The Wife:

Something weird happened towards the end of the last season of this show. By which I mean, the show actually became imminently watchable. And when the new 90210 became watchable, that’s when I said I wasn’t going to come back and watch the second season.

Well, guys, it turns out that I was wrong, and the CW sucked me back in. As I don’t have classes until Sept. 30, I have nothing better to do then watch a perfectly fine hour of soapy teen television. The only bummer is that I can’t really mock the show anymore. But then again, maybe I just have to learn to write about it in a different way.

Upgrade!

Upgrade!

For instance, I don’t have much to say about the premiere of season 2 because there wasn’t really anything objectionable about it. It’s improved on so many levels. I find Adriana’s quest to be a normal person very relatable, and I get that seeing mommies happy with her babies would take her back a bit to what she recently gave up. Putting Naomi in bed with an older man (and the complications that will arise from this act) is a high-stakes plotting move, and, though the way it played out in this episode was obvious, I think it has a lot of potential further down the line. Annie’s out-of-control spiral looks incredibly promising, as does new troublemaker Teddy, who seems to complicate everybody’s lives. Let me break that down:

  • He was Adriana’s first lover, so Navid is instantly jealous.
  • He’s really cute, but because he was with Aid, Naomi can’t date him.
  • But that doesn’t matter, because he apparently wants Silver.
  • He finds Silver’s phone filled with texts from Ethan, and blurts that out in front of Dixon, causing her to lose both men in one fell swoop.
  • On the plus side, he does kind of save Navid’s cabana-stealing ass by throwing out his daddy’s name to appease angry beach club-goer Elizabeth Rohm (Angel), who also happens to be the wife of Naomi’s older lover.
  • P.S. He saw Annie commit her hit and run.

That shit is, like, Gossip Girl complicated, yo!

Even stylistically, this new season is full of promise. I love Silver’s new hair and have to admit that even though I’ve been growing mine out, I love her haircut so much that I am strongly considering getting it cut like hers. Silver has the cutest one-piece swimsuits in the world. I like the new opening credits. Everyone’s makeup and clothing looks more expensive, less thrown together out of Forever 21, more culled from Nordstrom and Bloomingdales. These are all good things. I’ll even throw a bone to Adriana’s extensions, which I think make Jessica Lowndes look far too much like Courtney Cox, but which I also can’t deny are a good look.

On a Dustin Milligan related note, from his work on 90210, I’d have had no idea the kid was a good actor, but he gives one hell of a funny performance as a boneheaded gigolo in Mike Judge’s Extract. Now that I know he isn’t a pod person, I wish he were still around on 9fneh. The potential was there, but no one ever figured out how to use it. I just hope Ethan is at peace, fly fishing his days away in Montana. And now I’m thinking about A River Runs Through It. And now I might cry a little bit, because that movie is amazingly gorgeous.

Aaaaaaaand . . . I can’t believe it took the writers until season 2 to make a “Hi-ho, Silver!” joke. Really. That should have happened ages ago.

So, it looks like you’ve hooked me, 90210. But I have managed to cleverly resist Melrose Place by TiNoing it. And every time I think about watching it, I find a better way to spend those 42 minutes. Like writing this, for instance.

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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.

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:

The Simpsons 20.13 “Gone Maggie Gone”

The Simpsons decided to go into full-length-episode movie reference mode this week and ended up with a neatly plotted but somewhat empty episode. Combining the similar nuttiness one would find in movies such as National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code (and, of course, the book of the latter, which is pretty much just the movie but without Tom Hanks’ hairdo), it lead Lisa on a quest to find Maggie, who through a series of circumstances disappeared at a Catholic church. (Never mind the title being a reference to the Dennis Lehane novel and film Gone Baby Gone, which, aside from having a missing child, had nothing to do with the episode.

