The weekly Power Rankings rank the best television episodes of the week. The latest covers Sunday, February 19th to Saturday, February 25th.
10. Episodes: The final episode of the series finally demonstrated that this show could be decent. The first (and maybe only) season wasted a lot of opportunities to use Matt LeBlanc as a real punchline, but the final ep hit a few high notes and extracted a decent amount of drama out of the affair. It was also the first time I kind of wished that the show could come back next season.
9. Parks and Recreation: The Tommy Fresh subplot had a few great lines, but it kind of fizzled. However, I love that it took Ann a full week to realize that Chris had dumped her. Plus, Ron Swanson’s scene in the diner was perfect (“Give me all the bacon and eggs you have. All of them.”)
8. Raising Hope: Sometimes, I wish I were gay so I could properly worship Amy Sedaris without everyone thinking I was gay. She was brilliant in this week’s episode, and appropriately played the sister of Martha Plimpton, with whom 47 percent of the American population confuses with Sedaris anyway.
7. The Good Wife: “The Good Wife” could pull out Gary Cole’s Kurt McVeigh every single week, and I’d never complain. He’s the only Tea Party Republican I could ever love. The real highlight this week, however, was the subplot with Eli (Alan Cumming) and America Ferrera; we finally got some insight into where Eli draws the line.
6. Justified: The subplot with Dewey Crowe was great, and I can’t wait for Boyd Crowder to finally lose it and go full-on villain again, but I’m not so sure about the Joelle Carter subplot. Unless they get her job involved again, she seems more distracting than helpful to the direction of the show.
5. Community: There is a lot of rumbling about how “Community” is beginning to tell the same story, week after week, using different genres. The characters no longer grow — they just learn the same lessons over and over again. I get it. But it’s still the best comedy on television — in fact, there was more comedy in the on-screen summaries of the candidates in this week’s episode than there is in a full episode of most shows.
4. Chicago Code: “Chicago Code” is not doing exceptionally in the ratings (7.9 million viewers last week), but it did see an uptick from the second to the third week. It’s a good time to jump on, folks. You’re only three episodes behind (all available on the Fox website), and the show is proving to be the best cop show on TV since “The Wire.” In this week’s episode, Alderman Ronin Gibbons absolutely played Superintendent Colvin.
3. Modern Family: “Modern Family” is always good, but this week may have been the best episode since the winter break. The fight between Phil and Claire was hilariously explored, and it actually hit upon a fairly common issue in marriages, but one that’s rarely mined for comedy: How we dismiss our partner’s opinions, but so readily accept the same advice from other people.
2. 30 Rock: It was a tough choice for top spot this week, with “30 Rock” barely losing out to “Parenthood.” However, “30 Rock” gets huge points for not just having a hilarious episode, but for taking on its own feminist hypocrisy. There was a lot of context to the episode that many may not have caught (specifically, Jezebel’s criticisms of both “The Daily Show” and “30 Rock,” as well as the website’s own feminist hypocrisy), so I encourage folks to check out Rebecca Traister’s insightful piece on the episode over on Salon.com. It thoughtfully brings to the surface all the layers beneath the jokes in this episode.
1. Parenthood: Gut wrenching. Gut wrenching at every turn. Crosby just can’t get out of the way of himself, and may have destroyed his relationship with Jasmine and his future relationship with his kid. Even more upsetting was how he cost Max his therapist. And after an episode of sweet (Zeek and Camille falling back in love) and heartbreaking (the speech that John Corbett gave Sarah Braverman), it was the look on Max’s face when he asked what autism was that absolutely floored me. I totally fucking lost it. With “Friday Night Lights” and now “Parenthood,” Jason Katims may be the best showrunner on television right now.