We successfully and proudly vaulted over another hump day to reach the comedy horn o’ plenty laid out by ABC last night. But which episodes of the network's comedy block were soaring over the everyday sitcom tropes like angular pole vaulters arching heaven-ward, and which ones caught their chunky white sneakers on the lowest-slung hurdle and fell, quivering like jelly, in a half-hour nationwide face plant? Let’s get out our speedometers and sip some Gatorade while we get ready to place first, second, third, and LOSER, because it's...
FOR THE WINSDAY!
The Middle: “The Clover”
Did I miss something? Why does Brick keep repeating his lines to the ground in a whisper? Also, is he a little person? I mean that seriously, I am not trying to be offensive, little actors are seriously awesome. Just want to give him proper props. I thought the idea of taking the prom episode and giving us the guy’s perspective—the pressure of picking someone to ask, going stag, trying to wrap your head around what it all means—was fairly original and obviously I loved Sue’s prom dress. (It was like Disney Princess meets Welcome to the Dollhouse! Sue, I love you.) I also was impressed with how on-the-nose dealing with an elderly relative was, I was seriously cracking up with P-Heats taking the dog out for number three and trying to get her aunt to understand the phone...though she is the last person who should be making fun of someone wearing an unconvincing wig.
Suburgatory: “The Great Compromise”
Alicia Silverstone's Eden continued to be the most disgusting house guest in the world, upping the pleather-clog ante with goji berries for breakfast, a chia seed voice, and a fake meatloaf for dinner. I loved that the show shamed people who shame me for eating whatever the hell I want, and I also loved George telling Eden to shut up almost compulsively—amazing timing with that back-and-forth. Also everything Dahlia and Dallas said last night pertaining to the kangaroo and Carmen wearing medieval armor—you ladies slay me. I would watch Dahlia and Dallas talk for 45 hours straight if I could. (Crossover fantasy: Sue Heck goes on a road trip with Dahlia and Dallas?!) Also worth high-fiving the writers over: The archetypal teen romantic trope of looking back over your shoulder to see if he is looking at you being applied to Tessa looking back over her shoulder to see if her resume is being considered. Very subtle and girl powersy.
Modern Family: “Disneyland”
This was my favorite Modern Family ever. Maybe it’s the feel-good vibe that radiates from the center of my brain when I think of Disneyland, and obviously it’s a huge rare big deal for a show to film there (the show's DVD sales must be pretty swell to warrant that kind of permission). But I think it’s also that Disneyland is where families really are at their madcap best, it is a crucible in which people get generous and get real and hug and have breakthroughs and also act like total spazzes, so the show was able to get almost cartoonish yet still feel restrained and real because Disneyland is MAGIC! They used the park fully to its advantage, from unprecedented shots of people on rides and keeping it real about food prices and lines. Hayley’s Dapper Dan ex was hilarious and OMG when Jay brought Gloria those soft slippers, my heart honestly melted. I love the idea she’s cranky most of the time because she’s wearing eff-me pumps. Between that and Jay's surprisingly touching speech about staying together with his wife for his kids and being rewarded by the universe—it was an emotional Splash Mountain.
Don’t Even Tell Me You Trusted That Crusty Skank In Apt. 23: “Making Rent”
This episode charmed my socks off. It started strong with a weird, black-and-white dip into a rich lady’s inner monologue and then just kept taking more chances. The German roommate who’s never shown up before (and Chloe snarking that Germans don’t age well), Luther quoting from his play continually, and the jam cam... OMG the whole weird strawberry montage of the girls throwing strawberries at each other—it honestly blew me away. We already knew this show had the story-bone structure of a narrative supermodel, but for it to get so weirdly tangential and take these meta-editing chances is the equivalent of that gorgeous supermodel putting on her goofy pants and running brilliantly off at the mouth like Jenna Marbles. And yet it still managed to stay cruel—stalker neighbor fell fifty feet and June is getting savvier/corrupted by the city. (LOVED her parent’s homemade hairspray reference as they sat there with greasy, bedraggled locks.) I am thoroughly smitten with Van Der Beek, Ritter, Dreama Walker, and the whole gang. And the jam-filled tub/brilliant improvisation session by one-time “Birthday Boy” Michael “Mookie” Blaiklock was WELL worth sitting through credits.
So The Bitch bowled us over again! But there were strong showings across the board:
Modern Family came in second with 7
Suburgatory had 6.7
The Middle earned 6.2
Overall Score: 6.8!!!
So yeah, wow, I think this might be the best rated comedy block since comedy blocks started getting rated by me, myself and you. Am I getting dangerously generous with my marks or was this a stellar block? And most importantly, what did you think?
1. Is prom harder on guys than girls?
2. Is there someone in your life who makes you eat stupid things?
3. Kid-leashes: ridiculous or convenient?
4. Is Don’t Trust That Crusty Beeze YOUR new fave?
5. Should I bring back the Viewer’s Choice Blue Ribbon or are y’all cool just reading each other’s scores?