Happy Friday! We’re near the end of the work week, so that means it’s time to take a look at the Best TV Shows on TV. Every week, we watch ten pounds of TV and then try to cram it into a five-pound sack. We pick out the best television shows of the week and then tell you about why they’re so great. It is a noble calling, handed down through generation after generation of TV recappers.
Before we get into the week’s best shows on TV, we direct you to this week’s episode of the Secret Lover podcast. Our Supernatual Recap Team, Lenny and Katie, are talking about Breaking Bad all month, and this week EJ appears to talk about Giancarlo “Gus Fring” Esposito. One thing we learn? That guy works with Timothy Hutton a lot. It’s possible that they carpool. Anyway, you can check it out on iTunes, or right here.
We’ve already talked about Walking Dead, and the season premiere of Dancing with the Stars, and we’ll have a recap of Celebrity Apprentice this weekend, but who are we kidding? That’s not a “best” anything. And while it wasn’t a standout episode, this week’s Simpsons was Batman-themed, which always gets you a mention here. We will forever treasure seeing Lenny as Bane. But there’s plenty more to talk about here!
Nathan For You – You know, Nathan Fielder should really stop by the spunkybean offices so he can use his business degree to help us increase site traffic. And also hang out with us and maybe be our new best friend. But mostly that first thing. Anyway, last week’s episode was thoroughly enjoyable, as Nathan allowed customers to shoplift one item from a clothing store, but only if they were attractive. Which is pretty funny in and of itself, but then it turned out that the security guard tasked with determining who was attractive enough really only had one quality he was looking for. (HINT: Boobs.) So Nathan confronted him, and it was amazing.
The security guy played into a later segment, revealing how Nathan scopes out the businesses he helps (by hiding inside an arcade game, or possibly a cigar store Indian). And then Nathan convinced a deli to let non-customers use their bathroom (“You could become the neighborhood toilet.”). Some people did not want to sign releases after the fact on that one. (“We were recording you while you were in there…”) There were some moments of brilliance here, like Nathan getting increasingly desperate while trying to find a bathroom in the neighborhood (and clutching the front of his pants like a little kid!), and asking the owner if he could be in her will. (She checked with her daughter, and he could not.) It’s those weird touches that make Nathan For You so much more than the goofy premise. You guys, it’s the best.
Go On–We got some actual insight on Mr. K this week! Turns out Ann, Owen and Yolanda have all been curious for a long time, and everything comes to a head when he hosts a party at his all-too-normal home. They find a mysterious closed door at the end of a long hall and finally work up the nerve to go in, only to discover that it’s not Mr. K’s dead mother, but a stuffed Mr. Belvedere doll! Evidently, K tried out for the part of Wesley all those years ago and has never gotten over being pulled from the pilot. He decides, though, that he can let it go now, and move to the next phase, revealing a Ryan doll under the Belvedere one! For his part, Ryan is excited to finally be L.A.’s #1 radio host, which his arch nemesis Rich Eisen is happy to remind him is a dying medium. But, with Terrell Owens as his assistant and a new posse at his disposal, he ends the episode on a high.
Justified – We knew this episode was going to be awesome, and it delivered. Raylan had custody of Drew Thompson, and every lowlife in both Detroit and Harlan wanted to get their hands on him. This was a great, tense episode that made good use of the entire cast. The marshals tried to hide out in Arlo’s house, which seems like the first place you’d go looking at this point. Art and Tim took a convoy to draw some attention from Raylan, so he and Rachel could get Drew to Lexington. Augustine’s guys set up a roadside trap, which Tim recognized immediately, thanks to his time in Iraq. This led to a fantastic “we’re not going to say what it is we’re actually talking about but we both know” phone call from Tim to Colton (who was part of the ambush). These two are so great together, but we can’t help but feel like one of them will definitely kill the other before the season finale. (Also? We thought Art was being a little harsh in his assessment of Tim earlier this season, but the guy really is just barely holding it together.)
There’s an amazing scene where Constable Bob (Patton Oswalt) runs afoul of one of Augustine’s guys, who tries to beat Raylan’s location out of him. And even though they’ve played Bob mostly for comedy up until know, he just takes the (brutal) beating and even ends up getting the upper hand thanks to that “stab your assailant in the foot” trick he learned in the season premiere. It was a great payoff for the character.
