Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 4/28/13 – 5/4/13

Mythbusters at their best: Breaking things

So Mythbusters makes it come back, and I am here complaining about everything else.  Quickly, without judgment as I still don’t even know how I feel about this episode, I would like to say that I both enjoy this show and thought that it stopped being a show two years ago.  It turns out that instead of gracefully bowing out they brought it back and are planning on bringing more guest stars, also known as the worst episodes, in to do more awful myths that no one believed in the first place.  Also, on the off chance that you are wondering, they disproved the jet car thing, finally, and there was very little of the “build team” (mythbusters junior) this time around.

Good
Community

Not check IMDB forums.  Will be frightened by braces conversations...

Where: NBC
When: Thursday at 8:00 PM
Why:
Abed (Danny Pudi) makes a family tree, styled after the web of insanity from A Beautiful Mind, of chance encounters by the group for the previous year before they all decided that they would go to Greendale.  Basically it is the events leading up to the first episode, in much the same way that Muppet Babies was a show about how Kermit and Miss Piggy always had a non-standard abusive relationship between two awesome tasting food groups.  It is like seeing the origin stories of the world’s most boring super heroes who only have the power to discuss other heroes, sort of like what the DC universe would be like if Kevin Smith wrote it.  This of course turns the entire group against each other, but only so long as it makes the audience feel better when they finally come back together afterwards by learning about their differences and how important growth is—just like the aforementioned Muppet Babies reference during a Gonzo based episode, but this has more of Annie (Alison Brie) looking stupid hot even though she has braces on.

The only complaint that I have about this show is that the rest of the cast is constantly surprised that Jeff (Joel McHale) used to be a completely shady lawyer.  It wasn’t even that long ago that he was getting drunken Englishmen off of reckless endangerment charges for money instead of moral reasons; this isn’t like trusting a reformed criminal who has done their time, this is a man who for all logical reasons has been presented no cause to change besides the friendship of a rag-tag group of educational failures.  No one, save the Dean (Jim Rash), is the same person that they were at the start of this show four seasons ago.  That complaint aside the show was more about how far everyone had come than worrying about the now versions of them bitching about closure.

Bad
Bones:

Wait. 1 Bullet did that?  Sure it wasn't... Face... AIDS...

Where: Fox
When: Monday at 8:00 PM
Why:
Because I am so tired of Pelant (Andrew Leeds) and every story that they try and force down the audiences throat about how evil he is and how science is the new Harry Potter.  Most of the time the show manages to conclude the evil villain BS in a under a season, two if they are really having a hard time coming up with story lines, but at this point they are pushing three, if not four, seasons using the same mechanics to make us freak out about computers and how people can track us/destroy our lives if they want.  I love that the theory that it is creepy when it’s just some guy doing whatever, but it is neat and science when a cop does it.  Because I guess it isn’t an invasion of privacy, or at the very least an expectation of privacy, if it is a “good guy”.

Because this is the last episode of the season it needed to be some kind of cliff hanger, because nothing attempts to force a studio to renew a show faster than not letting the world in on how things resolve.  Since that has never worked in the past, but people keep doing it, we pretty much have that same exact thing happen here.  If this had been any other episode it wouldn’t have had cyborg Dumbledore Pelant pulling the strings and would have just been a normal murder thing, also we would have been left with a warm feeling about Booth (David Boreanaz) and Bones (Emily Deschanel who is oddly Zoey’s sister) getting together and about to start a family.  Too bad that this is modern TV with a show that is getting later in its run, because that stuff just cannot be allowed to happen anymore until they get a movie deal.  I am willing to bet money right now that in the first two episodes of next season they admit to each other what has happened and have some kind of stupid and secret/private wedding.

Good
Modern Family

Something about covering that section of her face....

Where: ABC
When: Wednesday at 9:00 PM
Why:
I always feel like when I talk about Modern Family I am doing it some kind of stupid and terrible disservice. It is like trying to describe an analogy to someone who doesn’t have the internet, sure they might understand what you are getting at but they aren’t able to get distracted by porn along the way; that was the entire point! The show is slowly getting away from any plot points that involve the children, which is good because it feels like one of those times that people are telling cute kid stories that you just don’t get because you don’t have children and hate people that do; but it also is weird because they built the five of them up to be characters who kind of just seem to be shoved into the background at this point—namely Alex (Ariel Winter) who doesn’t seem to have more than 3 lines of dialog in the last year.

