Surviving Jack Episode 4 “Rhythm is a Dancer” ? It’s homecoming night, but Frankie is bummed that his crush, Heather (guest star Lili Reinhart), is promised to another date and Rachel is protesting the school’s “No Grinding” policy. Meanwhile, with the kids out of the house, Jack and Joanne (Rachael Harris) are planning a passionate night to themselves in the all-new “Rhythm is a Dancer” episode of SURVIVING JACK airing Thursday, April 17 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Father knows best?well, sort of. SURVIVING JACK is a new single-camera comedy based on best-selling author Justin Halpern’s autobiographical book, “I Suck at Girls.” Set in 1990s Southern California, the ensemble series is about a man becoming a dad, as his son is becoming a man, in a time before “coming of age” was something you could Google.
JACK DUNLEVY (Emmy Award nominee Christopher Meloni, “True Blood” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”), ex-military and an oncologist, is a no-bull kind of guy. He sees little, if any, need to sugar-coat the truth. Up to this point, Jack’s been the parent who’s left for work early, come home late, eaten the big piece of chicken, yelled at his kids and gone to bed.
But after years of deftly raising and running the family, his wife, JOANNE, is going back to law school, leaving Jack as a full-time parent for the very first time. Jack’s teenage son, FRANKIE (Connor Buckley, “Deception”), is just starting his freshman year in high school. Lanky, quick-witted, self-deprecating and not entirely sure of himself, all Frankie wants to do is fly under the radar. But over the summer, he grew 10 inches, threw a no-hitter against a rival team and started to attract girls ? all of which put him in some awkward situations ? especially when the only base he’s ever been to is on the field. Fortunately, no matter how embarrassing the situations Frankie gets himself into are, Jack is there to pick up the pieces and lead his son to manhood?with the least gentle hand possible.
Portlandia‘s latest episode, “Late in Life Drug Use” features a number of returning guest stars, including Kyle MacLachlan, Jeff Goldblum and Vanessa Bayer, but they’re all upstaged by Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, who channels his inner dudeness-with a twist.
Homme plays Carrie’s brother, also named Josh, who’s only recently come out to his family. He’s bringing new boyfriend Nick (Swardson) with him to Portland for a visit. Carrie and Fred look forward to home decorating tips and fashion advice from their house guests, but as soon as Josh and Nick arrive on their doorstep, it’s obvious that Carrie’s bro is a bro. And Nick is, too. They’re X-box playing slobs who met during a bar fight at an ESPN Zone. Forget about French press or espresso shots in the morning; they’re just fine with Jaeger bombs for breakfast.
The titular sketch about drug use takes us to one of Portlandia’s less prolific couples, well-meaning but overreaching parents Brendan and Michelle. After a guest at their dinner party tells them the story of a weekend drug experience (a disappointingly superfluous use of Jeff Goldblum), he plants the question in their heads of whether or not they’re too old to do drugs for the first time. They decide they’re not, and pour a lot of effort into making the most carefully planned unexpected event. (“I want to approach this like we would buy a car.”) As always, it’s reliably funny for Portlandia to walk through how much its residents overthink activities that are supposed to be fun and simple, and Brownstein gets good mileage out of trying to plan a drug experience around dentist trips and meetings.
One of the more creative and humorous sketches involves iris and bicycle boy Spike (who’s growing on us this season). They decide to eat at a Thai restaurant with a “Best of Portland 2013″ sticker on the door, bestowed by Bridgetown Weekly. The food’s inedible, and Spike and Iris decide-as the restaurant workers sneak out the door-to go to Bridgetown Weekly to lodge a complaint about their “awards.” At the alt-weekly’s offices, they’re greeted by the same staff, who try and convince the two that they’re legit and not just operating to give themselves good reviews.
After a first season with varying ratings, The Crazy Ones‘ future is up in the air. On the one hand, it wasn’t renewed with the pack of shows that were picked up already. On the other, we are getting an hour-long season finale- that must mean something, right?
