Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Week in TV

Community (9/30)
I am still not even a bit amused by Ken Jeong, and I sometimes wish the writers wouldn't be so enamored with testing the limits of how much of a dick Jeff can be. That said, every single thing about Troy, Abed, Annie, and the chloroform absolutely killed. To the point that it made up for the episode's weak spots AND the creepy sight of Skinny Drew Carey.

30 Rock (9/30)
I said this on Twitter the other night, but it bears repeating: how did it take us FIVE seasons of this show to get Tracy Jordan into the Cash Cab? This episode got HUGE love across the internet, but I think I preferred last week. Jack Donaghy's video parenting was fantastic, though, particularly when he began to simulate making love to Lutz.

Modern Family (9/29)
Smart way to handle the "Mitchell and Cam haven't kissed on camera" thing, a controversy which I can both recognize for its symbolic value while still being embarrassed that such a schmoopy thing would have to be a Big Deal. The show managed to address this via character-specific story and yet even while putting the "issue" (such as it is) upfront, they still managed to make the kiss itself so understated, a few TV critics actually missed it.

Parenthood (9/28)
I'm no good at mathematics, but on an infinite timeline, I'd say the chances that any Peter Krause character won't become a detestable asshole approaches zero. I'm not sure if it's the storylines that have Adam constantly like an entitled jerk or the performance, but especially when he plays these Poor Parent of Autistic Kid beats, he blows right past any chance we might have to sympathize with how hard it's been on him because he's acting like the most enormous dick. In better news, I'm not sure whether to credit the kid who plays Max or the directors for coaching him correctly, but however it's happening, that kid is the most interesting thing on the show.

Raising Hope (9/28)
Look, I recognize that Boardwalk Empire is a huge achievement for large-scale storytelling on TV, for production design, for subtle, textured performances (Michael Stuhlbarg is blowing my mind), but in terms of the new show I'm most loving right now, it's Raising Hope. Second straight week that I ended up laughing and feeling a tug of emotion, both completely unanticipated reactions. Usually with new shows like this it's the actors who draw me in, but in this case, while I do adore Martha Plimpton and Garrett Dillahunt (and am increasingly enchanted by the awkward kid in the lead), I've been so impressed by the rhythms and timing, managing to keep the environment manic but the characters grounded. Plus: dead tooth jokes!

Glee (9/28)
I know everybody haaaated the Britney Spears episode, and I won't say it represented the best of what Glee can do, but under my current mantra of "win some, lose some," with Glee, I have to admit that the enjoyment I got out of watching Brittany S. Pierce do her thing (Heather Morris's dancing is NO JOKE) kind of balanced out the more annoying elements (no story whatsoever, Emma's presence; my favorite Britney Spears song going to stupid Artie). I'm certain I enjoyed Brittany/Santana's "Me Against the Music" WAY more than Britney/Madonna's.

Gossip Girl (9/27)
Episodes like this are the reason I stick around with this show. They're really handling Katie Cassidy's character well, setting up a long con storyline (whoever that guy is in jail) while keeping us interested with smaller arcs like Serena and Blair getting the drop on her sorority scheming. Plus Penelope was back! I could take her or leave her before, but ever since Amanda Setton's too-brief run on One Life to Live, she's become one of my favorite people.


Aaron C. said...

I enjoyed Jeong (much?) more than you did last season, but, yeah...this apparently season-long subplot to get him into the study group is already too much and we're only in week two.

I found myself disappointed with the lack of a pop-lock payoff, but I'm OK with being on my own island there.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

The main problem I had with the Spears episode (other than the fact that Spears' music as catchy as it is never really plot driven and the numbers just felt like brilliant music videos with no direction; except for Stronger which was just weird) was the fact that the boys seemed way to fine with doing Brit when they created a stink about Madonna. Weird. And duh, Santana and Brittney beats Madonna and Brittany, especially because of Naya.

Re: Naya Rivera....I think I'm in love.

(Krause is getting on my nerves, but I'm trying to hold out hope. Monica Potter ended up growing on me.)

Joe Reid said...

