FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (December 15)

By TV.com Staff

Dec 16, 2012

'Twas one of the last weeks of 2012, and the season finales and mid-season finales and Christmas episodes and pre-hiatus episodes were hung by the chimney with varying degrees of care. The TV.com editors was nestled all snug at their desks, as visions of the Top 100 Everything danced in their heads. Price and Tim aren't particularly prone to wearing 'kerchiefs OR caps, but everyone was ready to settle their brains for a long winter’s nap. When in the writing staff's email inboxes there arose such a clatter, it was Jen looking for ideas and insisting we do at least one more of these FTW vs. WTF stories before the year is over. So here it is, happy holidaze, everyone!

Note: Depending on how this next week goes, both on TV and with our schedules as we try to finish compiling our various year-end stories and lists, this may be the last installment of FTW vs. WTF until 2013. Plus we were already a little light on fodder this week. Just saying.


The Mindy Project and New Girl's gingerbread excellence

Danny's handmade gingerbread mansion was lovely until guest-star Ellie Kemper smashed it to smithereens after the reveal that Mindy was actually Josh's mistress (and how about all the sweet, holiday-season warm fuzzies between Danny and Mindy?). And nothing says "Let's have sex" like an X-rated gingerbread man, so way to get your message across, Angie. Nick, we will be stealing zombie your zombie idea for sure.

The Downton Abbey cast's version of Breaking Bad on The Colbert Report

To support the estate, Lord Grantham starts brewing "Earl Blue" for all the tea-tweakers in the village. Thomas and Carson help. Naughty language abounds.

Parenthood's Christmas miracle

The series closed out the first half of an emotionally rough season on a happy note, letting Kristina survive a nasty encounter with septic shock. The episode didn't make it easy on us, though, revealing that the ailing mom had filmed a goodbye video for the Braverman kids in case she didn't make it.

Klaus's Christmas anti-miracle

Much of Seasons 3 and 4 of The Vampire Diaries gradually neutered erstwhile Big Bad Klaus and left him sort of puttering around Mystic Falls without much real purpose. With his whirlwind massacre of the hybrids and quieter, even-more-devastating murder of Carol Lockwood, he's been reasserted as a genuine villain capable of doing real damage to our heroes, rather than just snarking and scheming and sketching them ponies.

Old Navy's Vacation super reunion

Chevy Chase (he's got free time now) and Beverly D'Angelo have reprised their roles as Clark and Ellen Griswold in the latest series of Old Navy ads, but it's the multiple Rustys and Audreys (Anthony Michael Hall! Juliette Lewis! Dana Baron! Jason Lively!) who make the comercials more than a cheap attempt at nostalgia. Apparently Johnny Galecki was too busy making millions from The Big Bang Theory to join in the fun. Also, you must comment below if you just realized Johnny Galecki was Rusty in Christmas Vacation.

Portlandia is back!

Well, almost. Friday's "Winter in Portlandia" special was a pretty tasty yuletide treat that whetted our appetite for the new season in January. May your holidays be filled with delicious pasta dinners, stays in hotel rooms with plentiful outlets, and vagina pillows under your Christmas tree.


HIMYM's Callback Theater

Once again, latter-day How I Met Your Mother larded up a thin story with a bunch of callbacks to earlier, better episodes: Ted's cowboy boots, the intervention banner, etc. The show has been mostly drafting off the good will it earned in its first few seasons for quite some time, but these periodic stabs at reasserting the past, are just underscoring what a shell of its former self the show has become.

Another round of Golden Globes ridiculousness

The Newsroom over both Game of Thrones and Mad Men for Best Drama? Smash alongside The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, Episodes, and Girls for Best Comedy or Musical? (Not to mention, a category that combines comedies and musicals?) Well, at least the broadcast should be an entertaining one...

A woman steals from Santa Claus and celebrates it on Take it All

NBC's new game show, hosted by Howie Mandel, is a high-stakes game of White Elephant in which players swap and steal gifts from each other. When the final two contestants reach the podium, they can choose to be civil and split the winnings, or if only one of them decides to take it all, they get everything. In the premiere episode, one selfish woman stole everything from a guy who looked just like Santa Claus and put his faith in humanity by opting to share, then celebrated like she just earned it.

What happened in Connecticut

It doesn't matter that we're not that kind of site. :( :( :( times infinity.

What's on *your* list of TV loves and hates this week?

  • Comments (35)
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  • MarleeCouch Dec 22, 2012

    I was told to comment if I knew that Johnny Galecki was in Christmas Vacation.

  • FoxZerro Dec 17, 2012

    Commenting because I have to... Since of course I knew that Johnny Galecki was the third actor to hold the "Prestigious" name of Rusty Griswold. I was upset that he and Ethan Embry didn't show up in the commercial. Especially since Juliette Lewis showed up I mean where's the continuity if Christmas Rusty isn't there with her. Plus I mean the Vegas Kids could and should have been there its not like Marisol Nichols has done anything since GCB and Ethan Embry is guest starring on everything now.

    Also at this time I would like to take a moment of silence for Dana Hill... Euro Audrey...

