O Canada: The 20 Best Episodes of Degrassi


Happy Canada Day!

Today, in honor of Canada, I’ve decided to share my picks for the 20 best episode of my favorite Canadian television show, Degrassi!

 

  1. Take On Me (Season 3, Episode 16)

Degrassi does The Breakfast Club!  In fact, this episode so closely follows the plot of The Breakfast Club, one has to wonder how John Hughes would have felt about it.  This episode is classic Degrassi in that it shouldn’t work but it does.  Plus, it’s the start of the Ellie (Stacey Farber) and Sean (Daniel Cameron) romance!  Ellie and Sean were one of the best couples in Degrassi history, I don’t care what Emma says.

  1. Time Stands Still (Season 4, Episodes 7-8)

This is probably best-remembered for the scene where Jimmy (Drake) gets shot in the back but the entire episode is actually a sensitive look at the school shooting phenomenon.  Ephraim Ellis deserves a lot of credit for making school shooter Rick Murray both deeply creepy and, occasionally, pathetically sympathetic.  Still, one has to wonder why Alex (Deanna Casaluce) was never punished for her part in the prank that drove Rick over the edge.  Our beloved Spinner (Shane Kippel) and Jay (Mike Lobel) were expelled and treated like pariahs.  Alex not only remained class Vice President and somehow became far more popular with all of Jimmy’s friends.

  1. Ghost in the Machine (Season 4, Episodes 1-2)

Two years after being raped by Dean, Paige (Lauren Collins, giving one of her best performances) learns that the case is finally coming to trial.  At first, Paige doesn’t want to testify, saying that she doesn’t want to relive the ordeal and that it won’t make any difference anyways.  With Spinner’s support, Paige finally does testify but, despite her testimony, Dean is still acquitted.  Paige spirals into self-destructive behavior before finally destroying Dean’s car in one of the show’s most cathartic moments.  The first time I watched this episode, I was stunned and horrified by Dean’s acquittal.  Even though Paige eventually took responsibility for destroying Dean’s car, I still cheered when she did it.  If only Dean had been inside of it at the time.

  1. Whisper to a Scream (Season 3, Episode 8)

Ellie deals with the stress of having an alcoholic mother and a media internship by cutting herself.  Degrassi was one of the first shows to deal with self-harm and it did so with a commendable sensitivity.

  1. Pass the Dutchie (Season 7, Episode 10)

Due to his cancer treatments, Spinner is given medicinal marijuana and is soon wandering around the entire school stoned out of his mind.  Not only did this episode feature one of Shane Kimmel’s best performances but it also featured the classic line, “I’m going to fail English!  What type of idiot fails his own language!”

  1. Secret (Season 4, Episodes 14-15)

Emma (Miriam McDonald), who was previously the show’s token good, liberal activist, grows increasingly self-destructive in the wake of the school shooting and eventually heads into “the Ravine.”  The end result is that she gets a STD from Jay but she also gets the lead role in Degrassi’s production of Dracula.  This one of those Degrassi episodes that was so controversial, it almost didn’t air in the United States.

  1. Voices Carry (Season 4, Episodes 11-12)

Craig Manning (Jake Epstein) asks Ashley Kerwin (Melissa McIntyre) to marry him, beats up his stepfather, trashes a hotel room, and eventually learns he’s bipolar.  This was a powerful episode, one that wasn’t even harmed by a subplot about Liberty (Sarah Barrable-Tishauer) and J.T. (Ryan Cooley) working together to write the spring musical.

  1. Paradise City (Season 8, Episodes 19-22)

Also known as Degrassi Goes Hollywood!

  1. Rock This Town (Season 6, Episode 11)

Since the start of the series, J.T. Yorke (played by Ryan Cooley) had been one of the show’s most popular characters, a former joker who got serious.  However, when Cooley decided to leave the show to go to college, Degrassi killed J.T. off in a scene that was so violent that it’s still shocking to watch to this day.  Making the scene all the more powerful is that J.T. was, more or less, a random victim.  He just happened to walk out to his car at the wrong time.  Degrassi was a dangerous place.

  1. Eyes Without A Face (Season 6, Episodes 5 and 6)

Darcy (Shenae Grimes) starts posting racy pictures on her “MyRoom” page.  A fat, middle-aged guy shows up at her house and introduces himself as the dude who has been sending her all of the complimentary comments and money.  Along with introducing the character of Clare Edwards (Aislinn Paul), who would eventually became the show’s main character, this episode was also the start of a series of episodes in which Darcy transformed from being the somewhat boring, token Christian to being the most interesting person on the show.

  1. U Got The Look (Season 3, Episode 3)

Tired of being called “cute” and “adorable” and wanting to be known as “sexy,”, Manny Santos (Cassie Steele) changes her look and her attitude.  In the process, she alienates her best friend Emma, picks up a host of new admirers, and causes JT to repeatedly walk into walls.  This is one of the best-remembered episodes of Degrassi, largely because Manny never went back to her “old” self but instead embraced her new persona.

  1. Mother and Child Reunion (Season 1, Episode 1-2)

In the very first episode of Degrassi, Emma makes a creepy friend online and nearly gets kidnapped.  Fortunately, Snake (Stefan Brogren) is there to toss the guy against the wall and threaten to snap his neck.  Along with introducing almost all of the main characters of the show’s first 6 seasons, this episode also started the spark that would lead to Snake eventually becoming Emma’s stepfather.

  1. Death or Glory (Season 7, Episodes 5 and 6)

After being diagnosed with cancer, Spinner gets a mohawk and gets out his aggression by accepting random fights.  Who knew that Degrassi had a fight club?

  1. Redemption Song (Season 5, Episode 10)

Still being rejected by his old friends because of his role in Jimmy’s shooting, Spinner spends the weekend at the beach with the ultra-religious Friendship Club.  Jay complicates things by showing up.  Darcy and Spinner were an underrated couple and this is one of their key episodes.

  1. Turned Out (Season 5, Episodes 7-8)

Oh my God, JT’s selling drugs!  Well, Liberty is pregnant and JT does need the money but still!  This episode is remembered for the final freeze frame of JT sitting in a hospital bed and sobbing.  Degrassi could be a dark show.

  1. What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost (Season 6, Episodes 9-10)

Craig’s back in town.  Ellie and Manny are both excited but …. oh my God!  Craig’s picked up an addiction to cocaine!  This is best-remembered for the scene in which Craig gets a sudden nosebleed while performing during the intermission of a Taking Back Sunday show.

  1. Accidents Will Happen (Season 3, Episodes 14-15)

Manny discovers that she’s pregnant.  This is the episode that was considered to be so controversial that it didn’t even air in the United States until two years after it was originally broadcast in Canada.

