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: 3/24/13 – 3/30/13

Doctor Who is back! Also other shows happened!

Good
Regular Show: Season 4: Episode 20

Baby Ducks FOR THE WIN!!!

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

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

 

Bad
Family Guy: Season 11: Episode 16

Because you shouldn't expect any better

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

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

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

 

Good
Modern Family: Season 4: Episode 18

Children make me feel that way too

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

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

Bad
Storage Wars: Season 4: Episode 3-4

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

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

 

Best:
Bob’s Burgers: Season 3: Episode 18

Please notice the dentures

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

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

 

Worst:
Once Upon a Time: Season 2: Episode 18

Behold! PLOT!

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

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

 

Special Case!
Doctor Who

Look at her, she knows she is slammin'

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

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