Off Topic TV Roundup: Sept 30-Oct 7, 2013

How I Met Your Mother: Last Time in New York (9×03)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

I can’t really say I didn’t like this episode of HIMYM, but it definitely embodied a lot of what I have come to dislike about the show. One of the things that the show is really good about is doing throwbacks to older episodes and playing off of those jokes. And that’s great for someone who is a die hard fan, but for viewers who have been casually watching the show, it’s kind of… distracting.

Then again when they’re stretching out the end like they are this season, they have to have some way to fill the time. So where last week, we had a great opening episode, this week was much more lackluster and felt in the same pattern as before.

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Lily finds a “bucket list” of Ted’s for New York and realizes that Ted has been avoiding Barney due to his last moments with Robin at the carousel looking for the locket. Convinced by Lily to say goodbye to all the bad things instead of say goodbye to New York, Ted decides to pull out a 30-year-old Glen Mckenna scotch that he’s been saving for Barney to drink to it.

But Lily and Robin reveal that they’ve destroyed the actual bottle, and replaced it with some kind of evil hogwash concoction in the bottle through some swordfighting (re: that one episode years ago about sword fighting, yeesh). So Ted is forced to drop a ton of money on a new bottle of scotch and gets two glasses to meet Barney for that drink.

Barney and Robin realize that after being married they might lose the spark to their sex drive and the passion might dissipate after seeing their elderly relatives come into town. Terrified of this, they try to find a place to have sex one last time, but run in on Robin’s great-grandparents being raunchy. This calms their fears and they are reassured.

Barney then goes and meets Ted, but reveals that he saw Ted helping Robin at the carousel looking for her locket. Dun dun duuun. Yeah, I’ve been done with Ted/Robin for the past like half decade. Can we please move on from this?

Reviewed by Therese

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Brooklyn 99: The Slump (1×03)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Sweet baby christ, this episode. Last week was pretty solid, but now the show’s really starting to get somewhere awesome.

Peralta is finding it hard to close a case. He’s in heavy denial of this, even declaring that he’s in “Pmuls,” which is slump spelled backwards and the opposite of a slump according to Peralta logic. However, when he can’t even find a couple’s missing grandmother, his denial of his slump is over and he starts thinking of ways to get over it. Holt tells him to keep grinding, but that doesn’t sound as good to Peralta as Diaz’s suggestion of going to Montreal and having sex with a stranger.

At some point, Peralta decides to switch one of his cases without any leads with one of Hitchcock’s smaller cases. He thinks it will be open and shut and the inept Hitchcock won’t be able to get anything done. However, the tables turn when it turns out that Hitchcock’s case was just a prank call on an old man with a ton of birds (one of which poops on Peralta’s head) and Hitchcock manages to get a confession and four arrests on Peralta’s case. Gina tells him he’s straight up cursed and he even starts to believe it after he gets sprayed with a broken urinal.

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When he tells this to Holt, the Captain tells the story of his cursed unit mate Smitty and decides to bench him for the time being to wait for the curse to blow over. He even gives Peralta Smitty’s lucky rabbit’s foot to try and help relieve the bad luck, but rubbing it just gives Peralta a hand cramp.

Peralta is resigned to his fate of digitizing case files when he has a breakthrough on the missing grandmother case. It turns out that the couple was lying and he manages to catch them on filing a false report. Peralta shares the good news with Holt, who reveals that it was his intention when he benched Peralta. Because every good detective has a slump. You just can’t let it get to you.

Holt also reveals the rabbit’s foot was just him messing with Peralta. I guess the old stony captain does have a sense of humor.

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Meanwhile, Santiago is assigned to convince at-risk kids to sign up for the Junior Police program. Desperate to impress Captain Holt, Santiago agrees and even recruits Diaz to help her reach out to the kids. Her good intentions quickly go south as the kids respond negatively to Santiago’s awkward proposal and Diaz’s surprisingly sincere speech about being scared. Diaz especially doesn’t respond well to the teenage ridicule. Desperate for a solution, they turn to Gina, who they had previously rejected since she wasn’t a cop. After a hilariously awkward dance sequence, Gina manages to get through to them with the truth: cops make a lot of money and get to carry a gun. That gets eight kids to sign up and impresses the captain so much he promotes Gina to his personal assistant. Santiago looks so dejected that it makes me laugh the most guilty laugh.

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Once again though, Sgt. Jeffords takes the cake with his subplot. Boyle asks him to participate in a line up and be “Scary Terry” (who says what real Terry is thinking), but Jeffords turns him down because of other things he needs to do. Boyle later overhears Jeffords getting aggressive about something in a file room and barges in to find Jeffords constructing a dollhouse for his girls. Just put in the mental image of Terry Crews in a white tank top working on a pink and purple princess castle here. It’s the best.

