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The Return of the Most Unappreciated Sitcom on TV and The 10 Best Episodes of the Week

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | November 18, 2013 | Comments ()


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1. Boardwalk EmpireBoardwalk lands in the top spot three weeks in a row now, and I doubt that anyone who is watching Boardwalk would disagree. Those who still aren’t are missing one of the most riveting, well-plotted, beautifully shot dramas on television. This week: Chalky barely escapes death (again), Eli backs himself into a dangerous corner (again) and Gillian Darmody, my God: I don’t think anyone thought that Ron Livingston’s character is who he said he was, but I never saw that twist coming.

2.Raising HopeRaising Hope is one of those shows that you don’t even realize you miss until it returns, and this week’s double-episode premiere was fantastic, even without its original showrunner, Greg Garcia, who went off to do The Millers (boo!). In the first two episodes, at least, it seems the show is trying to focus more on the show’s strengths, Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt, and they killed both A-plots, one with Jeffrey Tambor as Virginia’s estranged gay, narcissistic father, and the other in which Bart and Virginia create a bartering currency with disastrous results.

3.Parks and Recreation — After a month-long hiatus, Parks and Rec came back strong with two episodes, as well, ending in a heartbreaking loss for Leslie Knopes in the city council recall. Where does she go from here? Mayor, I’m guessing. The real highlights from the two episodes, however, were Tatiana Maslany’s adorable relationship with Tom, and Ron Swanson’s addiction to the hunting video game.

4. The League — The second truly classic episode of the season, after “The Von Nowzick Wedding,” this episode had everything, and by everything, I mean Ali Larter making out with a female basketball coach. Also, cultural unmentionables, “‘moist’ is the classy ‘wet’” and the best horrified reaction shots on television. (See the episode’s best lines)

5. Parenthood — Everything is a mess right now on Parenthood, as it often is building toward a mid-season finale: Kristina is down in the polls; Zack is engaging in loveless booty calls with a college girl he digs; Zeke is lost without his wife, who is in Italy; Amber is an episode or two away from her inevitable break-up with Ryan; and most troubling of all is the fracturing of Joel and Julia’s marriage. I had always been on Team Joel up until this last episode, when he transformed into a raging asshole, and now I’m suddenly on Team Ed Brooks (David Denman from The Office). The thing is, though, I have written in my head the perfect ending to all of these plot strands, and I know Jason Katims well enough to know he’ll probably follow through on the script in my mind. I don’t know if that makes him predictable, or if he’s just giving me what I want. Also, I just found out that the lead singer in the band the Luncheonette signed is the lead singer of The All-American Rejects. (See Jo’s recap of the episode’s squishiest moment)

6. Scandal — The rape scene in this week’s Scandal almost felt like something out of an episode of Sons of Anarchy: It was brutal. I’m still not sure of what to think of it, but it did provoke a lot of conversation around the Internet. Also, holy sh*t: One of those kids we never see is the rape-child of Fitz’s Dad? Meanwhile, Quinn kills a guy and now belongs to B613, while Olivia’s mom is still alive and in prison, and would you look at that! She looks just like Catherine Duke from Newsradio. HOW MANY BOMBSHELLS CAN THIS SHOW SUSTAIN?

7. New Girl — A much better use of coach this week, although Nick Miller stole the show with the training montage, and by repeatedly having Chinese dumplings slapped out of his hand by Coach. (See Joanna’s rundown of all of Fox’s Tuesday night comedies)

8. The Good WifeThe Good Wife put the Florrick Agos/Lockhart Gardner rivalry on the backburner (mostly) and focussed more on the Florrick Agos’ new client, and the adorable romance between Eli and America Ferrara’s character. Not a mindblowing episode, but definitely a delightful one. (See Joanna’s Vulture recap)

9.Brooklyn Nine-Nine — Stacy Keach appropriately played an old-school reporter vouching for ‘70’s detectives in this week’s episode, and while it was another splendid outing for Jake Paralta, the episode’s MVP was Diaz for the amazing description of her happy place: “I’m in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, and inside it’s just me and the defense attorney. And I’m beating the hell out of him. I break the dining room table over his head, then I rip off his arm and shove it where the sun don’t shine. Then I reach down his throat and shake his hand.” Perfect. (See Joanna’s rundown of all of Fox’s Tuesday night comedies)

10. HomelandHomeland’s game changing episode gets the edge over slower, transition episodes for series we usually see in the top ten (Masters of Sex, Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead). I liked the Homeland episode a lot, but sometimes I feel like, even when they execute a near perfect episode like this one, that the series has flung me so far afield that it’s difficult to trust the show anymore. (See Cindy’s recap)




Triple OMFG Ranking Last Night's Homeland: You Shot Me! | Have You Ever Been So Mad You Turned Racist? Examining the Celebrity Freakout






Are you following Pajiba on Facebook or Twitter? Every time you do, Bill Murray crashes a wedding.


Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Sean

    Glad to see all the Boardwalk love on Pajiba today. And fans of the League, check out Paul Scheer's hilarious movie podcast How Did This Get Made.

  • stella

    No Andre, moist is not the classy wet

  • I thought P&R was heartbreaking and adorable as usual, but I really don't think Tom's new girlfriend adds anything at all to the show. She's just kind of there.

  • MGMcD

    With everyone else pairing off and living happily every after and having babies (Ann & Chris and Ron & Diane's pregnancies happened almost simultaneously, and Ben & Leslie and April & Andy were already established love stories) it was Tom's turn to have a shot with someone who actually gets him, which they established better with this week's episode and the teddy bear hijinks. Though I really think Jean-Ralphio is his true soulmate.

  • I get that, but I feel like she just doesn't have much of a personality--yet. I'm hoping that'll change. But I still kind of miss Lucy from a few seasons back. She wasn't around much but she was funny and kinda weird. I guess I'll just wait and see, I trust the show enough.

  • missbisque

    Dustin, I started watching the League because of you and overall, I've been grateful. Except that I was on a road trip with my dad this past week and recited the (somewhat apropos) HOV/HIV lane joke from the wedding episode... which regrettably, ultimately led to me watching this episode with my dad, who was sold on the show based on that one joke. Anyway, this is all to say, thank you slash I'll never forgive you.

    (I first drafted this comment to be more specific and say that I had to watch Ali Larter make out with a female basketball coach and David Kroll masturbate in a janitor's closet with my dad. But that sounded like my dad was with Kroll in the janitor's closet. And that thought was incomprehensibly traumatizing. But now I have to write it down because I need to initiate a brain image purge via internet post. I'm sorry slash I'll never forgive you.)

  • Torgo

    Donna is swiftly becoming my favourite on P&R.

    "Come on now, you know I don't give a fuck"

  • Three_nineteen

    I can't believe that anyone who watched Allison Janney and Beau Bridges in Masters of Sex could prefer Homeland.

    Now I've remembered that Janney is on Mom and Bridges is on The Millers, and I'm doubly sad and confused.

  • Stu Rat

    Brooklyn 9-9
    I still can't stand Samberg. I only watch it for Braugher, Crews and Stephanie Beatriz (the aforementioned Det. Diaz). Get rid of Samberg and the annoying Administrative Aide and bring in a more likable instigator character and it could be great.

  • Green Lantern

    And y'know I actually LIKE that woman that plays the aide there. Mostly 'cause her character is SO caustic and rude.

  • dizzylucy

    "Team Ed Brooks" - thank you. I had no idea what the character's name was. I just kept calling him Roy.

    I really missed Raising Hope, glad it's back. I love the memory reset song for Maw Maw, and her calling Hope "Edgar".

  • I'm sure this is going to go over like a sack of lead dicks, but I'm one or two more ridiculous-yet-completely-obvious plot twists away from giving up Scandal's ghost. The characters are unlikable cartoons. The romances osculate between stale (Fitz-Olivia) and absurd (Quinn-Assassin Guy). The acting, with one or two exceptions, is atrocious. Plot is the only element that holds my interest anymore, and even though Scandal always had to be taken with a silo of salt, it's reached a point where things just happen because OMG TWISTZ! The entire endeavor has an air of contrivance and desperation that didn't exist in earlier seasons. The stakes in any given episode are essentially zero because everything is a twist or a red herring or a fake death. Granted, the 22-episode network model isn't doing the show any favors, but Rhimes and Co. aren't exactly stepping their game up as the show gains popularity, either.

    I'm not sure if my tastes changed or the show became a self-parody. Regardless, enjoy the show a lot less than I used to. And that kinda bums me out.

    Mellie can get it, though. She's a Cougar 10.

    /hot takes

  • I'm confused. Does a sack of lead dicks go over well or badly?

  • e jerry powell

    I thought the Mythbusters already went through this...

  • Imagine a giant metal phallus smashing into your skull during the middle of a nice sunny stroll through the park.

  • NateMan

    Huh. Sounds like my Tuesday.

  • Ben

    I loved the first two seasons of Raising Hope, but in season three they seemingly jumped the shark to me.

  • NateMan

    I had no idea Raising Hope was back until I saw it on my DVR, and both my wife & I laughed our asses off through both episodes. Great stuff.

  • Guest

    That's because it Fox's most neglected and least appreciated show. Move it to Friday nights with no promotion? Seriously?

    If it weren't for Bob's Burgers, Brookyn Nine - Nine and New Girl you'd be long dead to me FOX.

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