As opposed to last week, where I didn’t watch anything except for old episodes of King of the Hill, I ended up watching a lot this week. That’s because the official Emmy ballots have dropped and I now know everything that was officially submitted this year. That ballots have given me a roadmap of what I need to check out over the next week and a half, before I announce what I would nominate for the Emmys, if I was an Emmy voter and had all the power.
So, without any further ado, here are some thoughts on what I watched this week:
The 2022 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards (Shudder)
Now, really this is what all award shows should be like! The show honored “the best in horror,” and while I didn’t necessarily agree with all of the winners, I did appreciate that it only took them 90 minutes to hand out all the awards and that the show didn’t take itself too seriously. Maybe the Oscars should move to Shudder.
Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)
Rene tried to flee to Spain while Michelle decided to smuggle the British airmen out of France in wine barrels. Needless to say, nothing worked out.
While searching for the mysterious assassin known as the Dingo, Sterling Archer confronted painful memories of his past. For whatever reason, I never seem to get a chance to watch Archer as much as I probably should. Whenever I do catch an episode (and I watched this one on Hulu on Thursday), I always enjoy the show’s Bond-parody humor.
Barry (Sunday Night, HBO)
Barry’s third season came to an end on Sunday night and oh my God! What an amazing episode! From Gene betraying Barry to Barry breaking down in the desert to NoHo Hank somehow managing to escape in Colombia to Sarah Goldberg’s amazing performance as Sally, this was an incredible episode. That said, it played like a series finale. I have no idea where the show can go from here but I’m looking forward to finding out.
Bob’s Burgers (Fox, Sunday Night)
I’ve lost track of how long Bob’s Burgers has been on. I don’t watch it regularly but, whenever I do, I usually laugh a few times. The episode that I watched this week was also the show’s Emmy submission. After being made fun of yet again at school, Tina escaped into a Blade Runner-inspired fantasy world. Bob and Teddy, meanwhile, dealt with their insecurities about running a crappy restaurant by obsessing over some derogatory graffiti. I laughed enough to enjoy the show.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Hulu)
I finally watched the final season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Friday afternoon. (It was only nine episodes long.) I know that a lot of people complained that the final season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine was too political and anti-cop and, if I had seen the show when it originally aired, I probably would have agreed. But, seeing it in 2022 and with the failures of the Ulvade cops still on my mind, I didn’t mind that the main villain was the head of the policeman’s union and that a major theme of the season was that police reform is going to have to start with the culture of policing itself. Fortunately, the Andy Samberg-led ensemble was as strong as ever and helped make the more heavy-handed moments palpable. The highlight, for me, was the episode where Peralta’s previously unmentioned nemesis, Johnny Franzia, returned. It worked as both a domestic comedy and a parody of shows like Law and Order: Criminal Intent and the CSIs.
I watched the second season of Cheer early on Saturday morning. The Navarro cheerleaders are still obsessive perfectionists who seem to take cheerleading maybe a little too seriously. This season deserved some credit for being honest about how disruptive their sudden fame was. (That’s one of those things that many reality shows chose to avoid.) The first episode featured an unforgettable montage of smarm as we saw everyone from Ellen to Colbert to a dazed-looking Biden talking to the cheerleaders. The show also acknowledged both the legal troubles of one of the first season’s breakout stars and the outsized influence that Varsity Brands has on the cheerleading industry. All in all, it was a good show even if you kind of wanted to tell the cheerleaders to take it down a notch and maybe enjoy their time in college.
“We had name for people like you in prison. We called you …. the mean clique!” Still a classic.
