Everything was back this week! Well, maybe not everything, but a good portion of my shows returned from their annoying hiatuses this week. There were so many wonderful moments on TV this week, I'm not even sure where to start...
Top Five TV Highlights From This Week: Rex the Trash Possum, Kevin Bacon the Pig, and Some Bipedal Guest Stars Too!
#5) Tina Majorino on Castle - It's pretty much my favorite thing in the world when actors from my favorite departed shows are featured on my current ones. The stars really aligned this week when Tina Majorino (tech-savvy sidekick Mac from Veronica Mars) guest starred on Castle (which, as I'm sure you know, stars Nathan Fillion from my other favorite cancelled show Firefly). This, of course, means I spent most of the episode smiling nostalgically and reminiscing about "the good old days" when Veronica Mars and Firefly were still on the air, and not at all paying attention to the actual storyline of the episode. (From what I can tell, someone got killed and Corbin Bernsen was involved.) And to think, this was only the second most awesome guest appearance by an actor from one of my favorite cancelled shows on Monday night...(see #1)
#4) The Good Wife - What wasn't to like this week? Cary vs. Blake on the stand! Kalinda was even more badass than usual! A hint of bridge-rebuilding between Alicia and Cary! Killer drug dealers! Kalinda slept with Peter! TWIST! (And, to answer your question, yes, all those exclamation points were necessary.)
#3) How I Met Your Mother's montage of Marshall's increasingly outrageous attempts to provoke his friends into mocking him - The gang had been going easy on him since his dad died, and Marshall did everything he could think of to get them to "take off the kid gloves," including growing a soul patch, blasphemously declaring that The Phantom Menace was the best Star Wars movie, and (my personal favorite) Rex the possum: "I found him in the trash. He lives with us now." Other notables from this week's HIMYM were John Lithgow as Barney's estranged father (how heartbreaking was their final scene together?), Barney's "Rotating Vietnamese Shame Wheel" (your guess is as good as mine), and the realization that Ted cannot pronounce the word "chameleon."
#2) Michael's proposal to Holly on The Office - Well, it wasn't his original idea of writing the proposal in gasoline in the parking lot and setting it (and inevitably himself) on fire, but his final proposal did involve a lot of fire. I loved that Pam stepped in and gathered everyone together to help Michael plan this big moment, since, as Pam said, "I've always felt we should be very involved in each other's personal lives in a very major way." When the time was right, Michael walked Holly past all the other Office employees (all holding candles) as she declined their marriage proposals (even Ryan's!), until she came to her desk (also covered with candles), where Michael got down on one knee and asked her to marry him...in his Yoda voice. By this point, the smoke from all the candles had triggered the sprinklers, which added the perfect note of wet whimsy to the moment. Holly accepted (also while doing her best Yoda impression), and everyone in the office rejoiced. Then Michael announced that he was leaving the office to go to Colorado with Holly to care for her parents. There couldn't be a more perfect way for Michael Scott (and Steve Carell) to exit The Office, but it won't be the same without him.
#1) Joan of Arcadia stars reunited on House - Sure, House's prostitute scooter chariot and remote control helicopter shenanigans were amusing, but the reason this episode was so fantastic was that Amber Tamblyn (who played the title character on Joan of Arcadia) and Chris Marquette (who played her love interest Adam) got to share the screen again. And it was glorious. Aside from the fact that I love both actors individually, and that they're both extremely talented, seeing them together reminded me of what great chemistry they have. During their hospital heart-to-heart, it was like they were Joan and Adam again, him with his teary vulnerability, and her with the tender looks of sympathy. It was almost like a deleted scene from Joan of Arcadia...until the end of the episode when we found out Chris Marquette's character was actually a serial killer. (Awkward.)
*This quote from Jeff on Chuck: "If you love something, let it go. If it comes back, you can eat it." (In reference to Kevin Bacon the pig.)
*Community + Pulp Fiction
*The phrase "Stealth 'R' Us," as coined by Phillip the Special Agent on Survivor.
*Jay and the gays on Modern Family - Jay fit in surprisingly well with Pepper, Crispin, and Longines.
*Was that Fred Savage playing tennis on Mr. Sunshine?
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK (OR EVER): Fox renewed Fringe for a fourth season! IT'S A MIRACLE! Everyone should celebrate by watching Fringe live tonight on Fox at 9 pm! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go organize my celebratory parade in Fringe's honor.
