tv bonanza, part 2

We’re officially back in the PopRox swing. Two days in a row!

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Keep it rolling with part 2 of the sweeps look at the state of our favorite TV shows (part 1 ran yesterday):


South Park: Forgot about this one yesterday, but suffice it to say, it’s not a good season. Since the season is already almost over and I’m two episodes behind, we’ll just wait to fully review it until after the season finale next week. And I’m not even dignifying Comedy Central’s Secret Girlfriendwith its own separate review. It’s the worst show of the year, worse than Brothers. I can’t be the only one who got nauseous watching it, can I?


so ... what's with the beads?

so ... what's with the beads?

Community: There is a standing disagreement in the Sadowski household over Chevy Chase in Community. I contend not only does he not come close to his former comic self, but also that he’s completely lost the ability to find his inner Ty Webb. My wife thinks he’s gotten increasingly better in the increasingly better single-camera sitcom. While watching Fletch the other day, I was laughing at some of my favorite lines until my wife said, “How is this different from anything he’s doing in Community?” And dammit, she was right! Maybe I’m being prejudice because I just hate seeing Chase looking all of 60 and failing to make a dent in the screen time of a neophyte, albeit a very good neophyte, like Joel McHale. But from now on, I’m going to be more open-minded, especially since we thankfully now get a full year of this show. It’s a good complement to the Thursday night NBC comedy block and keeps me around for the full two hours every week. Abed may be the best new TV character of the year. GRADE: B+

FlashForward: It’s becoming clear that creator David S. Goyer is more the guy who wrote three Blade movies, and not the guy who had a hand in writing the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. That’s not a compliment. While the vision for FlashForward is grandiose and much of the plot and ideas behind it are just brilliant, the execution fails almost completely. The dialogue is second-rate, and that’s being generous. It’s more like “make me want to trim my toenails with a hacksaw” bad. There are too many characters, the flash forwards are strange and believe it or not, they can be avoided. If you don’t want to have a baby, don’t have sex. If you don’t want to be murdered on March 15, hire 1,000 bodyguards and don’t leave your house. If you don’t want to leave your husband, don’t. If you don’t want to start drinking … DON’T!!! Or if you don’t want to be sitting in England talking to former ER cast members, you can … well, if you saw last night’s episode, you know. But don’t click on that link if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s tough to concentrate on the big picture of who caused the FlashForwards when you can’t stop thinking about the little junk that’s cluttering the future of FlashForward — no pun intended. Just let me know in April how it all happened. GRADE: C

Parks and Recreation: Your opinion of Parks and Rec is directly related to your opinion of Amy Poehler. Unless you like her and her Leslie Nope character, then you’re not going to like Parks and Rec because there just isn’t enough of the rest of the cast to go around. I’m still on the fence, and it keeps me from truly believing in this show — even though I want to because there is always something that makes me laugh every week. Just can’t shake the feeling though that she’s not enough to carry though show even if it’s funny enough without her. GRADE: B-

The Office: Somehow, The Office has gone from “consistently funny” to “dangerously hit-and-miss.” Hey, it was a great run, but already this year, the show has produced two of its worst episodes, last week’s “Koi Pond” and the post-wedding “Mafia.” When it’s on — like in the Jam wedding episode — it’s still great TV. And you can’t fault the producers, who have taken great leaps to change the dynamic of the cast at the risk of ruining the chemistry. Making Jim and Michael co-bosses is an obvious ploy to put them in situations we never imagined them, and so far, it hasn’t really made for the hilarity it should have. Is Michael tying Jim’s tie really funny?

I say no. So we’re forced to just twiddle our thumbs and wait until it gets funny. If it ever does. GRADE: C+

Fringe: The definition of how a show needs to grow into itself before you can pass judgement on it. While most of the first season was downright boring, this season has been the complete opposite. It’s engrossing and fun, scary and beautiful all at the same time. They’ve finally struck the right balance of character screen time and thye’ve kept dealing with enough of the mythology to make it must-watch every week. Unless it’s on opposite two of your favorite comedies, then you’re kinda screwed and you get stuck watching it on Hulu every week. GRADE: A-

30 Rock: Something is missing. Something is … off. It’s still hysterical, it still belongs in the discussion for best show on TV. But it just doesn’t seem like itself. Like, it’s functioning on 75 percent of its capacity or something. Maybe it’s because they’re mad that Germany hates them. Whatever it is, get off your lazy Lemon butt and make some comedy! It remains the best supplier of fantasy team names in leagues where you know at least three other people watch it. Randomly naming your team Fatty Fat’s Sandwich Ranch isn’t funny unless other people know what you’re talking about. Trust me. GRADE: B

