The highlight of the night was the crossover episode between the long-running The Simpsons and the recently cancelled Futurama–both shows originally created by Matt Groening. This special event opened the night, since once again Bob’s Burgers was absent from the lineup. I can’t thank FOX enough for being so generous to give us ONE whole episode per month of the best show on Sunday night. Ugh, let’s just do this.
The Simpsons – “Simpsorama” (NEW)
As the caption says, “a show out of ideas teams up with a show out of episodes.” This sums up this episode pretty well, which is probably why it was the tagline used at the beginning of the episode. The episode opens with the burial of a time capsule which includes Bart’s saliva on a sandwich, Milhouse’s lucky rabbit’s foot, and radioactive ooze, which 1000 years later, mutates into evil little Bart-bunnies terrorizing New New York. This prompts the Planet Express crew from Futurama to go back in time and stop the Simpsons from burying this ticking time bomb. Unfortunately, the premise felt forced and the episode itself felt a bit rushed and underdeveloped as a whole. It was nice to see the humor and characters from Futurama return, which in my opinion was a far superior show. But since we just saw the crossover episode with Family Guy at the beginning of the season, this crossover event felt much more gimmicky than the writers probably wanted it to feel. The episode reeked of being an excuse to bring in viewers who otherwise would not normally watch the show. The episode was not a story that needed to be told; in fact it felt like something that was developed as an excuse to make these two worlds collide. I think what bothered me most was that despite the fact these two shows were both products of Matt Groening’s imagination, I never thought they existed in the same universe. If the Simpsons and the Planet Express gang exist in the same world, why are people no longer yellow in 3014? That being said, because the show relied more on the humor of Futurama, I did still find bits of it funny and my overall impression was fairly positive.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Jake and Sophia” (NEW)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine continues to be a reliable source of laughs in this latest installment. After complaining about his dull love life, Jake meets an amazing woman in a bar that reverses his pessimistic outlook on love, until he finds out she is the defense attorney for a criminal he’s trying to send to jail. Meanwhile, Santiago challenges Scully to be the squad’s union representative. This episode proved to be another solid episode in the show’s sophomore year, and Eva Longoria did a great job bringing to life a feisty, passionate, and competitive character that was a good match for Jake. The episode also developed some chemistry between Santiago and Captain Holt, that further humanized him without getting too mushy. Lots of laughs, great comedic editing, and solid performances make this episode another must-see.
Family Guy – “Brian the Closer” (NEW)
Family Guy returned tonight with an episode that featured Brian becoming a realtor after receiving new teeth (which he needs after Peter causes him to knock all his teeth out on a fire hydrant). But realty gets the best of Brian when he attempts to screw Quagmire over by selling him a shitty condo even though Quagmire is the one who paid for his oral surgery in the first place. The episode featured offensive cutaways, gratuitous violence, and a plethora of pop culture references–so typical Family Guy fare. It offered some malicious commentary on the kinds of people who become realtors. For example, Peter declares that every other divorced mom is a real estate agent and Stewie comments that realty is everyone’s safety-net job. Being a realtor turned Brian into an asshole, but he’s always kind of been one to begin with. I missed Stewie, we didn’t get much of him. Notice that lack of segue? I’m just structuring this review like a Family Guy episode. Mediocre. Let’s do something else now. Oh God, it’s Mulaney… I take it back!
Mulaney – “In the Name of the Mother, and the Son, and the Holy Andre” (NEW)
Unfortunately, Mulaney slipped back into its usual quality tonight, after last week’s surprising improvement over the initial episodes. The episode centered around a visit from Mulaney’s mother, and his attempt to hide from her the fact that he isn’t religious anymore. So naturally, Roman Catholicism was the target of this episode. God, Catholicism sure does get a bad rap. I mean, this is probably due to the fact it says you’ll go to hell if you’re gay, have sex before marriage, or don’t spend your entire life feeling guilty, but at least its got a pretty progressive Pope now. Anyways, while debates about religion are interesting and certainly relevant today, I think Mulaney is possibly the worst outlet to have this discussion. In the context of the series, the tension between Mulaney and Jane that evolved in the last episode was completely absent tonight, and the show still seems to be fumbling with what to do with Jane’s character. Last week it seemed like she was the best friend/potential love interest for Mulaney, but tonight she was just a puppet for stereotyping what women are like when birth control gives them mood swings. If you want to learn about the meaning of life, you won’t find it here.