In the week between the Thanksgiving episodes and the Christmas episodes (coming next week), two veterans didn’t bother showing up: The Simpsons and Family Guy, which both left reruns in their place. So this week we’ll only be looking at youngsters Mulaney, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Bob’s Burgers. Let’s do this.
Mulaney – “Motif & the City” (NEW)
This week on Mulaney, Motif found out he’s not on the lease for the apartment he shares with Mulaney and Jane, and he sought comfort from his three close female friends, who mirrored the girls from Sex and the City and will probably never be seen again since they were only a plot device. Meanwhile, Lou had to deal with a planted audience member demanding an official contract. It’s a shame the show wastes such lackluster and underdeveloped plots on as talented a force as Martin Short. I’d really like to see him get better material since I know what he’s capable of. The main plot was alright. It used the idea of committing to an apartment lease to mirror committing to a relationship. It’s not genius, but it was fun to see Motif’s insecurity push him to investigate Mulaney and Jane’s ex-roommates as if they were ex-lovers. My main problem with the episode was that it imitated Sex and the City (the title itself, the three female friends, Motif’s narration) but it didn’t fully commit. It felt more like the writer’s forgot this was supposed to be mirroring SatC and when they remembered, they forced in some reference or plot device once every five pages. This show is still trying to figure out what it is, and if it wants to be a show that parodies other shows, it needs to fully-commit and not half-ass it like it did tonight.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “The Road Trip” (NEW)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine was on fire tonight, and not just because Eva Longoria returned. In what was my favorite episode of the season so far, Jake arranges a double date road trip for him, his girlfriend Sophia, Amy, and her boyfriend Teddy. What Jake doesn’t realize is that Amy was planning on breaking up with Teddy. Cue the disaster. Things get even worse when Sophia books what she thinks will be a romantic room: “The Doll Room” for her and Jake at the inn. It turns out to be a room filled with hundreds of creepy dolls that looked like something out of a horror film. Meanwhile, Rosa refused to acknowledge she was getting sick, but the Sergeant and Gina were committed to addressing her health. In addition, the Captain sought help from Charles in the food department when he wants to surprise his husband with a homemade breakfast. Cue the cooking lessons. What made this episode so brilliant was that every plot used each character to their best abilities: Jake trying to do the right thing and making a mess of things, Amy not knowing how to address her emotional issues, Rosa refusing to take time off because she is so committed to work, Gina grossed out by sickness, the Sergeant trying to help out using his experience, Charles sharing his culinary knowledge, and the Captain trying something new that is out of his element. If there is any episode to watch to try to get hooked on this show, I would recommend this one.
Bob’s Burgers – “Best Burger” (NEW)
It wasn’t the best episode of the season, but it was still good. Bob enters himself and Linda into a burger-making contest hosted by the local ex-newsman who hates his guts for getting him fired. Problem is Bob doesn’t have the key ingredient for his “Stupid Black Garlic Burger” (named by the host) because he asked Gene to pack it, but we soon learn that every member of the Belcher family doesn’t trust Gene to get anything done. I found the plot of this episode to be fairly dry and simple, but the emotional growth of the characters carried the episode. Linda points out that Bob wanted an excuse not to win, so he gave the responsibility to someone who he knew wouldn’t come through so he wouldn’t feel as bad for losing. Gene learns from Louise and Tina how he is viewed by the rest of the family: his name is used as a verb for screwing things up (ie. “You really Gene’d this one up.”) and becomes driven to prove himself, which he ultimately does. This kind of character development and growth is harder to find in cartoons (early years of The Simpsons used to be good at this), so it was nice to see this tonight, even if the plot was fairly bland.