Summer is approaching, and as the body thrills to the warm zephyrs of spring the nasal passages clog with the pollen of the blossoming flora. Sometimes you need to spend a warm windy night inside your house watching TV so you can just BREATHE DAMN IT, or you can always resort to often-addictive allergy medications, as there are a wide-ranging group of competing brands available. Competitive pills that offer relief, much like the competing comedies that side-by-side make up our midweek ABC comedy block and offer a refuge from the pollen drenched air that hangs just outside your door. But which of these television capsules will clear your mind and ready you for the rigors of the coming week, and which will plunge you into a hazy slumber that drowns your brain with dark fuzz? Pull out your Consumer Reports surveys, we’ve swallowed the pills, now let’s evaluate their effects in the clear light of...FOR THE WINSDAY!!!
The Middle: "The Telling"
Sue's crazy friend with the huge mouth who wouldn't stop singing is great. Sue leading the way with her naturalism. Did y'all know Patricia Heaton worked at a car dealership? Also, Chris Kattan is a minor character on this show now? I guess he has a mortgage just like everybody else. Every week I watch this and cover it but I don't think anyone is watching this show anymore, which is ironic because since I've started watching it, I've actually grown to enjoy it very much—more than I thought I would. So while I could tell you the episode revolved around Frankie getting information from Brick about Sue and Axel by plying him with candy cigarettes while trying to frantically sell cars at work, instead I'll say that Frankie and Mike decided to investigate the local swinger's circle at an ORGY conducted at a mattress store after hours and now Frankie may be carrying the BABY of a thousand-thousand MANIACS and Axel started HUSTLING down at the library to collect money for a BUS ticket to Hollywood. NOW do I have your attention? NOW will you watch this show next week? Probably not.
Suburgatory SEASON FINALE: “The Motherload”
What a weird ending to the season. After weeks of absurdist flourishes, an overall upbeat tone, and gently subversive poking at suburban living, the season ended with Tessa crying in her car on Mother’s Day, and then hinted she might run away with her grandma after being disappointed both by The Village Voice and George’s weird alternative living arrangement with super-gross Eden. Not that any of us would blame her, but this show has kept Tessa’s psychological traumas so far at the periphery of the show, I was amazed that they were brought front and center for such an ambiguous, depressing ending. Ryan being adopted also adds a sad layer to the favoritism accorded him in the Shay household. There were so many cut-glass moments last night (“Cinderelly,” golden tennis shoes, Yakult appearing as a vision), and yet the finale left a bad taste in my mouth. It wasn’t the dark emotionality at the ending, it was the ambiguity. Not quite a cliffhanger, but certainly not a climax.
Modern Family: “Tableau Vivant”
Ummm...Arrested Development did this, right, with the episode about the “Pageant of the Masters” event or whatever? I mean, the frozen family photo bit was FUNNY but a lot of money and effort for a middle school art project and let’s face it, it was blatantly cribbed from AD. The tone last night, especially with Mitchell caught in the elevator, seemed weirdly super-sitcom to me. A stuck elevator, really? When someone who's been fired is caught inside? Sure. Fine. And on top of that frantic grasp for conflict, I noticed everyone has Chandler Bing’s cadence on this show now except for Living Legend Sofia Vergara. Everyone talks like, “This is funny, shave and a haircut, two bits!” and it’s seriously wearing down my funny bone. Get it together, Modern Family.
Who’s That Big Old Bitch in Apartment 23?: "Casual Sex"
This show got racy and escalated June’s influence on Chloe for once instead of vice versa. Chloe had a hard time reenacting a sex tape with JVdB because she realized she felt something for him. Also, we got tons of steamy male objectification as “Soy Latte Guy” bared his abs again and again until June had no choice but to randily sex him up. As usual, the throwaway jokes stole the show. The returning Baptist Preacher is AMAZING and seeing that she'd gotten a nose job and was roasting chickens in her office after selling off the sex tape was over-the-top yet restrained. (How did they manage that? Cutaway edits and literally throwing away the joke as soon as they hit it. It takes a lot of class and instinct not to milk a funny concept but it's what makes this series sing.) I'm falling ever more in love with this show, although I prefer it when Chloe is cruel and sociopathic, I would hate for June to rub off on her too much.
So OBVS the bitches take the win.
Can these bitches be STOPPED?! It’s not merely the novelty, this series is just amazingly written and acted. I can't wait to see Happy Endings and The B---- go head-to-head next season, I feel like the presence of both in one comedy block would guarantee me ripped abs within a month from doubling up repeatedly with laughter. Seriously though, I do have some questions for you:
…Who here is watching The Middle?
…Did Suburg’s finale feel off to you or did you love the dark turn?
…Should Arrested Development sue Modern Family?
…Casual sex: A path to heaven or hell?!?!