Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 3/15/15- 3/21/15

Anne's boobs

I have been anything but devoutly faithful about doing this article.  If anything it is probably one of the bigger regrets that I have about the site—not keeping up with this.  Well let’s see how quickly we can change that by going out and doing some writing on a weekly basis and posting things on this site again!  Woo internet things!

Bob’s Burgers: Season 5, Episode 15


Where: Fox
When: 7:30 EST on Sundays
This episode had a chinchilla in it.  Not only did it have one, it basically revolved around the little guy.  Longtime fans of the site will not only know that I am a huge fan of the creatures, but I also own one and think he is just the best.  This episode also has a chinchilla, and while not nearly as central to the plot as it should have been, that was brought up almost entirely through the episode as the pivotal character it is almost worth letting slide– we all know it should have been 30 minute of a chin cam.  Who knows, maybe I am a little too fond of the concept of chinchillas and upset at their lack of presence in our society to fairly judge this episode.  On the other hand, no. I am not.

I love Bob’s Burgers, even when the show is bad it still manages to be just a little something for me to look forward to at the start of a week, like a smiling face beaming at me and reminding me that life isn’t always as terrible as I keep telling myself it is.  That said, this episode would have been wonderful if the show didn’t always seem so concerned about what was going on with the entire family during every single showing.  Take, say, this time; everything would have been perfectly fine if it had been mainly focused on the children/chinchilla escape escapades.  Instead we had a weird date that we got to watch Bob awkwardly screw up, and then save.  Thankfully there was a chinchilla.

The Flash: Season 1, Episode 15

Sadly this was the most interesting image I could find of the episode

Where: The CW
When: 8:00 PM EST on Tuesdays
I enjoy watching TV while I play video games.  There is a logic behind this that many people don’t really back me up on, understand, or think is “a good use of my time.”  My theory is that there are a ton of games that I like that there is nothing really but dead periods and repetitive actions over and over and over and over and over again, and while I enjoy those— in the same way that I am pretty sure that Pavlov’s dog loved getting that treat when he rang the stupid, delicious, bell—there is always the feeling that I kind of want the other half of my brain to be doing something that only ever requires less than the remaining portion.

Thankfully every show from the CW pretty much fully fits this bill, and The Flash just happens to be the most super hero, DC based, clearly marketed to the late teen early 20s demographic, one that I can stomach.  It is weird that the show will go from trying to explain away super villains and ultra science to the thin line of romance that must be walked when you are both a super hero AND painfully handsome.  It is odd that the moment that people are placed into a series of well-lit environments how they seem to lose so many of their interpersonal skills that most people developed around the same time that they were fumbling around in the dark at a party trying to make out with their middle school girlfriend.  Maybe that is why all sitcoms have people that just can’t seem to get together, they never had a dark enough area to let their pre-teen selves get all the angst out.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 2, Episode 13

Yeah, I get that

Where: ABC
When: 9:00 EST on Tuesdays
I think I know why people gamble.  The feeling and the rush that you get when you allow something really stupid to go on for entirely too long and it pays off in amazing and really undeservingly spectacular ways is rewarding.  Agents has been just that, borderline painfully terrible for a good chunk of the first season as you could watch it flounder around trying to find its weird fish/lizard legs while it learned to walk, now it is almost like a real show that you can proudly admit to your friends that you watch and pay attention to plotlines and everything—and not even do it sarcastically or because, you know, Marvel.

This season has even managed to be a double shocker as it started off twice as strong as the last season finished and continued to find ways to improve the show by following the less learned from last time of “people don’t like to watch boring things.”  They were even kind enough to, during the annoying mid-season break thing that all the cool shows are doing now, replace themselves with half a season of Agent Carter — which ended up being so much better than the show that it was emulating.  The worst part is that now that Carter is on break and we are back to watching S.H.I.E.L.D. I get to be reminded that, while still one of the better regular shows on TV, the show based in the 50s that is supposed to be the kid brother to it not only managed to get the actual stars (plural) to back to be main characters, they also managed to be way more watchable.

Workaholics: Season 5, Episode 10

Remember when I was in stuff?