Eventually, and we’re skipping over like six awesome things here, Boyd led Tonin and his crew to the abandoned high school where Raylan had gone to hide. Raylan and Bob managed to hold the location against superior numbers without firing a single shot. They stalled until the marshals arrived (By the way, we are thrilled to live in a world where Art got to heave a Molotov cocktail.), and it turned out to all be a distraction anyway. Rachel and Drew had already hopped the coal train and were well out of Harlan. Such a good episode – the cast is always great, but Patton Oswalt and the great Jim Beaver (Shelby/Drew Thompson) just killed it this time out. Two episodes and a whole lot of angry bad guys left in the season!
Once Upon A Time–This episode featured a flashback to when the curse began; Oct. 23, 1983. As luck would have it, at the exact moment that a flood of purple smoke mushroomed the town of Storybrooke, Maine into existence, a widower and his son were camping in the woods. Caught underneath the bubble the curse created, Kurt and Owen wander into town looking for a mechanic and a room in the wake of the “storm” that trashed their campsite and car. Regina, living a Groundhog’s Day-like existence in a new world where everyone cowers in her presence, was immediately threatened. She was busy flirting with Sheriff Graham (!) and confirming that Mary Margaret had no idea who she really was, nor did she recognize the man in the coma, aka David. Little Owen was nice to her, though, and Regina invited he and Kurt for lasagna and apple turnovers, natch. She overstepped, however, when she asked them to move to Storybrooke. After some initial politeness, Kurt stumbled on Regina barking orders into Graham’s glowing plastic heart in a box and just barely escaped the Sheriff’s grip in his attempt to flee. But he and Owen didn’t make it past the town line, though the boy ran into the woods. When he brought the police back, Regina had glamoured Storybrooke into hiding. Where’s Kurt? In some dungeon, we assume.
In present day, Mary Margaret is in a depression over Cora’s death and her role in it, so much so that she eventually asks Regina to kill her and end all the misery she has brought on her family. Regina pulled out her heart only to find it already starting to blacken, and told Snow she was killing herself slowly anyway. Too bad this was all witnessed by the stranger, Greg, who, of course, turned out to be Owen, still searching for his dad 30 years later.
Burning Love – The web-exclusive second season of our favorite Bachelor parody is heading into its season finale. (New episode on Thursday and Friday.) And it’s been hilarious. Basically, they took everybody we like and crammed them all into one webseries. In the last few episodes, Blaze (Party Down’s Ryan Hansen), the only contestant Julie liked, came back to the show and threw everything off. We feel like this must happen on actual dating shows all the time, but at one point Julie straight up told the host (Michael Ian Black) that she’d be picking Blaze in the end. He didn’t ask, but she just volunteered it. There was a rap battle episode, which had Joe Lo Truglio’s character just talking about his son and getting sad instead of rapping, while Martin Starr’s Leo turned out to have some serious flow. (By the way, Leo is an adult preemie – he was born prematurely and can’t stop talking about how tiny he used to be.) And after a round of eliminations (We’ll miss Rob Huebel’s Prince Simon…), Julie did the hometown visits. She didn’t get along with Alex’s kid, and then discovered that Henry (Jerry O’Connell) had three sister wives (including real-life wife Rebecca Romijn and Jessica St. Clair). Who’s she going to choose? And will Blaze come back yet again? We can’t wait for the finale! Spunkyfave June Diane Raphael has been doing such a great job as Julie – check it out if you’re running behind. (And remember, Season One is airing on E!)
Community – Awww, an episode where Pierce is sympathetic! Well, he’s also crazy racist (“Italians have nimble fingers for pleasuring their mistresses.”), but still kind of sympathetic. This week, Dean Pelton tried to land a “whale” – a potential student with no ambition and wealthy parents. But that meant Jeff had to distract Pierce, who gets jealous easily. A sullen Jeff had to spend the day with him (thanks to a trip to a barber – why would anybody ever shave themselves?), but ended up kind of enjoying it and then inadvertently hurt Pierce’s feelings. It was a nice throwback to the very early episodes in the way it paired up those two (Remember their presentation in Spanish class? The one that got an F?) Meanwhile the Dean, Annie, and Britta did their best to win over the slacker by promising a class taught by Ed Hardy and a Mountain Dew Cool Down Tent (“Write ‘Mountain Dew’ on a tent! And make it cool!”), but Dean Pelton went too far when he gave away Magnitude’s catchphrase.
