The Husband:

Now it seems that we have four shows to write about on Fox Sunday night, and all of them are funny, respectable and worthy of discussion. But I don’t want to overload you or this site with a bunch of black text (what? Me overwrite? Never!) and am sure you’d probably want me to get into the meat of it. But in case you’re wondering up front, I thought Sit Down, Shut Up was extremely funny, so much so that I even rewatched it yesterday on Hulu.

But now, let’s jump right into it.

King Of The Hill 13.14 “Born Again on the Fourth of July”

The Fourth of July celebrations in Arlen, Texas are fast approaching, and Hank and his buddies are in it to win it. Meaning, it’s finally time they showed up the a-holes a few blocks down (a group known for their ridiculously opulent fireworks thanks to their leader being a firefighter) with their own celebration of this country’s birth. Not everyone thinks they can stack up.

“You rednecks are as useless as a bucket of armpits!” – Kahn

But Hank is distracted. Why? Because Bobby has become so lazy, he can’t even muster up the energy to find his dress pants and go to church, choosing instead to take money out of Peggy’s wallet and order a pizza. This simply will not do, and despite some reservations, Hank allows Lucky to bring the misguided young boy to his own particular church.

“A church is a church no matter how much lucky makes it sound like a restaurant.” – Hank

Bobby’s mind is quite spongelike, though, and so he immediately takes to the overwrought spirituality of Lucky’s church, one that takes biblical implications and misreads them without considering the subtleties and changes to be made in our modern society. Bobby especially takes it upon himself to destroy all false idols, including the gigantic papier-mâché Uncle Sam that Hank and his buddies were to use for Independence Day.

As the show draws to a close – ABC hasn’t made any further advancement in buying up the show for next year, so this may be it – KOTH is easily reminding us what is so great, funny and loveable about this show. It’s about real characters with real problems, and while the rest of the Fox Sunday night lineup may be often funnier, its absurdity sometimes distances its viewers emotionally. KOTH has never suffered from that problem, even if its portrayal of conservative Texan life couldn’t be further from my own living experiences. Has anybody come up with a save-our-show campaign for this, even if it’s been on for over a decade?

“If he can see through fire, he can probably see through dark.” – Dale

The Simpsons 20.17 “The Good, The Sad and the Drugly”

When Milhouse takes the blame for a school prank he and Bart concocted (“Take him to the big house…where he lives.”), Bart considers becoming a better person when he falls in love with Jenny (voice of Anne Hathaway), a beautiful and goody-good fifth grader. But by the end, Milhouse finally learns to stand up for himself and Bart finds that he can’t be a good person without lying to those around him.

Meanwhile, Lisa is assigned a project to report on what the world will be like in 50 years, but when she plugs in a few numbers and hypotheticals, she learns that there may not be a world only five decades away. After reporting on her findings, the school decides to put her on a new medication, Ignorital. If you saw our last post on 90210, you’d know that I’m not entirely happy with this general pop culture consensus that taking behavioral medication is completely bad, but at least this episode made it much funnier and took on, specifically, the zombification that is assumed to come with taking something akin to Ritalin. While on Ignorital, everything Lisa sees turns into a smiley face, including blood and puke, and these images alone make up for the show’s own ignorance about behavioral psychiatry.

Other funny stuff from the episode:

  • Where the “Y” was (on Willie’s head)
  • “In 15 years, the vacuum will be quiet and not scary.” – Ralph
  • The fact that Ned is incapable of making devil’s food cake
  • “You can’t bleed through your nose when you have a broken heart.” – Milhouse
  • Lenny’s oddly specific speech to his dead grandma’s grave

Sit Down, Shut Up 1.1 “Pilot”

This show has about an equal amount of fans and detractors, so I was surprised to see how subversive and funny this project actually was. (It’s from Mitch Hurwitz, though, so I should have just expected it to be this way.) Intelligent, off-the-wall, bizarre and pretty damn hilarious, this is a bold slice of non sequitur humor that will no doubt confuse many but delight others.

