The Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 4/14/13 – 4/20/20

Super hot, Sci Fi, Nerd?  Sure...

Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Community, Warehouse 13 and Doctor Who currently on so there isn’t really a ton of things to complain about.  That isn’t true as this is probably one of the more negative lists that I have complied.  Why?  Because this week it just felt like more of the good shows were just slow or forgettable episodes, and more of the normally bad episodes where aggressively annoying and punishing to my delicate sensibilities.  Also there wasn’t that much on last week, something that I hope will change by the writing of this article next week. Let’s hope.

Bad
Family Guy: Season 11, Episode 19

Look kids! Humor!

Where:  Fox
When: Sunday at 9:00PM
Why:
Stark: You always slam on Family Guy.  You hate that show.

When my friend, and fellow blogger, said these words to me I kind of tried to stray away from making fun of the show as much as I could.  I mean, who wants to be predictable about their vitriol?  I want people to look at this and think, “He really just dislikes a wide swath of things.  When he likes someone I guess we should watch.”  This is the kind of conversation that I have with myself when I think about what I want this article to be.  Then I decided, screw it, Family Guy is really bad and I might as well complain about it.

The idea that started, and quickly was abandoned by, this episode is that the guys were going to go to a Montreal strip club for some crazy stripper time.  Unfortunately they live when the plane crashes and we are forced to sit through another fifteen minutes while the two archetype friends are rescued and Peter is forced to wander into the wilderness with thoughts of finding help.  He, of course, goes wild and is unable to return to his normal life.  I remember when this show doing cut-aways to non-related events was different and endearing, kind of like who you smile when your “specially abled” cousin thanks you for something.  Now it is basically a Simpson’s clone for a slightly more stoned audience, sort of like all of the friends you don’t talk to from high school any more.

Good
Nurse Jackie: Season 5, Episode 1

Seen here: Edie Falco's O Face

Where:  Showtime
When: Sundays at 9:00PM
Why:
Nurse Jackie is a show about addiction, how it affects your life, the people around you, and the lengths that you are willing to go through to continue on that destructively tasty path.  About a nurse, named Jackie (Edie Falco), who basically runs an emergency room.  Everyone trusts her, doesn’t question her on anything, and is willing to give her all kinds of crazy pain killers because that is just the way that hospitals are run, by throwing as much medical grade heroin at people as they can.  Love triangles form, children are traumatized, and marriages end.  Most shows feel like they mature as they go because of writes understanding the character better, but this almost has felt like it needed that floundering arch so the main characters could grow a functioning person.

If I am to believe the premise of this show, women do not want you acknowledging their birthday after they have reached a certain age.  Also, if they have spent a large chunk of their life addicted to various substances it only reminds them of home much of that time they either weren’t responsible for, don’t remember, or feel terrible about; possibly all three seeing as how it seems this show paints addiction occasionally like a never ending spring break.  For Jackie it seems that telling people to ignore the day, on the day, once isn’t enough and is constantly bombarded with well wishes; which is different from the real world because most people would just say something impossibly rude and then not speak to you ever again, and also try to poison you and/or get you fired.

Bad
American Dad: Season 8, Episode 15

Silly, that isn't how you use a donkey

Where:  Fox
When:  Sundays at 9:30PM
Why:
I really like American Dad.  For a while there a couple of these articles that didn’t go up, almost all of them listed my undying love of American Dad.  The show has decided it no longer cares what anyone thinks and it just going for it in a way that you could only expect out of a hero in a teen movie goes after the prettiest girl in school before realizing that his neighbor really loved him and was hot all along. Recently they have been on some kind of hot streak of amazing hits and talent; something that only seems fair to compare to early Chilli Peppers’ albums, or all of Henry Rollins career.  With that intro I think that you should be just as disappointed as I when this wasn’t nearly as good as it has been for the last couple of years.  It almost felt like it was an episode being held over from the first three seasons.

Normally you would be expecting something insane, possibly involving some kind of magic or science flavored substitute, to be a main plot point; this week we got to listen about how Stan (Seth McFarlane) doesn’t enjoy the fact that Francine (Wendy Schaal) has the world’s mildest and possibly most well-known, and Britishly endorsed, sexual kink—spanking. Recently it has felt like the show has been trying to distance itself from painting its character as white and bland as they can manage in stupid events passed over by Family Guy, but I think I just described this week’s episode pretty thoroughly.  There are even points in the plot that it feels like a return to recent levels, but then it slaps that laugh out of your mouth with stupid.

Bad
How I Met Your Mother: Season 8, Episode 21

I am sure that is how all the actors feel about the show now.

