After a pretty brilliant freshman season, things unfortunately ended on two straight bum episodes. Not that I didn't get a charge out of the Jeff/Annie surprise ending, and Britta had a season highlight with that "he's been to flavor country" tirade, but everything felt too effortful (the Jeff/Britta/Slater stuff) or not well thought out (Troy's "Good Will Hunting" take off last week). Also, obviously I'm not happy about Senor Chang becoming a student next year, and I was somewhat dismayed to see that John Oliver is kind of the Chang 2.0 of this show. Anyway, two mediocre shows don't ruin an amazing season, but I'm already ansty for next season so I can get a different taste in my mouth. (And if this were an Office writeup, I would be all over the "That's what she said.")
30 Rock (5/20)
Interestingly, after a largely down season, 30 Rock ended this run with three incredibly strong episodes. "The Moms" featured the return of Jan Hooks ("I got the meat!"), "Emanuelle Goes to Dinosaur Land" had that amazing Tracy Jordan trip down memory lane ("The G train, Nermal!"), and "I Do Do" brought it home with maybe not as many big laughs, but it still gave us Avery's Maryland accent, the return of Feyonce, and Matt Damon's Sullenberger-hating pilot.
The Real Housewives of New York City (5/20)
After an episode of nonstop drunken hilarity -- including Ramona on her 30th pinot grigio slurring "shudderdown" and me finally liking Sonja -- this week stopped being polite and started getting real about Kelly's probable paranoid schizophrenia. ...I mean, right? Not that we haven't all called Alex a vampire once or twice, but we never meant it literally. That said, was that not the best Jellybelly product placement ever, watching Kelly chow down on them while giving crazyface an updated definition?
The Office (5/20)
A couple of really funny moments (David Wallace telling us about "Suck It" and Kelly/Ryan telling us about Woof) couldn't save a dour episode in a dour season. It's strange to say this about a wildly successful series in its sixth season, but this show has never exactly known how to handle Michael Scott from episode to episode? Is he our ptotaginist, or is he the guy acting on our protagonists (Jim and Pam)? The show has never kept this consistent, which is why they have to keep importing new levels of hierarchy to keep Michael "relatable" or sympathetic or whatever. Not that I don't love Kathy Bates and Zach Woods, but the money in this show is when Michael is the boss. Let him be the boss.
It hasn't been a season of sustained excellence, but last week's episode was one of their incredibly awesome ones. Once this season is over, I should sit down with all the episodes I loved and try to figure out what ingredients they all have in common. Certainly, the quality of the musical performances plays a big part, and this week had a three-pronged attach that would stand up to any ep this season: Will and Bryan Ryan's "Dream On," the wonderfully choreographed "Safety Dance" fantasy, and (most especially) Lea Michelle and Idina Menzel tearing the house down on "I Dreamed a Dream." Like, everything I ever wanted out of "Glee" in one number. Now I just need one good Quinn Fabray episode before the season ends.
Now that I've given up on "Brothers & Sisters" for good (don't get me started on Saul), this has settled in quite comfotably into my enjoyable-if-flawed family dramady slot. And it's been betting better as the weeks have gone on. I still have trouble getting past my Peter Krause aversion (he's actually quite good) and I do sometimes wonder why they make Sam Jaeger hate Erika Christensen all the time if they're married. But the characters have become people I'm rooting for. Though, seriously, this Amber vs. Haddie thing? If they think I hesitated for a second before strapping on a Team Amber t-shirt, they're crazy.