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Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 4 “The Sons of the Harpy” Review

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 4 “The Sons of the Harpy” Review

*Full book and show spoilers follow*

In any society, who is it that really holds the power?

Power (and its structure and relation to society) is a vital theme in “Game of Thrones,” and this week the show — through the use of two very similar and brutal mob scenes — showed just how quickly power can shift, and the ever fearful results of what happens when the people (in this case, two fringe mobs) don’t exactly see things eye-to-eye with those at the top.
The problem is this episode showed the eruptions a little too quickly. Ka-boom!

After last week’s cliffhanger, the show opens with Jorah (Iain Glen) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) off to sail away on a dark little boat into the dark depths of the dark ocean.

It was interesting seeing how different people reacted to the cliffhanger last week. It never crossed my mind that it was a clever misdirect of the show (of course Jorah would be taking Tyrion to Mereen), but a lot of people assumed it meant that Tyrion was headed back to Westeros to have a little run in with his sister.

It was thus, as Tyrion put it, a “waste of a kidnapping,” as Tyrion was already headed for Mereen. We got a little segment of Tyrion playing detective while Jorah just sat there not talking…which is an odd way to give context to what is going on.

(Also, Varys (Conleth Hill) was totally missing, and at the very least won’t be travelling with Tyrion — on THIS ship, at least.)

Tyrion wasn’t the only Lannister set adrift, as Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) themselves were sneakily trying to make their way into Dorne.

Bronn, clever little snot, is of course not buying any of Jaime’s story that he was sent to rescue his “niece”…no, he’s far too smart to buy that hook, line, and sinker. Bronn shared the same concerns that I’ve been having with this whole plot: How does Jaime expect to get into Dorne without it being taken as an act of aggression?

Sending a no-name knight (as in the books), remedied this fact. But Jaimie just walking into Dorne is mighty suspicious, both to the believers of the Lannister brother-sister fuck fest theory, and to the Dornish, who probably won’t take too lightly to the idea of the Kingslayer just merrily coming down to their land in the hopes of stealing away Myceralla (Neil Tiger Free).
So, while Jaime keeps saying he wants to avoid war, all of his actions point otherwise.

But, we did get to see Bronn kick some ass, and Jaimie somehow accidently win a fight because he forgot that he had a metal hand? Well. OK.

Cersei (Lena Headey) has her own troubles, though she’s far too important to bother worrying about them. The Iron Bank is a-callin,’ and the crown’s debts are only a-growin’, and instead of trying to do something about it she half heartedly sends away Lord Tyrell (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) with Meryn Trant (Ian Beattie) to go to Braavos themselves to sort the whole thing out. Taking bets now that one of them doesn’t come back alive.

The problem with Cersei is she thinks she’s smarter than everybody else, and can’t see when she isn’t. Deciding that it’s time to do something about that smirk on her daughter-in-law’s face, she decides to play with fire and finally gives the new High Septon (Jonathan Pryce) that power trip he’s always wanted: A whole new army. Enter the return of the Faith Militant.

Of course, it isn’t super clear WHY Cersei is doing this. Clearly she can’t think that arming the fringe Sparrow movement is going to turn out well for anybody.

It’s not that she doesn’t get anything out of it. The militant arrest Loras (Finn Jones) for being gay, is something that Cersei clearly had a hand in, even if she didn’t do it directly.
Margaery (Natalie Dormer) is none too happy about this, and Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) tried to go play king with the High Sparrow and failed miserably. One can only hope that Margaery’s cry to go be with her family and write her Grandmother means the return of one of the show’s best characters. And it looks like poor Tommen won’t be getting with a piece of THAT anytime soon.
We’ve reached the boiling point in a flash, though.

This would all hold more ground if the show had built to this a little more, instead of seemingly plopping the viewer into a battle between the faith and the crown. It’s also weird how cultish the show is making the Faith Militant. The head scars certainly were not in the books, and gives the army a much different feeling of rashness and fear. That’s probably the point, but it also lessens the fact that they do have some solid ground to stand on. Instead, here they just seem wild and rampant and senseless.

Instead of showing us the water in the pot boiling, which the show has done with many other plots, it’s like we’ve all of a sudden been shown the kettle boiling without even showing us a scene of somebody pouring the water in the kettle first. Oh, here’s a new High Septon, here’s a new bunch of unhappy religious people, oh now they are in charge and raiding brothels. It’s a lot of jumps to happen so quickly.

Up at the wall, Stannis (Stephen Dillane) had a brief discussion about his own faith, and also had a few lines that are probably going to be important later: the royal blood that Shireen (Kerry Ingram) has, and the non-whore parentage of Jon. What could all this be leading to?!?

