Community – “Advanced Safety Features” (B+)
I’m constantly amazed how consistently solid this season has been. This episode found an ingenious way to incorporate product placement AND give a chance for an old character to resurface without feeling like a re-tread. Plus, Martin Mull and Lesley Ann Warren continue to be golden as Britta’s parents.
The Americans – “March 8, 1983” (A-) / season finale
Still too busy to wrap things up in satisfactory manner, The Americans still left us on the cliffhanger we all knew was coming: Paige outed her parents to Pastor Tim. This season’s been all about fake families, and Paige has found comfort and trust at her youth pastor’s home. Philip found it with Kimmy and Sandra, Henry with Stan. It’s also been about falling apart, and everyone’s felt that at one point or another this season. And now with the secret out, the show can move any direction it wants, not that it was boxed in before. Can’t wait for Season Four.
Louie – “Cop Story” (A-)
The pot luck episode brought back memories of a weird covered dish supper I inadvertently attended in college. But this episode, in which Louie reconnects with an old friend felt way too real. We all have that friend that we lost touch with because they were too immature and exhausting to hang out with. And when they come back and haven’t changed, it’s no fun. Michael Rapaport was terrific as usual.
The Following – “The Hunt” (B+), “Flesh & Blood” (B)
Increasingly ridiculous, since our mystery killer (Michael Ealy) is also the world’s most brilliant hacker, but at this point, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just Ryan Hardy kicking in doors and dreaming about Joe.
Louie – “A La Carte” (A-)
Three equally great vignettes that feel like a throwback to seasons past. Pamela Adlon continues to be the show’s best and most adeptly deployed weapon.
The Simpsons (Season 8) – “The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase” (A-)
Absolutely a fans only episode, which feels both like an Eff You to Fox and a chance for the writers to try something different. Chief Wiggum, P.I. works the best because it’s playing off a successful template. The Love-Matic Grampa and The Simpsons Smile-Time Variety Hour both suck, but only The Simpsons can make them suck this well.