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: 4/28/13 – 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: 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”.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 4/7/13 – 4/13/13

No, a week will not go by that I don't bring her up

Last week was a weird time when nothing was really on.  That led me to being entirely harsher on shows that I am normally pretty favorable with, probably out of the thought that I need to make this article at the very least seem symmetrical.  This kind of had the effect of the bad not being as bad as they normally are and the worst being more of a disappointment than anything.  Don’t worry, the good shows where still amazing.

Good
Community: Season 4: Episode 9

I wish all drug memories were like this

Where:  NBC
When:  Thursdays at 8:30PM
Why:
It is a puppet episode, where everyone is puppets. I have mentioned before my love about how Community is just willing to commit to a bit so well that it makes it magical.  This is one of those episodes.  Not to be outdone in anyone’s mind as the best one of these types of episodes, this show continually amping up how increasingly good it is getting, Jason Alexander (George from Seinfeld) makes an appearance as a former Greendale Student/Mountain Man.  Did I mention that everyone is puppets?

So the plot of the episode is that everyone took a handful of hallucinogenic berries and started telling all of their deepest, most terrible secrets.  As puppets.  It is kind of hard to take anything as dark and terrible when you have a puppet version of that person talking about how they abandoned their children in a fit of unfounded Cosby grade jealousy. Also, I don’t know if it is just me knowing that Chevy Chase annoyed the show runners a ton in the down time and actively noticing that he isn’t in the show as much or if I am just digging in my mind to justify some of the useless knowledge that I keep locked in there.  Did I mention Puppets? PUPPETS!!!

Bad
Game of Thrones: Season 3, Episode 2

Nice rack...  Of breasts?

Where:  HBO
When: Sundays at 9:00PM
Why:
Exposition.  This show loves the stuff.  Normally it is done over the course of well nuditied women or people talking while they cut each other apart with swords.  This was more one of those “sit down and talk” episodes and not the other, more breasted one.  I don’t know if it is the conversation itself or the mixture of fear that it seems that everyone has during the simplest of questions that can make this stuff boring.  When you spend three minutes dancing around the fact that you think someone is a torture making, monster breathing, masochist who also is fond of eels (natures evilest creatures), regardless of how well the line is delivered you have stopped caring at the fifth “he is my king”. Don’t get me wrong, this is the best kind of “bad” episode because it probably means the next episode has twice the topless murder.

Also, Margaery (Natalie Dormer) looks creepily like Michelle Trachtenberg in this show.  To the point that while I was writing this article I started looking up here name by going to “Buffy” on IMDB because I was pretty sure it was Trachtenberg, who played Dawn on that show, who was in Game of Thrones.  Turns out that I was entirely wrong.  Who knows, I guess we can hope for some of the good old fashioned ultra-violence with a touch of Penthouse and pretend it counts for both actresses.

Good
Archer: Season 4, Episode 13

"Unless I am misreading you..."

Where:  FX
When: Thursdays at  10:00 PM
Why:
Because it is Archer.

This is the second part of a two part episode, Sea Tunt. Basically involving Cheryl’s (Judy Greer) brother (Eugene Mirman) and his entirely botched attempt to save the world from an eco-friendly underwater lab, which is also filled with deadly nerve-gas missiles capable of hitting every major city.  Part 1 was a reunion of Bob’s Burgers voice actors taking place on Archer.  That and the entire thing ended by basically not only leading into SeaLab but also making the captain from that show voiced by Jon Hamm.  I don’t know if I could make fan fiction that would be better than that.

This episode focuses mainly on the adventures of, what the show is quickly painting as, the worst any-amount-of-cover spies that have ever been as they go underwater to a better animated, newer, Sealab.  Granted that it seems that anyone who can stand upright for any period of time is capable of passing the field agent exam for this company.  The fact that I would watch this show if it was just two people screaming at each other for half an hour kind of adds to the fact that that is exactly what this normally ends up being.  Also that I guess that ISIS only hires highly emotional damaged people to help the mischief. Did I mention Jon Hamm in this episode?

Bad
The Office: Season 9, Episode 19

I 100% want to do this now

Where:  NBC
When: Thursdays at 8:30 PM
Why:
This is like what watching Casey at the Bat must have been like, but instead of a classic poem we watch all of these perfect set ups go completely ignored.  The worst part is that Dwight (Rainn Wilson) seems to be having this crazy and amazing hijinks filled caper involving a paper sale while the rest of the cast moans and whines about stuff that I am not interested about when people I know and love discuss with me, and the real life people are funnier at this point than any actor on The Office.  If it wasn’t for Dwight and Clark (Clark Duke) being some kind of amazing and psychic comedy due I am sure that this show would be half an hour of weird, dry humor, followed by Jim (John Kraninski) looking disapprovingly at the camera.