Troy and Shirley took a PE class together – or, rather, a PEE class. Physical Education Education, which was not just a typo in the course cartalog. It was a class that taught them how to teach Phys Ed. Shirley turned out to be a natural, but Troy was quickly overwhelmed. And Abed was sort of on the fringes as he started his own fraternity, which added a nice running gag to the episode. It was the little touches that really sold this episode (Unless you happen to know somebody who’s really into Pierce and Jeff, that is. They were sold from minute one.), like the audible gasp from the background when the Dean took “Pop Pop” away, Greendale’s Forensics team studying dead bodies (Our Forensics team mostly went to debates and carried notecards), the Let’s Potato Chips slogan, and Troy’s “It’s been quite a week”. (Trust us – it was funny in context.)
Bob’s Burgers – The Tina-centric episodes are rapidly becoming our favorites, and this week she had two boys fighting over her. After Jimmy Jr. gave her a soft “maybe” when she invited him to the school dance, she ran into Josh (from the grocery store!) who had lost her number. (“Never put anything down your dance pants.”) He invited her to his school’s dance, so Jimmy Jr. got jealous and enlisted Gene and Louise to try and win back her heart. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, at one point a two-man horse costume was involved.) The matter could only be settled with a dance-off! When no clear winner emerged, Tina tried to dance with both of them at the same time. It was a little unsettling for them, and both backed out until Tina could make up her mind. We are rooting for that kid so hard, and it was really nice to see her in this position. But seriously, Tina, go for Josh. Jimmy Jr.’s been stringing you along, and the Pesto family will never accept you. (Also Josh is voiced by Ben “Jean-Ralphio” Schwartz, so you know he’s great.)
In the B-plot, Bob and Linda chaperoned a school dance (but not the one Tina actually went to), just so Bob could get the middle school dance experience that he never had. It was super cute! And the best line of the episode had to be Gene’s – when he met Josh, who showed off his strength by lifting Tina, Gene demanded “Toss me up in that tree! And then tell everybody I climbed up there myself, like a normal boy!” Hee!
New Girl–Jess was digging Nick’s sudden burst of ambition and motivation. He was making everyone pay for drinks, suggesting theme nights at the bar, doing his laundry…in his words, he smelled like a “baby in a damn meadow!” She told CeCe, but tried to fight her urges. It was tough, considering Nick was so comfortable flicking stray eyelashes off her face and unbuckling his pants to show her his clean boxers. The worst, though, was their trip to a home improvement store where every item on Nick’s list was basically a double entendre, such as the episode title “quick hardening caulk”. Jess got so distracted by Nick holding a big metal cylinder in front of his crotch that she literally took it on the chin, getting clocked by a huge wooden board and ending up loopy on pain meds and declaring her desire to sleep with Nick. She didn’t remember it the next day, but Nick was rattled by this, and asked the guys what to do. Of course, they told him not to sleep with her. They were busy looking for a Lion Fish, Schmidt’s misguided obsession that was a metaphor for CeCe. Nick’s reaction to the empty fish tank in the living room? “I don’t trust fish. They breathe water. That’s crazy!” After seeing Nick at the bar where it was obvious he was sleeping with his boss, Jess fled to the loft. Nick confronted her there, however, and they admitted their mutual attraction before fiercely making out. They also continued to bicker, resulting in Nick breaking the fish tank and killing the mood, at least for now. The chemistry between Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson is off the charts, so we can’t wait to see where this goes next. Besides to Chicago, which is where the whole cast is heading next week to meet Nick’s family, including Margo Martindale as his mom and Nick Kroll as his cousin. It should be amazing!
The Jeselnik Offensive – While this week’s episode didn’t have Anthony Jeselnik getting a lap dance from a sexy shark (again), it did have Andy Kindler of Bob’s Burgers and Brett Gelman of Go On and Eagleheart on the panel. They tried to guess whether phrases advertised selling points of a dishwasher or the world’s most expensive sex doll, and gave us some killer poop jokes. (We love a good poop joke.) We think the best part of the panel might be how thoroughly entertained Anthony is about the whole thing. Even when a joke dies with the audience, he’s cracking up – it’s adorable! Or it would be if they weren’t talking about sex dolls and poop. Regardless, it really feels like he’s inviting his favorite comedians to his show to entertain him.