Before they march on Winterfell, Melisandre (Carice van Houten) tried to get Jon to come (in more ways than one!). She gave him the good ol’ boobie argument, and given Jon’s (Kit Harington) thing for redheads I’m surprised he was able to resist. Then she went to a local Hot Topic and bought a “You know nothing, Jon Snow” t-shirt and put it on, confusing Jon in more ways than one.

( I’ve always found it interesting how ‘religious’ Mel is, but yet all we ever really see is her trying to seduce men to do something. It doesn’t seem very religious, if you ask me. )

The show cut back to Stannis, giving us one of his most interesting, and definitely softest, scenes we’ve ever seen him in. The show has really been hitting on the grey scale this season, and having Shireen at the wall, it feels like grey scale is going to become important sooner rather than later.

As sweet as this scene was, I still can’t really make heads or tails of it. It seemed to have no purpose aside from reminding us that Shireen is there and has grey scale (and softening Stannis), and it didn’t really fit in with the rest of what the episode was doing.

(All that’s to say that if the Shireen getting burned and unleashing grayscale on the wall theory is true than this episode is a very good set up for that, and makes Stannis having to burn her much more of a sacrifice than it would have been without this scene. So actually, that’s probably what is going to happen. I’d count on that.)

Alas, I was wrong, as I wrote last week that Sansa (Sophie Turner) and the Boltons were in Moat Cailin, when apparently I was supposed to have realized they were actually in Winterfell. My bad! I didn’t think they had made it that far already, and with Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) looking in on that Moat, I thought everybody was together there.

Anyways, this scene is probably going to become one of the most talked about scenes (I wrote OMG in my notes), and one that probably passed non-book readers completely by. R+L=J! R+L=J! R PLUS L EQUALS FUCKING J.

Sansa was visiting Winterfell’s crypts, where Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) stops in and gives the viewer a nice little history lesson about Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen. This is essentially the story that started all of the drama that we have been witness too since the start of the series, and it’s nice that the show is starting to give us a little back story on it, even it it didn’t directly connect the dots to modern events.

BUT, it does give some massive show support for R+L=J, even if it was subtle. (Also, Stannis also gave some support to it as well in his line to his wife about a whore probably not being Jon’s mother). The scene did feet a little odd though; Sansa seemed a bit off with some of her lines, as if she wasn’t really talking to Littlefinger. It also wasn’t the only mention we had of Rhaegar this week.

Littlefinger also spilled his guts to Sansa for his Top Secret Plan 3.0: Make her Lioness of the north. Oh? Wardeness. Either way, he knows that Stannis is about to come kick some Bolton ass, and wants Sansa there when he does so Stannis can put her back in her rightful spot. Why he can’t just take her away until then…?

It’s also interesting that Littlefinger knows just how dangerous Roose (Michael McElhatton) is, but still seems so naive about his son. This idea, along with Jaimie going to Dorne, are two plot points this season the show just isn’t selling well. There’s no way Littlefinger doesn’t know about Ramsay (Iwan Rheon)…unless he is leading Sansa into danger on purpose.

I’m guessing “i’ll be married” was Sansa’s way of telling Littlefinger to stop giving her weird uncle kisses on the mouth, but she’s going to have to be a little more forceful if she thinks she’s going to survive Ramsay.

Hisssssssssssssss. We are then finally introduced to the Sand Snakes, the bastard daughters of Oberyn (Pedro Pascal). The show has limited the number of them (a lot of Dornish people are getting the axe, it seems) but finally! Whips! Spears!

Sadly, this wasn’t the greatest introduction to the sisters as i would have liked. Right now all three come off as comic book character versions of their book selves, and the way everybody here is presented as so black and white and war and peace is a little too one dimensional.

We only got a brief scene with them, so hopefully there will be a lot more time for them to come.

Last but not least, we returned to Mereen and Danny (Emilia Clarke). The “big” death this week was accidentally spoiled for me, and of course, Barristan (Ian McElhinney) isn’t dead yet in the books. But does this really matter?

I’m not so sure. It’s going to shape Danny differently, that’s for sure. She’s now alone, with no one from her homeland to help steer her. Some are suggesting this makes a nice hole for Jorah to fill (IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE), but I think it’s more than likely setting up her marriage. She’s running out of friends and needs to react to this death someway, and trying to appease the locals might be the way to do it.

My larger problem with this scene is the physical functionality of it. How on earth is a group of the Harpys able to outfight the Unsullied? I hardly doubt that rich slave masters are well trained in combat, and even if they are, there’s no way they were trained as well and adeptly with the spear as the Unsullied. It just doesn’t make sense. The way that the Harpys were getting kills in also seemed unbelievable. Just sneaking in and cutting throats? Really?

As for Barristan, was one of the best swords in the land, and yet he’s brought down by the Harpies? I can at least buy that by the time he got there he was vastly outnumbered, but it still seems unlikely that they could put him and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) both down.

One thing’s for sure. Danny is fucked now.

