TiVo Triage Time

For someone who watches way too much television, a full week of having a vague semblance of a life results in using a lazy Friday night in for a major TV catchup day/weekend. And I might as well blog the binge watching.
How major is this undertaking? Pretty much the only show I’ve kept up on is The Daily Show and Colbert Report. A quick look through what’s sitting unwatched on my TiVo:
30 Rock
30 for 30 (x3)
Boardwalk Empire (x7)
Bored to Death
Burn Notice (x2)
How I Met Your Mother (x2)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Modern Family
Sherlock (x3)
Rubicon (x9)
Sons of Anarchy (x23 yes, 23: some of those aren’t on the TiVo itself, but I just finished season 1 and started season 2 on Blu-Ray and recorded so far all of this season)
South Park (x3)
Terriers (x2)
The Amazing Race
The Office (x3)
The Walking Dead (x3)
Community – “Conspiracy Theories and Soft Defenses”
Community continues its run as one of the strongest comedies of the year. And while not quite as epic as Epidemiology 206 or Modern Warfare, it was as effective of a parody of the conspiracy thriller genre while also managing to focus on the characters and be hilariously funny. By making some things small scale, such as with the miniature car bomb, setting the big chase scene in a blanket fortress, and making the conspiracy about a single credit, Community manages to poke fun at the tropes of the conspiracy genre without losing focus on the characters and, in this episode, the relationship between Jeff and Annie and how they relate to rules. In the absence of Parks and Recreation, Community has effectively become the overall best comedy on television right now.
30 Rock – “College”
In part, having the hilarious Community as a lead-in really does help putting 30 Rock in a more positive light, just like a stand-up comic is always funnier after a great warm-up act. But this season has been a return to form. This season has focused more on Liz and Jack and used Jenna and Kenneth sparingly.
Terriers – “Asunder”
Wow, this show is simply great. Hank and Britt are two very human characters, well acted by Donal Logue and Michael Raymond James. Theirs is the epic bromance of this TV season. But the show is also wonderfully Lebowski-esque, with Hank and Britt out of their depth in noir-ish plots. But what makes the show effective is that Hank is not The Dude. He’s actually competent at being a detective. He wants to be a better person, despite realize the shortcomings that led him to where he is. Having Britt and Katie’s most important conversation happen off camera was an especially effective way to making the moment more powerful than even the best dialogue and acting could have been. This is not only the best new show of the season, but may be the top show of the season to date.
Bored to Death – “Super Ray is Mortal”
Does enjoyment of Bored to Death decrease the further you are from Grand Army Plaza? There’s no show that’s more Brooklyn than Bored to Death. The trio of Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and Zach Galifinakis are perfect as the leads and John Hodgman is always enjoyable as Jonathan’s nemesis. It’s a shame that the season is so short.
Modern Family – “Manny Get Your Gun”
This is the first Modern Family episode of the season that really clicked for me, probably because it centered around Manny acting like a ten year old going into a midlife crisis.
South Park – “Creme Fraiche”
South Park taking on America’s obsession with food television and the shake weight may not have been their most effective episode ever, but it was decently funny.
How I Met Your Mother – “Natural History”
Bob Odenkirk is always enjoyable whenever he shows up on TV. And while Marshall’s boss at GNB isn’t quite as complete of a character as Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman, his HIMYM character is fine in small doses. More effective was the Barney story and revelation. It nicely subverted the expectation that the whale story was something that Barney simply made up and paid the guard to find in the files, but completely subverted the levity of that storyline. While the show is obviously best when it is succeeds at being funny, like The Office, I’m fine with an episode of HIMYM that advances the story and connects emotionally with the characters without being all that funny.
And that’s it for the night. Wow, was that a big concentrated dose of television, without even delving too deeply into the heavier material in Boardwalk Empire or Sons of Anarchy. Or even accounting for the second half of Justified’s first season that’s been sitting around for months. To be continued….

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