Where: Comedy Central
When: 10:00 PM EST on Wednesdays
Workaholics is a show that grew on me in a way that I really wasn’t expecting.  At no point in my past can I look back and say when I started to enjoy it, mainly because I can’t ever seem to find an episode that I liked.  It is the sum of the episodes together that I found enjoyable, for some stupid “I enjoy watching bad movies,” kind of way.  It is the show that you watch and think was way funnier three days later when you are imagining it and your memory manages to insert better, funnier, handsomer actors into it.  It is basically every Jack Black movie that has ever been, which is odd because Nacho Libre himself had a part this season.

This episode was based around the concept of bar trivia, and mainly its focus on the 80s.  It also has to do with the repeated attempts for one member of the group to grow up and maintain a job where they do not have to constantly run scams to consume food between paychecks, but that is quickly forgotten because no one wants to deal with issues and adult thoughts.  Not only is it impressive how every single time the trio manage to hang onto their– what I am assuming are– below minimum wage job, but how Anders (Anders Holm) continually manages to brown noise just enough to land interview after interview for better jobs.  I am sure the formulaic nature of the show will never allow him to achieve that victory, but I guess one can always dream.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2, Episode 19

You mean ice cream trucks can be fun AND murder?!

Where: Fox
When: 8:30 EST on Sundays
You know that show that you watch and snippets just keep popping in your head throughout the week making you smile?  For me that is Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  I picked up the show because one of my wife’s friends made a stupid remark about it being the funniest and smartest show that has ever been on TV (and we all know that is Community), and for some unknown reason I felt like I needed to prove her wrong by watching the entire first season in one sitting.  I think there was both logic and more to that plan, but it kind of fell apart pretty quickly as it managed to rocket up to Community levels of amazing in the first handful of episodes.  That super worries me because everyone knows we can’t have good things for long on Network TV.

The core concept is that you take an episodic cop show and make it star the guy from the “Dick in a Box” SNL skit.  I would love to say that there is more addition involved, but it is really just as simple as basically taking talented, funny people and allow them to be morons in front of a camera with lines written by funnier, more talented people who are probably less good in front of the camera.  That said, this is a terrible episode for anyone who is not already devoted to the show to jump in on; between the random in jokes and the plot this time revolving around a story arch that has been happening for the entire season (19 episodes), this is not the one to tell people that they should start with.  That said, it is a great pay off for those of us who may have picked this up around the start of the year and have been riding high as this season continued on. Also, I have learned that the first four hours of living in an ice cream truck are nothing but glamorous, even when kidnapped.

Community: Season 6, Episode 1 (and 2)

That does look amazingly fun

Where: Yahoo! Screen
When: 8:00 PM on Tuesdays

Not only do I love Community, and feel that it is awesome that it has come back in any form at all, but am kind of super excited that these aren’t even bad episodes that are airing.  The problem with this episode(s) is that you can basically tell that the people that are left are the ones that are never going to leave the show, regardless of how little funding it is given or how few episodes they are allowed to make per season.  Core members of the cast have been picked off one by one due to being a complete and total ass (Chevy Chase) or because they managed to make a surprising second non-serious career suddenly worth mentioning on The Today Show (Donald Glover dancing around with a Grammy Nomination placard, I assume).

I understand that the show is quickly approaching the point where it has been on forever (even though many people have attempt to make that otherwise) and that normal people do tend to leave a job after half a decade for green pastures or simply because they are getting bored of people loving them for no reason.  That doesn’t mean that any of the episodes where a new character is introduced directly after can ever feel like they are anything less than forced, and even though Community managed it slightly better than most shows could have—it still feels they just want you to stop noticing that Smithers was once black.

Double Special Secret Worst:
Top Gear: Season None, Episode Not Airing

James May, the only person with something nice to say!

Where: Inside our hearts
When: Maybe always now

I have spoken of Top Gear before, at length.  It is a British show about cars and adult men who do some of the stupidest things that they can possibly manage to do with a car at any given time.  It is estimated, via the Top Gear wiki, that the show gets around 750 million viewers.  That basically means that one in ten people on the planet are watching the show.  There are tons of other stats that you could throw out, but it is pretty much easier to say that the show is unobtainablly huge and as such one of the hosts has gotten in enough trouble (for the second time this season[but after a long series of times in his life]) to get the show cancelled; even though there are episodes that have been filmed and are ready to go.

