House - This week's episode wasn't quite as great as last week's, but the double date scene, in which Wilson's girlfriend/ex-wife Sam (Cynthia Watros) showed that road rage can extend into the go-kart arena, was pretty entertaining.
How I Met Your Mother - Barney put the moves on Ted, Ted rocked his architect vest, Robin left some threatening voicemails for Don, and we found out that Marshall had an all-lawyer funk band called, "The Funk, The Whole Funk, and Nothing But The Funk."
Gossip Girl - Chuck and Blair moved ever further away from their inevitable reconciliation (*sob*) when Blair tried to sabotage Chuck's romance with his annoying French girlfriend under the pretense of only wanting to protect him. Dan was stupider than usual (not to mention the fact that his new haircut makes him look like an emo pioneer on the Oregon Trail), and for some reason Dan and Nate still haven't gotten it through their heads that Serena is just a serial flirt. Come on, guys. Really.
Hawaii Five-O - One of the perks of living in Hawaii is the unorthodox interrogation techniques available to law enforcement officers. Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) and Danno (Scott Caan) left their arms-dealing pizza delivery guy in a shark cage (an enclosure for tourists that lets you swim in the water while sharks circle the cage trying to eat you) so as to encourage him to share the details of his gangster associates. After leaving the guy in the cage, Steve and Danno proceeded to have a heartfelt conversation about Danno's love for his young daughter while ignoring the screams of terror in the background.
Castle - Meanwhile, on another Monday night crime show, Castle and Beckett met one of the most likable (or at least amusing) criminals we've seen on the show. Their suspect, whose name was "Random" (to quote Castle, "Someone actually named their kid Random?") was full of amusing excuses. Upon fleeing his apartment when they came to arrest him, he told the police, "I wasn't running away, I was jogging." This week's case also involved a cryptic treasure map, and a senior citizen with a fake walker and a hidden agenda.
Glee - Taking a sharp turn from last week's all-fluff-and-no-stuff Britney Spears tribute, this week's episode got real deep real quick. Titled "Grilled Cheesus," after the holy sandwich on which the face of Jesus appears to Finn, the episode tackled the controversial issues of faith and religion. The emotional hour was chock-full of tissue-worthy moments, from Kurt's tearful rendition of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" (sung for his father, lying unconscious in a hospital bed), to Sue Sylvester's touching confession that the reason she doesn't believe in God is because she's seen the cruelty with which people treat her mentally challenged sister. All in all, the show did a great job of addressing a variety of different viewpoints on faith while incorporating some great (albeit low-key) musical performances. Puck's much-underused talent was showcased perfectly in his enchanting version of Billy Joel's "Only The Good Die Young," and the final group performance of "One of Us" was the best use of the song since it was the theme to the late, great series Joan of Arcadia. The funniest line of the night was probably Finn praying to his Grilled Cheesus: "What up, Grilled Cheesus? I didn't go to Sunday School, so I don't know if God works the same as a genie and I only get three wishes..."
Raising Hope - Just when I thought the quality of this show was going to start to level out, it got even better. This freshman comedy about a blue-collar family helping their twenty-three-year-old son Jimmy raise his infant daughter (the result of a one-night stand with a serial killer) is consistently funny and surprisingly clever. This week's episode focused on everyone in the family giving up their impractical habits, whether it's buying lottery tickets, hoarding rich people's discarded towel racks, or pursuing a certain grocery store clerk who already has a boyfriend. Between the hijinks, like using Maw Maw's (Cloris Leachman) uncanny Jenga skills to extract baby Hope from the jam-packed shed that acts as a depository for Virginia's hoarding, or brainstorming names for the boat they're going to buy with their lottery winnings ("Ship Happens" and "Cirrhosis of the River" were some of the proposed names), it's clear that the Chance family genuinely cares about each other, all four dysfunctional generations of them. Ultimately Jimmy decides he'd rather raise his daughter in a home where she'll learn to never give up on her dreams--even if they're as unlikely as winning the lottery--than try to change his wacky family's absurd habits.
