Happy Friday! We’ve reached the end of the week, and now it’s time to take a look at the Best TV Shows on TV. Every week, we watch so much TV that the DVR calls our loved ones for an intervention, and then we pick our favorites and tell you why they’re the best television shows of the week. Years ago, we made a promise to the king, and we’re committed to doing it every week until we’ve worked off our debt.
Before we get into the week’s best TV shows, we recommend that you fill your ears with this week’s Secret Lover podcast. It’s an all-spunkybean episode as Myndi joins Lenny and Katie to discuss the TV careers of the Brat Pack. They also discuss tiny Bob’s Burgers fans, which is pretty adorable.
We’ve already talked about Mad Men and Parks and Recreation, but we have plenty more to say about the best shows on TV, so let’s get to it!
Nathan for You – It was the season finale this week, and Nathan Fielder wrapped things up by helping a private investigator get his first five-star Yelp review. It should be noted said detective didn’t care about his online reviews and seemed only vaguely clear on what Yelp actually is. That didn’t dissuade Nathan, who hired the detective to follow him for a day. Just to make sure the guy earned his review, Nathan hired lookalikes to throw him off. (Some of these lookalikes didn’t actually look that much like Nathan. Basically, “black hair and khakis” seemed to be the only requirement.) And in perfectly sensible logic, Nathan decided he had to take the place of one of his dopplegangers, which meant showing up at Fake Nathan’s fiancee’s house with flowers.
Later, Nathan tried to make peace with the detective while he was staking out Fake Nathan. After a heartfelt speech, he turned and ran away and gave him the slip. Nathan was committed to the bit! The episode also included a taxi service for shy passengers, and Nathan trying to help one of his staff on a date. (He fed the guy lines through an earpiece, but he also had to include Quiznos advertising slogans, since they let him film there.) And then the season ended with Nathan looking back at the season and feeling lonely (The dating show set-up, hiring a fake friend to get out of skydiving). He’d invited the detective to hang out, but he had an excuse. So Nathan hired another detective to see if that detective was telling the truth. And then the second detective didn’t want to hang out either. It was a perfect way to wrap up the season, somehow giving it an emotional arc. It was funny and kind of sad, and completely delightful. We really hope that Comedy Central picks this up for another season, and our invitation for Nathan to come be our new best friend remains open.
By the way, we recommend following Nathan on Twitter (@nathanfielder). About once a week he asks people to text something alarming to their parents (like “Got $40 for two grams”) and then tweet a screencap of their response. It’s the best possible use of social media!
Amazing Race – This week’s episode felt like a fever dream and had us wondering just what is going on in Germany. One Roadblock had a member from each team going through a “psychedelic labyrinth”, which is sort of like a haunted house only with alarming architecture and rage-inducing strobe lights instead of ghosts. Is this a thing they do for fun? And the Detour offered teams the option to carry giant flashing letters to a “font museum”. From what we saw, it really just seemed to be a place full of huge neon alphabets. The whole thing was incredibly bizarre. It was a good episode, but we are really struggling with the fact that “font museum” is an actual place where people choose go spend time. That just doesn’t seem possible!
Ellen–A daytime TV audience full of grown women hasn’t screamed and cried this much since Oprah’s last “favorite things” episode. He was introduced via a giant box and spent the hour talking with his pal Ellen as well as performing “Mirrors” and “Pusher Love Girl” live. We don’t understand people who don’t like Justin Timberlake.
Also this week, Kate McKinnon stopped by for an interview, when Ellen presented her with an outfit identical to the one she was wearing, dressed up and danced as Ellen with Ellen. We have been really enjoying Kate on SNL, with her many spot on impressions, and willingness to do whatever, up to and including licking the faces of hosts Louis CK and Vince Vaughn. It must have been a trip to dance with one of her comedy idols.
Bob’s Burgers – This week, the kids ran the restaurant. And this time, it’s personal! Bob had to go to the hospital after cutting his finger – it seems that he gets woozy at the sight of blood and he doesn’t clot very well. (No names, but one of us was barred from giving blood after the nice ladies in the Bloodmobile had to clean up a mess when somebody just kept on bleeding. So, yeah. We relate.) While Bob ended up with a brand new doctor (first day, first patient) who ended up shaving both of Bob’s arms to check for more cuts, Louise decided to open a casino in the basement of the restaurant.
