Saturday, 7 May 2011

TV Week in Review: 1st-5th May

So, another fairly good week of TV. I missed ABC’s Wednesday lineup, so I’ll probably include that in next week’s slate when I get the chance.

Desperate Housewives: “I’ll Swallow Poison on Sunday”
It’s not as well constructed an episode as the last two were, but it’s a generally solid movement forward in terms of general plot. Lynnette continues to exasperate, and I’m both impressed that the writers are allowing a main character to be so wrong about something and annoyed that she continues to miss the same relationship with cues with Tom after seven seasons (and 12 years counting that 5 year jump). Susan’s liaison with Paul is thickened by Felicia’s attempts to poison him which are interesting but disturbing and not necessarily in a good way. Bree dominates the episode for me. Her imminent relationship with the detective Chuck is interesting to watch, especially measured against her issues with the Solis clan. It’s so silly of Carlos, but I suppose it’s best for Gaby to work on her marriage than her friendship with Bree. I figure some disaster will happen to make him rethink his decision, but I hope it doesn’t end up coming off too trite.

United States of Tara: “The Road to Hell is Paved with Breast Intentions”
I have to say that I’m really disinterested in Marshall as a character this season, he’s always been something of a voyeur but I don’t know – it’s gotten worse, not a deal breaker for the show by any means, but just unfortunate. On the other hand, Kate as a flight attendant seems like a fine way to use Larson’s talents (really, isn’t she doing great work this season) and it’ll be interesting to see what – if anything – comes of her potential affiance with the scruffy haired passenger. Tara’s issues with her mother were necessary, on an emotional level, I suppose but they didn’t resound with me as much as I’d have hoped but it’s essentially a good episode. Can’t believe we’re half way through the season already, though – but a lot has happened.
Nurse Jackie: “When the Saints Go”
It’s different on Nurse Jackie, though. The season has been going well, but I can’t really pinpoint any significant arc that has happened to put the rest of the episodes into perspective. Coop bonding with the trauma patient was an interesting arc. I suppose O’Hara and Jackie need to rekindle their friendship, but the latter is coming off even colder than usual in her personal life though the moment at the end with Gloria was nicely played. It was an episode of little things, and Zooey was great pondering of little things like her relationship. I do love the show, but it’s weird how continuity is not a significant portion of it. Not that it its non-contiguous, all the episodes just seem to exist in their own sphere.

Glee: “Rumours”
So, on the upside Kristin Chenoweth is back and there’s no way she’s never not-awesome but on the downside she gets one song. Anarchy. So, works with the dramatic beats much better than I expected even if I’m nonplussed about why Sam’s past is the one we’re delving into. Random much? The continuity works on bits like Will’s quest for stardom measured against his love for the Glee club. And, the smaller drama like the Finn/Rachel/Quinn mess (how I wish Finn and Rachel never become a couple again) is tempered enough to not be annoying. The second half does feel a bit disjointed in that a whole sloth of exposition is revealed making it seem like a lot’s been left on the cutting room floor (especially in relation to Will/April and Britney/Artie) and I wish they’d have cut the final song for tying up some lose ends. But, it works – for the most part. But how seriously random is it that Sam’s past is the one we delve into? Tina, Mercedes, Mike, Santana, Brittney and most importantly PUCK are all characters whose family life we have no idea about. Ugh, fail Ryan Murphy...

The Good Wife: “In Sickness”
The explosions in relation to Alicia finding out about Peter and Leela (aka Kalinda) haven’t actually reached to the surface, so in a way this episode should be something of a filler, but it’s still one of the best of the season. There’s a potent tension pervading the entire one hour, and even though – for me – The Good Wife is all about the awesomeness that is Kalinda Sharma, and to a lesser degree Christine Lockhart it was nice watching Alicia ground an entire episode, almost devoid of supporting players. As always the main case is responsible for less than a third of the actual story, and kudos to Mary Beth Peil for turning a great performance as Jackie. It’s been a great television for female guest stars, but in too scenes she surprises me some emotion I’d never noticed in her before. The strongest scene was probably Alicia’s conversation with her children, Mackenzie Vega is often more than a little annoying but it works this episode around. It’s the personal moments like these which make this show more than just another run-of-the-mill procedural. Moreover, as petty as Peter’s accusations at the end of the episode were they are worthy of consideration. Alicia’s not the only victim here.

Community: “A Fist-full of Paintballs”
I didn’t much care for the original paintball episode, but this one was brilliant. Perhaps, it was because there was a significant amount of plot infused with the hijinks of the shootout – I don’t know, I hate to conduct post-mortems. Still, it’s a good one. Pierce’s continual annoyance has made his place in the group questionable which acts as an episode for Annie to shine all the while backed up by the usual silliness that marks Greendale. I’m interested in seeing what the conclusion to it all will be, but even on its own this episode is a definite success.

The Office: “The Inner Circle”
The first episode after Michael’s goodbye and it’s a good one. I’m still not sold on Deangelo as a character, but it’s so good watching the usual suspects work around him. I have to say I hate how little a role Krasinski has played this season (he was in my top 5 last year) so it’s nice that he gets an episode to do what he does best: make great facial expressions and balance that bathetic humour of his. The episode was filled with great bits, too. For example, how great is it seeing the power-couple, Ryan and Kelly, dealing with the madness of Deangelo. What does Ryan do at Dunder Mifflin? And then, Dwight too is so good working out his own issues with Deangelo. The women get a chance to do good stuff (I miss Angela’s insanity) and it ends in a wonderful gag. True, Deangelo is no Michael Scott but this show will always be about the ensemble, and they’re in top form. We can work around Ferrell.