Oh what a week it was. Even without new episodes of How I Met Your Mother, Top Chef, or Modern Family, this week's TV was full of win. Here are my Top 5 moments from this week:
#5) Why Isn't "The Real Transvestite Hoarders of Orange County Penitentiary" a Real Show? - Somewhere an executive from TLC is thinking, "Damn! Why didn't we think of that?" As always, 30 Rock was spot-on this week with its clever jabs at its own network and the state of television in general. Jack's plan to prerecord a telethon for an as yet undetermined disaster (a plan he nicknamed "Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning") was executed surprisingly well, despite the fact that the disaster for which they aired it turned out to have only affected Mel Gibson and Jon Gosselin. You can't say Jack wasn't prepared, though. He took into account every possible combination of disasters, including floods, devastating fires, floods that put out devastating fires, and super intelligent sharks. Not to mention he got Robert De Niro to film a piece for the benefit. Other wonderful tidbits from this week's 30 Rock included Liz and Tracy arguing to the tune of "Uptown Girl," and Tracy's reference to Charles Widmore (from Lost, for you sad people who haven't seen it).
#4) Greek Is "All About Beav." - After three seasons of speculating and wondering about who Beaver really is, where he came from, and what his real name is, we got a glimpse into this complex and mysterious character's true identity... Just kidding! That's Mad Men. Greek's Beaver has pretty much always been a hilariously dumb frat boy, and we love him for it. But this week, for the first time, we got to see almost a whole episode from his point of view! And may I just say, it was glorious. Here are some things we learned about Beaver this week: His mother calls him every morning to wake him up and reminds him that he's the star of his own life; he watches Glee; and he's studying to be a kindergarten teacher. Having Beaver "sing" the show's intro song (which has no lyrics, so he just sang the word "Greek" to the tune of the song) was a great touch, and since Beaver is usually the comic relief, his episode was even funnier than usual. Some notable quotables from The Beav:
- (On his class assignment for To Kill a Mockingbird:) "I'm reading Don't Mock the Killer Birds all by myself."
- ...And his other misconception of the book's title: "Tequila Drinking Bird."
- (To Casey:) "You're my favorite lady I've never had sex with."
- And of course, ever the voice of wisdom: "It's never over, Casey. That's pretty basic."
#3) Parks & Recreation- Sometimes I forget how amazing this little show has become. The addition of Rob Lowe and Adam Scott to the cast has helped Parks & Rec surpass The Office as the second best of NBC's Thursday night comedy lineup (after Community, of course). This week featured such feats of brilliance as Leslie's flu-induced displays of public delusion, Ron and Andy eating "meat tornadoes" and bonding over manly things, and Rob Lowe throwing up in a drawer.
#2) The Return of The Vampire Diaries - I'm sure by now we should be used to seeing characters killed off on The Vampire Diaries (considering approximately 50% of all the characters on this show end up dead, or at least undead), but this week's casualty packed almost as much sting as if it were the first big death, probably because of the huge impact it had on broody bad-boy Damon. I don't know what was more moving: the way he conjured the perfect dream world for Rose to make her as comfortable as possible before she died, the shattered look on his teary face as he plunged the stake into her heart, or his confession that he misses being human more than anything... I mean, OH MY GOD. How does this show manage to be so campy and so profound at the same time? Other memorable moments from this week's episode:
- Caroline's declaration that, "Everyone just needs to stop kissing me!" after locking lips with her ex, Matt, and sexy werewolf Tyler.
- THE RETURN OF UNCLE JOHN (played by former Alias villain David Anders), with or without all ten fingers, TBD.
#1) Castle and Beckett Kiss on Castle! - I must admit, I have not always been the firmest supporter of a Castle-Beckett romance, but this week's episode was so well-done it got me onboard the "Caskett" ship. When you're dealing with a "will-they-won't-they" couple like Castle and Beckett (see also: Booth and Bones, Maddie and David on Moonlighting), it's easy to mess up that first romantic encounter where some outside force manipulates them into a situation in which they somehow have to confront their innate sexual tension and/or one of them becomes aware of his/her romantic feelings for the other one. But Castle and Beckett's impromptu lip-lock was believable enough to not seem contrived, and plenty steamy enough to please the fans. Beckett was eying the security guard that was their target while kissing Castle, and when the guy was sufficiently convinced they were just a couple in love, she went all Karate Kid on him and knocked him unconscious. This prompted Castle (who was sufficiently flustered) to announce, "That was amazing...the way you knocked him out, I mean." But the icing on the cake was Castle's hysterical reaction to the whole situation, which you can see here. Bravo, Castle writers. Bravo.
