Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 4/7/13 – 4/13/13

No, a week will not go by that I don't bring her up

Last week was a weird time when nothing was really on.  That led me to being entirely harsher on shows that I am normally pretty favorable with, probably out of the thought that I need to make this article at the very least seem symmetrical.  This kind of had the effect of the bad not being as bad as they normally are and the worst being more of a disappointment than anything.  Don’t worry, the good shows where still amazing.

Good
Community: Season 4: Episode 9

I wish all drug memories were like this

Where:  NBC
When:  Thursdays at 8:30PM
Why:
It is a puppet episode, where everyone is puppets. I have mentioned before my love about how Community is just willing to commit to a bit so well that it makes it magical.  This is one of those episodes.  Not to be outdone in anyone’s mind as the best one of these types of episodes, this show continually amping up how increasingly good it is getting, Jason Alexander (George from Seinfeld) makes an appearance as a former Greendale Student/Mountain Man.  Did I mention that everyone is puppets?

So the plot of the episode is that everyone took a handful of hallucinogenic berries and started telling all of their deepest, most terrible secrets.  As puppets.  It is kind of hard to take anything as dark and terrible when you have a puppet version of that person talking about how they abandoned their children in a fit of unfounded Cosby grade jealousy. Also, I don’t know if it is just me knowing that Chevy Chase annoyed the show runners a ton in the down time and actively noticing that he isn’t in the show as much or if I am just digging in my mind to justify some of the useless knowledge that I keep locked in there.  Did I mention Puppets? PUPPETS!!!

Bad
Game of Thrones: Season 3, Episode 2

Nice rack...  Of breasts?

Where:  HBO
When: Sundays at 9:00PM
Why:
Exposition.  This show loves the stuff.  Normally it is done over the course of well nuditied women or people talking while they cut each other apart with swords.  This was more one of those “sit down and talk” episodes and not the other, more breasted one.  I don’t know if it is the conversation itself or the mixture of fear that it seems that everyone has during the simplest of questions that can make this stuff boring.  When you spend three minutes dancing around the fact that you think someone is a torture making, monster breathing, masochist who also is fond of eels (natures evilest creatures), regardless of how well the line is delivered you have stopped caring at the fifth “he is my king”. Don’t get me wrong, this is the best kind of “bad” episode because it probably means the next episode has twice the topless murder.

Also, Margaery (Natalie Dormer) looks creepily like Michelle Trachtenberg in this show.  To the point that while I was writing this article I started looking up here name by going to “Buffy” on IMDB because I was pretty sure it was Trachtenberg, who played Dawn on that show, who was in Game of Thrones.  Turns out that I was entirely wrong.  Who knows, I guess we can hope for some of the good old fashioned ultra-violence with a touch of Penthouse and pretend it counts for both actresses.

Good
Archer: Season 4, Episode 13

"Unless I am misreading you..."

Where:  FX
When: Thursdays at  10:00 PM
Why:
Because it is Archer.

This is the second part of a two part episode, Sea Tunt. Basically involving Cheryl’s (Judy Greer) brother (Eugene Mirman) and his entirely botched attempt to save the world from an eco-friendly underwater lab, which is also filled with deadly nerve-gas missiles capable of hitting every major city.  Part 1 was a reunion of Bob’s Burgers voice actors taking place on Archer.  That and the entire thing ended by basically not only leading into SeaLab but also making the captain from that show voiced by Jon Hamm.  I don’t know if I could make fan fiction that would be better than that.

This episode focuses mainly on the adventures of, what the show is quickly painting as, the worst any-amount-of-cover spies that have ever been as they go underwater to a better animated, newer, Sealab.  Granted that it seems that anyone who can stand upright for any period of time is capable of passing the field agent exam for this company.  The fact that I would watch this show if it was just two people screaming at each other for half an hour kind of adds to the fact that that is exactly what this normally ends up being.  Also that I guess that ISIS only hires highly emotional damaged people to help the mischief. Did I mention Jon Hamm in this episode?

