Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 9/8/13 – 9/14/13

I give you, a joke five years in the making

This article is a little later than I wanted it to go up, mainly because my PS3 managed to die on me earlier yesterday morning.  This normally would have been a regular sized tragedy as I rather enjoy some games that have been coming out on it over the last year or two, but considering that GTA 5 and Tales of Xillia came out this month I got to spend most of my free time last night figuring out how to transfer files from one system to a bored one.  Don’t worry, I am still watching the same insane amount of TV.  My computer is still, oddly, just fine.

Good
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Seems legit

Where: FXX
When: Thursdays at 10:00 PM
Why:
If this was any other show I would complain about it attempting to take a hot button issue and make an episode about it, the problem is that because of the filming schedule is so far in advance that most of the stuff happened about a year ago—like how The Simpsons talk about the election that happened so long ago they are talking about people that dropped out during the primary.  Always Sunny finds a way around that by being completely polarized in the most amazing directions one can imagine and then riding that course until they hit something, which is normally Cricket (David Hornsby).  It isn’t even that they attempt to make the topic seem relevant, all they really do is take the worst possible stance on something and go from there—it is like putting magic in a bottle with lightening and waiting for the science to start appearing.

This week it seemed to be left up the gang to solve the hot button issue of gun control whatever means they felt was being most neglected at that particular moment.  I would like to think that the key to the show is that regardless of what side of anything that you fall on you really don’t want any of the characters from the show siding with you, mainly because they seem to have the ability to switch everyone around them, including each other and themselves, to the opposite side of the issue simply by how insane and out of control their theories are—clearly there is no middle ground in Philadelphia, there is only Zuul. Oddly enough the best part of the show was settling the age old argument about what is best in life, guns or swords (the answer is guns).

Bad
The League

Sadly I know people like this

Where: FXX
When: Thursdays at 10:30PM
Why:
Last week I made a joke about Ruxin (Nick Kroll) screaming “no” and throwing a tantrum like a small child that he claims to be raising.  This week that exact thing happened.  The point of humor is to exaggerate (something I am good at) and make a normal circumstance seem crazy or unlikely.  It takes all the wind out of my sails filled with attempted jokes if they just go ahead and do it, poorly, pretty much as I am saying it.  In my head when I was making that analogy it was entirely funnier and possibly with him wearing some kind of bib or something, when he did it he was all in man clothing and it was just disappoint and kind of upsetting for what I assume was everyone watching.

This show is going the way of Always Sunny really fast, in that it wants to be about the worst people ever and less about the core thing that started the series to begin with.  The problem is that the more that the show becomes about them just being completely terrible to each other the less relatable that every single one start to be and the less enjoyable that all of their “pranks” are.  Pranks are only funny when you are doing them to someone you care about, like when I take a shit in Stark’s milk, because at the end of the day I don’t want him dead or unable to walk. It was one thing two season ago to watch as they filmed a porno in one of their friends apartments because it seemed like they were just doing something that would bother him and weird him out, in this episode they pretty much actively destroyed Andre’s (Paul Scheer) life and stood by laughing as it fell apart.  This wasn’t funny and prankster filled, this was people on a slow decent to murdering each other over a fucking trophy.

Good
Adventure Time

BMO does look really cool

Where: Cartoon Network
When: Monday’s at 7:00 PM
Why:
Adventure Time is a show about what the world would be like thousands of years after a nuclear holocaust, but for children.  It slowly constructs an environment where anything is possible and candy is people and people are pretty much extinct due to being amazingly delicious.  Trying to describe it to someone is like listening to a stroke victim tell a chair about the dream they had last night, half of it sounds insane and the rest sounds like something you should probably drop what you are doing and investigate at this very moment.  It is like combining two of the best things in the world, the wonder of youth and doing things for the first time and really dark and messed up things that you kind of shouldn’t think about, and getting something that proves to be even better than you thought it would be—because of the transitive rule of animation.

