It was so nice of winter to flare up just as the Winter Olympics began so that while we watch all these athletes skiing and skating and curling in Russia, all this snow will make us feel like we're there. But let's hope that all the deplorable conditions we've been hearing about stay put in Sochi, and that all our drinking water remains drinkable and all our stray dogs remain unslaughtered. And let's definitely pray that Sochi doesn't have its own version of FTW vs. WTF, because knowing the reputation that city has developed over the last week, we fear that their FTWs would be Sean Saves the World marathons and Mario Lopez. Anyway, here's what we thought was rad and sad from the past seven days in television.
The kittens won the animal-bowl match-up, paws-down
Hallmark Channel's rookie Super Bowl diversion featuring miniature cats romping on a fake football field proved to be way more entertaining than Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl, National Geographic's Fish Bowl, and even Fox's Human Bowl. Unapologetically stuffed with feline puns and goofy hosts who were game for anything, the kitten version of the Big Game divided its baby animals into teams based on color, gave them awesome football-related names ("Meowshawn Lynch," "Tomcat Brady," "Terry Bradclaw"), and had actual rules that led to an offensive explosion. Also, cats are way better than dogs. (Dog people, please address any and all pro-canine responses to cat-lover Tim, he wrote this.)
Some guy named Jamie Casino made the best Super Bowl ad of all
This two-minute spot only aired in Georgia, but it's way too awesome to be confined to just one state. Casino laid out his transformation from a seedy defense lawyer to a defender of the innocent and protector of the powerless in way too dramatic fashion. We can't wait for him to put that Budweiser puppy on trial for inappropriate inter-species relations.
Benedict Cumberbatch visited Sesame Street to solve his cutest case yet
Who knew Murray was such a huge Sherlock fan? The furry red Muppet morphed into "Murray-arty" when Cumberbatch dropped by, and challenged his impeccably dressed guest with quite a puzzle. As a result, we suspect the Cumberbatch Army will be gaining quite a few new recruits; Cumberbatch's first step was to teach them how to count, but we all know that after counting comes Tumblring, and squeeing, and other made-up verbs that only make sense to people under the age of 15.
Stiles Stilinski is a WHAT?
Remember when Teen Wolf was just a fun, campy show about hunky werewolves that didn't rip out our hearts and ruin our lives by transforming its most fun and lovable character into something evil/something possessed by something evil/a firefly killer? Those were good times. But these are GREAT times. The final twist of "Silverfinger" was Teen Wolf at its best.
Cohle and Hart's car chats are already a Tumblr meme
We've been grooving on True Detective, and the conversations between its lead detectives as they drive all over town have been a particular highlight. Given Cohle's philosophical replies to even the most mundane of queries, it was only a matter of time before someone mimicked his style and applied it to popular culture in meme-friendly form.
Elementary's non-homicide B-plot
We've been hoping for a case that doesn't involve a death—gory or otherwise—for a while now. "Corpse de Ballet" did include a grisly murder (a ballerina had her throat cut, and then she was bisected!), but the "Joan investigates on her own" storyline focused on hunting down a homeless veteran who had, in fact, been abducted by his family and locked in a basement so they could collect his disability checks. That Joan busted up this kidnapping-and-fraud ring (the family had two other hostages in captivity) seemed to earn Sherlock's respect, so maybe we'll get a corpseless A-plot sooner rather than later.
Is Reign the next Sleepy Hollow?
Seriously, so much crazy stuff is happening on that show right now! Heads are getting chopped halfway off! A disfigured princess is running loose in the castle! Pagan soul balls are being concealed in underskirts! (You might just need to see it to believe it.) This week's "Inquisition" was amazing because of all the things we just listed; Reign is showing us concepts we've never seen before (a Pagan soul ball full of hair?) while still managing to be a thoughtful and fully rounded depiction of female characters. If you're not watching yet, you're missing out.
The Big Bang Theory's big kiss
It was on the lips and everything! And Sheldon liked it.
The Tomorrow People reveals one mother of a twist
In the last episode before a mini-hiatus, the freshman drama turned interesting for the first time in a while with a nice twist involving Stephen's mom, Marla (Sarah Clarke). SPOILER: She's a Tomorrow Person. Duh. It's just the kind of nutty surprise a show like this needs.
Amazon's pilot for Transparent
It takes a while to find a groove, but the surprise detail we can't talk about here is totally worth it. The new dramedy about a family that's upended by an unexpected announcement is in contention to become one of Amazon's next original series, it looks like the second coming of Six Feet Under, and it stars Jeffrey Tambor in what might be his best role yet. The best part? You can watch it for free right now and then take part in the democratic process to get it made into a full-fledged series.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is on the right "T.R.A.C.K.S."
