For having just lost an hour of sleep—don't forget to set your clocks forward, folks!—we're feeling pretty optimistic about television's last seven days. No joke, it's like the "WTF" is only here as a formality this week. So let's get right to it: Here's what we didn't like but mostly what we DID like about TV in the past half-fortnight.
Skip Bayless is the Michael Jordan of cocky, contrarian, loud-mouthed sports-talk jerks, and Seattle defensive back Richard Sherman let him know as much on the ESPN show First Take. Four minutes of glorious putdowns for one of the television personalities who deserves it the most.
Nathan Fielder attempts to help small business owners find success with unusual and silly tactics, but it's his deadpan humor and unexpected results that make this show one of Comedy Central's funnier new comedies. There's mad genius at work here; it's like the American version of Canada's The Jon Dore Show.
Michonne, Carl, and Rick got their best material of the season in "Clear," a perfect example of how good AMC's gorefest can be. Special shout-out to Lennie James for a fantastic performance as a broken man. And let's not forget about those brave, brave rats.
The ABC Family series did an entire episode with almost zero spoken dialogue, relying on the deaf characters' sign-language skills (and subtitles) and direction to set the tone. And it was riveting. Incredibly brave television done incredibly well; bravo, showrunner Lizzy Weiss.
Without much fanfare, Bob's Burgers has become simultaneously one of the funniest, sweetest, and weirdest sitcoms on TV, and an episode like "O.T. the Outside Toilet" proves why. A heap of ridiculousness built on an E.T. parody in which Jon Hamm guest-starred as a toilet—with AI and Neil Flynn as its mercenary pursuer—resulted in a tender portrayal of Gene's strange but heartfelt bond with said toilet, and the lengths to which the Belcher family will go to support one another.
He even writes new material for his promos! And with Louie off the air until 2014, we'll take every nugget we can get.
No, James Brolin wasn't quite Bill Murray, a common fantasy casting choice for Jeff's dad, but the much-criticized show managed to get Jeff's long-anticipated reunion with his father just right. Brolin and Joel McHale worked well together, and McHale delivered the appropriate combination of fear, pain, anger, and confidence in delivering what was perhaps the most important Winger speech of the character's life.
The show's "Stuff You Missed in History Class" podcast often touches on historical figures seen in popular TV shows, but perhaps the most interesting subject thus far has been Deadwood's Al Swearengen, given that the real-life version is even more absurd than the fictional one. Skip to Part 2 of the most recent installment to jump right to his time in the town of Deadwood, though truth be told, Part 1 is interesting too. Did you know that Swearengen served in the Civil War?
Dear Everyone Asking What I Want For My Birthday This Year,THIS EFFING HAT.Love,Damon twitter.com/DamonLindelof/…— Damon Lindelof (@DamonLindelof) February 27, 2013
It appears to have started with the tweet above and it's only escalated from there...
Yellow shiny spikes.I wear you golden love crown.Ooh baby baby.#BieberHatHaiku— Damon Lindelof (@DamonLindelof) February 28, 2013
Check out Lindelof's Twitter feed for plenty more where that came from
As Timberlake said, expectations for his fifth hosting turn were ridiculously high. But he delivered, as usual, and he did it with the help of some greats. Steve Martin! Candice Bergen! Dan Aykroyd! Nice work, SNL. Also: Stefon's Donald Duck impression deserves a prize.
The CW aims to be the network of the Young People (a group whose definition changes depending on when and why you ask CW executives) and often trumpets how successful their shows are on streaming platforms (you know, because the audience is so young and streets ahead). Yet, somehow, The CW just created official Twitter accounts for each of its shows—as in, on March 7, 2013. As much as we'd like to give the network any benefit of the doubt for its regular and generally funny failures, this weird move signals how misguided it can be.
Michael Schneider of TV Guide wrote an expose of NBC's disaster of a comedy, which has undergone more change than a Real Housewife's face. Among the behind-the-scenes proposals: a show that went back and forth between a single-camera comedy and a multicamera comedy when the series was shown from the baby's perspective and a show-within-the-show concept in which the stars were playing actors on a show called Up All Night. Will Arnett and Christina Applegate, you still didn't leave fast enough.
What's on your list of TV loves and hates for the week?