The ratings for The Crazy Ones can’t be what CBS was expecting to get when they got Robin Williams to return to series regular television alongside David E. Kelley and Sarah Michelle Gellar. It was supposed to build up the ratings tentpole for the expanded comedy block on Thursdays. And yes, it had a huge opening. But it never could muster the same kind of ratings. It was on the steady decline all season long. It was one of the few shows CBS didn’t renew last month. It swapped time slots with the very old Two and a Half Men which has pulled in better ratings than it did.
And now, it is ending its first season a month before everything else so CBS can plug in Bad Teacher next week (but boy do those commercials make that show look terrible.) Which is all a roundabout way of saying that The Crazy Ones probably won’t be back next year. The odds aren’t dead. They are just leaning more to cancellation than renewal at this point.
“The Lighthouse” ? When a corporation wants to buy out Lewis, Roberts+Roberts, Gordon calls in the board to vote, and Simon’s ex-wife and Sydney’s mom has the final say. Brad Garrett returns as Gordon Lewis and Marilu Henner guest stars as Simon’s ex-wife and Sydney’s mother.
Knowing and being friends with someone for seven years is a big deal, but making it for seven years as roommates is a gigantic accomplishment. According to the guys of Workaholics, this also means that they are common law married, even though common law marriages don’t actually exist in California. Though we’ve only seen four of these years, we can imagine the other years were filled with booze, weed and wacky adventures that had no long-term consequences. But with living together for that long, you also get the seven-year itch, which in their fourth season finale, we see in “Friendship Anniversary.”
Quite a bit, really-this is tied for the worst episode of the season. I’m tempted to grade it even lower than what I refer to-for several reasons-as “the dead, rotting skunk episode” just for the sheer amount of squandering going on here. But I’ll let the two episodes smeared with day-glo varmint guts argue about it between themselves. They deserve each other.
Blake goes to spend the night at Gillian’s, who turns out to be an insane dog show better who treats Blake like crap. Anders ends up sleeping in his car outside a park, where he tells a bunch of underage kids to quit drinking, to which they tip him over when he uses the nearby portable toilet. Adam decides to continue the party by going to a bar, where he unknowingly gets picked up by a guy who clearly wants to have sex with him, which he doesn’t even realize even when he’s in bed with the man and there’s a poking underneath the sheets.
Okay-forget American Gladiat-Ders. The real plot must be that the mailman, bringing their lease (and who is this absentee, very lax landlord, by the way?) and making them realize that they’ve been together for seven years-making them “common-law married” according to Adam’s logic. Except that this realization goes nowhere, instead leading to a friend breakup scene so abrupt as to invalidate the promise of this second setup as well.
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Last night’s episode was titled “She Swill Survive”. It is the sixteenth episode in this tenth season and it almost put me to sleep, guys. American Dad has been on a bit of a viewership decline this season, and it’s episodes like this that may explain it.
In this episode we see Stan return from a long day at work, only to find Hayley awaking at four in the afternoon. Concerned that she lacks the skills to take care of herself in life, Stan forces her to take a job and at Roger’s bar and start paying rent. Stan is also having a rough time at work because he wants to be part of Mr. Bullock’s “Inner Circle”, an exclusive club where plenty of fun times are had. When Stan learns that Mr. Bullock has been making drunken confessions to Hayley at the bar, he plants a microphone and uses it as a way to get himself into the Inner Circle.
Meanwhile, Steve and his pals settle in to watch Wolfgang Petersen’s classic “Das Boot” with Klaus. Just before they start the film, a minor slip of the tongue sets off a chain reaction of Germanic folk tales that prevent the boys from actually watching the movie at all.
I feel like I’ve been hard on American Dad these past few weeks. We’re winding down on this season, and it doesn’t appear to me that it will end well. I haven’t really enjoyed this season as a whole, to be honest. Admittedly there are a few great ones, but they seem few and far between.
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Hank returns for Californication‘s seventh and final season waiting to knock, standing in a place most guys know well. He’s on the side of the door that isn’t quite reality ? floating in that space before the big moment where every scenario rushes through your head. More often than not, the vision of the big speech or heart-wrenching proposal goes as planned and nervous anticipation turns into much needed elation.