With Tina in charge of hospitality and Gene bringing his girl group (The Cutie Patooties) for entertainment, they had games of chance (like Battleship, Operation, and Rock Paper Scissors) and they seemed to be cleaning up. (Ollie and Andy had to count money in their underwear. Louise is a harsh taskmistress.) Other than some hitches with the Cutie Patooties – only one of them could sing – they were cleaning up. Until Mr. Fischoeder stopped by and took the house for $5,000 in Rock Paper Scissors winnings. The two storylines tied together cleverly (and it was pretty gross), and it was another episode full of great character notes and laugh-out-loud gags. Week after week, this is one TV’s funniest shows, and we laugh like crazy people with every episode.
And we really have to note that when Linda was impressed with Louise’s ability to play mind games, she called her “My little Omarosa”. HA!
The ArScheerio Paul Show – Paul Scheer is one of our favorites, and we’re pleased to report that a podcast, two TV shows, and a comic book (Aliens vs. Parker) aren’t enough for him. He’s got a new show on YouTube where he reenacts classic interviews from The Arsenio Hall Show. You can probably guess which one he tacked first. Yes, that is Will Arnett as Bill Clinton. Now, we don’t remember the then-candidate telling Arsenio that he was a sex addict, but it was a long time ago and memories get fuzzy. It’s really funny, and it’s easily worth watching just for Scheer’s Arsenio impression.
Survivor–After last week’s crazy tribal council, things were a little less nuts this week, but we’re really enjoying the way this season is shaking out. The food auction always features something strange, and this time it was the entire tribe eating peanut butter with their hands, kind of like animals. Malcolm bought a clue to the whereabouts of another hidden immunity idol and Cochran got an immunity advantage, while Brenda waffled on so many items that the poor girl ending up buying pig brains. Alas, Malcolm could not find an idol WITH a clue, much as he tried. And Cochran’s advantage all but insured his immunity win, making Malcolm the somewhat obvious choice to boot out. It’ll be fun to watch the non-brain trust of Reynold and Eddie flail around in order to avoid being voted out immediately.
Doctor Who – This week, in another episode scripted by Luther’s Neil Cross, we got a fun ghost story. The Doctor and Clara went to a haunted mansion in 1974 and helped a couple of paranormal investigators figure out why the image of a mysterious screaming woman shows up in photographs taken inside the house. Since this is Doctor Who, it couldn’t actually be a ghost, you understand.
When the Doctor realized that the woman was always in the exact same position, he and Clara took the TARDIS across billions of years, but remained in the same spot. He took pictures in the age of dinosaurs and long after all life on Earth had ended. And those pictures very clearly showed a woman who was running – she was trapped in a pocket dimension where time moved much more slowly, but she was definitely running from something.
The Doctor had to use psychic Emma’s powers to get the TARDIS to the other dimension, where he was able to save the woman, a time traveller named Hila Tukurian. Unfortunately, Emma couldn’t keep the rift open long enough, and the Doctor was stranded with the monster that had been chasing Hila for billions of years. Clara had to convince the TARDIS to work with her, and we’ve already established that the TARDIS doesn’t like her. (It even used its holographic interface to copy her appearance and argue with her.) In the end, she saved the Doctor, monsters and paranormal investigators alike found love, and everything worked out. Well, mostly.
There were some really nice interactions with the Doctor and Clara – an effective scene had her realizing her own insignificance when measured against the experiences of the Doctor. It’s always nice to be reminded how the Doctor reveres human life. In fact, the Doctor told her that she was “the only mystery worth solving”, which turned out to be the b-plot of the episode.
The Doctor took Clara to the haunted mansion because he wanted Emma’s input in figuring out just what her deal is. Yes, the Doctor turned to a psychic for help. That’s when you know he’s stumped. Emma could only report that Clara is utterly ordinary (which is what they said about Donna way back when), though she did tell Clara that the Doctor has “a sliver of ice” in his heart. Which sounds ominous to me.
In other Who news, this week it was announced that the season finale title is “The Name of the Doctor”. The Doctor’s name has, of course, never been revealed. But if you go back to last season, we were told “On the fields of Trenzelor, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no living creature can speak falsely or fail to answer, a question will be asked. One that must never be answered.” It’s later explained that the question is “Doctor Who?” That sure sounds like the Eleventh Doctor’s death will at least coincide with the reveal of his name.