The Good Wife - Will and Alicia found themselves out of their element this week when they had to defend their client (accused of murdering his wife) in military court, which is apparently very different than regular court. As per usual, the team still managed to pull off a win, even if it took Will purposefully getting held in contempt in order to get it. After that stunt Alicia told Will, "I just thought I was done visiting men in prison." In other Good news, Cary is still disgruntled (and very much trying to make Alicia's life even harder); Kalinda's new competition, Blake (Friday Night Lights' Scott Porter), is really good at his job; and Lou Dobbs (guest starring as himself) wants Diane (Christine Baranski) to represent him, even though she disagrees with him on almost every possible level.
Survivor - This week we watched the Older Tribe and the Younger Tribe descend even further into calamity and disarray. The majority of this episode was spent watching NaOnka the bully as she continued to make offensive comments about Kelly's prosthetic leg (not to mention finding the hidden immunity idol with Brenda's help), and listening to Jimmy T embody the expression, "If you give him a shovel, he'll dig his own grave." The result is a level of mindless entertainment reserved for low-caliber reality shows like The Real Housewives and Jersey Shore. I expect more from Survivor. The only bright spots in this season are Jill and Jane, who both appear to be playing the game (and actually using their brains, which can't be said for the majority of the other castaways), staying wisely under the radar and letting the puffed-up, ego-driven men weed each other out.
Better With You - I keep expecting this show to be bad, but it's actually really funny, in a 90s, laugh track kind of way. This week the Putney family was divided over their annual Christmas card (a tradition they take very seriously) and its ridiculous theme. The rivaling themes were "CSI: Christmas Scene Investigators," and "One Flew Over the Christmas Nest." If you're asking yourself, "What exactly is a Christmas nest?" you're not alone.
Modern Family - Get your opera cloaks! ("Do you know how many times this has paid for itself?") When an earthquake struck, Cam and Mitchell used the natural disaster as an excuse to get out of the elaborate theme brunch (this time it was "Oscar Wilde and Crazy Brunch") thrown by their flamboyant friend Pepper Salzman (played by guest star Nathan Lane). Meanwhile, Phil took the opportunity to do some home improvement (which he'd already told his wife he'd taken care of) while Claire was stuck in the bathroom with the door wedged shut. Everyone deals with crisis differently.
Cougar Town - Jules (Courteney Cox) was suffering from some serious empty nest syndrome after Travis left for college, but Grayson channeled her crazy into a neighborhood watch committee, which quickly devolved into a group of people with glow sticks staring creepily into their neighbors' windows. Travis sought to reinvent his image at college, aiming to be seen as "a quiet badass...like Harry Potter." The show also continued its ongoing self-mocking via fun additions to the title card. Last week it was "(Still) Cougar Town," and this week it read, "Badly Titled Cougar Town." Isn't it time this phenomenal show stop paying for its terrible title?
Terriers - Still awesome.
Community - Things included in this week's episode: a sassy male nurse, the phrase "energon pod," a subtle jibe at Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (which I think we can all agree was well-deserved), a girl fight (with oil), characters coming to grips with their mortality, two restraining orders, and Betty White explaining the movie Inception to African tribesmen.
30 Rock - Queen Latifah and Rob Reiner guest starred this week, raising the issue of diversity at NBC and providing lots of jokes about the cancellation of Law & Order. ("It was a tent pole! A tent pole!")
The Office - I don't quite know what to think about this week's episode of The Office. They're walking the line between ridiculous and hilarious, which isn't a bad thing. Any show in it's seventh season should be pushing the envelope, and this week they pushed it out of the office and into...the theater! The office went to see Andy (Ed Helms) perform (surprisingly well) in a local theater company's presentation of Sweeney Todd. Although I was slightly appalled by the fact that Erin is apparently the world's worst babysitter, I did like the mini-montage at the end as Andy sang Macy Gray's "I Try."
The League - Ever wonder why it's not advisable to use a toilet seat you found in the dumpster? Taco learned that lesson the hard way this week when he unknowingly installed a cocaine-infused toilet seat he found while dumpster diving, leading him to become addicted to sitting on his toilet. These writers for this show are either terrifically creative, or they're drawing on some really interesting and unhygienic personal experience.
That's about it for everything really important on TV this week. Some shows stayed strong (Cougar Town); some stayed weak (Running Wilde); some got even better (Raising Hope); and some...involved the worship of a grilled sandwich (Glee).