FTW vs. WTF: The TV Week in Review (June 1–7)
It's June, which means the calendar has provided the year's best-rhyming excuse to go shopping for gifts, the unofficial season of Dads and Grads. Stumped on what to get your pops or your dog who just threw his cap after finishing obedience school? Well did you know that FTW vs. WTF makes for a great gift for both Dads and Grads? Dads can stuff FTW vs. WTF in their ears to drown out the sound of their evil spawn, and Grads can read it when they get sick of combing through the classified ads and begging Dad for money and scraps of food. So let's see what made us glad and what made us sad about TV this week in this special Dads n' Grads edition FTW vs. WTF!
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't finished watching this week's new episodes (of Game of Thrones, Fargo, Orphan Black, etc.), we suggest that you hold off on reading this story until you do.
John Oliver rants about net neutrality—and gets results—with an internet troll battle cry
As John Oliver pointed out at the top of his full report on the topic, net neutrality can be dull to explain. But the Last Week Tonight host provided a solid survey of the issue, covering everything from corporate lobbying to the Tom Wheeler appointment ridiculousness to cable companies' double-talk about information speeds. And all that would've been swell—but then he took things to the next level by addressing the entire internet and enlisting its trolls to flood the FCC with comments about the proposed rules:
His marching orders to "do some f*cking karate" in the name of "preventing cable-company f*ckery" managed to crash the FCC's commenting system. And while it wasn't on the scale as Stephen Colbert's Super PAC takedown, the result demonstrated Oliver's possible reach and influence, and we can all be thankful for that.
Orange Is the New Black is ready for your binge
The highly anticipated second season of Netflix's women's-prison drama dropped on Friday and if you had the superhuman ability to watch only one or two episodes, then you are stronger than we are because Season 2 was built for gorging. Stories evolve more thoroughly than they did in Season 1, making each installment better than the last. After a strong first season without much pre-air hype, OITNB didn't have the advantage of the element of surprise in Season 2, so it had to work that much harder—and it came out even better.
Game of Thrones breaks our hearts once again... and it hurts so good
The big brawl between the Mountain and the Red Viper to prove Tyrion's innocence was one of the series' best scenes, and in keeping with Game of Thrones' flair for messing with its fans, killed off one of Season 4's best characters. With a splat and a crunch, the Mountain popped Oberyn Martell's head like an overripe zit, even after it appeared Oberyn had won. Why did you have to deliver the victory speech before you confirmed the victory, Oberyn? Only dumb villains in movies do that! Oberyn's gory demise was sickening to watch—so difficult, in fact, that we've only watched it about a thousand times. Four seasons into this show, we're still shocked by its surprising character deaths... and we're also starting to enjoy them in some sick, twisted way.
Silicon Valley dives into the mathematics of crowd-jerking
With the guys' TechCrunch Disrupt presentation in shambles, Erlich vowed to win the cup for Pied Piper even if it meant he'd have to manually bring every attendee to climax (a fancy way of saying "jerk them off"). But the logistics of such a feat posed a puzzle that these left-brained nerds couldn't let lie, so instead of working on a new strategy to win the competition, they fell down a rabbit hole of problem-solving to devise a scheme that would allow Erlich to handle all 800 dicks in the auditorium in just 10 minutes. It was complicated, crass, and one of the funniest things we've seen all year.
The new Lester Nygaard and his big decision
Halfway through "The Heap," Fargo jumped forward a year to reveal a pregnant Molly and her happy postman husband Gus, as well as a new and improved Lester Nygaard with more swagger than a man twice his size. The made-over man we saw developing before the time travel, this Lester was a ladies' man, the 2007 Insurance Salesman of the Year, and as alpha as F. He could take on anything and anyone. Except maybe one man, Lorne Malvo, who put Lester on his current path. And when Lester saw Malvo man in Vegas, he froze and reached a point of difficult decision-making: How does he approach Malvo, if he even approaches him at all?
Brett Gelman brings his weird to @midnight
Tim is a huge Brett Gelman (you know, Mr. K from Go On, Brett from Eagleheart) fan, and Comedy Central's nightly game show actually let the weirdo stop by on Thursday (watch the episode here). Naturally, his first gag was to get his foot stuck in a trash can and prance around the stage before shouting "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" in what we're guessing was a tribute to Chevy Chase's Gerald Ford impression. And here's how he captioned a bad engagement photo of a couple posing with unicorn: "This woman and this horse with a dick on its head has put a spell on me." All that AND the brilliant and dapper Paul F. Tompkins was one of Gelman's fellow guests, making for a rousing time all around.
Holy Tilda Swinton! Orphan Black's new clone is... Tony?
