Tuesday’s TV, Retold, Again, for a Second Time

Gonna stick with a pretty enjoyable night of TV last night on PopRox-approved shows:

i'm with artie. wake up and smell the destiny.

GLEE: Maybe Ryan Murphy felt my Sue Sylvester overload kicking in. Maybe he knew I was getting a little tired of hearing those quippy one-liners come out of her mouth. So maybe he knew he needed a better foil for her, one that talked just like her, one that wouldn’t roll over and turn the other cheek like Mr. Schu and one that could actually match her anger. And even if we only got a minute of that swim coach lady putting Sue in her place, it was enough to keep her interesting. Anyway, three pretty easy predictions on plots that got the set-up last night: Sue will decide not to keep her baby in some way, Quinn will never walk again and Finn and Rachel will break up almost immediately after graduation. If we’re lucky, maybe it will be while they dance behind the school to Puck and Mercedes singing How am I Supposed to Live Without You. Naaaaaahhhhhhhh. Better leave one of the five greatest scenes of TV history alone.

one problem. i couldn't stop singing in my head, "i am a true american, fight for the rights of every man ..."

NEW GIRL: I know people who are down on New Girl and I can see why they would be. It’s a pretty smug show and it gladly bathes naked in its hipster appeal. Which is kind of what Zooey Deschanel has based her career on, so it’s not that surprising that a show she produces would try to capitalize on that. I get it, and I’m not trying to convince you to come back to the show if you’ve tried it and left. It’s not like Jess is all of a sudden going to stop acting all flighty and weird and trade in her teaching job for a management position at Smith Barney or anything. But for those who have stuck around and do enjoy it, you’re being treated to one heck of a good season of comedy. It hasn’t improved as much as Suburgatory has, but that’s only because Suburgatoty was coming from way farther back. New Girl was really funny from the jump — Suburgatory has lept into its comedy niche. But New Girl has stayed really funny, and is actually growing within itself. It’s avoided going with the obvious Jess-Nick romance, perhaps delaying the inevitable but at least first exploring what they can do without each other. And if you’re looking for what a prototypical New Girl episode look like, it was last night. Jess in a mixed-up romance. Her friends doing their best to screw it up unintentionally. One other friend getting a solo B-story that’s both funny and shows some needed character growth (Winston getting a grown-up job). Throw in the necessary snappy, funny dialogue, some game comedic acting by all involved and arguably TV’s best drinking game since Chardee MacDennis The Game of Games, and you’ve got yourself a show. A really good and funny show. Also, I’m starting to wonder. Which game would I rather play? Chardee MacDennis, or True American? Huh. It’s a good question. Feel free to leave your TV-inspired drinking game preference in the comments.

the best geraldo replacement available?

RAISING HOPE: You get the feeling going through this second season of Raising Hope that Fox somehow regretted passing on My Name is Earl not once but twice lo these many years ago. So when Earl/Hope creator Greg Garcia pitched Raising Hope to them, he pretty much said, “Look, I know how to write about white trash people in small-town America and make it funny. And I can create about 30 secondary characters that will come in and out of the show, and they’ll all be hysterical. Gimme a shot, and I’ll just make it just like Earl all over again, just with different people.” There was a quick handshake and a show was born that has the same look, feel and sound of Earl, which, for all its faults, is still one of the funniest shows of the 2000s. Now Garcia isn’t even trying to hide it anymore, basically stealing a former Earl episode and turning it into the two-part season finale of Raising Hope. Which was pretty annoying — until the (BIG-TIME SPOILER ALERT IF YOU’RE ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO CARES ABOUT SPOILER IN SITCOMS, LIKE ME) end where we find out someone important is actually still alive. See? I didn’t give it all away. So yeah, the whole Inside Probe thing kinda chapped my @ss since it seems like Garcia can do those kinds of episodes in his sleep, but they made up for it with the reveal at the end that was so silly, unrealistic and out of the upper deck in left field that it was downright genius in its zaniness. Raising Hope isn’t the funniest show on TV, and it’s probably not even in the top 10. But it always delivers laughs, and there’s something to be said for that. Just like Earl.

the man with the hat, dummy, the man with the hat!!!

JUSTIFIED: (SPOILER ALERTS THROUGHOUT, IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED TUESDAY’S JUSTIFIED YET AND PLAN TO, STOP READING THIS IMMEDIATELY. INSTEAD CLICK ON THE POPROX FACEBOOK PAGE AND LEAVE A COMMENT ABOUT HOW STUPID SPOILER ALERTS ARE … EVERYONE GONE? OK THEN, MOVING ON …) If you were expecting big fireworks out of the season finale of Justified — like the ones we got in the first two season finales — then you were SOL around 11 last night. All you got was a TV episode with dialogue so perfectly crafted it sounded a bunch of backwoods hillbillies reciting Shakespeare. We got some answers (Boyd’s cousin is the rat), some questions (did Quarles really die?) but all in all, we got season finale closure The Killing can only dream of. And don’t be surprised if this episode is the Justified episode that gets an Emmy nomination for writing. It was that good, with about five hysterical throw-away lines, some good call-backs to earlier episodes and really, really good individual scenes. That’s not to say it was 100 percent perfect, because I have one major problem with the episode: Why did Raylan even bother bringing his old man in? Didn’t he foresee it was only going to cause trouble? Something tells me the lawyers and courts in the great state of Kentucky don’t exactly believe the death-bed finger-pointing of a mafia-tied murderer and crackhead would be the most reliable testimony in the murder case of a state trooper. A murderer and crackhead that just lost his arm, by the by, and was taking his (maybe) dying breath. Raylan had to know that Arlo was so far gone he would probably take the rap for Devil’s murder, and if he didn’t know that, he had to have an inkling Arlo might do it out of spite anyway. I guess it’s to get Arlo off the street, because if he did it once, he could do it again, but would you rather have Arlo and his six or so months left to live on the street, or Boyd’s criminal organization with its boss back? Even if it makes sense in the real world, it probably doesn’t in the scheme of the show to have Boyd behind bars (again) and Raylan needing to spring him (again) to help with some woeful case he can’t solve without Boyd’s help (again) at the start of next season. So problem solved. I guess. FINALE GRADE: A-. SEASON GRADE: B+.

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