The Husband:

My Name Is Earl 4.22 “Pinky”

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

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

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

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

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

“My penis lost all feeling in 1993.”

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

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

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

The Office 5.19 “Two Weeks”

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

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

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

[Horrible noises cease]

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

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

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

Defect with me, Jim!

Defect with me, Jim!

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

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

The Wife:

30 Rock 3.16 “Apollo, Apollo”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or cashiers checks, for that matter.

Or cashier's checks, for that matter.

Other funny:

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

The Husband:

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

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The Husband:

After a week off due to, what else, the inauguration, Scrubs is back with two new episodes. (It’s tough for me when this show misses a week. I’m so used to it on the verge of getting canceled year-after-year on NBC that even now that it’s on ABC, its absence gives my stomach that sinking sensation. Hopefully that’ll wear off soon.) And while I’m not entirely positive about a potential spin-off and/or continuation of the series with a whole new set of interns, I do appreciate getting to know them in such depth this season. It’s sort of a more confident but mildly less funny version of Scrubs’ first season, and that’s a nice approach for this show.

8.5 “My ABCs”

In the first episode, J.D. begins imagining Muppets everywhere for no reason other than the show is now on ABC (and Muppets are awesome), being yet another fantasy that mirror his own id. These rascally creatures aren’t in the episode enough for my tastes (put any kind of Muppet show or movie on the television and I will sit and watch until it’s done), merely making cameos, but it did lead to such gems as The Todd’s new “Grover Five,” The Janitor finding a new friend in Oscar The Grouch (although he cannot, unfortunately, keep his eyes open as long as the Grouch) and J.D. posing the following question after Elmo hits on intern Denise.

“What is Elmo? A seal?” – J.D.

In the real central stories, each of our main doctors starts mentoring their respective interns. Elliot gets the two-faced kiss-ass Katie, Turk takes on the immature and lazy but bright Ed and J.D. continues his quest to make the cold and cruel Denise have more empathy for her patients. By the end, Elliot realizes that Katie secretly has no respect for her, Turk realizes that he’s being sexist in selecting one of the interns for a special research project (technically, he picked Ed for the project because Ed signed his name in multiple colors thanks to one of those sweet chunky multi-color pens) and J.D. realizes that he sometimes puts too much of his feelings in his work. (Or is that the next episode? The J.D.-Denise drama has been bleeding through several episodes.)

That Elmo! He tickles me so!

That Elmo! He tickles me so!

Other than the Muppet appearances, I don’t know how much was really exemplary about the episode, but I like Scrubs specifically for the fact that it doesn’t always try to strive for the biggest joke, and is willing to sacrifice some of its laughs for drama. I like Denise, I like her problems and I like her vulnerability. And while Ed hasn’t had too much to do so far this season other than just be obnoxious, I enjoyed his DJ scratching sounds.

“Sa-sa-sa-syphilis!” – Ed

Some of the other quotes I wrote down from this episode:

  • “It’s a good one! The letter’s ‘J.’” – Turk on Sesame Street
  • “Mark my words. I will zwa you by the end of the day.” – Cox
  • “Denise: I like bangin’ dudes.
    J.D.: I hear that’s nice.”

8.6 “My Cookie Pants”

A more emotionally involving episode that also managed to be far funnier than the previous one, this one finally picks up the J.D.-Elliot relationship and reveals them to be a more mature couple than they’ve been in the past seven goddamn seasons. Now, I’m definitely a J.D.-Elliot ‘shipper, but I will agree with some viewers that it has been far too much back-and-forth with too much of the same neuroses being blamed for breaking them up each time. But in this, where Elliot gets a day off from work where she can bake cookies and thus allowing her to wear her stretchy cooking pants, we see her complete attachment to the hospital, and how J.D. is now in a position to help her become more of a regular person. It’s especially difficult for Elliot to have a day off when she can’t even contact Carla, who is out of the country due to her aunt falling out of a balloon. (Hu-wha?)

J.D. has other issues to deal with at work, and that’s finally getting Denise, however slowly, to stop insulting the patients and telling them that their illnesses are really bumming her out. It’s so bad that J.D. uncharacteristically goes out of his way to insult her:

“I’ll see you tomorrow. If you’re not here, I’ll just assume that demons dragged you down to hell to chew your face off.” – J.D.

Fed up with her, he finally threatens to fire her if she doesn’t shape up, and we as viewers finally see J.D. become a truly confident doctor. No matter where the show goes after this season, this Zach Braff’s final one, so we only have less than 20 episodes to see him finally achieve his goal, which to me is to be as good of a doctor as Cox without all the self-loathing that comes with that label.

And Denise…well…she slowly begins to attain J.D.’s great amounts of empathy for his own patients.

Speaking of Cox, he has finally been offered the position of Chief of Medicine, but after being warned that it’s a soul-sucking, bureaucratic nightmare of a job that alienates one from their family, Cox gets in his own way and refuses the position. After getting a talk from Jordan and also realizing that it’s what he’s wanted for so long (and that Kelso was just trying to warn him and not outright shoo him away from the position), Cox relents and does, in fact, accept the position, fully aware of all of its drawbacks. Cox is finally making decisions as a father and a husband and not merely as a doctor, and that is his path toward redemption.

There were a lot of small gems in this episode, but my favorite (and I’m sure many others agree with me) is this final exchange between J.D. and Elliot.

“J.D.: You look amazing.

Elliot: Even in cookie pants?

J.D.: Especially in cookie pants.”

Other quotes:

  • “Elliot: Stop throwing dirty clothes at me!
    J.D.: Stop saying sexy things!”
  • “These are my muffin slacks. Bam!” – Kelso
  • “Are fraidy-cat’s ears too tiny?” – Cox to J.D.
  • “If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right.” – The Todd on sex
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