FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (April 13–19)
Happy Easter (and Greek Easter) weekend! And also, uh, happy 4/20 weekend! Whether you're hunting for eggs or just watching a lot of Adult Swim this Sunday, we've put together a special basket of FTW vs. WTF treats just for you. So let's get right to it: Here's what we thought was a Cadbury Creme Egg and what was a [insert your least-favorite flavor of jelly bean] about the last seven days in television.
SPOILER WARNING: If you haven't finished watching Orphan Black's Season 2 premiere—or any of this week's new episodes (of Game of Thrones, Fargo, Scandal, etc.), for that matter—we suggest that you hold off on reading this story until you do.
Bob's Burgers celebrates Bronies with "The Equestranauts"
"The Equestranauts" was excellent all around, with Bob going undercover as "Bobcephala" to attend a BronyCon-esque Equesticle convention in an attempt to retrieve Tina's rare Chariot doll. The episode was spoof-y without being mean, the puns were as sharp as ever, Paul F. Tompkins was great as Bronconius, and the final scene, where Tina decided she didn't want to play with Chariot anymore and Bob screamed at her to play with it anyway, was a perfect note to end on. Also, Jen has renamed her cats, and they shall henceforth be known as Sunpuddle and Pony Danza.
Game of Thrones hosts another memorable wedding
Even before THAT happened, "The Lion and the Rose" was a spectacular look at the deviancies, quirks, and just plain cruelty of several of the series' best (read: most hate-able) characters. But of course what we'll all remember was the Purple Wedding, a wholly uncomfortable sequence of events that involved book-butchering, little-person playhouse theater, enough verbal slams to fill ten Wrestlemanias, and a horrific demise for one of the series' most infamous characters. From start to finish, "The Lion and the Rose" was outstanding and cemented itself as a series highlight.
Speaking of that memorable Game of Thrones wedding, some of the cast's real-life reactions were priceless
Stannis, the Hound, Arya, and Littlefinger weighed on the events of "The Lion and the Rose" in this short video by the U.K.'s Sky Atlantic network, and while we admire Liam Cunningham's (Ser Davos) loyalty to Stannis even off-camera, it's Aidan Gillen's (Littlefinger) succinct take on the situation that wins.
Slumlord Peggy! California Pete! Eyepatch Ken! Freddy Rumsen the talking Don Draper doll!
Mad Men is back, and we're already sad to know there are only six episodes left in the first half of Season 7. "Time Zones" was a great and surprisingly funny introduction to what each character has been up to since we last checked in with the AMC drama, and it contained plenty of hilarious highlights—from Cosgrove's eyepatch-addled aim to Pete's West Coast wardrobe to Peggy the plunger-brandishing landlord. What's more, the Freddy Rumsen reveal was excellent, we already love to hate Lou Avery, and we'll happily play along with the Megan/Sharon Tate speculation until Helter Skelter hits. Welcome back, show.
FX's Fargo beautifully refreshes the Coen Brothers' classic
It would've been an impossible task to adapt the renowned Oscar-winning film for television, so Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley wisely did the next best thing: He borrowed the movie's universe, using the general population and desolate setting to create a new story with new characters, meaning no prior knowledge of the film is necessary. Add to that an amazing cast, great writing, and the dark comedy that made the source material such a masterpiece, and Fargo: The Series could be the next Great Television Show.
Inside Amy Schumer infiltrates a fast-food version of The Newsroom
Josh Charles continued to put his newfound spare time to good use this week, dropping by the Comedy Central sketch show to play JJ McAhoy, a cholesterol-pushing burger-shack version of The Newsroom's Will. The Sports Night alum helped skewer the HBO drama and its wordy creator Aaron Sorkin by grandstanding about French fries and fatness, to our utter delight. It's easy to parody Sorkin's style, but with lines like "a woman's life is worth nothing unless she's making a great man greater" coming from a woman who worked her way up to the role of GM at a Sbarro in Tel Aviv, it even took a swing at the guy's lousy gender politics. The sketch was also the MVP of the show's best and most consistent episode to date. How do you like them apple slices, Sorky?!
Glee's STD PSA
Hands-down one of the funniest things the Ryan Murphy dramedy has done in a while.
As it enters the homestretch of the season, Arrow gets its groove back
After a muddled and somewhat scattered run of episodes following the December break,"The Man Under the Hood" featured motivated action sequences and a strong dramatic hook on which to hang the melodrama. If Arrow keeps this up, we may almost forget that "Blast Radius" ever happened in the first place.