This episode deals primarily with Jake (John DiMaggio) and cooking, which is a topic that I wish the show would bring up more—which sounds like someone complaining about an episode of good eats now that I am going through and proofing this.  That guy really loves his food, and whenever he is unable to eat something due to a series of events his tragedy is like fuel for my amusement heart.  Jake manages to make possibly the world’s greatest sandwich, one that I hope to eat a replica of at some point in my life, but it is stolen by Magic Man (Tom Kenny).  As a point of order I really want to bring up the fact that Magic Man is possibly one of the greatest villains of all time due to the fact that he deals out completely random and unfounded punishments and demands that people learn stupid and pointless lessons before continuing with their lives.  He is my personal hero.

Bad
Paranormal Witness

paranormal witness 9-21-13

Where: SYFY
When: Wednesdays at 10:00 PM
Why:
I think the only other show I have managed to bag on more than Paranormal Witness is Dual Survival, and that is only because for most of this shows run I didn’t publish many of the articles that I ended up writing.  One of the main problems of the program is that most of the time it lacks anything that would ever be considered a credible witness.  It is hard to take a ghost siting seriously when the guy telling you about it is also the first guy that you would ask about getting you both illegal fireworks and possibly a gun with no serial number.  The list of things that I would believe from those people is so short it pretty much normally ends at my first question of “what is crystal meth like?” because how can you not want to know.

This week they fixed that silly problem by having the dean of a college appear as the person that was haunted, because people with higher educations are never wrong or mistaken.  There are two things that the show just simply loves to do that I completely hate; use things that can easily explained away as solid evidence (such as the wind blowing or “old house noises) and use stupid special effects in places where the witness was saying nothing because the story would be boring in that moment without them (also known as the “I went back into the house to get my keys…” and the silence is filled with exploding wall ghost semen).  This episode was entirely those two things.  The root of the problem is that the show needs to be half an hour long and SYFY keeps trying to drag it out to an hour; all this is doing is making it boring and unbelievable.  It is the reason that everyone tries to cut as much as they can from a Stephen King novel, because it isn’t creepy when you learn about the guy taking a giant dump and how much he likes to masturbate.

Best:
Breaking Bad

Coward

Where: AMC
When: Sundays at 9:00 PM
Why:
Sometimes the show leaves me wondering if Walt (Bryan Cranston) is really a criminal mastermind or just kind of bumbling super-chemist that thinks way to highly of himself.  Sometimes he pulls of these amazing exploits that simply manage to crush everyone that may one day turn on him, sometimes he just kind of falls into this massive and explosive shoot out over some money that he has buried in the desert because he thinks that Jesse (Aaron Paul) is plotting to get him, and sometimes he just sort of seems like a whinny little girl.  Maybe the lesson that I should take away from all of this is that being large and important as an outlaw is difficult work and always requires Bob Odenkirk in your corner.

It might be easier to hate Walt at this point in the story if the writers weren’t doing such a good job of just making Jesse an entirely irredeemable character.  Granted, I honestly believe that the show has done some of the best work I have ever seen portraying his character actively having a nervous breakdown—at some point you just want to look at that person and pull them out of society and life in general.  The flashes back and forth between damn near being a puddle of self-inflicted urine and trying to violently, and poorly, lash out against his previous life and weird and uncontrolled.  Truth be told I doubt I would ever change a single thing about this show if given the chance, and just long for more people to hold open conversations about it with.

Worst:
Burn Notice

"Remember when this show was good?" "I remember when I was young..."

Where: USA
When: Thursdays at 9:00 PM
Why:
Last article I stated that I thought that episode was the last and was disappointed by that.  Last week the disappointment was because I thought to myself, “this is all going to wrap up” and kept thinking that until the credits hit and it said “next week on Burn Notice!” which is not really what you want to hear when you half expecting the show to either tell you it is a movie or has been some kind of fever dream of a random side character for the last two seasons.  I think that my main issue has been, and continued to be, that this show has basically failed to deliver on the promise that it made to the views a season or two ago—that Michael (Jeffery Donovan) was out of the spy game for good.  Instead it has actively tried to supplant that image with something more exciting and has managed to stop just short of throwing circus clown hacker spies at him.

So, spoilers.  Just stop reading if you care.  I am going to complain a bunch about the ending.

