The Husband:

While we, the children of Saint Clare, have found the time to write about many of the biggest shows on television (and even some small ones), there is only so much time and energy we can spend on this site. The truth is, we watch a whole lot more than what ends up on the site, and since I watch most of these on my own and yet never find the ability to write about them, their absence is mostly my fault. But no matter. For those that fall through the cracks, I have here a grab bag of the 30+ shows I watch in addition to whatever ends up on the site. These are the ones that slipped through the cracks. And hell, I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting (and also not even bothering writing about, which tend to fall under instructional/educational stuff like anything on Discovery), so if you think I’ve forgotten something, please let me know. (And no, I don’t watch any CSI or L&O shows, so don’t even try to get all up in my grill.) Here they are, the missing shows of the 2008-2009 television season, in alphabetical order.

24

I really should have written at least some criticism on this season, but work piled up and I simply didn’t have the time. It started off as the most intelligent season with some of the most compelling political questions being thrown around (welcome to the show finally, “debate on torture”), but by the fourth time Tony twisted his alliance and Jack was infected with the disease, I kind of stopped caring. Great first half of the season, though, and I think Renee is the best new character in a very long time.

Adult Swim (Xavier: Renegade Angel / Superjail! / Squidbillies / The Drinky Crow Show / Metalocalypse / Delocated / Robot Chicken / Etc.)

Thank you, young people of Adult Swim (who I have spent some time with, don’t forget) for freaking my mind week after week, and giving alternative comedy a major boost in America. And for freaking out my wife.

A beacon of normalcy in a world of wackiness.

A beacon of normalcy in a world of wackiness.

Better Off Ted

It took me a couple episodes to latch onto the tone, but once I did I simply couldn’t get enough from this latest product of the mad mind of Victor Fresco. Check out some episodes online, then watch Andy Richter Controls the Universe (his previous show), and I guarantee you some of the oddest network comedy in a very long time. I still think Portia DeRossi is trying to hard, though, and should take a page from the book of Fresco mainstay Jonathan Slavin.

Castle

Bring it on, Nathan Fillion. Hypnotize me with your nostrils and your addictive but borderline-stupid mystery writer-cum-detective series. (Although how weird was that Judy Reyes episode? What the hell, Carla Turk?)

The Celebrity Apprentice 2

So sue me, I liked Joan Rivers. And the addition of the phrase “Whore Pit Vipers” to the television lexicon.

Celebrity Rehab (Sober House) with Dr. Drew

So help me, I can’t stop watching. It’s just a disaster. I will say, though, that I like the drama in the rehab far more than the sober house, as the latter seems to exist simply to destroy any progress the celebrities made in rehab. And now having seen all three of his seasons of Taxi, Jeff Conaway’s fall from grace is fishbowl television at its finest.

Dating in the Dark

Really fun, actually. I hope it gets a second season. I also hope that more matches will be made, and that people stop being massive failures.

Dirty Sexy Money

Everything I needed to say about the failure of the second season of this show can be found on this blog, and it ended its truncated run by turning itself inside-out by revealing that the show’s central mystery, who killed Peter Krause’s father, was a bust since he wasn’t dead after all. What the hell, Dirty Sexy Money? Oh well, your cancellation made room in Krause’s schedule for the much anticipated (by me) adaptation of Parenthood coming to NBC mid-season.

The Goode Family

It took a few episodes to find its footing, but by the end of its sped-up summer run, I was a major fan of the latest Mike Judge effort. (R.I.P. King of the Hill.) Vastly misunderstood by viewers who only watched the first episode, it, just like KOTH, found a middle ground between conservative America and liberal America and found the ability to make fun of both without drawing blood, choosing to love instead of hate. Some of the voice cast was misused (why was my beloved Linda Cardellini in the cast?), but as a Berkeley native, I had a blast relishing in mocking the stereotypes of my own people while rediscovering what it is I love so much about them. The bull dykes were also two of the most original characters of the season.

One Earth isn't just a grocery store, it's a way of life.

One Earth isn't just a grocery store, it's a way of life.

The Great American Road Trip

Any show that has two contestants debating over which is more correct, “y’all” or “youse,” gets major points in my book. A nice and forgettable summer trifle after a long, way-too-hot day. Silly, yes, but I can’t say it was bad. And it was a definite improvement over the similar family-based season of The Amazing Race. (I’m sure The Soup is really grateful for this show, too.)

Heroes

Oh god, kill me now. Volume 4 was a marked improvement over #3, for sure, but I just don’t care about anybody anymore. And yet I feel that I need to keep watching. It’s too late to give up now. There was one great episode this season, though, and that was the flashback one surrounding Angela Petrelli’s stint at a mutant internment camp. Why can’t they all be this good?

Howie Do It

Yeah, I watched it. Shut the fuck up. About one-third of it was funny, and as I watched it on Hulu at work, it’s not like I wasted any of my own time. Howie Mandel is savvier than you think, but I wish he would return to his wilder roots.

How’s Your News

This Parker-Stone produced MTV show revolving around reporters who are developmentally delayed confused the hell out of me initially, but once I realized there wasn’t a mean bone in its body it became a warm bit of fun. I want a second season, dammit. These are some of the most joyful television subjects I’ve ever seen.