But how did Maggie get there? Well, Marge looked at an eclipse head-on instead of through a camera obscura and temporarily blinded herself, and so she has to be bandaged up for two weeks. The rest of the family have to do all her chores for her, but when the kitchen is overrun with rats (with a momentary Ratatouille cooking sequence), Homer goes to buy some poison, bringing Maggie and Santa’s Little Helper along with him. But driving back home, the dog and the baby begin fighting over a Life In Hell doll and some candy-colored poison (“What is it with kids and candy-colored poison?”) made Homer crash his car off of a bridge. As the car flies through the air into certain doom…

“Why did I bring a baby and a dog to the poison stooooooooooooooore?!” — Homer

Landing on solid ground, Homer tries to get himself, Maggie and the dog across a body of water, but there’s only enough room in an abandoned boat to bring two at a time, much like the common riddle with the fox, the hen and the chicken feed. In the distance, Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel is experiencing the same problem, until the fox eats the two other items.

“Well, the puzzle done puzzled itself out.” — Cletus The Slack-Jawed Yokel

When Maggie, during Homer’s solution of the riddle, ends up by herself in front of a church, she is picked up by a nun and brought inside.

Phew…so that’s why she’s there, and that was the funnier part of the episode.

Lisa, meanwhile, goes to find her, and discovers that she must go through a series of word problems and Rube Goldberg devices to find Maggie, all while unraveling the mystery of the “Gem,” an item that the nuns need to bring a new era of peace to the world. Lisa, through her own cunning as well as help from Skinner and Comic Book Guy, learns that she may, in fact, be the gem, and goes to the church to reveal herself. But she had misread a clue, an anagram that could have said either “Lisa” or “Maggie” depending on how you solved it, and finds that Maggie is the gem child. But as the sun hits Maggie and peace comes to Springfield, a blind Marge bursts into the church, having a mother’s instinct as to where her child is, and is unwilling to let her child be used as a spiritual conduit. She takes Maggie and the family home, leaving Bart there to be the gem child, but when the sun hits him, the walls begin melting and fire bursts from the walls.

I did not expect to write as much as I did on this episode, so I guess that’s a sign that I liked it more than originally reported. Yes, I liked the story just fine, but the humor, the actual laugh-out-loud humor, was all in the first act, and as I’m not the biggest fan of either National Treasure or The Da Vinci Code (I’m kind of morally opposed to non-children’s books that have five-page chapters), the rest of the episode was just one extended gag, clever but tedious.

Other funny bits from the episode:

  • The mocking of Ed Begley, Jr.’s environmentalism, despite the fact that I agree with everything he stands for
  • “Wolves are taking all our women!” — Homer’s reaction to a Tex Avery cartoon
  • “I’m not an albino. I just use a lot of sunblock.” — Smithers

King Of The Hill 13.12 “Uncool Customer”

Peggy, upon visiting a music store desiring a cassette of the new Michael Bublé album, discovers that she hasn’t kept up with the cool trends for about 20 years now, and sets out to find a place in the new millennium. And what better place than with the hip, trendy mothers of the cotillion class Bobby convinced his parents he’d like to attend. And oh, are they trendy. They have names like Kat Savage, give their daughters hip boy names like Michael and frequent hidden wine bars that needs passwords. Much to her delight, they take a liking to Peggy.

“You’re fun. You say what you think. Like you’re already drinking.” – Kat

Soon, she is struggling to keep up with all the “cool things,” from purses to vacuum cleaners, while Bobby follows her around also trying to find out how to be cool, as he has a major crush on Kat’s daughter Michael. Soon, Bobby is doing the best he can to keep up with fashion statements, even though his baggy, sagging jean-phase is about ten years too late.

“How about you wear pants and I think of them as pants!” – Hank

When Peggy and Bobby are deemed worthy enough to attend Michael’s party, they show up looking like Kid ‘n Play, thus ruining the party. But when they happen upon Kat’s room, it seems like that of a crazy person, as she maps out her struggle to stay trendy above all else. Kat comes in and proclaims how difficult it is to keep up with the times (e.g. she visits 142 blogs a day) and how it completely wears her down.

“I’ve even done some streetfighting.” – Kat

Finally, she admits that she loves Peggy because of how uncool she is, which has in turn allowed Kat the ability to let loose of all her “coolness” and just be herself, which concludes with her watching shitty sitcoms with Peggy at Chez Hill.

