Bob’s Burgers has finally returned to the lineup, and just in case you didn’t get your fill of Halloween, it was still the spooky, but festive night in Seymour’s Bay. Every other show was also new tonight aside from Family Guy, which aired a rerun from the past season.
Bob’s Burgers – “Tina and the Real Ghost” (NEW)
In this special Halloween-themed episode, the Belchers discover a ghost is living in their basement. Specifically, a 13-year-old ghost named Jeff, who lives in a shoe box and is apparently a perfect match for Tina. Although Bob is skeptical about the ghost’s existence, everyone else in town buys into it, and soon Tina and Jeff the ghost become the ‘it’ couple at school. Ah, a plot that could only be found on Bob’s Burgers. This episode was really funny, but what really made it stand out was that it wasn’t predictable. Given the setup at the beginning, there was a clear route the show could have gone down, but instead it presented the audience with a character study rather than a ghost story. This was a refreshing change after watching the horribly predictable and formulaic Modern Family Halloween episode earlier in the week. We learned more about each character in Bob’s Burgers and why they would accept the existence of a ghost in their presence, and the episode managed to accomplish something in the end that most cartoons are unable to do: true character development. In the end, we can see Tina grow as a person, and it was rewarding to see this lovable loser finally define herself.
The Simpsons – “Opposites A-Frack” (NEW)
After the excitement of Treehouse of Horror last week, The Simpsons is back to its usual formulaic and mediocre self. Topical issue? Fracking (or hydraulic fracturing of the Earth). Political stances? Mr. Burns is for it (conservative), and Lisa is against it (liberal). Romance? Mr. Burns falls for a liberal politician who wants to shut him down, and can’t fathom the idea he can be passionate with someone in which he has nothing in common. Hence the title, opposites a-frack. The episode wasn’t that bad, but it also wasn’t that great. It felt like something that we’ve seen millions of times but with a current political issue to center itself around. If the goal of the show is to influence people’s opinions on fracking, I’m sure they’re just preaching to the choir. If the show was trying to tell a love story, there wasn’t nearly enough character development to get on board with it.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “The Mole” (NEW)
In keeping with its sophomore year, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has once again provided us with a solid installment. The rivalry between Captain Holt and his nemesis Deputy Chief Wuntch (Kyra Sedgwick) continues as she starts an investigation into the department when files go missing and suspects a mole. Turns out Peralta is the “mole” as he took files home and forgot to return them, but now he must team up with the Captain to prove his innocence. Meanwhile, Peralta and Santiago catch Boyle and Gina in the act, and the two must face the repercussions of their secret getting out. The episode itself wasn’t the best of the season, but it felt like a necessary step toward what’s coming up. There was a brilliant scene where Peralta and the Captain stay up all night trying to solve the investigation in their pajamas, and it demonstrated how far the characters have come from the beginning. In the pilot, the Captain absolutely hated Peralta, but now he has come to respect and value him, and trust him enough to essentially have a sleepover with him. Good stuff, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Mulaney – “Sweet Jane” (NEW)
I’m gonna preface this summary by saying that somehow, I managed to not hate watching Mulaney tonight. Surprising? Certainly. Can I explain it? Hopefully. For the first time, I felt like this show actually began to have a sense of what it wants to be: a show about a stand-up comedian who lives the kind of life experiences often joked about in stand-up comedy. Is this the Seinfeld formula? Yes, and this show always seemed to market itself as exactly this, but it wasn’t until tonight that it finally came through on its promise to be that. And the show even poked fun at itself when a character labels Mulaney as a Seinfeld ripoff! While the show still had the unbearable laugh track and bad jokes, it finally featured some character development in the form of creating a complicated relationship between Mulaney and his roommate, Jane. As discussed in his stand-up in the cold open, Mulaney describes the struggles of getting women that he knows to be nice to each other. In the show, Jane keeps causing trouble with Mulaney’s current girlfriend, which Mulaney comes to realize is a product of jealousy. This is hardly an original plot, but at least it was kind of interesting to watch, and for the first time, I was left wanting to know what happens next. However, I should note that this show has been effectively cancelled, as FOX announced not too long ago that it shut down production of the show, cutting the episode count from 16 to 13.