I Survived a Japanese Game Show

Better than the first season, but I’m still glad I only watch this online while doing something else.

In the Motherhood

Worst opening credit sequence of the year. Some pretty funny material hidden underneath unfunny slapstick. Horatio Sanz got thin. Megan Mullally couldn’t find a rhythm. I still think Cheryl Hines is oddly hot.

Lie to Me

I unfortunately didn’t start watching this until July, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long. While gimmicky to a fault and not nearly as intelligent as it pretends it is, this Tim Roth vehicle about an FBI specialist who studies the subtleties of the face (OF THE FACE) is clever, compelling and well drawn. I’m not sure about the addition of Mekhi Phifer’s character, but we’ll see how it works out next season, especially with Shield creator Shawn Ryan at the helm of season two.

Life

This cancellation reallllly hurts. One of the unsung gems from the 2007-2008 television, this, the smartest network cop show in recent memory, took its great season one energy and hit the second season with all it had and came up with a compelling, hilarious, devilishly clever and gleefully violent run that was only marred by a major cast shift during the final few episodes. (I’m looking at you, Gabrielle Union. Your presence was what I like to call a massive failure.) A Zen-obsessed cop recently released from prison after serving over a decade for a murder he did not commit, this show had the best cases of them all. It also gave me one of my favorite hours of television of the year in an episode that revolved around a seductive assassin, fertilizer and pigeon aficionados. And at least the major serialized storyline (who framed Damien Lewis and why) got paid off in a major way thanks to the ever-reliable Garret Dillahunt.

lifeshot

My Boys

Putting PJ and Bobby together was a great idea, but your nine-episode seasons are too short to gain any momentum, and the spring training season finale was a bust.

Nitro Circus

Moronic glee.

Numb3rs

Man, did they put Charlie through the ringer. First, he nearly gets his brother killed with a miscalculation on his part, he questions his own validity as a mathematician and then Amita gets kidnapped just as he decides that he wants to marry her. Otherwise, another fine, if somewhat uneventful, of this show that never captured the glory of its über-nerdy first season. Also, thanks for all the great guest star work, but sometimes it gets laid on a little too thick, such as in “Sneakerhead” which brought together Bruno Campos, Patrick Bauchau, Dr. Edison from Bones and Eve. (And points for making the Liz Warner character actually bearable. I fucking hated her in season 4.

Privileged

So apparently the CW thought that their best idea ever was to get rid of this show, the smartest show on the UPN/WB merger since the Buffyverse, one that was technically pulling in bigger numbers than 90210, one that was a delight to watch and deeply addictive, and make room for what is sure to be one of 2009-2010’s worst new offerings, Melrose Place. I gotta tell ya, this cancellation hurts. While I wrote recaps and reviews of the episodes way into its freshman (and only) season, the looming axe, as well as a more heavily serialized structure, turned me off from writing on the final stretch of episodes, and I told myself that I’d only recap them if the show came back. Lo and behold, another Joanna Garcia vehicle has gone down the tubes. I’ll miss you oh so dearly, Ms. Too-Smart-For-The-CW Palm Beach satirical melodrama known as Privileged.

I hate to say this, guys, but I think Robert Buckley might be a showkiller. And that's sad, because he's so damn pretty.

I hate to say this, guys, but I think Robert Buckley might be a showkiller. And that's sad, because he's so damn pretty.

Rescue Me

I thought it was a great season, and thanks to an extended number of episodes (it didn’t air in 2008 thanks to the writer’s strike), the show was able to focus much of its energy on pages-long dialogue-happy battle-of-wits in nearly episode, which to be is melodrama heaven. Gone is the maudlin tone, returned is all the comic energy, and the stories seem to actually progress instead of just flopping around like a dying fish. Leary and Tolan deserve major praise for bringing the show back up to snuff. And now having seen all of Newsradio, I love any chance I get to watch Maura Tierney, although I’m still not going to watch ER. (I am proud to have only seen three episodes of that show ever, being a Chicago Hope fan.) Special shot-out to the Sean cancer storyline, if only to allow Broadway actor Steven Pasquale (husband of Tony winner Laura Benanti) the opportunity to belt out some songs in a handful of hallucination scenes.

Samantha Who?

One of the biggest upsets of the last two years was the rise and fall of this light-hearted, occasionally gut-busting amnesia sitcom that started off the talk of the town, only to waste away its final episodes after the conclusion of the actual television season. Ending on a shitty cliffhanger (Sam’s parents are getting divorced, so Mom is going to live with you and your formerly-estranged-but-now-love-of-your-life lover), we nevertheless found out who caused the accident that brought about Sam’s amnesia, Jennifer Esposito finally made it with the towel boy, and Melissa McCarthy continued to be one of the brightest stars of the year.

Scrubs

Like Privileged, I hesitated to continue writing due to the threat of its cancellation, but now it’s continuing on into yet another season (albeit with some major changes), so I really have no reason to stop writing about it. But let’s just say that while the hurry-up to conclude its many disparate storylines often felt rushed (those two Bahama episodes felt especially odd), the conclusion to J.D.’s years-in-the-telling tale was a lovely way to conclude the season. (No props for the awful awful Peter Gabriel song that accompanied his final walk down the hallway, as laughably bad as it was when I heard it in the remake of Shall We Dance?)