The rulers that we are used to seeing hold power aren’t holding it anymore, that’s clear, and it’s hard to argue that modern politics aren’t seeping into the show a bit in the depiction of both the Harpies and the Faith Militant.

The depiction of those two groups felt unsettling just for the sake of being unsettling (especially compared to the books), and there was no reason for them to invade a brothel, except for some boobs. It’s almost as if the show wanted to make sure to give a dose of boobs and violence, and well, why not do them at the same time! This is what people want, so here you go!

But, for all the book reader shout outs and bread crumbs in this episode, it still felt like a bright flash that was lacking substance. We got a lot of death and violence this week at the hands of mobs, but the motivation and back-story behind the events were lacking. The pacing is also starting to drift widely; some plots are moving fast while others are really crawling, giving us the weakest episode yet this season.

Until next week, when it’s time to “Kill the Boy.”

Notes and Quotes:

-“All they want to do is fight and fuck, fuck and fight.”

-“Corpses raises questions. Questions raise armies.”

-“Dead don’t need lovers, only the living”

-No Arya (Maisie Williams) this week, which is probably good, as I’m still worried they are going to burn through her arc (or bore us with it) way too quickly.

-I know Grey Worm probably isn’t dead but I hope he is because I want that love arc to die a fiery death.

Community Season 6, Episode 8 “Intro To Recycled Cinema” Review

Community Season 6, Episode 8 “Intro To Recycled Cinema” Review

 

“Community” is flirting with its previous greatness.

Like a love struck teen, it has slowly moved from sitting across the lunch room, to sitting the table over, and now is finally just a few seats away from its crush, trying to do everything it can to say just the right word to make its crush laugh and get back to the good ol’ days.

And its close, but still not quite there.

Only “Community” could pull off a bit where Chang (Ken Jeong) goes to Hollywood due to his success with a catch phrase in a commercial for ham (Hammmmmm Girl). It’s something that just makes so much sense, it’s almost surprising the show hasn’t done it before, given Jeong’s success from “The Hangover.”

The bit worked so well it almost seemed like an actual exit of the show for Jeong. (It wasn’t).

Now, with Chang’s fame, Frankie (Paget Brewster) brings in one of her Hollywood friends, Maury (Steven Guttenberg), to help turn some of Abed’s (Danny Pudi) old footage of Chang into a get- rich-quick scheme for Greendale.

As much time as the show spent setting up the whole concept, it didn’t really manage to explain how the footage was the school’s property…and not Abed’s. Abed doesn’t usually give up control easily, and the idea that he just handed over control to the Dean — or anybody —lacked explanation. If there’s going to be that much screen time devoted to selling the premise, then it should actually sell the premise.

The show is also getting in the not-so-great habit of spending way too much time setting up each episode instead of letting them just start. This week distinctly felt like three individual pieces instead of one cohesive whole.

Case in point, the movie within the show within the show: Chief Starr and the Raiders of the Galaxy. The episode may have worked better if it just started here (the show’s done this before) and backed its way into the premise, or really trimmed down the opening set up. Instead, seven minutes of screen time were already used up before the bit even started.

It was funny seeing how the show was able to make use of the same footage of Chang over and over again, (like when he shot Magnitude (Luke Youngblood) by putting the phone down or him walking into the space station) and somewhat ironic that the show is poking fun at the fact that it found the best use for Chang by not actually having Chang be there.

The special effects were also pretty good, considering the “low budget” effect that they were going for. Stylistically, all that stuff worked.

In the the past, Dan Harmon has talked about not doing a straight “Star Wars” riff, even though paintball part dos did take a few notes from the saga, but here the show went right for the jugular in a galaxy not that far away. The Catina scene? We get it. You are doing “Star Wars.”

But, credit where credit is due, and the trash compactor scene was quite funny (We’re gonna get crushed…is there a monster?”) and played up the tropes that the audience was expecting by even having  the characters in the show expect the same thing.

Act three tried to bring about some resolution, with Jeff not wanting his footage to get cut, after spending most of the filming deriding the whole idea (and the cut to Garret (Erik Charles Nielsen) with his Glip Glop shirt was great). It was nice seeing the whole affair turn it into a story with a heart and a center, with Jeff starting to worry that he will be the last person in the group left, and he’ll be stuck at Greendale forever watching his friends outgrow him.

But, that realization was undercut by Abed, essentially, resolving everything because of Annie’s boobs. It, as usual this season, seemed out of character for Abed (Jeff, sure, but Abed?) and a writing cop-out. What’s the moral of the week? Boobs? Ok. Sure. Annie’s boobs happened! It was all OK in the end! Let’s go with it.

(Not complaining, but there are better resolutions to hang a story arc on than Annie’s boobs, even if it was a metaphor)

That being said, there’s also something simplistic, saccharine, and honest in what Abed said. Here are two guys who are just trying to make the best of everyday life, as their friends pass them by. And who, unless everybody else had left, would never be friends like this. Maybe it does take something like Annie’s boobs to bring them together, if even for a moment.