This episode is about Cam (Eric Stonestreet—who has an amazing last name) and Mitchell (!) (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) trying to teach their daughter, Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons who is quickly becoming the best part of the show), about the importance of being truthful and honest.  It sounds dumb, but it also resulted in Haley (Sarah Hyland) dressing up as the sexiest Tooth Fairy ever seen outside of the oddest frat party kegger.  There is also something about Claire (Julie Bowen) wondering if being a stay at home mom is really all that she should do with her life, but considering that most of it is filled with penis joke it is really hard to take that as a plot thread.  Although with that in mind I guess I can’t describe anything Always Sunny does as “story”.

Bad
The Simpsons:

Pictured here, future meth addicts. Even Flanders.

Where: Fox
When: Sundays at 8:00 PM
Why:
So Reverend Lovejoy (Harry Shearer) proves to be so terrible at his job that the guy above him, in whatever denomination it is that town worships, comes in with a new priest to replace him.  This being the Simpsons the next logical move is for him to take up selling hot tubs, because I guess that when you leave a job that you aren’t good at the next step is to take a job that showing up sober is considered a B- grade in the grand scheme.  The confusion, for me, comes in the fact that I never really saw him “quit” his job makes me kind of think that he is either trying to ride two paychecks until someone notices and boots him out, or whatever religion he practices has some weird “forever” clause much in the same was as the Crypts and Bloods.

There is also something about Homer (Dan Castellaneta) being a deacon or something, because if it doesn’t directly involve the core group of people it simply cannot be an episode I guess.   I think that it is kind of bad that all of the more recent episodes are blurring to the point that I can’t even remember if there was another odd plot about Marge (Julie Kavner) or not.  When your show has successfully became the kind of bland that people in the 50s in Canada would speak up about it being hallow maybe it is time to, at the very least, shake things up every now and then on the show.  Instead we get boring and forgettable garbage I hate watching every second.

Best:
Doctor Who

The look of happy surprise

Where: BBC
When: Saturdays at 6:15 PM (GMT)
Why:
Because while it probably wasn’t the best episode, even of the season, it had these moments that I just simply loved.  The Victorian take on Sherlock Holmes, “Madame Vastra” (Neve McIntosh), both being a woman and a lizard is possibly one of my favorite plot points of the recent series.  Her “Watson” assistant, Jenny (Catrin Stewart) while not Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) hot manages in her own right.  Also, the on the Doctor’s (Matt Smith) face when she rips off her clothing to have some kind of leather judo suit on is awesome.  Very, “Not what I was expecting, but I will take it!” which is almost the motto of the show since Moffit took over.

There is seemingly some kind of poison, or disease traveling around the north of England that is turning people red and then painfully killing them.  Granted, it is kind of annoying that this was another one of those “not where I meant to end up, but adventure!” episodes tropes that are getting really annoying at this point.  I know that it is kind of a long standing thing, but it isn’t like the Doctor doesn’t get into trouble when he just goes on vacation—why can’t they just do more of those episodes.

Worst:
The Big C:

HAWKEYE!!!

Where: Showtime
When: Mondays at 10:00 PM
Why:
The Big C is about Cathy, (Laura Linney who is terrible in everything) a woman who is diagnosed with cancer and decides that she hates her entire family.  Normally this kind of thing would be interesting or zany or at the very least enjoyable, it is none of those.  Instead we are treaded to one of the most annoying people on the planet pushing her beliefs on everyone else, all the while using the fact that she is going to die as an excuse to be a total and insufferable jerk. For the first three season her husband, Paul (Oliver Pratt), stood by while she cheated on him, spent every penny of their savings, and stopped just short of killing a young couple; when she was told that she was going to live he decided to leave her after she pushed his mentor, literally, under a bus. As I am writing this I kind of realized it hard to be funny about something you have active disdain for.

Last season ended with her swimming away with a random fisherman to live a peaceful life in the tropics and presumably die a quiet and peaceful death.  It turns out that none of that happened, probably because it would be too hard to conclude inside of a season, and that it was simply the cancer returning and attacking her brain.  If the before descriptions sound like something that you may not want to sit through, this is basically the same crap just cranked up—she has been told that she is dying, there is nothing that she can do, and now it seems that she wants the entire world to know just how miserable she is.  The only redeeming thing about this show is that Alan Alda plays a doctor, and even that makes me sad because Hawkeye is getting old (my heroes should forever stay young and witty).  M*A*S*H forever!

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

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

Bad
The Office: Season 9 Episode 15

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

Where: NBC

When: Thursdays at 9

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

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

Good
Archer: Season 4 Episode 4

Air quotes are always code for "caring"

Where: FX

When: Thursday at 10

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

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

Best:
Community:  Season 4 Episode 1

All for a "History of Ice Cream" college class

Where: NBC

When: Thursdays at 8

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

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

Worst:
Dual Survival: Season 3 Episode 6

Bugs: Better than stitches

Where: Discovery Channel

When: Friday 10

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

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