  1. Heat of the Moment (Season 8, Episode 12)

The later seasons were never quite as good as the first few but still, we got a few good episodes out of them.  Like this episode, in which Alli (Melinda Shankar) starts the “I Hate Holly J” Facerange group.  Yes, Facerange.  Degrassi wasn’t going to get sued.

  1. Jagged Little Pill (Season 1, Episode 15)

Ashley Kerwin’s the most popular girl in school until she takes ecstasy and ends up telling everyone what she really thinks about them.  Fortunately, Ashley became a much more interesting character afterwards.

  1. Bust A Move (Season 7, Episodes 13-14)

In a last hurrah for the original Degrassi gang, everyone goes on a road trip to Smithdale College.  With Jay’s “help,” Manny gets into acting school.  Meanwhile, Ashley reunites with Craig.  Craig sings “My Window” and it was a fitting send-off to what was left of the show’s original cast.

Honorable Mentions:

  1. The Curse of Degrassi — This Halloween-themed episode was technically a Degrassi mini but I like to think that it’s canonical.  Holly J. (Charlotte Arnold) get possessed by the ghost of Rick Murray and kills all of her friends.  Fortunately, Spinner is there to reverse time.
  2. School’s Out — This made-for-TV movie was the finale of the original Degerassi High.  It featured the first two instances of the F-word being used on Canadian television.  In the start of a Degrassi tradition, it ended with Joey alone, Snake bitter, Lucy blind, and Wheels heading to prison.

 

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 6/19/22 — 6/25/22


I watched a lot this week.  I’m getting prepared for the Emmys!

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Because Edith was named The Spirit of Nouvion, it was decided that she should marry Bertorelli for propaganda purposes.  Meanwhile, the British airmen ended up trapped in some wine barrels that were floating in the sewers underneath the city.  Wait, what?  Actually, by Allo Allo standards, it’s all pretty normal.

Angelyne (Peacock)

I reviewed Angelyne here!

Collector’s Call (Sunday Night, MeTV)

On this show, fans of classic television get their collectibles appraised and discuss their collections.  It’s a simple show that owes an obvious debt to Antiques Roadshow (though Collector’s Call usually only focuses on one collector as opposed to several) but, at the same time, it’s also a rather sweet-natured celebration of nostalgia and the joy the can come from collecting.

Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer (Netflix)

This Netflix true crime docu-series dealt with a series of murders that occurred in New York and New Jersey in the 70s.  The majority of the victims were sex workers who were especially vulnerable because they couldn’t go to the police without running the risk of ending up in jail themselves.  The series also took a look at the sleazier days of Times Square.  It ended with modern day footage of the killer, now imprisoned in New York and looking a bit like Santa Claus.  That was a bit jarring.

The Deep End (Hulu)

The Deep End originally aired on FreeForm.  I watched it on Hulu on Saturday afternoon.  The Deep End is a four-episode documentary about Teal Swan, a creepy “spiritual guru.”  Swan, apparently, cooperated with the making of The Deep End and then got pretty upset when the final product portrayed her as being a manipulative bully who takes advantage of the emotionally vulnerable.  Cults are so weird to me.  I guess people need something to believe in but I will never understand how people can fall for obvious charlatans like Teal Swan or the NXIVM people.  For her part, Swan appears to be very good at taking advantage of our current culture of victimization.

The Essex Serpent (Apple TV+)

In 19th Century Britain, both Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston investigate a legend of a sea serpent.  Danes is a scientist while Hiddleston is a clergyman.  Of course, they fall in love but Hiddleston is already married and the recently widowed Danes is determined to establish a life and identity of her own.  The Essex Serpent is a mix of history, gothic romance, and horror.  Danes’s closest friend is a social reformer who reads Marx.  Another potential suitor is an arrogant doctor who has the potential to be a pioneer in the field of heart surgery.  The show might seem like it’s about a serpent but it’s actually about the eternal conflict between superstition and science and, in the end, it turns out that neither has all the answers.  It’s a bit uneven but, in the end, rewarding.  It’s always nice to see Hiddleston get a chance to play someone other than Loki.

Full House (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

This week, both episodes of Full House were pretty stupid.  The first episode recycled the old Saved By The Bell plot of having a love note circulating around that everyone thought was sent to them by a secret admirer.  The second episode found Danny having to spend the weekend with his daughters without the help of Jesse and Joey.  At one point, Danny was so tired that he passed out in bed and his daughters couldn’t wake him up.  That was …. not easy to watch.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted (Disney Plus)

Gordon Ramsay explores the world!  I watched two episodes on Tuesday.  Ramsay went to the wilds of Michigan and Finland.  Ramsay may be best known for shouting at hapless chefs on Hell’s Kitchen but I always enjoy shows where he gets to show his nicer side.

History’s Greatest Mysteries (History Channel)

I watched two episodes on Wednesday.  One episode explored the death of Bruce Lee while the other was about the recently discovered journal of Harry Houdini.  I love history.  I like a good mystery.  I enjoyed what I watched.

Impractical Jokers (HBOMax)

In this show, four friends go out of their way to humiliate each other and the people around them.  I watched a few episodes on Thursday, largely because the show has been submitted for the Outstanding Structured Reality Show Emmy.  The four jokers sometimes tend to come across as being a little bit too amused with themselves a little bit but, at the same time, I do have to admit that I laughed quite a bit.

Inspector Lewis (YouTube)

I watched an old episode of this British detective show on Tuesday.  Lewis and Hathaway were investigating a Halloween murder that may or may not have involved vampires.  It was very foggy, very amusing, and very British.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey (Apple TV+)

Samuel L. Jackson plays a 90 year-old man who tries to solve a mystery before losing his memories to dementia.  I watched a bit of this Friday.  It never quite captured my attention the way that I expected it to, given the show’s intriguing premise.  The show’s greatest strength, not surprisingly, is Samuel L. Jackson’s powerful performance in the title role.

Love is Blind (Netflix)

In this reality dating show, couples can talk to each other but, sealed away in their own individual pods, they can’t see each other.  In fact, they only get to see each other if one of them proposes marriage and the other accepts.  Is love truly blind?  Is this show absolutely silly?  Yes, it is!  However, I watched a few episodes this week and it was all pleasantly silly.

Moon Knight (Disney Plus)

I reviewed Moon Knight here!

The Offer (Paramount Plus)

I reviewed The Offer here!

Painting With John (HBOMax)

Musician, actor, and artistic gadfly John Lurie paints pictures while talking about whatever he feels like talking about.  I watched three episodes on Monday.  At one point, Lurie told everyone watching to imagine their hand turning into a light bulb.  That’s my type of artist.

Sketchbook (Disney Plus)

Disney animators teach viewers how to draw their favorite characters.  I watched two episodes, one of Friday and one on Saturday.  I learned how to draw Simba.  It’s a cute show.