But, the episode still suffered from pacing, and the third act dragged too long. It was also light on the hard hitting laughs, especially after last week. This is an episode that just reeked of “it was more fun to shoot than watch,” (that’s not to say it wasn’t a fun episode), and had many of the pieces of what could have been a classic “Community” episode, just not the laughs or the execution.

 

 

Notes and Quotes
-Take note: The main opening scene this week was at the bar, not at the study room. Slowly but surely, the show is shifting.

-“Britta, pay your rent”

-“It’s my only chance at the main stream success I need before I can make weird stuff for money.”

-“People like dinosaurs and aliens and anything Chris Pratt can join forces with.”

-“Why am I wearing a blouse? It’s sci-fi, it doesn’t matter.”

-lol, steel drums came back

-“Space version of the Wild West!”

-“Pay your rent or shut up.”

-“I feel Dracula Force”

-#WhoIsGlipGlop

-“Somewhere, every once in awhile…Annie reaches down her shirt.”

-Little heavy on the Chris Pratt jokes, guys.

-“What’s YouTube?”

-“Tell Steven Spielberg to lick my butt.”

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 3 “The High Sparrow” Review

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 3 “The High Sparrow” Review

*Full book and show spoilers follow*

You either rule, or your serve.

Those who rule, in theory, should be serving those they rule. And those who serve…well, sometimes they want to rule. Thus is life in Westeros (and not too unlike our own society, sometimes).

But when the servers don’t want to serve and the rulers learn they need to serve…well, that’s where this week’s episode of “Game of Thrones” comes in.

We again started off with little Arya (Maisie Williams), who has been biding her time sweeping up the floors of the House of Black and White. A girl must learn to serve, but Arya, feisty as ever, is ever growing impatient spending all her time cleaning the floors. Where’s the blood and action and adventure in HOUSEHOLD CHORES?!?

Nowhere, that’s where.

I’m glad the show showed a bit of restraint; given how much time we were spending with Arya, I almost thought that they were going to have her go blind already. Both here scenes this week seemed to be leading somewhere….but in the end the show has held that off a little longer. I’m still a bit worried the show is going to burn through her arc really fast; especially given how much time we’ve seen her the past two weeks. Maybe it’s just because her story plodded this week, but I’m curious to see how they continue to develop her throughout the rest of the season.

Back in King’s Landing, Cersei struggles to hold on to her right to rule. We were treated to a (albeit brief) momentous occasion: A “Game of Thrones” wedding without somebody dying! Who knew it was possible? Who knew it could happen? The colorless wedding, I dub thee.

And booooooom. What a wedding night it was. Little Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) became a man and finally bedded that smirking whore from Highgarden. Given his age (note: the actor is 17, not sure what the character’s age is really supposed to be at this point) I wasn’t really sure what they were going to do with the scene, but Tommen seemed to enjoy himself. Wink wink. Nudge nudge.

For those of you at home keeping score, this also marks the first time that eligible bachelorette Margaery (Natalie Dormer) is finally off the market. How’s the old saying go? Third time’s the charm? Well, if the first two kings die on you, just go for the younger brother. You’ll be Queen eventually.

Oh, and that smirk when she lied about the idea of her being Queen sounding weird. Of course it sounds weird Marg, of course it does.

The new Queen however wasted NO time in sinking her claws into the little King, already plotting at how to get Cersei (Lena Headey) out of her hair. And Tommen was just lapping it up.

Then of course we were treated to Cersei Strikes Back: The Passive Aggressive Menace. She’ll help Marg in any way possible. Any way. Any way. Anything she needs, my dear. Anything I can do as long as it involves putting my lion claws around your tight little throat and watching you choke.

This must be KILLING Cersei, and it’s just so good to see that conflict. Not only does Cersei have to be cordial to this girl she clearly hates, but to see her, the new Queen, radiate happiness with her husband, a happiness that Cersei never had with her husband. And one of Cerise’s last, loved children is now in the hands of the very person Cersei is scared will remove her from power.

It’s also interesting because Margaery, is , essentially, becoming Cersei. She’s manipulating Tommen the same exact way that Cersei manipulates men, and throw in the ultimate irony that Tommen is probably the one person in Westeros (or her family…hey-oh!) that Cerise can’t woo sexually and it’s really a battle of the wills here.

That’s not all in King’s Landing though, folks! We also got some religious rabble rousing, when the fringe group known as The Sparrows decided that the High Septon (Paul Bentley) was getting too high on whores and needed to be dealt with.

We are also introduced to the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), fresh from his life in “Pirates of the Caribbean”, and who I am debating referring to as King Turtle for the remainder of eternity. Cersei seems to be courting him (God knows she needs the political capital right now), and has throne the old Septon in jail.