The sales call that Dwight makes involves him heavily drugging Stanley (Leslie David Baker) and literally dragging him to the meeting.  There is some really strong banter back and forth between the aforementioned Dwight and Clark, but besides that it is all terrible.  It is like the writer’s idea of comedy has quickly turned into 15 minutes of writing about how dumb Andy (Ed Helms) is with a camera crew filling the rest of the time following some of the cast around as they adlib. I kind of long to drive to the set of the show and just scream out my window how terrible they should all feel about what they did. I guess if they couldn’t come up with that extra 7 minutes they would just fill it with flashbacks and call it “documentary footage” again.

Best:
Mad Men: Season 6, Episode 1&2

The best reason to watch

Where: AMC
When:  Sundays at 10:00PM
Why:
I am not a smoker, but the constant amount of tobacco consumed during half an episode of this show makes me feel like I should pick it up.  Bender was entirely right when he said that it made him look cool.  If the government ever really wanted to understand why young people pick up that terrible and nasty habit they just need to look at Mad Men.  They aren’t Americas greatest generation, as I think some news reported called those that fought in WW2 that, but they are the most hardcore and awesome.  If we could live but a fraction of their glory through the course of our lives it would be a success.  We cannot.

For a show that is about an Ad agency in the 60’s Mad Men oddly gets away with not making any ads.  If this show was used as a documentary on how a standard beans promotion is put together we would all walk away thinking it was done by drinking and cheating on our wives with slightly less attractive women. This episode is basically about catching up with everyone since the time skip that took place between seasons.  For those of us who aren’t really familiar with the period there are vague clues given through news broadcasts as to the amount of time passed, like that really means anything to anyone born after 1975 though.  It basically comes down to an episode that nothing much happens, but it is written so well it doesn’t matter, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is my personal hero.  I would, and have, watched him in anything.

Worst:
Shameless: Season 3: Episode 12

Who hasn't had that day.

Where:  Showtime
When: Sundays at 9:00PM
Why:
I am going to be really petty right now and fully admit that Shameless ended up here because I expect better from it.  Much like a teacher flunking you on a test because you didn’t live up to their impossibly high standards of life, I am doing the same thing to this show.  Why?  Because it seems that the show runners have been slowly pushing us to not only care about Frank (William H. Macy) but want to add a bunch of heartwarming things in an attempt to make us feel emotions, besides “HOLY SHIT!”, about any of the characters in the show.

It seems like there is an active attempt to make anything that happens in the show have a lasting sense of purpose or meaning.  Granted, it has been three seasons of one crazy thing leading directly into another; that doesn’t mean that a single one of them ever really impact any of the characters after it is directly over.  At one point during this season Jimmy (Justin Chatwin) comments that he finds out his father is gay and it doesn’t matter because everyone else is too busy digging up a body from their backyard.  For me this has double meaning as both those things have pretty much been forgotten about as well as one of them not really mattering at the time, even though it kind of should have been huge.  Oh well, I guess you can just kill off some characters and make an impression that way.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 3/31/13 – 4/6/13

Sorry, I just needed a picture of her, again, this week

Doctor Who continues to be airing, although this week it won’t really hit the list because it kind of ended up being forgettable and kind of bad; almost like they forgot how plot works.  It started off really strong and even featured the best/hottest new assistant that he has had since the last one.

It is also a weird time for TV because most shows are either ending their season, or ended it (good bye fan favorite punching bag Dual Survival),  and all of the new shows are things that are sure to be cancelled the moment that anything good really comes back on the air this summer.  This basically means that this week is probably going to be a lot more pedantic than I want.

Good
Parks and Rec: Season 5, Episode 17

"I am feeding your eagle.  He is STARVING"

Where: NBC
When: Thursdays at 8:30PM
Why:
Parks and Rec is an acquired taste.  It has The Offices brand of awkward, not sure if I should laugh, humor mixed in with the thinking person’s taste of 30 Rock.  Like most shows halfway through a decade, Parks and Rec has pretty much lost the thread of what the show was about when it first started.  It isn’t that there aren’t explanations or transitions along the way, but going back and watching the first season with friends feels weird as most of that stuff has been resolved and forgotten about.

