Happy Friday! It’s the end of the week, and that means it’s time for us to do our usual thing and take a look at the Best TV Shows on TV. Every week (except last week because we had site issues), we watch all the TV they’re willing to give us, and then we sort through our favorites to find the best television shows of the week. And why do we do it? To bring a smile to your face and a song to your heart, that’s why.
Look – even with two weeks worth to cover, there were not a lot of new shows for us to watch. Between the Winter Olympics forcing everybody into repeats and American Idol taking up whole days of FOX programming, it’s been a light couple of weeks. But we’ll get through it together!
Before we get to the TV, we’re going to brag for just a bit. It turns out that we were immortalized in pull quote form. And on a book, no less. We’d always assumed that if anybody would be quoting our review, it would be a manufacture-on-demand DVD release of a short-lived Adult Swim series. (Smart money was on Fat Guy Stuck in Internet.) But no, we’re quoted on an actual book and we couldn’t be more excited. We’ve mentioned Sunshine Somerville’s great Kota books here on numerous occasions, and she was kind enough to quote spunkybean on the back cover of The Ebonite and Her Earthling. You know, we don’t like to play favorites when it comes to our spunkybuddies. But if we did? This would totally put her in, oh, the top three. So just add that to the list of reasons to check out her books as soon as possible.
Colbert Report – We didn’t see this one coming. Stephen brought in a special sports correspondent to cover the Winter Games and make sure America’s athletes seemed appropriately straight so as not to run afoul of Russian law – one Buddy Cole. You may remember Buddy as Scott Thompson’s alter ego on The Kids in the Hall. And if you do, you can probably anticipate how this is going to go. Here’s Buddy with the U.S. speed skating team.
It’s weird that Scott has aged less in the nineteen years since Kids ended than he did in the five years it was on the air, right?
New Girl–The big news on the latest episode of New Girl was the arrival of Linda Cardellini as Jess’ sister Abby, who in Jess’ words, looks just like her, but with “chaos in her eyes”. She also can’t wait to get Nick’s “uptown” butt in ski pants. We’re not sure what that means, but LC’s delivery sold it anyway. The two actually meeting was what Jess spent the whole episode trying to avoid, as she’s so embarrassed by her mess of sister, whom she’s told Nick is a “jetsetter”. Naturally, her plan to get Abby on the quickest plane back to Portland backfired, and now she’s going to be staying for a few days; maybe six months. Tops. For his part, Nick spent the episode wondering why Jess was embarrassed by him, and therefore sucked as Schmidt’s wingman at a Bar-Mitzvah that the Jewish gigolo was hoping would be his chance to hook up with his rabbi’s daughter. There was a lot of the fun New Girl banter we’ve been missing recently and it was fun witnessing the horror of Nick kissing an elderly Jewish lady as part of a plan to make Schmidt look like a hero.
A kiss that was almost as horrifying was shared between Coach and CeCe, trying to reignite their one night only makeout sesh up against a building. Yeah, it didn’t work. We’ve never seen such good looking people with so little chemistry. Winston is still with Bertie, and apparently she’s a sommelier (not even close to the same thing as being a “Somalian”, Winnie!) who makes upwards of ten different cream-based soups for parties. No one should do that, ever, but Bertie, you can stay if you make Winston happy.
Conan – When Conan O’Brien had the cast of The Walking Dead on his show, his staff prepared a special cold open that had Conan in full walker make-up It was funny but Conan is sort of terrifying as a walker.
