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

'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.


FTW



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.



WTF



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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I was told to comment if I knew that Johnny Galecki was in Christmas Vacation.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Thanks
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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.
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Grey's Anatomy: Baileys Wedding attitude
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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.
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FTW: TBBT: Dungeons and Dragons Christmas Style :) Sheldon singing that carol was awesome! :)
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.
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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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Supplemental FTW: Michael Eric Dyson pointing out the implication of "That sort of thing doesn't happen here" being that there are places where incidents like the Connecticut shootings "should" happen.
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How's what happened on Take It All any different from what happened on Bachelor Pad? The winner is supposed to feel bad for winning? It doesn't sound like she cheated.
FTW: "Skinny, white, and a scurge to the Black community." WTF: All the misinformation the the media put out about the Connecticut shootings. They should have taken their time and gotten the facts right (sourcing) the first time (i.e., how old the shooter was, where the mother was shot). The typical TV reactions to the Connecticut shootings: "The children need to talk about it"; "There's absolutely no explanation for this": "Words can't describe.."; and that old standard, "That sort of thing doesn't have here." If "words can't describe," why are you on TV talking? Go mourn in private. And at this point, if you think crime can't happen anywhere, you're a moron. By the way, way to trivialize whatever point you were trying to make, staff, with the stupid emoticons.
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This is the same news media that for a couple of days, kept showing Trevon Martin's picture as some 11-year-old prepubescent kid.

Seriously, a lot of people I was talking to was like "That monster shot a scrawny a 9-year old". I'm like "Ummm. No"

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I have to agree with your emoticons comment. Surely there is a better and more appropriate way to express sadness in the wake of such a horrific tragedy.
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Klaus has always been a cool villain but those last scenes proved that he was a grade A badass. Just the look on his face as he killed the hybrids with that sword and when he killed Mrs. Lockwood, all business.
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FTW: Watching John and Harold give Bear a bath on POI LOL
FTW: The surprising twist at the end of POI with John pulling the "I am Spartacus," routine.
FTW: The awesome mystery on Elementary and thumbs up for Watson finally finding her true calling.
FTW: FRINGE salute to Monty Python.
FTW: TBBT just for the Bell scene alone.
WTF: The Maggot episode of Criminal Minds. One Word GROSS!!!!!
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Breaking Abbey was the best thing this week and perhaps for the upcoming weeks too.
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FTW:
-KLAUS!!! No questioning it, Klaus rocked the hell out of the episode and the massacring of the hybrids to an acoustic version of O'Holy Night was so haunting I had goosebumps. Someday Joseph Morgan is going to end up on a real show that would be considered for an Emmy and he will win. Because he is just that good.
-Parenthood. Yeah Kristina's stuff was sad even though we knew she wasn't going to die. But Crosby was great trying to wrangle up naked Nora and deal with unfiltered Max. Matt Lauria made my heart ache for him. Zeek and Adam's scene at the hospital was specttacular.
-Scandal. I'm a Huck fan so him getting focus worked for me. Things are unraveling, lines have been drawn, loyalties are being tested...anguish is everywhere. It was good.
-Person of Interest. I've loved the evolution of the relationships on this show, along with the good ole fashion action. Reese saying goodbye to Finch again just in case. His looking out for Carter and her trying to look out for him. Finch looking out for them all and Fusco getting deeper into this HR business. Bear being the awesomest pet on tv right now. And all ending with Reese in jeopardy. Loved it.
WTF:
-I agree, it's hard not to put Conneticut down. But if we must find a way to make it fit to tv viewing, how about we talk about the reporters. Interviewing 7 yr olds as they're coming out of the school and asking questions they just shouldn't be asking. Traumatized youth. It was and is despicable.
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FTW: FRINGE!

Walter's Monty Python inspired LSD trip was one of the most crazily awesome sequences Fringe has ever done. Even though "Black Blotter" only increnentally progressed the plot with so little time remaining (4 episodes left - GAH!), it served as reminder that Fringe has always been a master of the odd and absurd. We still have burning questions that need answering before the last hit of acid is dropped, but I wouldn't trade Walter tripping little green fairy balls for the world (both of 'em).
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How great was the montage of Walter's past playing in the lab at the end of the episode!?
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My biggest FTW this week may be James Van Der Beek's dancing during his faux-Dancing with the Stars faux-rehearsal in Don't Trust the B in Apt 23. That whole end tag -- including the way he intro'd the clip of his whole dance -- was hilarious.
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I thought the tag to that episode was lazy. These leftover episodes of DTTBIA23 are stale.
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Been loving most of those Vacation Old Navy ads, all except the terribly-edited one where random characters (boyfriends of the Audreys perhaps) are just standing in the living room, that one is a huge miss.

I can see why this FTW/WTF is so thin, I just looked through my watch history this week and nothing was a standout too far into either territory.

Perhaps if you guys are too busy to do another article next week, you should open it up to the readers and turn it into a thumbs-up slugfest (or a poll).
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A woman steals from Santa Claus and celebrates it on Take it All
Wtf!? Is wrong with that "teacher"? What kind of example is she making to her students, the guy made a passionate speech about being cut of the same cloth, that they both win very little, and could always use some extra cash, she basically said nothing and then took all the money and celebrated like she had worked for it, what a lousy excuse of a woman and a show...
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Yeh, she went on this preachy "you were mean to me" rant and acted like a sweet thing all the way through. I just knew she was going to pull that.

Personally though, it's probably the only smart thing to do.
If you bet "Share it" and the other guy doesn't then he takes it all.
If you bet "Take it All" and the other guy does too, it's a nice "screw you" to him.

Episodes like the one you mention just reinforce that people are jerks. At least the follow-up one was nice though... the two young guys with mommy-issues both picked "share it" and walked away with their own stuff.
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It's the classic Prisoner Dilemma from what I gather.

Trust usually plays a big part in that dilemma. I've actually participated in tests which doctoral students where doing research on this thing but it was larger scale with more people. But the principle was the same.

It's simply the best course of action of try and screw the other guy. But, if there's trust and team spirit among participants then, the maximum result for the GROUP would be to share. However, noone is ever sure that the other will share :) Fun stuff
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Look-up the British original Golden Balls on YouTube, plenty of other people make these kinds of speeches and then steal the money.
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I didn't totally hate it but the unsubtle Monty Python style cartoons on Fringe has to be a WTF for me.
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did you get the order in reverse there and mean FTW, lol. Definitely a FTW moment for mine.
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