Sunday, October 30, 2011

TV Report: Weekly Comedy Rankings

Still not a complete slate of comedies, but that should change this upcoming week with November sweeps already underway. With Halloween tomorrow, most shows wisely chose to air their Halloween episode this past week, because doing it after Halloween would be a bit lame.

1. Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps (Community) - After taking last week off, Community is back at the top with yet another imaginative episode only their show could've tackled. Like their last new episode, the show contained seven mini-stories, this time the each of the gang telling their version of a scary story all prompted by psych major Britta wanting to figure out who amongst them is the homicidal maniac per the results of the psych test she forced them all to take earlier. The stories themselves were hilarious. My favorite was Shelley's Rapture-influenced tale containing Dean Pelton in a devil-in-drag costume (love).

2. Noretta (How I Met Your Mother) - Not a Halloween episode (they'll have theirs tomorrow), but it's still a really hilarious, albeit supremely disturbing, episode. I say disturbing because most of the plot dealt with the characters imagining their significant others as their parents. The best has got to be when both Marshall and Lily realized that they married a version of their father and the awesomeness of seeing them try to make out. With that said, this episode really racked up the guest stars with Frances Conroy and Wayne Brady as Barney's mom and brother, Christine Rose as Ted's mom, Bill Fagerbakke as Marshall's dad, Chris Elliot as Lily's dad, and Weird Al Yankovic... not to mention recurring characters Nora and Kevin.

3. Spooky Endings (Happy Endings) - This episode was worth it if only to see Penny and Max dressed up as mom and child. Seeing Max try to manipulate the mechanical baby hands was truly awesome. Brad and Jane was saddled with house sitting in the suburbs which initially worried me, but good comedy was mined from the aggressive trick-or-treaters. Finally, I actually loved the parallel stories of Dave and Alex. Both were single on Halloween finally getting to dress in their non-couple costumes only for Dave's Austin Powers getting mistaken for Elton John which sort of matches Alex's Marilyn Monroe. Also Alex getting mistaken for a man? Good stuff.

4. Halloween (Suburgatory) - The kids storyline worked out better for men than the adults. The latter was George trying to convince Dallas that being scared on Halloween is a must. Some good moments, but Tessa being possibly possessed storyline by the "dead" prior occupant of her room engaged me more. The exorcism scene was a howl. Mostly I enjoyed the episode because the end, with George and Tessa scaring the neighborhood kids with their epic Halloween display on their yard, was one of the rare times we see them both happy about their new situation.

5. Meet 'n' Greet (Parks and Recreation) - Disappointed isn't the exact word I would use, because to be honest this show can still do no wrong. I think I just had too high of an expectation for this episode. Most of the Halloween stuff, with Andy and April throwing a party at their house (to Ben's chagrin) was fantastic. Certainly the Ron/Ann interaction was golden. But then Chris' continued oblivious act when it comes to Jerry and his feelings about dating his daughter didn't feel right and while I appreciated the Ben/Andy "fight" I expect more to come from it. The Tom/Leslie B-plot with Leslie meeting the town's business owners didn't jive with the Halloween-centric episode, but was largely saved by Tom's touching montage video in the end. Just happy that the whole 720 venture is done. Now I need more Ben/Leslie scenes together. STOP KEEPING THEM APART, WRITERS.

6. Spooked (The Office) - A few noteworthy moments such as the skeleton dance, Dwight's montage of weapon-centric geeky costumes, and Robert weaving a truly epic and scary tale in the end using all of their deepest fears were had, but for the most part I've seen them do better. It was definitely a great showcase for Ellie Kemper as she tries to live in a "used to date the boss" kind of way.

7. The Good Guy Fluctuation (Big Bang Theory) - If I didn't know anything about the show and just saw the episode for what it was, this probably would've ranked higher, but I'm not a big fan of episodes where the gang gangs up on Sheldon. This is probably weird since most episodes ARE like that, but this past week's episode felt a bit more mean-spirited in that regards and those I'm just uncomfortable with. It really went too far towards the end when he thought he caused Howard to get a heart attack and then inadvertently shocked himself in the end. It wasn't funny. Yes, he got the last laugh in the end with a brilliant "zombie coming forth from the couch" gag, but even that felt mean-spirited back as Leonard was going through something really personal.

8. And the Disappearing Bed (2 Broke Girls) - I bet if the rest of the shows didn't air their Halloween episodes, this might be ranked a spot or two higher, but here it is in the bottom of the pack this week with a fairly forgettable episode. I'm actually a bit tired talking about this show because it's the same every week. I love the parts when it's just the two girls talking and learning about each other and I conveniently forget about anything else. I think this episode had the requisite "nine inches" kind of humor, so there's that.

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