Jeremy Clarkson does stupid things, very often.  Things come out of his mouth on such a regular basis that it is mildly amazingly that he hasn’t managed to insult enough countries to cause a war.  At the start of this season he and the entire cast almost got lynched over a license plate on a car he was driving, directly after/before (I am unclear on the exact timing of it) that he was put on –what Americans would call—a final warning for using a racist slur.  Now he has managed to get the show pulled from the air while the BBC investigates an “incident” he was involved in, and by “incident” I mean that he punched a producer in the face for their not being any hot food at the ready when they showed up at a hotel.

Keep in mind that most of the information that is known, in anyway, about what happened is so third hand at this point that it is almost worthless; but this is what appears to have happened:  After doing some kind of event that required driving across England the three stars showed up at the hotel they would be staying at rather late at night, there was no food for them at all.  Clarkson lost his collective shit and went off on the producer that was responsible, it escalated, it is rumored he punched the guy.  All that aside I am happy to report that we do know for a fact that James May was black out drunk while the entire thing was happening.

Since I started writing this the BBC has decide to not renew Clarkson’s contract, meaning he is gone.  The problem then comes in that (James) May and (Richard) Hammond have repeatedly and publicly stated that they won’t do the show without him.  The thing is, that isn’t even really a bargaining chip for them; the man literally invented the show.  Top Gear was a thing before (Jeremy) Clarkson, kind of, but he changed the format, style, and everything about it in such a way that until last year he owned all those things–at which point he sold them off to the BBC for about 75 million dollars.  Make of that what you will.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 3/24/13 – 3/30/13

Doctor Who is back! Also other shows happened!

Regular Show: Season 4: Episode 20

Baby Ducks FOR THE WIN!!!

Where: Cartoon Network
When:  Mondays in the evening.
Regular Show is pretty much about every slacker that you know in their 20’s working a dead end job that will never have any options for advancement. Also they are all talking animals.  Also they work at a park that I think is some kind of magic because weird and crazy things keep happening there.  I don’t know if it is the stream of 80/90’s references backed by licensed music that makes this show special, or if it just the fact that the two main characters in it just seem to take random things happening as an everyday event.

This episode is about how big of jerks geese are, and while that is true I don’t know if most of them ever form into a giant Voltron like monster to prove the point of dominance. Regular Show is basically a conversation had with a friend to make each other laugh, then turned into a cartoon to share, because I don’t know how the writing meetings go if it isn’t.  This might be one of those things that has to be experienced to be understood, but that shouldn’t stop you from watching all four full seasons.


Family Guy: Season 11: Episode 16

Because you shouldn't expect any better

Where: Fox
When: Sunday at 9PM
You know when one of your friends is so far ahead of the curve on something that when they are finally proven to be right it is hard to admit to them?  It is like someone telling you to duck half a minute before you get hit in the head with an iron brick made of monkey poop.  You kind of want to be mad at them because it is entirely easier than admitting that you are a moron for not taking the advice or at the very least looking.  That is kind of how I feel about South Park because they pretty much described perfectly the writing process of Family Guy.

12 Angry men satire.  Mayor West.  Assorted racist cast stereotypes as jurors .  I just described THE ENTIRE EPISODE.

They are either randomly generating as many plot points as they can or the lead writer had a stroke and everyone just writes down whatever non sequitur flies out of his mouth.  Possibly someone has the most interesting case of Tourette’s and only screams out cultural references.  Thinking about the possible methods used to make an episode of Family Guy has proven to be stupidly more interesting than even watching it.  I am pretty sure that can only mean good things for the quality of the show.


Modern Family: Season 4: Episode 18

Children make me feel that way too

Where: ABC
When: Wednesday at 9PM
Modern Family is the closest thing that I have seen to Arrested Development since that show went off the air forever ago.  In the past this would have been called a dysfunctional family, but it is kind of hard to say that because everyone in the family still talks to one another and isn’t accusing one of the other people of some kind of terrible crime that never took place.  Maybe that just speaks to the way that I think everyone’s extended family has at the very least three people that could be a star on either the Jersey Shore or Jerry Springer.

The majority of the episode is based more around Clare (Julie Bowen) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) attempting to flip a house.  Probably a forgettable and kind of simple story arch, I kind of expected the show to pull a Simpsons and forget this ever really began; turns out no, they are better than that.  It is weird; this show taken as a single episode never feels like it is ever that impressive, almost like it is constantly skating around the edge of genesis.  Taken as a whole it is probably one of the best shows on right now if only because it remains dedicated to its characters and plot, even if some of it isn’t nearly as good as the odd conversational responses they slip in.

