The week before Labor Day is one of the slowest in the business as network executives power up for the fall season by drinking the blood of television writers and rewatching Work It and Alcatraz to get inspired for new ideas. It's also after a lot of summer finales and before a lot of fall premieres, so repeats and reality rule the air. Throw in the fact that several shows that are running skip the week because of the holiday and most of us are thinking about our vacation to Chico, California, and you've got one sluggish period. What we're saying is, this is all an excuse for a shorter edition of FTW vs. WTF, so blame your calendar and the Secretary of Holiday Planning, not us! Still we persist, and we've gone through the week in television with a medium-toothed comb and listed what we thought was good and bad in this week in television.
When we look back on the ridiculously curvy and confusing timeline of ABC Family's mysterious guilty pleasure Pretty Little Liars, it's probably a fair assessment to say the series has had its ups and downs. And this summer's half-season was mostly one big downhill slide to snoozeville. The Ashley-Marin-Is-a-Murderer plot was boring (Sydney Andrews deserves better), Toby and his Sad Box of Memories really killed the momentum, and Aria's new boyfriend Jake was super lame for someone who was supposed to teach martial arts (or whatever). But the series set Twitter on fire Tuesday night when it was "revealed" that totally-adorable-but-kind-of-boring-English-teacher Ezra Fitz, who prefers readings at coffee houses and wearing vests to work, might actually have been A all along. Bravo, PLL, you've got the Internet talking about you again. Now, just tell us it's not true.
This week's Drunk History on Comedy Central was superb (as always), especially since they took on a broader theme rather than a specific city to inspire the historical lessons this week (we moseyed through The Wild West this week). They've been hitting it out of the park since the series began, and as we've got fingers crossed for Season 2 are very much looking forward to stories tied to more abstract historical motifs.
[SPOILERS] We knew it was going to be awesome, but the truth about Alec's lineage and his ability to go from puppy to overlord-in-training in like ten seconds, PLUS Liber8 being right (like Magneto!) and Kiera's new digs in what's basically a display case really amped what was already a great season up. What do you mean we have to wait until 2014 to find out what happens?
God help the little guy. Jesse's been vacillating between numb and nearly catatonic for so long now, any amount of emotion would be enough to shock the audience back into feeling all of his feels but the action was so engrossing. The pieces falling together in his head, the raw and bestial need for retribution, the dumping of the gasoline all over the place to connect the past with what we know of "the present." If Jesse isn't the one standing on the ashes of all this (literally or figuratively) by the end of the series, this world has no justice. The show is making the case that Walter is the worst living human, especially when its complicated by his plan to keep Hank at bay with his clever "Hank is the Meth Empire Mastermind" play. But, seriously, who still burns stuff to CD/DVD anymore? We're using those things as coasters.
Ever since the super-hot, super-racist Aaryn started spouting off early in this summer's edition of Big Brother the audience has been waiting for her elimination. Not just because she deserves to lose a dumb reality show, but because of the possibilities the exit interview could bring. Aaryn lasted much longer in the house than most would have guessed after she attacked all the minorities in sight, but that seemingly gave Big Brother host Julie Chen more time to prep real questions. After Aaryn tried to pass off her remarks in the typical fashion–"out of context," "I don't remember saying those things"–Chen surprisingly came back with pointed follow-ups that allowed Aaryn to dig herself into a bigger hole. It's not the best comeuppance someone like Aaryn deserves–and there's more to follow when she learns she's lost her job–but it's honestly more than we thought we'd see from the show and its host.
He was dressed as Liberace. And it was awesome.
In only its eighth episode of its first season, the murder mystery revealed the identity of the killer (we think). So that's good. But the killer's sudden change to make all the slaughter about personal vendettas takes a lot away from the socio-political drama that got us into the series in the first place. FTWTF, The Bridge?
For those of you who follow Sister Wives on TLC (AND WE DO), Robyn, fifth wife and polygamist incapable of enunciating a 'T,' told a family of children ages 6-17 a fable about giving your purity away that closely paralleled her own sexual history, as discussed in a series of couch confessionals. Bonus WTF*ckery: she said on national TV she wishes her current husband, and not her ex, were her kids' biological dad. Uh... you're NEVER allowed to say that, lady!
Dear everyone blogging about, tweeting about, or generally watching Miley Cyrus's VMA performance. Seriously. Just stop. And she'll go away. You can't possibly want to see that meatless booty bounce. There's no way you're able to separate a "sexy" version of her from Hannah Montana. And even if you can, just go in a dark corner where no one can see you and look at the sideboob photos on HuffPo. Stop letting her into our Twitter/Tumblr feed. Here's a picture of a baby walrus instead.
David Morrissey, who plays The Governor in the AMC zombie drama, has been cast in the network's upcoming pilot Line of Sight. AMC insists that Morrissey is still a cast member on The Walking Dead. AMC also thinks that we are very, very stupid.
Not every show needs an after-show. Hell, no show needs an after-show. Who wants to watch a bunch of celebrities—especially when they're just random actors and not affiliated with the show, might I add—talk about what they thought about an episode of TV? Guess what? We care as much about what celebrities thought of last week's Breaking Bad as we care about their political opinions. In that we don't. At all. And you know who else thinks this is stupid? Benedict Cumberbatch.
We know that not all shows can close out like Breaking Bad, but there has to be a middle ground between that excitement and the boring, plodding mess that is the final run of Dexter. This final season hasn't been without good ideas, but almost every single one of them has been hacked off before developing or pushed aside for more thrilling stories like the rekindling of the Quinn-Deb sexual tension. There's still some time to right the ship, but it's not looking good at the moment.
Let me get this straight. Chester's Mill is under a magical dome, and just over a week in captivity, the citizens have resorted to entertaining themselves by fighting each other for sport with the winners walking off with rolls of paper towels and batteries? What about finding ways to survive? How about doing a little investigation into why the dome is here instead of punching your neighbor for some soda pop? How about, I don't know, not acting like idiots? This show has done a lot of stupid stuff. A LOT. But has there been anything stupider than this? (Trick question: the only answer is hell nah!)
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week?