That was pretty sneaky, New Girl writers. You started off last night's episode "Mars Landing" with another rousing round of True Americans on purpose, didn't you? You taught us new rules to the game (if you invented the cotton gin, you have gin poured in your mouth) and gave us hilarious new shots of the gang having fun (except for poor Winston, who had the plague) just as a way to throw us off our course. The whole episode would have to be as fun and carefree as the latest installment of True Americans, right? Wrong! It was all leading us to what is, quite possibly, the end of Nick and Jess. Granted, their relationship has put Season 3 in a rut and these two were probably doomed from the get-go, but it was still a complete bummer. Especially because I have a hard time believing this is truly the end, when it will more than likely be the beginning of a lot of off-and-on. (This should prove to be especially tough when Jess moves to Portland, and Nick is living in outer space.) Here are the do's and don'ts of moving to Mars, especially when everything is still such a mess back on Earth:
Hail to the Veep.
Who could have guessed we'd be here? Who could have guessed that Season 3, which got off to such an ugly and joyless and borderline unwatchable start (if anything ever trumps "Dead Inside" as the worst episode of Girls ever, I'll be legitimately surprised and horrified), would end on such a touching and effective and funny note? If the fairytale Season 2 finale felt like a lame cop-out (which it was), then last night's Season 3 finale "Two Plane Rides" brought the show back down to earth where it belongs. It was bittersweet series of endings, to say the least, for Hannah and Co. But in your 20s, those are far more common than those elusive happy endings, anyway. Certain things about "Two Plane Rides" felt rushed, which is really too bad considering they could have cut the bullshit from earlier this season to make room for compelling story lines like Jessa's complicated request from Beadie to Shoshanna's understandable meltdown. For the first time in a long time, Girls has not only left me wanting more, but put me back in these girls' corners. Well, except for Marnie. Marnie is the worst.
"Galentine's Day" (Part 2, technically) is the reason why I watch this show. I had a smile on my face throughout the entire episode and was pleased that they found a way to service every single character in one half hour, without sacrificing the funny. This one might end up in my top ten list of episodes, and not just because of Andy determining that he was "Goofus"… but that sure didn't hurt.
Leave it to Sydney to ruin an episode otherwise dominated by the youngest of the Braverman generation. Sure, there was plenty of grown-up drama (this is Parenthood, after all) but "The Offer" was all about the kids, namely Victor and Max. But not Sydney, because Sydney is terrible. As Max devastatingly came to terms with his identity at school as a "freak," Victor dealt with his abandonment issues and worried that he was the cause for Joel and Julia's split. You know who put that idea in his head? Sydney, because Sydney is the worst. The entire episode wasn't perfect as a whole, but those last 15 minutes really packed an emotional wallop. If you never felt connected to Victor and Max before, you did after last night's episode. That is, unless, you're a monster like Sydney. While I'm still choking back tears thinking about the Max and Victor story lines (damn you, Parenthood, damn youuuuuuuu), I still have to declare the best and worst Braverman pairings from "The Offer":"A satisfying sequel is difficult to pull off," Abed warns at the outset of "Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons," an on-the-nose bit of commentary from Dan Harmon cautioning viewers to not expect this follow-up to Season 2's "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" to scale the same heights as that Top 10 (maybe even Top 5)-level installment of Community. And he's right… "Advanced Advanced," isn't isn't the comic K.O. that Advanced proved to be. But it does turn out to be satisfying in its own right, especially when watched a second and even a third time through and the work of the episode's breakout star -- one Mr. Jonathan Banks -- snaps into focus.
Clean up in Aisle Lifetime.
For a series that's geared towards Millennials, the Greatest Generation has been stealing the show this season. First there was Hannah's grandmother Flo (June Squibb) who we, sadly, only got to know for one episode, and last night we were introduced to Beadie (Louise Lasser), Jessa's new boss who, hopefully, we know for a little bit longer. (Don't screw this up, Jessa). Hannah's self-indulgent, bratty, and downright career-killing meltdown at GQ wouldn't resonate with anyone who wasn't just as self-indulgent, bratty, or looking to make sure they have a terrible reputation in their industry. However, Beadie's honest and heartbreaking one-liner "It just hurts to be a shell" may have been the most profound thing that's ever been uttered on Girls. Beadie may not agree that getting older is a good thing, but at least they have the wisdom that these girls so desperately lack at this time in their lives.