Storage Wars: Season 4: Episode 3-4

Where: A & E
When:  I am sure there is a marathon going on at this moment
I have been told that Storage Wars has started an epidemic of people going to these auctions, spending their life savings and thinking that they are going to be leaving with dozens of boxes full of both cash and gold.  I think that the producers of the show became scared by the prospect of lawsuits and decided to start showing more and more people that most of the money on these auctions are made by the cast stocking their second hand stores with sub-dollar store items.  That might sound fun, but it means that we get to sit through a lecture about how much a used and filthy garage door opener is worth.

Before I continue to talk about how boring it is to watch people get really excited to find power tools in the bottom of a plastic container that is mainly someone’s shattered dreams, I have to say that the added layer to all of this is when someone loses their shirt over the same garbage.  At one point one of the rarely seen guys bids several thousand dollars for a locker that only has old, possibly wet, cardboard boxes and soiled, possibly bedbug riddled, mattresses; later in the episode you see him lose his mind that he isn’t going to make his money back on any of it.  I guess that at that point it almost becomes worth it to watch someone talk about how even cheap plates turn a good profit if you can then watch someone who has no idea what they are doing spend too much money on literal trash and then pay his employees to tell him he is a moron.  It would have been cheaper and more efficient if he had just mail ordered a wood chipper and thrown collectable pewter figurines at it.


Bob’s Burgers: Season 3: Episode 18

Please notice the dentures

Where: Fox
When: Sundays at 8:30
A while ago Archer did an episode that took place in the Bob’s Burgers world, which wonderfully worked because it had H. Jon Benjamin (who voices both characters) basically doing one character doing the impression of another.  I have talked about the show on the site before, briefly skirting around directly bringing it up, but it was pretty much a weak week allowed this to easily jump to the front of the group.  I am pretty sure that me watching it the morning before writing this problem helped the quality of me judging it as well.

Linda (John Roberts) uses the restaurant being fumigated as an excuse for her to drag the entire family to see her parents that are residing in Florida.  Straight forward enough, but add in the fact that her parents live in a swinger community and she spends the entire episode freaking out and having visions of naked old people having weird and disturbing sex.  It isn’t that this episode does anything beyond the realms of what another episode might in the ways of set up or line delivery, it is just that it seems to sink deep into the pit of what Bob’s Burgers does well and allows it to wallow in all the flavor.


Once Upon a Time: Season 2: Episode 18

Behold! PLOT!

Where: ABC
When: Sundays at 8PM
I kind of bring up Once in a roundabout conversation at the very least one time on the occasion that I decide to produce one of these, so it only makes sense that when I have gone out of my way to catch up with the series it was probably going to make the list of terrible things that I hate.  For all of the praise that I lap on any other show for continuing odd story lines, for good character development, or for anything else that even resembles something that is positive, this is the other side of that conversation.  I haven’t disliked a show more since I wrote about the entire first season of the Walking Dead while drunk.

Sure, the entire premise of this show as well as large plot points are entirely stolen from the amazing comic book series, “Fables” but that didn’t mean that it had to be terrible; the show made that choice on its own.  This episode mainly follows the holes in Pinocchio (Eion Bailey) as he fills in most of story shaped holes in his past with his adventures in turning into poorly CG animated wood which is about as dull as it sounds.  There are other plots that are scattered throughout the episode but by large they seem to be more about women pretending to be pretty princesses than something interesting.  The show feels less “fairy tales in the real world,” and more “this is what a five year old girls think adult life is like”.


Special Case!
Doctor Who

Look at her, she knows she is slammin'

Where: BBC
When: Saturday 18:15 (Some weird British time)
It isn’t fair for me to include Doctor Who in the normal weekly update.  It really isn’t.  I have been in love with this show since it came back on the air years and years ago.  I have entire friendships that I am pretty sure are entirely based off the fact that we both completely agree that Doctor Who is an utterly amazing show and that it should totally be on every week, always, and never end.  It is a zany Sci-Fi adventure, comedy, drama, sometimes romance that is done with British accents.  That is the kind of thing you want when people act out your life story.

The director, Steven Moffat is probably my least favorite writer that has taken on the show since it came back.  It isn’t that he is boring, but it seems like if there aren’t seven different kinds of fires that he wants people running around and putting out that he just doesn’t know what to do with his characters.  I am quickly coming to terms with the fact that I don’t really dislike Matt Smith (11th Doctor) as much as I once thought, and just dislike the way that he has been written.  Although I can’t really complain about the choices of companions as Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) is possibly the single most attractive member of the cast ever.  I guess we can all just hope she goes the Bill Piper route and has an entire show just based around her being naked.