The book from “The Bells of Saint John” seems to foreshadow the Doctor’s death. And in “The Rings of Ahkaten”, somebody actually uses the words “The song is over”, which were the words that presaged the end of the Tenth Doctor. What I’m saying is, I think the 50th Anniversary special in November is going to bring us a new Doctor. They really want us to believe that Matt Smith is on his way out, and I don’t care for this one bit.
Live with Kelly & Michael–Well, apparently we’re going to be watching The ESPYs this year…
The Jeselnik Offensive – This week was the finale of a fun and uncomfortable season. Anthony Jeselnik presented a list of things he couldn’t talk about on the show, only he still couldn’t talk about them so he ended up talking about the numbers on the countdown. And then the last panel of the year had Reggie Watts (Comedy Bang! Bang!) and Kumail Nanjiani (Bunk). They played a game where they had to guess whether paintings were created by a Great Artist or a Terrible Person. Kumail spilled his drink and had ridiculous chemistry with Anthony, and the season ended with Reggie and Kumail in a “sex crate”. (Exactly what you think it is.) Also, Kumail made an appearance on The Nerdist, this week, which is rapidly becoming our favorite talk show. (This week, Chris Hardwick, Ben “Jean Ralphio” Schwartz and Elijah “Not Tobey Maguire” Wood played a game in which they had to guess whether bizarre words were names of Doctor Who aliens, men’s colognes, or Icelandic metal bands. Delightful!)
Once Upon A Time–In the run up to the finale, this one was a bit of a set-up. Snow and Charming showed Emma their beanfield (and reunited her with her old pal the giant, now merely the size of a regular Hurley and working with the dwarves to help the cause), and suggested they could back to Fairytale Land in hopes of all getting their real happy endings there. Emma wasn’t exactly sure, and her confusion may have caused her to say way too much in front ofRegina, who found the field, despite the Blue Fairy having cloaked it.Regina also cursed amnesiac Belle, who then thought of herself only as pool shark and heavy drinking Lacey, a regular at The Rabbit Hole. Mr. Gold (employing Charming as The Worst Wingman Ever), tried to score a date. He did, but failed to impress Lacey. That is, until he started beating the guy she made out with in an alley with a tire iron. That got her all hot and bothered. In fairytale flashback, we saw another part of Belle saving Rumple and finding the good in him, this time incorporating Robin Hood and Maid Marian into things.
And while an unsuspecting Bae practices (wooden) sword fighting in the park with his son, Tamara was off making out with her real love, Greg The Stranger, and plotting to bring in “the package”, AKA Captain Hook. Our guess is he won’t stay bound and gagged in the back of a U-Haul for long.
Community – This was easily the best episode of the post-Harmon era, and it was written by Jim Rash. Yes, the Oscar-winning screenwriter and Dean Pelton portrayer! The episode had Troy and Abed re-enacting a body-switching movie, and that meant we got to see Donald Glover and Danny Pudi do amazing impressions of one another. We’ve seen Abed’s take on his friends in the past, but this is the first time we’ve seen Troy as Abed, and it was excellent. Glover totally nailed Abed’s mannerisms – it was almost spooky. Later, the Dean tried to get in on the fun and switched places with Jeff. Well, he tried. It was pretty one-sided. But Jim Rash is a fantastic Joel McHale. (He even removed his shirt at the first opportunity. Classic Winger!) There was a point to all the nonsense – on the anniversary of their first date,Troy realized that he really couldn’t handle a relationship with Britta. Troy couldn’t handle it, so Abed (as Troy) went on their anniversary date and explained how Troy felt. Which was a nice twist, since everybody assumed this was something they had to do because Abed was losing touch with reality again.
This episode addressed the problems with the Troy/Britta relationship, and it really felt true to the characters. (And Britta got to hold on to her dignity, which is always a nice bonus.) It was sweet and funny, and really felt like classic Community. We also got a subplot where Annie and Shirley teamed up with the Dean (who was acting like Jeff) to find out how Leonard was beating them for valedictorian status. Annie found herself alarmingly attracted to the Jeff-Dean, which was pretty great. The return of the waiter who hates Die Hard, routine light switch checks – this was a really fun episode and the season’s first real standout.
That’s it for this week – check back this weekend for a Celebrity Apprentice recap that involves a man in a shark costume, and then recaps and nonsense aplenty all week long. Enjoy your weekend!