Sunday, February 26, 2012

TV Report: Week of 2/19

Happy Oscar Day everyone! But before we all get caught up on who's wearing who and which silent French films are winning what, just a few thoughts on some of the TV I saw this past week.

For the Love of New York City

Both The Good Wife and Smash are shot in New York City though the first show uses NYC as a stand-in for Chicago. In any case, both clearly love to take advantage of this. With Smash it's all about featuring locale haunts such as Cloister Cafe or just walking near Broadway's famed Shubert Alley. With The Good Wife, it's the casting. Just this week alone the guest stars included Jonathan Groff, John Benjamin Hickey, Rita Wilson, Parker Posey, Edward Hermann, Denis O'Hare, Teal Wicks, and Amy Sedaris. Whew! You'd think all of those guest stars would suffocate an episode, but not The Good Wife where the bulk of the story dealt with Will's last case before his forced six-month suspension. I'm intrigued what this means for Will now.

As for Smash, it had its weakest episode yet perhaps due to unremarkable songs (though I think I liked the original "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" duet in the end) or perhaps due to some tired plot developments. The episode started well enough with Jaffrey and Davenport having a bit of macho Brit-off and Huston throwing drinks at her ex-husband's face never got tired, but then we got into Iowa and I fell asleep only to be awakened by Kat McPhee doing cringe-worthy country. More sleepy developments... Julia of course had a thing with the new DiMaggio (who is dreamy I give her that) and Ellis is channeling his inner All About Eve. Which brings me back to The Good Wife. Is Caitlin also up to no good? Team Ivy! Team Alicia!

A Very, Very, Very, Special Episode of Glee

Teen suicide. Check. Teen marriage. Check. Texting and driving. Check. Since Regionals was apparently not big enough to devote an entire episode to, Glee's writers decided to just throw the kitchen sink of PSAs into this episode. Spoiler Alert: It didn't turn out well. I have nothing but praise for Max Adler's heartbreaking portrayal of a depressed teen forced into committing suicide, but Glee's inconsistency (see their handling of Santana's coming out for example) and inappropriate reactions (Kurt's reaction toward Quinn) made it all frustrating. The Rachel/Finn marriage is something I never cared about and that ridiculous cliffhanger with Quinn getting hit by a truck was sensationalistic at its worst. Most of the songs were damn forgettable with the exception of the Troubletones fantastic rendition of Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger." Oh and Sue's pregnant. Sigh.

Sitcom Lightning Round...

Most of the sitcoms this week ranged from good to great with my least favorite episode coming from a show that's almost always my favorite. How I Met Your Mother handled the Robin/Ted (and Barney) thing quite nicely, though I was worried that Marshall and Lily were cast in a bit of a negative light here with their long-term bets. Cougar Town was pretty great if only for the sad zipline and staged murders, but I just continue to love the relationship between every character. New Girl, which is now a much better show than it was early in the season, delivers another good one with Jess becoming tougher (as a teacher) and Schmidt/Cece blooming slowly (while Nick/Julia wilts).

Suburgatory showcased two of my favorite supporting players this TV season, Allie Grant and Carly Chaikin, with the latter making me LOL at her detailed plan for revenge against Tessa. Modern Family was a bit mixed since the Cam and Mitch/Jay stuff didn't really work for me, but everything else was great especially Manny and Luke "driving" and the whole doll/virgin metaphor. Not the best episode of Happy Endings even though Elisha Cuthbert continues to surprise me at how funny she is and Max's bear stunt was inexplicably hilarious to me. 30 Rock had a great concept (Leap Year Holiday) and some fantastic acting throughout and yet something still didn't click for me. Parks and Rec probably had it's weakest episode in years as the Tom/Ann relationship is pretty dull, Jerry's party kind of blew, and Leslie realizing she needs to take a break was a bit shrug-worthy.

Fringe Giveth and Taketh Away

This was a huge episode for Fringe (which to be honest is in the brink of cancellation based on its ratings). Not only did we get A LOT of information regarding the Observers, but because things seem to be reaching a climax in terms of realizing the absolute tragedy that Peter's erasure and comeback to the timeline has done. All of them are dealing with their lives being rewritten, erased, etc. and that is wreaking havoc on all of them emotionally. Joshua Jackson again is doing his best work on the show right now and his final scene with Anna Torv was one of the most heartbreaking scenes of the series. Torv for her part was fantastic here as well as in all of her scenes with alternate!Nina. Of course we still don't know Jones' endgame and EXACTLY what is going on re: Peter and the "normal" timeline, but I still got chills during the scene with Peter and September in that room. Poor Henry. Poor Peter. Poor Olivia. Poor us!

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Really great capper for the two-part episode of Castle since I kept being shocked at all of the twists and turns it took... Anyone else starting to think Prince Charming in Once Upon A Time is kind of a goober for being so damn cowardly... It was fantastic seeing Misha Collins in Ringer in an episode where we finally find out what drove the sisters apart... The Amazing Race had its season premiere, but I didn't have much to say other than being happy it's back... And finally congratulations to The Simpsons for a solid episode last week which also happened to be their milestone 500th episode.

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