It’s hard to believe it’s Friday again, but we’ve once again consumed more TV this week than most people do in a month, and we’re ready to tell you all about it. We’ve already given you the scoop on The Walking Dead, The Bachelor finale, Parks & Rec, Celebrity Apprentice and American Idol. Now, let’s fill you in on what else was truly awesome this week.
Bob’s Burgers – We can’t believe how much they managed to cram into a half-hour episode this week. A new science teacher (and part time Thomas Edison impersonator) wouldn’t let Louise reuse last year’s volcano for the science fair. Thanks to a tip from a very secretive librarian (Billy Eichner), she learned about an experiment where Edison electrocuted an elephant named Topsy. So she decided to reenact the event and expose Edison as the monster that he was. Somehow, this required an original song performed by Gene (as Edison) and Tina (as the elephant). Since neither of them can sing, they recruited Mr. Fischoeder and Aunt Gail to provide their voices from backstage. (Even though adults weren’t supposed to help.) Then Teddy got involved, since he could build a Vandegraff Generator. Then Tina almost got electrocuted and took grooming advice from the ghost of Topsy, Bob invented Spiceps (armbands that hold spices) and Linda turned it into a Spice Rack (a spice-holding bra) and they had one of their most passionate arguments over which was better. The Science Fair required a jailbreak, elaborate cover stories, and a big musical number (“Electric Looooooooooooove”). No kidding around, this episode was nuts.
But beyond that, this episode was just so dense with jokes. Almost every line of dialogue had a solid joke, the reactions were hilarious, and all of the absurdity just came together so beautifully. It’s basically the perfect comedy, and we’re lucky to live in this day and age.
Nathan For You – We’re trying to accept the fact that Kroll Show is done for the season, but between Nathan Fielder and Anthony Jeselnik, Comedy Central is doing its best to fill the void in our hearts. This week, Nathan tried to help a professional Santa make some money during the traditionally Santa-light summer months. But when the local mall wouldn’t let them set up for discount photos (Santa had a criminal record, and also owned about a dozen guns.), Nathan just set up Santa’s workshop anyway. Nathan, dressed as an elf, keeping mall security at bay with a giant candy cane. That’s good stuff! He also promoted a petting zoo with a viral video that exploded about six months ago, wherein a heroic pig saves a baby goat from drowning. That was the cutest thing ever, and even though we know it’s fake now, the way Nathan turned it into a meditation on joy made it even better. Finally, he tried to rehabilitate vandals by strategically placing posters that were practically begging to have penises drawn on them. Teen Street, everybody!
But that wasn’t all – an extra episode aired on Wednesday. And conveniently, Comedy Central labeled it as “Sneak Peek” on the schedule just to make sure that our DVRs would definitely miss it. The first segment had Nathan creating the scariest haunted house ever (by convincing patrons that they may have been exposed to a contagious autoimmune disorder), and that was pretty great. But the rest of the episode had Nathan getting over his awkwardness with women by putting together a dating show. Directed by spunkybuddy Jason Woliner, this segment cast Nathan as “The Hunk” and ten women competed for his affection. But unlike the always excellent Burning Love, this Bachelor parody was full of actual people who really wanted to get on TV. It was great to see Nathan react the way a normal person should to this kind of situation, not ready to start making out with strangers and definitely uncomfortable when somebody professes love after five minutes. (He also got a woman to say she loved him by indicating that she’d get more screen time.) It was brilliant, sweet, and hilarious, and well and truly exposed exactly why people actually get on dating shows. It was a delight!
Community – Hey, another documentary episode! This one had Abed helping the Dean to get a grant for studying Changnesia, while also documenting Jeff’s attempts to expose Chang as a big fake. We got to see the rare Annie-Troy pairing as they made up a crack investigative team – “Houlihan and Partner” (or possibly “Partner and Houlihan”), which was great. We especially loved Troy’s insistence that he always had to disagree with Annie. That’s how investigation works! Surprisingly, the real standout was Ken Jeong. Now, Jeong is a very funny guy and we love him. But we were pretty much burned out on Chang by the end of last season – he’d gone so far over the top that there was nothing else to do with him. He had, as Mr. Burns before him, crossed the line into cartoonish supervillainy. But the way Jeong played the new Chang – or “Kevin”, as he likes to be called, was really touching. He seemed so vulnerable and scared, and by the end we were convinced that Jeff was in the wrong. But then, after Jeff made peace with Kevin, we learned that Chang is running a scam with an unnamed partner. OK, they got us. Well played, Houlihan. (But, come on. He has to be working with the Dean of City College, right?) OH! Also, Pierce debuted “Blackface Senor Wences”. This is not something anybody needed to see.
