The Simpsons – “Labor Pains” (B)
While having Homer actually be a good father, to someone else’s baby no less, is ripe for humor, this episode mostly goes the heartwarming route. There’s nothing wrong with that, but as always, it could have been a little funnier. This episode got bumped a point for two jokes that made me roll:
Moe, during what Homer thinks is a poker game: “Read ’em and weep, boys: the novels of Charlotte Bronte.”
Milhouse, at a football game: “These are great seats. You can hear the players swear from here.”
Player: “I’m gonna kick your ass, Milhouse!”
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Sal’s Pizza” (A)
I really love this show already. New pairings made for comic gold, plus Patton Oswalt as the douchey, incompetent fire chief. Yes, I would watch a spin-off of that. The quick wit on this show has almost filled the void left by Happy Endings.
David Blaine: Real or Magic (A-)
Think of this as his ’68 Comeback Special. After doing the same endurance shtick for years, people had grown weary of his act, if indeed they had thought about him at all. This special, which sees him performing mind-blowing but simple tricks in front of celebrities like Katy Perry and Bryan Cranston & Aaron Paul, puts him back on top as America’s foremost illusionist. Who knows how much of this is real. All I know is that all of it is entertaining.
Key & Peele – Season 3, Episode 10 (B+)
Only this show would do sketches about maybe the 8th most popular character in the Star Wars universe, a racially charged weather forecast AND rival jazz musicians. Key may be the better actor of the two (thanks to his theatrical roots), but Peele is pulling off far more diverse stuff. They’re a dynamic duo, indeed.
Modern Family – “ClosetCon ’13” (B+)
Somehow, the story that gives the episode its title is the least interesting of the three. Claire trying to discover her dad’s (nonexistent) history of philandering has nothing on the terrific Apollo 13 parody, or even Cam admitting he’s married to a guy to his bigoted grandmother. I wanted more time in Missouri, y’all.
The DVR lives for another week!
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “48 Hours” (A), “Old School” (B+)
The former was another knockout, with everyone pissed at Peralta for potentially jumping the gun on an arrest. Terry Crews was easily the MVP of this episode, reacting to the line that kept me laughing all night: “Tiny Terry loves his pickles.” The latter episode featured a great turn from Stacy Keach, but it ventured a little into the mean-spirited.
Parks and Recreation – “Filibuster” (A-), “Recall Vote” (A-)
Two civics-heavy episodes ended with a bombshell as Leslie was voted out of office. I’m not sure where the show will go from here, but it’s so funny and so joyful, I’ll follow it anywhere.
Saturday Night Live – “Lady Gaga” (B)
Once again, two dud sketches (the kids’ acting camp and the apartment board) kept it from greatness, but I still enjoyed this far more than expected. The Blockbuster Funeral has to be my favorite bit of the year.
The Simpsons – “Four Regrettings and a Funeral” (B-), “YOLO” (B)
The former had too many stories to spread the focus over, even though Kent’s was great. The latter takes a horrendous phrase and made it into the second-best episode of the year.
The Simpsons (Season 6) – “Lemon of Troy” (A)
Once again, I’m forced to wonder what I was thinking last year when I made my list of 10 best episodes. This was an absolutely flawless episode from top to bottom, and easily the best kid-focused episode of the series. I may be an idiot, but this episode is a classic. Nelson and Martin on Team Discovery Channel, someone’s attractive cousin, a glass of turnip juice. This Springfield vs. Shelbyville hall-of-famer has it all. “Eat all of our shirts!”