The Shield

I don’t have to tell you how amazing the final season was. Watch it. Seriously. You owe it to yourself to experience one of the hardest hitting cop shows of all time. Like The Wire, a Greek tragedy hammered into modern-day policework with some of the most finely drawn characters around. And oh man, did those final three episodes pack a major punch. Ouch, indeed.

Southland

Quite a bit like The Shield, really, had it followed Michael Jace’s beat cop instead of the Strike Team. A little too dour at times for me to really give a crap, and the sprawling ensemble needs to be cut down (which is what I hear it’s doing for the second season), but this L.A.-centered procedural has a lot going for it, not least of which its pitch-perfect direction. (I especially dig the long shots, including my favorite, which involved a cabin and a K9 unit bringing down a perp.)

Way better than dating Marissa Cooper.

Way better than dating Marissa Cooper.

Surviving Suburbia

A sitcom in serious need of finding one tone and sticking with it, this sometimes-sweet-sometimes-brutally-cruel suburban comedy worked as well as it did because of Saget as well as G. Hannelius’ performance as the precocious daughter. Still, all the jokes about disabled people, pregnant teenagers and strip clubs really didn’t mesh together with the clichés of the genre.

Survivor: Tocantins

I love Survivor, but this was one of the most boring seasons in its ten-year run. I don’t think I gave a shit about one person, and I simply couldn’t find anything compelling to write about. A waste of a good location.

True Beauty

The right person won, the losers got (mostly) schooled in this trick show designed to expose the douchery involved in modeling, Ashton Kutcher made another heroin-like show, and I concern myself for months with how they can pull the trick off a second time in the next season.

The Unusuals

When grading a cop show, I tend to focus on three things — the tone, the characters and the cases. A bizarre, pessimistic yet comedic take on all those wacky cops we’ve seen throughout the years all thrown together (one is deathly afraid of…death, one has a brain tumor, one talks in the third person, one is a closeted socialite, etc.) pushed into some remarkably dark territory, The Unusuals had tone and characters down pat, but suffered at the hands of some DOA storylines. But oh man, did the tone ever make up for most of the show’s shortcomings. Great ensemble cast, too, although I would have recast Eddie Alvarez.

Rather unusual.

Rather unusual.

Worst Week

A breezy and often hilarious slapstick comedy based off of a British hit, it could never regain its momentum after moving away from the initial “week” of the title. Kyle Bornheimer is a true find and made the more unbearable misunderstandings and embarrassing moments of the show (of which there were many) all the more palatable. I’m not the biggest fan of comedy based around humiliations, but this show found a likeable ability to have its characters not completely despise each other at every moment. This was, to say the least, very refreshing. Big points for giving me the biggest network TV laugh of the year (when Bornheimer wakes up his brother-in-law only to be thought a murderer) but major negative points for pushing back a major character-based episode into a weekend spot months after the show had already ended its run.

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The Husband:

Here they are – the last three new episodes of King Of The Hill ever, on any channel. ABC didn’t make good on their bid to pick it up for further seasons, so if we are to get a taste of the Hill family of Arlen, Texas, it’s going to have to be via syndication from here on out. Right now it’s on Adult Swim, but who knows where it’ll be in five years?

It’s a shame to see it go, but it was a great 13-season run, and that many seasons in this day and age is almost entirely unheard of. For such a low-rated but well-loved slice of American satire, it’s a miracle it was still around in this decade’s final year, and nobody can take that away from us.

Here we go.

13.16 “Bad News Bill”

If you were a young boy growing up in this country, especially in the last three decades, you probably at one time or another played a league sport. (I’m not trying to limit all of you women out there who also played sports, but as a male I just simply know my youth better than yours.) It was a mixture of triumph, despair, skills, shame and a whole other mess of emotions for said children, often feeling the majority of these emotions for the first time ever in such a compacted space. It’s a positive thing for any young child to do no matter what their skill set, but it’s also some of the most intense days of their young lives. It can break a child if one is not careful, but more often it matures them and sets them up for the next stage in their life.

I played a variety of sports, from soccer (eight years) to basketball (six years), plus the little bits and pieces I did of other activities – a good deal of after-school tennis, racquetball, a smidgeon of ice hockey – but league baseball, more than anything, was a major portion of my young life. While I was much better at soccer and enjoyed the sport more, the seven years I spent playing baseball defined me, and that’s a tough thing to put on a child. Some of my greatest memories, both grand and shameful, come from these weekends at assorted parks in West Contra Costa County, and I relive them every now and again, thinking back on my few triumphs…and countless defeats.

Out in right field, watching the dandelions grow.

Out in right field, watching the dandelions grow.

And Bobby Hill, well, he is about to experience some of the horrors of the sport. We all know that Bobby is not your “average American boy,” which is fine, because I’m of the belief that people can be whatever the fuck they want to be. But in Hank Hill’s life, everything seems to fall under the heteronormative – to borrow an overused vocab word from an acquaintance – concepts of the American South. But Hank is beyond caring at this point, so when Bobby joins little league, Hank knows it won’t last. But lo, Bobby is coming home with a smile on his face. Why? Not because he’s any good. It’s because he has one of those coaches who is 100% positive reinforcement, and even if Bobby is a piss-poor ball-player, the coach cheers him on an equal ground with the better players on his team.