Madeline (Sharon Gless who plays Michael’s Mother) dies in the most meaningless sacrificial death that I think I might have ever seen since the Mayans thought that it would make their drinking water not give them the runs. Her death was more meaningless than most of the stuff that happened during the Twin Peaks movies.  If I had to equate it to a movie I would call it Crispin Glover’s “What is it”, the one with the all mentally handicap cast.  That was the highlight of the episode.  From that moment forward it was a downhill stream of nonsense that was clearly every writer in the building flipping off the rest of cast as they walked out the door.  It managed to be stop be insulting and start being full “Plan 9 From Outer Space” right around the time that you realized that Michael and Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) weren’t dead but the rest of the world’s best spies would never be able to figure that out.  Screw everyone who was involved with this, aside from Bruce Campbell I hope you all never work again.

Best and Worst of TV [LATE AGAIN]: 9/1/13 – 9/7/13

Yeah, I know.  This keeps getting later and later.  I should really look into that.  Breaking Bad is back though.  That should give us all something to look forward to!

Good
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 

Seen here, most nights in my 20's

Where: FXX
When: Thursdays at 10:00 PM
Why:
I think that I could probably just leave this entire section blank, maybe put in a couple good pictures, and that would be enough said on why Always Sunny made the list.  It is one of the best shows on whenever it is on.  If it is a re-run and it is up against new episodes of current good shows it is a hard call at times. What started off as a tale of a handful of friends owning a bar and doing that terribly turned into something about the exploits of the worst people who have ever walked the face of the Earth who also have a fully stocked bar for some reason.  My only theory about how the cast continues to come up with worse and worse things for the cast involves drinking, Danny Devito, and farm animals—so pretty much the cast living the life of what they do in the show.

The episode is about Dee (Kaitlin Olson) becoming so depressed, seemingly by the fact that she spends all of her time in the bar with the aforementioned group, that she is rather close to losing the will to live.  The gangs’ response to this, of course, is to back her into going after her stand-up career –because when you hit rock bottom it is always good to be pushed at your failing dreams.  Strangely she seems to succeed at the task and starts to become a rising star in the local arena.  What has always kind of confused me about some of Dee’s problems with her comedy is that some of her jokes are normally pretty good, which makes it all the weirder when she encounters any form or resistance from anyone about them (save the normal vomiting continually on stage thing, which I get why you wouldn’t want to watch).

Bad
Burn Notice

If chins could run for office I would elect it awesome

Where: USA
When:  Thursdays at 9:00 PM
Why:
I went into this episode thinking, hoping, that it was the last one.  It turns out that it wasn’t.  Instead I was treated to a steady stream of miscommunications that would have made an 80’s sitcom raise an overly hairy, unkempt, eyebrow in suspicion. The show started off many years ago explaining how to be a super-secret awesome ninja lord on a budget that consisted of less than Macgyver’s expenditure on duct tape, it has since change drastically.  Probably around the time the characters—including villains— started randomly endorsing cars for no reason, inside the active show, was the same time that they were able to afford explosives and bullets.  Seriously, one season they managed to blow up Michael’s Mother’s (Sharon Gless) house with nothing more than electricity and chemicals found in Christmas lights, the show changed when they started having ready access to thermite.

So this season has been entirely about Michael (Jeffery Donovan) being less burned and more entirely on the books and actively working as a spy again, so we could totally call this (un)Burn Notice and have been slightly more accurate.  The flow of this arch has been to show that the CIA is using ever increasingly terrible tactics to get the bad guys, sort of painting them as the bad guys to begin with.  So at the end of the last episode when Michael finally turned for the group that he was trying to destroy you, as in the audience and I, were supposed to be understanding.  The problem with that is that there was the entire part where James (John Pyper-Ferguson) shoots one of his agents in cold blood because he failed to pull a crew member out of a burning building.  The guy lives by some weird warrior code that he decides on a whim, so it is kind of hard to call him a good guy or that the right side at any point.

Good
Futurama

Thanks, now that is all I want for a bed

Where: Comedy Central
When: Wednesday at 10:00 PM
Why:
Futurama is over.  This was the last episode.  If you have a heart that means something.  This happened before, for those of you who aren’t children or just going to high school or something like that, and some of you might even remember that episode had a theme not unlike this one—focusing on Fry (Billy West) and Leela (Katey Sagal) instead of the majority of the crew and anything interesting that could be going on for the rest of the future-wonderful world out there.  Granted, that first, aforementioned episode involved Fry trading hands with the Robot Devil and becoming the master at an instrument that is too complicated for our ancient brains to understand.

