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: March 17th – March 23rd

I recently started a new job, which means that I have a lot less free time to spend on doing things like updating the site and watching terrible shows that I kind of don’t have any interest in anymore.  That said, besides not watching the newest episodes of Once or The Walking Dead my viewing habits haven’t really changed that much.  Oh well, onto talking about this week in TV:

Bad:

Dual Survival: Season 3, Episode 11
Where:
Discovery Channel
When: Friday at 10 PM
Why:
I feel like doing that every time I watch this show.

They get lost like four times and neither one of them really said anything about it.  Also I think that they have been working together long enough that they have built some form of trust, which entirely defeats why I started watching this show in the first place.  At one point they were entirely unable to light a fire and had to stay awake all night to not freeze to death, in the first season that would have resulted in a two hour fight and then the rest of the show each of them taking turns and telling the camera passive aggressive things about the other person like a middle aged unhappily married couple.  If they aren’t going to make an effort to slowly pick apart why they hate the other person and only learn to work together I don’t even know why I am watching this anymore. If I wanted to watch someone boringly make their way out of danger with no resources I go on YouTube and watch dialog only slightly more forced than anything here.

Although this episode was not without its share of amazing moments: when they finally did find “rescue” in the form of finding their way to a major road the first people that they met flipped them off and sped away.  Granted they were not run over, even though that is clearly the only reason that anyone should ever drive a truck with tires like that (that or destroying smaller, weaker cars), but it was amazing enough for this to not hit this week’s worst spot.

Good:

Shameless: Season 3, Episode 9
Where:
Showtime
When:
Sundays at 9 PM
Why:
Yeah, he gets a BJ from a Drag Queen.  That happens

Shameless seems to be based off the worst family in the worst section of the United States, which is kind of funny because it is also based off a British made award winning show to begin with.  At times it is hard to watch due to the insane brutality of just plain terrible situations, although it seems to make up for that with the copious amounts of nudity spread throughout most episodes.    It doesn’t really matter though, because in all honesty it makes me feel way better about my upbringing.  Oddly all my parents seemed to have to do is not be highly addicted to drugs and alcohol while attempting to use me to extort money from, well, everyone.

Frank (William H. Macy) decides that since he is leeching off of someone, instead of getting a job and earning his own way in life, he is entitled to domestic partnership because I think that he believes that is what constitutes a healthy, normal, relationship.  After being denied because, you know, he doesn’t have any proof for anything that he is claiming besides an increasing angry yell he stumbles through a political rally and manages to berate the future mayor enough to become a YouTube celebrity, which might be the first time that someone did something stupid and became famous without the help of auto-tuning.  His rambling is so ambiguous and, strangely, well-spoken that he becomes a hero in the Gay community.  Keep in mind this is the same person that tried to get an autographed football to sell for drugs by telling the make a wish people that his son was dying of cancer; also he convinced his kid of this too just to make sure it was believable.

Best:

Workaholics: Season 3, Episode 20
Where: Comedy Central
When:  Wednesday at 10 PM
Why:
A spike maced thing comes out of his but.  I thought I would spare you all from that.

Tom Green.  I am always impressed when I find out that he isn’t dead.  I don’t know why I thought that he wasn’t living anymore but I guess there is just this thing in my head that goes off when someone who was once stupidly famous (or famous for stupid reasons) drops out of the spotlight enough that you have to search to see what they are up to and just assumes that they are dead or a zombie. It is almost like this show took that into consideration with their use of him as you only hear his voice for the majority of the episode, and when he does appear it is as a soulless robot not in control of himself, also he has laser arm swords.

The episode is about robots becoming entirely too smart and finally taking over, something that anyone who reads the site will know that Stark and I worry about constantly.  This episode takes place in the future where robots are allowed to make all telemarketing calls and only require humans to close sales out when a customer is resistant.  The odd thing is that reading that sentence over kind of makes me feel like this is already happening because I have robots calling me constantly about my student loans.  Wait, did we fight the war, lose, and become forced to forget about our freedom?

Damn You Skynet!

Worst:

Family Guy: Season 11, Episode 15
Where:  Fox
When:  Sunday’s at 9 PM
Why: Take your worst, most racist thought at this moemnt.  This episode was 10 times worse.

I don’t know that Family Guy has ever been in your face entirely offensively racist before, but this episode takes away my right to ever say that again.  Remember a couple of years ago when 24 was being singled out for having every bad guy in the series be middle-eastern?  I guess that since they were forced to clean up their act Fox thought that at the very least one of the shows on needed to make everyone aware that they still blamed an entire people for all acts of terrorism everywhere, always.

Peter becomes Islamic because someone tells his wife to do something and she doesn’t argue.  Ignoring the fact that Louis is not also converting, that this is probably one of the more offensive stories they have ever done, and also the fact that they clearly did 0 research while writing this episode it seems that this story was going to happen anyway. The best part is that this joke, and plot device, is instantly forgotten about the moment that it is made.  Claiming that this was 23 minutes of stereotypes would be giving it credit because that would almost seem like they attempted to tie things together instead of just lump a bunch of hate speech hidden behind diarrhea jokes.  One minute Peter is establishing himself in the community, the next he is planning on blowing up a bridge.  Also there is never any reason given for the terrorist plot besides, “because”.