Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 4/5/15 – 4/11/15

Good:
Better Call Saul: Season 1, Episode 10

I wish I could pull scams like this

Where: AMC
When: Mondays at 10:00 PM
Why:
Because Breaking Bad (aside from the title) wasn’t just a great show about someone losing total control over their sanity and actively ruining the lives of those around him.  Better Call Saul, for the moment, is about a man who is actively trying to do the right thing but keeps getting put back into a life that he wanted to escape.  It is like when an ice cream shop opens up between a Planet Fitness and a Weight Watchers, but with more sibling rivalry and less people saying things about a “no judgment zone”.

I would watch anything the lead writer/creator (Vince Gilligan) came up with at this point.  If they announced that they were doing an adaptation of the white pages, the yellow pages boring little brother, I would watch it.  He would find a way to make it about sex, guilt, high stakes something or another, and ending up on the wrong side of the law when all you want to do is find out why so many people have S starting their last name.

Bad:
Olympus: Season 1, Episode 2

Acting is hard

Where: SyFy
When: Thursdays at 10:00 PM
Why:
Not everything that the SyFy channel puts out is pure gold, or even Sharknado 2: The Chronicles of Sugar Ray.  Most of the time the things that they produce end up being less like Battlestar Galaticta, or even Zombie Nation if we are being honest, and more like watching a Sliders marathon where it only shows the second to last episode in the series over and over again.  Olympus leans more towards the later seasons of Eureka (like a normal Sliders marathon, but with everything in reverse order and not from the same season), in that it will probably have devoted fans but manage to be successfully—and rightfully—hated by everyone else, than really expecting it to be good or not constantly on a green screen.  It even has the weird, “none of this will ever matter” feel that was well established as a foothold when SyFy decided that if anything lasted more than three seasons they were completely allowed to reboot their universe, once a season.  Towards the end Eureka managed two reboots in one season, say what you want; not caring that hard what your fans think takes effort.

Take everything you saw in an HBO preview of Rome, or The Tudors or old timey show like that, not watch the show proper, and then make it about Greek Mythology, which you also know almost nothing about—you would get the pilot episode here. If I had to guess I would say that Olympus was cast at a Comicon based only on what people where wearing, then expected to bring that custom as they had no budget to supply anything addition–aside from bedsheets.  The main character’s (Tom York) weapon is a rope, not Michelangelo’s grappling hook from the latter seasons of TMNT, a rope with nothing on the end of it. Not even a knot. No one makes fun of him for this. He also doesn’t have a name.  Not in even a cool way, like he was abandoned traumatically or something else Batman worthy,  it literally sounds like they just couldn’t think up a good one in time for filming, made an B.S. excuse, and went with it.  Things like this really make me wonder if I could just walk into their SyFy headquarters and just pitch whatever and have it picked up for two seasons.  It is like they are in some kind of strange Brewster’s Millions gamble with all their Galaticta money.

Good:
Mad Men

It is like they are having a Scooby Doo off

Where: AMC
When: Sundays at 10:00 PM
Why:
It isn’t that Mad Men tries to outline what manly men should be, or even that it has what an acceptable life in the 60s probably resembled.  I am not even sure about how much of the stuff that they depict on the show is historically accurate after a certain point.  What I am sure about is that the show is just riveting; each of the characters in it are self-absorbed in such a specific way that they have created a little world that only exists for themselves, a place that others only ever really visit.  It is great to see, though, as these people fumble through their own issues while trying to deal with whatever is thrown at them.  Oddly the key to the best writing in the show is that no one ever really seems to know what someone else is doing until they either see it or it is explained to them, because story telling.

There are two shows on TV that are able to take yearlong breaks, mid-season, while not losing viewer ship or even changing the number in front of that series.  That said it is also the most annoying thing to ever have been done, it has only ever been done on AMC, and even the box sets for Breaking Bad refer to each part of that season differently.  It takes Don Draper (Jon Hamm) sized testicles to pull a stunt like that and think that it is “for the best.”  That would be like me trying to explain to my dog that it would be beneficial for it to learn to brew beer for me, because I am not sure which one of us would get less out of that conversation.