Where:  CBS
When: Mondays at 8:00PM
Why:
I think that most of us who have attempted to watch this show have been on a journey of ups and downs that closely resemble an epileptic piloting a hot-air balloon.  Back when it started it was about a man looking for love, then—after a couple of years—it was about how that guy suddenly turned really creepy and accused every woman stupid enough to sleep with him into “the one”, now it is about Eore as a real person and how terrible he is at dating.  The show has stopped being “funny” and started being more about people thinking that it is ok to laugh at other people’s depression and failed/terrible attempts to find meaning in life through others (yet never pointing out that it really just seems unhealthy).  It has basically been 8 years of watching your friend go through a really bad breakup and just never getting over it.

So Lily (Alyson Hannigan) gets a job offer to go to Rome and help her boss pick out art.  She refuses because she thinks that it will make everyone in her life miserable.  Turns out that she is pretty much the only person that thinks that way, as her husband Marshall (Jason Segel-aka the best person in the show) thinks that it sounds totally amazing in every way possible.  So, instead of being dragged through the ever increasingly deep depths of Dante’s journey that is Ted’s quickly unraveling mental state, we get to watch two people think they know what is best for each other without speaking to the other person.  Look, we were all in fifth grade. We all were forced to read Gift of the Magi during Christmas. We get it.  You know what that story taught me?  Surprises suck.  Let people know what you want in life.

I personally want a new video card for my computer, or a Wii U, on the off chance anyone was wondering.

Best:
Doctor Who: Season 7, Episode 9

Spooky!  And a little sexy

Where: BBC
When: Saturdays at 6:15PM (GMT)
Why:
There are classic Who episodes.  There are the ones that you watch and talk about with your friends because it was the first time that the weeping angels, or River Song, appeared.  The only real argument most Who-vians ever get into is how well they have aged along with other such episodes; people don’t really talk about the stories that fall between those watershed moments.  In all honesty I think that a handful of those are the best thing about the show.  I will take a random, and probably not over all plot important, forgettable tale that is well written over any battle with Cybermen or companion goodbyes.

When you boil down this episode is a ghost story with dreamy British accents and a loveable cast with pretty good comic timing.  Given that description it is either Monty Python or Doctor Who, and luckily for us it turned out to be the latter.  This episode does away with all of the recent, “this isn’t were we are going! Zany!” plots and puts everyone exactly where they want to be, in a haunted house.  I am not spoiling anything when I point out that, of course, this is an alien and not a ghost and, of course, they fix and make better.  The way that there was even an attempt to drop subtle lines in about this season’s overall plot was nicely done as well, and not the normal Steven Moffat hitting you over the head to make sure you see how everything fits.

Worst:
The Simpsons

Oddly enough, guest starring Wanda Sykes

Where: Fox
When: Sundays at 8PM
Why:
I am impressed that the handful of people that read this article haven’t made comment about my failure to include this in the listings in one way or another.  I might even go so far as to say that, for all intents and purposes, The Simpsons is so bland and forgettable that everyone pretty much has just forgotten about it and moved on with their lives.  I would like to think that the entire point of this article is basically me proving to the world that I refuse to accept things and move on, and choose the least noble path of openly judging them for what they did to man.

From start to finish this basically feels like a reject Valentine’s Day episode, but only entirely less interesting because it can’t be passed off as either novel or good.  Marge (Julie Kavner) has finally had enough of Homer’s (Dan Castellaneta) repeated attempts to kill and or maim everyone on the planet and, hopefully, starting to think about a devoice; because if Family Guy has taught us anything it is that a bad relationship based on fear and obligation is the handicap ramp to comedy.  Also Milhouse (Pamela Hayden) decides that he can finally win over Lisa (Yeardley Smith) by acting like an abusive husband at all times.  But it is The Simpsons, which means that nothing will change by the time that the credits roll so the act of watching it has the same lasting effect as if you decided to drink paint thinner instead; you might live through it, but you will feel sick after and wish for that time back.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: February 10th – 16th

Last week contained Valentine’s Day, and because there is nothing that people love doing more than sitting around, at home, with their date and watching TV instead of being romantic in the hopes of getting laid, almost every show ran some kind of holiday special.  I am sure that the core audiences of these shows are single men crying themselves to sleep, so I am sure the suicide rate got a little bump this year from NBC alone.

Bad
How I Met Your Mother: Season 8 Episode 16

A Star Wars reference! GET IT?!?!