We don't want to take all the credit for the series turning in one of its best episodes to date just hours after we suggested fixes for some of its lingering problems, but we're definitely happy that things seem to be looking up. Agent Ward is finally showing signs of being an actual human, and the attention the show is paying to ongoing story arcs is definitely a sign of progress. HOWEVER: What was up with Stan Lee's cameo? The comic legend's appearances in Marvel films work best when they're a blink-and-you'll-miss-'em moments, or scenes where he only has to say a few words. His role on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. not only gave him too many lines, but too many hussies hanging on his arms. Less is more, people!
Party at Captain Holt's house!
Brooklyn Nine-Nine's post-Super Bowl episode was fine, but Tuesday's "The Party" was one of its best yet. The members of the Nine-Nine were hilariously out of their element at Captain Holt's highbrow birthday soiree, and change of setting was an excellent way for the show to really underscore the quirks and characteristics that each of its ensemble players brings to the table: Gina is a psychological anomaly/wonder, Jake eats crab wrong, Terry's obsessed with French New Wave cinema, etc. Plus, we got to meet the captain's husband, Kevin Cozner! And it turns out that Holt is the funny one in the relationship! Good stuff.
Black Sails' Pirate Sunglasses
Yep, that's a pirate in some dope sunglasses. Historically this is entirely inaccurate, but look how cool he is!
Jay Leno's Tonight Show watch is ended
The oft-maligned comedian was far from edgy, and his last week of shows was generally underwhelming and even kind of pitiful at times. BUT: No one can deny that Leno was incomparably committed to his craft, and the guy was number one in late night for two decades. That has to count for something, and his emotional goodbye on Thursday evening was not only touching to watch, but totally earned.
Juan Pablo soils the sea and then shames the slut
The Bachelor's Spanish stud continued his downward spiral from smooth sweetheart to the scourge of American women this week when he ocean-boned Clare in the warm Vietnamese waters and then had the gall to call her out for what happened, because it was irresponsible behavior for his daughter to see. Clare was completely devastated after being so open with Juan Pablo; meanwhile, he moved on to feeling up other contestants. Dude, if you want to set a good example for Camila: DON'T GO ON THE BACHELOR, PERIOD. This guy is a total dirtbag.
How I Met Your Mother's "Sunrise" burned us bad
The episode absolutely had to happen in order for the series to move several of its ongoing plots forward, but it was executed so poorly that it made our skin peel instead of letting us bask in its warmth. We're willing to forgive Barney's relapse into Bro-ney and Marshall's ghost-fighting, but we just can't overlook that terrible final scene, when Robin floated up into the sky like a damn balloon as Ted finally let her go. A note to all TV writers: Please believe your viewers are smart enough to understand a metaphor without actually bashing them over the head with it.
The Top Chef finale was a travesty
We understand that reality TV is heavily constructed and edited, and thus we never get the full story of what goes down but what the hell was going on at that judges table? It seemed like the panel was dead-locked in the final culinary showdown between Nicholas and Nina, even though Tom and Gail—but especially Tom, good grief—were pushing for Nicholas while Emeril and Hugh seemed to be siding with Nina. That the judges, in their post-air discussions, seemed unable to articulate why they settled on Nicholas leads us to believe that Tom just bullied everyone into the decision so they could all get back to their hotel rooms.
AMC Orders a reality show about arena football, starring Gene Simmons
The LA Kiss are a real football team about to kick off their inaugural season, and yep, they're owned by KISS members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. Now cameras will be following what's sure to be quite a circus for a docu-series about what goes on behind the scenes of an arena football team named the LA Kiss that's owned by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. You're only encouraging these things, AMC.
Some celebrities should've just kept quiet about Phillip Seymour Hoffman's death
When I think "tragedy", I think of St Judes, of genocide, of articles I read in the paper. But, yes, either way, a death, is sad.— Jared Padalecki (@jarpad) February 2, 2014
Jared Padalecki called Hoffman's death "stupid," tried to fauxpoligize, and just ended up looking like a bigger ass. LeVar Burton joked about dying without pants on. Look, a really talented dude died because he failed to overcome an addiction he struggled with for literal decades, and now his three young kids are fatherless. Regardless of your personal feelings about the circumstances surrounding Hoffman's death, if you can't think before tweeting something hurtful—especially if you've got legions of young, impressionable followers—maybe you should do your PR person and favor and lose your iPhone for a few days.
Nashville's attempt to clean up its messes is actually making things messier
What's with the ongoing TV trend of Character A sitting by and watching as Character B dies, huh? This week, Teddy looked on as Lamar suffered a heart attack and did nothing to try to save his life. We're glad Nashville is attempting to erase its weakest links so it can be the fun soapy drama about country music we all want it to be, but that was just cruel. (P.S. Teddy's gotta be the next one to bite it, right?)
Someone stole Ben and Leslie's love lock!
Remember when, in Parks and Recreation's 100th episode, Ben surprised Leslie with a trip to Paris, and then while they were there, they snapped a lock onto the famous Pont Neuf bridge? Well some jerk took it! A fan of the show who recently stopped by to see the memento posted evidence of the lock's disappearance to Tumblr, and we absolutely agree with her statement that "whoever you are, super hardcore Parks fan, you suck."
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week?