Shows Watched this Week: 28
The Honorable Mentions: 27. “Terra Nova,” 26. “The Amazing Race,” 25. “Last Man Standing,” 24. “Saturday Night Live,” 23. “Survivor,” 22. “The Middle,” 21. “Prime Suspect,” 20. “Hart of Dixie,” 19. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” 18. “How I Met Your Mother,” 17. “Bored to Death,” 16. “Modern Family,” 15. “American Horror Story,” 14. “Suburgatory.” 13. “Enlightened,” 12. “The Office,” and 11. “Revenge.” 11a. “Sons of Anarchy.”
The 10 Best Episodes of the Week
10. Happy Endings: “Happy Endings” hangs around the top ten this week by default: With the exception of “Community” and “Parks and Rec,” it was a weak cycle for comedies. “Suburgatory” went to a strange place; “Modern Family” is increasingly stale; the flashback episode of “It’s Always Sunny” didn’t really work; “The Office” felt a little season seven-y; and I thought that “Bored to Death” lost the momentum it had gained in season two. “Happy Endings” at least had Megan Mullally.
9. Up All Night: It took six or seven episodes for “30 Rock” to find its legs, and I think that “Up All Night” has the right ingredients to get to that place, if they can just work out the kinks with Maya Rudolph’s character and focus more on the family-side of the show. In this week’s episode, it felt like the show was starting to gel.
8. The League: My kid, who attends a Jewish preschool, was out for Sukkot last week, so this week’s episode of “The League” resonated a little more. At the very least, I knew that Sukkot was not a made-up holiday, although my own attempts at Sukkot puns were not as well received by parents. What’s the consensus here on Taco? I know that some people think he’s the weak link of the show, while others think he’s the show’s best character. I like him, but if Andre were to be run over by a bus, I don’t think I’d miss him.
7. The Good Wife: I know most of you are most familiar with Lisa Edelstein from “House M.D.,” but I never watched it with enough frequency to erase the lasting impressions that Edelstein left as a prostitute on “West Wing” and, particularly, as a transvestite on “Ally McBeal.” Every time I see her on a show, I wonder if she’s going to reveal that she has a penis, which made her scenes with Josh Charles extra squicky. The best part about this week’s episode, though, was how Diane’s liberal soft-heartedness swallowed her greed, and the fact that it looks like Romany Malco will have an arc in the series. “The Good Wife” does a really good job of introducing extra characters without overstuffing the storylines: Alan Cummings has been absorbed into the show beautifully, and it’s nice to see Michael J. Fox make an appearance twice a year. I’m really looking forward to the return of Dylan Baker’s hilarious sociopath next week.
6. Homeland: I find it intensely creepy how much Carrie (Claire Danes) likes to watch the sex scenes in Nicholas’ (Damien Lewis) house, but Nicholas’ masturbation scene out-creepied even that. Also, Showtime is not wasting Morena Baccarin’s topless clause. At all. In case you need another reason to watch. Oh, and the prostitute? You knew that sh*t was going down. Cold. Blooded. I may have also jumped out of my seat.
5. Dexter: The tooth fairy killer got under Dexter’s skin this week. “This is your future, and it includes adult f*cking diapers.” Wrong choice of words, buddy. You see that, serial killers? Fuck with Dexter, and he’ll do worse than kill you: He’ll take away your infamy. I also appreciated that, this week, Quinn reminded us why he’s such a huge douchebag. C’mon, Dexter: Do us all a favor and kill him already. Finally, I still don’t like Colin Hanks’ character, but damn, I like his method of killing. Wicked.
4. Parks and Recreation: I loved the handbook for Ron Swanson’s Pawnee Rangers: “Be a man.” This “Treat Yo Self” episode, however, had a few achy moments, first with Ron leaving camp forlornly and then Ben weeping in his Batman suit. It’s that sort of thing that provides more depth to these characters: They’re not just sitcom stereotypes and catchphrases: They feel real, and watching “Parks and Rec” is a deeper, more rewarding experience because of it.
3. The Walking Dead: TK’s full recaps will return tomorrow, and each Tuesday for the entire season (to give you folks an extra day to catch it before the recap).
2. Parenthood: I will concede that I have an earnest adoration for well-done birth scenes; in fact, there’s a maudlin moment in Father of the Bride Part II, after Steve Martin’s wife and daughter have given birth that can bring me to my knees, so I’ll admit some bias. I have a very non-cynical love for “Parenthood,” and episodes like this one are exactly why. It’s a warm and fuzzy show, and I love how warm and fuzzy it can make me feel.
1. Community: Is there any debate about this week’s episode of “Community” being the best half hour of television this season?
Season Pass Previously Deleted from My DVR: “2 Broke Girls,” “The Gifted Man,” “Persons of Interest,” “Fringe.” “Last Man Standing,” “The Ringer,” “Unforgettable,” “Castle,” and “Whitney.”
Network Cancellations: “Free Agents,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “How to Be a Gentleman,” “The Playboy Club,” and “H8r.”
So, the “Secret Circle”? Is this something I should be checking out? Is anyone still watching “Terra Nova,” because I’d like a good excuse to quit. I hate it. Also, as much as I detested the pilot episode of “American Horror Story,” this second episode — because it had a modicum of structure — was far more compelling. I still don’t see how Ryan Murphy gets a full season out of the premise, but I’m going to stick around a little longer and see.
Finally, for fans of “Boardwalk Empire,” I’m sorry it’s not included here. Sunday nights are packed, and I simply can’t squeeze in another show hour-long drama. But, Aggie Maguire does provide analysis on Tuesday, so check back tomorrow.