Where: CBS

When: Monday at 8 PM

Why: If someone had a child when this show started I can imagine them putting them to sleep at night telling the tale of “How, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ wasn’t awful once.” I think that there is probably a personal threshold for everyone, and this is a good litmus test on the individual definition of “Bad”, to point out when this hit that disappointing point; although I think we can agree when they actively started making up reasons to not introduce the mother we kind of all started zoning out.

I normally watch TV with my wife, as some of the odder things on this list will attest to, and I have a way more difficult time dropping shows than she does.  I think that I could explain that this episode as Ted “dating crazy” isn’t even one of the better story arches this season, but instead will just say that my wife stood up and walked out of the room in the first several minutes of the show. She was also the person who introduced me to this show and was its biggest supporter for years.

Good
American Dad: Season 8 Episode 11

"Wait, I didn't ask, can you talk?"

Where:  Fox

When: Sundays at 9:30

Why:  American Dad is the honey badger of TV, it just doesn’t care.  I have said this a lot in the past, and will continue to say it until this show turns towards the Family Guy ways, but the more that this show acts like whatever happened last episode doesn’t matter at all is probably the best route it can follow.  From randomly killing off characters and simply having them magically alive to doing a full stage play instead of a show American Dad managed to go from a watered down animated sitcom to one of the best things on TV.

Sure, this episode involving one of Rodger’s personas getting married might not have been up to the standards I have been holding the series of late; that still wasn’t enough for me to not entirely enjoy it.  Between the non-talking panda bear priest and the puppet show to explain plot holes I love the way that this show isn’t afraid to swing for the fences with every joke that they make, even if they aren’t all worth remembering.

Bad
Family Guy: Season 11 Episode 12

Ewww.... Meg's boobs.

Where: Fox

When: Sunday at 9 PM

Why: You know that feeling that you think the rest of the world gets something that you don’t? Family Guy is like that except for wondering how anyone still thinks that this show is amusing.  It seems odd that a show that was once heralded as being possibly the best and most outlandish thing on TV is now struggling to hold onto relevance.  I am pretty sure that the entire collection of active fans is teenagers that hate their parents and smoke entirely too much pot.

Not to miss out on the chance to have an easy episode this week’s is a collection of tales for Valentine’s Day.  To say that almost all of these sounded like old abandoned story lines that were pulled out and slightly retooled with a theme of a special day would be making it sound like there was effort in this show at any time in the last five years instead of its actively slide into heroin needle lined garbage.  The longest of the forgettable stories seems to be the one about Meg getting a liver stolen, which should say where the series is when not only the majority of the plot revolves around Meg but it is also pretty much the only good part.

Good
Archer: Season 4 Episode 5

Tentacle Rape Porn, when you don't know how else to make fun of Japan

Where:  FX

When: Thursday at 10

Why: Read some of the descriptions on the tubs behind Archer.  Beer is directly below the plastic tub containing acid.  It is Archer that is why it is on the good list.

Best:
Community: Season 4 Episode 2

Weirdly Annie is twice as hot on this show as she is on Mad Men.

Where: NBC

When: Thursday at 8 PM

Why: Because while everyone else was doing Valentine’s Day to be festive Community thought that they should just go ahead and do Halloween special instead.  They might have only been given a half season, which sucks for a show that normally runs the length of a college year, but they are actively making the most of it.  At this rate the Christmas episode should be this week, or soon, which is awesome because that has a habit of being one of the best of the season.

The gang goes to Pierce’s (Chevy Chase) mansion after receiving a distress call from him.  It quickly turns into a haunted house adventure, which is awesome because throughout are just amazing paintings of Chevy Chase from the 80’s.  True to fashion there are several giant references to events that never happened on the show, but sound like massive plot points that would have been nice to have seen.  Oh Community, please never stop being a thing.

Worst:
Once Upon a Time: Season 2 Episode 13

The, "You are lucky the check cleared!" method of acting

Where: ABC

When: Sunday at 8 PM

Why: I hate this show and don’t know why I continue to watch it.

 If I didn’t feel like the article was running long, and stupidly late, this week I would have said something about Californication this week and how Jorge Garcia (Hurley from Lost) was a drug dealer who accepted blowjobs.  While I hope that turns into something of a recurring gig for the guy he is also over on Once as a giant with a heart of gold.  Yeah, Once Upon a Time is such a deep show that it literally is just characterizing the most famous cast member as, “what if Hurley was… A GIANT!?!”

I would make an attempt to talk about what happened in the series, but since most of them are either fall into either A) not enough content for a half an hour show, or B) almost filled with plot, I feel like I can just say that this entire episode could be skipped and you would miss nothing important in the series ever.  Considering that this show actively seems to be weighting more on the A selection of things it might be safer to simply drop it, save the hour, and read Wikipedia the next day.