Bad:
The Comedians: Season 1, Episode 1

It would have been funnier if Pussy Riot wasn't a real band

Where: FX
When: Thursdays at 10:00 PM
Why:
I don’t even dislike this show that much, but man Billy Crystal got super old.  It is like someone found the least attractive statue made out of miscellaneous gum pieces, of him, and motorized it to act. It is a toss-up on the last thing I saw Billy Crystal in, either City Slicker 2 or some random walk on roll that Robin Williams got him.  If those references make me seem old, just remember that he was in his 40s when he was doing those, and that was probably a good 20 years ago.  It still creeps me out that Hollywood seems to keep people in a Hyperbolic Time Chamber and only allow them to have two set ages ever:  Age introduced and super creepy “what the hell happened to your face and mind Clint Eastwood” old.

Crystal plays himself across from Josh Glad, who before this I think I had a super vague idea of who that was (and am still unsure if I am thinking of him or Jonah Hill). The show is dry, awkward, and about making a series of poor life choices that end up making you committed to a project you hate.  There are also all these subtle nods to the way that the world works inside of “the business”, which I am sure would be way funnier if I was part of that circle; which is oddly a new trend that seems to be emerging in more niche comedies and only makes me want to stop watch to discourage people from doing it more.

Best:
China, IL: Season 3, Episode 1

Everyone loves you baby cakes

Where: Cartoon Network
When:  Sundays at 12:00 AM
Why:
I love China, IL.  It is hard to explain to pretty much anyone my depths of love for this show in any manner that doesn’t just seem to be completely insane.  It is a show that is about a public college that has stopped caring so long ago that the only thing that can make most of the professors even feel emotion is belittling and demoralizing every student in their class.  Within the first 60 seconds of the show (intro included) one of the pupil has the nickname “flip flops” forced on them, and while the current week is only the second episode, they have refused to refer to them as anything else since that moment forward.  In my mind that is how roll call is done in the class.  I want to go there.  In my dream they hire me to teach English.  We would only watch subtitle anime.

Did I mention that Hulk Hogan is The Dean, and 95% of the time I don’t know if he is acting or if someone just hung out in the bushes around his house and recorded random things that he randomly states—kind of like what they did for the last couple of years for Ebert.  Side note, I would love to have a computer program that I could make Hogan say anything I wanted.  We would be best friends.

Worst:
The Big Bang Theory: Season 8, Episode 20

Everyone hates you, WIl Wheaton

Where: CBS
When: Thursdays at 8:00 PM
Why:
I don’t even hate The Big Bang Theory for the same reasons that everyone else does; I could care less about them making nerd culture more accessible to the masses, I don’t think that the forced insertion of marketable catch-phrases is either annoying or draws away from the characters, and screw everyone that says it wouldn’t be funny without the laugh track.  Watch 10 minutes of M*A*S*H without the laugh track; it was the greatest show on television and still needed to remind you it was a comedy about tragedy. No, the problem is that the show the people writing it have forgotten what it was about to begin with, becoming so lost that even if they had a map to get back they would probably end up at a Donkey Show with a robotic version of a racist Jerry Seinfeld.

Recently the actress that “played”, I guess, the voice of Howard’s (Simon Helberg) mother (Carol Ann Susi) passed away in real life and the show managed to –for all intents and purposes—respectfully kill off the character so no one else would play her.  The issue is that I think that the people who write the show might be sociopaths who learned emotions from watching monkeys fight over abandoned children at the zoo.  It isn’t situation that is wrong or messed up, but the way that everything is written around it that feels stilted and dumb, as if the showrunner (Chuck Lorre) was hoping an episode of That 70’s Show might break out instead.  Then recently Howard had an unknown half-brother (Matt Bennett) show up for, and this is understating it, very close to no reason.  That doesn’t matter though, since they only share half a genetic code, were raised by two polar opposing people, and had the exactly opposite gendered role models they were clearly destined to end up almost exactly the same.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 5/5/13 – 5/11/13

Don't worry short round, I want to nail her too

So I would have loved to include Doctor Who on the list, but it turns out that they included one of the most annoying teenage girls ever in the script.  Long time readers of the site will remember that I went off on the pilot episode of the Sarah Jane Chronicles because they also had the world’s most annoying British teen as a co-star.  It is like they managed to freeze that awful child and thaw her out to be a stereotype of some kind at the drop of a hat.  I kid you not, the child walks directly into the middle of an armed military base and yells, “I am bored! Entertain me!” to soldiers that were trained to kill.  Also in the future. On another planet.  That child should be murdered just so it doesn’t ever get the chance to reproduce.