Slasher: Flesh and Blood (Shudder)

I watched this horror-themed miniseries on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday!  A killer brutally killed off the members of a particularly greedy family.  David Cronenberg played the family patriarch and gave a nicely eccentric performance.  I appreciated this show for its atmospheric locations, its ruthless killers, and its willingness to kill off just about anyone.  It was a bit of a spiritual sequel to Harper’s Island.  It was horror for people who appreciate horror.

Slippin’ Jimmy (Prime)

It’s the early days of Jimmy McGill!  This is an animated prequel to Better Call Saul.  The episode that I watched, on Sunday, was an Exorcist parody.  It should have been funny but it just never worked for me.  The humor was a bit too obvious and predictable for me.  Maybe I’ve just seen too many Exorcist parodies for the idea to really capture my imagination.

Two-Sentence Horror Stories (Netflix)

This horror anthology actually airs on The CW but I watched the third season on Netflix, on Sunday and Monday.  The season was made up of ten episodes and, as is somewhat typical of anthology series, the end results were uneven.  I did, however, like The Crush episode, which was kind of an extra macabre take on What Ever Happened To Baby Jane.

The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window (Netflix)

This miniseries, directed by Michael Lehmann, does for the Netflix what A Deadly Adoption did for Lifetime.  It’s a pitch perfect satire of the type of movies that tend to show up on Netflix, one that pokes fun but does so in such a dry way that some viewers will undoubtedly miss the point.  Since films like The Girl On The Train and The Woman In The Window are already kind of self-parodies, this is the best approach to take.  Kristen Bell is great in the role of the wine-drinking neighbor who is haunted by the strange things that she sees across the street.  Can she conquer her fear of the rain and solve the mystery!?  Watch to find out!

You (Netflix)

I watched You‘s third season over the course of the week.  Joe and Love are now parents living in the suburbs but Joe is still up to his old tricks.  Unfortunately, for Joe, so is Love.  The first episode was great but the rest of the season couldn’t live up to it.  Penn Badgley always does a good job as Joe but the rest of the season felt like a knock-off of some of Dexter‘s later seasons.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 6/12/22 — 6/18/22


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.

Archer (FX)

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.

Cheer (Netflix)

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. 

Community (Netflix)

“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.

Voir (Netflix)

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!

Lisa Marie’s Week in Television: 6/5/22 — 6/11/22


Yes, you are seeing this correctly.  I watched next to zero television last week and the only new show that I watched was the latest episode of Barry.  I’ve been busy cleaning around the house, listening to music, and writing this week.  Usually, I use the television for background noise but this week, I listened to music.  It was the right decision, I think.

Here’s a few thoughts on what little I watched this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

With the French Resistance broke and in desperate need of money, Michelle demanded that Rene hand over the painting of the Fallen Madonna With Big Boobies so that the Resistance could sell it.  Unfortunately, Rene had already given the painting to Herr Flick so Michelle suggested that Rene break into Herr Flick’s dungeon and steal it back.  Rene agreed, though his plan was to steal it and then sell it for himself as opposed to the Resistance.  Meanwhile, Herr Flick deal with an official order to stop having sex while on duty and, as newspaper editor, Rene was tasked with helping to select the perfect model for The Spirit of Nouvion.

The important thing, of course, is that nothing worked out and, at the end of the show, the British airmen were still trapped in France,

Barry (Sunday Night, HBO)

This week’s episode of Barry was …. disquieting.  While Gene filmed his hilariously over-the-top online acting class, Barry struggled to recover from being poisoned and Sally was fired from writing for the sitcom about the Medusas after she was filmed screaming the C-word at her former assistant.  While Barry struggles with his own mortality, Sally seems to be heading for a very, very dark place.

That said, the episode was dominated by Stephen Root and his performance as Fuchces.  Fuches has finally been arrested but, even while sitting in an interrogation room, he still managed to expertly manipulate everyone around him.  He’s like a Southern-version of Hannibal Lecter.  This episode made as a strong a case as any in the show’s history that Stephen Root deserves all the Emmys.

Full House (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

Starting as of late week, MeTV now only shows two episodes of Full House on Sundays and I do have to say that the show is more bearable when you only watch two at a time instead of four.  Last Sunday, Joey took his crappy comedy act to Vegas and he reconciled with his father, who apparently was some sort of general or admiral.  (Shades of Jim Morrison, I suppose.)  In the second episode, DJ developed an eating disorder but, fortunately, all it took was for Danny to say a few understanding words and DJ snapped out of it.  The episode had a good message but it would have been more effective if Aunt Becky had been the one to have the eating disorder talk with DJ.

King of the Hill (Hulu)

I watched three episodes, two on Tuesday and one on Friday.  The two episodes on Tuesday both featured Bobby taking on eccentric hobbies that were nearly ruined by Hank, rose growing and dog dancing.  Friday’s episode was one of my favorites: Minh, Nancy, and Peggy all run for school board and end up losing to the local kooky fundamentalist.

Seinfeld (Netflix)

On Friday, I rather randomly watched an episode where Kramer and George went to the airport to pick up Jerry and Elaine.  Kramer saw his former roommate.  George ended up trapped on a plane with a serial killer.  Jerry got upgraded to first class while Elaine suffered the indignities of flying in coach.  The episode made me laugh but it also made me want to fly somewhere.  But only in first class!

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 5/29/22 — 6/4/22


Let’s check out the butcher’s bill for this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Having returned from England, Rene was named the editor of the town newspaper.  He was expected to just publish propaganda.  Michelle was excited to have access to a printing press.  The latest plan to get the Airmen back to Britain is to make a raft out of telephone poles.  We’ll see how that goes.

Barry (Sunday Night, HBO)

Between Fuches somehow surviving getting shot at point blank range, Vanessa Bayer making silly noises as she explained what she thought Sally could bring to a show about Medusa living in SoHo, and that amazingly highway dirt bike chase, this week’s episode of Barry was one of the best overall episodes of the year so far.  Who would have thought Bill Hader would be so good at directing action?

Creepshow (Shudder)

I finished up season 3 of Creepshow this week.  What a wonderfully macabre show!  It’s just as ghoulish as American Horror Story without being so annoying self-impressed.

Full House (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

Much like Rene on Allo Allo, DJ become editor of the school newspaper!  Kimmie Gibbler wanted to report on sports.  It led to a big fight but things worked out in the end.  Meanwhile, Joey tried to direct a commercial with Danny and Rebecca.  It led to a big fight but things worked out in the end.  Did I already say that?  Anyway, it was indeed a very full house.

Maid (Netflix)

At ten episodes, this miniseries was a bit on the long side but it was still a very good show.  Margaret Qualley played an aspiring writer who, having left her abusive husband, finds work as a maid while trying to move forward with her life and her daughter.  Qualley gave a great performance in the lead role and the show dealt with serious issues without ever descending into melodrama.