I think Peggy cribbed this outfit from Tyra Banks, actually.

I think Peggy cribbed this outfit from Tyra Banks, actually.

Meanwhile, Hank doesn’t want anything to do with the cotillion (no surprise there), so he goes to see what’s up at the old polygamist compound that has now been turned into a restaurant. Turns out that the sandwiches are delicious, but the seating is community-style along very long benches.

“This table smells like a diaper, and this is still the best meal I’ve had in years.” – Hank

Hank tries to get over the seating arrangements, but he soon begins overhearing conversations that are simply TMI and none of his business. (This episode’s main example? Women talking about birth control.) When he brings the gang to the restaurant to indulge in their meatloaf sandwiches, they stake out a private four-top and rush to it in its tiny turnaround time.

“That pregnant woman was fast, but we wanted it more!” – Dale

Still, Hank can’t take this untraditional restaurant, and so he accepts the fact that it is not for him. However, the sandwiches are so good that he’s willing to take a hit in the wallet and pay somebody to bring him his sandwich.

I’m starting to really gravitate toward Peggy’s stories, perhaps as I get older, as I can relate to them more than I could Bobby’s ten years ago. I’m nowhere near as culturally clueless as her, nor am I close to as old, but I appreciate her effort to be a better person, or at least a more outwardly cool person, which is pretty much a struggle for anybody. But as I am no longer of “party” age and I vastly prefer coming home after work and watch television to grabbing a beer at a noisy bar, I get it. Life gets in the way, and that may not be such a bad thing.

Family Guy 7.9 “The Juice Is Loose”

I can understand why the show decided to put a disclaimer at the beginning, claiming —true or false I am unsure — that this was a “lost episode” that took place in the fall of 2007, as the focus of the episode, O.J. Simpson, is now in jail for non-murder-related charges, but it really didn’t make this lame episode any funnier.

After Peter and his friends are left to look after the kids, they nearly destroy the house with a pillow fight-turned-fistfight while Stewie accidentally locks himself out on the roof. Peter distracts Lois and all of us with an extended rehash of the Conway Twitty joke from a few seasons ago (it was more strange than funny the first time ’round, so I felt pretty damn cheated by this 3-minute cutaway) to ease the tension on him. At the dinner table, he discovers an old winning sweepstakes ticket from decades earlier that entitles him to a round of golf with a celebrity, who just happens to be O.J. Simpson.

Despite protests from his family and friends, Peter decides to go through with the game of golf — it helps that he doesn’t even remember, you know, the Trial Of The 1990s — but soon becomes suspicious of O.J. and tries to get him to confess, going to the golf game wearing a wire. O.J. discovers the trick, though, but instead of killing Peter, he convinces him that he was innocent, and living the past 14 years of his life being thought a killer despite being acquitted has turned him into a lonely man.

Pete brings him back home to see his family and assures everybody that O.J. is a human being just like everybody else, but when the town of Quahog hears that an alleged murderer is in their midst, they form an angry mob and make way to Spooner Street. There, O.J. and Peter convince the mob that he is not a bad guy, and everybody apologizes and begins living in peace…

…Until O.J. stabs three townspeople and runs away.

So, an old joke that really doesn’t have any bite left and an unfunny three-minute cutaway? Not one of FG‘s brightest moments.

Some good bits, however:

  • The Robert Mitchum film Out-Of-Shape In-Shape Guy In The 50s
  • “We’ll stay in, pop some popcorn and watch Jimmy Kimmel try.” — Peter
  • “You know how much mustache cream costs?!”

American Dad 4.13 “Jack’s Back”

When Steve joyfully informs his father that he has signed them up for a father-son bike race, he learns Stan’s terrible secret — Stan doesn’t know how to ride a bike. (Stan has a lot of terrible secrets, doesn’t he?) As his criminal father was never around, he never learned any of the things a young son is to learn, including car mechanics.