    Back to the matter at hand, as a FTWTF: The best part of the HIMYM Callback Rodeo, had to be that Barney and Patrice both have Get Psyched Mixes and both of them start with Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name." (Jon Bon Jovi is standing downstairs next to a sign that says Slipper When Wet) However since we know that Barney and Robin are going to end up together what the hell is the point of making the woman he's dating now and he so compatible... its just doesn't make sense... I want to root for the Barney and Patrice relationship to be real and last, but I know it won't so why bother... I'm a little tired of all the padding this show continues to think it needs and reminding me how good Season One was by referencing Episode Eleven "The Limo" is not a good way to distract me from what this once magical and mystifying show has become.

  • qbe_64 Dec 17, 2012

    IT's one thing when someone takes all the money on bachelor pad, because they're all awful, awful, people and deserve the most amount of misery you can heap on one person. But Santa Claus?!? What a bitch.

  • MissRight Dec 17, 2012

    Take It All is such a rip-off from an early 2000s GSN game show Friend or Foe. Just another way to see people being horrible to each other, no thank-you.

  • bicelis Dec 17, 2012

    FTW: such a trippy episode of Fringe!
    FTW: Last Resort's extremely fast paced episode episode. May even be too fast. Remember when we all wondered where the show could go after the pilot and that it would need to stretch things just to get to season finale not to mention season 2?
    FTW: New Girl's Christmas episode was hilarious!

    WTF: Last Resort's reviews are still missing...
    WTF: Golden Globe BS

    Also, to add a bit of a personal touch to the FTW/WTF thing:
    Personal FTW: started watching My So Called Life.
    Personal WTF: lost hope to see John Noble on any award list whatsoever. May need to rewatch episode 1 to recharge my hope batteries.

    P,S, Anyone know the name of the board game Marcus Chaplin played with the Chinese ambassador? I've seen it on many occasions, but don't remember the name.

  • qbe_64 Dec 17, 2012

    The game is called Go. If you're a fan of the Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson, it's also called Stones in that.

  • bicelis Dec 17, 2012


  • SokkaAppa Dec 17, 2012

    Yea I was wondering about those Last Resort reviews. This episode was insane. I guess since it's been cancelled Tim doesn't want to bother.

  • bubla Dec 17, 2012

    Grey's Anatomy: Baileys Wedding attitude

  • Cortexifan Dec 17, 2012

    FTW: FRINGE!!!!
    Walter tripping was awesome. Loved his interaction with Tinker Bell and finding out that Carla was the one starting the fire.
    Sad that there are only 4 episodes left.

  • JaneanComfort Dec 17, 2012

    FTW: TBBT: Dungeons and Dragons Christmas Style :) Sheldon singing that carol was awesome! :)

  • kanniballl Dec 17, 2012

    Personally, I feel that "Newsroom" at least deserves a nod at the Golden Globes.

    It's a love-it / hate-it show, with people WAY WAY WAY on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Lots of the people I know in R/L that don't like it say it's because it's anti-Right when it claims to be fair. Well, they've said about a thousand times on the show that they just want to call people on their BS. And the time period they decided to start with (not too far back, not TOO close to now) was when the TEA PARTY was all the rage. Guess what, they got the bulls-eye.

    I personally thought it was a strong show. A strong Aaron Sorkin show though, which tends to invite the before-mentioned love-it/hate-it scenario.

  • bicelis Dec 17, 2012

    I don't find the show love/hate it type of thing. It clearly has good elements on it. But it also has some very bad Sorkinisms.

    Storytelling-wise it made quite many mistakes to be considered for a GOlden Globe nod over Game of Thrones or Mad Men or even some other shows for that matter.For example, the whole mock-debate thing. It was just stupid. They are portrayed as extremely smart and fast thinking people (no one group can talk and think that fast) but they tried to implement that kind of a debate model? That's so unrealistic, it was clear as day that it was just a tool for Sorkin too vomit his ideas and views all over the viewer. I don't say I dislike it because I disagree with Sorkin's views (I actually agree with many of them) but the way he presents them is really over the top. A good TV show (at least a 'normal' one. Louie would be the exception here) cannot have this feeling like the creator is sitting right there in the room with you and shouting his stuff in your ear.

  • kanniballl Dec 20, 2012

    Not really: for the viewer's sake (us) it was essentially fast-forwarded. We're led to believe that the GOP guy watched that "debate" for like 5-10 minutes (or more) before blowing a gasket. But we just saw some highlights showing that the moderator wasn't going to take BS from the pundits.

    A friend of mine was watching and said "of course he flipped out, they went through like 10 candidates in 20 seconds" But that's not what happened. For our sake, it was just to show that the moderator wasn't going to take off-track replies or non-answers. Which is something I wish interviewers and moderators had the guts to do. Instead of answering a serious question, they quickly change the topic and spout a variation of "God bless America" and people clap.

  • bicelis Dec 20, 2012

    As poignant or noble the whole mock debate seems - it is completely unrealistic. He was basically insulting the candidates. Noone after the first debate would EVER come back to it. The speed was not the problem, the attitude was.

    Sorkin was just trying in OVER THE TOP fashion to demonstrate how the debates are sometimes useless. Aren't the Newsroom people supposed to be smart? It was unrealistic to show them thinking that that format was gonna go on the air. Sorkin was just venting.

  • brag0031 Dec 17, 2012

    FTW: Paul McCartney performing with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear on the 12/12/12 Sandy relief concert AND on Saturday Night Live.

    FTW: The Buckingham Palace OB/GYN sketch on SNL

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