How I Met Your Mother - After a lackluster fifth season last year, I'm finally starting to believe that HIMYM is recapturing the glory of its first three seasons, due in no small part to the awesomeness that is Barney Stinson and his once-again hilarious friendship with Robin. Their escalating game of who can touch/wear/fondle more ancient artifacts at the Natural History Museum was one of the most entertaining ongoing gags in the show's natural history. Add to that some great monocle jokes from Ted and a big reveal about the identity of Barney's father, and it was a magnificent episode.
House - It was so nice to see Amber Tamblyn (of the late great Joan of Arcadia and wonderfully-quirky-but-canceled The Unusuals) back on my television as Martha Masters, the new addition to House's team. Although her character (a prodigy med student, or as House called her, "the lovechild of Einstein and Mary Poppins") could be seen as a cliché, she's different enough from the rest of House's staff (including the still MIA Thirteen) that it's refreshing to finally see someone different around. Plus, her deep-set morals are sure to cause even more tension between her and Dr. "Everybody Lies" House. Shocking revelation of the night: Taub is really good at basketball. TWIST!
Gossip Girl - Other than Chuck and Blair's conflicting approaches to how to best put an end to their "enemies with benefits" relationship (Blair tried to give herself a "Bassectomy" cold turkey, while Chuck thought that overexposure was their best bet), this week's episode was almost unwatchable. Vanessa was annoying (as usual), Serena was flighty (as usual), and Dan was pretentious (as usual). After pursuing her professor for weeks and asking him to quit his job to be with her, Serena rejected him when he finally did resign from his teaching position. I mean, I knew she was fickle, but that's just cruel. The most terrifying development, however, was at the end of the episode when bitter birds of a feather Juliet and Vanessa banded together out of hatred for Serena and reached out for help to none other than the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Jenny Humphrey. This is literally the worst alliance ever created, and that's including the alliance of Bristol Palin and reality TV dance competitions.
Castle - This week's mystery involved bird-watching and a light bulb conspiracy. It was slightly more interesting than it sounds.
Glee - This season has me so conflicted. They're up, they're down; they're wonderful, they're annoying, usually within the span of an episode. This week had some great moments, the most memorable of which was the introduction of Darren Criss as Blaine, an openly gay member of a rival glee club. His rendition of Katy Perry's hit "Teenage Dream" was easily one of my favorite musical numbers so far this season. (If you're one of the four people in the world who still hasn't seen it, you can watch his performance here.) Criss' beautifully-sculpted face, his velvety voice, and his almost tangible charisma were enough to distract me from the sloppiness of the rest of the episode. (For instance, as much as I loved the girls' performance of "Start Me Up"/"Living On a Prayer," how awkwardly was that number shoe-horned into the rest of the episode?) The less glamorous half of Kurt's storyline this week was also a strong part of the episode. Kurt sought advice from Blaine regarding his increasing problems with a bully at school (an issue of particular relevance considering all the gay bullying and suicides in the news of late). To help give Kurt the strength to face his bully, Blaine sent him a text message with a single word: "Courage." Blaine's message to Kurt is one for all the gay teens struggling with these problems, as well as anyone who has been a victim of bullying. Another issue faced by teens that was briefly (and flippantly) touched on by this week's episode was Brittany and Santana's sub-zero self-esteem. (Puck taught Artie how to prey on this weakness as a way to get girls to like him.) I'd like to see Glee address this issue at some point, but at the same time I know a lot of people complain that the show has been getting too preachy, so maybe not.
The Good Wife - Michael J. Fox guest starred this week a manipulative, neurologically-challenged lawyer defending a pharmaceutical company against Alicia and the firm. He used his handicap to distract the jury during the prosecution's testimony, making their otherwise solid case a moot point. Luckily, they found a way to work the phrase "anal sex" into their line of questioning, and that seemed to get the jury's attention. We also got a rare glimpse into Kalinda's private life when she visited an old flame (a woman) in an attempt to ensure that she wouldn't share any information about their past relationship with Blake (Scott Porter). We got to see some brief scenes between Kalinda and Carey, and Alicia and Eli, which are some of my favorite dynamics on the show. As is par for the course with The Good Wife, it was a terrific hour of well-crafted television.
Survivor - NaOnka's attitude and general lack of concern for the fact that you actually have to be liked in order to win this game rendered Jeff speechless at tribal council. Fabio revealed that he might just not be as dumb as he looks (granted, he could still be really, really dumb and not be as dumb as he looks). Chase started to get a little paranoid and a lot on Brenda's nerves, and the conflict between Marty and Jane reached a boiling point. In other news: I still couldn't pick Purple Kelly out of a crowd.