If I am being truthful here, dear readers, I should point out that I am mostly convinced that most of the enjoyment I experienced from this episode was knowing that it was simply the last one.  I think that it might have something to do with the arch of the show, starting with Fry being thrown to the future and meeting a woman who has no interest in him to being one of the sweeter episodes of a TV show about two people in love that I have seen.  Oddly I don’t even know if the majority of the show was something that I would consider “funny” or if it was just decent story telling by wrapping up the plot in the way that made the correct amount of nods to the fans who had stuck with them for the last 13 years.

Bad
The League

Full Douche: As seen here

Where: FXX
When: Thursdays at 10:30PM
Why:
The League isn’t a bad show, and this wasn’t really a terrible episode in a way that could be compared to something along the lines of Dual Survival or Sister Wives.  The problem with the show is that it has slowly started to reek of something that is past its prime, something that only plays on the laughs of people that once thought that it had a chance of being one of the better life eaters on TV.  Sadly that time passed roughly around the moment that I found out it was funny and not just annoying promos that FX used to make me hate it.  I don’t know if this is just a really long winded way of saying that I was kind of hoping that the group was just going to kick Roxin (Nick Kroll) out and replace him with someone that I may find mildly acceptable instead of perpetually unneeded.

Season Five starts off by reminding us that Roxin is still a terrible human and refrains from doing anything that he deems beneath him.  Since the rules of the fantasy football league is to punish the person who “played” the worst the season before, and since that was him, the viewers are treated to half an hour of him basically sitting in a chair screaming, “no!” in the same manner that a five year old, or honey boo-boo’s mom, attempts to not eat her vegetables.  I also have a sneaking suspicion that the only reason most the cast is even involved at this point is so they can meet and hang out with random football stars and pretend to have an excuse to do so.

Best:
Breaking Bad

This show can make eating cereal tense

Where: AMC
When: Sundays at 9:00 PM
Why:
Always Sunny made my friends and I want to buy a bar.  Weeds made my friends and I want to sell… well weeds.  At no point in time during the show does Breaking Bad make any rational person stop and say, “You know what a great idea would be?  We should cook meth in this here apartment.”  I imagine that all of my teeth would fall out and most of my hair would mange just from saying that sentence. Oddly this show probably manages to glam up the meth trade in what would favorably be called an idolized light, as the most realistic look at the production of the product is given in the first episode where they were brewing in a rented house that basically managed to lower the property value of an entire state.

My wife walked in during one of the more recent episodes after having not seen the show for the last several years, and having dropped it because it is nothing if not profusely violent in every regard, and managed to sit down and not speak for a good 10 minutes.  She had no idea what was going on, and there wasn’t really any dialog the entire time.  None of that matter, she sat quietly and watched the TV like it was showing her deep secrets that had been hidden for some time, my only hope was that they weren’t telling her how to slay me.  She only left after I kicked her out because she started asking questions that had so many layers of answers that it would be quicker for her to watch the show than for me to explain.

Worst:
Amish Mafia

Because most 12 year old looking men run mafia style gangs

Where: Discovery Channel
When: Tuesdays at 9:00 PM
Why:
When I turn to the Discovery Channel I will randomly hold out hope that I might be able to learn something before either changing to anything else or wondering why my television is connected to cable again; learning about something like about the depths of the ocean, or what time travel might do to the human body—at the very least something interesting.  What I don’t expect when I turn to the channel is that I am going to be lied to.  The first episode of this season there was a tirade by one of the “actors” about how all dolls with faces are really just vessels for demons to come, and I guess, spy on you while you sleep. That is supposedly why Amish dolls don’t have faces.  That is false. She scored a 0 on the Amish quiz today. The correct answer is, “because we are all created the same in Gods eyes,” and I think something about pride.  Granted, I am sure that the producer decide her rant was simply too good to not include due to it being equal parts sort of racist and dumb, but it seems an odd thing to include on an channel that—I assume—was founded on the belief of education through shark week.