I’m near positive this isn’t how it went down in the books (The Septon was overthrown by the Sparrows and was a Lannister puppet), but this is one of the biggest struggles the show is going to have this season: Religion.

Where faith and religion are almost woven into the books, the whole Sparrow movement did kind of come out of nowhere. The show has, for whatever reason, really diminished both the magical and religious elements of the show, so much so that I was surprised how vibrant they were when I started reading the books after starting with the show.

But now we have a huge plot that focuses on…religion. It just needs to be dealt with carefully. And we all know how carefully Cersei tends to deal with things…

(I also, for the life of me, can’t figure out why they are foreshadowing the Mountain so much. I’m pretty sure everybody knows what’s coming now, and to keep beating us over the head with it just seems like overkill. Ha. )

Ah. Ah. AH. I’m going to try not to rub it in TOO much, but next we jumped to Moat Cailin. And I was right. Go back and look at last week’s article. My poor, poor, poor, poor, baby Sansa (Sophie Turner).

Sure, Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) gave a good speech about the reasons why Sansa should marry Ramsay (Iwan Rheon). It does put her in charge of the North again. It does let her keep her enemies close (something echoed later on in the episode). And it does let Sansa test her mettle and manipulation powers she’s learned from the best.

But, she’s also going up against one of the sickest, sadist-est, characters in the show. Just look at those flayed men! (Quite the gruesome visual).

Littlefinger’s game here is equally confusing. As Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) pointed out, Littlefinger has nothing to gain by throwing away the support of the Lannisters, and marrying off Sansa, and for someone who has had a giant master plan going all along, this seems an odd wrench in it. I also find it very odd that Littlefinger has not heard of Ramsay’s brutality through any means at all, especially given his spreading notoriety.

Of course, good book loving readers that you are, you know this isn’t what happens in the book, at all. Sansa and Little Finger are still far, far away from the North, and this is probably the biggest change that the show has done so far, and by switching in a major character (Sansa) for a not major one (that other girl pretending to be fake Arya), there’s a chance it is backing itself into a corner. Either Sansa never ends up doing anything interesting in the books (disappointing), or they somehow reconcile her arc after all of this stuff with the Boltons and THEN Littlefinger tries to marry her to someone from the Eyrie.

We’ve also heard from both Rheon and Turner that their characters each had a really hard scene to film this season, and there’s only way things can play out with Ramsay. And I’m not sure if Sansa can go toe-to-toe with him.

The other wild card here is Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), who has failed every person she has tried to serve, and Pod (Daniel Portman). We only saw them briefly, but had some great characterization out of poor Brienne. I honestly can’t remember if we’ve heard this story before or if it’s something I’m remembering from the books, but it does paint her in a light to remind us viewers that as much as we may be rooting for Brienne, she’s really an outcast in the world she lives in.

And all of this is despite being one of, if not the, best warrior in Westeros. She could also be the one who spars with Ramsay, and if that’s the case…well…I think Bolton is about to see his ass flayed.

North of the wall, Stannis (Stephen Dillane) gave one last attempt to try to get Jon (Kit Harington) to serve him. Ever stubborn, proud, and honorable, Jon of course denies. Stannis was in enough to leave the big giant hairy mammoth in the room decision to John though: What to do with all these Wildings that are now kicking about and eating the Watch’s chips and sleeping on their couches and not paying rent.

(Side note: How does EVERY character know that Ned died for honor? Everybody isn’t partial to what Ned knew and how it got him killed.)

Davos (Liam Cunningham) even tried to reason with Jon. Book-Davos is one of my favorite characters, so I’m always happy to see more of him.

It didn’t seem like John’s decision was totally made up.

We then got some good old Brothers of the Night’s Watch political shuffling, as Jon appointed Thorne (Owen Teale) as first ranger.

Then he lopped off the head of Janos Slynt (Dominic Carter). Slynt served the Lord Commander. but he didn’t serve well.

Now, this was another area this week the show didn’t lead up to enough. The show lost track of Janos for quite awhile, so much so that i would be surprised if any non-book readers remember him from the early season. Even “The Walking Dead” gives characters that are about to die some screen time before they die, and instead we’ve just continually seen Janos mostly in the background. And it almost feels like a waste of a killing when the death reflects more on Jon than it does on Janos.

(Also note: I think this is the first time in a beheading we’ve see the whole shot clear and it hasn’t cut away).

And last, but not least, Tyrion Pink Dinklage) finally gets out of his box! Welcome to Volantis.

It may not seem super important now, but I’m glad the show included the scene with the Red Priestess. But, like before, when was the last time the show even mentioned Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye)? Or the Brothers without Banners, for that matter? But here we are seeing that the fire god isn’t just isolated to a few people, but that it’s actually a movement spreading across the East. We see the important of the different religions, and it also starts to key us in to the whole fire magic getting stronger idea, which is something that’s very key in the books, and has been mostly avoided in the show. It is a song of ice and fire, after all.