Dr. Death (Peacock)
I watched this Peacock miniseries on Tuesday and Wednesday. Joshua Jackson played an incompetent and possibly sociopathic surgeon while Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater played the two doctors trying to, at the very least, get Jackson’s license suspended. It was a good and disturbing miniseries, though I imagine that some of my reaction was due to the fact that my Dad is currently having issues with back pain and is exactly the type of patient who was victimized by Jackson’s coke-snorting surgeon. This show is based on a true story. It was also set in Texas but, for the most part, it avoided all of the stereotypes that usually make me cringe. When Slater dismissed Jackson as being an arrogant yankee, a part of me cheered. Of course, the show had to feature a character blaming everything on Rick Perry, which was dumb and felt out-of-character, but that’s the entertainment industry for you.
On a final note, the show was very well-acted and, yes, that includes Alec Baldwin. When Baldwin wants to be, he can still be a very good and, dare I say, subtle actor.
Full House (MeTV, Sunday Evening)
I watched two episodes of this stupid show on Sunday. First, Jesse went to his high school reunion, performed with his old band (how many bands did this dude have?) and was tempted to leave Aunt Becky for his high school girlfriend. Why was Jesse always tempted to abandon Aunt Becky? Jesse was supposedly only 28 so he was still a little bit young for a midlife crisis. (In other words, STOP CRYING, JESSE!) This was followed by an episode where Danny suddenly had a girlfriend and he had to look after her obnoxious son. It was pretty dumb.
Hart to Heart (Peacock)
Kevin Hart interviews his celebrity friends. I watched two episodes on Thursday, mostly because the show was submitted to the Emmys. Kevin Hart is not a bad interviewer, though none of the conversations were really that in-depth. This is a good example of the “Famous Person Knows Other Famous People” talk show genre.
I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson (Netflix)
This short comedy sketch show is best-known for being the source of the “We’re all trying to figure out who did this” meme. I watched the show’s second season on Thursday night. (Each episode is less than 20 minutes long so the season went by quickly.) While the 2nd season never quite reached the heights of the “We’re all trying to figure out who did this” skit, it was still amusing. A bit about an “aggressive store” that sold “busy” shirts to men was a highlight.
Inspector Lewis (YouTube)
I watched this British detective show from the aughts with my friend Shirley on Tuesday. Inspector Lewis and Inspector Hathaway investigated a series of murders surrounding a quiz competition. The episode took place at Oxford and the scenery was lovely.
Making the Cut (Amazon Prime)
After Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn left Project Runway, they began to appear in Prime’s Making the Cut. Making the Cut is basically the same show as Project Runway, just without Nina Garcia or the lingering stench of the Weinstein Company. I binged the second season on Tuesday and I loved it. Tim and Heidi really were Project Runway‘s main selling points and watching them on Making the Cut filled me with nostalgia for a time of fun reality shows, as opposed to what’s going on now.
Married at First Sight (Lifetime, Wednesday Nights)
It has been forever since I watched an episode of Lifetime’s apparently immortal Married at First Sight franchise so, on Saturday morning, I watched two recent episodes on Hulu. It was pretty much as I remembered. Five couples, who had just met and married, took part in a group honeymoon in Florida and tried to get to know each other. One couple split up. Another couple debated whether to get undressed in front of each other. Even though the episode were from the most recent season, they left like they could have been from any season of the show. Don’t mess with success, I guess. It’s a silly show but undeniably addictive, as silly shows often are.
Rick and Morty (Adult Swim)
On Thursday, I watched the episode of Rick and Morty that was submitted to the Emmys. Morty made the mistake of landing a spaceship in the ocean, which led to Rick having a summit with his arch nemesis, a flamboyant sea king of some sort. Morty tried to keep his date with Jessica while all this went on. An attempt to get wine for the summit led to a centuries-old civilization being developed around the idea of Morty being a demon who had to be destroyed. It was chaotic and it made me laugh.
Robot Chicken (Adult Swim)
Oh wow, those toys are cursing and telling dirty jokes! Stoner humor at its best. It made me laugh.
The Rockford Files (Tubi)
This is a 70s detective show, starring James Garner as a detective who lives in a trailer on the beach. On Sunday, I watched an episode in which a vacationing family from Indiana accidentally stole Garner’s grill and the diamonds that were hidden inside of it. Apparently, this sort of thing happened quite frequently.