When we first watched this pilot last summer, we saw it alongside the similarly themed Hostages and this show was the far superior debut. It had some interesting twists and turns plus the added bonus of putting Gillian Anderson back on our TV sets. But after suffering through Hostages, and seeing how poorly it all played out, the idea of committing to more episodes of another show that is predicated on a kidnapping is a pretty big pill to swallow. (Note: spoilers for last night's twists below.)
I waffle a lot about this show. Two hours worth of waffling, even. Sometimes I just want it to be funny and focus on the Parks Department without big topics, and sometimes I want more meaty storylines. And right now, while I wanted something more heavy, they gave us a nice little standalone episode with "New Slogan." It was amusing and had some great moments, but it just felt vaguely forgettable to me as it didn't really move much of the plot along. We learned about Duke Silver, saw Leslie still on the fence about the National Park Service job and Tom found a space for his latest endeavor, but after some of the big emotional upheaval of the season, this just fell flat… maybe because everyone was so spread out for the entire episode. That said, it will probably be one of the episodes that will play really well in reruns.
My favorite episode of Parenthood so far this season. "Limbo" was funny and sharp and emotional and, for most of us who aren't as functional as the Bravermans all the time, very relatable during that dinner table blowup scene. In addition to being all of those things, "Limbo" actually moved the storyline along for several characters, including Joel and Julia who inched a little bit closer to reconciliation. While "Limbo" technically centered around the drama caused by Baby Aida's christening (that Baby Aida, always starting problems), let's be honest, it was all about Drew and Amber getting totally stoned together. I could have watched that for the entire hour. Here are the best and worst Braverman pairings for the best episode of Season 5 to date, "Limbo":
After the three-week saga of Abby Day, last night's episode of New Girl, "Fired Up," was pretty low-stakes. Jess helped Coach get a job as a volleyball coach at her school, who subsequently got fired and then hired back; Schmidt got sued and hired Nick as his lawyer, who subsequently got fired, and then hired himself back; Cece got a new love interest that Schmidt seemed shockingly fine about; and Winston… got a cool new nickname. The episode was pleasantly forgettable, which is sadly, how most of this season has been. It's not actively bad, or even unfunny, it's just that the magic from Season 1 and Season 2 just continues to be missing. Here are the do's and don'ts from last night's episode "Fired Up":
How do you make a half-baked idea look like a polished piece of televised craftsmanship? Hire an ace shooter like Alfonso Cuarón to direct it. Exactly a week after picking up a well-deserved Oscar for helming Gravity, the Mexico-born filmmaker takes his talents to the small screen for Believe, a series he created and produced in conjunction with J.J. Abrams. And if you found some of the spiritual hokum in that multi-award winning blockbuster hard to take, be forewarned it plays an even more pronounced role here given that the show's premise is built around a little blonde girl in possession of some heavenly -- or at least otherworldly -- powers.
Introducing... a series you've probably never heard of!