Delocated – The series finale of Delocated was ridiculously dark. Just so you know, there are going to be SPOILERS. Months after being abducted by Sergei, an amnesiac Jon washed up in New York. (And at no point while trying to recover his identity did he remove his ski mask. He doesn’t remember who he is, but he accepts that he’s wearing a mask. Amazing!) He gradually recovered his memory through a series of clues, but along the way he kept hurting people while still acting like Jon. He killed at least one member of Yvegeny’s vodka concern and his former bodyguard T.B., and then he attacked his son. Keep in mind, this managed to be funny the whole time, which is hard to believe. Jon ended up strangling his son before he realized that Sergei had turned him into a killing machine. (“Cat’s in the Cradle” played on the soundtrack during the scene, which is dark and hilarious.)
The show ended with Jon heading to Russia to get revenge on Sergei. (Jon: “Broke your mind hex. Brainwashing is no match for a father’s love for his son.” Sergei: “His dead son.” Jon: “Yes. Unfortunately, David was killed before I could break the hex.”) So the men stripped down to their underwear for a fight to the death. (Steve Cirbus, who plays Sergei, is freaking ripped. Jon Glaser is… not.) It was a surprisingly brutal battle, made ridiculous by Jon trying to write rhyming threats (He rhymed “about it” with “about it”.) , and of course, the ever-present ski mask. Jon managed to defeat and kill Sergei. Afterwards, he sent a farewell video to the network – he removed his mask and promised to disappear. Unless Richard Belzer took an interest in his sitcom pitch, then they should definitely find him.
It was a sad, dark, funny, and impressive way to end a show we love. So many running gags turned up one last time, but in a new context – like a sad “Frrtt” or Jon unwrapping one last sub sandwich while covered in blood. Genius. We’re going to miss Jon, and we can’t wait until Jon Glaser unveils his next project. (Of course in the meantime, you can watch him on Parks and Recreation and get Jammed.)
Venture Bros. – No, you didn’t miss an episode. But the cult favorite returns to Adult Swim on May 19, and this week they unveiled a five-minute trailer for the upcoming season. Ninjas, centaurs, male nudity, the return of Captain Sunshine, a deadly game show, a mysterious funeral, the original Team Venture, a parody of Tim Burton’s unproduced Superman Lives, Henchman 21 fighting for the good guys, and a 20% chance of diarrhea. You will definitely want to check this out. Unfortunately, they didn’t make the video embeddable, but you can check it out here.
Amazing Race – This week’s episode, set in Indonesia, was a lot of fun. The second of a two-part leg, the Racers were pretty much exhausted this time around. One challenge required them to wait for monkeys to get their clue out of a coconut, and monkey tasks are always funny, especially when somebody has to try and coax a monkey to do anything. This episode was where the various teams really started to distinguish themselves. Jeff ruptured his Achilles Tendon on the previous leg and spent the whole time on an air cast and crutches. (They’re scrappy, but at some point Connor will have used up all of his roadblocks.) The Country singers are adorably dorky and shockingly unfunny. (They try though, bless their hearts.) But this week, it was dating couple Jessica and John who kind of stole the show. A Detour had them recreate an elaborate fruit display, only they went to the wrong location. They found themselves in somebody’s backyard, just mutilating his fruit. The man was confused, but he just went with it. And in the final task, requiring John to find a particular surfboard and deliver it to Phil, John spent more than an hour making the wrong choices, but he refused to give up. (It’s unclear whether he understood that they were definitely eliminated or not.) Besides his weird determination, it was his peculiar reactions that really made it a strange episode. When learning that every other team had arrived, he said “Obviously, that’s disappointing” and then just continued with his futile task. Reminded that they had an Express Pass that would allow him to skip the task, he noted “I don’t really see how that would help in this situation”. And when he was eliminated, John assured us “I don’t really need a million dollars anyway”. Please note, Jessica was clearly not on board for that last one – she needs a million dollars. We have to assume that they’ve broken up since this episode aired.
