<p>Amber (Mae Whitman)&nbsp;goes for a drive on &quot;Parenthood.&quot;</p>

Amber (Mae Whitman) goes for a drive on "Parenthood."

Credit: NBC

'Parenthood' - 'Slipping Away': The Talk, too

Sarah and Adam struggle with their daughters growing up, but in very different ways

A review of last night's "Parenthood" (the next-to-last episode of season 2) coming up just as soon as I accidentally go to a quinceanera...

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<p>Norm Macdonald in his new &quot;Sports Show.&quot;</p>

Norm Macdonald in his new "Sports Show."

Credit: Comedy Central

Review: 'Sports Show with Norm Macdonald' gets off to an uneven start

'SNL' alum amused himself the whole time, this critic a bit less than that

I wasn't able to review Comedy Central's new "Sports Show with Norm Macdonald" in advance because the show is produced so close to airing in the interest of being timely (well, mostly timely, but we'll get to that). So I DVR'ed it last night, watched it this morning, and have a few thoughts on the debut coming up just as soon as I say "Charl Schwartzel" 17 times in a row...

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<p>Paul Reiser and Larry David in a scene from &quot;The Paul Reiser Show.&quot;</p>

Paul Reiser and Larry David in a scene from "The Paul Reiser Show."

Credit: NBC

Review: NBC's 'The Paul Reiser Show' a weak 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' clone

'Mad About You' star has disappointing comeback in semi-improvised comedy

On his new NBC sitcom "The Paul Reiser Show," which debuts Thursday night at 8:30, Reiser plays a character with whom he has much in common. Both men are named Paul Reiser. Both are rich and famous from starring in "Mad About You." Both are now past 50, with a wife, two kids and no need to ever work again - and are nevertheless eager to find something to pass the time.

In the case of Paul Reiser, the character, he mostly focuses on being a husband and a dad and hanging out with the fathers of his sons' classmates. In the case of Paul Reiser, the real person, he's decided to do his own version of "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

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<p>Clockwise from left, Casey Wilson, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Damon Wayans Jr., Eliza Coupe and Adam Pally in &quot;Happy Endings.&quot;</p>

Clockwise from left, Casey Wilson, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Damon Wayans Jr., Eliza Coupe and Adam Pally in "Happy Endings."

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's 'Happy Endings' another lame relationship sitcom

The last - and probably least - of this season's big trend

If the show they were working on weren't so flat and lacking in laughter, I'd actually feel sorry for the people involved with ABC's "Happy Endings," which debuts Wednesday night at 9:30 and 10 p.m.

Every TV season has a trend - some theme or premise or casting idea that seems to drift from one pilot to the next until you start to wonder if every development executive is spying on every other development exec. This season's most prominent trend has been three-tiered comedies about groups of friends and/or relatives at different stages of a relationship. The specifics vary, but the basic idea remained in ABC's "Better With You," NBC's "Perfect Couples," FOX's "Traffic Light" and now "Happy Endings."

It's also been one of this season's least successful trends. NBC pulled "Perfect Couples" off the schedule several weeks early, and "Better with You" and "Traffic Light" both seem to be playing out the string.

So as one show after another with this fundamental premise has struggled, if not outright failed, the cast and crew responsible for "Happy Endings" have had to sit on the sidelines, realizing more with each passing week that they, like the other shows, seem to have miscalculated the zeitgeist. No one seems interested in this theme, and that's even with shows that have been better-executed and funnier than "Happy Endings." It's likely a dead show walking, and it hasn't even debuted yet.

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<p>Alana De La Garza and Terence Howard on &quot;Law &amp;&nbsp;Order:&nbsp;LA.&quot;</p>

Alana De La Garza and Terence Howard on "Law & Order: LA."

Credit: NBC

'Law & Order: LA' - 'Zuma Canyon/Silver Lake': Kid killers

What did everybody think of the 'L&O' revamp?

I offered my review of the revamped-but-basically-the-same "Law & Order: LA" this morning, and I also discussed it with Fienberg - who was particularly put out by all the crying and/or mudered children in these two episodes - on today's podcast. Now it's your turn. For the five of you still watching, did all the cast tweaks make you more interested in the show going forward? Less? If you had leftover affection for Rubirosa from the final seasons of the mothership, did that affection survive the cross-country move? 

What did everybody else think?