Good
Warehouse 13: Season 4, Episode 12

I know! I am impressed nature is still a thing too!

Where: SYFY
When: Mondays at 10:00 PM
Why:
Warehouse 13 is at its best when it is trying to explain away weird events that happen with everyday items used by special people that somehow produce magic.  It is a world that tries to use science and technology to detect and capture these artifacts by, I don’t know… purple stuff?, but always ends up simply explaining everything as a special kind of juju that people just have and really good dumb luck.  It is like every urban legend that was ever told came to life and it is the job of these unfortunate few to track down the items that are pretty much destroying the world.  In the first few seasons it was odd because it seemed to be more about positive items have negative effects on, IE a pill that makes you really smart but you fall into a coma in under a week, but now it just seems to be focused on jerks getting their hands on items able to destroy some of the fly over states. Sort of like the X-Files doing monster of the week stuff before it became all about black oil and hybrid humans.

This week was about a guy who got a device that could create earthquakes, because I think some guy in the past had a lamp and was way into dirt or something.  Instead of using that for profit he decided that the best use would be eco-terrorism, because if the current climate has taught us anything it is that anything with the word terrorism is treated favorably.  Probably one of the more forgettable episodes, but in all honesty this show is because when it does what it knows, and what it knows is zany excuses to write comedy and not treat the audience like morons.

Bad
The Simpsons: Season 24, Episode 19

No one would blame you, you live in the Simpsons

Where: Fox
When: Sundays at 8:00 PM
Why:
The Simpsons is, at this point, known for having episodes that start with something and quickly use that to move on to forgetting about everything else that has ever happened.  This episode is the worst possible example that that I can think of for that.  It starts with Moe (Hank Azaria) attempting to kill himself, then he decides that since he failed at that he should make whiskey.  You read that correctly, the show opens with an attempted suicide.  Not only do they repeatedly make light of the fact that he clearly has all kinds of unresolved issues, something that the writers attempt to make us think that a new suit will fix, they also go out of their way to make it known that when you are ugly everyone will think you are homeless.

I will honestly go so far as to say that this episode doesn’t end with nothing changing, if anything it is an overall loss for Moe who ends up in a much worse emotional state then when it started.  If telling a person who is actively trying to hang themselves that they have something to live for, only to take it away violently and tell them that they are not worth that experience the next logical step is for them to head right back to the noose. Sure, they try to candy coat that fact with Moe stating at the end that he wasn’t going to follow through with the act “today”, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t emotionally one step away from kicking the chair out again.  This is officially the worst episode since Lady Gaga was involved.

Good
Adventure Time: Season 5, Episode 19

James. Fucking. Baxtor.

Where: Cartoon Network
When:  Monday at 5:30
Why:

James. Baxtor.  He is a horse that rides around on a beach ball saying his name over and over again.  I think the entire reason for him being a thing is to make people smile, which is cool if you are into that kind of thing.  When he done entertaining and calming people down he folds his ball into a hat and trots away.  Guy seems to be pretty cool.  It isn’t even like he asks for cash or a reward or something.   I am pretty sure that is what Good Guy Greg does, but only with more being a bro about it.

Sadly the episode it more about Jake (John DiMaggio) and Finn (Jeremy Shada) trying to figure out how to be impressively happy and upbeat for everyone, just like James Baxtor.  Granted I think that is probably the best use of their time, but who wouldn’t rather just kind of hang out and watch what a horse does for like 15 minutes.  This horse even entertains people.  Just saying, that would have been a cool episode too.

Bad
How I Met Your Mother: Season 8, Episode 23

I would cry too.  This show has gone on for 5 too many seasons.

Where: CBS
When: Mondays at 8:00 PM
Why:
You know what would be entirely wonderful if this show could do?  Move on past the entire Ted (Josh Radnor) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) thing and just come up with anything else.  I get it, you based the entire premise of the show on a handful of plot ideas and have had trouble changing it into anything else.  It is hard to do a show about your cast growing up and growing old because most people don’t think that is any way funny, unless you have the guy from Superbad writing and directing it—that would be too awesome for TV though.