Norm McDonald: Nothing Special (Netflix)

In his final comedy special, Norm McDonald talked about …. well, he actually spent a lot of time talking about death.  He was undeniably funny, an older comedian who could talk about how the world was changing without coming across as being either mean-spirited or performatively woke.  What was interesting about this special (which was recorded in his home studio, in one take) was watching how McDonald would seemingly just stumble from point to point while still always bringing everything together in the end in a way that revealed the fierce intelligence that hid beneath the “average guy who likes to drink beer” persona.  At first, I thought he was just rambling but then I noticed that he kept returning to his love of the color yellow.

The final 30 minutes of the special were made up of David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Molly Shannon, Dave Chapelle, Adam Sandler, and David Spade talking about Norm and his special.  The roundtable was mostly interesting just for the obvious the affection that everyone involved had for Norm McDonald.  It was sweet to witness.

Pistol (Hulu)

I really enjoyed Danny Boyle’s six-episode miniseries about The Sex Pistols and, needless to say, I related to Sidney Chandler’s Chryssie Hynde.  I have no doubt that the miniseries offers a bit of a romanticized view of how things went down (that’s kind of Boyle’s thing) but it was well-acted, well-shot, and compulsively watchable.  The first four episode were the strongest.  The final two got a bit bogged down with Sid’s heroin addiction but the same can be probably be said of the band itself.  All in all, though, this was a good and respectful miniseries.  I know that Johnny Rotten is not a huge fan of the show and I can kind of understand why because, as I said earlier, it does tend to romanticize things.  But, as played by Anson Boon, Johnny is always one of the most compelling characters in the show.

Saved By The Bell (Peacock)

I watched the second and final season of Peacock’s Saved By The Bell revival on Friday.  This was actually a really good and clever comedy and it’s kind of a shame that it didn’t last longer.  Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley Lauren were both a lot of fun to watch as they not only parodied their SBTB past but, at the same time, managed to make Jessie and Slater into actual human beings.  It was nicely done.

BEAT VALLEY!

We Own This City (Monday Night, HBO)

The finale of We Own This City aired on Monday.  As I watched the first half of the finale, I came dangerously close to writing the show off as just being an example of how heavy-handed David Simon can be when he doesn’t have an equally strong collaborator to work with.  However, I stuck with it and I’m glad I did.  The final 30 minutes, in which we watched the crooked cops get sentenced to prison while also learning that it all ultimately made no difference as far as Baltimore’s culture of corruption was concerned, were undeniably powerful.  The final flashback, to Jon Bernthal pumping up the cops about doing their job, was sad because it represented the failure of the cops to live up to their oath but it was also frightening because it perfectly captured the “warrior cop” mentality.

I have to give special mention to Jamie Hector, playing an otherwise honest homicide detective who was driven to suicide by the possibility of losing his job because he was on the periphery of corruption.  It took me a few episodes to get used to Hector (best-remembered as psycho drug lord Marlo Stanfield on The Wire) in a sympathetic role but he truly delivered an outstanding performance in the final episode.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 5/15/22 — 5/21/22


We’ve been up at Lake Texoma for most of this week and, because I’m supposed to be relaxing, I didn’t take my usual detailed notes about what I watched this week so I apologize if this latest recap seems a bit …. well, skimpy.  Trust me, though, I needed the break and the chance to recharge.

Anyway, here’s what I remember about what I watched this week:

A Very British Scandal (Prime)

This three-episode miniseries told the true story of the scandalous divorce of two aristocrats, who were played by Paul Bettany and Claire Foy.  It was all enjoyably sordid and neither one of the two characters were likable enough for you to feel bad about their lives getting turned upside down.  If you’re into melodrama with a British accent, you should enjoy A Very British Scandal.  If nothing else, the clothes and the furniture were to die for and the miniseries served as a nice reminded that having a title didn’t necessarily mean someone was rich.  Paul Bettany’s character may been a Duke but he still had to marry for money.  In fact, he had to do it three times.

Allo Allo (PBS, Sunday Night)

I watched four episodes of Allo Allo on Sunday so I am happy to say that I am now caught up with the show.  Despite Michelle’s efforts, the plan to send the British airmen out of France in a hot air balloon fizzled.  A few episodes later, she decided to disguise the airmen as monks so that they could sneak past the Germans and board a secret flight to Germany.  However, Rene decided to hop on the plane himself.  He was hoping to escape with Yvette, just to find that Edith had misinterpreted his plans and …. well, look, I can’t really explain it all.  What’s important is that  Rene and Edith are now flying to the UK.

Atlanta (Thursday Night, FX)

The finale of this odd but intriguing season finally allowed Zazie Beetz a chance to shine as we discovered what Val has been doing in Europe while everything else has been going on.  Come for the biting social commentary and surreal satire, stay for the Alexander Skarsgard cameo!

Barry (Sunday Night, HBO)

Barry blew up a house!  And then Sally dumped Barry, which she probably should have done a lot earlier.  At least Gene’s career is looking up.

Better Call Saul (Monday Night, AMC)

Jimmy and Kim continued to plot against Howard.  The show is moving at its own deliberate pace but when you’ve got a cast this good, you can take all the time that you want.  That said, I love Patrick Fabian’s performance as Howard so I hope he’ll be around just a little bit longer.

Beyond the Edge (Wednesday Night, CBS)

This vaguely silly but entertaining show came to an end this week.  Colton Underwood won this season!  Yay!  I’m just happy all the celebrities survived.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

The theme of last Sunday’s Brady Bunch bloc was that Jan sucks.  First, Jan thought she won an essay contest, just to discover that a mistake has been made while tabulating the scores.  Then, Jan ended up stealing a bicycle because she needed glasses.  That’s the same way I got my new car, by the way.  Poor Jan!  I hear it’s not easy being the middle sister.  Fortunately, I’m the youngest Bowman sister so I’ve never had to worry about it.

Court Cam (Monday Night, A&E)

I watched one or two episodes.  If I sound unsure, it’s because all of the episodes of Court Cam tend to blend together.  Once you’ve seen one judge yelling at an incompetent lawyer, you’ve seen them all.  Still, I do have to admit that I kind of enjoy this show.  It’s always fun to watch people in authority make stupid mistakes.

Creepshow (Shudder)

On Thursday, I finally watched the first two episodes of the third season of Shudder’s horror anthology and I enjoyed both of them.  Creepshow is the show that American Horror Story pretends to be.

The Curse of Degrassi (YouTube)

I watched this old favorite on Saturday night.  Read my review here!

Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

DJ went to the school dance but, when her date got caught drinking, Uncle Jesse blamed her!  Not surprising, DJ was pissed off.  And she should have been!  Seriously, DJ never gets to have any fun.  MeTV showed three other episodes, none of which I really remember.

