The Wife:

Last night, the girls were given a non-challenge/actual real world opportunity that seemed cribbed off Petra Nemcova’s short-lived TLC series A Model Life, which, of all the modeling series I’ve watched, was certainly the most realistic in terms of its portrayal of the process of becoming a model. Nemcova’s show set six international models up with an agency on a trial, booked them jobs and go-sees as a group and then asked the girls to use those skills to book their own jobs. There were no challenges and no prizes. No winners and no losers. Well, except for Angelika, who was fired from the agency for being insolent.

Instead of giving the girls a preliminary challenge, Tyra sent the girls to meet with Sean Patterson, their potential new boss at Wilhelmina Models. They interviewed with him (with Nigel Barker’s assistance, for some reason), and walked for him. At the end of their time with Patterson, Nigel and Sean announced that one girl would be cut, because she basically had no potential as a model. And that girl was Rachel of the Doe Eyes, who made the obvious mistake of telling Nigel and Sean that she had musical theatre training but, when asked to perform, couldn’t come up with a song to sing. My husband felt this was somewhat unfair, but I don’t think so at all. Rachel shot herself in the foot by telling them that she had theatre experience, but then being completely unable to perform. I realize that musical theatre is fairly unrelated to modeling, but in base concept, she told them she knew how to perform, and couldn’t deliver on that promise. And so, she was let go. I’d say it was shocking, but the only shocking thing about it was that I’d forgotten she’d been eliminated and so, when the girls are digitally removed from their group shot at the end of the episode, I was completely taken aback to see two women in rope bikinis disappear.

But that attempt to assert the realness and seriousness of televised modeling competitions pretty much went out the window the minute Tyra showed up as SuperSmize for the girls’ actual challenge. As any ANTM fan knows, “smize,” of course, means smiling with your eyes. And Tyra, after hammering home that concept for 13 seasons now, decided she needed to change up that tired adage by coining a new word (a new, super dumb word, if you ask me) and dressing up as a super hero to battle an evil photographer with her incredible ability to smile with her eyes. I’m sorry, smize. Tyra is only trying to save me keystrokes, here.

Something about these smize just aint right . . .

Something about these smize just ain't right . . .

After showing the girls how to do this act, with her usual amount of batshit crazy coaching techniques, she made the girls come to her “Fortress of Fierceness” dressed as pink and purple ninjas to have a smize-off with other girls. First of all, Tyra may sound insane when she’s coaching the girls on her patented modeling techniques, but I will admit that she gets results. Secondly, I’m glad the production design for the Fortress of Fierceness was somewhere between the old Adam West Batman series and Barbarella. I suddenly feel like I should turn my murder basement into a Fortress of Fierceness, complete with bleepy-bloopy machines with pictures of eyes on them and knobs that don’t do anything.

The modelettes stood before Tyra in their ninja leotards, faces entirely covered except for their smizing eyes, as Tyra’s “machines” gauged which girl better executed the concept of the smize. The winners of each heat were awarded a dinner with potential boss Sean Patterson and given nice fancy dresses to wear, while the losers were taken to the same restaurant and employed as dishwashers. The prize makes sense, but the punishment doesn’t. Models in a kitchen? Bizarre. I really didn’t need to see cutaways of the girls washing dishes, proclaiming that food remnants “look like throw-up.” No need to drive home their body dysmorphic disorders! We all already know!

The next day, the girls were taken to Santa Anita Racetrack to pose “nude” on horses with jockeys. Naturally, some requisite bullshit was said about how Seabiscuit was short and he beat other horses and blah blah blah. My husband was an extra in Seabiscuit. I’m sure he can tell you all about that. I like the idea of this shoot, however, I have to question a few things:

a)      Why even have the jockey on the horse? Was it just to make those girls look taller?

b)      Being topless in a photo does not equate nudity. It equates toplessness. Don’t promise me nudity but only give me toplessness.

c)      It seemed like the styling of the shoot was working against some of the girls. Half of them were styled in this sort of faux-Victorian/Edwardian fashion with a lot of ruffles and cream-colored accessories. But other girls were basically wearing fetish gear in black and leather. All of the girls, however, were asked to be soft. And many of the girls who had issues with the shoot were the ones who were styled “hard,” where as the demurely styled girls ultimately read as demure on film. I question the execution of the intent. Some of the girls might have performed better if the conceit were better explained. It’s definitely possible to be soft in fetish gear, but I don’t think that juxtaposition was made clear. They were simply told to smize, and that was it.