Tyrion also, in a crippling blow to himself, learns that his favorite pastime is no longer his favorite pastime. Yes, the god of tits and wine can still drink, but it seems, for now at least, that his whoring days are over.

Of course, this realization comes moments before good guy Jorah (Iain Glen) kidnaps him and  declares to nobody in particular but also the entire audience that he is now kidnapping Tyrion…and taking him to the same place Tyrion was already headed to.

This, of course, makes me wonder what will happen to Varys (Conleth Hill) who has already thrown his lot in with Tyrion and can’t exactly just return to King’s Landing and start listening to whispers again.

We did get some good political wheeling and dealings, but this week also felt like a lot of filler. When the two most exciting things that happened were a third rate, low tier character getting his head cut off and Tyrion getting kidnapped and taken to the same place he was heading already, well, it’s just not the most flashy stuff. But a lot of wheels are moving, and hopefully we’ll start to see some of those results sooner rather than later.

Hides your wives and hides your daughters, because “The Sons of the Harpy” is up next!

Notes & Quotes

-I’m normally not a huge fan of (and rarely notice) the show’s score, but this week had a few really good moments: Arya and needle, Sansa making her decision, Jon marching to the chopping block, the High Septon scene.

-Always interesting to note that we did see full frontal nudity of the female persuasion, but no dick this week.

-Also, no Dany this week, which is a shame because I think I could have pulled off the “serving” theme much more with her arc than some of the others here.

-“This is all I want to do, all day, every day, for the rest of my life.” Thataboy, Tommen.

-“I wish we had some wine for you, it’s a bit early in the day for us.”

“There’s no justice in the world, not unless we make it. You loved your family, avenge them.”

“Nothing’s more hateful than failing to protect the ones you love.”

-“Good job for a ginger.”

“They think I’m special for telling them so.”

-“Who doesn’t want to meet the savior?”

-“Someone who inspires priests and whores is worth taking seriously.”

-Again, thanks to buddytv.com and The Daily Beast, and maybe one I’m forgetting for help double checking quotes.

Community Season 6, Episode 7 “Advance Safety Features” Review

Community Season 6, Episode 7 “Advance Safety Features” Review

 

If “Community” needs quotes for any upcoming article sponsorship deals, here’s some hand mined gems:

“The hardest I’ve laughed at Community in a long time.”

“The best episode yet this season.”

 

This was the funniest episode of “Community” in a long time. It may even be one of the funniest episodes since season three (which feels so long ago at this point). Just take a look at the quotes section this week! Line after line, laugh after laugh, this is the “Community” that fans fell in love with.

The show opened with a great study room scene (which the show has been nailing of late), including hilarious commentary on Elroy’s (Keith David) role in the group, Abed (Danny Pudi) self-realizing how boring he (and the rest of the group) has been since Troy (Donald Glover) left, and even Jeff (Joel McHale) stepped into the game with a payoff joke about steel drums. Even gags like Chang’s (Ken Jeong) PowerPoint intro, which normally probably would have fallen flat, got big laughs.

The bigger question is where this fire and wit was at the start at the season. Where was this commentary a few episodes ago? It’s been sprinkled here and there, but this was a return to form for a show that is almost as much about itself as it is about pop culture.

Britta (Gillian Jacobs) old flame Rick (Travis Schuldt) returned, with a beard, this time as a guerrilla campus marketer for Honda. (It’s the same story all over again!). The double irony is that, of course, it is essentially the same story again, and the ghost of “Community” episodes past haunted this otherwise great episode.

It almost seems that “Community” is out to top itself this season, but it’s hard to top yourself when you are dancing in fields already plowed. The Subway stint was a great use of product placement, but the show turned everything up a notch with Honda, (and it was equally funny to see how the show managed to continually avoid ever mentioning Subway by name), but just like last week’s episode being the third in a trilogy, there’s an unsettling feeling that we’ve been here and done this and see it before, and even the show commenting on that very idea isn’t enough to make it go away.

And that’s the unsettling thought that kept plaguing me between finishing the episode and finishing this review. There was so much great stuff here: The Dean (Jim Rash) and Frankie (Paget Brewster),  as she tried to stay positive and not make fun of the Dean but just couldn’t. There was Britta’s “Avatar is puke.” Rick apologizing to the car after hitting it. Britta telling him to stop the awesome and amazing and fully detailed breaks of the vehicle. Very funny stuff all around.

There was even heart, with Elroy coming clean to Britta about having dated the Natalie is Freezing singer, and Britta’s own “level 7” realization, that just tugged at the heartstrings.

It was a bit of a stretch that Elroy was keeping Jeff at arm’s length because of an old flame 20 years ago, but at least everything built to something and connected. It was neat and tidy in a way the show hasn’t been yet this season, and also was the first to feel really planned out and like the well oiled machine “Community” can be.