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<p>Keir Gilchrist and Frances Conroy on &quot;United States of Tara.&quot;</p>

Keir Gilchrist and Frances Conroy on "United States of Tara."

Credit: Showtime

'United States of Tara' - 'The Full F--k-you Finger': T-boned

Frances Conroy, Japanese earthquakes and a baby shower figure into a busy episode

A quick review of tonight's "United States of Tara" coming up just as soon as I lose to a Rush cover band...

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<p>On a hot day in &quot;The Chicago Code,&quot;&nbsp;Teresa (Jennifer Beals)&nbsp;has to play beat cop.</p>

On a hot day in "The Chicago Code," Teresa (Jennifer Beals) has to play beat cop.

Credit: FOX

'The Chicago Code' - 'Wild Onions': Hot in the city

A heat wave cripples the city, and Teresa gets to know her new driver

A review of tonight's "The Chicago Code" coming up just as soon as I'm 50 cents prettier...

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<p>Barney (Neil Patrick Harris)&nbsp;makes a plan on &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) makes a plan on "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Exploding Meatball Sub': Yes man, no ma'am

The up-and-down season goes pretty far down with one of the worst Barney stories ever

I was tempted to write a long, part-angry, part-sad, all-frustrated review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother," which - at least with the silly, lazy, two-dimensional Barney storyline - took whatever goodwill still lingered from the John Lithgow episode from a few weeks ago and lit it on fire, then danced on the ashes. I was going to express puzzlement about how the series seems to go to such strange creative extremes this season, where some weeks it feels very much like the show we know and love (even if it's a slightly older version of that show), and others it feels like a show where the entire creative team was replaced en masse by the people behind Kelsey Grammer's "Hank." I was going to talk about how the non-Barney scenes weren't terrible, but were completely flat and lifeless. I was going to repeat the usual lament about how the show has chosen to completely, utterly ignore the fact that Marshall only took the soul-crushing but lucrative corporate job because of Lily's shopping addiction, and that for those of us who remember that fact, Lily's complaining about Marshall's earning potential speaks very, very poorly of her. I was going to repeat my desire that we get to Ted and Zoey's horrible breakup already, just so we can be rid of her.

But what's the point? There have been good episodes this season - very good episodes at time - and then there have been absolutely terrible ones, and there seems to be no pattern, rhyme or reason about which you're going to get in any given week. You spin the wheel, and some weeks you get "Legendaddy" or "Oh Honey," and some weeks you get "Canning Randy" or "The Exploding Meatball Sub."

I'd get mad again, but there have been too many opportunities for that this season, and then others for the anger to go away for a while. I'm just gonna put this one in the rearview and hope the next spin turns up better.

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<p>Team &quot;Chuck&quot;&nbsp;has to deal with the Volkoffs once again.</p>

Team "Chuck" has to deal with the Volkoffs once again.

Credit: NBC

'Chuck' - 'Chuck vs. the Family Volkoff': Like father, like daughter?

Timothy Dalton returns as Chuck tries to prove Vivian's innocence

A review of tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as you have Uno...

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 68: 'Game of Thrones,' 'The Paul Reiser Show,' 'Happy Endings' and more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 68: 'Game of Thrones,' 'The Paul Reiser Show,' 'Happy Endings' and more

Alan and Dan also review 'Law & Order: LA,' the NBC debut of 'Friday Night Lights' and 'Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe'


It's Monday, which means it's time for a new Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, in which Dan and I have some very nice things to say about HBO's "Game of Thrones" and the NBC debut of "Friday Night Lights," and more mixed-to-unhappy thoughts on "Law & Order: LA," "Happy Endings," "The Paul Reiser Show" and the "Burn Notice" prequel movie.

You will also notice that I was podcasting with a very, very sore throat, so apologies that I sound so hoarse. I gutted one out for the team.

The run-down: 

"Law & Order: Los Angeles" -- 01:30 - 09:55
"Happy Endings" -- 10:00 - 18:05
"The Paul Reiser Show" -- 18:30 - 27:00
"Friday Night Lights" -- 27:00 - 31:30
"The Fall of Sam Axe" -- 31:35 - 38:00
"Game of Thrones" -- 38:00 - 58:45
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us at sepinwall@hitfix.com and/or dan@hitfix.com if you have questions you want answered on the show. Please put the word "podcast" in your subject line to make it easy to track them down amid the hundreds of random press releases we get every day.
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