What I Watched This Week: 29 Sept 2013

Breaking Bad – “Felina” (A) / series finale
A fitting ending, even if we’ll be debating it for years to come. It’s cathartic and impressive and great finale for one of the greatest shows of all time. Read my full review later on this site.

Scandal – “It’s Handled” (C+) / season premiere
Easily the most frustrating show on the airwaves. There are moments, emotional beats in this show that call for subtlety and tenderness. That never happens. It’s all craziness all the time, and looking well-coiffed while being so crazy. It’s not enough that a conflict gets resolved in the course of the episode, there has to be at least two or three twists that pop up in the last 10 minutes. But at least I can say this: I am never, ever bored watching Scandal. (If you were wondering, yes I’m only watching this for my girlfriend.)

NTSF: SD: SUV:: – “How Piper Got Her Groove Initially” (B+)
A great send-up of origin stories and a comedic tour de force from June Diane Raphael, who too often gets ignored in the ensemble. Yes, the Alias get-up was sexy even as it was parodying the idea of “sexy secret agents.”

Arcade Fire Concert Special (B)
The songs are good, but the special was incredibly self-indulgent. Bring on the album!

NTSF: SD: SUV:: – “U-KO’d” (B-)
This double episode nails its Downton Abbey parody but the action stuff is a little tired and the Oliver Twist bits are a complete waste, even with Peter Serafinowicz. Karen Gillan, though, is proving to be this season’s MVP.

Freaks and Geeks (Season 1) – “Noshing and Moshing” (A-)
A dark and heartwrenching episode, focusing on two characters who seem most comfortable with who they are but actually have the most inner turmoil. Neil’s ventriloquism is painful to watch, because that’s not that funny anyway. It becomes even more melancholy when it’s revealed that it’s a coping mechanism for dealing with his dad’s infidelity. And while the sight of Daniel with spiked hair is never not funny, the expression on his face the whole episode is so weary you can’t help but feel sorry for him. High school is often about trying out new personae and no show has better captured that than Freaks and Geeks.

The Simpsons
(Season 6) – “Homer vs. Patty and Selma” (B)
Certainly the weakest episode of the season, but still features plenty of good moments like Patty and Selma getting thrown out of the Simpson house but being rescued at the DMV, and that incredible Mel Brooks cameo. The way we got there, with Homer becoming a chauffer felt too plotted to me, like they did it just for the Mel Brooks cameo. And Bart as a ballet dancer is pretty much a waste of time, but it does allow for one of his all-time great lines, spoken after Lisa tells him how proud she is of him, even after sustaining injuries by fleeing the bullies: “Why would you leave me here when I clearly need medical attention?”

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