The Simpsons: “A Test Before Trying” (B)
A perfect example of how this show has faded from its glory days is the how sharp the commentary on underfunded public schools used to be. Then again, we did get an image of Skinner being hanged. Could have done without the Homer subplot, even if it is his “first successful small business.”
Girls: “It’s About Time” (B-) / airs Sundays at 8pm CST on HBO
Lots to like and much to HATE in this episode. Check out my full review on the blog, which is where you’ll find my much longer reviews week-to-week.
Happy Endings: “Kickball 2: The Kickening” (B-), “The Ex Factor” (B+)
The former episode is a season two holdover, even though it feels like it’s from season one, when the show was still trying to find its voice. I appreciated its focus on one plot, but the jokes just weren’t as spot on. I liked the truly new episode much better, even if the Mark Paul Gosselar section felt tacked on, with a resolution arrived at as quickly as the subplot began. I could watch a .gif of the Max-Alex-Dave swivel interrogation all day.
Modern Family: “Party Crasher” (A-)
Aside from a closing voiceover that begins, “There are milestones in your life,” this was a near-perfect episode with plenty of laughs and one genuinely touching moment that didn’t beat you over the head with sweetness. Strangely, this also felt like a season or even series finale.
Kroll Show: “San Diego Diet” (B) / airs Wednesdays at 9:30pm CST on Comedy Central
As with any sketch show, its hit-and-miss but the ratio is pretty high. Favorite sketch was the Degrassi parody. This won’t be appointment viewing for me, but I’ll definitely stop to watch when it’s on. Also caught a few minutes of Workaholics before this. I still don’t get it.
Parks and Recreation: “Two Parties” (A-)
A surprisingly cameo-filled episode had plenty of genuinely sweet moments that proves no show takes friendship as seriously as NBC’s crown jewel. So glad this one’s back. I’d really missed it.
Legit: Pilot episode (A-) / airs Thursdays at 9:30pm CST on FX
How can a show this nasty be this sweet? I don’t know but Jim Jeffries pulls it off gloriously. Definitely going to be appointment viewing for me.
Best Week Ever: “Week of Jan. 13, 2013” (B) / airs Fridays at 10pm CST on VH-1
This was my absolute favorite show in high school. Sadly, the comedians who made it so hilarious week-in and week-out are no longer offering up their quips. The new bunch isn’t quite up to the task, but the format is intact and frequently hilarious. I give them a couple more episodes to get into the groove.
The Simpsons (Season 5): “Bart’s Inner Child” (B+)
One of my most frequently viewed episodes of my all-time favorite series is this one, featuring Springfield getting caught up (as they are wont to do) in a “Do What You Feel” craze. It’s not in the top tier of episodes, but it’s consistently funny, and one of many episodes where I didn’t realize the hilarious first 7 minutes are tied to the remaining fifteen. Favorite throwaway line: that the Do What You Feel festival replaces the “Do As We Say festival, started by German settlers in 1946.”
Happy Endings (Season 3): “Cazsh Dummy Spillionaires” (A-)
Re-watched this episode with a buddy who hadn’t watched any of season three. As expected, I discovered tons of jokes I had missed the first time. Example: I knew Max lied to Penny’s doctor, saying she had gone on a trip to Bolivia, but completely missed his reason: “Turns out her body cast is perfect for narco trafícando.” Also realized that much like Arrested Development’s third season, it’s really upping the inappropriate jokes, like Jane repeatedly telling newly unemployed Brad, “I am gonna come so hard home to see you.”