Saturday, 19 March 2011

TV Week in Review: 13th – 17th March

Only caught four shows, but all four episodes were great. Apologies for having so little to say about the two on Thursday – I’m behind schedule in life.
Big Love: "Exorcism"
10 minutes into the penultimate episode of Big Love I started wondering why the final episode before the end of the Henrickson clan seemed so sanguine, and then things started bursting at the seams and it all started to be excellent. As always, the division of storylines maintains a consistency that’s impressive. Each of the wives has their moments opposite Bill and with their own emotions and they’re all excellent. Then of course, there are those great scenes where the women come together to do brilliant work, reminding us why this show’s female ensemble is so formidable – even if Emmy keeps on ignoring them. There’ so much goodness happening at the Henrickson home, Ben’s and Lois’ issues both seem somewhat superfluous – although the writing makes it work. Mary Kay Place is wonderfully sinister, she always is such a treat when use her appropriately. With just a single episode left, I can’t help but feel a little cheerless, but the penultimate episode works – not least because it sets up so many issues to be resolved without being an obtrusive cliff-hanger.

Glee: “Original Song”
Oh, Glee. Last week, I felt that an overstuffed trait made the episode the season’s weakest point – almost unrecognisable from Glee in its earliest form. This week, though, it all seems definitively retro. In an episode written by Ryan Murphy (no less), we head to Regionals; and in the same way that the result of “Sectionals” (in season one) was extraneous – focusing instead on group dynamics and random hilarity “Original Song” turns out to be a lesson in consistency and emerges as my favourite episode of the season. The running hooks of the original songs acts an impetus for an episode worth of jokes – from Santana’s brilliantly paced “Trouty Mouth” to Puck’s cool “Big Ass Heart” to Mercedes excellent “Hell to the No”. All that plays out against Kurt and Blaine’s bonding, a relationship I really have zero interest, but which still manages to be poignant all leading up a well delivered “Regionals” performance and great guest spots from Loretta Devine and Kathy Griffin (and a knockout performance from Jane Lynch – pun intended). I just want to say, Brittney was on fire with the one-liners, and I’m sorry “My Headband” still is my favourite of the original songs. Seriously.

Parks & Recreation: “Harvest Festival”
The episode was at its best when Ron turned out to be the one who knew all the things that were going wrong with the festival and proceeded to tell them all while stuck on a Ferris wheel. As crazy as this group is, their group dynamics are logical and that was a lovely moment, as was all else. Watching Donna and Ann bond was great, seeing Leslie and Ben do the same was even better. April and Andy are still great – in short, the episode was everything you could ask for from the best comedy on television.

30 Rock: “Queen of Jordan”
On the downside, Susan Sarandon’s character was not as great as I’d have hoped – on the upside, everything else was brilliant. Sherri Shepherd works at times, and with no Tracy to annoy me she works brilliantly. Watching Jack work out his issues on “reality” TV was interesting even though it makes me wonder why all shows work so excellently when they have the mockumentary format. Of course, Jane Krakowski takes mugging to a whole new level and delivers her best work of the season. Kudos.
Standout Writing
Parks & Recreation A
Glee A
Big Love A
Standout Performances
Chloe Sevigny in Big Love: A (Chloe delivers masterfully in that confrontation with Bill. She’s always so precise, but her rawness there was just exceptional.)
Jane Krakowski in 30 Rock A-
Adam Scott in Parks & Recreation A-
Amy Poehler in Parks & Recreation B+/A-
Lea Michele in Glee B+

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