“Now it’s making a black tinkle out of the hoozy-wuzza!” — Stan on an oil leak

This is okay, since Francine has her own things she simply cannot deal with (i.e. she doesn’t like spumoni, because while it’s ice cream, it sounds like pasta to her), but this doesn’t stop Steve from wanting to reunite his father with his own father. But after a bit of research, he finds out that Pappy Smith is in prison, trial is soon approaching, and he needs a good character witness. So Steve is allowed to bring Stan and the elder Smith camping, but Stan, never having been taught how to fish, begins shooting into the lake.

You're just mad because you can't ride a bike!

You're just mad because you can't ride a bike!

After a series of incidents, Steve discovers that Grandpa Smith really is a bad guy and not the misunderstood misanthrope Steve assumed he was, but he wants Steve to learn a good lesson and decides to turn himself into the court house and be slapped with a “guilty” verdict, all while Stan rethinks his own position on his father-son relationship and surprises himself by ferociously riding his bike across town to the tune of Queen’s “Bicycle.” (Any excuse to use this song is okay by me.) But Stan is too late, and his father goes off to jail once again.

In the extremely bizarre B-story, Roger lets Hayley intern at his bar in the attic, but the lazy Hayley doesn’t like doing any of the actual work. And so the two one-up each other with costumes and assumed personalities, being anyone from a labor board supervisor to members of the Armenian mob to a time-traveling half-cow-half-person from the future to finally each other, where Hayley finally “Duck Season/Wabbit Season” tricks Roger into signing her internship form. Hey, if Roger isn’t going to be in the A-story, I’m fine if all of his B-stories can be this strange and funny.

Funny stuff. A little lightweight. I’m still waiting for AD to get back its sharp satirical edge, but this was definitely an improvement over the last couple weeks.

Other funny!:

  • “I just Mr. Belvedered myself. Google it.” — Roger (To wit, Christopher Hewett, who played Mr. Belvedere on his eponymous show, had diabetes. Put two and two together.)
  • According to Steve, taking a #4 is two men taking a poop while holding hands
  • “I have to air it out at night or else I get eye mushrooms.” — Pappy Smith about his usually eyepatch-covered eye.

The Husband:

Ahhh…the first Sunday in months where we got a new episode for each of Animation Domination’s four shows. How’d they stack up? Quite well, actually, and I’m all the happier for it.

The Simpsons 20.12 “No Loan Again, Naturally”

I guess the showrunners of King Of The Hill are either more prescient than those behind The Simpsons, or their episodes get made more quickly, because the former beat the latter into getting an episode about the housing crisis to air by quite a few months. It doesn’t really matter, because while both shows concern the plight of the middle class in fly-over America (yes, I know we don’t know technically where The Simpsons takes place, but it’s always felt Midwestern to me), they took somewhat different approaches.

After throwing yet another Mardi Gras party and putting the finances through their already poorly mortgaged house…

“Oh Mardi Gras, oh Mardi Gras, you see a lot of boobies.” — Homer singing to the tune of “Oh, Christmas Tree”

…742 Evergreen Terrace now has no choice but to be foreclosed and then sold to the highest bidder during an auction, thus putting the Simpson family out on their ass. But as a last minute reprieve, Flanders listens to his Protestant (but not Baptist) heart and buys the house, letting the Simpsons stay there and letting them pay him back the $101,000 whenever they get a chance. But now that Flanders is the landlord, it is his duty to fix every single one of the house’s problems at the beck and call of the Simpsons, something they abuse almost immediately.

Sorry, Homer!

Sorry, Homer!

Fed up, Flanders tries to kick them out of the house in order to sell it to somebody more worthy and less deadbeat-y, but Homer has a trick up his sleeve. Since you can’t evict anybody from a house over a certain age (65, was it?), Homer lets Grandpa live in the house. Grandpa is very happy to be used, but when the Simpsons go out for a good time, they come back to find all their crap on their lawn. (Grandpa had succumbed to living next-door with Flanders, who fed him “people food.”) But Flanders, in his great big googlyooogly heart, knows that no matter how horrible the family is, he just can’t be the one to kick them out, so he accepts them back, warts and all.

Like I said, this episode was a little late to the gate, but I also think it might have been their best story so far this season. It was more relatable than most of the shenanigans they’ve recently been put through, and while I don’t demand that The Simpsons always be more down-to-earth, I’m thankful when they are.