  • Kara: This shot was dead in the eyes.
  • Ashley: I completely forgot she existed until she complained about something during the dinner with Sean Patterson. She looked bored to death in this shot and, while the judges kind of like its “simplicity,” I can’t believe they aren’t totally cutting into her for the fact that this atrocity was her fucking TEST SHOT and they had to digitally remove the lighting guy. Ugh. If this were MMAS, she’d have cost them a reshoot. (But then again, if this were MMAS, she might end up winning despite that bullshit performance. I HATE YOU, BRANDEN!)
  • Jennifer: We learned earlier in the episode that she doesn’t have full range of motion in her left eye. I hadn’t noticed before, but the minute she pointed it out, it’s all I noticed. Her makeup failed her in this shot, drawing all the attention to that lazy eye. Tyra did give her some good tips on talking to the makeup folks about that eye so that she can work around it.
  • Lulu: Wearing one of the best hats of the shoot, Lulu also ended up with one of the best shots. I begin to develop a theory about the relative goodness of these shots in correlation to the relative greatness of the hats the girls wore.
  • Brittany: Homegirl got to wear the absolute best hat of the bunch and produced what I think is the most dynamic shot of the bunch. She lay across the horse’s back, a feat downright magical in its effect.

    Not quite as sexy as Jonathans horsey shot from Make Me a Supermodel, but . . .

    Not quite as sexy as Jonathan's horsey shot from Make Me a Supermodel, but . . .

  • Bianca: The judges like her lower body in this shot, but can’t stand her blank expression. I agree. This shot blows.
  • Laura: I think Laura’s face is so perfect that I’m not surprised the wound up producing my favorite shot of the night. I mean, this girl has an amazing face for makeup. She’s spectacular.

    Shes gonna do bad things to you . . . like castrate yo ass.

    She's gonna do bad things to you . . . like castrate yo' ass.

  • Sundai: Everything about this shot blows.
  • Rae: As nice as she looked in this shot, I was very distracted by what the jockey was doing. Was he vomiting? Where is his head?
  • Nicole: With her strangeness, she produced another great photograph effortlessly. Also, she had a wonderful feather hat.

    Oh, this ol thing? I use it to pull my wheelbarrow to school.

    Oh, this ol' thing? I use it to pull my wheelbarrow to school.

  • Erin: The judges love the shit out of this, but I think this one had the biggest styling problem. With so much black eye makeup on, Erin couldn’t not look hard. The judges thought she broke through and looked demure, but I disagree.
  • Crutchney: Blah shot. She complained about having to model in her boot, but Tyra made a good point that Mr. Jay asked her to leave it on for insurance purposes. As in, no one wants to have their broken foot recrushed by a horse.

Callouts: Erin, Brittany, Laura, Nicole, Kara, Jennifer, Sundai, Rae, Lulu and Ashley.

I definitely like Erin’s photo less than Brittany, Nicole or Laura’s, so I disagree with that order inherently, but I also think that Rae and Lulu should have been called before Kara, Jennifer or Sundai.

Crutchney and Bianca were left in the bottom 2, which I thought would surely send Bianca home for her stank-ass attitude about makeup and hairstyles. But no, for some reason, they prefer her to Crutchney, and the petite cheerleader was sent home to heal that foot.