Ben (Adam Scott) returns to his home town to receive the key to the city, even though he single handedly did everything but burn everyone’s jobs to the ground it during his mayor-ship.  He is unable to receive it in person, though, because it is discovered that he has kidney stones and is taken to the hospital and medicated.  Honestly the rest of the episode is fine, but all that I really learned is that I would watch a half an hour, weekly, show just about him being on morphine.  ADD + non-sequitur = comedy cold.  Honestly my only real problem with this episode is that there wasn’t more.  Remember staying home from school and watching the Price is Right? You’re pretty.

Bad
Californication: Season 6, Episode 12

Don't worry, the finale didn't make me want to get out of bed either

Where: Showtime
When: Sundays at 9:30
Why:
I love Californication.  It is about as masturbatory a show as a writer can want.  Considering the fact that most people that decide that they are going to use written words as their canvas are by definition introverts it is a little nice to have a show where one is an extrovert that everyone unreasonably loves.  It isn’t a show about a guy getting a girl; he did that before the first season started.  This is a show about a guy getting pretty much every girl that has ever lived and making them want more.

With the rare exception of season 5 it doesn’t seem like Californication knows how to either start or end a series, but rather aims to have a really strong middle section.   This time it began with Hank (David Duchovny) in rehab, which for a show about a guy who drinks, does drugs, and has sex with pretty much everything, seemed like a bad thing.  This entire last episode is about him longing for his ex, Karen (Natascha McElhone), which as far as I can tell is exactly the most annoying direction that they could have taken the plot.  The worst part is that he already has, to steal one of Stark’s terms, “best girl” Faith (Maggie Grace) ready to spend a lifetime supporting him through his rock and roll/writing/banging out women lifestyle. Just kind of annoying that this show likes to put Hank’s life on track to something interesting just to have him decide that he wants to chase after the woman that disapproves of everything he does.  I think I will just have to come to terms with the fact that Hank Moody wants to be miserable always.

Best:
Game of Thrones: Season 3, Episode 1

Ok, there are boobies AND dragons

Where: HBO
When: Sundays at 9 PM
Why:
More like Game of Boners, right?  Right?  Hello?

You have a show that is about violence and nudity and people wonder why it is the most pirated thing on television.  I guess that would make more sense if you consider that the political structure of each military campaign is more complex than J.R.R. Tolkien’s notes for all of The Lord of the Rings, and half the time people hold secretive grudges from years ago that may not have ever been explained fully during the shows run.  Oh, and at times it kind of feels like you need to start learning a second language to fully grasp what is going on.  But I guess there are still the boobs and murder, so I guess the barrier to entry is lower than I thought.

A bunch of stuff happened, most of it made me feel like I should have re-watched the last two seasons to figure out why any of it was important.  At one point someone said something about Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) killing his instructor and my only response was, “wait, when did that happen?” Still, the show is written brilliantly well and shot in such a way that it makes everything else in the universe seem filmed on poop garbage, the garbage of poop.  I am pretty sure that the only reason most of the people who watch this is that when you figure out one thing that is going on you feel amazingly smart; like what God must feel like when He makes puns.

Worst:
The Office: Season 9, Episode 18

Seen here: What NBC has done to the most loyal fans

Where: NBC
When: Thursdays at 9:30PM
Why:
Have I ever talked about The Office in a positive light on this site?  If I have it hasn’t been for stupid amounts of years. The fact that this show has been allowed to run its course without even the hint of cancelation just sort of leaves a sour taste in my mouth.  This is the same channel that has repeated tried to get rid of Community and at several point Scrubs.  I am pretty sure that the only reason this is still on is because one of the cast members has some photos of someone high up in NBC.

After about a decade of the film crew taping everyone in the office they are finally releasing the documentary. This causes everyone to realize that they have both broken laws while being taped as well as had massive and life changing secrets (sometimes sexy secrets) exposed at their workplace.  This is the first time that I have felt like the show might have had “something planned” in the way of concluding the series, although that seemed rather short lived with any of the subplots that were introduced during the course.  It is strange that we are 18 episodes in and it is just not starting a story line that could easily have inspired an entire season.  I guess that after 9 years of people filming you and doing nothing with it would sort of just give you the feeling that nothing will ever come of it, but really, half of them waved to the film crew after they were done cheating on their wives.