The Simpsons – “Springfield Splendor” (B+)
A truly delightful episode, as Lisa’s art therapy becomes a best-selling graphic novel and then a truly disastrous musical. There’s plenty of great gags about amateur psychiatry, comic book fandom and overblown Broadway productions. But more importantly, it’s sweet and gives Marge a chance to shine. “You could say it’s writ Marge!” “Yeah, but you shouldn’t.”
Curb Your Enthusiasm – “The Pickle Gambit” (B+)
Another ep that’s longer than a half-hour, but earns its runtime. Larry inadvertently injures Funkhauser’s nephew, gets kicked out of a hotel by Jim Rash and offends the consul of Iran. Pret-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay good.
The Mindy Project – “Jeremy and Anna’s Meryl Streep Costume Party” (B+)
An episode greater than the sum of its parts. The centerpiece party is among the best things the show has ever done. And though I’m a little skeptical of Jody having a Grinch’s-heart-growing-three-sizes-and-breaking-the-heart-measuring-device moment by giving women without insurance free healthcare, his banter with Morgan was priceless. And Beth Grant’s good enough to pull off a sub-plot about an abandoned kid, even if Mindy lusting after him doesn’t quite work.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Kicks” (B+)
A sharp reset episode that has everything you could want: Jake and Boyle solving a case, Holt being both supportive and stoic, and Rosa and Adrien being gross. Though I’m curious if their break-up is actually good for the show, or just means that Jason Mantzoukas is busy.
This Is Us – “Déjà Vu” (B-)
Some strong scenes, but I worry about what this means for the direction of the show. Telegraphing the weakest character’s (and weakest actor’s) upcoming painkiller addiction is certainly timely, but I don’t think they’re up to the task. And the Pearsons fostering could be good for commenting on privileged kids, but will probably just serve for lots of scenes of their foster daughter throwing things and then crying while a parent hugs them. This show could easily be stretched to the limits and start to fray, so I hope they can rise to the challenge their making for themselves.
Good Behavior (Season 1) – “So You’re Not an English Teacher” (A-)
An outstanding pilot, though I’m very curious how they’ll sustain this week-to-week. It will almost certainly be a con-of-the-week/hit-of-the-week set-up, which means the intensity probably won’t be as strong. But the acting and cinematography are likely good enough to keep me interested.