Since Boyle owned the same dollhouse as a kid, he offers to Jeffords to help him construct it. Jeffords turns him down, but after several hours (and one collapse caused by Peralta), the fairy princess castle defeats Jeffords, who destroys it in a fit of rage and sadness. Later, Boyle recovers the pieces that weren’t completely broken and makes a princess police station. He assures Jeffords that he’s a good dad and that he needs to stop being so hard on himself. Of course, this sweet moment is ruined when Boyle sets off the super loud siren he built into the castle.

This episode was awesome and definitely has some amazing character moments. I rather enjoyed seeing Peralta and Holt having a relationship that wasn’t built on the two being annoying to each other, and I always enjoy seeing the glimpses of what a softy Jeffords is. Plus, I love how consistent it is with Santiago’s character to want to impress Holt and I want to see where that path goes.

Reviewed by Ashley

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The Mindy Project: Music Festival (2×03)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Back from Haiti Casey makes the surprising announcement that he’s becoming a DJ. This puts a strain on his and Mindy’s relationship and she even tries to land him a job at Schumann and Associates since they’re looking for a new doctor after Dr Paul Leotard left. Adam Pally (Happy Endings) makes his first appearance in the show as a fratboy turned ob/gyn called Peter, who manages to annoy and disgust them in the space of 5 minutes.

Mindy tries to confront Casey about his lack of work but he tells her about a gig he gets at a music festival which Mindy is ecstatic about. She takes most of the practise with her to go watch him play, making Jeremy and Tamara cover the practise.

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At the festival Mindy and Casey get into a fight when Mindy is less than enthusiastic about Casey being a DJ. Meanwhile Morgan gets high and the gang have to take him to the medical tent. When they get there they are horrified at the state of the place and they decide to stay and help out. This means that Mindy has to miss Casey’s set but Danny convinces her to go see her fiancée perform.

At Schumann and Associates Jeremy is stressing out on his own and allows Peter to help him with the workload.

Casey performs and Mindy is so impressed with it but then she isn’t too thrilled to hear that Casey wants to change careers again.

Back in the tent Morgan manages to get The National to come perform since Danny missed them but they have to pretend to be engaged while back in the practise Jeremy decides to hire Peter.

Mindy has to make a difficult decision in relation to her relationship with Casey when it comes apparent that he isn’t ready to settle down to one job yet while she wants some stability. I the end they decide to break up and our usual happy show ends on a teary note.

Reviewed by Chioma

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New Girl: Double Date (3×03)

Rating: ★★★☆☆

There were a bunch of hilarious one liners in this episode, but it was a pretty depressing episode. We’ve been coming up to the reveal of Schmidt’s cheating and it’s finally been revealed. Now that the truth is out though, things don’t seem to be better. Both Cece and Elizabeth break up with Schmidt, after Cece leaves the restaurant crying she calls Elizabeth who throws a pie in Schmidt’s face and breaks up with him.

It was funny to see Nick avoid telling Jess the truth after finding out about Schmidt’s cheating just like it was funny watching Nick accept that the cheating even was possible. To keep from revealing his horrible poker face, he puts on a motorcycle helmet and hides his face. But inevitably, Jess finds out and confronts Schmidt.

Unable to deal with Jess and Schmidt fighting, Nick just starts to nervous dance with his helmet on, which was probably the best scene in the entire episode. Right up there after Winston swallowing a mint green glass marble thinking it was a mint and Jess and Nick talking about their weaknesses.

Did this replace the moonwalking out? Or is it in addition to it?

They get to the restaurant, and Schmidt has lied to Cece about everything, telling her that Nick is cheating on Jess, which infuriates Cece leading her to crotch punch Nick. It’s super awkward because it’s all happening a the restaurant that Winston has been squatting at for the past like four hours to keep the community table reserved for the party of 5.

But Schmidt tells Cece the truth, and after they both break up with him, he angrily blames Jess and Nick. He warns them that he will be out to break them up in the coming days.

This episode reminds me why I love this show, the fact that it can mix hilarious content with some pretty serious character development makes it so enjoyable. Schmidt’s character has gone through several transformations, and for better or for worse, I appreciate the hard work the writers have put into him. Now if they only gave Winston the same attention.

Reviewed by Therese

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(Couldn’t find a promo…so “Knope Out”)

Parks & Recreation: Pawnee-Eagleton Tip Off Classic (6×03)

Rating: ★★★★

It’s time for the Pawnee-Eagleton tip off classic in everyone’s favorite Indiana town. Leslie starts off the episode lobbing jokes at Eagleton to help tip the scales in her favor come time for the recall election, but her joyful glee at making fun of Eagleton grows when she finds out through Ben and Chris that Eagleton has found itself in some money troubles and that their old boss has asked them to put on their accounting hats and have a look at the town’s budget. Leslie invites herself along to see how bad the situation is.

