Off Topic Tv Roundup: Sept 21-29, 2013

How I Met Your Mother: The Locket & Coming Back (9×01/02)

Synopsis: Ted and the gang make their way to Barney and Robin’s wedding. Lily meets the Mother and the gang arrives at Farhampton.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

It’s no secret that I haven’t been a huge fan of HIMYM in these past seasons. The episodes have been touch and go, and I think they have dragged on this story long enough. However, with the premiere of the ninth season, I’m given a bit of hope. The group is traveling to Farhampton for Barney and Robin’s wedding, but things are already going wrong. Marshall gets stuck in Minnesota and must find a way to the wedding in time, Lily misses her baby but meets the Mother, Ted is still holding a torch for Robin, and Barney and Robin find out they might be related through their Crazy Cousin Mitch.

So Barney and Robin have a momentary freakout over their mutual Crazy Cousin Mitch, who could end up making the two of them related. The two of them fret over it and call all of their relatives, with Barney throwing in a quick quip about Joffrey being a product of incest and turning out “fine”. But all is settled when they find out that Mitch is not related to either of them by blood. The couple are getting back on my list of favorite couples in the show, though they may have fallen off not too long ago.

Marshall gets himself stuck in Minnesota after refusing to hang up the phone after seeing a picture his mother posted of him and Marvin pretending to be a judge. Getting into an argument with a woman named Daphne, they are both set to miss the flight. He spends the two episodes trying to make his way to the wedding. Eventually they settle on driving, after racing the woman to the rental car dealership but refusing to play dirty. In the end, his kindness wins out and Daphne drives them out to New York. This subplot really made me smile. I miss Marshall just being Marshall, and not needing the attachment to Lily to make his character. For a while, he and Lily have just become a married couple trope, and it was nice to see him on his own with baby Marvin. And nice to see him staying true to his Minnesotan roots.

The Locket

Lily, tired of Ted’s slow driving, jumps out of Ted’s car and decides to take a train to Farhampton. We get our first meeting between Lily and the Mother. We’ve known from interviews and talk that the Mother will be meeting each of the group members before she meets Ted, and Lily will be the first. They bond over the Mother’s homemade cookies as Lily tells her her woes, both over Ted and Marshall. Honestly, the way HIMYM plays any scene out with the Mother is so heavy in foreshadowing that you are basically drowning in it. And with the Mother, it’s always been this way. There’s no real way to make it tasteful, because we all know what’s going to happen, we just don’t know how.

But after talking with the Mother, Lily realizes that Ted may have intentionally been trying to get Lily to get out of the car so that he could go to L.A. to find the Locket that he spent an entire episode looking for with Robin in order to get one last chance at her. Cue my most hated storyline. Honestly, the Ted Robin coupling got tiring for me somewhere around Season… 2? Yeah seven seasons later we’re still beating that dead horse. It’s a tired subplot that honestly should have ended a long time ago.

When Ted and Lily finally make it back to the hotel, she tackles him to keep him from giving Robin the locket, but he reveals he never was going to. Although, the audience knows that he did in fact, go to L.A. for the locket.

himym2

We also hit the tiny snafu of Barney’s brother James being in town, and revealing to everyone that he has been separated from his husband Tom. Tom and James are Barney’s only example of a successful couple in love and James is terrified that if he reveals what has happened that Barney will get cold feet. It all goes back to a gypsy curse that was put on the Stinson men to be forever “hornier”. Attributing breaking the spell to Tom and James’s marriage, James is afraid of what will happen when Barney finds out. However, in the end Barney finding out might have been the best thing. Especially since he decorated James’ room in a flashy romantic theme, complete with banner and erotic chocolate sculptures.

The theme of true love has been coursing through the veins of HIMYM for a while. Fate is the entire message of the show. Sure it’s a story about friendship and camaraderie, but it’s all been leading up to Ted meeting the Mother. And at the end of the episode, we get a touching flashforward between Ted and the Mother back in the same spot in Farhampton, looking very much in love. The scene is done so well and it’s a testament to the entire series. In other words, just seeing that scene with Ted and the Mother together was enough for the series to be redeemed in my eyes, from any of the short comings they might have had. I’m looking forward to this season if it continues in the same vein.

Reviewed by Therese

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Tagger (1×02)

Synopsis: Peralta is trying his best to pull off a perfect case in order to get Captain Holt off his back. However, a wrench is thrown into things when the perp on the latest case is the son of the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner. Meanwhile, Boyle lives in paranoia of the predictions made by Gina’s psychic friend.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

My prediction about Brooklyn Nine-Nine is correct so far. The second episode ‘The Tagger’ definitely picks up on the strengths of the pilot and carries on to an extremely funny second episode with a surprising bit of heart.

