Louie – “Elevator, Part 2” (A-), “Elevator, Part 3” (B+)
Louie is one of those rare shows where the A-story is good but is overflowing with great stuff in the periphery. I can’t think of another show that would have staged his daughter’s explanation of her bad day, and the ensuing argument with her mom/Louie’s ex, the way this show did. It’s not an Important Monologue (though the show nailed one last week), but rather a crescendo of frustration. I’m also intrigued by the re-appearance of Pamela, who suddenly doesn’t seem like the firecracker Louie was so hung up on for two seasons.
Modern Family – “The Wedding (Part 2)” (B+) / season finale
Oh my, the feels! This one wasn’t a laugh riot, and it was too busy for its own good (a problem this show has no intention of fixing), but it was worth five seasons for those last five minutes. This actually could have served as a perfectly bittersweet series finale (if it wasn’t a ratings juggernaut).
The Americans – “Echo” (A) / season finale
It seemed as if everything wrapped up a little too neatly, but then we got devastating reveal after devastating reveal. As I wrote over on Screen Invasion, this is the best drama on TV and it continued to pull the rug out from under us in its final 10 minutes. I can’t wait for Season 3.
Hannibal – “Mizumono” (A) / season finale
Words can’t even express all the emotions I’m feeling right now. Bravo, everyone.
Hannibal – “Tome-wan” (A-)
Mason Verger gets dealt with in a creepier, better way than Hannibal (the movie). Though this sadly means less Michael Pitt, I love the way that he, as a pawn controlled by both Hannibal and Will, has essentially become an albatross for both of them. Who will be saved from drowning?
Saturday Night Live – “Andy Samberg/St. Vincent” (B+)
A few too many cameos prop up some weak sketches, but I loved how weird it was willing to go. That summer camp sketch really floored me. It’s something they should go to any time they think they should be doing something about teenage girls, which is usually a bad decision. As always, pre-filmed sketches go a long way, longer than some of the improv-leaning recurring bits. Please please please let Bill Hader host the 40th season premiere.
Modern Family (Season 4) – “Games People Play” (B)
This was the one episode of the show I had actually never seen before. It was… OK.
The Office (Season 5) – “Stress Relief” (A)
Turns out my sister, whom I visited last weekend in Denver, has never really seen The Office. So I showed her my all-time favorite, an hour-long ep that nails all its jokes (of which there are many) and the gooey center inside. Yes, I still teared up when Pam talked about her parents.
The Simpsons (Season 7) – “Homer the Smithers” (A)
Another great entry from the legendary John Swartzwelder. Every joke from beginning to end lands, whether it’s the drag-race announcer talking about a fundraiser for Lance Murdock’s cirrhosis to Smithers’ vacation spot to Homer’s ineptitude in the kitchen to the revelation that Mr. Burns’ mother had an affair with President Taft. It’s not a particularly sweet episode, but it bats 1.000.