Happy Friday! We’ve reached the end of the week, and now it’s time to take stock of of the week’s best shows on television. That’s right, we watched everything and made notes of the Best TV Shows on TV. We do this every week because we owe money to people –bad people. And if we don’t tell you about the best shows on TV every week, they’re going to take our thumbs. We need those things!
And while you’re reading this week’s list, you probably need something in your earholes. Supernatural recappers Lenny and Katie bring you another episode of their great Secret Lover podcast and this week EJ stopped by to talk about The Simpsons. And he still snuck Batman in there, because when doesn’t he talk about Batman? You can get it on iTunes or right here!
We’ve already talked about Walking Dead and Modern Family, but we’ve still got lots to say…
Raising Hope – This week, creator Greg Garcia gave us a full-fledged My Name is Earl reunion, all built around Hope’s birthday party. It started with an appearance from TV’s Tim Stack, appearing on a Celebrity Rehab-style show for his chronic masturbation. Then Jason Lee reprised his role as washed-up rocker Smokey Floyd, who had made a list of his past misdeeds and was trying to correct them (hee!). Jamie Pressley, Ethan Suplee, and Eddie Steeples all made it to the party, too. (Pressley and Steeples even got to reference each other’s past identities in a funny bit.) Just to complete the main cast, Jimmy hired Nadine Velasquez to entertain the kids with her mini-trampoline. (Remember? When Catalina was working at the strip club on Earl, her whole act was jumping in place!) If you’re looking for deep cuts, the former Nescobar Alop-lop appeared as an airline pilot, and there was even a reference to “Mr. Turtle”. It probably goes without saying that the regular cast was great as usual, but trust us – they were delightful. And it was a double dose this week with a second episode that had Burt and Virginia protecting Jimmy from girls who were out of his league. (The Chances passing as college students? Amazing.)
New Girl–This week, it was the 10th anniversary of Nick and Schmidt living together. That’s the tin anniversary, of course, which inspired Schmidt to throw a huge party he named Tinfinity! He gave Nick the responsibilities of getting a port-a-potty and balloons, both of which Nick botched admirably. (He bought a run down old port-a-potty and got a hot air balloon instead of mylar ones, except he didn’t get propane, so the balloon wasn’t even inflated!) On the bright side, he’s pretty sure owning the potty makes him a small business owner. Meanwhile, Jess was obsessed with finding someone else to “french” to get the memory of Nick’s mouth on her mouth out of her mind. She was pretty sure she’d found a candidate in Winston’s new pal, a pro football player. But he turned out to be a little too in touch with his feelings when he talked about them getting married and having kids before they’d even kissed. And Schmidt’s toast to Nick went awry when CeCe’s arranged boyfriend picked that exact moment to propose. The crestfallen look on Schmidt’s face broke our hearts.
Degrassi – Perhaps inspired by “Wheels, Ontario”, we’ve started watching the Canadian teen drama that just began its one hundredth season (approximately). And while we don’t know all the characters yet, Friday’s episode was truly impressive, as it dealt with the suicide of a student, Cam. Degrassi sidestepped all of the cliches – we didn’t see Cam’s last moments or get any clear answer or even have the cast make big statements about life and death. Instead everybody dealt with grief in their own ways, whether it was denial, petty anger, or even bad jokes. It was well-written and beautifully acted, and we’re clearly going to have to start paying more attention to this show.
Guys With Kids–This is not the hippest or edgiest show on TV, but it’s cute and family-friendly and this week it featured a Cosby Show reunion! Keshia Knight Pulliam showed up as Marni’s (Tempestt Bledsoe) younger sister Bridget. Her character was a bit of a spoiled brat who always seemed to be asking her sister for money, but ended up helping brother-in-law Gary sell his invention, the Wrapkin. If nothing else, the show is worth watching for cute baby stuff and, this week, Anthony Anderson doing a karaoke version of “My Life Would Suck Without You”.
The Jeselink Offensive – Yep, we’re still tickled by Anthony Jeselnik. First off, we are big fans of the way he introduces his weekly panel segment. He basically just sticks the word “panel” into random sentences. (“When life gives you panel, make panel-ade.”) Given that we’ve been doing that with “schedule” for five years now, we can totally get behind that. And then that panel featured Nick Kroll and Patton Oswalt, both of whom we love. Nick and Patton acted out menage a trois conflict resolution, commented on the Pistorious case. (Kroll: “I’m not sure this story has legs.”), and celebrated the return of Four Loko. Unlike The Burn, there’s more to the show than just the panel, though. Anthony’s opening monologue was dark and funny, as was his homage to You Can’t Do That on Television. And then there was “Black Name Spelling Bee”, which should have been offensive, but Jeselnik knows how to sell it. He also keeps the joke in the right place (reminding a contestant “if you get this wrong, you’re a huge racist”), which goes a long way. It is not a show for the easily offended, as should be obvious, but if you don’t mind some dark humor, you should definitely be watching this.