The Last Drive-In (Friday Night, Shudder)

What better way to watch Nosferatu than with Joe Bob Briggs?  Technically, I do think that Joe Bob goes on for a bit too long during his host segments but I really don’t mind.  Joe Bob may pretend to be a redneck who tells dad jokes but, as he showed while discussing the career of Werner Herzog, he truly loves cinema and, even more importantly, he knows his stuff.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

When an off-duty cop is killed, Nolan Price has to deal with pressure from both the NYPD and community as he prosecutes the defendant.  This episode was typical of the Law & Order revival — compelling but heavy-handed.  Is Sam ever going to get to do anything other than gaze adoringly at Nolan?  The fact that, after several episodes, we still know nothing about her character, her background, or her opinions is a bit annoying.  The episode ended with the defendant acquitted on one count and convicted on another and the entire city still angry.  It was all appropriately bleak.  Also, Mariska Hargitay made a cameo appearance and basically came across like she couldn’t wait to get back to SVU.

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

Gopher taught everyone on the boat how to perform CPR.  Good going, Gopher!

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

We Own This City (Monday Night, HBO)

This week’s episode of We Own This City dealt with the Freddie Gray uprising.  It made for compelling viewing and Jon Bernthal and Josh Charles continued to give good performances as two men who epitomized everything that people dislike about cops.  Still, I wish the timeline was a bit less jumbled and the scenes with the Justice Department investigators continue to be a bit of a slog.  Overall, though, this is a worthwhile show.  Just don’t watch it with the expectation that it’s going to be the second coming of The Wire.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television — 5/8/22 — 5/14/22


Let’s get to it.

Atlanta (Thursday Night, FX)

Atlanta has been pretty evenly split, this season, between “anthology” episodes and the episodes that follow Earn and Al in Europe.  It’s an interesting format but, as I watched this week’s anthology episode, I really found myself thinking about much more interested I am in what’s going on in Europe.  This week’s episode was filmed in gorgeous black-and-white but the story of a biracial teen passing as white was nowhere near as interesting as what happened to Al in Amsterdam last week.

Barry (Sunday Night, HBO)

This week, Barry attempted to make things up to Gene by getting him a role on a plausibly terrible television show.  Unfortunately, for Barry, it turned out that Gene isn’t just going to forget about Barry murdering his girlfriend in return for a role.  Meanwhile, Sally was forced to take part in a series of vacuous interviews in order to promote her new television series.  Everyone wants to know: “Who should be the next Spider-Man?”

Better Call Saul (Monday Night, AMC)

This week, we got to see what Saul’s office was like before he redecorated it.  It was kind of a slow episode.  Better Call Saul is always watchable because of the performers but its status as a prequel also means that there’s a certain lack of suspense as to what’s going to happen to everyone.  Still, this week’s episode was worth it for the boxing scene.

Beyond the Edge (Wednesday Night, CBS)

The remaining celebrities continued to try to survive living in the jungle.  Jodie Sweetin finally ran the bell and removed herself from the show, just leaving a bunch of former pro athletes to continue the competition.  I don’t blame her.  Jodie lasted longer than I would have.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

I don’t remember anything that happened during last Sunday’s Brady Bunch episodes so I guess I should count myself lucky.

Candy (Hulu)

I reviewed Hulu’s latest true crime miniseries here!

Dynasty (Friday Night, The CW)

Having missed most of the latest season, I finally got caught up on Dynasty this week and I was reminded of why I enjoy this wonderfully over-the-top and self-aware show.  Unfortunately, no sooner was I caught up than the CW announced that they were canceling the show.  Booooo!

Fantasy Island (Hulu)

Several months after watching the pilot, I finally watched the rest of Fantasy Island’s 1st season this week.  It’s an extremely silly but fun show.  Roselyn Sanchez plays her role with just the right mix of gravitas and mockery.  The show’s a bit heavy-handed at times but I think that’s to be expected.  The island looks lovely and the fantasies themselves are ultimately harmless and good-natured and that’s all the really matters.

Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

If I remember correctly, Jesse was worried that he was losing his cool and Joey said, “Cut it out.”

Ghosts (Paramount Plus)

I finished binging the first season of Ghosts on Monday and Tuesday.  What a sweet show!  I’m kind of amazed that it took me so long to give this show a chance.  I’ll be curious to see what happens with the second season.  Hopefully, the show can keep up its momentum.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

“This story is fictional….”

Yeah, whatever.  This week’s episode started out as an homage to Inventing Anna and then it ended as an homage to Dopesick.  Price decided to make a deal with a murderer so that he could then prosecute the owner of a pharmaceutical company.  It was all because Price’s brother died of a drug overdose.  To be honest, Price didn’t really make his case and he should have been fired for wasting tax payer money on a personal crusade.  But the jury disagreed.  It may sound like I’m trashing this episode but it was actually pretty well-acted and I actually appreciated that it totally turned into a different story during the second half.  That said, I don’t think the Law & Order revival will ever be known for having a particularly nuanced political outlook.

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

Vicki discovered that one of the passengers was hooked on speed.  Luckily, everything worked out in the end.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I reviewed the latest twist-filled episode of Survivor here!

We Own This City (Monday Night, HBO)

It was a pretty boring episode this week.  The cast is convincing and Baltimore continues to be a fascinating portrait of the American Dream gone bad but David Simon doesn’t really seem to have much to say, beyond pointing out that cops are bad and federal investigators are underfunded.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 4/24/22 — 4/30/22


I saw some pretty good things this week.  Barry is back.  We Own This City looks like it’s going to be a worthy follow-up to The Wire.  I finally binged the first season of Abbott Elementary.  Here’s some thoughts on what I watched:

61st Street (Sunday Night, AMC)

As of this point, I really don’t see 61st Street becoming anything more than a second-rate version of The Wire so I think I’m done with it.  As I said last week, I think the show would be fine if it was just about Courtney B. Vance and his family but the show is trying to tackle too much in its first season.  The best shows develop naturally whereas 61st Street has been overstuffed since the beginning.

Abbott Elementary (Hulu)

Throughout this week, I binged the first season of ABC’s Abbot Elementary on Hulu.  A comedic mockumentary about the teachers at a Philadelphia public school, Abbott Elementary owes a bit of a debt to The Office but, at the same time, it also quickly established an identity of its own.  It was a good, heartfelt comedy, one that made a point about the importance of supporting teachers without ever committing the Parks and Rec sin of getting preachy or self-satisfied.  Of the ensemble cast, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Janelle James were the stand-outs but really, everyone did a good job of bringing their characters to wonderful life.  I look forward to season 2!