How you already felt about Lena Dunham going into this weekend's episode of Saturday Night Live more than likely dictated how you watched and, thus, felt about the episode as a whole. If you're cool with Dunham, you probably got a kick out of the episode, but if you're not -- what appeared to be the entirety of the Internet -- you couldn't stand it. Even though I've had some issues with Girls this season, I tend to lean closer to Team Dunham, so I thought overall this was a pretty damn good episode. (Though, maybe compared to last week's Jim Parsons disaster, everything seems like a damn good episode.) Still, there were overwhelmingly better sketches than weak ones, and after a shaky monologue, Dunham settled in as the night went on. Sure, the SNL writers kind of went the obvious route with her (nudity!) but it was, overall, one of the stronger showings in 2014 so far. Here are the best and worst moments from Lena Dunham's debut as SNL host, with a little help from Liam Neeson and Jon Hamm:
Back in 1980, the only thing Cosmos needed to ignite the imaginations of a generation of youngsters was scientist/showman Carl Sagan standing front and center in the frame explaining the vast mysteries of our world and the universe that lies beyond. It's a sign of how much we've devolved as a viewing public -- or more charitably, the lack of faith network executives have in us -- that the new Cosmos, now sporting the grandiose subtitle A Spacetime Odyssey instead of the more modest A Personal Voyage, can't simply turn the camera on new host and Sagan's heir apparent, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and let him geek out about the awesomeness of outer space and stuff. Instead, the series surrounds him with feature-film level special effects, animated recreations of major historical events and a prime Sunday night berth on Fox that follows the youth-oriented double bill of The Simpsons and Family Guy, the long-running cartoon blockbuster from Cosmos's exec producer, Seth MacFarlane, apparently looking to upend his public image as a smug, intellectually-challenged playboy who sang about boobs on the Oscars.
It was only a matter of time. The groundwork has been laid for almost the entirety of Season 3 about how there are too many cracks in Hannah and Adam's foundation for them to sustain a healthy long-term relationship. These two may be crazy for each other (crazy being the operative word here) but their relationship started as such an uneven mess that it's impossible to build it from the ground up. As much as Adam would like to argue that Hannah still associates him with his "older" version, it's a little hard to do that when scorned ex-girlfriends show up at coffee shops or he acts distant and moody on a moment's notice. But Hannah's just as much at fault, too. She is self-absorbed, but also puts Adam on an impossible pedestal even when he doesn't necessarily deserve to be up there. Last week, Adam told her "I'm very committed to you "at this time" and her mother tried to plead with her "You're so special you deserve everything…he's nice, but stay open to possibilities" and it all seemed to fall on deaf ears. These two are operating on very different frequencies (see: how they both dealt with the subject of death this season) and as much as we want them to be perfect together, these are two imperfect people.
Has there ever been a more adorable sight on Parks and Recreation than that of Ron Swanson cooing at his adorable infant son John Middle Name Redacted Swanson? What's that, you say? Ron has a son? Yes, that ever-so-secretive Ron and his wife Diane had their baby and Ron, much to the horror of Leslie, told no one. Unfortunately, it wasn't all cute mini-Swansons: there were also mass bee stings and Leslie getting a black eye. That said, all those instances (as well as an oft-repeated Tom storyline that might actually work this time) lead to something positive in the end… which is probably the first and last time I'll ever say bee stings did anything good for anyone. Damn you, bees. Here are the highlights from last night's light, but effective episode "The Wall":
If I were feeling especially curmudgeonly, I'd take "App Developments and Condiments" to task for going back to the "Greendale becomes a post-apocalyptic wasteland" well so soon after "Geothermal Escapism" a.k.a. "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen, Donald Glover." But as a fan of cheesy '70s sci-fi (think Logan's Run and The Omega Man), I was laughing too hard to care. And, as an added bonus, the parody was rooted in a relationship that hasn't been explored in some time -- the love/hate bond between former foosball rivals-turned-teammates, Jeff and Shirley.