This is the episode that Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) becoming BFF’s with Robin’s father (Ray Wise).  I think that it is great that TV still thinks that people can marry into a family and just instantly become fast friends with their in-laws.  I have been married to my wife for five years and I am just now starting to think that her father doesn’t think I am going to either murder her for life insurance or lead her into a life of destruction and heavy metal.  Who knows, maybe he just thinks that I am playing a long con and is starting to act nice so he can discover my secrets.  My point is that I don’t think that anyone, ever, is or can be fully comfortable with in-laws as you are basically stealing something from them that they hold dear (or should).  But I guess no one ever said that How I Met Your Mother was realistic.  I mean, those kids haven’t aged at all; I know for a fact that the daughter is like slammin’ hot now too.

Best:
Community: Season 4, Episode 13

From what I gather this is everyone's reaction to Chevy Chase

Where: NBC
When: Thursdays at 8:00 PM
Why:
So this was basically filmed as the last episode ever of Community and as far as anyone knew, until the morning after it aired, it was.  All of the weirder lose threads that had been kicking around the show, from alternative time lines to Chang, managed to wrap themselves up in some of the most psychotropic colored paper mankind has ever seen. Also Pierce (Chevy Chase) actively manages to be used so little and cast in such a negative light that it is almost as if the writers of the show wanted everyone to know that he had left production.  To say that his inclusion in the episode felt bitter and vindictive is an understatement.  One of the lines basically was along the lines of, “Why didn’t you include me?!?” “You said you didn’t want to be included!”

So Jeff (Joel McHale) manages to finish college a semester early by taking every single blow off class known to man, he also ends up getting a degree in Education which seems like something that they don’t let you be a lawyer if you have.  He then claims that he is going to start a private practice, which just seems like something that most people would avoid going to given a choice. That would be like me choosing a Doctor that decided it would be easier if he got a degree is juggling instead of surgeoning.  Also, I am pretty sure that as long as you pass the bar you don’t even need a degree.  This entire story seems to be falling apart on me.

Worst:
The Big C: Season 4, Episode 2

She is only smiling because other are unhappy

Where: Showtime
When: Sundays at 10:00 PM
Why:

Please note that I am not even going to fain an attempt to be nice:

Fuck this show.

No really.  Cathy (Laura Linney) seems to be completely unhappy with anything in her life if she isn’t dying.  So it is no surprise that she opts to stop doing chemo.  Look, everyone knows that you feel like a steaming pile of shit that was just vomited by some kind of neo-nazi after having massive amounts of cancer killing drugs dumped into your system—that isn’t my problem.  My problem is that the show acts like she is the only person in the world that has her life together and the only person that can put everyone else’s idea of things straight.  Her brother is an unemployed, homeless, bipolar lunatic that I think has a drug problem, and is well fucking round compared to her. I am almost entirely positive that the only reason this character is happy when she is dying is because people feel obligated to listen to her completely stupid and self-centered ideas.  This isn’t, “I am going to die, so breakfast for dinner always.” this is, “I am dying so my husband needs to find a replacement wife while I am alive.” kind of stupid and unfounded pushing.  This is the kind of stuff that I would be thankful if this last season was simply her son putting a bullet in her head and the trial after where he is found to have done man-kind a favor.

Andrea (Gabourey Sidibe) is basically bullied into making the world’s dumbest dress for Cathy to be buried in, which is not only creepy but is the kind of thing that you carry around with you for the rest of your life and tell someone when they are getting too close and you want space.  Not only is this girl clearly eating her pain away while she watches the family that took her in and supported her fall apart, she is watching a woman who has tried to step in for her mother ask her the most terrible and inappropriate things you can think of over and over again.  It would be like Stark asking me if it was cool if I hung out and watched while he took a dump in a bag to save for later.  Sure, there are probably an endless list of terrible things that I owe him for in my life that he could almost force me to do that, but I am pretty sure that not only would our friendship never be the same and I would have something I could tell my wife that would make her leave me.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 4/21/13-4/27/13

The real disappointment last week, for me, is that the best things all week seemed to occur on Sunday night; which was wonderful for me the next day when I got around to watching them, but is kind of terrible for the rest of the week when things either sucked or didn’t live up to expectations (both if you are The Office).  Shows that I normally like ended up being kind of terrible runs at ironing out plot or forgettable—even Doctor Who wasn’t great.