A satire on high school comedies, as well as prime-time cartoons, this remake of an Australian show follows the exploits of several teachers and administrators at Knob Haven High School in Florida. (Even the name Knob Haven makes me giggle.) In the first episode, we learn that Larry Littlejunk (Jason Bateman) is hopelessly in love with the vapid flower child/Christian Miracle Grohe (Kristin Chenoweth), that the Knob Haven High football team is in dire need of a win (especially since, as the characters point out, it’s the pilot), Assistant Principal Stuart Proszakian (Will Forte) is given steroids that actually turn out to be librarian Helen’s female hormone treatment, Acting Principal Sue Sezno (Keenan Thompson) has to fire someone to support the new budget, etc. etc. etc.

Look at those things swing!

Look at those things swing!

The two characters that stand out so far is Ass Principal Stuart (not only because I think Will Forte is hilarious, but simply find his character’s design to be so goofily interesting) and Miracle (Chenoweth, a devout Christian, gets major props for being in on the joke that Fundamental Christianity doesn’t always mix with the public school system). Besides, they’re the two characters who get to say “You man!” in as many funny ways as they can. Happy (Spongebob himself, Tom Kenny), the school custodian, is also nonsensical enough to make me laugh for no real reason.

The fourth-wall breaking didn’t bother me in the slightest, and I was happy at how adult many of the jokes were, showing that there is indeed room for more “mature” humor on network TV. (Suck on it, PTC. Your concept of squeaky-clean television is more offensive to me than any problem you have with Family Guy or Nip/Tuck.) Keep it coming, Hurwitz clan.

Some good lines:

  • “Happy sad!” — Ennis Hofftard
  • “Do you have to dance to my kegel tape?!” – Helen Klench
  • “Why didn’t I sign up for the Internet when I had the chance?!” — Willard Deutschebog
  • “Can’t fire anybody who keeps kids from porno.” — Sezno

Family Guy 7.12 “Episode 420”

A rare mix from post-revival Family Guy, this yes-on-marijuana-legalization episode was both provocative and funny, and even if it’s definitely NOT humorous to nonchalantly stab a cat several times for no good reason, the rest of the ep more than made up for that instance of NOOOOOOOO!

After Peter accidentally kills Quagmire’s new cat, James, Peter gets pulled over, but even though he’s covered in blood, he is let go. Unfortunately, the cops find a baggie on Brian’s person and send him to jail.

“So, Brian, did you do any hard time, or hardly working? … Penis.” – Peter

When he gets out, Brian decides to change Quahog and puts through a petition to legalize marijuana. No matter where you stand on its legalization, certain facts cannot be denied, many of which Brian mentions. (The falsity behind why the herb became illegal in the first place, the propaganda about its untrue dangers, those animated anti-drug ads with the dog are really stupid, etc.) Culminating in FG‘s second musical sequence based on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (following “I Have James Woods”), the town learns that “Everything is Better with a Bag of Weed.”

Truly, everything is better with a bag of weed.

Truly, everything is better with a bag of weed.

But when Carter’s business starts to be affected, he makes Brian a deal he can’t refuse — if he chooses instead to speak out against legal bud, then Carter will publish Brian’s novel. Brian accepts, but then is devastated to learn that his book does not sell one copy.

I think that the closer people get to the hemp/marijuana culture, the more they understand that its dangers pale in comparison to alcohol and tobacco, and that if treated with moderation, there really isn’t anything to worry about. But if that’s not your bag (in the figurative sense), then fine. Live and let live.

Funny bits from the episode:

  • Quagmire showing his kitty the Mary Tyler Moore company logo (a mewing kitten), which I have definitely done with my cats
  • Busting on both Baby Mama and Rocketeer, even though I thought the former was funny and the latter is one of the most awesome movies of the 90s.
  • “No! Those are my Diet Rites!” – Carter
  • Peter’s monologue regarding both Harold & Kumar GotTo White Castle and How I Met Your Mother.