Ask any guy that has an ounce of romance in him about how nothing you plan in your head unfolds exactly the way you want it to. In those moments before the knock you can’t prepare for someone’s reaction, you can only put it out there and hope.
The episode opens with Hank knocking and Karen accepting. The sweeping passionate kiss ensues. The band is back together.
Well not quite. This is Californication, where you can dream all you want but reality always comes to wake you up. Sticking true to the series’ roller coaster love arc, Hank knocks and no one is home. His visions of the big romantic gesture dissipate because now he has to go out and find Karen, an angel in a city filled with demons. When he does find Karen at a coffee shop, his speech comes out a little rushed and the reaction wasn’t something he previously accounted for in his head.
The Simpsons “Days of Future Future” is yet another future episode and the future ain’t what it used to be. It can mess with Simpsons canon. I’ve always assumed there would be a future with a President Lisa Simpson. I assume it will happen before Malcolm from Malcolm in the Middle will be president. It’s a future I look forward to. Not only will she legalize “it” for Bart, both Lisa and Malcolm are both really intelligent people from families who know what’s what in the world. Not that I want a President Frankie Muniz or President Yeardley Smith, well maybe Yeardley, President Yeardley sounds like it will be comic gold. But I digress.
I’m going to miss Homer #1, his irrepressible humor, his insatiable hunger and unquenchable thirst. We’ve gone through so much. And come back for seconds. Free refills and all the shrimp we could eat. Thank science for Professor Frink, until Bart recorded over Homer, he begloibened the day. Homer has had a storied story. He came into this world a kind of magical gorilla, lived as a fat, fat, fat, reckless fat pig, died his way into the future future through a series of surplus wholesale clones, will be downloaded onto a zip drive, turned into a screensaver (bonk, bonk, ooh corner, badonk) and finally transported into a robot who sounds like Kazoo, the alien on The Flintstones. Very fitting. Except Homer’s junk, which comes separately and has to be assembled by hand.
The future in Springfield is a conglomeration of the myths of TV and movies made fleshy yellow. Bart feeds the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park , I mean Cretaceous Park, like he was working at Seaworld, only without the dolphin abuse. Lisa does charity work for the undead, her future being written by The Walking Dead. Her future marriage to Millhouse is in a rut until Millhouse gets bitten by a zombie and Lisa by the love bug. Once you go zombie you never go back. Just like bubble wrap is the great equalizer.
The Simpsons is playing it fast and loose with death this season, what with the death of the most beloved person in Springfield, the real-life death of Marcia Wallace, whatever happened to Nelson a few weeks ago and, I swear, Hans Moleman has died at least four times this year. The Simpsons play with the idea of Homer dying a lot. Probably more so after Matt Groening’s father, who Homer is based on, died. It’s a scab he just has to pick. In a past future episode (if this is beginning to sound like the Mad magazine version of the Poseidon Adventure, go down to go up, good), when Lisa tells her mom she’s marrying a Hugh Grant kinda guy, Marge says “I wish your father were here” no Homer will not have had died in that future, he was out. The Simpsons has prepared us for Homer’s death. But not Abe’s, he’s at Homer’s funerals. Cremo, the crematorium-bot is ever-ready, though.
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The episode starts out slow, with Peter taking Stewie to the park for some quality father-son bonding time, only to abandon him for the Clam (and a car full of clowns). So far, so boring. But Peter takes the wrong baby back from the park, and Lois throws a completely justifiable fit—Peter may claim repeatedly that he’s not an idiot, but yeah, we’ve been watching the show long enough to know that he is (the other baby, however, does not—Peter tells him he works at NASA). In an effort to make himself more interesting and less of a dolt, Peter goes to Chicago on a business trip and heads out to experience the world.
