Spend all week cleaning the grill and buying supplies for your massive Memorial Day barbecue? Here's what you missed on TV.
Saturday Night Live's departing players don't often get farewells, but there were two on the Mick Jagger-hosted season finale. First, Andy Samberg said goodbye with the final Digital Short, a reunion with former castmate Chris Parnell on a sequel to their very first viral video "Lazy Sunday." But the show ended with a genuinely lovely tribute to Kristin Wiig, who danced with every member of the cast, plus producer Lorne Michaels, to the Arcade Fire performing the Rolling Stones' "She's A Rainbow," which turned into a full-cast (plus old friends Amy Poehler, Chris Kattan and Rachel Dratch) singalong to "Ruby Tuesday" over the closing credits. I actually got a bit misty-eyed.
Lady Gaga Falls Flat
Lady Gaga played an only-slightly-exaggerated version of herself on the season finale of The Simpsons, storming into Springfield to raise the city's self-esteem but failing to lift Lisa's spirits after she's ostracized by her classmates. It wasn't a bad idea, but the episode turned out to be hampered by the fact that, despite her entire persona being a put-on, Gaga can't act to save her life. Every one of her lines had the strained, awkward delivery of someone with stage fright at their junior high school play.
And The Apprentice Is...
By the end of the season, all the contestants on The Celebrity Apprentice were irritating and unlikeable. More so than usual, I mean. The final two were meltdown-prone Arsenio Hall and alternately saccharine and scheming Clay Aiken. Most folks figured Aiken was the obvious winner, but after Clay bombed part of the final task, producing a weepy public service announcement that just seemed to make its audience uncomfortable, Arsenio squeaked out a winner. Now let us never speak of either of them again.
He's Dead...Or Is He?
The final episode of House ended with Dr. House (Hugh Laurie), seemingly narcotized, calmly watching an abandoned building burn to the ground around him. When a body found in the ruins is identified as House by dental records, his memorial service is a typically bittersweet affair. But when House's best friend Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard)'s eulogy is interrupted by a text that says "Shut up, you idiot," we learn that the wily doctor had faked his death in order to disappear with the terminally-ill Wilson for his only friend's final months. Which seems like a properly unlikely ending to this occasionally-frustrating series.
What Exactly Did He Expect?
On Anderson, host Anderson Cooper's guest was self-proclaimed "human Barbie" Sarah Burge. When a discussion of the woman's addiction to plastic surgery turned to her underage daughters, including the breast implants she promised her 8-year-old, Cooper finally just said "I try to be really polite to all my guests, but I think you're dreadful and I honestly don't want to talk to you anymore." Burge left in a huff, but surely the entire sequence was at least partially staged. I mean, he did know going in that this woman calls herself the Human Barbie, so how good a mother could she be?
Well, So Much For That
The thing that has always made Glee so aggravating is how randomly the showrunners decide to start and end storylines. Which is why, suddenly upending a storyline that's lasted all season, Finn (Cory Monteith) dumped Rachel (Lea Michele) on their wedding day, claiming that he was going into the Army and she should go to New York for school. The show claims that it's going to follow the storylines of all this year's graduating seniors as well as the remaining glee-clubbers. I give that particular bad idea six episodes before the entire show is either retooled or benched.
Speaking of Random Storylines
On the season finale of Modern Family, Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) give up on their dream to adopt a second baby following an adoption at a Mexican border hospital that hilariously turns into an affectionate parody of a Latin telenovela. But at the same time they were coming to this conclusion, Gloria (Sofia Vergara) was discovering that she's pregnant. Can't wait to see how Jay (Ed O'Neill) is going to react to that news.
Let The Countdown To Irrelevance Begin!
Oh, what a surprise. For the sixth year in a row, the bland and unthreatening white guy with the guitar won American Idol. Even former Idol winner and current has-been Kris Allen has sniped at the series for its descent into blandness. But the topper of the entire finale came when forgotten former contestant Ace Young asked forgotten former contestant Diana DeGarmo to marry him on stage, even blatantly working in a plug from a sponsor into his scripted proposal. Good for you kids, but honestly: Let it die. This show needs to be canceled.
Oh, So He's...Wait, What?
Cult fantasy series Awake was canceled after the first season finale was filmed, so the show's confusing ending will have to stand as the series' end. Apparently, what was going to happen next season was that both the red world and the green world were going to merge into a third reality in which Britten (Jason Isaacs) learns that both Hannah (Laura Allen) and Rex (Dylan Minnette) are alive. So red and green...that would have been the orangey-brown world, I guess?
The Return of Downton Sixbey
Most TV parodies on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon run weekly, but the impressively elaborate recreation of the British favorite Downton Abbey clearly requires much more forethought. In the second episode, prospective heir ?uestlove is presented to the whole family, along with his mother (Whoopi Goldberg), who gives the Dowager Countess (A.D. Miles) a run for her money in the pursed-lips sarcasm department. But when the presumed-dead heir (Carson Daly) shows up, wheelchair-bound, to the party, a new complication presents itself. The quality of writing and attention to detail makes this possibly Fallon's best parody yet.