Posts tagged s07e13
For the final new episode of the year, Futurama went full-on fauna in “Naturama.” Depicting three harrowing tales through the lens of a National Geographic-esque documentary series, we watched as the Planet Express crew lived their sexually-driven lives as various forms of wildlife. All of these vignettes were also narrated by Phil LaMarr, who delivered a Morgan Freeman-inspired performance throughout.
Several times during the first segment of the three-part anthology, the people in the room with me turned to each other and said, “This is weird.” Not in a hostile way, or even a confused way, but in a way that meant that this was different from anything we’d seen before. And if Futurama is meant, as a show, to do one thing, it’s to show us stuff we’ve never seen on other shows.
Salmon Fry meets Salmon Leela and they agree to go back upstream together when they’re mature to make little salmon babies, even despite Salmon Zapp trying to get Leela for himself. Fry and Leela have a mini-montage of romantic undersea dates, including a Lady and the Tramp-type sharing of an underwater worm. But when the time comes to return to the stream they were born in, it turns out Leela was born one stream over from Fry, and they can’t just switch. Even the narrator can’t explain it, which was a welcome change for me from most nature documentaries.
It was around the time that Bender started B.A.R.F. (Bender’s Animal Robot Front) that the story bordered on uninteresting. While it’s usually amusing to watch Bender fixate on new and different passion projects, this one felt a little stale. It just seemed like a needlessly roundabout way of getting them all back to the country club, where they sprang the robot fox free from his cage.
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Klaus is not my favorite American Dad character, so when I saw that tonight’s episode was titled “Dr. Klaustus” I lowered my expectations just a bit. There’s nothing in particular that I dislike about him, it’s just that I simply don’t find that smug fish all too amusing. Surprisingly, I found Klaus to be rather enjoyable as the lead in this particular plot. It might have been because I generally agreed with his analysis of the situation in the Smith household. While I might let a white lie slide, the lies that Roger’s alter ego, “Dr. Penguin” had been encouraging were on a completely different level.
Roger has been playing the family therapist, a Dr. Penguin, and has been consistently telling each of the family members to lie to each other about their various, increasingly fucked-up issues. But Klaus is a trained psychologist, and knows he could do better. So he sense Roger’s new alter-ego, Sgt. Pepper of the Army Reserve, to Iraq. Iraq’s a long way to travel for a Hurt Locker parody, where Roger cleans out latrines instead of disarming bombs. This is probably the weakest portion of the episode, or at least the most disappointing. Roger’s character is one-note, and he doesn’t really interact with anyone interesting, although a moment when he declares himself unfit for human society is fairly entertaining.
After Roger’s discovery that he only listened to Klaus when he wasn’t seeing him as a fish made me think that maybe Klaus would use Roger’s disguise techniques to get the family to listen to him. Instead, it all wrapped up rather nicely with Roger’s “Sgt. Pepper” authoritatively telling the Smiths what they needed to do to fix their messed up situation. It’s kind of a shame, because the bit with Klaus’ lips sticking out of Daniel Craig’s magazine mouth was hilarious and I think I’d probably warm to Klaus as a character if he spent a lot more time using magazine cut outs to make his points known.
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HIMYM – Tailgate
“Tailgate” was not a great way to start off 2012. Unfortunately, what the writers did with tonight’s episode was take some of my fondest memories of this show’s yesteryear, and completely destroy them. Surprisingly though, they also managed to begin fixing specific elements that just were not working. Nonetheless, despite the latter, this was a poor installment of the series. It’s been a while since the last episode of HIMYM. You may remember the emotional way it ended. Thankfully, it’s 2012 and time for some refreshing happiness, yes? Well, Marshall spends the day at his dad’s grave, so…
As Marshall spent the day carrying on traditions by tailgating at his father’s grave in Minnesota, Lily called her father to share her big baby news and experienced her first Enigma of the Mystical. Meanwhile Robin got some air time when Sandy Rivers went drunk and crazy as Ted and Barney learned the reason bars charge covers when they finally opened their bar, “Puzzles.”
The Marshall/Lily New Year’s Eve story worked well in concert with the New Year’s Day stuff at Marvin’s grave, and not just because I remember those old Time/Life book commercials they were parodying. It started out seeming like a spin on the familiar debate some couples have about what religion (if any) they want their kids to be raised in, but turned into a larger point about how Marshall and Lily had very different relationships with their fathers growing up. The flashback to how Lily’s dad really reacted to the news felt a little cheap – his initial reaction was only there so Lily (and we) would be surprised by the larger one – but the actual moment on her doorstep(**) with the bear was a really good one for Alyson Hannigan and Chris Elliott.
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The High School Reunion Part 2: The Gang’s Revenge
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” wrapped up its seventh season in style tonight, with the gang trying desperately to show up their tormentors at their high school reunion. The switch in perspective in the final scene was one of the biggest laughs the show gave me all year, and that’s saying something, considering how strong this seventh season was. There was only one outright bad episode, “Frank’s Brother,” and even there I can respect that they were at least trying something different that didn’t work. (That, or I can again note that Frank tends to be much more useful for generating stories than generating laughs.)
It’s always been apparent that high school was a pivotal time for the gang, and none of them seem to have changed very much since those days. Dee may have physically changed – from the Aluminum Monster to some kind of beautiful bird beast – but she’s still that needy girl desperate for attention and acceptance. Dennis is still living under the delusion that he’s Big Man on Campus, while Charlie seems quite comfortable in his role as the huffing, spider-eating, atomic wedgie-getting weirdo who makes everyone laugh (in a bad way). Oddly, Mac’s defining characteristic in high school wasn’t his competitiveness or bravado. Instead, he was a narc who outed the school’s drug dealers so that he could become the top supplier (well, OK, that’s pretty competitive), earning him the nickname Ronnie the Rat. Why Ronnie? Well, thanks to the reunion nametags, we finally find out Mac’s real name: Ronald McDonald. The build-up and reveal of this was the funniest bit in the episode, and even more satisfying than the unveiling of Cosmo Kramer.
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