The Simpsons – “Clown in the Dumps” (B) / season premiere
Yeah, Krusty’s dad died. Big whoop. Though Lisa’s increased attention to Homer is sweet, it’s not very well executed. The Jewish Heaven and depressed comedian stuff is much better, and proof a pretty good latter-day episode is good for at least one brilliant joke like “Even Portnoy’s got no complaints.”
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Undercover” (B+) / season premiere
It’s a good, solid season premiere, just not this show at its best. I think that might just be related to plotting, because all of the cast is operating at full speed. All hail Andre Braugher!
Family Guy – “The Simpsons Guy” (C) / season premiere
Certainly not soul-crushing, but not constantly hilarious either. And it definitely didn’t need to be an hour long. But the meta jokes work like gangbusters: “Last time we let a guy out on his own it didn’t work out so well.”
Key & Peele – “Season 4, Episode 1” (A) / season premiere
And that’s how it’s done. Featuring a ton of sketches in just 22 minutes, the guys again prove why they’re the best on the air. My favorite sketch was definitely the alien apocalypse, but the army drill sergeant was brutally funny as well. Not only is Key & Peele funnier than SNL, almost every sketch carries a social relevance. They’ll actually make you think, too. Glad you’re back, boys.
Saturday Night Live – “Chris Pratt/Ariana Grande” (C) / season premiere
And so season 40 begins with a whimper. Chris Pratt has shown tremendous improv skills on Parks and Recreation, and is the biggest star of the summer thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy. Too bad none of the sketches actually showed off his skills. But let’s give it up for Aidy Bryant, who killed it all night. I just wish the writers would give her another role to play besides “Freaky Plus-Size Woman.” And more Michael Che, please. Let’s just give him all the lines in Weekend Update and send Colin Jost back to the writers’ room.