The episode opens with Holt berating Peralta for the sloppy way he performs parts of his job as well as the disorderly way he keeps his desk. I don’t know why, but this part in particular had me rolling with the ridiculous humor mixed with Andre Braugher’s straightforward delivery. Plus, I just love how joyous Peralta looks when he sees that Algernon the mouse has returned.

Peralta’s main case in this episode is catching a graffiti artist who has been tagging penises on cop cars around Brooklyn. He has made plans for a stakeout, but Holt insists on babysitting him in order to make sure he does his job correctly. This displeases Peralta greatly, but he agrees to Holt’s offer to get off his back if he does everything about the tagger case perfectly.

Not sure what I love more: That face or the About The Author picture. [facebook.com]

Not sure what I love more: That face or the About The Author picture. [facebook.com]

And not long before the tagger spray paints a penis on the Jeffords family mini-van. This would be rather inconsequential in my viewing if Jeffords didn’t have a running joke about how his wife wanted an SUV over a mini-van and Terry Crews wasn’t my favorite. “They roll, baby!”

In the midst of Peralta’s strive for a perfect case, he finds out something complicated about the teenage tagger: he’s the son of the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner. Meaning that if he takes the kid in, his career is potentially over. The situation is further complicated when Holt refuses to make the call for Peralta. He waffles for a bit, even after the Deputy Commissioner bails his son out. After a bit of soul searching and guilt tripping with Holt, Peralta makes the call to finally arrest the kid. When the commissioner threatens to make the 99th’s life a living hell, Holt tells him he’s not afraid and gives a hint to what his background was like as an openly gay cop. This gives me hope as a viewer for 1.) a common rival for the 99th, 2.) queer representation in a comedy, and 3.) that Peralta and Holt will eventually come to an understanding of each other.

The B-Plot of the episode was surprisingly cute. Santiago, Boyle, and Diaz are handling a drug case when Gina brings in her psychic friend Carlene (played by It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia‘s Artemis Pebdani) to predict some details about the case. Diaz and Santiago blow her off, but Boyle believes there is some truth to what she’s saying. Until she predicts that Diaz will never love him. Then it just makes him paranoid, especially when the things that Carlene predicted about the case turn out to be true. When she predicts that he’ll be injured if he gets out of his rolling office chair and he begins doing everything from his chair, Diaz punches him on the arm and reminds him that he makes his own destiny. It’s actually a really cute moment that gives some possibility to them getting together.

Overall, the second episode is pretty solid in starting to build a week to week for the show. The cast plays off of each other well and we’re beginning to establish who these characters are. There’s still a ways to go, but I think I’m going to enjoy the ride in the back of this squad car.

Reviewed by Ashley

New Girl: Nerd (3×02)

Synopsis: Jess tries to fit in with the cool teachers at school. Winston takes care of a cat. Schmidt juggles two women in his life.

Rating: ★★★★☆

This week’s episode brought us back into the swing of things. After a rather lackluster first episode of the season, the boys are officially back in town. Jess gets Nick’s help to fit in with some cool teachers played by Dreama Walker, Angela Kinsey, and Mark Proksch. Nick’s help ultimately turns the nerdy Jess into a rule breaker. After a drunken night, she gains some kind of acceptance with the group. But ultimately, she finds herself in a prank where they have to sneak into the principal’s jacuzzi, or rather his “jacooz”.

Afraid that he’s lead her down a bad path, Nick jumps in and helps Jess out then telling her that she doesn’t need to try to be cool with the other teachers. It’s adorable to see Nick take on a more mature role in his relationship with Jess, also to see him as something other than a failed writer/bartender.

newgirl

Winston, hoping to take the next steps with Daisy, accepts the care of her cat. When he goes and picks up the cat, he proposes a serious committed relationship, but suspects that she’s been sleeping with another man just that night. He spends the week taking care of the cat, but contemplating his relationship with Daisy. Ultimately deciding to breakup with her, and keep the cat.

Schmidt’s storyline, as annoying as I find it sometimes, brings in quite a few laughs, as he tries to juggle Cece and Elizabeth at an office party. Meanwhile his co-worker, Beth, tries to foil his plans. In the end it works out, but only barely. Schmidt has made his way through one more day with two girlfriends. There’s also a hilarious little plot about Schmidt’s aversion to cats, because of their obsession with his nipples.

Reviewed by Therese

Parks and Recreation: London (6×01-2)

Synopsis: In the midst of her recall fight, Leslie heads to London to accept an award for international women in government. Meanwhile, Ron gets married again, Andy meets his rich British double, Ann is pregnant, and Tom begins the fight to keep Rent-A-Swag alive.

Rating: ★★★★★

I have to admit, when it comes to Parks and Recreation, I’m painfully biased. It’s my favorite show on TV and causes me to go into a happy place every week, no matter how crappy my week has been.

The season six premiere set in London though was pretty fantastic though. I’m not even going to lie.

