With November sweeps behind us, things are starting to quiet down and head into reruns or preemptions for the holidays. Hopefully this means I can get caught up on Glee and Last Resort.
Bob's Burgers: Tina-rannosaurus Wrecks
One of the great things about this show is that whenever I think I've decided on which of the Belcher kids is the funniest, an episode comes along that forces me to rethink it. Louise is the obvious candidate, but Gene's randomness and pop culture weirdness keep him in the running, while last episode and this one serve as reminders that Tina is absolutely hilarious in her own way as well, and worthy of carrying the title "funniest kid".
The scene in which Tina comes into her parents' room and yells, waking up Bob, who hells, waking up Linda, who yells, leading to Louise and Gene coming in and everyone just shouting "ahh!", was one of the funniest things, ever.
It was pretty clear from the beginning that Tina was going to hit that car, but it was still funny. Though I do wonder why Bob didn't jerk the wheel over at the last minute.
Nice bit of plotting by having the accident happen in the parking lot of the restaurant supply store. If they had hitJimmy Pesto's car anywhere else, I'd have thought nothing of it, but putting it in a restaurant supply store makes the whole thing come together nicely.
Tina: What’s for lunch today?
Demon Lunch Lady: Your lies!
Tina: Nooooooo! That’s what we had yesterday!
American Dad: Why Can't We Be Friends?
The A-plot combined two pretty standard American Dad elements: Stan's messed up childhood (he never had a best friend) and Stan's ability to take anything way too far. The end result was funny enough, but felt a bit rote, like the show was just going through the motions. The B-plot was a pretty basic one-joke premise, but I did like the general repetition of each attack, with Roger's escalation the only thing changing, as well as Roger's physics-bending appearances from nowhere, all leading to the great cathartic moment when Jeff finally just straight up shoots him.
I appreciated the effort put into establishing why Snot's mom was okay with Snot's absence. Not only was it funny, but it covered a plot hole the show could have easily ignored.
Once I decided the show wasn't going the creepy route with the endurance humor bit of Snot and Stan in the dark, I really enjoyed it. They hit a lot of those sleepover beats pretty well (like saving the cool side of the pillow for right before you fall asleep).
Steve: My bosom heaves with the weight of your absence…
Once Upon a Time: Queen of Hearts
Once Upon a Time always does well when the structure of the TV season forces it to pull its narrative threads together, and this episode was no exception, bringing to an end Emma and Snow's exile in Fairy Tale Land, giving them a win over Cora and Hook, while still leaving the villains on the board for the remainder of the season. The business with Gold and Regina working to seal the well felt a bit rushed/forced (it was pretty much just an excuse for the show to periodically cut back to Storybrooke) but the end result was good, affirming Regina's season-long turn towards good, and generating a fair amount of sympathy for her in the process. Last season, I'd never have imagined I'd feel as bad for Regina as I did in this episode, as everyone happily goes off to dinner, leaving her alone.
Maybe I need to give this show more credit: after wondering how Hook was able to extract Aurora's heart last episode, this one gave us the answer. Also, the business with Rumpelstiltskin having squid ink in his cell made a lot more sense once we learned exactly how it was there (though he still must have had it on him and accessible when he was imprisoned).
My brother pegged Cora as the Queen of Hearts a few weeks ago, and that reveal makes a fair amount of sense. Regina exiled her from Fairy Tale Land through a mirror (ie looking glass), and she's got the whole insane, taking hearts thing going for her.
We also learned that she somehow was able to cast a spell that put a protective bubble around the chunk of the forest still in FTL, preventing it and the people within from going to Storybrooke and locking it in stasis, which explains that.
On the one hand, our cliffhanger ending, with Cora and Hook sailing in to Storybrooke makes sense: they restored Hook's bean, got his ship, and entered the real world. On the other hand, considering they spent the first half of the season trying to get to Storybrooke, rushing them through their arrival off camera is kinda laughable, and devalues their earlier actions, even if still makes sense within the narrative.
Jury's still out on Emma's nebulous love powers, but anything that forces her to check her cynicism and skepticism and ingratiates her into the fairy tale world is a good thing.
How I Met Your Mother: Lobster Crawl
Even though this episode was essentially just another spin on the Barney/Robin merry-go-round (after ending the previous two episodes on similar spins), one that ended particularly weird (are Barney and Patrice dating?), I'll be damned if I didn't get a chuckle out of Robin's cheerleader giggles, her argument with her own brain and her various Barney-style pickup methods. The Ted plot was funny too (as Enthusiastic Ted usually is) without coming at Ted's expense, which is always appreciated.