The show's ongoing exploration of identity reached a whole new level in "Variable and Full of Perturbation" with the introduction of transgender clone Tony. In addition to a new credit on Tatiana Maslany's resume, the character adds yet another layer to the series' complex premise, which tackles the question of who and what makes us individuals. The fact that Tony had already experienced a gender-based identity crisis meant that he took the news that he's a clone fairly well, making his debut both important and understated in the perfect way.
Starz's Power is more electric than you'd expect
The debut of the premium cable network's new drama flew extremely under the radar and the pilot ran through a slew of familiar beats, but you know what? It was still pretty good. Omari Hardwick is really, really great as a conflicted drug dealer who's trying to go straight, and the supporting cast is full of capable, entertaining performers (well, at least until 50 Cent shows up in Episode 2).
Sing Your Face Off: The gimmick that keeps on giving (whether you want it to or not)
This ABC reality show quietly debuted last Saturday night (a summer reality show on a Saturday night? Yikes!) and the premise sounds like something cooked up during a 3am Jaegermeister binge: semi-celebrities (including Jon Lovitz, Sebastian Bach, and NBA player Landry Fields) are transformed into music icons (including Elton John, Lionel Ritchie, and Rihanna) and then they sing a song (that's Jon Lovitz as Sir Elton John in the pic). The makeup, wardrobe, and celebrities' efforts are all impressive, but if you want to see a show pass its expiration date about 10 minutes into its run, give Sing Your Face Off .a shot. Why is John Barrowman hosting this garbage?
Halt and Catch Fire doesn't catch on
Something fishy is going on with AMC's new period piece. The network gave the computer-revolution drama a gimmicky pre-launch preview on Tumblr, and the result was a mere 1.2 million audience stat for the first episode. On top of that, AMC only screened one episode for critics, leaving us mostly in the dark about the potential quality of the series. The pilot was solid with a few frustrating parts, and reviews were mostly positive. So what gives, AMC? Do you not want people to watch this show or what?
Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wives Big Brother is going HD
It's kind of nuts that the long-running CBS reality series hasn't ever been presented in definition before now, but when you start to think about all the gross things that happen in that house, it starts to make sense. Are we sure the world is ready for full-blown HD shots of insane, bored houseguests?
Adam Scott and Alison Brie's Smirnoff ads
Individually, the three things that make up Smirnoff's new ad campaign are pretty great: Parks and Recreation's Adam Scott, Community's Alison Brie, and alcohol (though admittedly we're more fond of bourbon around these parts). But together, they're like a tall glass of warm vodka and soy sauce. This campaign has been running for a while now, but it's started to grate on us so much that we just couldn't not mention it. Alison Brie's doe-eyed ditz is a sad low for one of television's rising stars, but it's Adam Scott as a smug expert on moderately priced vodka that's the biggest drag. Get over yourself, Smirnoff!
Louie gets handsy—too handsy—with Pamela
Louis C.K. loves to make us feel uncomfortable, and usually he pulls it off to great effect. But "Pamela Pt. 1" featured what was pretty clearly sexual assault when Louie physically grabbed his friend (and on-again-off-again crush) and held her against her will in a sequence that was obviously meant to be scary. C.K. is smart enough not to do this sort of thing just for shock value, and we'd bet a dollar that as this arc continues, the payoff will soften the blow. But right now? We're like, "What the F was that, Louie?"
Penny Dreadful gets drunk, goes to the theater
It wasn't terrible or AHEM dreadful (sorry, that was terrible and dreadful), but the fourth episode of Showtime's supernatural mash-up must've forgetten to take its Ritalin or something, because it sure lacked focus. Ethan downing absinthe was a predictable montage of nonsensical imagery and the long monster play was just that: long. Oddly enough, it feels like the show has lost its human angle with Proteus's death.
Comedy Bang! Bang!'s "series finale" disappoints
We LOVE Comedy Bang! Bang! and were super excited for this week's episode, which was presented as the series finale from the future. But sadly, it squandered its potential. The addition of Jenny Lewis (meow!) as the pregnant bandleader replacement for Reggie was nice, but the episode didn't do much else with what should've been a fantastic premise; only Zach Galifianakis's face saved it from being a major flop.
24 needs to get its moles checked
Hey, it's not a season of 24—not even a shorter "event" season, of 24—without an out-of-the-blue reveal regarding a MOLE in some government agency. Six episodes into Live Another Day, the show simply couldn't hold back any longer, giving us the all-too-familiar twist that Benjamin Bratt's Navarro is, almost inexplicably, a mole. 24, everybody!
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? The Season 2 finale of Inside Amy Schumer? The season premieres or Longmire and Mistresses? Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!
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