Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 9/15/13 – 9/21/13

Note: None of this looks rape-yI am not going to lie to the dozen of you that bother noticing it when I do post this article, Grand Theft Auto V came out last week and I ended up being rather distracted.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I had already kind of started this, got a large chunk of it done, and was thinking of posting it ahead of time it might have been later than it already is.  Hopefully I have learned my lesson and will stop entertaining people and playing games where killers get to run around and save people from muggers.  I guess I will just go on watching that instead of interacting with it.

Aqua Teen Show Show

Guess who's back! Back again!

Where: Adult Swim
When: Monday (Sunday kind of) at 12:30
Did you know that they are still making episodes of Aqua Teen?  Don’t worry, because the way that Cartoon Network operates I am pretty sure that everyone involved with the project was blindsided by getting a call to come in and start recording again as well.  I remember when this this first aired and it was a big deal that the voice actor who played Master Shake (Dana Synder) jumped on Xbox Live for a couple of promotions and just did the voice while he actively lost.  Keep in mind that is also when the system launched. The year 2005. There are children who were born when that happened and are now old enough to be on Live annoying you with racist slurs and completely unaware, and will probably continue to be, of any culture touchstones of our lives.

So, somehow after 10 seasons, the team finally hits the point in their life when they need to find a job to continue having electricity and cable. Granted, I believe it was mentioned at several points that they are pretty much living off the system—as sentient food items are known to do—and something around 10 years sounds about correct for the government stepping in and starting to question if they really want to advance themselves in anyway or not.  The turn that both the writers and, I believe, the audience has taken on Master Shake being a totally hate-able character as it appears that in more and more episodes it is either expected or implied that the end result of things is that he is just going to die from his actions is rather enjoyable, as I have kind of hated him all along.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia

I do kind of want that drink

Where: FXX
When: Thursdays at 10:30PM
Not every episode of one of the best shows on TV can be great.  The Dave and Buster’s episode clearly had product placement in a building that was both clearly not Dave and Buster’s and some where that I am pretty someone might have been murdered the week before.  The episodes when Dennis (Glenn Howerton) was married was preachy and annoying, as well as very clearly also being sponsored by Subway (screw them they gave me the worst case of food poisoning in my life), and this isn’t even mentioning a ton of the first season when Charlie (Charlie Day) didn’t have several learning disabilities mixed with music writing super powers, and “the gang” hadn’t really formed into what they are today.  Also the show just got way better when Danny Devito (who plays Frank) joined the crew as a crazy millionare/bum/pistol wielding gremlin.

The root of the issue with this episode is that it feels like they have kind of done this script before, and after 9 seasons I can get going back on some of the same ground, but this ground was the boring episode when they tried to get Paddy’s Pub recognized as a historical land mark.  This time they try to win an award for being the best bar in town.  I am not saying that I don’t think that a dive bar shouldn’t be allowed to win awards, in its own category of low lights and hiding your depression in an ever increasing sea of watered down drinking, but I do think that you probably aren’t going to get anything when the staff either is kidnapping a guy—normally the wrong one—or randomly stabbing/shooting/setting ablaze someone in their establishment.  Call me old fashioned but I am pretty sure that most people want a sense of safety when they are disrespecting their body with fire water.

Adventure Time

Sneak Sneak Sneak

Where: Cartoon Network
When: Monday’s at 7:00 PM
Adventure Time likes to drop hints about things way before it talks about them.  Lady (Niki Yang) speaks entirely in Japanese, but if you translate it—or understand it—there are all kinds of crazy and interesting things that she will randomly spout out.  I would love to think that this is just the wondrous mind of Pendleton Ward who has planned this from the start, but since I have gone back and started watching from the beginning again I kind of know that isn’t the case; at the very least it mostly isn’t the case.  When the show does manage to drop a knowledge bomb, or at the very least a reference to a previous episode and its importance, it does make the keen eyed observer feel all the smarter for seeing it before it happened.  It must be a wonderful time to be a kid.  All I had when I was younger to look forward to is Gargoyles, and looking back that show is kind of hot garbage at this point.

This week we are treated to the world of the past, when humans roamed the landscape uneaten by Rainicorns and for some reason Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch) was still exactly the same age even though it was like hundreds of years ago.  I don’t really know if this story was meant to give the viewers more of a taste of what the world was like when it was still being established or if they really just wanted to write something about Finn (Jeremy Shada) and his past lives, either way it was ended up being effective story telling the same way that grandparents war stories wind up being way better when you realize how many people they killed and that they are also true.


Why... Did that work?