The Husband:

True, I am an extra during the final climactic horserace scene in Seabiscuit, and we most definitely did shoot it at the Santa Anita Racetrack where, around 70 years earlier, Seabiscuit made history. I got the gig through Ain’t It Cool News — I use the term “gig” lightly, because I was an unpaid extra just as I was in Spider-Man — and showed up in my sweet pinstripe suit. We had to look period, so I gave my friend Geoff my Bogart-esque raincoat to cover up his polo shirt. And those of us without hats (i.e. most of us) were given cheap period knockoffs to cover up our modern haircuts.

(For the love of me, I can’t find my original set report for AICN, so I’ll try to at least recreate some of the report.)

Most of this didn’t really matter, as you most definitely cannot see most of our faces or the details of our wardrobe in the finished product, but it was still pretty gnarly. Geoff and I were placed in the bleachers, nowhere near the action, so we felt it appropriate to switch seats and entire sections between the long setups happening. (Filming constant action is tough, and it never fails to amaze me that a director doesn’t lose his mind with all the downtime involved in filmmaking.) Unfortunately, we never really got to the handrail where you can really see the extras faces, but I had to presume that those people were actual paid extras who don’t do bullshit like switch sections for fun or steal from the wardrobe department (more on that later). We did, though, get to a spot near the finish line, but who knows if that was the one angle out of a dozen they used in the final film. Still, you can’t really tell who’s who anyway.

The strange part of the whole situation that the unpaid extras weren’t in big enough numbers to fill out the bleachers, so we were placed among blow-up dummy torsos (with heads), who were wearing the same hats we were as well as a tuxedo t-shirt. The remaining holes would be filled in by CGI, which I’m sure means that my shape is actually copied at least a dozen times somewhere among the crowd.

By the end of a very long day (seriously, where is that set report? I talk about the awesome Equestricam they used for getting close-ups of Tobey), Geoff and I had decided to steal the tux t-shirt off of the dummy and then deflate him. Both were able to easily be stolen away inside my raincoat Geoff had on (I’m a much bigger person than he is, so there was plenty of room in the coat). To this day, I still have the hat and the tux shirt.

The Husband:

I’m sorry to say it, but it hasn’t been a very good two weeks for Animation Domination. The only episode I unabashedly liked was King Of The Hill (which focused almost entirely on a verrrrry supporting character), then about half of an American Dad and a third of a Family Guy. The rest had their moments, but something just seemed to be in the water over at Fox and all the offices and buildings where they make these shows. I’ll just get last week’s KOTH out of the way, pretty much.

King Of The Hill 13.13 “Nancy Does Dallas”

When Dale’s wife Nancy breaks a silly but attention-getting newstory at Arlen’s local affiliate, Dallas takes notice and invites her to become an anchorwoman with them. And Dale couldn’t be happier, even if this means she’d be hours away for days on end making her dreams come true.

“Come on, you’re a genius at making something from nothing. You made Joseph.” – Dale to Nancy

Arriving in Dallas, Nancy notices the major strife between the male and female lead anchors Gwen and Wade, and tries to exploit this hostility as much as she can.

Gwen: I hate that man.

Nancy: I always thought you and Wade were having an affair.

Gwen: We are. It’s good for ratings.

Unfortunately, Nancy gets so in over her head with ego and douchiness that it’s rubbing everybody the wrong way, and when she drunkenly collapses off of a parade float, it’s curtains for her. This is fine, since Dale, now unsupervised, is wreaking his own special havoc on Arlen, resulting in him nearly setting his own house on fire. But when Nancy finally returns, it becomes clear to their neighbors that while Nancy does a good job at keeping Dale on a tight leash, he has his own power over Nancy, her drinking and her ego.

This episode also had the best quotes of all seven episodes I collected for this write-up. Here are some of the ones I jotted down:

  • “Breakfast race!” – Dale and Joseph
  • “That wasn’t even a story. It was just a bunch of ‘ifs.'” – Hank
  • “Nancy, your prison fan mail is about to quadruple!” – Dale
  • “Security breach! Joseph, sniff the bags.” – Bobby
  • “Dale, you giblet-head!” – Hank
  • “It sure is great that you’re home, and not just for fire-retardant purposes.” – Dale to Nancy

Now onto the lesser eps, grouped via show.