Good
Game of Thrones: Season 4, Episode 4

Everyone in this shows has a "shit is about to get real" face

Where:  HBO
When: Sundays at 9:00 PM
Why:
Game of Thrones can just kind of go around being Game of Thrones and end up on the list in a good category.  Sure, there might be some forgettable episodes that are just talk heavily, light on the nudity, and devoid of anything good for the violence.  This was not that episode.  There might have been more talk of nudity then there was actual, but the fact that Tyrion Lannister’s (Peter Dinklage) young squire is amazing enough in bed that whores refuse to take money from him seemingly makes up for that.  I have to admit, the fact that the rumor about his skill continues to spread throughout King’s Landing is one of the more enjoyable side events that could have happened during the series.  If this was Friends it would have been an entire season story arch that would have been referenced more than “on a break”.

Game of Thrones does an interesting job with politics, but to this day I still do not know who is supposed to be trusted in King’s Landing—my theory is no one.  None of that seems to stop Tyrion at all, as it seems that he instinctively knows exactly how to address everyone to get the information that he wants, but if I had any kind of job there I am sure that I would just sit around crying and hugging my knees while worried that my child is not mine and that my customers want to watch a rat eat its way inside of me.  Between how awesome Dinklage performs his role and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) kind of being all of insane, stupid hot, and plotting this show could just run on those two, interestingly it seems that it wants to just follow every person who is ever introduced as a character gets a story arch that follows them until death.  So either this series ends with the world exploding or everyone else just losing interest.

Bad
Bones: Season 8, Episode 23

I know, call in bone people for the virus

Where:  Fox
When: Monday at 8:00 PM
Why:
Bones is a TV series about a FBI agent that teams up with some kind of super anthropologist that can tell anything about any human being from simply looking at the damage done to their bones.  While this concept manages to be completely defeated by any murder or death that caused only internal damage, and nothing to the skeletal structure, it seems like at the very least 24 times a year they find a murder case that can only be solved this way.  At one point, years ago, the show had no issue with murdering major characters in the name of advancing the plot or just making you hate someone, but now seems to have taken a more Simpsons style approach to storytelling and not ever changing anything.

I brought up the “murder characters” thing in the last paragraph because that is exactly what I was looking forward to while watching this episode.  A deadly virus is unleashed on a reporter looking to expose big pharmaceutical for their mega shady practices, like every reporter in every fictional world who write only about scandal and not boring town meetings, and that of course that means that one of the people on the team of investigators just happens to get exposed.  So when the CDC can’t figure out what is causing all this organ explosion they go to a bone expert, because I guess when you can’t figure something out you just seek help from people in very close to the exact opposite field.  The only way that this could have played out in any more of a ridiculous fashion would have been to have one of the tech guys from the FBI figure out the cure through “clever accounting”.

Good
Mad Men: Season 6, Episode 4

That guy doesn't even know how lucky he is

Where:  AMC
When: Sundays at 10:00 PM
Why:
I cannot be the only person that cannot stop staring at Megan’s (Jessica Paré) teeth, right?  I looked her up on IMDB, because if I am honest I know almost none of these people’s real names, and it seems to be a hotly contested issue.  While I might be on the entire, “Please never smile, your large blue whale teeth creep me out,” side it seems sad that the only valid—non-disturbingly rape sounding—argument for her to keep her prostatic donkey grin is so she doesn’t become another “Hollywood Phony”.  If I was going off those comments alone I would probably just stop acting and go into the lucrative business of hiding from all of the world.

Joan (Christiana Hendricks) takes a friend out on the town whoring.  The only thing that separates the actions of those two that night and my ability to use the word “literally” in the previous sentence is that they don’t accept money at the end.  Granted, I think that if I was the one that was lucky enough to end up with Joan I probably would have attempted to tip either way. There is some really interesting inner-personal relationships that have developed over the years that are starting to bite people in the ass, mainly because the show has been going on long enough that characters are starting take jobs that aren’t all at the same business, and companies are losing rather large accounts over people talking.  Also, when reading the recap on IMDB for this episode I love how people will be completely no biased about 2000 other words, but when they mention that Don Draper (Jon Hamm) cheats on his wife they spare no time in calling him a scumbag.  Good reporting internet, that was the only underhanded thing that he or anyone else did recently.

