Your Saturday Antivirals

As TV premiere week proper draws to a close, let’s dole out some quick grades for the week’s prominent episodes.

Community: A. If Community came out of the gate a touch unsteadily last season, it proved this week that it’s learned exactly what the show is and what it needs to be, and gifted us all with a self-assured, hilarious premiere.

30 Rock: A-. A promising start to the fifth season, following two very inconsistent, often-unfunny seasons.

Boardwalk Empire: A-. Everything everyone said it would be…no more, no less. Now let’s see how it gets along without Scorsese directing. Also, please guys: fewer scenes of Buscemi having sex.

Lone Star: B+. Enjoy it before it’s cancelled.

Terriers: B+. I’ve been on the fence about whether to watch this show regularly. This week, Jimmy the Cab Driver may have won me over.

Modern Family: B. A weak Dunphys plot rescued by Cam, Mitchell & Manny. Which, come to think of it, happened a lot last year too.

Running Wilde: B-. I would like to thank television critics across America for lowering my expectations for this show to the point where I could reasonably enjoy it. It’s still a second-rate Arrested Development knock-off, and they should just call the main character GOB and be done with it, but it’s a pretty funny knock-off so far.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: C. Two consecutive subpar outings to start the season. Troubling. The Charlie/Frank domestic partnership was particularly stale.

The Office: C-. Yuck. Apparently, the show-runners are operating under the assumption that everything’s hunky-dory, and nothing needs fixing.

Now on to the links…

Outstanding work this week over at Slaughterhouse 90210, exemplified by this and this.

Joe Posnanski spills a novel’s worth of words about 32 historic Sports Illustrated covers. Whoops — there goes your afternoon.

R.I.P, Miss Blankenship.

It turns out that Jon Hamm has struggled with chronic depression, which is refreshing to learn, because it’s the first piece of information about Jon Hamm’s life that didn’t immediately trigger the thought, “I wish I were Jon Hamm.”

Jeff Zucker is leaving NBC at long last. You did Tartikoff proud, bucko.

Girl Talk has posted a three-part documentary about his Chicago New Year’s Eve show last year. Hey, I like Girl Talk! I like Chicago! I like New Year’s Eve!

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a link to Fire Joe Morgan Day at Deadspin, where Ken Tremendous, Junior and Dak managed to top last year’s effort. I’m taking next year’s FJM Day off work. For a diehard Yankees fan to be so in the bag for a trio of Red Sox fans who often write about how overrated Derek Jeter is, you know it has to be good. There’s no one alive better at this stuff.

I watched Leake in the Reds’ clubhouse for 20 seconds before the game Wednesday, and in those 20 seconds he slapped the naked ass of Reds executive and Hall of Famer Joe Morgan and playfully goosed a (dressed) teammate with a bat handle.

Let’s just all take a deep breath and try to figure this out. Because as the old saying goes: “We either figure out why Joe Morgan was walking around the Reds clubhouse naked together…or we die alone.”

And finally, if I could settle down, I would settle down…

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