The Oscars–We didn’t love Seth MacFarlane’s hosting overall, but there were a host of solid winners this year, and some lovely musical numbers. The best part of the three and half hour kudofest by far, however, was the luminous Jennifer Lawrence. She tripped on her way to the podium but immediately made a joke about it. Her acceptance speech was short and sincere without being cloying, and her backstage press conference was hilarious. Her answers to the increasingly inane questions tossed her way are witty and refreshing.
Kroll Show – This week’s episode brought back a lot of our favorites. PubLIZity’s Pretty Liz (Jenny Slate) met C-Czar (from Roman’s Empire) on Ice Dating, which is exactly what it sounds like. Slate and Kroll got a surprising amount of emotion from these ridiculous characters, which is the kind of thing you can do when a sketch show has this much world-building. Ref Jeff returned, only now he’s in jail for rigging games. But he still really wants to make friends with everybody. This episode also brought back the Rich Dicks, El Chupacabra (who, with the help of a baby, talked a rock star out of suicide), and best of all, Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland. The “Oh, Hello” boys were mistaken for hoarders (Look, somebody has to keep track of all the times Alan Alda is mentioned in the newspaper!), and then they hosted a party for the most disgraced professors on the upper West Side. Kroll and John Mulaney just come up with so much gold during these segments – we especially love Mulaney’s Schmidt-like commitment to accenting the wrong syllables. The man deserves an Emmy just for the way he pronounces “snowglobes”.
Mindy Project–Seth Rogen dropped by as Mindy’s old friend Sam from the summer she attended a Jewish overnight camp as a pre-teen. They reconnected on Facebook, and he was in NYC for a short visit before re-deploying to Afghanistan. Once you just accept that a character played by Seth Rogen would be fit enough for the armed forces, the rest of the episode is pretty funny. Seth and Mindy have great chemistry, and their adventures with a self-checkout, tattoo parlor, a good ol’ roll in the hay and even the ER after Sam accidentally fell out of Mindy’s apartment window were adorable.
Community – This week’s episode brought Chang back to Greendale, only now his name is Kevin and he suffers from “Changesia”. (When a doctor explained that memory loss could cause “inappropriate insertion of his name into an unrelated phrase”. Dean Pelton’s response – “No, he’s always Dean that.”) In the main plot, the study group went to war with the German Foosballers from “Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism” (sadly lacking Nick Kroll this time) over the use of the study room. No matter how early they woke up, the Germans were already there! This episode had some fun with continuity (like the montage of people trying to get in the study room while it was otherwise occupied) and went into some really silly territory (like Troy actually hiding inside a giant cake).
We’ve probably reached the point where we can stop overanalyzing every Season Four episode and comparing it to the Harmon regime. We’re still on board, and the biggest accomplishment is that the characters still act like themselves. Some of the plot points didn’t quite come together, but it was a busy episode and that’s going to happen. Yeah, “Greendale students can’t celebrate their own heritage” comes out of nowhere, but all the supporting characters rallying against the study group was pretty darn funny. (And Troy actually has access to tear gas?) The Dean/Chang scenes did a lot to make Chang usable again, and history professor Malcolm McDowell was amazing. Oh! And Pierce’s jealousy that nobody considered him the Hitler of the group? That was pretty great.
Go On–Ryan and Simone came to a crossroads this week. He accidentally called her Janie and she demanded he take off his wedding ring if they were going to keep moving forward. When it was pretty clear he wasn’t ready, they broke up. Steven was there for his pal, with a full fledged Sixteen Candles homage (Steven is apparently Jake Ryan to Ryan’s Samantha Baker) and a night out with their secretly pathetic single friend, played by Bradley Whitford. In other news, Mr. K somehow ended up being Ann’s temporary nanny, guided by his compulsive watching of Mary Poppins. It’s glorious in exactly the way you think it will be when it comes to Mr. K!
