What I Watched This Week: 13 Nov 2016

The Simpsons – “Havana Wild Weekend” (B+)
Another solid travel episode, though it gets way too real in its opening minutes. Grampa heads to the VA hospital since the nursing home can’t help him. Lisa asks, “Aren’t those America’s shame?” Homer responds: “A lot of things are America’s shame, honey.” So the family hightails to Cuba (for the second time in the show’s history… they’ve officially run out of places to set episodes) for their free medical care, vibrant jazz scene and abundant horse meat.

The Mindy Project – “Revenge of the Nurse” (B+)
Despite name-dropping Janet Maslin, this episode’s not necessarily a cut above any of the others. I’m kind of resigned to the fact that this show will never take a leap. It’s consistently funny, which is certainly something, but it never grows deeper and Mindy still seems way too flighty and impatient when it comes to relationship stuff. You’d think she’d have matured a little bit by now.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Monster in the Closet” (A-)
Wedding episodes are usually trash, unless they seriously subvert expectations (see Everybody Loves Raymond‘s flashback ep or any Happy Endings season finale). So I was glad that this turned into a non-wedding between Rosa and Adrian, but still found time to get half the squad drunk and show Hitchcock & Scully actually succeed at something. It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve had a new episode, so I’m glad it returned on solid footing.

This Is Us – “The Best Washing Machine in the World” (B+)
The greatness of the show lies in knowing that things eventually getting resolved, but flashing back to see how resentments began to fester. It’s sharp writing and terrific acting. It may never become one of the best shows on television, but it’s still consistent and winning.

Designated Survivor – “The Traitor” (A-)
The show’s best episode yet, even as it’s started juggling a few more balls than it might be able to handle. (Kidnapping! Double agents! Mercenaries posing as prison guards!)

Dana Carvey: Straight White Male, 60 (C)
His impression-heavy first half is a drag, but when he gets into more stories about his life in the second half, the show takes off. As the Church Lady would almost say, “Well, isn’t that only sorta special?”

Saturday Night Live – “Dave Chappelle/A Tribe Called Quest” (A)
The best episode of the season by far, and I’m certain nothing will top it. I’m still conflicted about that cold open – it’s hard to buy the show being legitimately terrified at the prospect of a Trump presidency when they had him host just last year – but Kate McKinnon’s performance is straight and true. Luckily, Chappelle was on his A game, anchoring even the most absurd sketches.

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