Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 6/23/13 – 6/29/13 (Late)

Although cigar jerk is kind of a funny name

Because of last week’s holiday causing a lack of new shows and my general attempt to drink through most of the week there was no article.  I will talk about the shows from the week before, because I feel like I should start doing this article again and that this is a dead time to fill with TV talk.

Good
Venture Brothers: Season 5: Episode 4

When was the last time you saw him smile, ever

Where: Adult Swim/Cartoon Network
When: Sundays at Midnight
Why:
Sometimes years go by without an episode of The Venture Brothers seeing the light of day, those are dark times for man.  2013, despite what the Mayans seemed to have thought, has proven to be a good time for everyone due to the return of the series.  The main theme of the show is failure, and in many ways it is hard to argue.  I love the flash backs to Rusty’s (James Urbaniak) old days as a child when everything was supposed to be perfect and work out to be wonderfully for an older him, only to end up being pretty much the same only more dilapidated and less adventure heavy.  It is almost like the show wants to always remind us that it isn’t just us that failed, the world failed us as well—which is good because I do like blaming others.

Speaking of the aforementioned younger Rusty, this episode took place on a Greek island where he was once treated to Spanakopita—not the pie food thing but instead a local festival that serves to both rob tourists of their money and distract young people from the fact that they were accidentally kidnapped.  Considering that the finer points of describing a Venture Brothers plot is more like talking about a fever dream than it is writing something up I will forgo pretty much the rest here.  For serious though, go out of your way and watch this entire series up until this point.  It is amazing.

Bad
Futurama: Season 7: Episode 16

Because it is poop in his mouth, get it?!?

Where: Comedy Central
When: Wednesdays at 10 PM
Why:
This is the last season of a cult classic.  That announcement was made about a month before this season started airing, they promoted this season as such. They did everything besides directly saying that every stop would be pulled out, thrown away, forgotten about, and higher scores of people for some of the best script writing that mankind has ever seen.  This should have made, “Into the Wild Green Yonder” look like a pile of vomit that vomits Kardashians.  If there was ever a season that you make people regret a show ending it the one that is announced months before hand that it is over, the one that you take all of the scripts that you never used for various reasons that make better and put on the air.  So far this seasons high points have been math jokes.

Lrrr (Maurice LaMarche) takes his child on a trip to take over Earth to earn a merit badge, because I guess that is a thing that happens in 1000 years.  This, of course results in the TV being cut off from the planet and Fry (Billy West) being stranded there.  I could sum this entire episode up perfectly when I say that the best joke involves Fry being unable to stop eating rainbow colored poop; because it isn’t a Mad Lib quality episode of this show without Fry being unable to stop eating something disgusting.  It isn’t even like I am angry at Futurama, I am just really all kinds of disappointed.

Good
Falling Skies: Season 3: Episode 4

Something exciting.  I don't know.  This show is hard to talk about

Where: TNT
When: Sundays at 10 PM
Why:
There really aren’t that many good science fiction television shows out there anymore.  Sure, you could come up with a list as long as my arm of shows that certain terribly named channels will try and run from time to time—some with even a mild degree of success.  The problem is that most of those shows end up not being that wonderful, were only ever thought of as a mini-series, or were put together by less than experienced show runners that simply don’t know how to hold the connective tissue together.  Falling Skies has thus far managed to avoid all of these pit falls, even if there are random pacing issues towards the middle of most seasons.

You know when a new season of a very plot driven show starts and you feel like you missed a couple huge pivotal points of information; that is basically what is happening this season.  There is rumors going around about a mole inside of the human resistance fighters, and it is looking more and more like it is Hal (Drew Roy) being controlled by the alien invaders.  My problem with that is that he is sort of aware that this kind of thing might happen, with most other people, so instead of turning himself in and dealing with it in a timely and effective manner he decides to just let it go to such a point that he clearly loses control over it.  That is like someone being too busy eating ice cream to get a heart transplant due to excessive ice cream eating.

Bad
Burn Notice: Season 7: Episode 4

He used to be a spy, until....