Opening right were season 5 left off, Diane (Lucy Lawless) informs Ron that she is indeed pregnant. Ron proposes to her right there in his office, forgoing his original plans of proposing to her on a canoe he made specifically for the occasion. Needing to get married before the baby arrives, Diane and Ron agree to just go up to the fourth floor, get a license and have the quickest wedding ever. They run into Leslie on the way, who is caught by surprise and paralyzed with excitement for Ron. She tries her best to make his quickie wedding traditional and it’s just adorable as hell and super in character for all parties involved. Parks and Rec is just the best when it comes to characters getting married. DC Comics could learn a thing or two from them.

Ron and Diane are so cute, it rots my teeth. [facebook.com]

Ron and Diane are so cute, it rots my teeth. [facebook.com]

A month later, Leslie is hard at work on getting Pawnee to turn around on the recall election to little avail or appreciation to the problems she’s helping solve. This is when April informs them that she’s nominated Leslie for an international award for women in local governments and she won. Which ends up with most of the Pawnee Parks and Rec department in London.

Now, when I heard the season premiere was going to be set in London, I knew it was because Chris Pratt has been there filming for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. However, it was unclear as to how they would be explaining why Andy wasn’t going to be around for a few episodes. They came up with a pretty good one. Ben and Andy go to meet with an English lord who goes by Eddie (Peter Serafinowicz) to propose expanding the after school music program that Sweetums funds to an international level. It turns out that Eddie is a lot like Andy and they get along like a house on fire. When Ben finally tries to get an answer out of Eddie after a day of him and Andy being Andy Dwyer squared, Eddie agrees, but asks Andy to stay for a few months to help him figure out how to run a non-profit. After talking it over with April, who shows her support for him and assures him that they can make it work after her stint in DC, he agrees. Then proceeds to accidentally ship himself out to Stonehenge one morning for work in pure Andy Dwyer fashion. The whole plot line was really adorable and a pretty satisfying as to why Pawnee will be Dwyer-less for a little while. I’ll miss Chris as he finishes up playing Star Lord, but I’m happy to know Pawnee will welcome him back with open arms. Plus, all that not drinking beer is doing wonders for him.

Leslie is pretty psyched to be in London since she doesn’t get to travel much, but admits to missing Pawnee terribly. Her tour party of Ron and April seem less than enthused. Ron in particular shows his contempt for Europe any chance he gets, but he’s sticking through to make his new wife happy.

However, Leslie’s missing of Pawnee is brought to a halt when she watches a clip of The Final Word with Perd Hapley and sees that the people running the recall campaign are accusing Leslie of galavanting around Europe when she should be in Pawnee. This mixed with two beloved governmental women also being honored at the awards (one of whom is played by Heidi Klum), Leslie ends up venting her frustrations about Pawnee in front of the banquet and the entire town thanks to Jerry trying to be nice and hosting a viewing party of the webcast. Thanks a lot, Jerry.

And in traditional Pawnee fashion, Perd doesn't make a lot of sense. [facebook.com]

And in traditional Pawnee fashion, Perd doesn’t make a lot of sense. [facebook.com]

It’s always disheartening to see Leslie frustrated and upset since she’s all about making people happy and positive, but Ron reminds her that they don’t do what they do for the applause and recognition. Leslie accepts that after some thought, but still seems disappointed after getting back home. That’s when April decides to read Leslie the letter she wrote in her nomination. It’s one of the sweetest moments of the episode and reminds Leslie that she is loved and appreciated. It helps that it’s set to Ron reaching the destination Leslie set for him on his mystery journey: the Lagavulin Distillery in Scotland and actually enjoying Europe for once. It’s also just one of those reminders to the viewer that April actually cares about things and isn’t completely like the other character Aubrey Plaza is currently playing on a show I recap.

While all of this is happening, Ann and Chris find out that they’ve finally managed to conceive and that Ann is pregnant. They try to spread their joy around City Hall, but end up facing new parent stress instead. Mostly thanks to Jerry, but Donna having skills of deduction that would make Sherlock Holmes stand and appreciate is kind of awesome.

Tom also finds out the mystery owner of Tommy’s Closet: it’s Jean-Ralphio and Mona Lisa’s dad Dr. Saperstein (Henry Winkler). It turns out that he started the business to exact revenge on Tom for screwing over his family because Jean-Ralphio and Mona Lisa lied to their dad about things that Tom had done to them. Tom gets Jean-Ralphio to admit that he lied, but Dr. Saperstein decides to keep the business going because he’s making an insane amount of money. In a move that shows some serious character development for Tom, he decides to stand and fight for Rent-A-Swag. It actually makes me kind of proud for Tom since this was a guy who was known for taking the easy way out for years.

As the episode closes with Ben and Leslie contemplating future travel plans, it makes me excited for where season six is going to go. Win, lose, or draw, the stories of the Pawnee Parks and Rec department are going places I never could have imagined and it makes me happy to witness their journeys in life. Here’s to a successful season!

Reviewed by Ashley

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