American Dad 4.16 “Delorean Story-An”

Stan and Steve don’t seem to be bonding as much as they probably should, so Stan finally sucks it up and takes Steve on a quest to find the final part of the Delorean Stan has been rebuilding for years now — the passenger door. Going on a cross-country quest, they band together in order to beat another Delorean completist going for the same door.

Not a whole lot to write about, no, but it was a very touching and very funny episode, one of those American Dads I’ve been waiting for this season to show the haters that not only is this show remarkably funny, it also has a great big heart.

(And, of course, it can be extremely bizarre, demonstrated this week by the B-story in which Francine, Klaus, Roger and Hayley try way too hard to have an adventure of their own, leading to my favorite line of the night: “Your gibberish got me punched in the boob.” – Francine)

Other good lines from American Dad:

  • “Bet he’s having an affair with one of those self-storage whores.” – Roger
  • “Is that a story? No. It’s an addiction.” – Roger
  • The gas station called Gas of the Mohicans
  • “I like Criss Angel. He freaks my mind!” – Roger
  • Steve: You don’t know how to blow a bubble?
    Stan: Well you don’t know how to make love to a woman!

The Husband:

My Name Is Earl 4.11 “Nature’s Game Show”

For the second week in a row, a natural disaster strikes Camden. This time it’s a series of tornados. That’s right, not one, not two, not three but four tornados, leaving the town a mess, the people cranky and some of our favorite characters seeing it all as a sign from God.

When the first tornado hits, Earl loses his precious list, and outside we discover one of Camden’s most cherished rules – a tornado is “nature’s game show,” so if something ends up on the ground after the storm, it’s up for grabs for anybody, essentially adopting a “finders keepers” mentality.

Ive got a gun and a teddy bear and Im not afraid to use either of them!

I've got a gun and a teddy bear and I'm not afraid to use either of them!

Catalina gets a gun and forces people to give her back all her materials…

“Gun rules trump tornado rules.” – Patty The Hooker

…but when a bible hits her and knocks the gun away, she and Patty the Hooker (who we find out got a 1500 on her SATs, proving that “life just ain’t fair”) decide that the floods are coming and that they need to get everyone they can onto a tiny boat.

Randy, on the other hand, loves the whole situation, having been lifting by the tornado into the air and deposited on the motel’s roof, which has a smorgasbord of free stuff.

Earl: Dammit Randy! What have I told you about throwing guns?!

Randy: Oh, right. Not to do it.”

Randy, having thought he was capable of flight, as well as being able to deflect bullets (actually, the gun was a starting pistol that only shot blanks), Randy thinks the tornado has given him superpowers, but by the end he realizes his foolishness, also revealing that he had found Earl’s list almost immediately but decided to keep it from his superpower-denying attitude.

Joy and Darnell have more problems than just the tornado, however, when Joy becomes pissed that Darnell holds his intellect way above her “street smarts” (which he describes as something dumb people say just to say they’re smart). They start a battle of wits with Darnell coming out on top every time, including hooking up the ubiquitous abandoned boat’s battery to their television, while Joy decides to tether their children to herself to prove that she’s a good mother.

“Baby, look what we’re doing. I’m pimping out a fishing boat. You turned the boys into some kind of love yo-yos. This doesn’t seem like good parenting.” – Darnell

Children do make for great love yo-yos.

Children do make for great love yo-yos.

The six major characters all end up outside the local church’s storm cellar, which unfortunately happens to be locked. Unable to rely on Darnell (he got knocked on the head pretty hard), Joy relies on her “street smarts” and uses her knowledge of MacGuyver to blow open the doors and lead them to safety.

Overall, a better episode than last week, but I sincerely hope they return, at least for a couple episodes, to Earl simply seeking forgiveness from all those he did wrong in the past. Formula or not, I’m beginning to miss just a good old regular morality tale.

The Office 5.8 “Frame Toby”

It’s never really been explained why Michael hates HR representative Toby so much other than the fact that Toby is smart and, most of the time, is usually right about everything. Michael’s seething detestation has always been one of my favorite things about the series, a non sequitus series of vicious insults planning the many ways Toby can die or just simply go fuck himself, but it’s always, to me, seemed to exist outside the realm of normal human (or character) behavior. It’s just a level of cruelty so high that its mere existence is funny on its own.