The Simpsons 20.14 “In The Name Of The Grandfather”

When Homer forgets to show up at the retirement community’s father/son day, Homer learns of Abe’s very own bucket list and decide to follow up on one: to revisit Tom O’Flanagan’s Pub, where Abe had one of the best days of his entire life. Problem is, Tom O’Flanagan’s Pub is in Ireland, so the family jets out to the Emerald Isle to fulfill this wish. Unfortunately, Ireland is no longer the quaint village-driven country of yore and instead has been yuppified, including the presence of rhyming Yuprechauns. The bar, however, still exists, but it hasn’t been patronized in ages (despite having cabbage on tap). When Abe and Homer share a good drunken night with Mr. O’Flanagan, they wake up the next morning having discovered that they bought the pub while intoxicated, so to keep business up they allow the now-illegal practice of smoking inside bars, attracting all those patrons who feel cheated by the recent law.

I’ve spent some time in Ireland (three times to be exact), and there was definitely a noticeable difference in spirit between my second and third time visiting wherein the law was passed. I do not smoke, and I do not appreciate it as a lifestyle choice, but I just always associated Ireland with smokey bars, and something just felt off.

In a bar once I met this guy Dewey. And he bought me, like, 14 beers. And he told me that he was from Ireland, so I lived with him 10 years.

In a bar once I met this guy Dewey. And he bought me, like, 14 beers. And he told me that he was from Ireland, so I lived with him 10 years.

Unfortunately, the episode just kind of sputtered along, and other than the remarkably esoteric send-up of the Academy Award-winning film Once (“Stop buying pianos for my wife!”) and the amusement I had in recognizing that The Simpsons had no freakin’ clue what the Guinness factory actually looked like, it was pretty much a bust.

Some quotes:

“It’s like getting a backrub from an orgasm.” – Carl re: hot tub

“Lousy old man, making me look up at an airplane…” – Homer

“So it’s our syntax you’re criticizing!” – Irish cop

The Simpsons 20.15 “Wedding For Disaster”

What could have been a very sweet story goes awry when the show takes a page from that really bizarre Marilyn Monroe-Ginger Rogers ensemble film We’re Not Married when Reverend Lovejoy realizes that, due to some legal mumbojumbo, several of the ceremonies he blessed were always invalid. This would include Homer and Marge’s second marriage, and so the two of them decide to throw a third wedding, this time pulling out all the stops. But as Marge begins to turn into a Bridezilla, Homer begins really resenting her, to the point where he doesn’t even show up at their wedding.

Ah, but he’s actually been kidnapped and put into a Saw-like torture room, where he has to do such tasks as get to the key in the center of a hot sauce lollipop. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa track some clues, including a keychain initialed “SB,” to Sideshow Bob, who for once has nothing to do with tormenting the Simpsons. Turns out, it’s just Patty and Selma Bouvier playing a trick on Homer, but when they look on, via a security camera, Homer read aloud his written vows to Marge, they relent and let him go.

The wedding stuff was nice, but the rest was far too haphazard and/or introduced to late to be either clever or properly referential, and so it’s another mostly laughless episode.

I also wonder how many people got all the Bing Crosby jokes in regards to the Presbyterian pastor who came to town and acted as a catalyst to Lovejoy’s story. Hint: rent the best picture winner Going My Way.

Family Guy 7.10 “FOX-y Lady”

Michael Moore jokes are so 2004, and jokes about handicapped ducks are so…never. And that’s pretty much all this episode was about.