Suits – The season finale threw so many relationships into disarray. Harvey campaigned to become a named partner, and Jessica just shot him down. It was brutal. And then Scottie (who we should note has been on Burning Love, Childrens Hospital, and Mad Men and is thus one of our patron saints) made her love for Harvey clear, and we really want to see how that plays out. Mike admitted the whole “no law degree” thing to Rachel which led almost immediately to sex. It’s nice when really attractive people who make consistently terrible decisions find each other. And of course, Louis Litt met his British doppleganger in the form of Nigel Nesbitt. We assume they’re going to end up being the best of friends and also hating each other, but their oneupsmanship over “mudding” was just wonderful. And now, the long wait for Season Three begins…
Conan—Did you know that the studio where Conan films his talk show was once used to make the seminal 1985 movie classic, The Goonies? Well, it was, and it’s one of Johnny Galecki’s favorite movies! So, when the Big Bang Theory star stopped by this week, this thing happened:
Justified - Well, if you’re a tertiary character on Justified, you had a bad week. The body count was high this week, with both Colton and a hired enforcer going on separate rampages. And it all started with the best cold open ever – Hunter made an attempt on Arlo Givens’ life, which turned into a savage battle (despite Arlo being drugged) that ended with Hunter stabbing Arlo in the heart with a pair of barber’s scissors. He hung on for a little while, but the evil old bastard died this week (after telling Raylan to kiss his ass), and Raylan didn’t do so well with it. He might have been the worst father since Anthony Cooper, but Raylan still felt something for him.
Johnny Crowder tried blackmailing Colton with fake texts from the missing Ellen May, which is when Colton started killing more people than usual. Look, the Crowder family doesn’t have a history of making smart choices, but poking at Colton has to be one of the worst possible strategies. And in the funniest scene of the week, Raylan learned about Boyd Crowder’s engagement while he really should have been focusing on other things. And none of this changes the fact that Drew Thompson is still at large. This season is fantastic!
Nashville–It’s Deacon’s birthday, and Juliette insists on throwing him a party, even though most every one of his friends is acutely aware that he has a weird birthday ritual of staying home and watching Old Yeller. Juliette wouldn’t hear of it, and recruited Scarlett and Gunnar to get him to The Bluebird by saying they’re performing, Once there, he warmed to the party, and had a good time, and Scarlett and Gunnar did get to sing. Rayna, whose divorce was splashed all over the tabloids and was being dogged by paparazzi, was advised not to attend the party, but enlisted Watty to escort her anyway. Juliette’s mom fell off the wagon, making Juliette’s ability to enjoy her success short-lived. But, with the help of her addiction counselor (who you know will hook up w/Jules at some point), we hope she’ll bounce back. Gunnar had to throw his brother out of the house, but was destroyed when he wound up his evening identifying his brother in the morgue. Scarlett was worried sick, and when he finally did come home and told her the news, they ended up having sex. FINALLY! Rayna & Deacon had a nice moment after she sang a new song at the party, and we hope this will be the start of them being close again. Teddy asked Coleman to be his deputy mayor and continued to sleep with Peggy. We continue to not really care.
Archer – Like Bobby Hill, we love our cooking shows. So you can imagine how happy we were that celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain guest-starred this week as Lance Casteau – a TV chef who’s sort of a mix of Bourdain and Gordon Ramsay. (The station breaks for Bastard Chef look exactly like the ones for Hell’s Kitchen.) A threat on his life sent the ISIS field agents undercover in his kitchen. Archer, who had absolutely no talent for it, really loved being a chef – he’d never had a job before, so he got really into it. Lana, Ray, and Cyril were much less charmed by the whole thing, given that Casteau was kind of a sociopath. Back at ISIS, Malory really just wanted reservations to Casteau’s restaurant, and she was willing to kill Pam’s fighting beta fish to get them. As we’ve come to expect, things went completely off the rails by the end, with Pam and Carol masquerading as obscure Kennedys and our two favorite cyborgs making a comeback.
Jimmy Fallon – This blew our minds – Tuesday night, Delocated’s Jon Glaser was Jimmy’s guest. You know who else was on the show? Trump. We have never wanted two guests to share a green room as much as those two. Even better, Jon was wearing a neon yellow hoodie and ski cap and Coors Light pants. Just imagine him making awkward conversation with Trump! We just hope Jon kept one of those stinkbombs from last week’s Parks and Recreation. Admit it – we all want Trump to get Jammed!
There’s so much more, too. Lorenzo Lamas taking a fox for a walk on The Joe Schmo Show. Burning Love Season Two being awesome online and E! running the first season on actual TV (Monday nights! Watch it!) A great start to Amazing Race. Travis being sad over on Cougar Town. Flame Princess on Adventure Time. Man, we could do this all day.
Next week should be great, too. Jon Hamm on Bob’s Burgers, the series finale of Delocated, and much more. And if there’s something we should be watching, let us know! We’ve clearly got plenty of TV shows to watch, but we’ll make room! Like us on Facebook and JournalFace.net and follow @spunkybean on Twitter. And we’ll be back next week with more!