Hey! It's Zachary Knighton! Better known as Dave from the beloved, but far too short-lived, Happy Endings! Sorry, I get excited about anything Happy Endings-related. Knighton is the latest addition to the Parenthood family playing a handsome (Adam's words), cool teacher named Mr. Knight who, much to the delight of Kristina and Adam, sees Max for the bright kid that he is. In fact, it was an all-around great week for Adam and Kristina: they found out Kristina is still cancer-free. I guess you could say it was a… happy ending. Well, it wasn't all happy endings for the Bravermans. (When is it ever?) There were far more vague endings (Hank and Sarah, Drew and Natalie, Julia and… Ed?!) in "The Enchanting Mr. Knight." So, with that, here are the best and worst Braverman pairings from last night's episode:
I can't believe I'm saying this, because I haven't said it in a while, but I actually kind of loved last night's episode of New Girl, "Sister 3." Maybe it's because unlike so many other things on this show, a story line had a definitive expiration date and therefore could not outstay its welcome (or, in this case, Abby could not outstay her welcome). It also probably helped that it felt more like the Season 1 and 2 characters we fell in love with. Nick acted like a weird manchild hobo, Jess was a quirky neurotic and Schmidt pronounced things funny. Hell, I even thought they made good use of Cece and Coach, which is the rarest rarity of them all. Winston, on the other hand, was sadly as pathetic as ever. The episode found Abby and Schmidt shacked up, much to the horror of Jess, who decides she and Nick have to catch up with them. She asks Nick to "move in" with her, and the two find out pretty quickly that living together isn't quite the same as living together separately. So, in honor of that mistake, here are the do's and don'ts from "Sister 3":
Proof positive that sometimes it takes truly talented people to make something deeply mediocre, A&E's new crime drama Those Who Kill premiered last night after the network's surprise hit Bates Motel, marking the return of ex-Big Love star Chloë Sevigny and veteran scribe/producer Glen Morgan (whose credits include The X-Files and The River) to series television. If this was really the best they could come with, though, maybe they should have extended their sabbatical another season.
The Doctor is outta here.
In case you hadn't noticed, I wasn't the biggest fan of the episode "Dead Inside". I thought it was cruel and ugly and unfunny and used a death as a way to challenge viewers who don't like these characters. I understand not wanting to conform to what's expected of you, but rubbing everyone's face in their heartlessness seemed like a surefire way to turn off even the most fervent supporters. (See: me.) Since that fateful episode, in which Hannah whined more about the fate of her book than the actual passing of her editor David and all of her (female) pals talked about loss and death with nothing more than eye-rolling boredom and snark, things have been on the upswing of late. Both "Incidentals" and "Beach House" began to make these characters human, and even likeable again. But, if like me, "Dead Inside" still leaves a bitter taste in your mouth (I'm still convinced that Hannah is a sociopath), "Flo" probably remedied that. Instead of a detached, mean-spirited look at loss, "Flo" was sensitive and personal and was reminiscent of Season 1 depth.
Get ready to applaud for Cate Blanchett, 12 Years a Slave and... uh Jared Leto as the Oscars begin in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...
With barely a mention of Ann and Chris or their recent departure, we pick right up with the rest of the Pawnee crew for "Anniversaries." While I liked a large part of this episode, the Game of Thrones ending filled me with a weird blend of happiness and anger and confusion, so I still don't know how I feel about it, but I do know that I love Ben Wyatt's stupid surprised face more than I should which goes a long way towards covering up any mixed feelings I may have.
After a long five-week hiatus, I was had begun to fear that the first episode back -- "Just Like Home" -- wasn't worth the wait. I blame it on yet another chapter in the god awful saga that is the Hank/Sarah/Karl sorta love triangle for feeling that way. Though the rest of the episode was pretty good, it was all worthwhile to make it to those wonderful last ten minutes. The Joel and Julia split has been the best story line in all of this shaky Season 5, and now it's starting to have a ripple effect on the entire Braverman family. And while Julia is adjusting to a new phase of her life, with the support of her siblings, one thing still remains constant: Sydney is awful. Here are the best and worst Braverman pairings of last night's new episode "Just like At Home":
Well… they can't all be winners. For the first episode back from the Olympic break, Community serves up "Introduction to Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality," an odd, disjointed episode in which its two most child-like characters -- Abed and Britta -- are taught some grown-up lessons.
Screw Mixology. Screw Mixology and its misogynistic, chest-thumping, dick-measuring, outdated, mind-blowingly unfunny and downright offensive take on sex and dating in your 20s and 30s. The concept may be unconventional by traditional sitcom standards (ten strangers at the same New York City bar having various interactions in one single night), but the execution is as lame and stupid as anything you've ever seen on television. I'm still seething.
