What I Watched This Week: 5 Jan 2014

The Simpsons – “Steal This Episode” (A-)
Homer becomes a (bootleg movie) pirate in the strongest episode since 2011. There are no subplots and no couch gags, but the episode crams in the guest stars in a hilarious takedown of Hollywood and the FBI’s anti-piracy stances. This season has been consistently good, but I’d love to see more great episodes like this.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Pontiac Bandit” (A-)
Craig Robinson proves to be the best guest star the show has had on yet, proving to have great chemistry with both Andy Samberg and Stephanie Beatriz as they try to track down the titular thief, who turns out to be Robinson himself. Plus, Andre Braugher held puppies the entire episode. That’s almost enough for an A in and of itself.

Modern Family – “And One to Grown On” (B+)
Nothing groundbreaking or especially heartwarming here, but this is the show on its best plateau: when it’s doing familiar stories without coasting through them. And I actually enjoyed Cam and Mitch’s vicarious bickering. It was snarky without being grating. Your mileage may vary.

Community – “Basic Intergluteal Numismatics” (B)
I loved this spot-on parody of any number of procedurals until an abrupt announcement that Pierce is dead, which feels like a sour note to end Chevy Chase’s departure on. But we had Chang walking around backwards the whole episode in a creepy Chang costume so I can’t knock it down too many points for being vindictive.

Parks and Recreation – “Second Chunce” (A-)
Another strong episode, and maybe the most pivotal of the season. When Leslie got determined to run for re-election after just being voted out of office, I got worried this would turn into Crazy Season One Leslie (who also popped up in “The Treaty” and “Smallest Park”) but thankfully her friends talked her out of it. She’s too good for this town and we have an interesting blank canvas upon which to paint the rest of Season Six (and an increasingly likely Season Seven).

The Spoils of Babylon – “The Foundling” (B) / series premiere
This Funny or Die-produced spoof of ’70s and ’80s miniseries is right up my alley. I just wish it was funnier. Still, I’m excited to see how Val Kilmer and Michael Sheen fit into this madness.

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