Parks & Recreation: “Eagleton”
Each time I think this show has realised its awesomeness and will just continue being brilliant it gets even more brilliant. Amy Poehler has been turning in some brilliant work this season, and now it’s getting difficult for me to decide which episode she’s best in. The episode has two arcs and they complement each other well because they’re both about how excellent Leslie is at her job. True, Parker Posey is hilarious and it’s interesting to think of a young Leslie and the conflict between Eagleton and Pawnee was excellent. But, it’s even more fun how well she knows Ron so that she can plan the perfect birthday for him complete with steak, breakfast food and The Bridge on the River Kwai. And, of course, there were random moments of greatness like Tom telling off Lindsay, and that garbae fight with Leslie and Lindsay and those great Leslie/Ann moments. Yup, this IS the best comedy on TV, perhaps the best show.

30 Rock: “Respawn”
I didn’t even realise that this was the season finale of the show until afterwards, and considering the goodness that went on last week it’s a bit of a letdown. It sort of encapsulates how volatile this season one, filled with goodness and then combated with some head scratchers. Little moments worked especially well – like Liz in court, or Jenna breaking into that wool song but overall it was a bit too limp and it’s a shame because the show still has the ability to wow. The episode was just too disjointed. The Kenneth/Jack issue fails terribly, even if I get the concept and it’s the same for Jenna’s story. They give her a significant, but it’s something of a doozy. I suppose 30 Rock wouldn’t be the same without these odd curveballs, but still...

Grey’s Anatomy: “White Wedding”
It’s nice to see that Grey’s is continuing its easy trend back to goodness. It’s a nice episode, free of thrills but a good way of giving Callie and Arizona (and Derek and Meredith) their first step into marriage. It’s free of thrills, but not necessarily of drama. It’s going to be interesting to see what becomes of Alex suspecting of Meredith’s tampering with the clinical trial and I love the ambiguity of it all in that her motives were selfless. Then, there’s Cristina and Teddy and both women have strong cases so it’s difficult to pick a side. Well, not really (Sandra Oh, all the way). I’m glad they didn’t go for the easy way out with Callie’s mother and it’s nice that Bailey was the one who made her see the light. AND Derek and Meredith plan on adopting one gorgeous African baby, so it’s all good. 

Private Practice: “Something Old, Something New”
It’s a fairly good episode as Coop and Charlotte tie the knot, but it’s about more than that. Addison and Naomi are still at odds and Addison’s motives finally make sense now that I think of it – though I wish the two best friends would just kiss and make up already. I’m less interested about the Addison and Sam relationship, though. Violet’s issues are another thing I’m puzzled about. On one hand, it’s unfortunate but the always practical Naomi is not being overly conscientious by worrying about the practice. It’s nice that Coop and Charlotte decided to just screw it and elope but it feels sort of like a band aid over a big bullet hole. There’s a lot of issues the entire practice needs to sort out...

Random Thoughts
  • Wouldn’t it be a nice Emmy category be “best episode titles”?
  • Can you believe that THIS is the first time Quinn/Finn actually sing a song. Once again, I wish the two would remain together. I have virtually no interest in their romantic affairs but they complement each other, vocally especially.
  • So, who else thinks Alex gets Chief Resident?
  • Is it wrong that I wish Pierce would leave the show?

Standout Writing
The Good Wife A-
Parks & Recreation A-
Community A-

Standout Performances
Amy Poehler in Parks & Recreation A/A-
Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife A-
Alison Brie in Community A-
John Krasinski in The Office B+
Nick Offerman in Parks & Recreation B+
Peter Facinelli in Nurse Jackie: B+
Marcia Cross in Desperate Housewives B/B+
Merrit Wever in Nurse Jackie B/B+
Sara Ramirez in Grey's Anatomy B/B+
Rosemarie Dewitt in United States of Tara: B+
Brie Larson in United States of Tara B/B+
What did you watch this week?


Dan said...

"Yup, this IS the best comedy on TV, perhaps the best show."

It seems like Parks and Rec has managed to muscle its way into this position as nearly every critic has them at or near the top of the TV universe this year. Every single episode has been amazing and I'd place them neck and neck with Community for the best overall show.

M. Carter @ the Movies said...

The only thing keeping me hanging on with "The Office" is sheer morbid curiosity. Unless the new boss is someone truly awesome, like Rhys Darby or Ricky Gervais, I'm out. The show had a great run, but Michael Scott was the heart of it.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

dan i really hope parksandrec gets some emmy love.

meredith i don't know, i miss michael but for me the office has always been about jim and pam. i hope they can do well for another few seasons.

Chelsea said...

Wow, you sure watch a lot of TV! lol, but why not. I'm really glad to have found a blogger that posts Desperate Housewives episode reviews, even just short ones. I'm a new fan. Fell hard for the pilot, downloaded some more and ended up watching all 7 seasons in 2 weeks!
I agree about Bree. Her encounters with Chuck take the edge of the seriousness of the other storylines. Lynette is really starting to piss me off, which gets me mad at the writers. She used to be my favorite, and now she just comes off as annoying. I'm super excited for the finale. Crazy stalker stepfather+ Lynette&Tom drama+ Someone will die (who?!)+ Susan/Paul/poison plot; it's going to be one hell of a season finale!

Comment got a bit out of hand. DH addiction hit me :p