*Dan and Blair's hate-flirting on Gossip Girl. So adorable and yet so disturbing at the same time...
*Cougar Town winking at its ridiculous name...again. Jules tried to convince Barb she isn't a cougar anymore, saying: "I don't do that anymore. What do I have to do? Change my name?"
*Veronica Mars alum alert! Tessa Thompson guest starred on Off The Map this week.
*Chang playing "Drugs" in the presentation of Annie's anti-drugs play on Community. Nothing scares kids off drugs more than associating them with Chang.
*Ricky Gervais guest appearance on The Office.
This week's TV lineup featured a surprising number of hookers/porn stars (see House, Raising Hope, and arguably How I Met Your Mother), conspiracies (see Castle and Community), fake guns (see Modern Family and Community), and crying (see Modern Family, Terriers, and Cougar Town), which are always fun plot points. Throw in some exciting guest stars, and it was a pretty great week of television. Here's the rundown...
Another exciting week of television has come and gone, and it seems that the new shows are starting to distinguish themselves as either "keepers" or "soon-to-be-canceled." The first new show to get a full season pickup, I'm happy to say, was Fox's comedy Raising Hope. The outlook isn't as good for some other new shows (Chase, The Whole Truth, and Running Wilde, for instance), but more on that later. Let's start from the beginning...
What did we learn on TV this week? Well, we learned some valuable life advice from Raising Hope: Don't piss off the guys who's not afraid to pick dead birds out of the pool. On How I Met Your Mother, we learned that the concept of "dibs" was invented by Sir Walter Dibs. This week's Bones taught us that, a) Brennan is the person you want by your side when you come upon a group of armed guerillas (who knew she could wield a shovel like that?), and b) fleas have faster reflexes than any jungle cat. Chuck taught us, "don't mess with a repo man." From Parenthood, we got a lesson on playdate etiquette and the surprising complexities of kindergarten politics. And even though we kind of already knew this, The Vampire Diaries reinforced the law of supernature (is that the noun form of supernatural?) that where there are vampires, there must also be werewolves. All in all it was a very educational week of television. Here's a brief (not really) overview of everything I have deemed worthy of your time (be warned, my standards are not tremendously high).
It's May, and you know what that means: Sex! Death! Excessive guest stars! Expect an extra dose of excitement on your favorite shows in the coming weeks, as sweeps are upon us.
*WARNING* SPOILERS AHOY! Seriously, don't keep reading if you aren't caught up on the most recent week of television.
Best Karaoke Performance of the Week: House, Chase, and Foreman on House - Watching this unlikely trio sing "Midnight Train to Georgia" was one of my favorite moments of this show to date. Who knew that, in addition to being ridiculously attractive and having an adorable accent, Chase can actually sing! Sometimes life just isn't fair for the rest of us.
WTF Guest Appearance of the Week: Buzz Aldrin on 30 Rock - Frankly, I was a little disappointed by the former astronaut's appearance on 30 Rock as Liz's mother's coulda-been husband. I guess the yelling-at-the-moon bit was mildly amusing, but I would much rather they have poked fun at his recent stint on Dancing With the Stars.
Best Fake Mustaches: Travis, Bobby, and Andy on Cougar Town - It's the pure randomness of this show that delights me so much. As long as these guys keep pulling shenanigans like this (and adding new rules to Penny Can), I'll keep watching.
Most Mind-Blowing, Bawl-Inducing Episode Possibly in the History of Television (Excluding Joss Whedon Shows): "The Candidate," Lost - Now that was an intense hour of television. This week's episode included three significant and heart-wrenching deaths, and as much as it killed me (no pun intended...really) to see some beloved characters bite the dust, their deaths could not have been more fitting or more poignant. Not to mention the Sideways World Jack/Locke story was pure brilliance, painting them both as broken men trying to let go of the past.
Most Awesome Rendition of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" Possibly in the History of Music: The cast of Glee - When you take a song as over-the-top as "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and put it in a show like Glee, that really knows how to make fun of its own over-the-top-ness, there's no accounting for the explosion of awesomeness that will result. "Turn around briiiiight eyyyyyyes!"