I wish I laughed at New Girl as hard as I used to. I'm not saying last night's episode "Sister 2" wasn't funny, per se, but the tone of the show in Season 3 hasn't given me one solid belly laugh, when the first and second season were packed to the brim with them. "Sister 2" had its funny moments, but even something as silly as Nick pretending to be a hot dog bandit (it's was as ridiculous as it sounds) didn't make me laugh in the same way it would have a year or two ago. Is it because I've outgrown these characters or because the pacing feels off or am I just not letting myself actually have fun watching such a light show? It might be a little bit of all three, but either way, not even the re-emergence of Coach this season or newcomers like Jess's crazy sister Abby (Linda Cardellini) are helping fix this problem. In fact, they might even be making things worse.
It should be stated, first and foremost, that Steve Zahn really should be in just about everything. The underrated, scene-stealing actor is the best part of anything he's in (see: That Thing You Do!, Rescue Dawn, Joy Ride, among others) and always seems to be the missing link that improves a movie or TV show. The goofy, but lovable Zahn is, without a doubt, the best thing about the new dramedy Mind Games, but even his talents can't save this from being an ultimately ridiculous -- but most notably, boring -- slog.
Jim Jeffries seeks to make FXX a Legit network.
Not since CBS's Great Alex O'Loughlin Campaign of 2007-2010 has a network invested as much effort in making an actor "happen" as NBC has with David Walton. The actor's relationship with the Peacock dates back to 2006, when he had a supporting role on Heist, that creatively-named heist series that vanished after five episodes. Roles on such short-lived "Wait… that was a TV show?" series as Quarterlife (which premiered online before moving to terrestrial television), 100 Questions and Perfect Couples followed, eventually culminating in 2012's Bent, an ensemble comedy starring Walton, Amanda Peet and Jeffery Tambor that NBC felt so confident in, they burned it off over the course of three weeks in March. If nothing else, at least they're giving Walton's latest series, About a Boy -- based on the 2002 Hugh Grant movie and the 1998 Nick Hornby novel -- a prime post-Olympics berth on its way to an inevitable cancellation.
By all accounts, The Michael J. Fox Show should have been good. It starred television treasures (Michael J. Fox, Betsy Brandt, Wendell Pierce), it had a primo time slot and it did not shy away from Fox's real-life battle with Parkinson's (in fact, that was a prominent part of the show.) But throw some annoying kids in the mix, sitcom-friendly problems (all family squabbles are fixed within the half-hour and no one ever holds a grudge),and the uneasy feeling that Parkinson's is being used as a comedy crutch more often than it should be, and well, you've got a major disappointment.
Boy, when Girls gets something wrong, it gets it so wrong, but when it gets something right, it gets it so right. Case in point: the soaring feeling you can get breezily walking through the streets of downtown Manhattan when everything in your life briefly, inexplicably falls into place and/or the crushing defeat that can surprise the hell out of you during what was supposed to be a routine trip to get frozen yogurt. Life in New York City changes on you on a dime, and sometimes you're zipping through Times Square having just heard the best news of your life, and other times you're carrying a pizza with you after having been dumped in Brooklyn.
I must admit something right off the bat: I've never been the biggest fan of Jimmy Fallon as a late night talk show host. I know, I know, that's like saying puppies are overrated and ice cream is a sub-par dessert. I'm of the minority and I realize that. Let me clarify that I actually thought Fallon's Late Night was a fun, hip (The Roots rule all!!) and modern (the guy knows his viral-friendly audience) show, but Fallon's interviewing style of fawning and giggling over every single guest always hit the wrong nerve with me. Again, I realize that Fallon doesn't have the gravitas as Letterman, nor the politics of Stewart and Colbert, but I like my hosts more edgy and daring than agreeable and starstruck, and the squeaky-clean Fallon most certainly ain't that.
And absolutely nothing bad happened to these love birds ever again.