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: For years, I listened to friends and family drone on about Sunny until my ears started to bleed. I’ve given it multiple chances in the past, and each time, it failed to live up to what people were telling me it was. This was it this season — one last chance. Maybe the Sunny people knew that. Maybe they were saying, “Did you hear?!?!?! Mike’s giving us one last chance! Let’s make with the funny!” Whatever they’re doing, it’s working. Sunny has been the year’s most consistently funny show, the perfect mix of gross-out humor, ad-libbed perfection and situation hysterics. Nothing has missed the mark this year and I’m officially hooked enough to rent the DVDs and catch up. It’s also provided great fodder for the World Series, as everyone I know has been reciting Mac’s Chase Utley love letter during Utley’s World Series heroics (naughty language):

Strike that from the record! GRADE: A

The League: Here’s the difference between Sunny and The League — I would love to hang out at Paddy’s Bar, but I’d jump off the Interboro Bride before I’d hang out with these dorks from The League at their draft party. I’ve been playing in fantasy football and baseball leagues for about 20 years and at some point when The Funny Guy at your draft is hitting every one-liner and another guy has picked the same guy three times you think, “Hey, this would make a cool movie/TV show!” Then for the next two hours, you’re bored to tears and you spend a half-hour wondering if anyone would hear you through the bathroom wall if you wanted to drop a deuce. Not so funny. You get the distinct feeling that’s what happened with this show. Two guys at a fotoball draft, and one of them remarks about how funny the draft is. They pitch it to FX, and the honchos think the same thing because they think their drafts are hysterical too! Then they get around to writing it, and they realize it’s not nearly as funny as they thought. So they add the rich guy of the league throwing the ideal draft party, even though no one would really want that kind of party because the draft would suffer. Much like me watching this show. GRADE: D-


hmmmm. why didn't someone tell me i sucked so much? oh, that's right, because I'm so hot.

hmmmm. why didn't someone tell me i sucked so much? oh, that's right, because I'm so hot.

White Collar: You either like USA crime-solving shows or you don’t. There isn’t much difference between Monk and Psych, and the gap between Michael Westen and Mary Shannon is surprisingly small. They’re basically the same character, just with different temperments. So when you start watching White Collar, you know exactly what you’re getting into — a weekly whodunit that ends with the good guys getting the bad guys. And along the way, you’ll wonder if the good guys are actually the bad guys. The cast is likeable enough — Bryce from Chuck is the crook guy, the guy who got a vasectomy for Elaine in Seinfeld is the cop guy — and the stories, so far, are somewhat engaging. The one major problem, and I’ve got to move out of the way of the lightning before I say this, is Tiffani Thiessen. She’s putrid. Distractingly bad. From the previews they started showing in April to what the show actually is, it certainly seems like her role has been lessened, and now it’s easy to see why. She’s bad. So in the past year, two of my five hottest girls of all time (along with Eliza Dushku) have become such bad actresses it’s hard to look at them the same way anymore. Great. Thanks a lot, USA. GRADE: C+


what tv should look like

what tv should look like

Mad Men: I’ve made it through the whole Mad Men season without reviewing it, I’m not sure how that’s happened. Maybe because every Monday morning, I’m still shaken up by whatever happened the night before to write about it. That’s what Mad Men does — it shakes you to your core. It makes you think about things you believe in — the sanctity of marriage and family, job security, lawnmower safety — and forces you to question not only the people on the show, but your own life choices. Because the characters are so relatable and the actors are quite possibly the best in the business, you see yourself in Don or Betty and wonder if you would do the same thing they do. Maybe you didn’t decide on the fly to switch lives with another soldier after he dies on the Korean battlefield, but still. Mad Men is what TV should be. Provacative, funny, addictive, wildly entertaining, and more than anything else, real. After this year’s Halloween show — the best episode of TV I’ve seen this year — it dawned on me that in real time, the Kennedy assassination was just a couple weeks away. I found myself giddy thinking about all the Mad Men possibilities, and how they would handle it. The answer, as it always is with Mad Men, they handled it super awesomely. Let’s put it this way. I assured my wife that Sunday’s finale gets higher priority than the Eagles game. She thought that was surprising, then a day later she was floored when she realized they were playing the Cowboys and asked if I wanted to reconsider. No. No I don’t. GRADE: A+

Brothers and Sisters: The Walkers were off my radar completely. But it just so happens that 10 p.m. is when I’m putting my daughter to bed so between 10 and 10:30, I have a very short attention span. I’ve found that’s the perfect way to watch Brothers and Sisters. There’s no attachment or sense of possession, so I don’t have to feel cheated when yet another Walker family dinner crashes during takeoff in the hackiest way. I can tune in and out so as not to feel obligated to scream when Kevin, cementing his status as TV’s most annoying character on a weekly basis, decides to pick another fight with Scotty for no reason other than the fact that he’s a dipwad. It’s just easier this way. Try it some time, you won’t be disappointed. GRADE: C-

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