Thursday, September 30, 2010
Reading/Watching/Etc.: Fall TV Edition
This was my favorite new show last year - I liked the season premiere last week, but I liked this week's episode even more. Getting to tiptoe into Jeff's old world at his former law firm made me curious to know if the show's going to do more of that as this second season goes on - not that every week needs to turn into a "let's figure out what makes ____ tick" cliche, but there's still so much we don't know about most of the characters' lives outside of what they do on campus. I think that's one of Community's biggest strengths: it fleshes out its characters without giving everything away, without spelling out every little reason why they are the way they are. Kind of like how it is when you meet new people at school or a job or wherever in real life; you can form a bond or friendship fairly quickly but still not know everything about them. Things leak out over time, drip by drip.
On the Road with Austin and Santino
They're like a modern day Laurel & Hardy. Only gayer. Seriously, why didn't someone give these two a show years ago? This is a thousand times better than that stupid Models of the Runway they were pairing up with Project Runway the last two cycles! Sending them out on a road trip to make pretty dresses for blue-collar ladies in middle America was a stroke of genius ("I'm not surprised that she's a lady truck driver, but Austin doesn't seem to realize that you don't need a penis to drive a truck"); it sounds cheesy on paper, and okay, it is a little cheesy, but they're so charming (and talented!) & show such genuine curiosity and enthusiasm about the people they meet that it's impossible not to love them. One of the funniest un-scripted shows on TV right now.
To be honest, I got a little annoyed with 30 Rock by the end of last season - sometimes it seemed like it was just going through the motions. The first two shows this fall have won me over again, though; the guest stars have been utilized really well so far, the writing's snappier and it seems like there's a lot of plotlines to play with.
I think this one's got a lot of potential - it's no Arrested Development right out of the gate, but I like its energy and it's fun to see Keri Russell as a comedic actress. I've never seen Felicity, but I loved her in Waitress and I think she's a great foil for Will Arnett.
What a wonderful season so far - it's felt slow so far (until this last week's episode, which made me feel all clenched-up and anxious), but oh my gosh, that episode with Don and Peggy a few weeks ago? One of the best hours of TV I've ever seen. I think I watched that rerun every time I bumped into it in the week afterward.
Mike & Molly
I want to like this, because I feel very protective and affectionate toward Melissa McCarthy from her Gilmore Girls days (and I like the guy who plays Mike, too)...but this show needs to decide what it wants to be. Does it want us to laugh with Mike & Molly, or does it want us to laugh at them? Because right now, its fat jokes are veering more toward the mean-spirited than anything clever or cute. Can't it just be a show about two people who meet and build a relationship, who also happen to be fat? Does it have to have "fatty fall down go boom" jokes? I mean, literally - in the first episode, they had a fat person lean on a table and it broke. C'mon. They don't have to go for the lowest common denominator, do they? Show the characters a little respect and don't make them into cartoon characters.
This one should set off my schmaltz alarm, but I watched it last season and liked it, and the same goes for season two so far. It's nothing terrifically groundbreaking, but it tells its stories well and the cast bounces off each other really well.
So far, this has been my favorite season since Christian won season 4. I think they got a great mix of designers & personalities this time, and while I was skeptical of the 90-minute format at first, I love it now. There seems to be more time to linger in the workroom, and having more time to see the runway judging has been illuminating, too. Those really are the meat-and-potatoes parts of the show - we want to see how and why the stuff is made, and then we want to see Michael Korrs make snippy comments about it. I've been rooting for Mondo from the beginning, but I must say, it's been nice watching Gretchen mellow since her epic psycho trainwreck bitchfest earlier in the run. I don't want her to win, because I think her stuff looks like it came out of a Sears catalog in the 1970s, but at least she seems slightly more human now and less Machiavellian.
Still awesome. Having Sarah in the office has added a nice new dynamic, too - it's fun to watch Jeff have to check himself whenever he wants to yell at her, since she's his sister-in-law's sister. And it's been nice to get more insight into his relationship with Zoila, too. He's still kind of mean to her sometimes, but there's clearly a deep reservoir of affection there, too.
Okay, I haven't actually seen any of the new season yet: but, I did get the first season from Netflix, and I think it lives up to the hype it got last year. I think it merits making it into the regular rotation...