But yes, now that Holly has been transferred, Toby is back at the Scranton branch – having been on vacation in Costa Rica, which if you’ll remember from the end of last season was spent mostly in a hospital bed – even though Michael hasn’t noticed that Toby has been there for a full week already.

Michael, of course, will not put up with having Toby around – his reaction upon seeing him was something to the effect of “No! God! God! No! No! No! – so he calls corporate and asks for them to fire Toby.

“I have cause. It’s because I hate Toby.” – Michael

I hate that Im sitting next to you right now.

I hate that I'm sitting next to you right now.

Likening his plight of having to be around Toby to feeling “like Neve Campbell in Scream 2, Michael then bands up with Dwight to frame Toby for a crime, any crime, so he will have to be fired. His first attempt is to incite a sexual harassment case, but Pam, realizing her role as a pawn, stops it before it even goes down. The second attempt, Michael knocks down Toby’s pictures from Costa Rica and tries to get Toby to punch him. No go.

His final plan, the big one, is to plant drugs on his desk. Michael, having heard something from someone at some time (probably not) goes to the company’s delivery men and asks them to sell him some weed. Charging him $500 for a tiny bag, he is happy to pay and then sets the trap. When the cops show up, though, they discover that it’s not weed Michael bought, but a caprese salad. Michael owns up to his crime and accepts Toby into the workplace.

“Welcome back, jerky jerkface.” – Michael

Meanwhile, Jim has a surprise for Pam – he finally bought his parents’ Scranton house for he and Pam to live in together. Unfortunately, the house is basically a piece of shit, (located near not only a quarry but very near Creed’s house, covered in shag carpeting and paneling, has a clown painting that’s nailed to the wall so hard it can’t be taken down) and so he’s not sure if it would be a make-or-break situation with Pam. Luckily, she loves it despite its flaws, especially now that Jim converted the garage into an art studio for her, and that being near Jim is what’s important.

I have no idea how Ive accomplished this in a crumbling economy, but I bought you a house!

I have no idea how I've accomplished this in a crumbling economy, but I bought you a house!

Many bloggers are right – this was a very “sitcomy” episode that felt less like The Office and more like many lesser shows, but a so-so Office episode is still a treat, still hilarious and still emotional. Michael can be a complete monster when he wants to be and it often makes for some very uncomfortable television, but I dare you to tell me that his back-and-forth with Toby was still hilarious.

The Wife:

Kath & Kim 1.6: “Gay”

Kim, in desperate need of having her cable fixed because she wants to watch a Denise Richard’s marathon (it really is complicated), calls over the cable guy, who turns out to be the cable lady, Kim’s former classmate Penny Peterson. Penny is a bit masculine and gruff, so Kath and Kim assume she’s gay. Kim develops a little bit of a girl crush on her when she delivers an impassioned monologue about the importance of cable, Kim’s favorite thing, and the two ladies become friends. Kath, unfortunately, overhears the two women talking about how amazing switching from analog to digital is and thinks that they’re having lesbian sex in the living room. Jarred by this and seeing two happy older lesbians (perhaps being a worse gay stereotype than the hot but masculine cable girl Penny) show her their wedding invitations at the stationery store, Kath struggles to accept the idea of lady on lady love (she likes male gays just fine) and the possibility that her daughter might be into some “lesbionic” activities.

Ill show you some lesbionic activities.

I'll show you some lesbionic activities.

When Kim and Penny head out on the town, Kim realizes that Penny isn’t a lesbian when she initiates some guy pick-ups. She’s just kind of a tomboy who is really frustrated with the fact that everyone thinks she’s gay. Meanwhile, Kath tries to break the news to Craig that Kim may have left him because she prefers lady love, which Craig has trouble understanding due to the sheep metaphor Kath employs. (Word problems are hard, yo, even when you’re a dude with perfect ears.) He busts in on Kim and Penny at the bar, and Penny starts the real life equivalent of a Facebook poke war with him. One of the dudes she wanted to pick up at the bar comes over to her defense and starts a fight with Craig, with Penny joining in to wrestle the boys on the floor.

