For the commenting...
A clear step up for a show that I was already liking quite a bit. Great, head-on riff on "Dead Poets Society" featuring the funniest John Michael Higgins I've seen in a while. Watching him order a birthday cake at the coffee cart was a highlight. But then also the subplot with the Asperger's kid was affecting without begging for it. Really great.
The Office (10/1)
I guess you have to do the "Jim learns a thing or two about walking in Michael's shoes" episode now that they're co-managers, but while the episode was funny, you could easily plot the whole thing out from minute one.
So I'm sure we're going to stop hearing about how much Russell is running the whole game, now that his boy Ben got voted off, right? Yeah, I'm not optimistic either. The good news is I've finally found someone to root for (Jaison). The bad news is it looks like next week he completely falls apart.
Parks and Recreation (10/1)
They got Leslie right into her wheelhouse this week: Painfully earnest pro-fem crusader. Tom's antics on the pageant judging panel recalled none so much as Homer Simpson's "football in the groin" film-festival judging. Also? April continues to break out as a character ("I like people, places, and thiiiiings!").
Modern Family (9/30)
Like this week's The Office, there was a lot about this that felt predictable, but while I knew the song, I was impressed with how they played the notes. In particular, Mitchell and Cameron's storyline, which once again evoked The Birdcage but played kinder and funnier.
Cougar Town (9/30)
If I'm gonna be the one guy to carry the banner for this show, that's fine. I love it. This wasn't as funny as the first episode -- though Courteney Cox, Busy Philipps, and Dan Byrd continue to crock me up -- but it managed to clarify what the show is supposed to be about. Courteney's trying to live her 20s, despite the fact that it looks dumb to people. I can get behind that. Also? Josh Hopkins. It deserves to be said again. Lovely.
I was worried last week's leap in quality wouldn't last, but I was happily wrong. Thanks in no small part to a powerhouse performance from Kristin Chenoweth, we got perhaps an even clearer picture of what show this wants to be. Glee Club now isn't the point of Glee, it's the setting. It's where the characters can all get churned up and mashed into each other and belt out some ridiculously fun songs. Seriously, though, about Cheno -- if she's not nominated for a guest actor Emmy last year, something's wrong. I was halfway ready to hand her a Nobel Prize.
Melrose Place (9/29)
Man, Jane Mancini couldn't even maintain a badass posture for even one episode before she was getting bested by children. Nice try, Jane. I do appreciate that Lauren's storyline made the case for the necessity of pimps. All in all, this show has definitely earned its place as the show I can watch four days later, while I do other things, and can totally enjoy and feel wierd about how appealing I find Ella and David and their lips.
Gossip Girl (9/28)
Finally, an interesting Blair/Chuck episode -- they're always at their best playing off of Serena, and they were in fine comic form tonight. Serena's final-act smackdown on Georgina would have come across better had S not been decked out in her finest hooker wear. Also, my continuing affection for Carter Baizen and Vanessa is puzzling and wonderful. And life is always better when Georgina is armed enough to level the entire city. On the other hand: There's a Nate on this show?
The Amazing Race (9/27)
I know it's a good season premiere when I come out of it with teams I'm already STRONGLY rooting for (Gary and Matt! Brian and Ericka!), racers I'm crushing on (friend-of-Asperger's Justin and cuter-gay-brother Sam are no deaf Luke from last season, but they'll do), and racers I can't get rid of fast enough (angry lawyer, poker brats). Two teams eliminated, neither of whom I liked; a delightful duck-based challenge; and wasabi bombs -- what's not to love? Oh right: the feeling I'm getting that Zev will continue to be packaged as a cross between Jesus, Superman, and Raymond Babbitt.