ABC's Wednesday-night comedy block is the victory lap we take after the endurance marathon of Monday and Tuesday. But some of these runners are endorsed by Nike, with spicy new pedometers, and some of these runners are wearing shoes with soles made out of old tires and have a pair of children's pants tied around their heads to block the sun out of their super-dilated eyes. Let's call first, second, third, and BRONZE place with...
FOR THE WINSDAY!
The Middle: "The Concert" (S03E16)
Axl took a break this week and we focused on Brick entering a spelling bee and Sue scoring tickets. Has anyone alerted Paul Reubens to the existence of Brick? Kind of feel like a Pee-wee groupie stole one of his combs and cloned Brick from a tuft of shiny black hair. Okay, yes, I was genuinely touched by how after Frankie valiantly worked with Sue to get tickets, Sue wanted to go with a friend instead and Patricia Heaton teared up. Yes, that was well done. But Patricia, you are still wearing a wig! You are in poor-person drag! Sue is seriously growing on me, though, she is so unafraid and fearlessly commits to being a raw teen, it's like a much older wiser comedian is operating the body of a young girl. Sue, all the points this week go straight to you and P-Heat's tear ducts. (Everything above P-Hea'ts tear ducts: NOT OKAY.)
Final Score: 5.2
Suburgatory: "The Body" (S01E14)
Suburgatory is a heightened reality and it often stirs surreal humor into the mix, something I'm a sucker for. When Tessa ran against a pair of "Fit Twins" for class president, and their debate speech was an a Capella song about a wrestler sung into invisible microphones: You will not see that anywhere else. Only Suburgatory takes those kinds of chances.
This episode also let across-the-way jock Ryan take center stage, and let me just hold up my hands and holler some praise, Parker Young is basically Paul Newman with Homer Simpson coming out of his mouth. However, the weird funeral party for his torn ACL just confused me. And while he was living over at Tessa's house in his wheelchair, he could have interacted a couple times with Tessa. Plus I wanted a little more follow-up to Dallas being on the market than tooth whitening—like, say, a reaction from George. Missed opportunities equal point deductions.
Final Score: 7
Modern Family: "Aunt Mommy" (S03E15)
Gloria and Manny were the best part of the show last night, both with their genuinely sweet lucky penny collecting backstory and the physical comedy of Manny on his jazzy. The conceit of being torn over donating an egg was handled well until the Pritchett siblings climbed under a table. Have you tried to crawl under a table recently? It's UNPOSSIBLE. The last time I tried I almost strangled myself between a chair leg and a strappy sandal. Also, maybe this is just me but there were a LOT of talking-head confessionals this episode, and it felt a little bit like spackle. The episode was okay. Just okay.
Final Score: 6.5
Happy Endings: "Everybody Loves Grant" (S02E14)
High five to Happy Endings! The show continued a storyline from the Valentine's Day episode. I love on-camera continuity. A courtship blossomed between Max and Grant that extended right on to the rest of the group when they (alongside the audience) fell in love with guest-star James Wolk. There were some standalone hard laughs this episode (like Alex practically purring while thinking about the sound of chicken bones in her drain) and Damon Wayans Jr.'s physical comedy in practically every scene. Much like its actors, this show is just so beautiful to look at I am constantly shocked by how funny it can be. My sole complaint is that the "m" word joke (mopportunity! mappetizers!) was about three lines too long. That's not a complaint, you say? Fair enough! No deduction!
Final Score: 7.1
Overall Average: 6.5
Whoa whoa whoa! Can Happy Endings be stopped? A tip of the hat to our as-yet undefeated CHAMPION, leading the way across the finishing line in shiny new Nikes, fluorescent colored running shorts, and a silvery arm band in which to put its iPod! But watch out, Happy Endings—Suburgatory is nipping at your heels and only a fraction of a point behind!
(AND for those who joined us last week, I averaged your scores from the comments: The Viewer's Choice Win still goes to Happy Endings with a solid 8.3! If you rate three or four shows in the comments, I will average your picks to calculate next week's Viewer’s Choice Win!)
... Does Patricia Heaton favor boys over girls in real life or just as Frankie?
... Tessa wears layers, but aren't they also TIGHT layers?
... Why hasn’t Surburgatory given Dallas and George a moment yet to discuss her separation?
... Are you sad to not have seen more Dahlia in the last two episodes? Did she get cast in a movie or something?
... Would raising Claire’s egg be a perfect solution for Cam and Mitchell or just kind of icky?
... What were your own rankings for the week's episodes?