dropping to the floor. And Ben's freakouts were hilarious.

    Also, LOVED when Ron smiled at Donna's ex-BF when he helped him with the woodworking AND offered him a muffin. It was so perfect.

    Ugh, between GOT and MAOS (my new Sheild acronym because that show title is hella long) the stress and tension is almost too much to bear.

    I think there may still be a slight chance that Ward's somehow brainwashed or something, but man, I dunno.

    I'm torn. I love and hate the idea of him being bad. Love, because, how awesome is it that a main character was bad all along? And hate, because I don't want him to betray the team like that.

    All the feels!

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  2. @Sarah: Also, LOVED when Ron smiled at Donna's ex-BF when he helped him with the woodworking AND offered him a muffin.

    Ron smiling is always awesome.

    Love, because, how awesome is it that a main character was bad all along? And hate, because I don't want him to betray the team like that.

    I'm pretty firmly on the side of liking of him being bad, just because he was such a cardboard drip a good guy. At least he's relatively interesting now.

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