Spend all week tackling all your spring cleaning projects? Here's what you missed on TV.
A Peek At Perfection
On Saturday, April 21, Chicago White Sox pitcher Philip Humber pitched only the 21st perfect game of the modern baseball era, retiring 27 batters in a row without allowing a single one of them to reach first base. Now, I understand that the first rule about perfect games is that you don't talk about them while they're in progress, but Fox's baseball producers almost made a colossal blunder with this game by showing the Yankees blowing out the Red Sox over most of the country while ignoring this far more exciting game. Luckily, they did finally switch the national broadcast over in time to let everyone see Humber's crowning career achievement.
Biting The Hand That Feeds
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of a network that most observers assumed was doomed when it first began, Fox ran a snoozy two-hour self-celebration that didn't focus enough on the irreverent, experimental spirit that made its name. You can always count on The Simpsons to inject a bit of subversive spunk into the proceedings, however. After re-running the show's very first episode on April 22, its producers added a special note to the end credits: "Congratulations Fox on 25 years...we still love you.* (*This doesn't include Fox News.)"
You know it's a disappointing season of The Amazing Race when the last likeable team is eliminated and you're left with just the annoying people. It happened too soon (season 20/episode 9) with the elimination of can-do Kentuckians Bopper and Mark, who were felled by Bopper's knee injury and Mark's complete inability to master a Bollywood dance routine. When the least objectionable team left is the Big Brother "showmance" of personality-free Brendan and whiny Rachel, the season is a wash.
Roger Takes A Trip
Now that Mad Men (season 5/episode 6) is in 1966, we knew that someone would be experimenting with hallucinogenics, but who expected it would be Roger (John Slattery)? Grumpily going along with wife Jane's (Peyton List) desire to explore psychedelics, Roger ends up a potentially changed man, leaving his troubled marriage behind and seemingly facing his future with a new outlook.
Finding The Spark
Dermot Mulroney leaves his story arc on New Girl when Russell fights with his ex-wife Uli (Jeanne Tripplehorn) in such a way that Jess (Zooey Deschanel) realizes he still has a spark with his ex that he doesn't have with her. After they split, Jess and Nick (Jake Johnson) have a similarly charged argument, although because it's Jess and Nick, it ends with them manically wiggling their butts at each other.
The Campaign's Opening Shots
President Obama appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Tuesday night. Nothing new about that: leading politicians have been visiting the late night circuit for years now. But his political opponents ginned up some manufactured outrage when Obama took part in Fallon's regular Slow Jam The News sketch, when he joined Jimmy and the Roots in an R&B-driven discussion of capping student loan interest rates. Funny, I don't recall these folks being outraged recently when Mitt Romney delivered a Top 10 List on The Late Show With David Letterman.
The Girls Can't Help It
Once again, promos teased that the female alliance on Survivor was on the verge of collapsing, but although the arrogant Troy was sure he had successfully exploited a fracture between the women, he was bounced from the competition. With the weird but harmless Tarzan the only man left on the island, and certain to go home very soon, it's looking like there's going to be an all-female final three. I predict Kim, Chelsea and Sabrina, with Chelsea taking the million bucks.
The Best Comedy On Television
With steadily-increasing ratings and sky-high buzz, Community has done well since its return to the lineup. It rewarded its faithful fans this week with one of its funniest-ever episodes. Titled "Basic Lupine Urology," it was a start-to-finish, note-perfect parody of a Law and Order episode, complete with an unexpected twist ending where minor character Star-Burns (Dino Stamatopoulos) was killed off-screen when his car-based meth lab exploded. But my favorite joke is in the episode title: bear in mind that Law and Order's creator is named Dick Wolf.
Live From New York!
30 Rock performed its second-ever live episode, and it was even better than the first one. A parody of the television drama 12 Angry Men that looked at the history of live television, it was filled with hysterical gags. But the scenes recounting an offensive Amos 'n' Andy-like sitcom starring a proud, erudite black actor (Tracy Morgan) and a white man in blackface spouting hackneyed racial stereotypes (guest star Jon Hamm) were the funniest and edgiest of the episode.
As hilariously absurd as Parks and Recreation can get -- like Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) singing "Wichita Lineman" while climbing a pole to do an illegal cable hookup while Andy (Chris Pratt) performs one-man versions of his favorite movies for a group of well-heeled donors to kill time -- it's moments like Leslie's (Amy Poehler) heartfelt closing statement at a debate she's otherwise losing that make me love it. A plainspoken statement about the role of community in people's daily lives, it even got her idiotic empty-suit opponent (Paul Rudd) on her side.