First, Lois gets hired as an investigative reporter at Fox News, and aside from a not-bad Ann Coutler slam and Brian doing a pretty piss-poor job at vocalizing the country’s true problem with the troubling network, we didn’t get much. It was interesting to find out, however, that Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh are actually both simply characters created and acted out by Fred Savage (among many other celebrities I did not write down), and thus Mr. Savage’s bizarre second run of his career (or if I counted that show Working, this may be his third career run) continues down a line of strange “underground” comedy such as this and episodes of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, now that Lois is affiliated with Fox, Peter and Chris decide to create their own animated sitcom for the network, which becomes the poorly animated and unsubtle Handiquacks, featuring such characters as Red Heinie Monkey, Col. Tushfinger, Poopy-Face Tomato Nose and Bitch Duck. When South Park created the show-within-the-show of Terence and Philip, it was a way to hit back at the critics who called their show poorly animated and vulgar, showing them what a truly shit-animated and vulgar show looked like, and that in itself was a bold statement to make. Handiquacks is no Terence And Philip, though, so the point was completely lost amidst the dumbness.

Okay, there was one incredibly funny moment, when everybody around town is screaming, and we cut to Adam West sitting on a park bench.

“Aaaaaaaaa…I have to get all the A’s out of my body. Aaaaaaaaa…”

Family Guy 7.11 “Not All Dogs Go To Heaven”

Atheism and its relation to religion is a tough thing to deal with and even harder to turn into a proper narration, so I wasn’t surprised that FG ultimately failed to explain itself and its concept of secularism. Me, I’m baffled at how misunderstood atheism truly is. Religion does not corner the market on morality, and despite the fact that I do not believe in a god(s), that does not mean I believe in nothing. That’s nihilism. I believe in the goodness and spirit of my fellow man and have an optimism about the human race and its own concepts of morality, and I don’t need to worship somebody to get that done. I don’t need to reread a book hundreds of times to do that. But you wouldn’t know that from this episode, and so I consider its base-level understanding of the atheism-religion battle to be completely unimportant and pretty much dumb.

But as Meg and Brian go through that argument, one-third of the episode is hilarious. That would be Stewie’s story, where he gets so huffy about not being to ask Star Trek-related questions at a sci-fi convention that he teleports the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation into his bedroom and tries to continue along his own line of questions, only to realize that the entire cast is immature, silly and continues to harbor 15-year grudges against each other.

LeVar and I were going to pool our tickets together to get the fuzzy troll pencil topper!

LeVar and I were going to pool our tickets together to get the fuzzy troll pencil topper!

(I also must point out that Gates McFadden, a.k.a. Dr. Beverly Crusher, taught a class on clowning my sister attending during her time at USC, a fact I’ll never tire of telling people.)

And this section had a great variation of visual jokes (the unknown-to-me Denise Crosby getting shot after one line) and great lines.

Stewie: Hey, did you hook up with Whoopie Goldberg on the show?

Patrick Stewart: All the time.

“Look at me! I’ve got girl boobs!” – Patrick Stewart

Too bad the Stewie-with-TNG story was so short. I would have watched a two-parter just about that situation. But nope, my wish was not fulfilled.

Some good stuff:

  • The bevy of 90s references for a show more known for its influx of 70s and 80s references. This would include name-dropped Dan Cortese as well as a short bit regarding Calvin & Hobbes.
  • “Why would he wear these?! Who would make these for him?!” – Peter after looking through the LeVar Burton TNG shades, which turned every person he saw into a KKK klansman.
  • The inexplicable live-action ending with Adam West and Rob Lowe.

American Dad 4.14 “Bar Mitzvah Shuffle”

Here’s the episode that I like half of. To be fair, I actually liked the central story quite a bit from a plotting perspective, but can admit that it wasn’t necessarily very funny. And since this is a sitcom, that’s sort of an issue with which we shouldn’t have to deal.

When Steve learns that Debbie, his chubby girlfriend, is starting to have eyes for the ridiculously egomaniacal Jewish peer Etan Cohen (voice of Seth Green), he decides to try to ruin the kid’s bar mitzvah.