Cougar Town – TV Crush Alert! Maria Thayer of Eagleheart and Strangers with Candy appeared this week as Riggs, Bobby’s buddy. Travis and Andy thought she and Bobby would make a perfect couple, but Bobby just thought of her as one of the dudes. They even gave her a makeover, which mostly served to amuse Bobby and Riggs. (“It’s like puttin’ sunglasses on a dog!”) And for those of you who keep track of this sort of thing, we learned that the only reason Andy isn’t Bobby’s ideal woman is that it would be cost-prohibitive. Unfortunately, the Jules and Grayson plot where they argued about religion didn’t quite work because, you know, isn’t that the sort of thing that would come up before you got married? But still, we got a surprisingly intense dodgeball game, a pushy seagull named “Mr. Beakington”, Andy’s claim that being Mayor makes him “the Batman of the town”, and Maria Thayer, so that’s a win for all of us. (Or at least the subset of “us” that gets really excited about Batman references and Maria Thayer appearances.)
The Americans – This show has gotten simultaneously better and trashier, embracing the soap opera aspects and turning into what spunkybuddy Brad called “General Hospital meets The Sopranos”. There’s the whole thing where Philip and Elizabeth are never quite on the same page in regards to whether or not their marriage is real, and Philip cheated with Irina last week and Claudia (Margo Martindale from Justified) told Elizabeth about it. (Which is sort of hilarious, because they’re always having sex with other people for purposes of their job anyway.) All the emotional turmoil messed with Elizabeth’s head, and they sort of screwed up a mission. And that mission? Kill an assassin contracted by the Soviet Union to kill American scientists. See, they changed their mind after ordering the hit and left Philip and Elizabeth to fix the mess they created. Right now, The Americans is this perfect blend of high production values and over-the-top twists, and it’s really getting to be a lot of fun. And as much as we didn’t like the “Hey, an FBI agent just happened to move in next door” plot element, that’s been playing out pretty well. We’re not convinced Agent Stan will make it to the end of the season, but at least they abandoned the constant fake-outs where it looks like he’s going to learn the Jennings’ secret. Plus, the wigs have remained awesome. Good job, comrades!
Archer – Due to a tight schedule, we didn’t include one of our favorite shows last week, but we assure you that it was great. Archer and Lana went undercover to try and stop a plutonium buy, while Cyril got all jealous and tried to spy on them. Mayhem ensued. Also, Krieger turned out to be the plutonium seller, and that’s not the first time this season an ISIS employee proved to be the episode’s main antagonist. We’d say that their standards are slipping, but their standards were never really that high.
This week, Lana and Archer had to extract Agent Kazak from Morocco. What they didn’t know until they found him was that Kazak was a big friendly dog. (A Mastiff, maybe? If anyone’s an expert on animated dogs, let us know?) There is very little that we love more than Archer interacting with animals – he either really hates them or really loves them, and he’s a big fan of Kazak, even with all his digestive problems. This show is so darn good at combining action scenes and character-based comedy, and this episode is a real standout. We’re especially delighted by Archer’s list of his favorite mammals with prehensile tails (Number one is the X-Men’s Nightcrawler. Sterling Archer talks about superheroes so often that we’re thinking of offering him a job with spunkybean.), as well as Pam’s desire to become a field agent. Hopefully, this is going to be a running thing, because she’d actually be awesome at it. Oh, who are we kidding? They’re still bringing up Cheryl’s Gypsy woman – of course they’re going to come back to the Pam thing!
There’s more, of course –Amazing Race is having a great season. Ray Wise was hysterical on Adult Swim’s Newsreaders, and Survivor benefited from having no members of the Hantz family. And let us know if there’s something we’re missing – we have plenty of TV shows to watch, but we’ll make room. In the meantime, “Like” us on Facebook, check out our sandwich pictures on Journalface.net, and visit our Facerange page. We’ll see you next week for more tomfoolery and televisual discussion.