My review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I mist myself with hand sanitizer...
The flu ravages Pawnee in an instant classic episode
An iffy episode stands alone on a night filled with ABC repeats
'Bob's Burgers' star H. Jon Benjamin continues his animation domination
H. Jon Benjamin has one of the more recognizable voices in animation today. While other voiceover actors like the cast of "The Simpsons," or even Seth MacFarlane, try to offer up lots of different voices, Benjamin has just the one very deep, very grave voice, which has been largely unchanged from "Dr. Katz Professional Therapist" all the way through to his two current gigs in the title roles of FOX's "Bob's Burgers" and FX's "Archer," which returns for its second season tomorrow night at 10. Benjamin's voice is so distinctive that I'm actually distracted now when I see him do live-action work, like on Comedy Central's now-defunct "Important Things with Demetri Martin."
Sammy runs into big trouble in the climax of last night's episode
I don't usually review (or even watch) "Southland" episodes, but with the State of the Union pre-empting most of my Tuesday shows, and some hype for the episode from people I follow on Twitter, I decided to give "Code 4" a shot. Some thoughts coming up just as soon as I get my PlayStation back...
Lights tries to put off a comeback by mentoring another fighter
James Franco, Jesse Eisenberg & co's small screen history
I grew up in an era where there was more obvious stratification between movie stars and TV stars, where a Tom Hanks or a Bruce Willis could make the leap from small screen to big, but when it was still unusual enough to remark upon.
Today, actors flow easily between the two, and nobody feels the need to joke about Shia LaBeouf having been on "Even Stevens" the way Hanks used to catch grief about "Bosom Buddies." Still, there's something that feels oddly satisfying to look at so many of this year's Oscar nominations and be able to say, "I knew you when." (And I'd have been able to say it at least one more time if Mila Kunis had gotten a nomination for "Black Swan.")
Aaron Sorkin seems the most likely TV alum to walk home with gold for his "The Social Network" screenplay, which had many elements that would feel familiar to anyone who watched "Sports Night" or "The West Wing." And here are some notable TV backstories for this year's acting nominees (with video clips where available/appropriate):
Things get a little rushed as Sarah appears to turn to the dark side
With great creative freedom comes great responsibility
Louis CK not only writes, directs, edits and produces his FX comedy "Louie" (which was one of my favorite shows of 2010), he also apparently handles all online responses to coverage of that show.
Late in the first season, CK popped up in the comments on an AV Club review of the episode "God" to explain why he cast Amy Landecker as young Louie's mom, after already using her a few episodes earlier to play adult Louie's blind date. His explanation, in short, is that he doesn't view "Louie" as a series in a traditional sense, and that he therefore doesn't have to worry about continuity, character consistency or even using the same actress in two very different prominent roles. In my review of the finale, I objected to that on a level (while enjoying the finale overall), and CK showed up in the comments to defend his approach.
So when I sat down with CK a couple of weeks ago on the last day of the TV critics' press tour, our first topic of conversation was that. We also talked about his ongoing hands-off relationship with FX (he makes the show for only a few hundred grand per episode, and in exchange he gets complete creative freedom), about his plans for the second season (which will air this summer, paired with the new "Willard"), about his prophetic comments from a year ago about the Jay Leno/Conan mess, and about why he won't be drunkenly tweeting from airplanes anymore about Sarah Palin(*).
(*) And while I recognize that I opened the door by asking about Palin, let me remind you once again that this isn't a blog about politics and we are not going to debate the actual merits of her as a politician or a human or whatever. Any comment that turns into a screed - or any comment that just winds up attacking other commenters - is getting deleted, okay?
The show starts to break away from the British original in its strongest episode so far
Bill's problems mount, and he makes Margene an offer.
As I've said, most weeks with "Big Love" I'm not going to bother with a write-up, and simply give those of you still watching a chance to comment. On thing I'll note is that this is the second episode in a row to climax with Bill seeming to accept that his decisions in life may not have been the wisest. (Here it was in his offer to Margene.) I still wonder how sincere any of it is, though; as a commenter noted last week vis a vis the comparable scene with Don, Bill means pretty much everything he says in the moment, but then quickly changes course as soon as his next brainstorm (or "message from Heavenly Father") arrives. Does what he said here matter to you? And is Nicki more or less tolerable now that she's trying to dress and act like a member of the modern world?
What did everybody else think?