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

How to get the British airmen out of France?  How about sending them up in a Helium balloon?  But how to keep the Germans from noticing the balloon?  How about moving up the wedding of Fanny and Ernest LeClerc?  Sure, why not?  It didn’t necessarily make any sense but I’m used to that by now.  The episode ended with the wedding and the release of what Officer Crabtree called a “carrier podgeon.”  I suppose that next Sunday, I’ll learn why this latest attempt to rescue the airmen failed.

Atlanta (Thursday, FX)

This week’s episode of Atlanta was another stand-alone episode dealing with white people struggling to understand black culture.  This time, the story dealt with a wealthy New York couple who, while attending the funeral of their Trinidadian nanny, discover that not only was she more of a parental figure to their son than they were but that she was also so busy raising the children of wealthy white people that she missed out on raising her own children.  Chet Hanks had an odd but somehow appropriate cameo as one of the people who the nanny had raised.

It was an okay episode and, unlike the other stand-alone episodes, it was clearly not a dream.  (For the same of continuity, posters advertising Paper Boi’s tour are visible during one scene.)  The humor and the satire was still sharp but also notably gentler this week than it’s been all season. That said, this episode felt like a clear follow-up to White Fashion, with its portrayal of neglectful white parents who use people of color to raise their children but who, at the same time, can’t even be bothered to learn anything about their nanny’s life or culture.

Barry (Sunday Night, HBO)

Barry’s back!  After all the excitement of last season’s finale, the new season Barry opened with everyone stuck in the same rut.  Barry is auditioning for roles and still killing people for money.  Sally is working on her television series.  NoHo Hank is struggling to be a gangster.  Gene is in mourning and looking for revenge.  (I loved the fact that his gun was a gift from Rip Torn.)  Fuches is in Chechnya, eating cereal.  The first episode served its purpose.  It reintroduced us to the characters (due to the Pandemic, there was a long delay between the 2nd and 3rd seasons) and reminded us of why we watch them in the first place.  Bill Hader both directed and starred and showed once again that he is a talent to be reckoned with.

Better Call Saul (Monday Night, AMC)

Better Call Saul is an enthralling show, even if I’m often left a little bit confused as to what exactly is going on.  Bob Odenkirk is brilliant, though this week’s episode was dominated by Michael Mando in the role of the intimidating but ultimately tragic Nacho.  Perhaps because we know what’s going to happen to the majority of the characters once Walter White shows up, the shadow of death hangs even heavier over Better Call Saul than it did over Breaking Bad.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

Upset that his children were tying up the phone, Mike Brady came up with the brilliant idea of installing a pay phone in the house.  How did that even work?  Who installed the phone?  Who collected the money?  Seriously, this was one of Mike’s worst ideas and he was never held responsible for it.

This was followed by an episode in which Bobby got it into his head that Carol was going to kill him so he tried to run away.  Would anyone have missed Bobby in that crowded house?  This was followed by an episode in which Marcia got braces and the world world stopped while everyone tried to make her feel better.  (Good for them!  I never needed braces, by the way.)  The fourth episode of MeTV’s bloc of Brady programming featured Peter saving a little girl from being crushed by a collapsing wall.  Peter was a hero but he let it go to his head.  Mike had to remind Peter that he was still only the middle child and, as such, had no right to feel good about anything.

Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

I missed last week’s bloc of Full House but I get the feeling that once you’ve seen one episode of this show, you’ve seen them all.  The first episode of Sunday’s bloc was yet another one where Jesse was worried that he was no longer as cool as he had once been.  After being ridiculed by his old friend Scott Baio, Jesse hopped on his motorcycle and drove up to the roof of a building.  Apparently, he planned to jump from one roof to another.  Rebecca, however, talked him down.  The funniest thing about this episode was the discovery that Jesse’s nickname was once “Dr. Dare.”  Like, seriously, I get the feeling that Jesse’s fiends were probably making fun of him when they gave him that nickname.

This was followed by an episode in which Michelle’s third birthday party was ruined by the combined stupidity of Jesse and Stephanie.  Michelle may have said she was happy celebrating her birthday in that dirty gas station but she was lying big time.  The next episode featured Stephanie panicking due to an earthquake and Danny eventually taking her to a therapist so that she could discuss her feelings.  Luckily, it only took five minutes to cure Stephanie of her anxiety.  The day’s final episode found Joey and Jesse once again struggling to write a jingle together.  Meanwhile, the family’s new dog, destroyed Stephanie’s childhood toy but no one cared because Stephanie’s the middle child.

The Girl From Plainville (Hulu)

Much last week, this week’s episode of The Girl From Plainville got bogged down with a lot of boring courtroom dramatics.  Still, the final scene, with Michelle Carter fantasizing about her sister singing Teenage Dirtbag, was nicely done.  The Girl From Plainville seems like it would be a fine miniseries if it was only four episodes long but, at eight episodes, it just feels a bit too overextended.

Happy Days (Weekday Evening, MeTV)

I watched Happy Days on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, despite the fact that the continuing popularity of this show has always escaped me.  The reason I watched is because it was the three-part episode in which the Cunninghams and Fonzie went to California and Fonzie ended up proving his courage by putting on water skis and jumping over a shark.  It was an important moment in pop cultural history so I felt it was important that I watch.  Fortunately, Fonzie made it over the shark and Richie realized that he would rather be a journalist than an actor.

King of the Hill (Weekday Afternoons, FXX)

On Tuesday, I watched the episode where Jimmy Carter tried to heal Hank and Cotton’s relationship.  It’s a classic episode, if just for Hank and Cotton’s disdainful comments as Jimmy and his secret service detail fled the scene.  “Why, that’s was just a one-term peanut farmer.”  “The man wore a sweater.”  Take that, Carter!

On Wednesday, I watched four episodes.  Hank carried the Olympic torch and learned that it was okay to be happy.  Peggy overthrew the tyrannical king of a Renaissance Faire.  (Alan Rickman voiced the king, which was pretty neat.)  Connie and the Dale Gribble Bluegrass Experience went to Branson, where Bobby sold a joke to comedian Yakov Smirnoff.  Peggy was conned out of her retirement savings but she got the money back.  Yay!

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

The headmaster of an exclusive private school has been shot!  Was it because he was too woke?  Nope, it turns out that he was shot by a troubled student.  The D.A.’s office decided to charge both the student and the student’s father. Personally, I found their actions to be legally dubious but the jury disagreed.  D.A. Jack McCoy was okay with manipulating legal statutes but I don’t think Adam Schiff nor Arthur Branch would have been happy with what his office ended up doing.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Granville’s broom fell apart and Nurse Gladys Emmanuel needed a new washing machine.  In the end, no one got what they needed.  That’s what happens when you’re open all hours.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

T.J. Hooker (Saturday, Decades TV)

William Shatner is a tough cop who speaks in a very dramatic fashion.  I was doing some work in my office on Saturday so I had this old 80s cop show playing in the background.  (Decades TV was apparently celebrating the 80s with a TJ Hooker marathon.)  The episodes kind of blended together but watching Shatner back when he was still taking himself seriously is always fun.