Vacation is good for everyone. It's good for me, it's good for you and it's definitely good for TV shows stuck in a rut that it desperately needs to get out of. A change of scenery doesn't just physically take you out of your elements, but it mentally does, too. Destination/getaway episodes are nothing new, but rarely are they used to re-set the course of a series. Typically it's just an excuse to have the characters get into whacky shenanigans in Hawaii or meet Mickey Mouse. But Girls went a different route with "Beach House" and didn't use their getaway as a break from the norm, but rather as a device to have a lot of underlying issues come to a head. Vacation episodes are usually a fun distraction, but this one felt like the first truly authentic, funny, interesting, and -- believe it or not -- emotional episode of this rocky, thus-far-unlikable third season. Girls has had success with getting the characters out of the city before. Case in point: "The Return" and "Video Games." Last night's "Beach House" makes them three for three. (Maybe they need to leave New York more often?)
Kids… meet your new mother. With the unexpected announcement that indie darling Greta Gerwig would be anchoring the upcoming How I Met Your Mother spin-off How I Met Your Dad, HIMYM/HIMYD creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have pulled off their biggest casting coup since the Britney Spears cameo a few seasons back. Even more interestingly, the Frances Ha co-writer and star will be a writer/producer on the new series as well, suggesting that she'll at least have some say in the way the series unfolds. With that in mind, here are the five things we'd like to see Gerwig incorporate into her first network television venture.
That Day family is one kooky bunch, huh? We've already met Jess's overprotective papa Bob (Rob Reiner) and her outgoing mother Joan (Jamie Lee Curtis, who popped up again in another phone scene), and in last night's new episode "Sister" we finally met Jess's wild-child sister that we've definitely never heard of before, Abby ( Linda Cardellini). We know that Abby and Jess are different because Abby (who Jess describes as "a girl who looks like me but with chaos in her eyes") gets arrested and causes trouble wherever she goes and wears dark eye makeup and tattered clothes (the surefire sign of a real troublemaker) and Jess sings about everything and has always been seen as the babied baby in the family. But despite their differences (and Jess's attempts to keep Abby away from everyone, including Nick) these two had some really great moments together and, like any good TV hellion, Abby makes herself right at home. I actually enjoyed this story line, maybe because I like Linda Cardellini or maybe because I thought she and Zooey Deschanel made believable sisters, or maybe it's just because anything compared to the nauseating soup-slurping double date between Winston, Bertie (WHY?!), Coach, and Cece seems downright brilliant. Here now are the do's and don'ts of letting your punk sister invade your life from last night's episode of New Girl:
The games afoot once again as Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman team up for more irresistible sleuthing and flirting... with each other.
I keep waiting for the Hannah bubble to burst. Not the charmed-life bubble (because despite all her whining, it is one), but rather the self-absorbed bubble. Hannah has it in her mind that she is the greatest writer that the world will ever know and no amount of publisher deaths or the fact that she's only produced a few pieces of content will change that. It doesn't help matters that those around her are constantly telling her she's right (writers go through rejections and edits regularly, but that never seems to be the case for Hannah) and feels entitled to whatever success may come her way. There's no sense of humility or, more importantly, the will to really work in the business she claims to be above. That's why I was so pleasantly surprised by "Free Snacks," an episode that hit the nail right on the head about a lot of things in the current world of journalism. (Except for all those daily snacks. If that's really what's going on over at GQ, they can expect about a thousand resumes coming their way this week.) Hannah has no earthly idea how her industry works because she's so detached from it, in every way possible. So it was incredibly refreshing to watch her realize that everything isn't handed to you on a silver platter and that sometimes you have to compromise your dreams. No matter how "talented" you think you are, there are just as many – if not more – people out there just like you struggling to keep their head above water. While I don't think this experience will make Hannah a better person, or even a better writer (a good writer also listens; they don't just yell above the crowd), I do think this will make for a better show if she continues to experience some truly real-life circumstances.
This wasn't the worst episode of this show -- we've seen how truly awful it can get -- but the utter pointlessness of this outing was hard to top. Also, it was so forgettable that I watched "iSpy" last night, and this morning when I woke up, I could hardly remember any of the details so I had to watch it again. It didn't improve on repeat viewing. At all.