Hell’s Kitchen – Gordon Ramsay’s show started a new season this week. We’ll probably talk more about it later after there’ve been some eliminations and we can keep everybody straight, but one thing just needs to be mentioned off the top. You know how they have a different (and ridiculous) sequence for the opening credits every season? You know, showing the contestants as circus performers or surviving deadly kitchen challenges? Well, this season, the opening theme has them fighting killer robots that are made out of kitchen appliances. Because if there’s one thing this show needs, it’s to be more like Real Steel. Actually, all shows need to be more like Real Steel.
Justified – This was a comparatively quiet episode, with a focus on Shelby / Drew Thompson and his attempts to get out of Harlan with Ellen May. They finally ended up turning to Limehouse for help, which is a truly desperate move. Especially since Limehouse almost immediately cut a deal with Boyd Crowder to sell the both of them back for $300,000. Boyd and Ava put all of their money into it after their backers agreed to pay them half a million dollars for Drew Thompson.
But Limehouse, as he’s prone to do, changed the terms of the deal. The money would only buy one of them back. Boyd and Ava had to choose between Drew (who’d net them a payday), and Ellen May (who has information that she could use against them). They picked Drew, but before the Harlan syndicate could pick him up, the Marshall Service arrived. So the episode ends with Drew Thompson in custody, a penniless Boyd Crowder out for blood, Wynn Duffy and the Detroit Mafia hot on Thompson’s trail, Limehouse with lots of money and leverage, and every single person looking to take out Raylan and company. This season keeps getting more awesome!
SNL–Justin Timberlake was back as host and musical guest this week, and it was a solid outing. The first half, in particular, hummed along. It featured a reprise of the classic “Five Timers Club” sketch that was a guest star-palooza. Steve Martin was the best, but Chevy Chase and Martin Short were there for an actual Three Amigos reunion! There was Dan Ackroyd as a bartender, and bonus turns by Paul Simon, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks and Candice Bergen. That led right into a dating show sketch that worked in both the D-in a Box guys (Hi, Andy!) and The Festrunk Brothers (“Two Wild and Crazy Guys!”), and the now requisite sketch where JT dresses in costume and sings about someplace with “Ville” on the end. This time it was tofu and the restaurant was called Veganville. It works every time because Justin sells it no matter what. Stefon showed up for Weekend Update and JT’s two performances were stellar. The guy just brings insane energy to the gig. He even did his best with lousy sketches, like “Sober Caligula” and “Maine Justice”…we get the joke; it’s just not funny.
Dallas–It looks like Larry Hagman’s death will be a bit of a gift for the ongoing plot of Dallas, which this week focused on J.R. Ewing’s death and funeral. We got teary over both Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray’s performances, especially when Sue Ellen fell off the wagon by drinking J.R.’s bourbon while reminiscing, and then gave a tearful reply to his written request for a dinner date. Bobby lashed out at Ann in his grief while Emma and John Ross hooked up in the backseat of a car (!), and he snubbed Pamela. Turns out J.R. was on a trip with two purposes when he died: he was trying to help Bobby dispose of Harris and find Christopher’s long-lost mother, Pam! His private eye gave Bobby a note he didn’t read in front of the boys, but it clearly holds the key to who actually killed J.R., which producers have promised we’ll know by season’s end.
“Justin Timberweek” on Jimmy Fallon–In a brilliant marketing push for his new album “the 20/20 Experience”, JT followed up his SNL triumph by spening the whole week as Jimmy’s musical guest and occasional sidekick. Though there was more to come at press time, highlights included a barbershop quartet version of “Sexyback”, three Michael McDonalds singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” (Jimmy, JT and the actual Michael McDonald) and a special edition of the recurring “Jacob’s Patience” sketch, where guests pretend they were once on this faux Canadian Soap with Jimmy and they insisted on using mannequin hands instead of their real ones. Steve Carell joined the guys and it was hilarious.
Paleyfest Panels–These are posted on hulu, and they offer in-depth discussions with the cast & crews of some of our very favorites, most of which get covered here regularly. Everything from Community to Dallas to Once Upon A Time and New Girl. Check out this link to get started.
That’s it for now…and we didn’t even get to break down the always fabulous Archer or the magical yet sometimes confusing Once Upon a Time. We still can’t get over the craziness we saw on Survivor but we kind of think we’re best not to discuss it any further. If we’re missing out a great show, please let us know in the comments below. We’ll see you next week, when a whole new batch of “stars” start dancing and more shows return from break!