We Own This City (Monday Night, HBO)

The latest Baltimore-set miniseries from David Simon and The Wire crew, We Own This City premiered this week and the first episode proved to be, in typical Simon fashion, both frustrating and fascinating.  The show’s political asides were heavy-handed but it’s depiction of a troubled American city was heart-breaking.  Simon has never flinched from showing how political corruption, racism, poverty, and crime all come together to create a destructive cycle that’s impossible to escape.  Because happy endings are nearly nonexistent, Simon’s show can be difficult to watch but each one is something that should be watched.  As for We Own The City, this miniseries deals with police corruption in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent uprising.  Out of the large ensemble cast, Jon Bernthal and Josh Charles are early stand-outs.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 4/17/22 — 4/23/22


I’m still in the process of trying to get caught up with everything.  I still need to watch the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead and the latest episode of Fear the Walking Dead.  I also look forward to checking out CNN+ next month.

61st Street (Sunday Night, AMC)

The second episode of 61st Street was only a slight improvement over the first.  I liked the scenes involving Courtney B. Vance and his son and I actually kind of wish that the entire show was just about those two characters.  The rest of the episode was painfully heavy-handed and, most importantly, it still had no sense of place.  For all the show’s attempts to be a Chicago show (and, perhaps even more importantly, a 61st Street show), the setting still felt generic.  For a show like this to reach the lofty heights to which it aspires, Chicago would have to become a character in much the same way that Baltimore was a character in The Wire or New York City was a character in a few of the better episodes of Law & Order.  61st Street isn’t there yet.

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

I had two episodes of this British sitcom on the DVR.  In the aftermath of the attempted rescue of the British airmen from the Chateau, Herr Flick was briefly arrested, Rene continued to be annoyed by the demands put upon him, and Michelle continued to say things only once.  The airmen were eventually rescued, which led to another round of trying to find and sell the stolen painting.  In the end, Rene has to disguise himself as a priest.  It was all a bit confusing.

Atlanta (Thursday Night, FX)

After four years, Donald Glover’s surreal comedy-drama is back.  Actually, it’s been back since March but it was only this week that I was able to catch up with it.  I watched the first three episodes on Tuesday.  The first episode was a disturbing horror story, about a black child who is forced into the foster system and who is nearly murdered by his white foster parents.  This episode turned out to all be a dream but, at the same time, it was also based on a very real murder case and it stuck closely to what actually happened.  This was followed by episodes that followed Earn, Al, Darius, and Van as they explored first Amsterdam and then London.  The third episode, which dealt with rich white guilt and the white savior complex , was particularly well-done.

I watched the fourth and the fifth episodes on Thursday afternoon.  The fourth episode featured none of the regular characters and told the surreal story of a white man (Justin Bartha) who was being sued by the descendant of a slave who was owned by his ancestors.  A character from the first episode made an appearance, still talking about what it meant to be white.  I assume this was meant to indicate that this episode may have been another dream but, as opposed to the first episode, it didn’t end with Earn waking up so …. who knows?  The fifth episode featured the search for Al’s missing phone and, though it was a bit more obviously comedic than the previous episode, it was also a bit unsettling.  It was obvious that the phone was meant to represent much more than just a phone, that it was instead a symbol of both Al’s talent and his individuality.

This bring us to the most recent episode, “White Fashion.”  “White Fashion” opens with a London fashion house making a huge mistake when they sell a terrifying but all too plausible “Central Park 5” jersey.  Looking to do damage control, they bring in Al and a host of other social justice influencers.  “Racism will be over by 2024!” one of them shouts during the press conference.  Al’s attempt to get the company to make a commitment to investing in black communities leads to a terrifying but, again, all too plausible black-and-white commercial in which a collection of people, ranging from a gender fluid cowboy to a posh old lady, announce that this is “our hood.”  Meanwhile, Darius took a white woman to a Nigerian restaurant and, within our hours, the woman had bought the restaurant and transformed it into her own take on Nigerian food.  Earn and Van danced together in a nice hotel room but then Earn woke up alone, leaving us all to wonder if perhaps this entire season has just been a collection of dreams.

Better Call Saul (Monday Night, AMC)

Better Call Saul is back, in all of its twisty and grimly funny glory.  Knowing that Bob Odenkirk nearly died during shooting does add an extra poignancy to the show’s final season. This Monday, AMC aired the first two episodes of Season 6.  The characters, with their complete and total amorality, remains fascinating.

The Doctors (Tuesday morning, Syndication)

I drove my Dad to a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday.  An episode of this amazingly vacuous talk show was playing in the front lobby.  I have to admit that I didn’t pay much attention to it.  I mean, I was already in a doctor’s office.  Why would I want to watch a show that would only remind me of that?

The Girl From Plainville (Hulu)

This week’s episode of The Girl From Plainville really overestimated the excitement that can be generated by watching people read text messages aloud.  The show has moved on to the trial portion of Michelle Carter’s story, which is a bit dull since the actual trial was already televised so it’s not as if The Girl From Plainville is showing us something new.  The episode also featured scenes of Michelle and Conrad dealing with their own mental health and the main theme seemed to be that, even if Michelle hadn’t met him, Conrad would have been doomed by growing up in his dysfunctional family.  Seriously, there is not a single character on this show who is the least bit likable.

Only Murders In The Building (Hulu)

I binged the first season of Only Murders In The Building on Friday and Saturday.  Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez play three mismatched true crime aficionados who end up solving a murder in their building, along with starting a true crime podcast.  I could have done without the dead cat but, for the most part, I really liked this show.  Maybe it’s because I’ve always wanted to solve a mystery myself.  Amy Ryan, Steve Martin, Selena Gomez, and especially Martin Short all gave wonderful performances in the lead roles.  As well, Nathan Lane was wonderfully (and surprisingly) menacing in the episodes in which he appeared.  And, of course, Sting played himself and was basically the guy that you would never want to live next to.  This show wonderfully captured the current morbidity of our national cuture.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

I actually had two episodes of Open All Hours on my DVR.  I watch them both.  It was a depressing hour.  I found myself wondering why Granville never tried to run away.  What power did Arkwright have over him?

Rachael Ray (Tuesday morning, Syndication)

When I took my Dad to a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, I watched two shows in the front lobby.  The first was The Doctors.  The second was Rachael Ray.  Personally, I like Rachael Ray but I think she would get mad at me if she ever saw me trying to cook.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

Lisa Marie’s Week in Television: 4/10/22 — 4/16/22


Because of the holidays, I haven’t seen the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead yet.  It’s on the DVR, along with American Idol and all the British comedies that I usually watch.  I’ll review it in the upcoming few days, even though I’m sure everyone has moved on by now.  One fun thing about having your own site is that you can set your own schedule.