Speaking of the racism aspect, it is really bad that most of the time the show goes out of its way to depict an entire swath of people as gullible, incapable, and refusing to change.  None of these things are true at all.  The first being that “English,” (ie you and I) take constant advantage of them and they don’t know how to read a contract at all.  Somehow this show manages to use this concept, and their lack of technology, as a way to paint them as something between taking the slowest bus to school and believing that witchcraft is not only real but attained by rubbing your feet really fast on the carpet and then touching your sibling.  If there was a through thread of the series I have yet to spot it.  I can tell you that these are “based on true stories” the same way that most alien abductions aren’t based on a weird dream from one night and not so subtle cries for help.  Also that was sarcasm.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 6/23/13 – 6/29/13 (Late)

Although cigar jerk is kind of a funny name

Because of last week’s holiday causing a lack of new shows and my general attempt to drink through most of the week there was no article.  I will talk about the shows from the week before, because I feel like I should start doing this article again and that this is a dead time to fill with TV talk.

Good
Venture Brothers: Season 5: Episode 4

When was the last time you saw him smile, ever

Where: Adult Swim/Cartoon Network
When: Sundays at Midnight
Why:
Sometimes years go by without an episode of The Venture Brothers seeing the light of day, those are dark times for man.  2013, despite what the Mayans seemed to have thought, has proven to be a good time for everyone due to the return of the series.  The main theme of the show is failure, and in many ways it is hard to argue.  I love the flash backs to Rusty’s (James Urbaniak) old days as a child when everything was supposed to be perfect and work out to be wonderfully for an older him, only to end up being pretty much the same only more dilapidated and less adventure heavy.  It is almost like the show wants to always remind us that it isn’t just us that failed, the world failed us as well—which is good because I do like blaming others.

Speaking of the aforementioned younger Rusty, this episode took place on a Greek island where he was once treated to Spanakopita—not the pie food thing but instead a local festival that serves to both rob tourists of their money and distract young people from the fact that they were accidentally kidnapped.  Considering that the finer points of describing a Venture Brothers plot is more like talking about a fever dream than it is writing something up I will forgo pretty much the rest here.  For serious though, go out of your way and watch this entire series up until this point.  It is amazing.

Bad
Futurama: Season 7: Episode 16

Because it is poop in his mouth, get it?!?

Where: Comedy Central
When: Wednesdays at 10 PM
Why:
This is the last season of a cult classic.  That announcement was made about a month before this season started airing, they promoted this season as such. They did everything besides directly saying that every stop would be pulled out, thrown away, forgotten about, and higher scores of people for some of the best script writing that mankind has ever seen.  This should have made, “Into the Wild Green Yonder” look like a pile of vomit that vomits Kardashians.  If there was ever a season that you make people regret a show ending it the one that is announced months before hand that it is over, the one that you take all of the scripts that you never used for various reasons that make better and put on the air.  So far this seasons high points have been math jokes.

Lrrr (Maurice LaMarche) takes his child on a trip to take over Earth to earn a merit badge, because I guess that is a thing that happens in 1000 years.  This, of course results in the TV being cut off from the planet and Fry (Billy West) being stranded there.  I could sum this entire episode up perfectly when I say that the best joke involves Fry being unable to stop eating rainbow colored poop; because it isn’t a Mad Lib quality episode of this show without Fry being unable to stop eating something disgusting.  It isn’t even like I am angry at Futurama, I am just really all kinds of disappointed.

Good
Falling Skies: Season 3: Episode 4

Something exciting.  I don't know.  This show is hard to talk about

Where: TNT
When: Sundays at 10 PM
Why:
There really aren’t that many good science fiction television shows out there anymore.  Sure, you could come up with a list as long as my arm of shows that certain terribly named channels will try and run from time to time—some with even a mild degree of success.  The problem is that most of those shows end up not being that wonderful, were only ever thought of as a mini-series, or were put together by less than experienced show runners that simply don’t know how to hold the connective tissue together.  Falling Skies has thus far managed to avoid all of these pit falls, even if there are random pacing issues towards the middle of most seasons.

You know when a new season of a very plot driven show starts and you feel like you missed a couple huge pivotal points of information; that is basically what is happening this season.  There is rumors going around about a mole inside of the human resistance fighters, and it is looking more and more like it is Hal (Drew Roy) being controlled by the alien invaders.  My problem with that is that he is sort of aware that this kind of thing might happen, with most other people, so instead of turning himself in and dealing with it in a timely and effective manner he decides to just let it go to such a point that he clearly loses control over it.  That is like someone being too busy eating ice cream to get a heart transplant due to excessive ice cream eating.

