It was a pretty solid night on FOX as the Thanksgiving celebration that began last week continued into this week. Mulaney premiered into its new timeslot at 7:30/6:30p CST, just outside of primetime where it belongs, and every show aside from Family Guy offered up some fresh material. Let’s jump right in.
Mulaney – “Patriot Acts” (NEW) [New Timeslot]
FOX decided Mulaney is not ready for primetime, and in its new home, the show ironically offered up one of its better installments. Out of guilt for not serving his country, Mulaney auditions to tour with the USO, but fails to serve his country even as a comedian. Meanwhile, Jane starts dating a marine, but finds herself in a pickle when she offers to watch over his three-legged dog and then proceeds to lose him. There was also a subplot involving Lou suffering from a comedic form of PTSD after serving in the USO, which featured some rather corny flashbacks that felt out of character for the show. However, what I liked about tonight’s episode was Mulaney‘s clear sense of self-deprecation, evidenced by his inability to make the army recruiter laugh. After watching the mediocre stand-up Mulaney does in every cold open, it was more funny to see how uncomfortable he got when his material wasn’t well-received. I also enjoyed the main characters attempt to fix the lost dog problem with insane solutions such as finding another dog and cutting off its fourth leg, or trying to trick the marine into thinking a mechanical singing dog was his dog. It sounds dumb on paper, but was actually a bit funny to watch. Just to note, I realize that week after week I rag on Mulaney and often tear it apart until nothing is left, but I have to say that I do respect John Mulaney and I think he is a talented guy. He is a funny comedian and in some ways, this show actually does have some potential. It just hasn’t been realized yet, much like Seinfeld was in its early years. Get some better writing, more developed characters, and this show could be something.
The Simpsons – “Covercraft” (NEW)
When a show is in its twenty-sixth year, its hard to be original and creative, and produce truly memorable episodes. The Simpsons still may not have done that tonight, but this episode was damn good for a show that I don’t expect much from anymore. Tonight, Homer and the other dads in Springfield started a garage cover band called “Covercraft” after their wives realized they all played instruments and wanted to get them out of the house in one place so they wouldn’t be bothered by them anymore. It starts out with the main four: Homer, Milhouse’s dad, Reverend Lovejoy, and Dr. Hibbert, until they discover Apu can sing a perfect imitation of the lead singer from Stargazer. At this point, it was clear the show was mirroring the real-life story of Arnel Pineda, the Filipino singer who was acquired by Journey to be their new singer after they discovered Pineda could sing just like Steve Perry. Despite this story dating back to 2007, it was fun to see it get Simpsons-ified seven years later. Homer’s jealousy of Apu’s success, and Apu’s selling-out and abandoning his friends offered some relevant commentary on the music industry today. I also loved how they took “Don’t Stop Believin'” and turned it into “Hopin’ for a Dream” to demonstrate how some lyrics are so generic that they can be easily interchanged and retain the same meaning.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “USPIS” (NEW)
Tonight on the 99, Detective Peralta was psyched to hear he’d be working with an investigator named Jack Danger (played by Ed Helms), only to be disappointed to find out he works as postal service detective, and prefers to go by “Jackie” and his last name is pronounced “Donger.” As a fan of The Office, you’d probably expect to find me really excited to see Helms guest starring on the show, but the truth is, I wasn’t. I’ve never been a huge fan of Ed Helms, and I found his character on Office to be extremely annoying. Jackie Danger seemed like a poor imitation of Andy Bernard, and even though I found him to be tolerable in a small dose (meaning this one episode), I have no desire to see him come back on the show. The episode itself was still solid, featuring a funny subplot involving the Captain and Sergeant try to help Santiago break her smoking addiction. But I just hope this episode isn’t foreshadowing more appearances by Ed Helms. I’d much rather see Eva Longoria come back!
Bob’s Burgers – “Dawn of the Peck” (NEW)
Just because everyone else was done celebrating Thanksgiving doesn’t mean Bob’s Burgers has to be done too. After finding out Linda and the kids would rather go to the turkey run on the wharf then have Thanksgiving dinner together, Bob decides to take the holiday off for himself and listen to Donna Summer alone in the house. Classic. Meanwhile, everything goes wrong at the turkey run when the turkeys (and ducks and chickens and geese) begin attacking everyone after the exposure to other birds messes them up biologically, according to Teddy. What I love about this show is that the plots truly feel unique almost every night, and unlike other shows that derive from commonly-used sitcom plots, Bob’s Burgers always proves itself to be inventive, and it works. Seeing everyone turn into survival mode when surrounded by turkeys was hilarious, and the juxtaposition of Linda and Teddy running from turkeys while a Donna Summer song plays in the background was something I thought I’d never see, but I’m glad I did. Definitely check out this episode if you get the chance.