Unfortunately, Hank sees right through this, getting banned from the field for simply being an honest father, and realizes that Bobby is getting humiliated game-after-game, and that despite the coach’s best intentions, this is not going to end well for Bobby. Seeing that Bobby is hated by his teammates and the crowd, he does the only thing he can think of, which is to steal the baseball mid-play and run off, embarrassing himself in the process.

A torrent of memories came back during this episode, and the specifics are really neither here nor there, but I can’t say that too many shows really reach into my past as easily as this show tends to do year-after-year. And that’s a fact.

Not the greatest Bobby episode, and unfortunately the final two episodes of the season will barely involve Bobby at all, so this season we are left with no spectacular Bobby-centric episode. However, it left us with the sweet, unassuming and…different boy we’ve known for all these years, and I’m glad for that.

13.17 “Manger Baby Einstein”

And here we have our final Luanne episode, a hilarious, bizarre and telling episode that endears her character, as well as Lucky, to us once again, wondering why the hell Brittany Murphy has basically squandered her live-action film career. More than anyone on this show, I think Luanne can make me bust a gut laughing at even the smallest things.

I really think Brittany Murphy would make a great second coming of Sherri Lewis.

I really think Brittany Murphy would make a great second coming of Sherri Lewis.

This week, realizing that she can easily calm down her new child with the Manger Babies, her happy gang of hand puppets, she decides to attempt a career as a puppeteer for itty-bitty children. And when John Redcorn comes on as a producer – he has a production company and an assortment of AV items thanks to a past in making…other kinds of movies – she becomes an overnight star. This is especially thanks to the slim pickings of children entertainers in the Arlen area.


“The last clown didn’t wear enough make-up and too much of his inner pain came through.” – Mother

Soon her DVD is selling like hotcakes, and she is a local celebrity. But when she does a concert at an ampitheatre and realizes that she now has less than a dozen fans, she realizes that the pop culture attention span of infants is even less than those raised in the MTV Generation. And so, with Redcorn’s help, she throws out some of her puppets, including her beloved octopus Gurgle Gurgle (hearing Luanne say his name is comedy enough), and gets some edgier puppets and an edgier show. Included in this new gang is a Bratz doll.


“Does this one make my hand a slut?” – Luanne


But by the end, Luanne has noticed, just like everybody else in her life, that while entertaining all of these other toddlers, she is forgetting to take care of her own family, and so she hangs up the new puppets, finds Gurgle Gurgle in the mouth of a showdog at a local Chuck E Cheese rip-off, and reverts back to the mother she always wanted to be.


“I’m like an asteroid drifting through space, without a puppeteering career.” – Luanne


The theme is a bit of a tough one for people to swallow, I assume, but it’s done in the most uplifting, pragmatic way possible. As Hank lectures Luanne for ignoring her family, he tells her that she doesn’t need a career, because no matter what, she is a mother. But instead of this being a blow to feminism, it simply lets us know that mothers should not be looked down upon as anything less than the hard-working women they are, and that if they are happy with that position in their lives, then that’s their prerogative.

I also just really loved how freaked out Lucky was when his baby started rolling around on the ground and rung up Hank.


“Lucky, it’s normal for babies to do weird things. Babies are weird.” – Hank


3.18 “Uh-Oh Canada”

And lo, the final episode of King Of The Hill. And how was it? Pretty goddamn great. An ensemble piece to the end, we follow Hank, Dale, Bill and Boomhauer one final time, and this time it’s to protect the good ol’ US of A.

And why is this? Well, Boomhauer is doing a summer-long house-exchange with a family in Canada, and while the Arlen gang isn’t keen to have a Canuck in their midst, Boomhauer seems to have a blast up in Canada, growing a beard and becoming a rugged chick magnet.


“Boomhauer, don’t you dare come back a hockey fan.” – Hank


But down in Texas, a storm is brewing. While the Canadian family isn’t terribly offensive or even much of a nuisance, the father is a bit uppity and can’t help but exposing many of America’s [rightfully maligned] problems, from healthcare to politics and beyond. And while Hank is a polite Southern man, it’s not wise to insult his homeland, and thus a battle forms between the two neighboring countries. Some of the snaps? Hank claiming that nobody can trust a nation that is disbanding its navy. Or my favorite:


Canadian: Tell me who our prime minister is.

Hank: Why?


But when the Canadian father is sent to jail, Hank and the gang realize the error of their ways and spring him out just in time for Boomhauer to come back, now with a Canadian girlfriend, speaking French and acting a changed man. (Bonus points for Boomhauer speaking perfect French Canadian without even the slightest mumble or stutter.)

There are, I hear, another six episodes out there in the ether, as yet unaired by Fox, and I hope that we can see those in some form or another, either over the summer on network, on Adult Swim or just on DVD. But if not, this was a great episode to go out on, one of American pride that nevertheless exposes some of this country’s problems, such as unjust xenophobia, unchecked pride and a touch of ignorance. This show always did it both ways, and that, along with its great big heart, is what made the show a delight into its teenage years.