The Fosters–The last two weeks of this somewhat intense, surprisingly well-acted ABC Family drama have brought Maia Mitchell’s Callie back into the Foster home to live with her brother Jude and their adoptive moms and siblings again. The show takes on a myriad of tough subjects; everything from teenage foster kids developing feelings for potential siblings, teen runaways, kids struggling with transgender issues, prescription drug abuse, sexting, and more. It has a way of weaving this stuff into a family drama that’s believable and engrossing without being preachy. For now, Callie is dealing with suppressing her feelings for new adoptive brother Brandon while readjusting to being back home. Her sister Mariana is trying to be mature, but acting like a typical 15 year old who has no real experience with boys, while Mariana’s twin Jesus is in the middle of a high school love triangle complicated by the wonders of technology (texting and Skype) as well as a possible eating disorder. Yes, on this show, the boy is the going to be the one with the eating disorder when he can’t make his weight class in wrestling. Meanwhile, their Moms, Stef and Lena, are considering having another baby, mostly because Lena wants to give birth to one (Brandon is Stef’s biological son) and this is the flimsiest plot on the show. It says a lot when the teen stories are the most compelling, doesn’t it?
Nathan For You – Sure, there haven’t been any new episodes in close to a year, and the second season is still some months off, but spunkyfave Nathan Fielder was all over the place this week. When a coffee shop called Dumb Starbucks opened in LA, using Starbucks imagery and menu items (with “Dumb” preceding everything), it seemed too crazy to be real. The explanation that it was protected under the laws of satire and was technically an art installation? That just took it to another level. Clearly, that could have only come from the brilliant business mind of Nathan Fielder. Sure enough, he released an ad naming him the president of Dumb Starbucks. Later, during a press conference, the health department shut him down for not having permits. (That’s where the “art installation” argument comes in.) Nathan made the national news! Again! (His petting zoo video went viral two years ago.) Of course, now he may actually be in legal trouble as a result. Check out his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live from Tuesday for all the details.
Also great? Gary Oldman’s appearance later in the show, especially when Jimmy noted that Michael Keaton’s appearance in his RoboCop clip meant that Batman and Commissioner Gordon were together again.
Justified – In two weeks, we only got one episode of Justified. Between that and no new episodes of Archer, we have to assume FX is trying to break us. Anyway, remember how Season Two was amazing and then Season Three was a little disappointing in comparison? (But having just watched it on DVD, we can confirm that Season Three is actually great. Our memories of Mags Bennett loomed too large at the time.) We anticipated something similar this year after Season Four was basically perfect. And after a slow (by Justified standards), this season is proving to be excellent.
Following up on Raylan’s admission last week, well… Art doesn’t say a word about it. He does, however, punch Raylan in the face hard enough to mess up his hand and give Raylan a black eye. And because Tim and Rachel aren’t stupid, they quickly realize that those two injuries are related.
Then Allison gets a matching facial would when she stops by the Crowe house to check in on Kendal. Wendy gives her romantic advice re: Raylan being a terrible boyfriend and Danny hassles her with his pit bull. And after she leaves, Danny runs her off the road. Yes, here “Samesies!” moments comparing black eyes with Raylan is pretty funny, but Allison does not deserve all this. Things are fraying with the Crowes, with Daryl figuring out that Danny probably has something to do with the disappearance of Jean-Baptiste. But they get it together enough to make a strike at Boyd by attacking and kidnapping Carl. Raylan gets Carl out of that jam, almost by accident.
And Boyd Crowder reaches out to some of his white supremacist pals to look out for Ava in jail. However, Boyd’s dealings with Hot Rod don’t sit well with the local racists, and Ava ends up taking a beating from another inmate named Gretchen. Gretchen is very passionate on the subject of race traitors… She and her cronies beat Ava up and cut off chunks of her air. So Boyd partners with the Crowes (I know!) to go after Gretchen’s brother and it turns into the craziest all-racist standoff you’ll ever see. It’s amazing. By the end, it’s clear that Ava shouldn’t have any more trouble, and she gives herself a badass haircut with a straight razor.
