What I Watched This Week: 14 Jan 2018

Saturday Night Live – “Sam Rockwell/Halsey” (B+)
One of the show’s most consistent episodes in a while, with Rockwell gamely playing whatever was required of him. Unsurprisingly, its reliance on pre-filmed bits was a major factor.

Crashing – “The Atheist” (A-) / season premiere
Starts like later seasons of a lot of HBO comedies, with everything sucking for our protagonist. But a mid-episode conversation with Penn Jillette about the uncertainty of religion is one of the best things the show has ever done, and that life-changing moment for Pete sends him in search of any sort of connection. It ends with a sexual encounter he will almost certainly make awkward the next morning, but it was nice for something good to happen to him.

This Is Us – “Clooney” (B)
A decently written, well-acted episode that was also completely pointless, save for one dramatic shot of a smoke detector at the end (dammit).

The Good Place – “Rhonda, Diana, Jake and Trent” (A)
Boldly going where they’ve never gone before: the actual Bad Place, the show delivers its funniest and most heartfelt episode of the season. On top of that, its ridiculously attractive cast looked even more attractive as their Bad Place alter egos.

Community (Season 5) – “Cooperative Polygraphy” (A)
Almost certainly the best episode after the Season 3 finale, this goodbye to Pierce (and the start of a goodbye to Troy) is the show at its best: rapid-fire jokes, excellently deployed guest stars (Walton Goggins, in an early showcase of his comedic chops) and a heartfelt conclusion that reminds us why we love these characters. And “the obligatory semen.”

The Simpsons (Season 3) – “Homer at the Bat” (A)
Frankly, most of the cast is dead wrong. This is an all-time classic episode with some of the best guest stars the show has ever assembled. Now get rid of those sideburns!

Springfield of Dreams (B-)
A fun look back at “Homer at the Bat,” but it’s wildly unnecessary and certainly didn’t need to be an hour long.

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