“I like my women like I like my dreidels – bottom-heavy.” – Etan

(I was going to make a point as to why they decided to choose the name Etan Cohen, like the screenwriter of Tropic Thunder and Madagascar 2, who is also not to be confused with Ethan Coen of the Oscar winning Coen Brothers, but then I noticed that the real Etan is one of AD’s producers and a former writer. Just another weird in-joke, I guess, like Neil Goldman over on FG.)

It was an inside joke all along . . .

It was an inside joke all along . . .

The manner in which Steve, Roger and Snot go about to destroy the bar mitzvah, with its Ocean’s Eleven references (and pretty much any heist movie post-Rififi), was pretty ingenious, involving several switches and a nasty double-cross by Roger (who just wanted to put on a silly accent but wasn’t allowed to.) But unlike most Steve-centric episodes, there were very few great nerd references or Roger non-sequiturs, so I just can’t in good conscious give it a positive review.

American Dad 4.15 “Wife Insurance”

Despite the genius Amy Sedaris doing not one but two voices in this episode, it was another blah episode from a show I desperately love, but also desperately want it to return to its peak sometime midway through season 3. When Stan gets lost during a mission, Francine is completely devastated, until Stan returns home (thanks to a fellow spy who can get out of any predicament by seducing women with a verse of Marc Anthony’s “I Need To Know”) and devastates her in his own very special way – by telling her on Valentine’s Day that he has a back-up wife, his dentist Meg, who he lined up years earlier just in case Francine kicked the bucket. To get back at him, Francine decides to make Stan’s spy friend her back-up husband, resulting in many confused hearts and a brutal bit of hand-to-hand combat later on. (And somewhere in the middle, the handsome spy pushed Stan out of a moving plane, who survived when he landed on the World’s Biggest Falafel.

Other than some quick bits regarding the return of Steve and Rogers TV detective duo Wheels & The Legman, as well as a the reappearance of Reginald the CIA koala, not much was very funny about the ep. And once again, this is a comedy, so that’s an issue. Stan’s stories especially this week have been more desperate and bizarre than laugh-inducing. Maybe somebody should sideline him until they find a story that really works, like in s3 when he traveled to Heaven, and we learned that Jim Henson isn’t dead so much as stuck in the Phantom Zone with Kermit.

The two lines I liked from this episode, one severely tasteless, the other punny but funny:

  • “In two hours I can have a dead baby stuffed with heroin planted in your mom’s car.” – Steve
  • “My heart has a cavity that only you can fill.” – Meg the dentist

The Husband:

My Name Is Earl 4.22 “Pinky”

As Earl tries to solve #83 on his list (“never took the time to teach Randy how to blow a bubble”), we the viewers finally get an explanation to where the hell the pretty Camdenite lady went after last season’s finale. Turns out, she and Randy broke up, and she’s now at truck driving school. (I think I mentioned before that the actress who played said Camdenite, Deborah Ann Woll, is a friend of a friend of my sister, so her absence was especially notable here at Chez Children Of Saint Clare.)

That aside, Earl has something else to deal with, when Joy begins complaining that her son, Dodge, has been seen hanging out with one of Eugenia’s daughters acting all lovey-dovey.

“No son of mine is going to date something that came out of Eugenia’s devil chute.” — Joy

This in turn causes Randy to think back fondly to his childhood, when he and Earl used to spend time at the lake with their deliriously fat aunt as punishment, and how Randy was in love with a girl known only as “Pinky” (due to her pink hair), and was known to her as “Skipper,” due to his great ability to skip ocks. Unfortunately, when they were to meet on a bridge to finally have their first kiss, Pinky never showed up, and thus Randy lost his one true love.

Now 20 years later, Earl and Randy go back to the lake to track Pinky down, but the old employee there has enough on his mind.

“My penis lost all feeling in 1993.”

But when Randy mentions that the girl had pink hair, the employee knows immediately how to track her down, and, luck be to Randy, convinces her to return to the bridge so many years after the fact. Upon reaching the bridge, Randy discovers the horrible truth — Pinky is Joy. (OH NOES!)