The story of how I learned to love Bob’s Burgers

I fully expected to hate Bob’s Burgers, the seemingly only non-Seth MacFarlane cartoon program on Sunday nights on Fox.  The animation was weird-looking, the premise was thoroughly … meh.  I watched the pilot episode and was uninspired.  It just seemed kind of stupid.  I was not alone in this early assessment, with such journalism stand-bys as the Washington Post and New York Times’ reviews indicated the half-hour cartoon was “pointlessly vulgar and derivatively dull.”

Then I watched the second episode.  And the third.  I began to look forward to the episodes.  Very much.

At first I speculated, “It is because of Kristen Schall and Eugene Mirman!  Their voice talent clearly carries the whole show!  It is only because I truly wish it was the Kristen and Eugene show that I will sit through this doo-doo!”  I had fallen madly in love with Schaal during the two glorious seasons of Flight of the Conchords on HBO, and I am the proud owner of a Eugene Mirman comedy record.  And he was also on Flight of the Conchords.  Huh.

Of course, there is also the voice talent of H. Jon Benjamin, the titular Bob.  To me, he will always be the voice of Ben on Dr. Katz, the doctor’s loser son who painfully flirted with Dr. Katz’s weird red-haired receptionist.

Now, despite the title, and the obvious fact that I am building up to how I now enjoy the program, there are problems.  Animation-wise, it needs more in-betweens.  If I watch too carefully (as in, give it undivided attention instead of watching while knitting), I feel like the lack of in-betweens from just Bob’s mouth moving could throw me into seizures.

The silly names (last names such as Belcher, Fischoeder, etc.) and focus on fart jokes draws in a very young crowd, but the subject matter can be quite adult and inappropriate for kids.  It’s subtle though, and I think it could be difficult for parents to discern if this is more geared toward the Simpsons demographic or the Family Guy crowd this program finds itself sandwiched between in the line-up.

Also, sometimes the show is just gross.  Not funny gross – just gross.  And, none of the main characters have chins.

Sure, there are other problems, but there are also plenty of fancy newspaper reviews that can tell you all about them.  I am not a fancy person, so it works better for me to focus my grump on the characters having no chins.

So, as I watched those subsequent episodes, dodging epileptic animation and chinless teenager masturbation jokes, I slowly developed a fondness for this weirdness.

From the guest voice talent (such as Kevin Kline as Mr. Fischoeder the landlord, pictured here)

to the muppetesque facial expressions

to the deadpan insight into the thoughts of people like me

Bob’s Burgers has sucked me in. Even the bizarre voice casting of Bob’s wife and oldest daughter has grown on me, as the obvious man voices in themselves add to the depth of character.

I’m not going to go into the cast, or the premise of the show, as it is pretty self explanatory after about eight seconds and you can get that from any other review or commentary. I will tell you, though, that Louise (voiced by Kristen Schaal) is far and away the best character on the show. The screaming, the scheming, and the take no prisoners attitude, softened by the occasional reminder that she is in fact just a little girl, is brilliant.

I also learned/noticed/wikipedia-ed recently that the seven degrees of Bob’s Burgers extends beyond Flight of the Conchords. The show’s creator, Loren Bouchard, also was the creator of Dr. Katz. As mentioned above, H. John Benjamin did voice work on Dr. Katz. As did Laura Silverman (the receptionist, also mentioned above) who made a cameo on the Art Crawl episode of Bob’s Burgers. Her sister Sarah Silverman made a cameo in the same episode. Steve Agee, a regular on the Sarah Silverman Program did the voice of a transvestite hooker in Sheesh! Cab, Bob? episode of Bob’s Burgers. He was also in Children’s Hospital with Megan Mullally who was in the Art Crawl episode as well.

And while I continue to mourn the loss of King of the Hill, I am happy in the fact that Jim Dauterive who executive produced and wrote many episodes of that show, is now lending his skills in the same areas on this one. (Just like David Herman who has done voices on both shows.)

I guess what it comes down to, now that I consider this, is even though this a new show, it is rife with familiarity. And familiarity is reliable and tasty. Just like Bob’s Burgers.