The Husband:

King Of The Hill 13.15 “Serves Me Right For Giving General George S. Patton The Bathroom Key”

First, let us take a moment to recognize the best episode title of the month. See it glisten…and gleeeeeeeam…

It’s been a year since Hank’s father, Cotton, kicked the bucket, but despite Hank having pushed him out of his mind years ago, Cotton isn’t done with his disappointment of a son. While he waits for Cotton’s young wife come to Arlen in order to drop off a box of Cotton’s belongings, Hank realizes that he knows virtually nothing about his own damn father.

“He was a war hero, and he killed 50 men, and…” – Hank

As Bobby doesn’t want this to happen between he and Hank, he sets out a series of questions, but Hank is a bit too busy with Cotton’s box. Why? Because in it is a list of Cotton’s final wishes for Hank to perform, a list easily obtained from pausing Hulu’s feed:

  • Give the finger to the bouncer at Juggstore Cowboys
  • Spit on the steps of the Japanese Embassy
  • Give fork to Bill
  • Give perfume to Madame Francine
  • Slap the bottoms of the Cleery sisters [two VA nurses]
  • Give spat to fatty

When he achieves the final task, he and Peggy are given a key to a bus station locker that holds Cotton’s ashes with one final set of instructions – flush his ashes at a nearby saloon in the toilet that General Patton used right before shipping off. This is a common place to flush ashes, though, and Hank is not allowed to clog up the pipes just because he had a note from his father. Luckily, Bill is in tow, and as a veteran, he turns the saloon’s patrons against each other to declare which war they fought in was better than any other war, allowing Hank access to the toilet. As he looks around the restroom, Hank learns a few more pieces of info about Cotton scrawled on the stall wall, and he is happy to know that, while he may not know much about his father, he knows enough.

(Let’s just ignore the B-story, in which Dale and Bill fight over the concept of a littered aluminum can in relation to their lack of respect for each other, as the argument started with such silliness that I had zero sympathy for either of them as their friendship threatened to fall apart.)

It’s always understandable to want to know more about one’s parents. I personally don’t know nearly as much as I should about my father’s childhood, but it’s not because he’s a closed-off person like Cotton. He just doesn’t talk about it, and I am quite aware that the life he has had since moving to California is far more positive than much of what transpired during his early years on the east coast. But I do hope that, one day, we could have an information sit-down, just for my own sake.

In addition, I had hoped that Hulu would have posted the final fake PSA from the end of the episode on how to avoid clogging toilets, but alas, they weren’t clever enough to turn that into a stand-alone clip.

“Our best bet might be to take out the floorboards and turn this into a Flintstones car.” – Lucky

The Simpsons 20.18 “Father Knows Worst”

Now that Marge has found a sauna and has neither the time nor the energy to worry about anything, Homer steps up to the plate in taking care of the children. Unfortunately, he almost immediately discovers what we all already know — that Bart is a loser and has no future, and that Lisa is a loner and has no friends. And so, Monsieur Simpson does his best to help his two elder children advance in life.

First, he tries to help Bart get a good grade in class by taking on an assigned balsa wood project, but gets in over his head when he chooses to build the nigh impossible Westminster Abbey all by himself, and only learns his lesson after being visited by the ghosts of Geoffrey Chaucer and Oscar Wilde. (True, Simpsons writers, much of Wilde’s platitudes sound good and clever, but many of them don’t make a whole lot of sense sometimes.) And with Lisa, he attempts to get her new friends by updating her on all the cool trends, such as cell phone bedazzling parties on Facebook, but learns his lesson when he sees that his little girl is unhappy.

Of all the shows on Sunday’s Animation Domination, The Simpsons once again is the least funny, which is about halfway a sad commentary on this 20-year-old show and halfway a reminder that this Emmy winner is getting its ass handed to it every now and again. The sweetness that permeates much of this show didn’t seem to come through this week, and that’s a shame.

Good bits from the ep:

  • The Commie Swatter
  • “Ooooooh! Fire kebab!” — Homer
  • The image of Marge riding a stegosaurus on water-skis, and the fact that Homer’s mind would go there in the first place
  • “Awwww…that’s not Henry VII; that’s Henry VI.” — Homer

Sit Down, Shut Up 1.2 “Miracle’s Are Real”

Despite popular opinion, I didn’t find this ep as funny as the pilot, but goddamn did I still find myself laughing at the most bizarre instances. I don’t really understand why so many people don’t find this show funny. Are they afraid to laugh at some of the more bizarre bits of humor, like Miracle’s increasingly clothesless dancing and posing in the field while waiting for her birthstar and Pluto to align? Are people too PC to laugh at Happy’s intensely confusing mumbling? I don’t know, but it’s getting me, and it’s getting me goooooood.

When Miracle accidentally gives the entire teaching staff hemlock, the plans for the upcoming “Fair” Fair get thrown out of whack, but Acting Principal Sezno is damned if she can’t raise some money for the school in any way she can. And so the Fair Fair goes into effect only to have it all fall apart in various ways. This is made worse when Larry successfully convinces Miracle that her spirituality is no match for his science, which in turn only successfully turns Miracle into an emotional zombie, depressed and dejected. And so, of course, this has to turn into a parody of that creepy robot fortune teller in Big, a quest for Ennis to see Miracle’s breasts in any way he can, for Willard to find a home (one that’s not inside of an active church bell) and for Stuart to revert back to his former job as a prison clown (complete with song).

Disturbing on so many levels.

Disturbing on so many levels.