Where: USA
When: Thursdays at 9 PM
Why:
Burn Notice is the story of James Bond having all of his special toys taken away and being forced to out MacGyver MacGyver.  The show is on basic cable so Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan) has a problem killing people and a heart plated in some kind of magical spy gold; it also has been running for seven years and is very quickly starting to run out of ideas of what to do to push things forward regarding plot.  The show is called Burn Notice but I am pretty sure that the cast of characters has already gone through the process of either killing for destroying every organization responsible, as well as the businesses backing them, for Michael’s burning, and several other secret-er spy type networks backing  everything to begin with.   It has gotten to the point that I really don’t have any idea why anyone is mad at anyone anymore aside from I guess everyone being an active spy again, so… kind of nothing has happened.

This season started with Michael going in for a “deep cover” operation and has proceeded to be the slowest and possibly least interesting series of four episodes I have seen since the show started.  I get that the entire theory for this arch is to take the crew and place them out of their comfort zone while working with people who make that discomfort look like they were getting a Hand Jibber from super models at the beach.  That was a great idea, for two episode that wrapped up quickly at the start of the third.  This is now approaching a fifth with both no end in sight and a promise of even more to be boringly revealed at a leisurely pace that seems like this could have been a special “movie” episode instead of an entire last season.  If it wasn’t for Bruce Campbell (playing Sam Axe) I don’t even know why I would be watching, aside from the fact that I have this thing in my head that tells me I need to finish TV series.

Best:
Mad Men: Season 6: Episode 13

Don Draper rule #80, always leave everyone in the board room confused and angry

Where: AMC
When: Sundays at 10 PM
Why:
I was thinking about doing an article on this season Mad Men, and truth be told I still might.  I think that as a whole it might have been one of the most well-constructed examples of writing that has hit the small screen in a really long time.  I don’t know if I can really stress enough just how wonderful it feels to come home from work and go into a fictional land where every single person is as completely and utterly screwed up as a real human, and I can forget about all the failures of life and just judge other people for being completely terrible while I don’t blame myself because I am totally not cheating on my wife at all.

The season has kind of been leading to this road of destruction as Don (Jon Hamm) has taken his agency down a road of success but pretty much driven his personal life into a ditch, lit it on fire, then walked away in slow motion while continuing to have affairs with other people’s wives. Honestly, if half the stuff he did wasn’t so completely slimy and terribly I would want to start a slow clap for him getting away with it for so long.  The season pretty much ended with Don’s very public, very messed up, very terrible and awful break down in front of a rather huge client.  The only complaint about this episode that could really be leveled against it is that the show has been running for six years and I am pretty sure that people were just expecting this to happen roughly eight years ago.

Worst:
Paranormal Witness: Season 3: Episode 4

Not sure if lying or wrong subs

Where: SYFY
When: Wednesdays at 10 PM
Why:
Every single sane person in the world has a ghost story.  Half of them are things that could probably have been easily explained if the person hadn’t been scared to death, half asleep, or both at the time of the event.  Of the remaining half most of them aren’t worth telling.  That leaves you with a handful of tales that are legitimately spooky when told correctly.  Most of those happened in the first season.  At this point the show has just started taking the spooky stories and hoping that people can’t read between the lines too much.  One episode this season a woman claimed that the devil appeared in front of her.  Not a devil, The Devil.  That is a lie.  This show also doesn’t have very good special effects. It was hysterical.

This week’s episode quickly fell from “that is kind of weird and spooky,” to “that just didn’t happen”, basically meaning that while it was one of the better episodes it was still the worst episode of the week.  It was about a haunted restaurant with scores of employees, most of whom did not natively speak English.  Now I am not saying that the people from Mexico lied about the sightings or anything, but the owners of the establishment seemed to have much more believable sightings and “oddities” than the Spanish speakers who claimed to have a poltergeist repeatedly try to kill them.  I am not saying that the staff members made that stuff up, but since I don’t understand a word that the people they are interviewing are saying and the resolution of the problem came down to using a “local psychic” I am going to learn more towards attempt at odd local ghost attraction and the producers lying.

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.