Bad
The Office: Season 9, Episode 19

I 100% want to do this now

Where:  NBC
When: Thursdays at 8:30 PM
Why:
This is like what watching Casey at the Bat must have been like, but instead of a classic poem we watch all of these perfect set ups go completely ignored.  The worst part is that Dwight (Rainn Wilson) seems to be having this crazy and amazing hijinks filled caper involving a paper sale while the rest of the cast moans and whines about stuff that I am not interested about when people I know and love discuss with me, and the real life people are funnier at this point than any actor on The Office.  If it wasn’t for Dwight and Clark (Clark Duke) being some kind of amazing and psychic comedy due I am sure that this show would be half an hour of weird, dry humor, followed by Jim (John Kraninski) looking disapprovingly at the camera.

The sales call that Dwight makes involves him heavily drugging Stanley (Leslie David Baker) and literally dragging him to the meeting.  There is some really strong banter back and forth between the aforementioned Dwight and Clark, but besides that it is all terrible.  It is like the writer’s idea of comedy has quickly turned into 15 minutes of writing about how dumb Andy (Ed Helms) is with a camera crew filling the rest of the time following some of the cast around as they adlib. I kind of long to drive to the set of the show and just scream out my window how terrible they should all feel about what they did. I guess if they couldn’t come up with that extra 7 minutes they would just fill it with flashbacks and call it “documentary footage” again.

Best:
Mad Men: Season 6, Episode 1&2

The best reason to watch

Where: AMC
When:  Sundays at 10:00PM
Why:
I am not a smoker, but the constant amount of tobacco consumed during half an episode of this show makes me feel like I should pick it up.  Bender was entirely right when he said that it made him look cool.  If the government ever really wanted to understand why young people pick up that terrible and nasty habit they just need to look at Mad Men.  They aren’t Americas greatest generation, as I think some news reported called those that fought in WW2 that, but they are the most hardcore and awesome.  If we could live but a fraction of their glory through the course of our lives it would be a success.  We cannot.

For a show that is about an Ad agency in the 60’s Mad Men oddly gets away with not making any ads.  If this show was used as a documentary on how a standard beans promotion is put together we would all walk away thinking it was done by drinking and cheating on our wives with slightly less attractive women. This episode is basically about catching up with everyone since the time skip that took place between seasons.  For those of us who aren’t really familiar with the period there are vague clues given through news broadcasts as to the amount of time passed, like that really means anything to anyone born after 1975 though.  It basically comes down to an episode that nothing much happens, but it is written so well it doesn’t matter, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is my personal hero.  I would, and have, watched him in anything.

Worst:
Shameless: Season 3: Episode 12

Who hasn't had that day.

Where:  Showtime
When: Sundays at 9:00PM
Why:
I am going to be really petty right now and fully admit that Shameless ended up here because I expect better from it.  Much like a teacher flunking you on a test because you didn’t live up to their impossibly high standards of life, I am doing the same thing to this show.  Why?  Because it seems that the show runners have been slowly pushing us to not only care about Frank (William H. Macy) but want to add a bunch of heartwarming things in an attempt to make us feel emotions, besides “HOLY SHIT!”, about any of the characters in the show.

It seems like there is an active attempt to make anything that happens in the show have a lasting sense of purpose or meaning.  Granted, it has been three seasons of one crazy thing leading directly into another; that doesn’t mean that a single one of them ever really impact any of the characters after it is directly over.  At one point during this season Jimmy (Justin Chatwin) comments that he finds out his father is gay and it doesn’t matter because everyone else is too busy digging up a body from their backyard.  For me this has double meaning as both those things have pretty much been forgotten about as well as one of them not really mattering at the time, even though it kind of should have been huge.  Oh well, I guess you can just kill off some characters and make an impression that way.

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.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV February 3-9

Since last week had the Super Bowl and drove all the sane shows into this week it seems only natural as a starting point of one of the lazier articles on both this site and on TV in general. This is where I point out the highlights, and low lights of things that happened last week on TV.  Why only those?  Because I watch several dozen shows a week and talking about them all would be entirely too long and painful for everyone involved.