At this point, I don’t know if the show’s going to get any better for those who simply don’t get it, but I also don’t want to scare people off of checking out the rest of the short first season. Just open yourself up to the silliness and subversion, and understand that there are several layers of humor going on at one time instead of the assumed one level (you know, like Two and a Half Men, which is pretty much just bad sex puns). It’s true that it’s hard to relate to any character so far, but I like the general group overall. And isn’t that a good starting point?

Other stuff I laughed at:

  • The interestingly punctuated Teacher’s’ Lounge
  • “Boy, the man cannot hold his hemlock.” — Larry re: Ennis
  • “I only heard five bongs and a scream.” — Miracle
  • “Lift your head. I can’t see your chesticles!” — Ennis

Family Guy 7.13 “Stew-Roids”

Aside from the depressing fact that Joe’s son Kevin just happened to randomly die in Iraq while he was gone from the show over the last few seasons, and FG‘s continual insistence that killing pets is funny (IT’S NOT, YOU JACKASSES!), this was the second almost drop-down funny episode of Family Guy in a row. While Chris gets She’s All That-ed by the popular Connie, which in turn puts Meg into an even lower social standing at James Woods High School, Stewie decides to pump up his muscles when Joe’s infant daughter beats the crap out of him. Unfortunately, this leads almost immediately into steroids, which gives the show’s writers every opportunity they can to use every single musclehead cliché they could think of. I hate to say that most of it was funny simply because it was true, and that it was coming out of a baby’s mouth, but sometimes that’s all it needs to elicit a guffaw from yours truly.

Disturbing on so many levels.

Disturbing on so many levels.

True, it’s tough to get a laugh for doing a Buffalo-Bill-in-SilenceOfTheLambs bit with Chris when Kevin Smith beat you by three years, but you can always make up for that by having Stewie, huge muscles newly deflating, using his muscle flaps as wings to parody Rocky the Flying Squirrel. It’s the silly things in life, folks.

Other guffaw-eliciting yokes:

  • Meg’s bag lunch: bread crust, an orange peel and a picture of Lois eating a turkey leg
  • “You look like Lou Ferrigno’s poop.” — Brian
  • Paul Sorvino and Chazz Palminteri starring in the film Distracting Trumpet
  • “I like what you’re doing with your boobs.” — Peter

American Dad 4.17 “Every Which Way But Lose”

Another Steve-centric episode, another mild success. When Steve, as he often does, wants to spend more time with his dad, he joins the football team and have his dad coach, only to suck major hairy balls and get cut from the team. And so, with Roger’s help (and Roger’s disguise as Coach Buttermaker in The Bad News Bears), Steve and his ragtag group of misfits train in order to take on the undefeatable Wolverines and finally get Stan to cry. (Because how many times has Stan gotten Roger and Steve to cry? Too often.) They stink out loud as a team, though, and so Steve and Roger figure they can at least prove themselves by “spoiling” the game and winning on their own terms. Unfortunately, when Stan finally loses the match, he feels he has no other choice but to commit suicide. (As he is unable to cry, this is the only way he knows to deal with shame, or as called it, getting the emotions out through his throat.) But Steve is a perpetual loser, and so he is able to teach Stan to finally cry.

“That’s what life is — losing and crying.” — Steve

Meanwhile, Francine is hard at work baking pies for the upcoming fair, only to find that the mysterious woman she keeps losing to is actually Hayley in disguise, betraying her confused notions of feminism in the 21st century. (“Mom, it’s not what you think. I’m…cooking meth!”) This plot doesn’t really give too much other than having Roger describe how awful each pie is. (I believe I heard something about gerbil meat.) The storyline does, as it does on AD, end quite suddenly and with a one-word wrap-up, though, when Roger wins the competition and admits that he’s been competing against them secretly for years.

Not one of AD‘s best, but a solid effort.

Bits! Funny! Here!:

  • “Dad, you can’t really expect a non-Korean to place above ‘cobalt.'” — Steve on his platinum medal at a recent chemistry competition
  • “A sturdy groin is the lynchpin of victory.” — Stan
  • “Yes, I’m crying! He hit me with a chair!” — Roger
  • “Hey Steve, before the game, how many ears did you have?” — Roger

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 4.23 “Bullies”

It seems we’re close to wrapping up the fourth season of My Name Is Earl, and as the show has finally reached the point where it can be considered “on the bubble” for being renewed for next season, the haters are coming out of the woodwork. In the last week, I have discovered that there are far more people who despise this show than I ever considered possible. It seems that this show has been labeled as “that hick show,” a dumbass 30 minutes of nothing but Middle America bullshit dumb humor that has put us under its spell. People can’t wait for this show to disappear.

I’m surprised, because I always found this show far too intelligent and too strange to be horrible. And I think anything this strange can’t be altogether bad. People who ignore the show’s wit and cleverness clearly haven’t seen too many episodes, and people who say it barely elicits a chuckle clearly never stuck around for lines like the following, taken from my articles simply on this season:

  • “Collect her tears! We can all live forever!”
  • “You can’t just ship a turtle, Earl. It’s not like a vase or a person.”
  • “Only thing I ever sewed was my stab wound on prom night!”
  • “You didn’t feed yourself. You just talked a homeless woman into cooking baby birds for you.”
  • “What an idiot. The baby formula is man plus woman. Everyone knows that!”
  • “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.”

