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NBC's "Community" and Starz "Boss" Battle it Out in the 10 Best Episodes of the Week

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | December 12, 2011 | Comments ()


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Publisher's Note: "Dexter" is not in this installment of the ten best episodes of the week because "Dexter" really is the worst, y'all.

The League: Jenny's pleasure chest, for the win.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Part one of two continues "It's Always Sunny's" best season since the second one. Some episodes have been better than others (Chardee Macdennis being the best), but save for the episode about Frank's brother, it really has been consistently funny all season.

Suburgatory: This week was the first I heard of the weird sexual chemistry between Jane Levy and Jeremy Sisto, who play father and daughter in "Suburgatory." Now that it's been planted in my head, it's hard not to see it, and it is weird. i had to do a quick Google search just to make sure the two weren't dating in real life (they're not, right?) It does add an interesting element to what's already the best new sitcom of the season (not that competition is exactly fierce).

The Good Wife: I might have been disappointed in last night's episode if it were the season finale, but as the fall finale it worked well to set the stage for the second half of the season: Alicia is growing closer to Peter, Peter is revealing his dark side again, and Will is -- as always -- the gentleman, refusing Wendy Scott Carr's offer to take down Peter. Plus, Alicia and Kalinda are BFF again.

Happy Endings: I love "Happy Endings" in the same way that I love "Cougar Town," which is to say: Adoringly and uncritically. I know the show has some flaws, and I know that not everything on "Happy Endings" always works. But I choose to gloss over the flaws and bask in the greatness of its characters. I did not love that Alex and Dave kissed this week because that suggests a story arc, and story arcs require closer scrutiny, and I don't want to apply closer scrutiny to this show. I want to appreciate the comedy and not get invested in a will they/won't they subplot. So, cut it out, guys.

Homeland: Carrie really needs that fucking green pen, people, and she dialed up the crazypants this week to 13 and basically recorded Claire Danes' Emmy reel. Just give it to her, already. Meanwhile (SPOILERS) Brody would be such a loving family man if you could just ignore the part about how he's about to blow himself up and kill a lot of people in the process. I don't think there's any twists left in this one: It's cat-and-mouse until the KABLOOEY, unless Carrie can convince someone to stop the KABLOOEY.

How I Met Your Mother: I'm not sure if that episode made me feel gutted or duped. It was cruel of Carter and Bays to (spoiler) introduce Barney and Robin's kids only to yank them away, but it was also a very effective plot device. Either way, it doesn't take away from the awesomeness of Ted's AC/DC Christmas lights.

Parks and Recreation: Thursday's episode of "Parks and Recreation" was so packed full of feel-good warmheartedness that they had to bring in Jean-Ralphio to supply some comic relief. I love "P&R"; it's probably my favorite sitcom right now. And I love how sweet the show is, but it needs to remember to leaven that pathos with humor, too. And don't turn Ron Swanson into a sentimental grump.

Boss: The first season finale was vicious. Brutal, relentless, and cold. Critics have taken issue with "Boss," but I'm not sure why. I feel like they're making the wrong comparisons, expecting a realistic look at the political process a la "The West Wing" as well as taking issue with the gratuitous nudity, which I don't even find all that gratuitous (and certainly no more gratuitous than the violence on a lot of the best dramas). It's not the "West Wing." It's not "The Wire." The more apt comparison is "Sons of Anarchy." It's a political soap opera with big, scene-chewing performances, huge plot turns, and meaty twists. But unlike Kurt Sutter, Farhad Safinia had the balls to follow through, providing one hell of a chilling, mean take down of a major character in the finale.

Community: But it didn't top "Community," and maybe it's due in part because the last "Community" was loaded with questions about its return. It was also an outstanding episode, though I do share some viewers' concerns about the mockery of "Glee." It was funny; and it was spot-on; but it also felt a little beneath the show and slightly petty to do it not once, but in two different episodes now. Dan Harmon is clearly feeling disgruntled about the state of television, and I get it, but maybe he should leave the pettiness to the critics since we're obviously not above being little bitches.

A reader, causaubon, also sent this along, the search results when one Google's "community." For anyone unfamiliar with the monkey's name in "Community," this certainly might elicit a WTF.

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