Bad
The Office: Season 9, Episode 20

Andy's screams of terror are the best part of this episode

Where:  NBC
When: Thursdays at 8:30 PM
Why:
Because it could have been so much better.  The entire Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim (John Krasinski) having marriage issues it just stupid and not being dealt with well.  There was roughly one line that made the entire experience seem like it was even based on a real relationship and that was three episodes ago.  Everything about this, from the delivery of the lines to the gags that are implied, feels tired and like something they copied from an old episode of Seinfeld and swapped the word masturbation for marriage.  This entire season has felt like the first couple of seconds when you see a car driving the wrong way down a one way street, you know something is terribly wrong and out of place but it is hard to say what.

There is a paper plane contest, because this is a paper company that this is the first time that has happened in the 9 seasons that this show has been on the air.  This kind of thing seemed like it would be an annually event, or something you do on lunch when you only carry paper and paper products, but here we are experiencing it for the first time.  Andy (Ed Helms) has gotten an acting gig, because he is so terrible at everything else he does I guess it is just time for him to fail at something else.  I have brought this up before, that there are moments that the show almost hits the same feel that it had so long ago—it just never seems to get there.  Aside from a couple of exceptions most of the cast simply seems to have been demoted to background characters at this point, either that or they came to their senses and just collect their checks while waiting for this train wreck to end.

Best:
Bob’s Burger: Season 3, Episode 20

Children, sailors, KFC guy... Seems legit

Where: Fox
When: Sundays at 8:30 PM
Why:
The title of the episode is “When kids run the restaurant,” and the solution to that puzzle is, “they open a basement casino. There just seems to be a point in every show that Bob’s Burgers make a choice to either be normal or go off the rails; the more times that the “go off the rails” ability check passes the better that an episode seems to turn out.  Keep in mind that this isn’t the same kind of randomness associated with an American Dad or Family Guy, this is weird juxtapositions that simply make my heart happy when I hear H. Jon Benjamin (Bob) make them.

So it turns out that Bob can’t stand the site of even the most trace amount of blood, because that doesn’t seem like it should ever be an issue with someone who actively plays with sharp objects for a living.  This leads to a hospital visit with the world’s worst Doctor that uses stitches the way that serial killers use roadside ditches, keep throwing stuff in there until it is either full or someone says something.  The aforementioned casino is interesting in its own right simply because it seems that all of the adults in this world just accept that, yeah, this is something that happens from time to time.

Worst:
Big Bang Theory: Season 6, Episode 21

Funny that Penny isn't even "the hot one" any more

Where:  CBS
When: Thursdays at 8:00 PM
Why:
I sort of feel like I have been one of the only Big Bang Theory supporters for a rather long time now.  When it first came out I was the person running around and telling everyone how clever it was and handing out USB sticks with episodes on them.  For a while now I have ignored the mounting roar against this show, but this weeks’ was almost too much for me to sit through.  The show that I once enjoyed that was about awkward, smart, people doing fun and interesting things that I could totally see myself doing is now seemingly more about someone’s impression of what a geek probably acts like.  This has gone from a show that seemed to be written by geeks to one that is written by people who are only vaguely aware that they are part of a social structure.

This week Penny (Kaley Cuoco) is depressed because all of her, now only, friends are super smart and have passions, while she –the dumb one of the group and possibly of a group of disabled people—doesn’t seem to have one.  The argument is made that the reason everyone else is smart is because of their passions, possibly being smart allows you to be very passionate about things, but this feels like the argument that dumb people make about “everyone is smart in their own way”.  That is not true.  Having a working knowledge of the social structure of Gossip Girls isn’t a way to be smart, it is a terrible party trick and flag that denotes that people should stop talking to you and start stabbing your genitals.  Also, choosing the people around you as your passion doesn’t count as most three year olds can accomplish that as it is called “making friends”.

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.