The Pajiba Power Rankings, Fat Neil Edition
10. Harry’s Law: Don’t watch this show. Really. It’s not very good, but I’m a sucker for Steve Harris and his tough-on-the-exterior, soft-in-the-middle shtick. It kills me, and while “Harry’s Law” isn’t a good program, this week’s episode at least was vintage David E. Kelley, right down to the tinkly music while a character walks down the street. And it was better than the MMA crossover bullshit in “Lights Out” this week and a subpar episode of “Fringe” with the worst revelation.
9. Top Chef: You know who I love? Fabio. He’s not the best chef on the show, but he’s the most charming and the most entertaining, which is probably why he hasn’t been eliminated yet. Tre went down this week not because he was the worst chef remaining, but because he’s the least charismatic. But Antonia and her mussels in wine? That won? Pimento Christ, that was ridiculous.
8. Cougar Town: Wondering why “Cougar Town” aired its Valentine’s Day episode a week early? Because that was the last “Cougar Town” for a few months, as Matthew Perry’s new sitcom debuts this week in that slot. Ellie going off on the folks who still have their Christmas decorations up highlighted this week’s ep: “”Take down your tacky lights or die! Thank you. That is all.” Dr. Cox still lives in some form.
7. Parenthood: I know that many aren’t huge fans of Haddie, but I sincerely like what’s going on with this plotline. Haddie is standing her ground, appropriately, and Kristina is crumbling. Just swallow your pride, lady, let Haddie date Alex, and if it goes pear-shaped, then Haddie learns from her mistake, instead of running away, moving in with Alex, and getting knocked up before she’s 17. There are a lot of ways this scenario could work out and they all seem to work out best if Haddie is at home. Meanwhile, Adam got high, and that was spectacular.
6. Chuck: The end of another chapter of “Chuck,” this one saving Sarah and Chuck’s mom from Volkoff, culminating in the birth of Ellie’s baby to the smooth tunes of Jeffster’s “Push It,” one of their best performances to date. Plus, a quiet, private, almost perfect proposal between Chuck and Sarah. I will miss Timothy Dalton, though. Strangely, unlike most arcs in “Chuck,” this one didn’t tease the next.
5. Parks and Recreation: Not nearly the episode that last week’s was, but the history of the town slogans alone merits a top five inclusion, even if the Twilight plot wore itself out halfway through the episode. “Pawnee: First in friendliness, fourth in obesity.”
4. The Good Wife: “The Good Wife” has become the most consistently good network drama on television (not counting the number one show here), as this show continues to brilliantly merge the relationship subplots with the legal cases, the firm politics, and the district attorney’s campaign brilliantly. I don’t know where this show goes after the election, and after the firm figures itself out, but it’s fun to watch. Plus, Matt Czuchry is really coming into his own, so much so that I’m almost ready to forgive him for Max Tucker.
2. Community: I liked the “30 Rock” episode better, but I’m putting it even with “30 Rock” this week because people who understand D&D thought it was a classic episode. I don’t understand D&D, and if the game is anything like what was depicted in this episode, I may never understand D&D. But I did love the voiceover (“And as they described themselves walking, Abed confirmed they walked.”) and Jeff’s voice of reason (“If that’s sarcasm, I can’t tell because everything in this game is silly.”)
2. 30 Rock: An insanely quotable episode, and I love that the writers are taking Liz and Jack’s relationship through all the formal stages — dating, marriage, pregnancy — without technically going through the formal stages.
1. Friday Night Lights: The penultimate episode of the series aired on DirectTV this week. I won’t ruin it for those of you watching it this summer, except to say that, when “Devil’s Town” plays on “Friday Night Lights” prepare to have your heart ripped out, stomped on, and kicked into the sewer. There’s no conceivable completely happy ending for “FNL,” and that’s the way it’s been for five glorious seasons. I’m going to miss the hell out of this show.
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