And that’s just half of this season, which while good is definitely my least favorite of the four seasons. (Other than Frankie Valli.)

And how about my favorite line from last season?

“I just want to live in a world where tampons aren’t made out of hay.”

I’m sorry folks — I’m about as far removed from Middle America as you can get, and I think the show is a pseudo-brilliant absurdist comedy with some of the nicest and most relatable characters on TV. God forbid that the show deals with lessons and spirituality (in a completely fucked-up way, of course) and that’s too much for you to handle, but simply misunderstanding a show isn’t enough for hatred. Just like those who hate King of the Hill. I hate to be this person, but I think these people simply don’t get it. Unlike the shows that I may or may not get, which I chalk up to the lack of variation from week-to-week (any CSI, Two and a Half Men, etc.), these two shows seem to be picked on because they’re different.

Whatever. If I were a praying man, I’d pray for this show to come back. It works just fine where it is.

Uh, well just chill on your porch for a little bit, okay?

Uh, we'll just chill on your porch for a little bit, okay?

This week, Earl took on #32: bullied Wally Panser. Back when he was a kid, Earl tormented this tiny boy with the funny name and a love for butterflies. But now all grown up, the boy has become the giant Matthew Willig (former offensive tackle for USC and several pro ball teams), and is big enough to make Earl go by a nom de plume and pretend that he is there to be a workout buddy. While he tries to figure out a way to atone for his past and not get his ass beat, Randy takes some advice from some Roid Heads at the gym and takes a supplement that would help him stand up to his personal bully — Joy. Unfortunately, this supplement is shark adrenaline shot directly into his scrotum, a term Randy doesn’t know until the needle is in his nutsack.

This turns into a mega-fight when Wally discovers Earl’s true identity and Randy gets roid rage that becomes more funny than violent. But, thankfully, Earl finds that he can convince Wally to muster up the confidence and courage to compete in the Camden muscleman competition. (He didn’t want to shave his body hair off, nor did he think they’d like his love for butterflies.)

Fuck, please don’t take away any show that has a character mutter the following:

“You just released more shark juice from my scrote!”

The Office 5.22 “Heavy Competition”

A program that doesn’t need a save-our-show campaign is The Office, which continues making bold steps in a new direction this year. That doesn’t, however, make this week’s episode any funnier, a 30-minute set of bizarre double-crosses that did a great job in evolving its characters but somehow managed to bore me.

Other than the funny cold open, in which the three employees of the Michael Scott Paper Company found about two dozen ways to toss cheese puffs into each other’s mouths, there wasn’t a whole lot of laughter to be found in this episode, which chronicled the one-upmanship between Michael and Dwight, resulting in wiretapping, betrayal and nudity, leading up to Michael finally showing his true colors as a great salesman by basically stealing Dwight’s biggest client right out from under him.

Sell this, bitch! Sell it!

Sell this, bitch! Sell it!

Meanwhile, Jim decides to play a major prank on Andy (for no particular reason) which basically exists simply to mock Andy’s bizarre hopelessness when it comes to romance, which seems more cruel than funny. Dwight, I think, deserves all the pranks Jim can muster up, but Andy is just a lost man.

But what was funny was Andy trying to sell off all his leftover wedding appointments and dates to Jim and Pam, including his Cornell a capella group Here Comes Treble, who we find out was going to sing Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” during the wedding procession.

The Wife:

Parks and Recreation 1.1 “Make My Pit a Park”

Here we go, boys! My own sitcom!

Here we go, boys! My own sitcom!

This pilot was kind of a letdown, filled with maybe a total of four things I found amusing, most of which were not amusing enough to actually vocalize laughter. I will list them:

1. Amy Poehler’s entire attempt to remove a drunk man from a children’s slide. There’s just something funny about poking a drunk man with a broom.

2. Loudon Wainwright III popping up as a local nutball who uses public forums as a way to rattle off his own conspiracy theories. First of all, I love Big Daddy Wainwright, even if, as a Rufus fan, I shouldn’t. (Listen to “Dinner at Eight” off of Want One if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) Second of all, I come across a fair number of public forums at my current job and this is exactly what they are like. There’s always one guy who pops up to share his theories on Laura Linney.

3. That painting on the brutal slaughter of Native Americans by the pioneer women of Pawnee, Indiana? That I laughed out loud at. And then I was suddenly filled with white guilt.

4. “Sweet lady Marmalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarde.”

I wasn’t fond of the pilot for The Office, either, and television wasn’t nearly as important to me then (probably more important? drinking) as it is now, so I didn’t bother to give myself a chance to warm to The Office, which I’m told by many people I should be watching. For as affable as Poehler is as Leslie Knopp, and as much as I like Aziz Ansari and Rashida Jones, there’s just something about these mockumentary-style shows I can’t get into. And this one seems imminently less relatable than The Office does. I’ll keep watching, because even though this episode was something of a letdown, it’s better than Kath & Kim.

30 Rock 3.17 “Cutbacks”

The celebration of TGS‘ 50th show is quickly snuffed when Jack announces that the Sheinhardt Wig Company is making cutbacks, and departments can either make them on their own, or let someone from corporate come in and do it for them.