Meanwhile, Boyd continues his plans to deal with his last surviving family member, the traitorous Johnny, and it’s implied that this isn’t going to be as easy as he hopes. There’s a fantastic scene with Raylan and Rachel where he comes as close to being honest with her as he can. We’re only halfway through the season, and already everybody is in over their heads.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine- Most of the episode was a direct follow up to last week’s outing, where Boyle found himself making out in a closet with Vivian (played by Marilu Henner). The two have totally hit it off, and seem ridiculously compatible…and weird. Too bad Charles is going “Full Boyle” on the woman, doing a number of things that would drive away even the most interested dating prospect, right down to wanting to propose after only a few dates. Jake offers to help by going on a double date with Boyle & Vivian, whose friend is named Bernice. Of course she turns out to be a total babe (Amanda Lund from the webseries Ghost Ghirls) with an interest in just about everything Jake likes, making it tough for him to do what he promised and help Charles not to blow it. But it appears Vivian is just as crazy as Boyle, and they end up having sexytimes in the interrogation room after getting engaged.
Jimmy Kimmel Live-Jimmy’s been dealing with the fact that he can’t show actual Olympic footage by re-enacting events from two man luge to hockey using naked Ken dolls, and it’s fantastic.
Almost Human – It’s been a good run lately, with the introduction of John Larroquette as a roboticist, some more background into John’s ex and the terrorist action from the first episode, and this week’s episode in which Rudy discovered some memories in Dorian’s database. Specifically, Dorian’s memories of being a child. Given that he’s a robot, this is a problem. They eventually discover that these organic memories were implanted in Dorian, but they don’t know by whom. Also, John and Rudy decide not to share this information with Dorian until they know what’s going on. That may not prove to be a great decision. Despite another plot about hackers this week (Computer hackers haven’t been interesting antagonists since Saints Row the Third.), there were some nicely creepy scenes with a “smart house”, as well as some new mysteries about John’s dad and what’s beyond The Wall. If they’d started building these mysteries earlier in the season, maybe this fun show wouldn’t be on the bubble for cancellation…
Kroll Show – Well, our brains exploded. Last week, in a Shark Tank parody about pro athletes who are very bad with money, Bob Ducca showed up to pitch an invention and complain about his maladies. That’s right, Bob Ducca. You may know Seth Morris’ character from the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast – he’s Scott Aukerman’s former father-in-law. (He’s also appeared on the TV show, but in that continuity, he and Scott aren’t related.) Seth is always great as the Ducca character, and it was so much fun to see him show up here. And yes, he read a list. That’s an essential component of any Bob Ducca appearance.
There was a lot of great stuff over the last two weeks. The real standout was the Gigolo House sketch, in which Bobby Bottleservice turned out to not be very good at being a gigolo. He even called up Farley (Chelsea Peretti, reprising her role from the first episode of the show) as a client, but she thought he was going to pay her for sex, and then she ended up at Gigolo House and demanded to be included among the gigolos. Then another gigolo with a passion for architecture learned that you need a degree to design buildings and went back to his old life. Jason Mantzoukas punched Bobby and then everybody learned a valuable lesson about gigolos and friendship. It was awesome. Also great? The running joke where the show is “Sponsored by stamps”. Oh, Kroll Show. Without you, we’re nothing.
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon–Kicking off a new era for the venerable talk show on Monday night, Jimmy seemed swept up in his emotions (and some nerves). His first monologue, which was one giant tip of the hat to everyone involved–from his parents to The Roots and every one of his predecessors–was endearing. His bits so far have also been well-choreographed fun. From the long line of celebs (that unfortunately included Kim Kardashian for some reason) who paid up on their $100 bet that he’d never host The Tonight Show, to The History of Hip Hop Dancing with Will Smith and the barbershop quartet version of R. Kelly’s “Remix to Ignition”, it’s all been gold. Throw in another version of the “hashtag” short with Jonah Hill and Brian Williams “rapping” and we’re just so happy that all that seems to have changed here is that Late Night host Jimmy has moved up an hour. And we’re publishing this before he spends the entire Friday episode with his trusty sidekick Justin Timberlake. Just assume we’ll be doing this again next week.
That’s it for this week! We kind of survived on late night shows for the last two weeks, but things start getting back to normal next week as most of our favorites come back from break, The Americans returns for a second season and Ali G comes to America. Yeah, that one comes as a bit of a surprise. We’ll see you next week!