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Turns out, Earl has been trying to stop Randy from pursuing Pinky because, 20 years earlier, Earl was so jealous that Randy was pursuing his first love while Earl was dealing with dying out his aunt’s fat folds that he forged a note and gave it to Pinky, a note that declared that the Skipper hated Pinky, and he wasn’t going to show up.

So now, he has a new list item — #277, broke up Randy and Pinky.

Her eyes finally open to this terrible situation, Joy wants nothing to do with Randy, but agrees to at least give him a kiss, but only if Earl breaks up Dodge and Eugenia’s daughter.

“My body, my choice, hear me roar, kiss my grits.” — Joy

Earl goes through with the plan quite easily, using the same forged note trick, but not without getting kicked in the junk and being called a pedophile.

Back at the bridge, Joy makes Randy swig some bleach dyed green (to clear out that Petri dish of a mouth), but is still having trouble trying to kiss her former brother-in-law and sworn social enemy. Randy tries to remind her of the delightful child she once was by trying to give her orange soda and some sweet tunes courtesy of a Bobby Brown album.

“I traded in orange soda for strawberry wine when I was 13, and I stopped liking Bobby Brown when he started picking doodie out of Whitney Houston.” — Joy

Finally, though, Randy and Joy share a sweet kiss, and everybody moves on with their life.

Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

Considering this was a non-ensemble episode, these 30 minutes still really got a rise out of me due to its sweetness and longing, even if it ultimately tells us that life never really works out the way we planned it. I wish more Earl episodes could be like this, but with only two left in the season, I think I’m just going to have to wish that the showrunners and writers figure out that, with this show, heartfelt is always better than wacky, and that perhaps next season could be a bit more character-driven. (And a few really good multi-episode arcs, please. I want to know I’m watching the fifth season of something, and not just a rehash of something I saw back in 2005.)

The Office 5.19 “Two Weeks”

After Michael finally stood up to Corporate last week and declared his resignation from Dunder Mifflin, he still has to drag himself through his final two weeks, and, as Jim points out, there is a surprisingly big difference between Michael trying and Michael not trying. (This includes Michael walking around the office with Splenda-seasoned scotch, and smacking pieces of paper away from his employees with one of those sticky hand ropes you get at drug stores.) But when somebody else comes into the office to interview for Michael’s old position, Michael learns that the sinking economy will more likely than not leave him completely unemployed for an extended period of time. And looking for jobs online isn’t really going well, either.

[Horrible moaning and groaning sounds emanate from Michael’s computer]

Jim [to Michael]: It’s “Monster.com.” Singular.

[Horrible noises cease]

Finally, Michael comes up with what he believes is a brilliant idea — start up his own paper company called, cleverly enough, Michael Scott Paper Company. He feels he knows everything there is to know about the paper company (which he doesn’t) and begins trying to recruit his former employees into joining him at his new venture. But nobody’s biting, for obvious reasons.

“You know what? I had a great time at prom, and no one said ‘yes’ to that, either.” — Michael

When new boss Charles Minor gets wind of Michael’s new business venture, he has him thrown out of the building. But that doesn’t stop Michael, who sneaks back into the office to grab some necessary paperwork and to try to rope at least one person into his new company.

Defect with me, Jim!

Defect with me, Jim!

Finally, Pam, a mixture of her recent terrible bout with the new copier and…well…pretty much all the bad shit she had to go through at Dunder Mifflin, agrees to ditch the company to help Michael, but this time she will no longer be a receptionist, but instead be a salesman.

A fairly laugh-less episode other than the two previous quotes, plus Dwight’s complete misunderstanding of the “headhunter” concept, but since this has been and will always be a dramedy, that’s okay. Not a whole lot was accomplished in the episode’s 30 minutes that couldn’t have been done in about ten, but at least they’re taking their time with a story that could, potentially, change everything we think we know about The Office, and are still leaving us with what I believe is the show’s best season.

