Sunday, May 15, 2011

TV Report: 5/9-5/13

Here are my thoughts from this past week's TV. So many shows are having their finales or penultimate episodes! Exciting times for a TV viewer.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER - The penultimate episode of the season effectively ended the Arcadian/Zoey arc and even though I didn't actively hate this arc like many people did, I'm still relieved it's over. Zoey just never really clicked with the rest of the characters or the arc itself felt tonally dissonant from the more effective storylines of Barney reconnecting with his dad or Marshall dealing with his father's death. So that's two below average episodes in a row. Hopefully tomorrow's season finale will give the show it's high note to end on.

CASTLE - The case of the week was nothing special (a pageant contestant is murdered) but it was great seeing Michael McKean and Sasha Roiz guest star as potential suspects. Loving the slight forward movement on Castle/Beckett via Alexis/Ashley dealing with the future of their relationship. Tomorrow's finally looks ALL KINDS of intense.

GLEE - Like most episodes of this show, there are plenty to praise and plenty to complain about. Part of the latter stuff includes the shoddy development and inadequate build up of Mercedes' and even Dave's situations making their albeit heartfelt scenes feel a tad unearned. And as much as I love Jonathan Groff, I didn't really miss Jesse. With all of this said, I do want to give props to the queer characters--Kurt's reaction to being named prom queen, Dave's sincere apology to Kurt, Santana and Brittany yet again hashing out their feelings for one another, Blaine being Blaine, etc.

THE GOOD WIFE - Kalinda/Alicia is probably the closest thing to an OTP on this show, so this episode hurt like a mofo. The scene in Alicia's office where Alicia pretty much throws Kalinda out was heartbreaking as was Kalinda's breakdown in the elevator. And as much as it pains me, it makes some DAMN good drama as well as changing these two characters by forcing both to essentially become a hardened versions of themselves. We see that in Alicia's aggression in court and with Jackie (their scenes together were fantastic as well) and in Kalinda becoming more resolve to be as shut off as ever.

MODERN FAMILY - Phil and Claire switch their traditionally good cop/bad cop roles and so much hilarity ensues. Of course both of them take it too far to the detriment of the children, but how hilarious the results were! Mitchell trying to decide whether or not to go to a Lady Gaga concert even though Cam is sick also had its moments esp. the ending with he is caught. The Jay/Gloria dog plot line fell flat to me even with the presence of guest star Lin Manuel Miranda.

COUGAR TOWN - A bit of a disjointed episode, but it still managed to work in the end. Travis is depressed and so OF COURSE he ends up in a strip club not only with both of his parents, but his grandfather as well. The laughs were there, but I really liked the heart these four brought to this storyline. Ellie dealing with Andy's sister-in-law's flirting with Andy by being mean to Laurie also gave them some bonding moments and real life couple Nia Vardalos and Ian Gomez were a hoot. Best scene though has to be Laurie acting as a "live note" and then proceeding to uncannily imitating Bobby.

HAPPY ENDINGS - Two episodes again which makes it difficult to review in my usual short snippet kind of way. My favorite character Max had to deal with his overly picky way of dating guys in the first episode and him actually having feelings for a new guy in the second. Too bad the latter relationship wasn't meant to be as the end tag made it seem like they broke it off. The other MVP this week to me was Brad as he hilariously partnered up with Penny in the first episode accidentally getting a waiter fired (and dumped and made homeless) and then competing with super competitive Jane in an interview-off; both ultimately using their sexuality to no success. Yay for this show's renewal!

BIG BANG THEORY - Not a bad episode, but until we found out that Howard's mom was only suffering from food poisoning, the seriousness of her possibly heart attack didn't mesh well with the comedy the cast was involved in. I didn't expect them to go all-out somber, but it all still felt a bit off. I also didn't find Sheldon's germophobia and subsequent containment funny. The Priya-Penny tete-a-tete was a long time coming though.

COMMUNITY - The season finale closes out the paintball storyline that began last week as we find out that this whole thing was a ruse by rival City College to get the students of Greendale to destroy their own school. Thematically speaking, last week's Western motif worked better than this week's Star Wars homage, but the action was still quite epic. The centerpiece of it all really was Pierce and his relationship with the school/his study group. Soon after he is shunned by the group, he saves the school and is welcomed back only for him to leave them on his own volition. It was a nice capper to the season-long storyline and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next season with Pierce and the rest of them.

PARKS & RECREATION - Perfect show is perfect. The first episode where everyone got drunk from Tom's latest venture, Snakejuice, was pure hilarity even though it gave us Leslie and Ann's first fight. They made up in the end, but not before Ann lets it slip to Ben that Leslie likes him. Segue to the next episode where Ben and Leslie have to endure spending time together even though they know they can't act on their feelings. Of course, this doesn't work and what proceeds is about 15-20 minutes of awesome flirting and confessing and everything. Chris acting as the ultimate cockblocker for most of the episode also worked since it made the payoff of Leslie and Ben having their first kiss all the sweeter. This episode also had April serenade Andy and Ron bonding with a little girl. Again, perfect show is perfect. Baba booey!

SMALLVILLE - And just a quick note on this show's series finale even though I stopped watching regularly years ago. Lots of the emotional stuff that involved Clark and his parents and his past worked for me, because that's when I was still watching the show. Everything else... from Lutessa to Darkseid to Green Arrow to Dark Omega to even his marriage to Lois... felt at best exposition-heavy and at worst deux ex machina-like. Even the big Lex-Clark reunion felt off. The seven-year jump in order for the story line to sort of match up with DC canon is a little suspect, but using that Superman score at the end was perfect. Overall, I still can't believe this show lasted 10 seasons, but congrats to all involve.

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