Bad
Burn Notice: Season 7: Episode 4

He used to be a spy, until....

Where: USA
When: Thursdays at 9 PM
Why:
Burn Notice is the story of James Bond having all of his special toys taken away and being forced to out MacGyver MacGyver.  The show is on basic cable so Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan) has a problem killing people and a heart plated in some kind of magical spy gold; it also has been running for seven years and is very quickly starting to run out of ideas of what to do to push things forward regarding plot.  The show is called Burn Notice but I am pretty sure that the cast of characters has already gone through the process of either killing for destroying every organization responsible, as well as the businesses backing them, for Michael’s burning, and several other secret-er spy type networks backing  everything to begin with.   It has gotten to the point that I really don’t have any idea why anyone is mad at anyone anymore aside from I guess everyone being an active spy again, so… kind of nothing has happened.

This season started with Michael going in for a “deep cover” operation and has proceeded to be the slowest and possibly least interesting series of four episodes I have seen since the show started.  I get that the entire theory for this arch is to take the crew and place them out of their comfort zone while working with people who make that discomfort look like they were getting a Hand Jibber from super models at the beach.  That was a great idea, for two episode that wrapped up quickly at the start of the third.  This is now approaching a fifth with both no end in sight and a promise of even more to be boringly revealed at a leisurely pace that seems like this could have been a special “movie” episode instead of an entire last season.  If it wasn’t for Bruce Campbell (playing Sam Axe) I don’t even know why I would be watching, aside from the fact that I have this thing in my head that tells me I need to finish TV series.

Best:
Mad Men: Season 6: Episode 13

Don Draper rule #80, always leave everyone in the board room confused and angry

Where: AMC
When: Sundays at 10 PM
Why:
I was thinking about doing an article on this season Mad Men, and truth be told I still might.  I think that as a whole it might have been one of the most well-constructed examples of writing that has hit the small screen in a really long time.  I don’t know if I can really stress enough just how wonderful it feels to come home from work and go into a fictional land where every single person is as completely and utterly screwed up as a real human, and I can forget about all the failures of life and just judge other people for being completely terrible while I don’t blame myself because I am totally not cheating on my wife at all.

The season has kind of been leading to this road of destruction as Don (Jon Hamm) has taken his agency down a road of success but pretty much driven his personal life into a ditch, lit it on fire, then walked away in slow motion while continuing to have affairs with other people’s wives. Honestly, if half the stuff he did wasn’t so completely slimy and terribly I would want to start a slow clap for him getting away with it for so long.  The season pretty much ended with Don’s very public, very messed up, very terrible and awful break down in front of a rather huge client.  The only complaint about this episode that could really be leveled against it is that the show has been running for six years and I am pretty sure that people were just expecting this to happen roughly eight years ago.

Worst:
Paranormal Witness: Season 3: Episode 4

Not sure if lying or wrong subs

Where: SYFY
When: Wednesdays at 10 PM
Why:
Every single sane person in the world has a ghost story.  Half of them are things that could probably have been easily explained if the person hadn’t been scared to death, half asleep, or both at the time of the event.  Of the remaining half most of them aren’t worth telling.  That leaves you with a handful of tales that are legitimately spooky when told correctly.  Most of those happened in the first season.  At this point the show has just started taking the spooky stories and hoping that people can’t read between the lines too much.  One episode this season a woman claimed that the devil appeared in front of her.  Not a devil, The Devil.  That is a lie.  This show also doesn’t have very good special effects. It was hysterical.

This week’s episode quickly fell from “that is kind of weird and spooky,” to “that just didn’t happen”, basically meaning that while it was one of the better episodes it was still the worst episode of the week.  It was about a haunted restaurant with scores of employees, most of whom did not natively speak English.  Now I am not saying that the people from Mexico lied about the sightings or anything, but the owners of the establishment seemed to have much more believable sightings and “oddities” than the Spanish speakers who claimed to have a poltergeist repeatedly try to kill them.  I am not saying that the staff members made that stuff up, but since I don’t understand a word that the people they are interviewing are saying and the resolution of the problem came down to using a “local psychic” I am going to learn more towards attempt at odd local ghost attraction and the producers lying.