The Wife:

30 Rock 3.16 “Apollo, Apollo”

Much like Jason Segel, I truly, truly love puppets. If I could see the world the way Kenneth sees it, I would be a happy lady. Especially if the puppets occasionally sang to me. That’d be totally sweet.

This was a truly wacky, really funny episode, filled with good visual gags about Jack, Kenneth and Tracy’s various modes of seeing the world, and lots of funny lines from Liz’s ex Dennis about his newly made-up sex addition.

Jack: Jack is on the even of turning 50, and wants to complete the list of things 10-year-old Jack set out to accomplish before turning 50.

“I have hunted the world’s most dangerous game: man . . . atee. Manatee.” –Jack

The only thing left on his list is to make friends with Batman. But, as Jack attends his 50th birthday party and is introduced by the wrong name by Adam West, he realizes that he’ll never be as happy as he was on his tenth birthday, when he didn’t even get to open his gift because he was so excited that he threw up all over it, so he begins a quest to find out what that present was by employing a number of odd experts, such as a Deaf lip reader, who discerns that he was saying “Apollo, Apollo” before he inevitably threw up on the present. (And she is very, very upset that he neglected to warn her of the vomit scene). Jack buys himself that Apollo model rocket, but is still somewhat unfulfilled.

Tracy: Tracy declares at a press conference that he wants to fulfill his lifelong dream of going into space. In order to prevent Tracy from actually going into space or otherwise doing something stupid, Liz gets Pete to fake a space expedition within the halls of 30 Rock, all so Tracy can kill an Ewok. I love how the whole staff contributes to the illusion by telling Tracy he has to be blindfolded until he gets in the cockpit to prevent “space madness” and subsequently stops all conversation whenever he draws near so as not to rupture the illusion. That, my friends, is one well-planned lie.

I, for one, would have liked to see Tracy get hit with a bout of space madness.

I, for one, would have liked to see Tracy get hit with a bout of space madness.

Liz: Dennis shows up, claiming he’s a sex addict, spouting off such gems as:

“Former sex partner, I’m sorry that my disease made you a victim of my sexual charisma. I’m sorry that I’ve ruined sex with other men for you.”

Liz later finds out that Jenna also slept with Dennis, when she picks up Jenna’s cell phone (and does an excellent Jane Krakowski impersonation) while Jenna is preparing for her Peter Pan scene. The two women decide to band together and not let a douche like Dennis destroy their sisterhood, so they head off to stab Dennis/give him a piece of their mind. When they try to tell him off, Dennis decides to rank the two women, giving Jenna the number one spot over Liz. Angry at her friend over sleeping with a guy neither of them actually likes very much, Liz neglects to tell Jenna that her secure cable is not so secure and lets her fall and hurt her ankle — a real injury for once. To make it up to Jenna, Liz allows her to tell the writing staff about the commercial she did back in Chicago when she was still trying to make it as an actress.

That commercial is a commercial for the late night chat line 1-900-OKFACE, and when Jack catches a glimpse of it, he laughs so much that he vomits, which shall be henceforth known as “Jacking,” since laughing while you’re peeing is known as “Lizzing,” although she tries to pass it off as a combination as laughing and whizzing.

Or cashiers checks, for that matter.

Or cashier's checks, for that matter.

Other funny:

  • Tracy sees the world as though everyone in it is Tracy.
  • Kenneth is only worth $7 when Jack sees the world in money.
  • “That’s not even enough numbers!” — Frank, on Liz’s phone sex line
  • “What is this, horseville? Because I’m surrounded by naysayers!” — Tracy, so lame its hilarious
  • Jenna speaks with English inflections because she lost her virginity to the My Fair Lady soundtrack.

The Husband:

30 Rock also did perhaps the funniest thing since Moonvest screamed that he wanted Kenneth’s fingernails. When Kenneth looks up from his dressing room to see a Muppet version of Liz, we cut away to real life Liz in the hallway, walking just like a Muppet, head down and arms flapping wildly. It was the episode’s quickest throwaway gag, but it’s also a fucking gem. Now that’s attention to detail.