Saturday Night Live – “Will Ferrell/Chris Stapleton” (B)
I’m grading this on a curve, since that’s a requirement for a show that can vary wildly from week to week and sketch to sketch. Ferrell is arguably the greatest performer to ever come from the show, and while he’s committed and game in every single bit, there wasn’t any one sketch that had me holding my sides. His Bush was solid (and had more teeth than some of their political sketches) and nothing was outright terrible, yet I couldn’t help but feeling that he could have given us a little bit more.
Crashing – “Bill Burr” (B+)
An entertaining, provocative episode about male friendship and controversial jokes. Were they not both comedians, there’s no way Pete and Bill would hang out in real life. But both need each other to blow off steam, even if it’s just for a few days.
Waco – “The Strangers Across the Street” (B)
A step back from the strong premiere. It’s through no fault of John Leguizamo or the cast, but the writing is both repetitive and seems to stall to get to the inevitable showdown that will play out over the last four episodes.
The Good Place – “Somewhere Else” (A-) / season finale
Though it’s the first episode that felt like it needed to be double-length, it sets up (yet another) thrilling new direction for next season.
“Catfish” (A-) / series premiere
“Teacher Jail” (B+)
“Burning Miles” (A-)
A sharp but sweet series, even if it won’t admit the latter. It already knows its voice, and while it could be called mean-spirited, that nastiness is never directed at the kids. Glenn Howerton is aces, even if he’s just doing a variation on Dennis Reynolds, and Patton Oswalt is just as good as his hapless principal. Now, I just have to wait until March to get a new episode.
Waco – “Visions and Omens” (A-)
A mesmerizing premiere that delivers two strong protagonists: the charming David Koresh (Taylor Kitsch, finally finding another suitable role) and the straight-arrow negotiator (Michael Shannon, more subdued than usual) who will eventually collide. Both men view themselves as righteous men in a corrupt world, but as we’ll see, neither is pure.
Community (Season 4) – “Herstory of Dance” (A-)
By far the best episode of Season 4, with a wonderful (and sadly never reprised) guest appearance by Brie Larson as the perfect match for Abed. But of course the Sophie B. Hawkins Dance is one of the best gags the show ever did.
Parks and Recreation (Season 3) – “Flu Season” (A)
One of the series’ best episodes. Not only does it feature some of the show’s best lines, it also finds every single character being more open-hearted than they had ever been before. Just a delight to watch, even if I felt like Chris while I watched it.