Bad
The Office: Season 9 Episode 15

Oh, Andy went native?!? Of course that zany guy did

Where: NBC

When: Thursdays at 9

Why: Earlier in the season Andy, the person who is poorly replacing Steve Carell, decided that he should leave his job and sail to the Bahamas with his alcoholic brother.  That was supposedly three months ago, also known as the entirety of the season.  Besides very minor reminders every other episode that that had been a plot point the entire show has moved on and is kind of about something else at this point. Sure, it is a weird point in the season where several mini-story arches are all kind of either concluding at once or attempting to start, it still felt like an attempt to make drama out of situations that could basically resolve themselves if ignored.

I know that everyone involved with this show knows that it has gone on too long, I really do, but this is the last season and I was kind of hoping that something interesting would happen.  Besides Dunder Mifflin’s ownership being bounced around like a drunken college girl’s lady parts at a frat party the show has pretty much been floundering for a thread to follow for years.  It was weird that the show almost became watchable again when it was reduced to the original cast, save Steve Carell, and everyone just kind of went along with their odd little lives.  I guess I can still just count how many episodes are left before it is over forever.

Good
Archer: Season 4 Episode 4

Air quotes are always code for "caring"

Where: FX

When: Thursday at 10

Why: Archer is always good for a laugh, or eight.  Oddly it is one of the few American shows that can be both entirely random and have nothing to do with the last episode, and still have some kind of cohesive plot that carries it through from week to week.  Also I am pretty sure that this is clear to anyone who comes to this site but the character of Archer, and his real life voiced and personal counterpart John Benjamin, are my person hero in all things.  Take that James Bond/Sean Connery.

So Archer’s mother got married during the season break, and as any man baby Sterling pretty much hates the guy.  If I told you that there was a bonding moment between the two the only acceptable response would be something like, “Four episodes in? That took a while.”  Somehow they not only made the entire thing work but made it seem like it was the only logical way for things to end up.  Oh Archer, why can’t you be on every night instead of Leno?

Best:
Community:  Season 4 Episode 1

All for a "History of Ice Cream" college class

Where: NBC

When: Thursdays at 8

Why: I love Community.  At one point it was easy enough to describe as, “That smart funny and witty show on NBC that isn’t 30 Rock,” but I guess that Highlander was right and there really could only be one.  Thankfully it seems like they made the right choice and the world can go back to Greendale, for at the very least a half season, and hopefully either be renewed or peacefully concluded.

If you need a reason to watch the show it is simple enough to point out, it is like if all of the fantasies on Scrubs were the normal things that happened on the show, and the fantasies ended up being weird and Frank Zappa levels of bizarre.  References are normally anything from the Cosby show to obscure particle physics relationship jokes.  I would recommend if you haven’t seen any of the show starting at the beginning and forcing your way through most of the first season.  It is the only show that has holiday specials almost every season, and they do something amazing for each of them.  From zombies that exist in their world to a Claymation special, it is really worth watching.

Worst:
Dual Survival: Season 3 Episode 6

Bugs: Better than stitches

Where: Discovery Channel

When: Friday 10

Why: The hippy guy who doesn’t wear shoes didn’t die.  This show was only really good toward the beginning when neither one of the “experts” trusted each other and were convinced that their actions were either going to getting them killed or waste valuable supplies.  Also I am aware that most of these shows are beyond staged as it would be hard to ever be in real danger with a massive film crew following you everywhere, but most of the show has started feeling like the two of them are more annoyed at the Kraft Services table not being set up than they are about whatever hell hole they are in.

If given the choice between fending for myself in the wild with these two guys, or taking the severely overweight, out of shape, and agoraphobic Stark and a random hobo we found I would probably take Stark and the hobo.  Worst case scenario with that group is that we die after eating the hobo due to some kind of transient person disease, if I went with the other two I would probably get lectured constantly about the importance of eating protein and using my shoelaces for stuff.  Thanks, but I would rather die weirdly than suffer through a lecture on the importance of mother Earth.