Peter’s visit to the Art Institute in Chicago was, hands-down, the funniest bit the show has done this season. Partly, that’s because I live in Chicago and have spent some time there, so I’m inclined to give it additional credit here. Mostly, though, it’s because of the welcome vocal presence of the sadly deceased Dennis Farina, who narrates Peter’s tour through the museum with aplomb. Farina will be forever linked to Chicago, and he’s a perfect choice for this extended sequence, spending most of the tour talking about the food he’s eating and wondering how marble statues of women can have carved vaginas. Mostly, Farina is able to sell and elevate the crassness of the normal Family Guy dialogue. If only he were still around, and if only Family Guy got voice actors as gifted as him more frequently.
After his Farina-fueled epiphany, Peter becomes intelligent and cultured, visiting all of the world’s major cities and, in a great little cutaway, renting a car with the radio stuck on NPR. (“How was the car?” “Coastal and superior.”) Smart Peter is a good variation on the character, one I’m sure has been done before, but that does allow for some actual contrast in a really poorly-drawn character—whatever Peter may be any given week, he’s never not an idiot. His newfound intelligence gives the writers the opportunity to make another solid “Brian is a blowhard” gag, in which he can’t name a single book he’s read (this is one of my favorite recurring jokes, dating back to his novel). It doesn’t hurt that Peter’s futile attempts at getting his family to not laugh at words like “Balzac” is reminiscent of one of my favorite episodes ofHow I Met Your Mother’s “Robots Versus Wrestlers.” The tension between smart things and the ways in which they sound dirty is rarely not funny.
Lately, The Big Bang Theory has been pretty good about giving all the main characters their moments in the spotlight and not hinging every single episode on Sheldon. But at the end of the day, Dr. Sheldon Cooper is probably the single biggest reason the show has been as successful as it has, so some weeks he has to take point. That’s what he did in “The Relationship Diremption.” Sheldon’s messy breakup (with String Theory, not Amy) made for some entertaining viewing and served as a reminder of how funny Jim Parsons can be with the right material at hand.
Lorre never actually specifies what “these things” are in the vanity card, and it’s interesting to look at the rest of his message with “these things” meaning his sitcoms. He doesn’t want to write them, but that doesn’t mean he won’t. All of his comedies were picked up for next season on CBS, and Big Bang Theory got renewed for three more years. These shows are paying the bills and a whole lot more, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be going away any time soon. He doesn’t want to work on them, but he can resign himself to his contract and turn out work he’s not passionate about.
Raj is now only dating Emily, as Lucy was less cool with being one of two date-ees. He and Howard arrange a double-date with Bernadette and Emily. Raj makes Howard promise not to tease him, or reveal anything embarrassing.
At the restaurant, Howard admits that he thinks that Raj will blow the relationship with Emily. Unfortunately for Howard, he recognizes Emily when she walks in – and not in a good way. Emily finds Howard familiar, but can’t place him… until she can.
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The lights go out at McKinley High this week on Glee, forcing at the students to use flashlights and forcing me to wonder why they don’t just open the blinds. Inspired by the lack of electricity, Mr. Schue makes it “unplugged week,” but the only one who seems to embrace the lack of synth is Sam. The episode also takes a turn for the very serious when Ryder makes a personal confession to the glee club. Is it just me or does it feel like Glee is really hitting on hard issues this season? We also learn some important lessons about the dangers of mylar balloons.
Over in New York City, Rachel and Kurt are concerned about Santana’s lack of direction, and Sarah Jessica Parker makes a triumphant return as Kurt’s “fairy godmother.” Get my highlights and a Spotify playlist of all the songs in the episode when you read more.
First of all, shout out to American Idol’s Jessica Sanchez, who we see only a glimmer of as a member of another team competing against the New Directions at Regionals. She belts out “The Star-Spangled Banner” like a pro, and I’m really looking forward to seeing and hearing more of her.
Despite the fact that according to Kurt and Rachel, Santana is a deadbeat, she’s actually the smartest character on the show. She’s got the wittest one-liners (“I don’t think I need to be taking any advice from TV’s Blossom”), and she really has a grip on reality. I love the end of this episode when she hugs her inner child. It’s sweet and a little whimsical, just the way I like my Glee.
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