One sitcom trope that has always driven me especially crazy is when two characters stay friends with each other (and their friend group as a whole) after they've split up. Maybe it's tense for an episode or two, and there's a good chance they'll reconcile (like plenty of exes that can't stay away from each other do), but for the most part it's an unrealistic portrayal of what it's like when two people in a group of friends split from each other. Lines in the sand are drawn, there are tears and there is jealously, among other unpleasantries. But, most notably, they would absolutely not hang out every single day (unless they worked together), no matter how close they were. While How I Met Your Mother has touched on the weirdness of Robin hanging out with her exes and the fact that Ted is still pining, New Girl (which is guilty of the exes-staying-friendly trope themselves with Schmidt and Cece) explored that issue last night in "Exes." The initial argument was that people only stay friends with their exes for the possibility of sex, but by the end of the episode, they figured out that that is impossible because there's too many unresolved issues. While I didn't love "Exes," I can appreciate what they were trying to do with this episode. Here are the do's and don'ts of reconnecting with your ex, according to New Girl:
In a white, white room, there was a white, white queen.
I wanted to believe that the post-Super Bowl, Prince-guest starring episode of New Girl would be good. After all, the show has been on a little bit of a hot streak after a very dismal start to Season 3 and because Prince is Prince so everything he touches is magic. Unfortunately, not even the magic touch of Prince (which was, by far, the highlight of the episode) could save this from feeling like a forced and overwhelmingly unfunny episode. (That said, Jake Johnson's high-pitched scream after Prince allowed him to freak out, was a thing of comedy beauty.)
Usually if the Super Bowl is disappointing, at least the commercials are a highlight. This year, it felt like a failure all around with only a handful of ads leaving even a remote impression on us, while some of them were just awful. And it probably didn't help matters that the majority of the spots were released a few days early, taking the anticipation factor out altogether. Instead, the only real highlight of the night (unless you were a Seahawks fan, in which case, congrats!) was Bruno Mars (with the Red Hot Chili Peppers) and the calming ticking of the 24 teasers that made us excited for that show's return. Here's what you missed if you (wisely) opted to watch Downton/Sherlock instead of the big game.
How do you turn a versatile, gifted comic actress into a one-note sight gag? Apparently by having her host SNL for her third time. It's not that the Mike & Molly star didn't give it her all this weekend on SNL, but for whatever reason, the writers insisted on making the beautiful, hilarious actress dumpy and/or vulgar in just about every single sketch. After the third or fourth time, it wasn't funny. Just in case that wasn't enough to bum you out, there was also Imagine Dragons. Kidding, it's because the episode also marked Seth Meyers' final appearance on SNL before he takes over Late Night, and the long-running player/writer got an amazing, guest-filled, lump-in-the-throat farewell. Here now are the best and worst of Melissa McCarthy (and Seth Meyers!) SNL:
In case you hadn't noticed, I really did not have any fond feelings for last week's episode of Girls. I thought it was nasty and ugly and showed not only the immaturity of these characters, but the show itself. (You'd like to think that by Season 3 there'd be some emotional growth for the female characters on a show called Girls.) On the other hand, "Dead Inside" allowed me, as a former champion of this series, to disconnect from even remotely liking any of these characters for good. It concretely proved that these are terrible, selfish sociopaths and I'm no longer laughing at their once-relatable twentysomethings-in-New-York-City antics, but marveling slack-jawed at what Millennial monsters they are. That's not to say I still wasn't disgusted with some of their behavior in last night's episode, "Only Child," I'm just no longer surprised by it. This is the M.O. of the show now. Well, the girls, anyway. That said, in addition to no longer being likable or relatable, Hannah and Co. are now utterly unbelievable.
After two weeks of goodbyes, Community has to say hello the new normal of a post-Pierce and post-Troy Greendale. That adjustment was always going to be a rough one, and that's reflected in the ungainly, but not unpleasant half-hour that was "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking," in which a host of famous guest stars turned up to temporarily distract us from the shrinking core cast and provide Alison Brie/Annie Edison with the finest showcase she's had since Season 3's legendarily divisive "trapped in the Dreamatorium" episode.