So after all that build-up last season (or the season before? The Zoey season. They all run together...) Ted's finished the GNB building. Seems like that deserves more than a throwaway line (it's kind of telling that all the November sweeps episodes, which are usually reserved for episodes that develop' shows big overarching plot lines, all centered on Barney and Robin's relationship, and not Ted's quest to find the Mother).
Similarly, the whole titular business with Robin equating her situation with Barney to the time she was told she was allergic to lobster seems like a missed opportunity to callback her inability to have kids but maybe that would have been too heavy for what was essentially an excuse to get Robin to act silly.
Loved that Barney had a Bro Bib that matched Ted's checkered shirt and undershirt exactly. Also, as someone who has difficulties not spilling down the front of him, especially when wearing nice clothes, I'd totally be on board for some Bro Bibs.
I remain a fan of Bicurious Lily. And not just because I continue to think that Alyson Hannigan's boobs get bigger every episode. In all seriousness, this was a really strong episode for Lily.
Top Chef: Pike Place Pickle
That was a shocking Judges' Table, simply because I would have been surprised to see any of those three teams sent home. In the end, CJ's untimely departure (again) was probably the least shocking, as unfortunate as it was: Stefan's duck was clearly the least egregious of the three, and I'm not lucky enough to get to see my two least favorite contestants eliminated in one fell swoop. Still, it was a bummer. I liked CJ back in season 3, and I liked him again here. He deserves better.
While the elimination challenge was pretty blah, the Quickfire was especially clever, giving the chefs tons of limitations (breakfast, create the cooking space, has to be on a stick) that made it fun to watch.
Considering the judges themselves said they've had better food already this season, and that this isn't the first team challenge, it stands to reason that perhaps challenge itself is to blame - ingredients too bizarre, time limit too small, some combination thereof, whatever. Of course, the judges won't ever admit that...
Judges' Table was also a little more fun than usual, despite the circumstances. I'm glad CJ brought up the Tom voice in his head (and the fact that it was saying the opposite of what the real Tom said), and that everyone got a big laugh about it, and that when CJ tried to throw the dessert team under the bus, Hugh called him on it.
Last Chance Kitchen alert: Tyler and CJ dethroned Kuniko.
30 Rock: Mazel Tov, Dummies
Color me impressed by the level of restraint shown by 30 Rock, avoiding the temptation to turn Liz's wedding into a season long arc or to serve as the show's sendoff moment, the final punctuation mark on her character. Instead, we got a very realistic (and hilarious, and totally 30 Rock) Liz Lemon wedding that was less about any neuroses she might have about getting married and more about her struggle to reconcile societal gender expectations with her own personal desire to "feel like a princess" on her wedding day. A great example of the show taking a sitcom staple and making it its own.
The single best thing to come out of Tracy's subplot (which was pretty funny) was Alec Baldwin as Tracy Jordan's version of Harriet Tubman.
Also loved that "water" is "clear bathtub juice" to Tracy.
Oh yeah, the Jenna plot. It was fine. I did enjoy the rundown of the various things that lower her value, and anything that reminds me of OK Soda is good in my book.
Parks and Recreation: Pawnee Commons
Maybe I'm just a rube, or have unfailing trust in Leslie, but like her, I spent most of this episode waiting for the other shoe to drop, expecting Wreston to eventually reveal some kind of "gotcha" moment that would confirm her suspicions. When his colleagues showed up with the fake park model, I figured "this is it", and even after Wreston apologized to Ben for that and explained that he fired those two employees I still wasn't entirely buying his sincerity. So bravo, show, for hooking me so completely and aligning me so strongly with your protagonist.
Ben's "couldn't help himself" fascination with Eagleton was a nice touch, and added a lot of humor to the episode.
Ditto the little nods at Pawnee history, like the reference to the mural showing everyone surrendering. Always appreciated.
Also great: the Eagleton sign at the town line: "Now Entering Pawnee: Good Luck With That."
Batman, according to Derry Murbles, is "a strong gentleman who fights crime nocturnally." He's not wrong.
Those Leslie/Ben balloons were pretty awesome. Easily the thing that impressed me the most about Eagleton.
So that's the end of Burt Maclin, FBI. I'll be sorry to see him go, but like April said, it's probably for the best. Hopefully this means Andy's aspirations to become an actual cop aren't entirely gone, because I still think that would be hilarious.
April and Andy's role playing in this episode has me asking some questions I don't want to ask about their sex life. I mean, Aubrey Plaza is a very attractive woman, but April and Andy's relationship has always seemed somewhat asexual (likely because of how childlike Andy can be). I don't want to have to wonder what might happen between Burt Maclin and Judy Hitler in the privacy of their home.
The scene between Ann and Tom, in which she helps him realize he needs to inject a little of his trademark swag into his rent-a-swag business was probably the best thing to come out of their odd little relationship last season.