House - This week, the team thought they'd accidentally given a guy Smallpox when they injected him with the Smallpox vaccine without realizing his immune system was compromised (awkward). House was sure the original patient (the Smallpox guy's step-daughter) had a different, more curable strain of pox, but Rulesy Magee, the Center for Disease Control guy in charge of the whole situation (played by Dylan Baker of The Good Wife), wouldn't let House into the quarantined room to run any tests. House, being his usual cocky, brilliant self, went in anyway, forcing Rulesy Magee to lock him in there with the dying pox-ridden man (awkwarder). Later House even removed his biohazard suit because he was so sure the disease was not Smallpox, thanks to new team member Martha Masters' (Amber Tamblyn) clever note about a dead cat on the ancient slave ship where the pox originated (as read from the captain's log, which House asked a Dutch prostitute to translate). Score one for the new girl. There were some other semi-important developments throughout the episode, such as the resurgence of Cuddy's anger at House once it was established that he was not going to die, and Wilson breaching the subject of having kids with his on-again ex-wife (Cynthia Watros). The funniest part of the episode had to be House's text message to Wilson while he was talking to a sick little girl: "What I need is more important than what you're doing." I'm pretty sure this is House's life motto, right after "People lie."
How I Met Your Mother - This week's episode featured the return of Robin's Canadian pop star alter-ego Robin Sparkles, a potential revelation regarding the mysterious wedding previewed in the season premiere, guest appearances from Alan Thicke and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, a slew of plays on the word "porn" (my favorites were "porn flakes" and "pornucopia"), and an almost-slap. In other words, it was a packed half-hour of television. The gang got to see Robin Sparkles' appearance on an innuendo-filled kids' show from Canada with her then-best-friend Tina Glitter (Scherzinger), and laughs were had all around. Ted's old friend Punchy also came to visit, leading to the potentially significant deduction that the wedding we saw at the beginning of the season (where Ted says he first met the titular Mother) could be Punchy's (since he asked Ted to be his best man). While it seems odd to me that Lily and Marshall would attend Punchy's wedding, it seems like the most logical guess at this point. More important than anything I've just mentioned was Barney's awe-inspiring recitation of every sendoff line from every reality show on television.
Chuck - Rob Riggle (Gary Unmarried) and Summer Glau (Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) guest starred in this week's episode of Chuck, in which a government scientist (Riggle) uses somewhat unorthodox methods to try to help Chuck recover his ability to access the Intersect. Things got pretty hairy: Chuck and Sarah were at odds, Chuck's validity as a spy was challenged, and Jeff and Lester almost got themselves maimed by Greta (Summer Glau). Oh, and Subway sandwiches were more involved in the plot than usual.
Gossip Girl - The sexual tension between Dan and Nate was actually palpable in this week's episode, though they both kept up the guise that they're still hung up on Serena. I think it's clear to everyone but them that Dan and Nate would make a much better couple than Serena and...well, anyone. Speaking of Serena, she didn't really stand a chance against sociopath Juliet and her not-so-merry band of bitter Brooklyn harpies. It didn't seem like Vanessa's heart was really in their intricate revenge plan, which involved masks and some doppelgänger shenanigans. But Juliet made up for Vanessa's lack of gusto, and considering the havoc she'd wreaked on Serena by the end of the episode, I actually felt bad for S. Thank God there was enough juicy, delightful Chuck and Blair magic to distract from the three most obnoxious characters and their petty revenge plot. Chuck made the surprising confession that he still loves Blair, and that he'd risk his bad boy image (which is apparently the root of his hotel's success) to be with her. And Blair was willing to risk her image as an empowered woman (the reason for her candidacy as the face of a prestigious charity organization) to be with Chuck. Unfortunately, there's a double standard when it comes to bad boys and good girls, and while Chuck's success was only bolstered by the public's discovery of his relationship with Blair, hers was shattered by it. She told Chuck she had to establish herself as her own empowered person before she could be seen by the world as Chuck Bass' girlfriend, which only made me respect her more. When will these crazy kids work things out?