Best Swipe at Glee: Jeff Winger on Community - This week's hilarious episode of Community parodied every dystopian, battle-for-earth action movie made in the last thirty years. The study group's biggest rivals in the apocalyptic paintball war were their community college's Glee Club. As the enemies were singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," Jeff shouted at them, "Write some original songs!" These clever shots at other shows are one of the reasons Community is starting to remind me more of 30 Rock every week.
Most Veronica Mars Alumni Guest Starring in One Episode: Castle - Oh, how I've missed seeing Max Greenfield (Leo) and Julie Gonzalo (Parker) on my television since the unjust demise of Veronica Mars... Featuring two VM alum is enough to make any episode of any show more than great (except maybe Two and a Half Men- there's no saving that train wreck), but throw in Rocco DiSpirito, molecular gastronomy, and a hidden engagement ring, and you've got yourself a top-notch episode.
Best Non-Veronica Mars Guest Stars: Swoosie Kurtz and Fred Willard on Chuck - If Fred Willard keeps up this guest star streak (last week he was on Modern Family), I really don't think I'll ever get tired of him. Paired with the perfectly prickly Swoosie Kurtz (you might know her from Pushing Daisies or Lost), the two played a jaded CIA spy couple who give Chuck and Sarah a sobering glimpse of what their future could be.
Best Chuck Norris Impression: Frank Lapidus, Lost - Sawyer said it best last week when he said Lapidus "looks like he stepped off the set of a Burt Reynolds movie," and this week's episode only further enforced that impression of the scruffy pilot. While the castaways were trapped in the Hydra cages during the Smoke Monster attack, Lapidus took the proactive approach and began trying to kick open the door of his cage. Then Jack ruined all the fun by showing up and opening the cage door with the guard's key. Lame.
Best Immunity Idol Ruse: Rupert on Survivor - As much as it kills me to say it, Rupert has really been annoying me this season, but this week he's starting to win back the lovability he once owned back in his original season (in which he was voted Fan Favorite). When he realized he was on the chopping block (because he was bold enough to try to reveal Russell's truly evil nature), he used his resources (namely, a rock) and his brain (a tool that has been underutilized by many Survivors lately) and came up with a plan. Creating a suspicious bulge in his pocket with the rock, he made it appear as if he had found the hidden immunity idol, thus leading Russell the Troll-Man to split the Villains' votes, saving Rupert from the wrath of Russell.
Role-Reversal of the Week: Sawyer and Jack on Lost - This Freaky Friday moment has been at least a season and a half in the making, but this week's episode left Sawyer in exactly the same position Jack was in at the end of season five. His lack of faith and his determination to be the hero led him to make a bad decision that got other people killed. The good news? New Zen Jack is three for three this season in terms of his loony, death-cheating "plans." (Calling Dogen's poison-pill bluff, his little dynamite standoff with Richard Alpert, and now it looks like he was right to think that the bomb wouldn't have gone off without Sawyer's attempt to disarm it.) The moral of the story? Jack is back.
Best Spin Class Instructor: Dwight on The Office - Dwight was in peak form this week, tailing Michael's new girlfriend at the gym and attempting to seduce her to test her loyalty (naturally). In the last scene, Dwight is taking a spin class, or, more accurately, taking over a spin class. As the instructor directs them to cool down as they approach a gentle hill, Dwight shouts, "No! The hill is a trap! Let's take the dirt road off to the side!" Did Dwight miss his calling as a spin class instructor?
Best Fake Church Name: Our Lady of Reluctant Immigration, 30 Rock - It makes total sense that Jack's hardass Irish-American mother would play Bingo at a church with such a ridiculously xenophobic name, and it really does roll right off the tongue.
How I Met Your Mother Reference of the Week: Damon on The Vampire Diaries - Almost as good as Andy's mention of the CBS sitcom on The Office a few weeks ago was Damon's passing comment on how Stefan (who is very in tune with his humanity, unlike most vampires) "wants to feel every episode of How I Met Your Mother." Way to be relevant, HIMYM!
Best Torso: It's a tie between Jeff (Joel McHale) on Community and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) on The Vampire Diaries - Is it just me, or does the amount of semi-nudity on TV go up during May sweeps? I guess it makes sense. You know what they say: April plot devices bring May hook-ups.