Just dont fuck with my ears, man!

Just don't fuck with my ears, man!

The next morning, Craig has been welcomed back (somewhat) into Kim’s life because bar fights are super hot to her. Also, Phil has hair on his butt.

As far as creating a cohesive sitcom plot, this might be one of Kath & Kim’s best episodes in that department, but it was still a tired and sad plot relying too heavily on tired comic misunderstandings that weren’t funny at all. This episode mostly made me sad that the state of Florida, home to fabulous Miami gays, also did not pass a gay marriage vote. But I was pretty amused that Kim and Penny attended Franz Ferdinand Magellan High, a combination of two important dead guys – one the Duke of Austria, the other a Portuguese explorer – neither of whom had anything to do with the state of Florida at any point in their lives.

30 Rock 3.4: “Gavin Veloure”

Steve Martin was wonderfully subdued in this episode and a perfect choice of guest star to play Liz Lemon’s dream guy, an agoraphobe who can’t leave his house and cannot be physically intimate with anyone, but who is secretly not an agoraphobe because he’s under house arrest for tax fraud. And arson. I enjoyed the Tina Fey-Steve Martin chemistry in Baby Mama and enjoyed seeing it again here. In fact, when Liz leaves the party at Gavin’s house the first time she meets him and he announces that he cannot touch her to give her a proper goodbye because of his severe agoraphobia, I thought he was going to instead reward her with five minutes of uninterrupted eye contact. (Nonetheless, having his assistant/bodyguard give her a kiss on the hand and say goodbye in his stead was pretty funny, too.)

We can indeed just skip to 12 years into the relationship and sit at home goofing on TV shows and then going to bed without any funny business.

We can indeed just skip to 12 years into the relationship and sit at home goofing on TV shows and then going to bed without any funny business.

“Of course, that was back when Jet was actually about jet ownership. That magazine took a weird turn.” – Jack

At the party, Gavin baits Jack with an investment plan, and Jack, in turn, takes Kenneth’s $4,000 to invest, telling Kenneth it will help him double his money (so he doesn’t have to do laundry anymore and avoid looking at t-shirts with off-color logos, like ones that say “California”) and save his family’s pig farm. (The inbreeding has made the pigs unruly. Jack wants to build the Parcells a pig moat, which would be great, except that pigs are excellent swimmers.) Of course, Gavin, being a fraudulent agoraphobe, has taken Kenneth’s money to fund his failed escape. He reveals to Jack that his company, Sunstream, was not a real company at all because their advertisements never actually sold a product, all their commercials simply stated: “Innovation – Tomorrow – America – Sunsteam.” Kenneth refuses to take money from Jack, claiming that the Parcells have long survived on rock soup and squirrel tale, but that they’ve had their lean times, too. He then gets Kenneth to take the job as floor safety marshal (because NBC Universal is worried about fires, terrorist attacks and Cloverfield monsters), which Jack claims comes with a $4,000 bonus in order to pay Kenneth back without him noticing a handout.

My favorite part of this episode, however, was the B-story in which Tracy Morgan thinks his kids want to murder him for his newfound wealth, just like the Menendez Brothers did to their father. He coins the phrase, “Don’t Menendez me!,” effectively creating my new favorite verb. He even goes so far as to use his Tracy Morgan life-size sex doll as a decoy, just in case his children should try to kill him in his sleep.

One of these things is not like the other . . .

One of these things is not like the other . . .

Then he catches one of his sons telling the sex doll that they’re afraid Tracy will get too rich and that he’ll want to buy a whole new family, which warms Tracy’s heart a little bit and puts an end to thinking that his sons want to Menendez him. The sex doll gets repurposed for yet another use as a decoy in the episode’s final standoff with suicidal Gavin Veloure, allowing Tracy to sneak up to the rafters and tackle Gavin before he can jump.

“Toronto is just like New York, but without all the stuff.” – Gavin Veloure