Some other good bits from the episode:

  • “Boy, where are my zydeco records?!” — Homer (I know it’s not meant to be that funny of a line, but coming out of Homer’s mouth it kind of is)
  • Woman: What are you, some kind of talking dog?
    Moe: Uhh…yeah.
  • “Learn to make soup from rocks and grass.” — Mortgage Broker to Marge
  • Homer: he’s nailing something to our door.
    Lisa: Is it theses?
  • The DVD that Homer puts in to distract his grandfather: Dwight D. Eisenhower talking about golf

King Of The Hill 13. 11 “Bwah My Nose”

It seems that for Hank, he has been the shame of Arlen for decades now. But why? Well, back in high school during the big football game against their rivals the Mustangs, Hank let his fellow Longhorns down by getting injured and thus losing the game. And ever since that day, the former Mustang team has come around time and again to harass their archenemies with taunts and teases (even though, technically, they won entirely on field goals). Hank, no longer willing to be mocked, decides to get the gang together for one final, deciding game – although it’s going to be flag football, as each member of the team is well into middle age.

He goes far and wide to find his fellow teammates, including one who was so shamed that he moved to Phoenix (where it’s even hotter than Texas!). Now that the team is together, seemingly nothing can stop them. Even Bill is feeling some of his former glory as a ball player.

“Stay out of the Bill-dozer’s way!” – Bill

But when Bill gets a little too into a practice scrimmage, he accidentally breaks Hank’s nose, and his bloody appearance shocks his family.

“I don’t have to beat up someone’s son, do I?” – Bobby

This leads Hank to do something completely against his belief system – go to a plastic surgeon. But he is amazed to find that, with the surgery, he can also correct something he felt was always wrong with his nose – one of his nostrils. And his new nose, as he considers it, is beautiful.

“I don’t care if they had to use part of your butt. You look great.” – Bobby

But for perhaps the first time ever, Hank is now obsessed with his looks, and so he finds himself avoiding the football at practice, simply to protect his glorious new nez. He decides that to save face, he pretends that his nose is still sensitive, and that he can no longer play in the game. But Peggy knows when her husband is lying, and Bobby (who claims that he uses “I have the cramps” as an excuse to get out of gym class) knows a faker when he sees one. They bring him into the plastic surgeon to get him to fess up, but Hank throws a hissy.

“I love my perfect, perfect nose. Is it so wrong to be beautiful?” – Hank

But that sentence is enough to make Hank realize that he’s being a namby-pamby, and so he rejoins the team, and even breaks out of a vicious tackle to score the winning touchdown. Finally victors after all these years, the gang decides to give the Mustangs a taste of their own medicine and taunt them at work, because even if they are successful businessmen, they are losers in the eyes of the football gods.

A funny, decades-later look at the same general concepts behind the brilliant show Friday Night Lights. And it’s always fun to see Hank turn into something so stereotypical, as whenever he says anything like “is it so wrong to be beautiful” as if a teenage girl would say it, I fall down laughing. I’ve been with his character so long that I guess it comes with the territory.

But the best quote of the night?

“Come on, dad, you can do it. You may not be able to run, but you can flee.” – Joseph to Dale

Family Guy 7.8 “Family Gay”

FG takes on a controversial issue, whether homosexuality is nature or nurture and if it really is a choice, in a completely bonkers way and yet somehow does so with a weird mixture of vulgarity and understanding. (The answer: well, if you’ve ever actually treated gay people with any kind of respect and understanding, you’d know the answer. Now to get off my soapbox…)

When Peter is sent out to simply buy one can of beans, he comes back from Louisville having just bought a defective racehorse for the house. Why? No reason, really.

“Peter, I don’t think it’s wise to have a brain-damaged horse as a house pet.” — Lois

Just like The Simpsons, though, the first act of FG has progressed to be less and less about the actual story and simply acts as a catalyst, so when the brain-damaged horse ends up doing $100,000 of damage at the racetrack before dying, Peter has to pay off the family’s debts by being a guinea pig in some scientific experiments.