Here’s a few thoughts on what I did watch:

61st Street (Sunday Night, AMC)

Arriving with very little fanfare, 61st Street is AMC’s latest original series.  It takes place in Chicago and it deals with a burned-out defense attorney (Courtney B. Vance) and a high school track star (Tosin Cole) who is just trying to survive long enough to make it to college.  Unfortunately, Cole is in the wrong place at the wrong time and, as the premiere episode came to a close, he was being pursued by the Chicago cops.

Judging from the pilot, the show is attempting to do for Chicago what The Wire did for Baltimore.  The problem, however, is that 61st Street never feels as authentic, unpredictable, or downright dangerous as The Wire.  In the pilot, at least, the characters came across as being caricatures and, for a show that is set in a very real neighborhood, there was little sense of place to be found.  The show could have been taking place in any generic city.

Interestingly enough, the show as created by Peter Moffat, an British writer who is best-known for writing a series of films and television shows about recent British history.  He also wrote the script for the worst film that Clint Eastwood ever directed, Hereafter.  You have to wonder just what exactly led Moffat to try to capture the spirit of Chicago.  For that matter, why do we even need yet another show about Chicago?  There are other cities in America.

2022 Masters Golf Tournament (Sunday, CBS)

I watched a bit of it with Jeff on Sunday afternoon.  The golf course was really pretty.  I’m going to learn how to play golf.  I already kind of know but I want to learn how to play golf well!  Why should my boyfriend have all the fun?

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

During this Sunday’s block of The Brady Bunch, Bobby became a pest after saving Peter’s life, Jan freaked out because she wasn’t good at anything, Bobby and Peter imagined what it would be like to live on another planet, and some weird new family showed up as a part of backdoor pilot!  While it’s best not to spend too much time thinking about The Brady Bunch, I have always been amused by backdoor pilots.  It’s always like, “Oh, hey, people we’ve never seen or head about before!  Wait …. why is the show following them to their home?”

Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

The Tanners are going to Hawaii!

Sunday’s 4-episode bloc of Full House opened with an episode in which Danny, the girls, the uncles, and aunt Becky all went to Hawaii to celebrate the two-year anniversary of Joey and Jesse moving into the house.  The cool thing about this episode is that it had plenty of Hawaiian scenery and Becky got mad at Jesse for talking about Elvis all the time.  You tell him, Becky!

This was followed by three episodes in which everyone learned an important lesson.  DJ and Stephanie learned about the importance of going to school.  Becky and Jesse learned how to communicate as a couple.  Stephanie learned not to make fun of her nerdy friend and Danny really should have learned to stop inviting Joey to appear on Good Morning San Francisco.

The Girl From Plainville (Hulu)

I reviewed the latest episode of The Girl From Plainville here. 

As I mentioned in that post, I’m pretty much over the show and I will probably, from now on, only offer capsule reviews of the 3 remaining episodes in my Week in TV posts.

Hard Cell (Netflix)

This British sitcom takes place in a women’s prison in which the majority of the characters are played by Catherine Tate.  I watched the first two episodes on Wednesday and, unfortunately, neither one of them really worked for me.  There really wasn’t much gained by having Tate play multiple characters and the mockumentary approach no longer feels that fresh.  Tate is undeniably talented but the show just fell flat.

It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (Apple TV+)

Erin and I watched this on Saturday afternoon.  Erin wrote about this special a few years ago.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

This week’s “ripped from the headline” case was based on the Ed Buck murder trial and featured a wealthy, old white man who liked to pick up young black men and then shoot them up with drugs.  Occasionally, the younger men died.  He was brought to justice, just as Ed Buck finally was.  This was an okay episode and it gave Camryn Manheim a chance to shine.

I do have to say that I still always find it amusing how the Law & Order franchise has imagined a world in which a bunch of blue collar, unsentimental New York cops all talk like panelists on MSNBC.  I kind of doubt that many cops voted for Bernie Sanders but you wouldn’t know that from watching this show.

The Love Boat (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

On this week’s cruise: Telma Hopkins, Theresa Merritt, Brian Stokes Mitchell, James Noble, Raymond St. Jacques, Holland Taylor, Adam West, and Alan Young!  The highlight was Adam West, parodying himself in the role of an overly macho buffoon.

Midnight Mass (Netflix)

This horror-themed miniseries from Mike Flanagan was released in October of last year but, at the time, I really didn’t feel like watching a show about a demonic priest.  However, with the Emmy nominations coming up, I figured that I should go ahead and give the show a try.  At the very least, I wanted to see if it lived up to all the acclaim.

It’s a show about life on an isolated island and what happens to the community when a mysterious priest shows up.  I watched the first episode on Sunday night and it was pretty effective, even if some of the dialogue felt a bit overwritten.  Flanagan knows how to create a creepy and intriguing atmosphere and I liked Hamish Linklater’s menacing-but-friendly portrayal of Father Paul Hill.  I did not like the episode’s final scene, which involved a bunch of dead cats washing up on the beach.  Normally, that’s the sort of thing that would make me stop watching but, because of my faith in the storytelling abilities of Mike Flanagan, I decided to make an exception in the case of Midnight Mass.

That said, Holy Week (especially one that I was spending with my sisters) didn’t really feel like the right time to watch a miniseries about an evil priest so I decided to put off watching the rest of the show until next week.

The Outlaws (Amazon Prime)

This British comedy/drama hybrid deals with seven strangers who are forced to due community service as punishment for breaking the law.  At first, they start off as strangers but then they bond and steal a lot of money.  You can probably guess the story.  Christopher Walken plays Frank, an old con artist who has recently been released for prison.  He’s a delight, as always.

I watched the first episode of this show on Monday night and I have to say that it kind of annoyed me.  I appreciated the performances of Walken, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Darren Boyd but otherwise, the show itself often seemed to be trying a bit too hard and the mix of comedy and drama occasionally played a bit awkwardly.  Largely due to the fact that it was only a 6-epiosde series and the presence of Christopher Walken in the cast, I decided that I would give the show a second chance but that first episode didn’t do much for me.

I watched the second episode late on Tuesday night.  It was a definite improvement on the second episode and featured plenty of good Walken moments but the hour length still made the episode feel as if it was punishingly overextended and the show’s balance between comedy and drama continued to be a rather awkward one.

I’ll watch the four remaining episodes of the show next week.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I reviewed the latest episode of Survivor here!

Yellowjackets (Showtime)

I finished up Yellowackets on Monday afternoon.  I cried with Laura Lee blew up.  I was also really upset when Jackie froze to death.  And don’t even get me started on the dog!  This was actually kind of a traumatic series.  Still, it was a fascinating show to watch and I look forward to seeing how things plays out during the second season.