After another satisfying week of great TV, let's discuss some of this week's winners and losers...
WARNING: There are *SPOILERS APLENTY* below this line, so be wary if you aren't up to speed on all your shows.
Best Use of Poultry: Community - Only a show this amazing could make chicken fingers into a major plot point. Bonus points for referencing Goodfellas and Sixteen Candles in the same episode (not an unusual feat for Community).
"Awww" Moment of the Week: Esposito introduces Castle as his "other partner" on Castle - I love the partner dynamic on this show (and on any show, really), and it was great to see some character development from the supporting cast, namely Esposito. And it's wonderful to see that Castle has been fully integrated into their little police family. All together now: "Awww..."
Best Performance by a Lost Alumna on Another Show: Cynthia Watros on House - Her rivalry with House for Wilson's heart is absolutely delightful. And we just saw her on Lost last week, so she brought some residual awesomeness over to House with her.
Worst Performance by a Lost Alumna on Another Show: Sonya Walger on FlashForward - It's not really her fault that her character on FF is kind of a ho (AKA the opposite of the beloved Penny) and couldn't wait, like, a month after being separated from Joseph Fiennes to hook up with that British guy from Pirates of the Caribbean. But that was last week, so my picking on her is kind of cheating.
"Yeah, That's Not Going To Come Back To Bite You In The Ass" Move of the Week: Finn on Glee - Sure, Rachel lied about having sex with her boyf, but Finn lying about NOT having meaningless sex with Santana is one of those lies that will definitely return to wreak havoc later in the series. Then again, Finn isn't exactly known for his cleverness.
Achievement in Idiocy Award of the Week: JT on Survivor - Oh, JT... I used to think you were a great player, but why do you insist on so blindly trusting Russell, (arguably) the most untrustworthy player in the history of the game? Fortunately, JT looks like the lovechild of Matthew McConaughey and George Clooney, and he has a southern accent, so he'll be okay in life...just not in Survivor.
Awesome Cameo of the Week: Will Ferrell on 30 Rock - His three-second-long guest spot as the star of the fictional show Bitch Hunter was hysterical.
WTF Guest Appearance of the Week: Faith Hill on Project Runway - Why is the waning country star the guest judge in the finale of Project Runway? I mean, I get it, she wears fashion, but this is the finale, people. Couldn't we find someone who wasn't on the Worst Dressed list at the Oscars this year?
"Oh No They Didn't" Moment of the Week: Kurt and Mercedes join the Cheerios on Glee - Ouch. The sting of the defection of these two queens of sass to the Dark Side was worse than any slushie facial. But they do have a point: their vast talents are somewhat underutilized in the Glee Club, so maybe it's not wrong of them to want to do both.
Best Star Wars Reference: Hurley on Lost - He made an excellent argument that someone can be brought back from the Dark Side, citing Anakin as an example (albeit a flimsy one). Sawyer apparently hasn't seen the prequels because he responded, "Who the hell is Anakin?" Oh, Sawyer... You're adorable when you're snarky.
Best Made-Up Word of the Week: "Innovent," Jack on 30 Rock - Invent + innovate = innovent. The word is so perfect, it embodies itself. It is innovention. This word also applies to 30 Rock as a whole, which gets more hilariously innoventive each week.
Worst Made-Up Word of the Week: "Marooders," Damien on Parenthood - His brutalization of the word "marauders" was almost as sad as it was funny. His girlfriend Egg, I mean Ann, I mean Amber (Mae Whitman from Arrested Development) seemed appropriately amused and concerned by his faux pas.
Surprising Voice of Reason of the Week: Rupert on Survivor - So far this season, Rupert has pretty much been a lazy, obnoxious load of dead weight on the Heroes tribe, but this week's merge left the once-lovable pirate the only Hero with his head on straight. While JT was busy vying for the title of Dumbest Survivor Ever, Rupert was trying to convince him that Evil Russell was playing them (shocker!).
Runner-Up: Damon on The Vampire Diaries - You know you're in trouble when the evil brother is the one most in-control of his homicidal tendencies.
Corny, Scene-Ruining Line of the Week: "Looks like someone got their voice back" -Lapidus on Lost - Yes, this line almost negated all the warm-and-fuzzies we were feeling at the long-awaited reunion of Jin and Sun, but we forgive Lapidus because last season he had one of the greatest lines in the history of Lost: "We're not going to Guam, are we?"