“Enjoy your decorative airholders. You deserve them.” – Jack


So Liz is ordered to turn in a budget for her show, and even Jack has to make some cuts, firing Jonathan and asking Kenneth to do double duty as both NBC page and his assistant. But when it comes down to it, Liz can’t find any room in the TGS budget to scrimp. I mean, they need those straws, for the soda cans are the bathroom for all of the vermin infesting the halls of 30 Rock since Jack cut the exterminators out of the corporate budget. Enter Roger Bart as a corporate hatchet man to whom Liz must pander to save her show. She starts by giving an Apple-esque presentation about why TGS is awesome (it’s really conserving resources, you see, for it is a live show, a comedy show and a musical!), but Roger Bart remains largely unimpressed, although I don’t know how considering how freaking awesome Jenna’s Suri Cruise rap is. He orders Liz to cut 25% of her operating budget, and do so in a day, lest he do it for her.

And, really, how could you cut money from a show that Emmy magazine dubbed The Death of Comedy?

And, really, how could you cut money from a show that Emmy magazine dubbed "The Death of Comedy?"

When she is unable to make her cuts, Roger Bart goes ahead and fires a large percent of her staff, including the announcer who can’t really talk correctly anymore (but needs the insurance, that’s why Liz keeps him on). Liz decides to take a cue from Sheryl, a middle aged woman from another department who is ready to trade sex with Jack to keep her job (and, in fact, suggests to Liz that they team up and lez out a bit so they can get more out of it), and slut it up for Roger Bart in the hopes that he’ll show her department favor and give back her staff.

Like an 80s prom combination of William Wallace, Norma Rae and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Liz heads out to take one for the team:


“They may take my dignity, but they’ll never take our straws!” – Liz


But the next day after Liz offers Roger Bart some top front action, she finds that TGS is now the headquarters for Telemundo’s soccer sportscasts.


“Top front? Good Lord, Lemon, that’s your worst quadrant.” – Jack


She confronts Roger Bart about this and realizes, sadly, that what she thought was a business exchange was actually the first time he’s slept with a woman since his wife died. Heartbroken, he rails at the heavens:


“She’s a monster!”


Meanwhile, because Kenneth is busy juggling two jobs, he asks Tracy to feed his bird, with the stipulation that Tracy not enter Kenneth’s bedroom. Naturally, Tracy starts thinking that Kenneth is a serial killer, hiding bodies in his bedroom. I mean, why else wouldn’t you allow television star Tracy Jordan to enter your bedroom?


“Neither he, nor his bird, will let me go into his bedroom.” – Tracy


So Tracy does what one would naturally do when one suspects one’s coworker might be a serial killer and tells Jenna about it. She informs him that, based on the knowledge she gleaned about serial killers while playing Detective Jill St. Ferrari in the Lifetime original miniseries Hushed Rapings, Kenneth is most definitely a serial killer, especially because he has an inability to read facial expressions.

“I admonished him for that earlier!” – Tracy


After attempting to confront Kenneth about it, who is now speaking rather oddly because he’s not sure if he has to be Kenneth the Page of Kenneth the Assistant (he’s much tougher). Kenneth makes it seem like Jonathan is dead, and Tracy and Jenna go to feed the bird and investigate, ignoring warnings not to enter the bedroom. When they do, they see no bodies, but a bug bomb:


“Oh, no! Kenneth’s a killer or the Riddler’s coming!”


The bird drops dead, and they decide to confess their misdeed to Kenneth, who is so angry that he is forced to yell at them in his barn voice. I mean, they killed the bird he kept for over 60 years. I’d be upset, too. (60 years? Wow, the air in Appalachia has been good to Kenneth.) To make it up to him, Tracy and Jenna decide to buy Kenneth a whole bunch of birds, which he takes great delight in naming (Balthazar, Lorne, Michael, Donna).

Because of Liz’s sexual harassment of Roger Bart, she gets put on a mandatory two-week unpaid suspension, and she has to start the budget review process all over again – this time, under Jack’s supervision. See? Everything works out exactly the way you want it to when you harass sexually in the work place! Screw what that HR guy said!

As always, there is no such thing as a bad episode of 30 Rock. In the long run, I don’t think “Cutbacks” is going to be a classic episode of this show, but it was funny enough. I have a feeling I’ll be talking about Hushed Rapings for a long time to come.

The Husband:

I think if you’re looking to a Greg Daniels show (The Office, Parks and Recreation, King of the Hill) for loud, extended guffaws, you’re going to be disappointed. With the exception of the dialogue from some of the sillier Office characters, none of these shows are meant to make you laugh so hard your sides hurt in the way that 30 Rock does. They are clever, amusing, uncomfortable and true to life. They cause one to smirk, shudder, wince, chuckle, and, most of all, think. His previous shows work because they are about real people, not one-liner monkeys. My issue with Parks and Recreation wasn’t that it wasn’t this laugh-out-loud riot, but simply that, so far, I can only relate to the Paul Schneider character, and that may just be because I love his film work, especially David Gordon Greene’s All the Real Girls.

There are just different types of humor out there, and to expect one thing from something that it’s not may seem a tad unfair. But I do think that, had my wife stuck with The Office, she would have been better prepared for P&R.

It’s fine to not think something is funny, because humor is entirely subjective. But each show is entitled to reach its own form of funny the way they know how.

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
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