Castle - Castle and Beckett went Mulder and Scully this week as they investigated a case that may or may not have involved extraterrestrials. Even better than the X-Files was yet another subtle allusion to Nathan Fillion's former show Firefly. When Beckett asked Castle where he learned Chinese, he told her it was, "a TV show I used to love." (Firefly took place in a futuristic world in which Chinese was widely spoken.) Lyle Lovett also guest starred as a mysterious government agent, or, as Castle suspected, one of the Men In Black. Highlight of the episode: Castle runs over to one of the bad guys they've just arrested and pulls a "cyanide capsule" out of his mouth, only to discover that it is, in fact, a piece of chewing gum.
Glee - So. Gwyneth Paltrow. On Glee. Singing. Let's discuss. I was pretty "meh" on Gwyneth before seeing her in this week's episode. She kind of rocked it. Not only did she do a phenomenal job as the Mary Poppins of substitute teaching (how fantastic was her Spanish accent? Paltrow did live in Spain for a while, after all), but she also sang and danced with more enthusiasm than we've seen from the Glee cast in a long time. While the mocking and derision of Mr. Schu was extremely amusing, I was glad to see the Glee kids' appreciation for him at the end of the episode. He may be a Journey-obsessed tyrant, but he's our Journey-obsessed tyrant, and no perky substitute with commitment issues can replace him. That being said, Gwyneth is welcome back anytime as a guest star.
Raising Hope - Jimmy wanted to get Hope into a snooty private daycare because in her current daycare, her only companions are six or seven dogs, and Hope has started to mimic their behaviors (i.e. barking at the doorbell). In order to get the scholarship for Hope, Jimmy had to get his father's record as a sex offender (he got caught having sex with Jimmy's mom when he was 17 and she was 15) expunged from his record so there's no menacing blue dot over their house on the sex offender online map. In a series of hilariously absurd events, Jimmy, his mother, and his grandmother all became labeled sex offenders as a result of a series of misunderstandings (except Maw Maw, whose topless exploits in the courthouse were pretty intentional). The funniest line of the night was probably Burt going door to door announcing his status as a sex offender, as is legally required, and when one woman opened her door, he said, "Good news! I'm not a Jehova's Witness! Bad news: I'm a sex offender."
The Good Wife - Point by point summary of this week's episode: 1) Peter got an endorsement from Pastor Isaiah. 2) Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) guest starred as a teen pop star struggling with "climbing out of the Disney ghetto" (how relevant considering the recent announcement of Disney star Demi Lovato's decision to enter treatment). 3) Will: "I am the man." 4) Alicia was also "the man." 5) Alicia's daughter wants to be a lawyer like her (awwww).
Survivor - These people are still idiots. I have given up on this season. If Jane doesn't win, I'm going to flip out.
Modern Family - All three storylines were pretty strong this week. Claire and Phil decided to race to the restaurant, during which time Claire lamented to Luke that she knows Phil is the "fun parent," and that's why she has to be the high-strung one. In the other car, Hayley and Alex broke the news to Phil that they didn't want to do "Family Camp" again, which led to Phil crying, which led to the girls crying and calling him "daddy," which led to more crying and our crying. Back in the non-fun car, Claire was crying because Luke had thought she and Phil were separating, and then Luke was crying, and there was just a lot of tears happening. Meanwhile, Cam and Mitchell were on their way to the restaurant to meet up with the rest of the family when they stopped so Cam could help facilitate an elderly couple's reconciliation. Just when Cam was complaining about how Mitchell isn't spontaneous, a flash mob broke out and to everyone's surprise, Mitchell joined in the choreographed dance routine! It was his "love letter to Cam." Little did he know, Cam didn't take it that way, and said Mitchell had cheated on him "with choreography...And that is the worst kind." Also delayed on the way to the restaurant was the patriarch of the family, who tried to mess with Gloria by putting her missing keys in her purse, where she'd already looked. When Gloria got irritated, she showed everyone just how good a shot she is with Manny's new BB gun. When Manny exclaimed, "You could have shot me!" she responded, "Oh, please. I could have unbuttoned your shirt if I wanted to." I don't doubt it for a second. The perfect ending of the episode was all four cars pulling up to the restaurant at the exact same time, narrowly avoiding a four-way collision. If only all family gatherings were this exciting.
