08 October 2011

What Did I Watch Today: Catching Up

Up All Night S01E03 ("Working Late and Working It") - okay

I have ad-block on... which means instead of car commercials, I get two minutes of hulu telling me to turn it off.

This episode unfortunately focused on the two UAN aspects I am so far liking least: saccharine scenes about how relationships change once a baby pops in, and Ava. The former is requisite for this show's premise, so I can take the sappiness (and maybe even be touched by it) as long as there are enough jokes. There were a sufficient number, as Will Arnett attempted to sex it up, though Applegate got a bit too goofy with the "fanciness," and Arnett's scenes with Will Forte felt a little awkward -- as the first episode demonstrated, Will Arnett is a charismatic enough actor that hearing just one side of a conversation with an online friend he met on Wow is really enough, and Forte just felt a little unnecessary. Ava, too, is a superfluous character, promoted to lead after Rudolph's success with Bridesmaids. The show has gotten a lot of flack for this: is it a family comedy or a work comedy? I wouldn't mind UAN having these two incongruous aspects if only the Ava plotlines were a little funnier. Of course Jorma Taccone (who was also a second-unit director on this episode) as a 90s b-boy brings laughs, but the Ava story ended with a lesson about friendship and love, which with Arnett's little concluding speech, was just way too much sentiment for a half hour comedy.
-"I was on Gwyneth Paltrow's website, and she kind of walked me through it."

Community S03E02 ("Geography of Global Conflict") - good!

Community really wants you to watch Party Down.

When not drenched in pastiche or parody, the best Community is that that embraces full-on goofiness, while keeping its characters consistent within their broadly-sketched caricatures. I don't watch Community to "feel something" -- I watch it to laugh, and this episode delivered. The plots: the two Annies battling it out to be the best at Model U.N. (Election-esque stylistically, and MARTIN STARR!!), and Britta and Chang twisting the cop/criminal love story to a Greendale setting (accompanied, of course, by Lionel Richie). There was also a little Annie/Jeff dealing with the creepiness of the relationship. And everybody else mostly just got to make fart jokes. Breezy pacing, a lot of laughs, some audacious cinematographic choices, and a welcome lack of moralizing by Jeff. Yay, Community!
-"If embarrassment were bountiful zinc deposits, I'd be Zambia."

Community S03E03 ("Competitive Ecology") - okay

Chang's sort-of noir parody and the use of voice-over has been done better on other episodes of Community (though I did love the Conversation, Lars and the Real Girl, and Veronica Mars references), as has a mostly-bottle episode consisting of many group arguments about nothing, though David Neher really delivered as outsider-looking-in Todd. Nothing really new or exciting about this episode, but at least it has jokes.
-"And who the hell are you always texting? Everyone you know is here."

How I Met Your Mother S07E03 ("The Stinson Missile Crisis") - alright

The show's been missing something for a while now. Maybe it was cumin.

When was the last time we got a Robin-centric episode? Better yet, when have we ever had a Robin-narrated one? Using Robin telling her court-mandated therapist, instead of Future Ted talking to his future kids, made fresh HIMYM's characteristic storytelling structure. Even the A-plot's twist -- that Robin assaulted a crazed Barney bimbo, and not Norah -- was pleasantly surprising. Having Robin tell it somehow made another Marshall/Lily baby story not unbearable (perhaps because Dr. Kal Penn, Professional Therapist kept interrupting), and Ted actually made some jokes! That were funny! Though I'm still unsure as to where exactly this Robin-arc is going (she marries Barney, right? or do they stop being friends? does she get back with Don?), or whether it will end up working, this episode did.
-so the instructor had no qualms about a male couple attending her lamaze class?

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