Where: Fox
When: Mondays at 8:00 PM
There is a certain point in my life when I have to admit that I am not even sure why I watch some shows anymore.  I know that I have seen pretty much every episode of Bones, some twice, and some in my sleep, because my wife thinks that David Boreanaz (Booth) is pretty much the definition of dreamy—she is wrong as that would be Emily Deschanel (Bones) and her ever increasingly amazing rack upper torso boob area breasts. Boobs.  I am sure that if I could stop looking at her long enough to follow or care about the ever increasingly boring and nonsensical plots, then lose 20 IQ points, I might enjoy the show.  I am pretty sure that when this series started it was about catching killers through nifty uses of science, and has since become what wacky way they can skate around doing hard work in favor of getting the job done quicker and possibly and probably entirely unscientifically.

Last season ended with Pelant (Andrew Leeds) telling Booth that if he married Bones five random people somewhere would die, a threat both so vague and easy to pull off it is akin to me saying that if more people don’t start reading this article I am going to eat a snack after work—shit is probably going to happen, I can blame it on what I want. In a series where named characters and interns at the lab most of the stories are shot at are as disposable as tissues in a teenage boy’s room it is hard to put any value on any human life in this show.  It turns out that Booth has been really struggling with the fact that he can’t marry the woman that he adores like a teenage boy adores locks on his door, and this entire episode is not only with his struggle to not marry Bones but her struggle with him rejecting her just completely amazing fun bags.  If it had been anything other than dragged out or boring it might have had something, but it was both of those things with the thin wrapping of a stupid and solvable under normal means murder trying to make it watchable.

Breaking Bad

While singing "so you had a bad day"

Where: AMC
When: Sundays at 9:00 PM
At this point bashing my head against the keyboard to make hundreds of random letters appear filled with spaces would be a better argument for why you shouldn’t be watching this show than anything that anyone could ever come up with.  It is just really, really, really good.  I have a job, that I go to on a somewhat frequent basis, and while we might talk about Game of Thrones or Walking Dead in passing with feigned interest. That is not the case with Breaking Bad; we stop what we are doing and start talking about it the moment every last one of us has watched it.  Yes, we are that large a collection of nerds that we refuse to even start the longed for conversation of the week until everyone around us can partake in the enjoyment.  I think the only sad part of this entire paragraph is right here where I happily admit that it is the highlight of my week.

Last episode ended with a massive shootout that Walt (Bryan Cranston) sort of not really instigated and managed to start at the wrap up of that event.  There are entire movies that would be based off that chunk that they casually skipped, probably because of standards and practices, as the selling point—Breaking Bad just treated it like a matter of course. The show likes to start off by doing flash forwards with the impression that things have gone south for Walt, even though always work out in such a way that his friends should seriously start wondering if he owns a genie.  This episode basically goes out of its way to explain, in great detail, how badly things went for him and how quickly they went that way.  It is weird thinking that just a couple of episodes ago things probably seemed like they were looking so far up for him.

Paranormal Witness

It is exactly as dumb as it looks

Where: SYFY
When: Wednesdays at 10:00 PM
I poke a ton of fun at the people that run this show.  I honestly believe that if you spend enough time talking to someone they can tell you some kind of ghost story or spooky story from their life, like a run in with Honey Boo-Boo mother or seeing a car drive the wrong way down a one way street.  There are things out there that kind of break your brain when you see them, and while not all of them are true (I am sure we will one day explain the congealed mass that is Honey Boo Boo’s mother) there are some of them out there that we just probably won’t have enough information to explain for the foreseeable ever.  With all that said, I think that what most psychics do should be considered fraud and many of them should be beaten with sticks until they admit how giant douches they are in their personal life.

This is the story of a murder case that was “solved” by a psychic helping two police officers along, and if the show is to be believed one of them was studying to be chief Wiggum and the other one was clearly trying to decide if he wanted to be Enos or Cletus more.  All it took to prove that that woman was feeding them information that they, literally, already knew is simply asking them—although not with cameras or saying that you were from anywhere investigating the incident as that would make them double down on the lie, just causally asking the cops over a beer or as an interested part and they admitted that she totally had access to all the files.  Now this case was 30 years ago, and I understand that everyone is retired and has long since forgotten some of the finer details about things that happened the year I was born; nothing mentioned is really an excuse to try and defend the practice of using psychics for real work.  Also even the show admits that she didn’t solve the case, the guy basically turned himself in, although it does insist that she used her super pals to stab him with the power of her hate.  I wish I made that up.

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!

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 

Seen here, most nights in my 20's

Where: FXX
When: Thursdays at 10:00 PM
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).

Burn Notice

If chins could run for office I would elect it awesome

Where: USA
When:  Thursdays at 9:00 PM
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.


Thanks, now that is all I want for a bed

Where: Comedy Central
When: Wednesday at 10:00 PM
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.

The League

Full Douche: As seen here

Where: FXX
When: Thursdays at 10:30PM
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.

Breaking Bad

This show can make eating cereal tense

Where: AMC
When: Sundays at 9:00 PM
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.

Amish Mafia

Because most 12 year old looking men run mafia style gangs

Where: Discovery Channel
When: Tuesdays at 9:00 PM
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.