Cougar Town - First, a moment of silence for our fallen friend, Big Joe. *pause* He was always there in times of need, and he was Jules' rock during hard times. It seems a cruel way to go--smashed on the kitchen floor by Travis' new much-older girlfriend. But Big Joe will always be remembered. And he got a lovely memorial note at the end of the episode. Rest in peace, Big Joe. Here's a memorial video if you are looking to pay your respects or you are confused about who/what Big Joe is.
Terriers - Just when you thought the show couldn't get any better or any more heartbreaking, it did. In a series of flashbacks, we got to see Hank before he got kicked off the force, working the case that cost him his job and his marriage. It was great to see Hank and Mark back when they were partners (before Hank quit drinking and Mark quit smoking), and we got to see how he met his current partner Britt (they caught him breaking into a condo). Watching Hank watching Britt plunge into the same black hole of anger and jealousy that he had (which led to the destruction of his marriage) was agonizing, but you could tell Hank was doing everything he could to keep Britt from making the mistakes he had. In the end, though, it wasn't enough, and Britt ended up just like Hank: really drunk, taking his anger out on the wrong guy, and getting hauled down to the police department. At least Britt has something Hank didn't have when he lost everything: a friend like Hank.
Community - This week, the subject of Community's self-aware satire was the genre of the conspiracy thriller. It started off when Jeff made up a class on conspiracy theories to get credit, and surprisingly a mysterious night school professor, Professor Professorson (Kevin Corrigan, last seen as the equally mysterious Sam Weiss on Fringe) just happened to be walking by and backed Jeff up on his story. Jeff and Annie embarked on a mission to reveal the truth, stumbling upon a conspiracy bigger than either of them imagined. The ominous music, the threatening phone call, the "explosion" of Annie's diorama's toy car, and the chase scene through Troy and Abed's massive blanket fort: It was all straight out of a Russell Crowe movie. Everything led up the final dramatic showdown, where twist after twist after twist was revealed with a series of fake shootings, to the point that even the characters were confused as to who had conspired against whom. Dean Pelton was so distressed that he started sobbing and rocking back and forth, pulling his hood over his head and crying, "Would that this hoodie were a time hoodie!" The campus police officer had a sobering statistic to share when he finally arrived: "Fact: In 100% of all fake gun related shootings, the victim is always the one with the fake gun." So remember that next time you conspire to teach your friend a lesson on personal hygiene, or grocery store etiquette, or whatever it is.
The Office - This week's episode was great and all, but nothing in the whole thirty minutes could compare to the revelation that Stanley's dream is to own a decommissioned lighthouse, and to live at the top of that lighthouse. Without anyone knowing it. And the lighthouse is also a rocket. So he can shoot into outer space. Dream big, Stanley. Dream big.
Fringe - Who knew it would take a New York City souvenir shop cleaning lady to verbally slap Peter into reason with the realization that he is sleeping with the wrong Olivia? Honestly, I thought he was less of an idiot and had hoped he would have figured it out by now, but at least now this creepy inter-universal love triangle can start to get straightened out.
That's all for this week, folks. To be fair, though, I have yet to watch this week's episodes of The Vampire Diaries and Bones, so something noteworthy very well could have happened on either show and I still wouldn't know about it yet. I'm pretty much a slacker. Thanks for reading anyway. Tune in next week for all the deliciously over-stuffed Thanksgiving episodes TV has to offer.