The 100 channels Battlestar Galactica in its darkest and best hour yet
The late Syfy series was known for its depiction of the harsh realities of survival in space, and this week, The 100 turned in an episode that would make Ronald D. Moore proud with its brave decision to tackle the bleak situation facing the men and women of the Ark. Staring down symptoms of oxygen deprivation, hundreds of the space station's residents volunteered to sacrifice their lives for the greater good; the result was a hauntingly beautiful scene and one of the darkest we've ever seen on a CW show. There was no last-minute reprieve, just 300 brave souls willing to die so the rest of the population had a better chance to live. Well done, The 100!
Hillsborough, an ESPN 30 for 30 presentation
April 15, 1989. An FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. Over fifty thousand football fans packed into the stadium for what was certain to be a memorable match. Ninety-six people didn't make it home that day, many of them crushed to death when the standing-room-only section became overcrowded with feverish fans. More than 700 people were injured. But who was to blame? That's what this chilling, haunting, fascinating, and informative documentary set out to investigate. It's a must-watch even for non-soccer fans, and it may be the best thing ESPN has ever produced.
The Americans digs into some '80s deep cuts with "Nobody Bothers Me"
Any fan of FX's excellent spy series knows it's no stranger to seeding scenes with considered 1980s artifacts, but this week's episode-opening martial arts commercial for a D.C.-area self-defense school was one of the show's best inclusions to date. Jhoon Rhee's ad was locally famous for its catchy jingle, written by E Street and Crazy Horse guitarist Nils Lofgren (who also took lessons at the school), and the "kicker" is that Rhee is recognized in the Taekwondo Hall of Fame as a Pioneer of Taekwondo in both the U.S. and Russia. Was Rhee turned?
The Bravermans sweetly say goodbye, possibly forever
There was a real sum-uppy feeling to Parenthood's "The Pontiac," as many of Season 5's ongoing stories found some semblance of a resolution (Joel and Julia), but not every loose end was tied (Amber bought what at the pharmacy?). And that actually feels just about right for the series, if this is to be the end. We dropped in, we got to snoop on a close-knit family for five seasons, and when we leave them, they'll continue living their lives of crying, hugging, crying, laughing, and crying... without us. While we'll hope for the best (i.e. a Season 6 renewal), if Parenthood has to end here, at least it went out on a feel-good note, and we'll remember it fondly. You know, provided we can eventually forget about Amber and Ryan's cry-sex.
Community slams NBC on its way out
In what might be the series finale of Dan Harmon's oddball sitcom, Community made several jokes at its employer's expense. First there was the takedown of Jim and Pam ("what do you think this is, an hour-long Office episode?"), and then there was the brutal end tag, complete with a sizzle reel for horrible-looking shows and the logline, "Depends on what fails!" Let's just hope NBC appreciates the joke when it decides Community's fate.
Oh my seestra! You'll never guess who's alive on Orphan Black!
There was a lot to love about the Season 2 premiere, from Alison's community theater to Felix's reaction to Alison doing community theater to Sarah pistol-whipping Proclone Rachel. The episode had all the makings of what made us love the series in the first place, but the best part wasn't Felix's ass-less chaps or even the fact Alison has a guy who sells her drugs and guns in the parking lot of an Econo-Mart—it was the reveal that Helena is alive! We don't know how long she's going to last, given her injuries, but we hope the writers didn't keep her around only to kill her off for good in Episode 2.
The first trailer for Fox's I Wanna Marry Harry is here
Get ready for summer television, ladies and gentlemen.
Supernatural's messy "Meta Fiction"
Yes, it was great seeing Gabriel again—we just about jumped off the couch when Casa Erotica came on—and we understand what the writers were trying to do, but as a whole, the latest "meta episode" in Supernatural's long history of meta episodes was a brain-melting misfire.
Scandal signs off with a bomb, a public poisoning, and creepy sex
It was quite a messy third season for everybody's favorite political soap (sorry, House of Cards), and this week's finale was absolutely no different. The show decided to sideline the MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION in American history to focus on the silliest stuff, while seemingly trying to break some sort of record for the number of RIDICULOUS TWISTS in one episode. Let's hope that Scandal regroups for Season 4 and relearns how to tell crazy stories that still have (somewhat) believable personal stakes.
Speaking of creepy sex, AMBER AND RYAN WHAT THE HELL?
Parenthood's finale may've been generally strong, but we just couldn't let this go un-called-out. The crying! The (implied) sex in full view of the open door! Possibly the longest, most uncomfortable doin'-it session we've ever seen.
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? Parks and Recreation's triplets news and "tread lightly" threat? Warehouse 13's final season premiere? The Vampire Diaries' Travelers drama? Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!
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