The Simpsons – “The Fabulous Faker Boy” (C)
Shows like Modern Family tend to add superfluous subplots. Those are easy enough to film. But on The Simpsons? You have to animate all that. I just don’t get it. This season is ending on a very weak note. Maybe next season should just be 13 episodes?
Pete Holmes: Nice Try, The Devil (A-)
It’s not just his ultra-white persona that endears me to Pete Holmes, it’s his sincere and somewhat unique exploration of religion that infiltrates his stand-up. He needs to stop laughing at his own jokes, but he’s becoming a stronger comedian every day.
Modern Family – “Games People Play”Pre-empted for coverage of deadly tornadoes in the DFW area.
Hannibal – “Fromage” (B)
The killer-on-killer brawl is pretty silly, but up until then, this is the most intense episode the show has ever done. Please please please renew this, NBC.
Saturday Night Live – “Ben Affleck/Kanye West” (A-) / season finale
Nearly every sketch worked like gangbusters, though I will forever be confused by whatever post-racial performance art/rant session thing Kanye was doing. This finale also served as a fitting, moving send-off for its two greatest utility players, Bill Hader and Fred Armisen. It wasn’t a narcissistic victory lap like what Kristen Wiig received, just a fond farewell for its longest-tenured cast members.
Onion News Empire (A-)
Satire will be hard to maintain over the course of a series, but this Newsroom parody is spot-on.
Alpha House (A-)
This Garry Trudeau-created series should be more of an equal-opportunity offender like The Onion, but still has a great deal of sharpness to it. And I could be seeing things, but there’s some depth here, too.
Maron – “Dead Possum” (B)
My problem with this show is its aggressive mediocrity. I liked his assistant (Josh Brener), but there’s nothing special about this show at all. I’m beginning to think maybe Marc’s life is better suited to podcasting than TV? I’ll give it one final shot with the next episode, when Judd Hirsch shows up as Marc’s dad.
Al Madrigal: Why is the Rabbit Crying? (B+)
This very funny stand-up special proves that maybe he’s the next breakout guy from The Daily Show. If only Free Agents would have stuck around long enough to let him prove that.
The Simpsons (Season 5) – “Secrets of a Successful Marriage” (A-) / season finale
A little more disjointed than I remember it, but to me this is the best of the Homer-and-Marge-on-the-rocks episodes. Also, I’m really going to miss Nathan Rabin’s reviews of this show. Best of luck in future endeavors, sir.
Firefly (Season 1) – “Jaynestown,” “Out of Gas” (average: A)
This pair of episodes exemplifies why this show retains such a glistening reputation. The former is a hilarious meditation on folk heroes and blind faith. The latter is the most moving episode of the series thus far.
Sports Night (Season 1) – “Dana and the Deep Blue Sea,” “Sally” (average: A-)
These two episodes are really the turning point of this show going from good to great. Powerful moments in both episodes, with the first warming your heart and the latter completely gutting you.