@Midnight – Episode dated 10/21/2013 (B+) / series premiere
A seriously fun game show, though the format won’t last long. Three comedians use iPads to come up with funny answers to games like Etsy Store or Porn Title and make fun of videos like “Chinese Food.” Kumail Nanjiani continues to be the MVP of Comedy Central shows.
Key & Peele – Season 3, Episode 2 (B+)
What makes Key & Peele superior to, say, Saturday Night Live is that it takes recurring characters and themes and then drops them into someplace new. It doesn’t repeat itself in the same way and the same tone. This episode was filled with familiar faces but placed them in unfamiliar situations, and it still made for comedy gold.
The Michael J. Fox Show – “Neighbor” (C-)
Kill it with fire. What was once seamed creaky but had some promise has killed itself in sitcom tropes and sappiness. There are some bright moments, but they’re in service of tired stories that seemed cheesy when Mike was just a young Republican. Modern Family has found ways to make gold out of straw, but this show only bundles the straw together to make a crude wreath.
Parks and Recreation – “London” (B+) / season premiere
It’s funny to be sure, but starting to show its age a little bit. As much as I enjoy the presence of Peter Serafinowicz (he was the best part of Running Wilde), I just didn’t go for his Andy with Money routine. And, maybe this was a scheduling issue, but you can’t say Ron and Diane are going on their honeymoon to London and then not show Diane in London. Still, that ending packed an emotional wallop. Like Ron, I had to pretend I wasn’t getting misty.
Freaks and Geeks (Season 1) – “Discos and Dragons” (A-) / series finale
Even if Nick’s dance competition story doesn’t work for me, the emotions he goes through in just a few minutes always feels true. That’s why this show is one of the best ever. With the exception of John Hughes, few movies or shows ever capture the emotional rollercoaster of adolesence. It’s all gags or hooking up. But this show absolutely understands how painful and joyful high school can be. And even if it was perfect season finale that just happened to be a series finale, it provided the right amount of closure. Lindsey is going out this summer on a new path, even if it’s the wrong one.
The Simpsons (Season 6) – “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds” (A-)
Sure, it’s kind of a slight story, but it makes me laugh a lot and put a smile on my face. Plus it features the best musical number in the show’s history, bar none. I lit up like a regular Rory Calhoun.