Cam: I thought they made enough of a joke about how low-stakes the pop-n-lock competition was that the lack of a payoff felt like a payoff itself.

Andrew: With Monica Potter, that's just the thing. That marriage can have one of that person and I'm okay. These days it seems they're both being the same kind of neurotic.

Marshall1 said...

I was surprised about Raising Hope. It turns out to be the best new show so far on TV. Funny, unusual, and touching, it's what Running Wilde is trying to be. Can I say that show is the worst? No, absolutely NO laugh from me. What a waste of Will Arnett and Keri Russell. I gave it a try and I think I'm done with it. People liked it better than Raising Hope because they wanna looked cool because it's from the creators of Arrested Development (Ken Tucker.....etc).

I think I also prefer last week episode of 30 Rock, but shall I say it is still fresh after 4, FOUR seasons. It's already better than the start of last season. I hope the show keeps it up!

Yeah, Britney episode bores me to death. The only good thing is having the spotlight shines on Heather Morris. I hope she does Keisha next.

SP said...

Here's what makes me nervous about the shining bit of awesome in the dullness of the Glee episode -- did they just establish that Brittany only dances like that in her dreams? Was "Slave" a song-length middle-finger to those of us who want to see her dancing more?

Tom said...

I was fine with most of the Britney stuff because of the way it was presented. The only thing I've been really annoyed with this season is Telephone. I really could do without auto-tuning two people who absolutely don't need it. Which is part of a larger problem this season in that a -lot- of the arrangements are getting lazy.

Roommate Mark said...

Joe, are you actively opposed to Ken Jeong, or do you just find him kind of a non-entity. I'm in the latter camp, so his presence on the show doesn't bother me. Also, for me, the story about Winger's return to his asshole lawyer environment was pretty delightful: Sure, it was yet another iteration of the "Jeff (sort of) finds a heart" motif, but seeing him in his original context was fun. I feel like we learn more about the characters when we get to see them exist outside of Greendale.

Also... I'm really on board with everything on 30 Rock except this story about Kenneth trying to sneak back into the page program. I know they've written themselves into a corner at this point, but they need to get out of it soon. It's two clicks beyond the "lightly fantastic" tone of the series and strains believability.
Also... would it be possible to kill of Scott Adsit's character? He's been my least favorite since season one.

That said, the show is still rocking my world and making me laugh out loud.

Like you, I'm also really enjoying "Raising Hope." It's my favorite new comedy of the year. My favorite new drama, of all things, is "Blue Bloods." If you've got space for it, I'd definitely give it a chance.

DuchessKitty said...

TOTALLY agree with your sentiments re: Adam and/or Peter Krause's portrayal of him on Parenthood. Everything he does just has an "A-hole tinge" to it that really makes him unsympathetic.

I just got caught up this weekend with this new season of 30 Rock and belly-laughed throughout. Although I agree with Roommate Mark that the writers have kind of messed up Kenneth's story arc and they just need to rip the bandaid on it and get him back on track.

I feel like I'm the only person that truly enjoyed the hell out of last week's "Britney/Britanny" episode. I definitely feel like the only person over 30 who did so. The only thing I missed was a chance to see my boyfriend John Stamos sing or dance.
I guess I just feel like too many people are taking Glee too seriously. Why can't we occasionally have episodes that are essentially nothing more than a series of clever music videos strung together? As long as they don't make a habit of it I'm happy to be along for the ride.

Jon said...

I'm with you on Ken Jeong. I didn't mind him so much as the insane teacher and occasional nemesis. But he's best in small doses. And it's hard to accept a descent into madness when he was already pretty insane.

Jenn said...

@DuchessKitty - I'm with you on "Glee." I think a lot of people take a lot of TV shows too seriously. I watch for entertainment and try not to get caught up in the details. I enjoy "Glee" for what it is - a light-hearted show with some more serious moments that lets some really talented people shine.

Kaitlyn said...

THANK you for your comments on Ken Jeong, with which I totally agree. I'm seeing lots of recaps that talk about how HI-larious Senor Chang is and I've never felt that way. This new emphasis on him worries and annoys me.

He worked when he had some power over them but now that that's taken away he's just annoying.