The Simpsons (Season 7)
“Much Apu About Nothing” (A)
Though it aired in 1997, this episode perfectly captures the ongoing immigration “debate” and the stupid rhetoric of “hard-working Americans.”
The Wire (Season 1)
“One Arrest” (A)
Much like last week’s terrific break in the case, the details continue to come together and maybe this outfit might get their man. And then of course Rawls has to be an asshole and it all might come crashing down. “Every man has a code,” Bunk says. But codes don’t always have to be abided by, as Daniels proves when he lets his crew beat a perp senseless after an unsuccessful interrogation.
Undeclared (Season 1)
“Hell Week” (B+)
Like most rape-revenge movies (think The Last House on the Left), seeing horrors inflicted upon our protagonists is painful, but thrilling to seem inflict those same horrors on the villains. Even if that villain was once Neil from Freaks and Geeks.
“Truth or Dare” (A-)
Unless they’re totally absurd (like Arrested Development or Happy Endings), all sitcoms have what I’d call the “No Turning Back” episode. Even after the guys’ attempt at a scripted Truth or Dare goes awry for most of the group, it works out for nice guys Ron and Steven. The latter’s perfectly unromantic, unpretentious kiss with Lizzie is a microcosm of what made this show great: it makes its big moments small.
Blackadder (Season 2)
The Being in Two Places at Once trope is as old as situation comedy. But this is a perfect example of how to pull it off hilariously. Bonus points for satirizing religious extremism much better than Season One’s “The Archbishop.”
A perfectly acceptable finale, but it’s a little hard to get any more juice out of The Spanish Inquisition when Monty Python and Mel Brooks beat you to it. But Hugh Laurie’s terrifically sniveling usurper saves the day by injecting a little venom into the proceedings. Shades of Dr. Gregory House?
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