In Eagleton, City Councilor Ingrid de Forest (played by Kristen Bell) is hesitant to talk about the town’s money issues because the town believes talking about money is gauche. Ironic, considering most of what Eagleton does to Pawnee is flaunt how much more money they have than Pawnee, but they leave financial records in fancy trunks for the three to look at. Upon closer inspection, Ben and Chris realize that Eagleton is deeply in the hole and is on the verge of a complete financial crisis. Leslie is over-the-moon since she has a feeling that this will tip the scales in her favor in the recall election since she was able to save Pawnee from a similar financial meltdown with the Harvest Festival. Basically, Eagleton’s failure makes her look good.

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At a budget meeting held in Pawnee, Leslie (after a slideshow made to shame Eagleton) proposes a ridiculous budget that really wouldn’t make things better for the town and the city council storms out. Leslie screams at them that Pawnee will never help them again. I have to admit, my favorite part of these scenes really are finding out all the weird stuff Eagleton spends money on. Bottled water in the pools, keeping Michael Bublé on retainer, and using government funds to buy HBO for the whole town. Wishful thinking says that Eagleton is addicted to Game of Thrones, but really, we know they all watch Girls.

Leslie goes to pick up Ben for dinner and finds out that Ben is still helping Eagleton. She gets upset, but they eventually make up at the game when Leslie admits that with Ben helping Eagleton makes her feel like he isn’t on her team this close to the recall. Being the amazing guy that he is, Ben assures her that he’s always on her team, but that it’s time to do the right thing for Eagleton. As the Pawnee basketball team helps a member of the Eagleton, Leslie gets an idea that makes her feel like she’s going to vomit.

The next day, they make the announcement: Eagleton will be dissolved and incorporated into Pawnee to help Eagleton pay off their debts.This understandably angers many citizens of both towns, but Ingrid defends the decision, calling Pawnee “greasy, denim clad angels.” I don’t know why that line made me laugh so much, but it did. Probably Kristen Bell’s strangely sweet delivery. She’s amazing and gorgeous and I can see why Leslie hated her so much.

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While Leslie is dealing with Eagleton, Ann agrees to drive April up to Bloomington for her veterinary school orientation. April is, of course, her usual April self, introducing herself as April Ludgate-Kevorkian to the girl leading the orientation. Ann takes the opportunity to go baby shopping since things in Bloomington aren’t as chemical ridden as Pawnee, but she catches April in town eating frozen yogurt and takes her back to campus under the agreement that she’ll act as April’s grandmother. This leads to some classic Ann and April interactions with Ann being excited for April to start there. However, April decides she isn’t going to go and tells Ann that they’re leaving.

Later in the evening, Ann asks April about what happened and April tells her that she had a gut feeling that the school wouldn’t be right for her, much like how her gut told her to marry Andy and that Ann is the worst person she has ever met. Still, the smile she has on her face when she says this makes me think April has a soft spot for Ann. She just expresses herself to Ann through antagonism. Ann asks April how to get her gut to talk to her, and April says to just listen. This ends up setting up the most dreaded exit of Ann and Chris later this season, but I’m glad that it came about in this fashion.

The second subplot of the episode involves Ron freaking out over a Pennysaver being addressed to him at Dianne’s house and his determination to go off the Grid. He recruits Tom and Donna to help him with that, which is hilarious because they’re the two most on the Grid characters on the show. But with an offer of getting to go home earlier, the two agree and help Ron destroy his credit cards and cell phone and get his picture taken down at various restaurants in town where Ron has eaten more food than anyone else. However, this goes slightly awry when Tom reveals he’s been taking pictures of Ron trying to get off the Grid and putting them on Facebook. In a rage, Ron tries to yell at the tablet to erase pictures of him and ends up Vining a selfie of him screaming “ERASE ALL PICTURES OF RON!” God bless Nick Offerman for doing that is all I have to say.

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That plot comes to a resolution when Dianne finds Ron trying to buy an RV with gold after trying to get a hold of him all day after getting a flat tire. She tells Ron that he needs to be on their grid since he’s a husband and a father now and he just can’t completely disappear on them. Ron takes this with a surprising amount of grace, which definitely shows that Ron has grown as a character since we first met him in 2009. I feel like Ron of the first few seasons wouldn’t have been so willing to put himself on the grid for one person (even if it’s just a block-like cell phone that disgusts Tom and Donna), but hey, Dianne’s not Tammy. Pick one. It doesn’t matter which Tammy.

This episode is a great ball rolling episode after the opener in London. It sets up this new thing for Pawnee that could make or break Leslie’s political career, puts the seed in the ground for Chris and Ann’s departure, and begins to show us a new aspect of Ron. I miss Andy, but man, is he going to have some interesting news to come back to.

Reviewed by Ashley

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