Selling Sunset (Netflix)
This totally spontaneous and not at all scripted “reality” series is all about real estate. A group of beautiful women work at a real estate company owned by a guy who we are told is handsome and sexy but who actually looks like a gnome and has all the charisma of a brick wall. When they’re not selling amazing houses, the real estate agents re gossiping about each other and talk about how much they dislike anyone new who their boss hires. Again, totally spontaneous and not at all staged, right?
Anyway, I watched a few episodes of the latest season on Netflix. There’s literally no one likable on the show but the houses make up for it.
Step Into The Movies With Derek and Julianne Hough (Hulu)
This special originally aired on ABC but I watched it on Hulu. Derek and Julianne Hough recreated classic move dance scenes. I loved it. The scenes were recreated with love and respect and Derek and Julianne were as adorable as ever.
Taylor Tomlinson: Look At You (Netflix)
I watched this Netflix stand-up special on Friday morning. Taylor told jokes about her meds and discovering that she was bipolar by doing a google search on what they were all supposed to do. That was humor to which I could relate.
The True Story with Ed and Randall (Peacock)
Everyday Americans sit down with Hollywood celebrities, Ed Helms and Randall Park, and tell the story of something interesting that happened in their life. While they tell the story, their actions are recreated by a group of comedians. I watched a few episodes on Monday afternoon. The show was a bit uneven, as one might expect when everything’s pretty much dependent on the story being told. That said, the show’s heart is in the right place and Ed and Randall seem to be genuinely interested in the stories being told. That’s a big plus.
Undone (Amazon Prime)
This is a rather bizarre animated series, one that features time travel and alternate realities. I watched the episode that was submitted for the Best Animated Episode Emmy. Even though I didn’t fully understand the story, the animation was so hauntingly beautiful that I couldn’t take my eyes away from the screen.
This Netflix show features various film critics talking about the movies that caused them to fall in love with cinema. I watched a bit on Wednesday. The first episode featured Sasha Stone talking about Jaws. This episode has been criticized, by many on Film Twitter, for focusing more on Sasha than on the film being reviewed. Of course, some people have said the same thing about my own reviews and I actually appreciated that Sasha acknowledged that falling in love with a film has lot to do with what’s going on in your own life at the time. The personal is important when discussing how we react to great art. (It should also be acknowledged that 95% of Film Twitter is never going to forgive Sasha Stone for not being a Bernie Sanders-loving socialist and that undoubtedly has something to do with the out-of-proportion criticism directed at her episode.) All in all, this is a good series and not worthy of the disdain that some have treated it with. I get the feeling that a lot of that disdain is fueled by critics who were not invited to participate.
We Need To Talk About Cosby (Showtime)
Indeed, we do. From W. Kamau Bell, We Need To Talk About Cosby is a four-part series about how Bill Cosby became a beloved media figure despite not really making any sort of an effort to hide his crimes. It looks at why Cosby was so important to so many people while also taking a harsh and honest look at the reality of who Bill Cosby actually is. Myself, I was lucky enough to grow up in a post-Cosby world but, after watching this show, I understand why so many people continue to struggle with the way they used to feel about Cosby.
What If….? (Disney Plus)
This is the MCU’s animated series, in which we visit alternate timelines and see what would happen if the heroes made different choices. The episode I watched featured Dr. Strange turning evil and basically destroying the universe. Yikes! It was effective, though. It helped that Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, and Tilda Swinton all lent their actual voices to the show, as opposed to Marvel trying to bring in sound-alikes.
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (The CW, Saturday Nights)
Hey, it’s improv! Improv is always uneven but it’s usually funny on Whose Line Is It Anyway. This show would probably be more acclaimed (or, at least, more prominent as an Emmy contender) if it wasn’t a CW show. Someday, though, the CW will break through! I have faith in you, CW!