Terriers - In another heart-wrenching episode of the best drama no one is watching, Hank struggled to stay on the wagon while his ex-wife (whom he's still in love with) got remarried. Watching Hank order a drink and then run to the bathroom to collect himself before he threw away his sobriety wasn't even the most intense scene of the episode. Fortunately Hank found a case to work on, so he had something to keep his mind off of Gretchen's wedding and Scotch. The most emotionally brutal scene came when Britt found out that his fiancé had cheated on him. When the two broken men reunited at the end of the episode, oddly enough it was Britt that needed a drink and not Hank.
Community - This week's Community was a bottle episode, as Abed was kind enough to point out to us viewers. (For those of you who don't know, a bottle episode is an episode created using the least amount of money, usually taking place in predominantly one location for the duration of the episode.) Only Community could make a thoroughly entertaining storyline out of a missing pen. Annie was convinced that a member of the study group had been stealing her pens, and the situation escalated to the point that they locked themselves in the room until someone returned the pen. If it sounds absurd, that's because it is. The group tried everything from strip searches to cutting open Pierce's casts, thinking he had used it to scratch his legs and it had gotten stuck. But all they found in the cast was Slim Jims and a pair of tongs. The resolution of the episode was even more ludicrous than its premise: Jeff used his lawyer logic to convince everyone that if no one had come forward yet, it was more likely that a ghost had stolen Annie's pen than that one of them had taken it out of spite. Assured of their faith in their friends, and no doubt tired of being locked in a room together, everybody agreed that this was the only reasonable conclusion, so they put their clothes back on and left. Just when I thought we'd never know what really happened to the pen, Troy's escaped pet monkey (named "Annie's Boobs") emerged from the air duct and snatched a spoon off of the floor before retreating to his monkey nest with his cache of pens and other stolen goodies. Have I mentioned lately that this is the best comedy on TV?
30 Rock - John Slattery (Mad Men) guest starred this week as a hopeless congressional candidate running against Jack's nemesis Regina Bookman (Queen Latifah). Jack tried to pull a Miss Congeniality on him and make him into an actual competitor for Bookman, but to no avail. The highlight of the episode was probably getting to see Slattery wear a diaper for one of his campaign commercials. Another win was Liz's new jeans which magically transformered her ass into that of a "Mexican sports reporter." Everything was going well until Liz found out that the company that made her jeans was actually owned by Haliburton (along with every other company in the world, apparently), so she gave up the magic jeans in favor of some particularly frumpy overalls. But that's okay, because we'll take lesbian Mario Brothers Liz over Mexican sports reporter Liz any day.
Fringe - Another week came and went without Peter noticing that he's sleeping with the wrong Olivia. I'm still holding out hope that he actually does at least suspect that she's a doppelgänger, but that he's waiting until the right time (i.e. the Winter finale) to reveal what he knows. That being said, it was another fantastic episode, and it made some exciting (and potentially apocalyptic) developments in terms of mythology. Read my full recap on thetelevixen.com.
Nikita - I generally don't mention Nikita in my recaps because, a) I'm ashamed to admit that I watch it, and b) it's never really that far above mediocre, but this week's episode was actually pretty great. (And by that, I mean it included a more-generous-than-usual amount of Shane West.) It was interesting to finally get some background on Michael and some insight into why he has that perpetual snarl on his adorable face. Turns out, he had a family once, but they were killed before he joined Division. In this week's episode he joined forces with Nikita (temporarily) to try and take down the man that killed his wife and daughter. The dynamic between Michael and Nikita was the perfect balance of flirty, wary, and nostalgic, but the writers didn't push the romantic vibe too far (because it's way too early for that). I'll keep watching just for Shane West and hope there are some more Michael/Nikita moments coming up.
The League - Alia Shawkat of Arrested Development guest starred as a courtroom sketch artist and Taco's latest lady friend. The scene with the whole gang in court during Ruxin's trial was even more hysterical than usual. Pete and Andre took the stand to help with Ruxin's case, which of course led to some ridiculous fantasy-football-related shenanigans and some well-deserved mocking of Andre. After Andre (dressed like a pedophile) stepped down from the stand, Ruxin told the judge, "I would like the last witness' vest stricken from the record."
That's about it for notable episodes from this week. Other shows that were enjoyable but I was too lazy to recap included Raising Hope, Bones, The Office, and AMC's new zombie show The Walking Dead, which you should really be watching. Thanks for reading.