The Seth Rogan gene also makes you schlubby, but inexplicably attractive.

The Seth Rogen gene also makes you schlubby, but inexplicably attractive.

What kind of experiments? Why, genetic testing, of course. After receiving genes that turn him into a squirrel and then Seth Rogen (not at the same time, although I’d love to see that), he is injected with the “gay gene,” turning him into a ragingly effeminate and silly version of himself. While he goes overboard with the not-entirely-fair gay stereotypes (prancing, making muffins, being ridiculously sexualized), his family tolerates his new personality, until Lois is distraught to find that he just won’t have sex with her anymore. Brian decides to send him to a “straight camp” with very questionable tactics, until they all realize that they love their Peter, gay or not, because he clearly isn’t making the choice for himself.

But when the gay gene wears off after only 2.5 weeks (right in the middle of Peter having an 11-way), Peter comes running home to his family, who would love him no matter what.

I’m not sure if 100% of FG‘s audience is going to get some of the sarcasm of this episode, and some would say that its remarkably silly approach to the subject might actually do some damage within the brains of those not paying attention, but I’m just hazarding a guess, really. It was a particularly funny episode, and maybe I’m just underestimating some viewers. Prove me wrong, but if you came out of this episode simply thinking that gay sex was gross, brother, you missed the point.

A whole lot of random funny, comin’ at ya:

  • The Dragon’s Lair reference during the show’s first few minutes was excellent, so esoteric I had to explain to my wife what the hell it meant
  • “Is Paul Sorvino standing behind me?” — Stewie re: hard-breathing brain-damaged horse
  • How many times has Cleveland’s house been destroyed while he’s in the tub?
  • The racehorses all being named after canceled FOX shows is a recycled joke from FG‘s first episode back from cancellation, but it was still damn funny. (Especially the dig at still-on-television-for-no-discernable-reason ‘Til Death.)
  • “Penis for your thoughts.” — Peter
  • The Lifetime movie: Meredith Baxter in Raped By A Clown
  • “Take back your f@#&ing horse!” — Mort

American Dad 4.12 “Roy Rogers McFreely”

If we’ve learned anything from this show over the years, it’s that hell hath no fury like a Roger scorned. (Remember what he did to Steve when simply told, “You snooze, you lose?” I rest my case.) When forbidden from having him simple coke-and-grenadine concoction of a Roy Rogers, Roger takes on the persona of Roy Rogers McFreely, a cowboy-hat wearing son-of-a-gun, and becomes president of the Langley Falls homeowner’s council and proceeds to turn the monotone and rigidly structured community into a mess of self-expression, wild paints jobs, bight motion-sensor lights and…oh god…

“Oh no, Steve — non-native ornamental grass!” — Stan

For once in his life, Stan is being put down by The Man instead of simply being The Man, and can no longer take it. Finally able to relate to the plight of his daughter Hayley (although without the hippieness, the drugs or the shitty Ghostbusters II body paint), Stan bands together with Steve, Hayley, his gay newscaster neighbors, and old man and an agoraphobe communicating through a Charlie’s Angels speakerphone, to take to the streets and secretly do some “constructive vandalism” in order to return the community to its former glory.

It’s a battle amongst giants, and Roger won’t take this insubordination lying down, especially not with his band of fighting Mexicans, but he is no match for a backed-into-a-corner-while-wielding-a-firehose-from-the-newly-installed-hydrant, so Stan is ultimately the successor. Silliness abounds.

I have to agree with the AV Club that some of the episode’s points had already been covered just fine so far this season, but if it can make me laugh, I care far less. It was a good night from each show, and American Dad capped it off nicely.

Funny stuff! You know you wanna:

  • “Absolutely not. I’m zombie-dancing with my son.” — Stan
  • “Humans are talking!” — Francine to Klaus before breaking his fishbowl
  • “Sergei don’t need to go on another treasure hunt.” — Sergei
  • “To the bathroom, princess style!” — Roger
  • The elementary school Spanish-level lyrics of the Cilantro song that Stan hates so fervently.
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