[Contains pop-star slapping SPOILERS!]
As the American TV networks announce all their shiny new shows at the industry upfronts, three of my regular lunchtime amusements ground to a halt this week:
Bob’s Burgers went from strength to strength in its third season, kicking off in fine style with “Ear-sy Rider”, an episode that saw Louise lose her iconic bunny ears to an obnoxious bully, and enlist the assistance of a fearsome biker gang to get her beloved head-wear back again! Seeing the tiny terror tic and grimace away under a plain grey hoodie, as she tried to keep a lid on the wailing grief and fury brewing inside her was one of the funniest things I’d ever seen on this show… until ep. #3.21 (“Boyz 4 Now”), when Louise attended a boy band concert and developed an involuntary crush on the youngest member of the group. Her raging self-disgust and sadistic desire to slap his beautiful face was pure comedy gold, and Kristen Schaal surpassed herself on the vocal front, aided by the expressive animation that accompanied her tumultuous torment. Elder sister Tina also had a pretty stellar season, ever-so-slowly crashing the family car in “Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks” (ep #3.7), bonding with the spirit of Edison’s electrocuted elephant in “Topsy” (#3.16), and going on a fast-talking, espresso-fuelled bender (and subsequent withdrawal jag) in “The Unnatural” (#3.23). In between these stand-out episodes were countless others stuffed with hilarious gags, touching moments of family bonding, and catchy musical numbers accompanied by adorable dancing … which all added up to making this my favourite sitcom of the year. Yay!
Giving BB some serious competition for that title was the second season of New Girl, which went out on a high note, with a full-blown Indian wedding, an escaped badger (“He’s not rabid, he’s just kind of a dick.”), and a romantic dilemma for Schmidt. I’m so glad they’ve kept Merritt Wever in the mix as ‘Elizabeth’, because those two do make a very sweet couple… but ‘Cece’ does have the advantage of being a main character, rather than just a recurring guest star… and it has to be said Hannah Simone was looking mighty fetching in her bridal outfit this week. I was getting quite antsy towards the end of the episode, concerned that the writers were actually going to let Jess and Nick abort their budding romantic relationship (if only for the sake of a double-cliffhanger)… so I breathed a deep sigh of relief when I realised that the finale was going to end with another one of their trademark steamy make-out sessions. Hotcha! This has been a very strong year for the show, which deepened, twisted and tested the dynamic between the central characters, while also making room for sterling supporting turns from the likes of Parker Posey, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kali Hawk, Brenda Song, Olivia Munn, Carla Gugino and June Diane Raphael, among others. Kudos.
This time last year I was most looking forward to the debut of Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project… but I must have set my expectations too high, because the freshman season never even came close to meeting them. I thought the finale was amusing enough, and I’ll never tire of watching Kaling as a performer, but it also featured a particularly egregious example of the writers crowbarring Morgan into scenes he has no logical reason to be in, just for the sake of some wacky comic business. Hopefully during the hiatus Kaling & Co. will be able to get their shizzle together, and come back strong for their sophomore year.
In the meanwhile, there’s another season of Stevie TV scheduled to start on May 31st, and a new sitcom starring Ugly Betty’s Becki Newton, called The Goodwin Games, premiering on May 20th. Plus plenty other box-fresh shows I haven’t read up on yet. Fun!