But it still feels a bit empty, because the show has done this before. “Community” can’t keep looking back, and when some of the best jokes of an episode are based around characters that aren’t there anymore and seasons long gone, there’s a bit of fear that even if the show takes old ideas and turns them up to a thousand, it’s still overly reliant on looking back, instead of forward.

Cue steel drum solo.

 

 

Notes and Quotes

-The episode was written by Carol Kolb (from the Onion) who hasn’t had a writing credit yet this season. Hopefully there’s a lot more where this came from. It was almost night and day above anything else we’ve see n this year.

“They can’t send you to prison unless they know you’re poor.”

“Do you believe half your own politics?” “Yeahhhhhhh. Yeah.”

-“By which I mean figure out what makes a DJ good, or bad. Or different from a phone or laptop.”

-“Sounds like brain Windexing.”

-“Is he black Pierce? Or old Troy? Shirley without a giant purse?”

“You guys have been boring too.”

-“That’s won’t pay off immediately. But it’s gonna pay off.”

-“Don’t ever say that name without compensation.”

“..wait for them to notice your cool.”

“-We weren’t supposed to leave the rec center.”

-Did anybody else have Subway commercials air during the show? OH THE LEVELS OF META.

“That’s moon man talk.”

-“I’ve been saying that since the invention of the shuffle button.”

-“if you need anything reached, I’ve been practicing.”

-“We like Avatar?”

-Yup, the bar IS becoming a staple of the show it seems.

-“Play the game.”

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 2 “The House of Black and White” Review

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 2 “The House of Black and White” Review

*Full spoilers for the TV show and books follow. You’ve been warned.*

“Someone who’s forgotten fear has forgotten how to hide. Fear is useful that way.”
-Daario Naharis

“Show too much kindness, people won’t fear you. If they don’t fear you, they don’t follow you.” -Stannis

Are you afraid of the dark?

No, but there’s probably something dark, creepy, or crawly in the back of your mind that makes your skin crawl. Spiders maybe? Snakes? Or there’s always the inevitably of death.

At least you don’t (I would imagine) have to sleep with the fear of getting your head lopped off. The second episode of season 5 of “Game of Thrones” gave us a very good – and keen – look into just what fears are motivating the wise and weary of Westeros at this stage in the game, in hopes of them keeping their own heads.

Arya (Maisie Williams) was absent last week, but has finally arrived across the sea to Braavos. There have been brief glimpses of Braavos before (and that giant Titan), but we finally got to see more of the canals and waterways where Arya is going to spend the next whoeverknowshowlong in training this season.

In a week all about fear, it’s no chance that Arya kicked things off: She told the captain how she feared nothing, and out of everyone on the show she has possibly lost the most and truly has the least left to fear. She has no home, (almost) no family, and no life to return to. She truly is fearless.

In what a very smart divergent from the books (and one of several the show did this week) the show brought back Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) to be Arya’s mentor. It’s not always the case, but here it’s a good move to have a character people already know and recognize take the place of a totally new character.

(Sure, we could argue for hours that maybe Jaqen is actually the person training her in the books, but let’s not).

Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) is starting to fear she has failed every single oath she has ever made. Every. Single. One. After a cruel near-chance meeting last week, her and Pod (Daniel Portman) actually DO run into Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) this week, at the Bar of Chance and Happenstance Meetings.

This scene was very well done, and almost a bit too mean, even for a show know for its cruelty. The viewer wants characters that are good to realize that they both are good and go off with each other and be happy and safe and hold hands and run in the fields and frolic in the flowers. But that’s not what happens. We see just how much Sansa has changed here; even at the mention of her mother she could care less about what Brienne has to say. We know Brienne is good for Sansa, but as Littlefinger points out, Brienne’s track record hasn’t been great, and there’s no way for her to prove to the Sansa that she is legit. It’s a cruel twist of fate that the show is milking. It isn’t like Brienne can whip out her cell phone and prove she’s legit!

As a result, we got one of the best action bits in the whole episode, in an awesome escape scene with Brienne. Horses! Sword slashes! Hiyah!

The show is striking close to what it did with Brienne and Arya already, so it will be interesting to see how long Brienne tails Littlefinger and Arya. It seems that evidence is mounting the pair is heading to Winterfell, and I’m not convinced that when Littlefinger said his marriage proposal was accepted, he meant it was a proposal for HIS wedding. Taking bets right now: Littlefinger has set up Sansa with Ramsay (Iwan Rheon), and the fake Arya plot is going to be played out by a fake Sansa pretending to be a real Sansa but is actually real Sansa all along. TRICKERY.

And of course, none of this has happened in the books. But it made for good TV.

Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) both carry similar fears for their family, but can’t come to terms with each other on how to act on them. And that fire that Cersei cast at Jaime for not being a good father. Ouch. That burnt.

On Jaime’s part, he is now heading to Dorne to rescue Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free). It’s a big change from the books, but one that makes for the show. Jaime is an interesting character, and the show can still milk a lot more out of his more redeeming (and not sister-fucking) qualities.

Also, partnering him with Bronn (Jerome Flynn) is a great chance for the show to bring back another fan favorite character and continue to develop Jaime as well. Bronn and Jaime together might initially seem like an odd pairing – especially given Bronn and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) pairing that precedes them – but putting Bronn with Jaime can only soften the seriousness we’ve seen waft from the latter recently.

Sending Jaimie to Dorne also puts a much larger sense of urgency and stake in the quest, which can only lead more credence to it. It also changes it from a sneaky plot of Cersei’s to a much more open air attempt to bring Myrcella back, which can’t be something that is going to go well down in Dorne.

But it isn’t like Cersei isn’t up to enough of her own schemes. We got the first new meeting of the new Small Council Vista Premium Home Edition. I’ve missed the Small Council, and am a big fan of the political wheeling and dealings that happen in these scenes. More of them, I say!

Wasting no time after her father’s death, Cersei is hitting the ground running. There will be no Hand, and she’ll just kind of run things while Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) we can only assume is off playing with either his pussy cats (or Margaery’s!) somewhere. Cersei handing our promotions like candy: Qyburn (Anton Lesser) is taking Varys’ (Conleth Hill) old role as Master of Whisperers (pissing off Pycelle (Julian Glover)), while giddy ol’ Mace Tyrell (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) is lauded with plenty of meaningless titles just to keep the in-laws happy.

It’s Cersei’s own family that isn’t happy. Her uncle, Kevan Lannister (Ian Gelder), gave an amazing performance that echoed some of the best we saw from Tywin (Charles Dance). Kevin wasn’t taking ANY of Cersei’s shit, but it would be a shame to see him head off to Casterly Rock so soon.

Him being there, however, did highlight one of the show’s weaknesses: I can’t honestly remember the last time we saw Kevin (I checked, season two!) and I’m sure there were many people who thought he was a new character. I wish they had built him up a little more, and I really hope he sticks around to continue to be the pain in Cersei’s side we all know she needs.

(Side note: I’m guessing his death sentence is waved, as there’s no way Varys can shoot him all the way from across the Narrow Sea).

I’m not quite sure what the denisions of Dorne fear, but I’m a bit fearful for them: This wasn’t the epic introduction to Dorne that the southernmost region of Westeros deserved.

We did get to meet gout-ridden Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig), the older brother of our beloved Oberyn (Pedro Pascal), may he RIP. The two could be no more different, and for quite some time in the books Doran comes off as incompetent, indecisive, and weak. Or at the very patient.

It’s that weakness that Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) fears, and while we don’t get to see the Sand Snakes, they are at least name checked to rue some fear in Doran. Doran is a complex and interesting character, though that doesn’t come out at first in the books, and the show seems to be going along that same path. It’s too early to tell for him, but the show doesn’t really want people to like him yet, so it’s tough to say how much of that is purposeful.

The problem here was the dressing: This just wasn’t the vastly different and flashy portrayal of Dorne I was expecting. It doesn’t look or feel that different from any of the other Westeros locations (even though it was filmed in Spain, I believe). Hopefully as we see more of Dorne the location will actually start to feel unique.

Danny (Emilia Clarke) fears a great many things. She’s scared of becoming her father. She’s scared she can’t rule Mereen. She’s scared she won’t be able to control her dragons.

There seems to be a lot of discussion around her decisions this week, and while on the one hand I’m happy to see people finally start getting over Danny, I do think it’s interesting what the show is doing here. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen lords have to deal out justice they don’t like.

Go all the way back to Ned (Sean Bean) in season 1 and chopping off the head of the Watch deserter. Go back to Jon (Kit Harington) killing Rickard Karstark (John Stahl). So keep both of those in mind when condemning Danny for doing the same thing. Just rule is not always fair to the ruler or the ruled, and throughout the season characters have had to make decision after decision that they probably would have rather not be in the position of making.

Danny, on the other hand, is sitting on a field of victory after a bunch of lucky breaks, the dragons perhaps being the luckiest of all. But now her luck is starting to run out. There’s a very heavy colonization metaphor at work here as well: She isn’t going to be able to apply Westeros rule and law to a country that doesn’t want it. She’s going to continue to learn that. As much as she was like Ned and Jon here, the riots at the end were also very familiar to the riots in King’s Landing that Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) had to contend with. Some may argue that this moment is Danny losing her idealism, but it’s a consistent decision in a long line of her being consistently idealistic.

Right now, Tyrion’s only fear is an empty glass. We returned to the Buddy Cop Drama Show with him and Varys (already) slowly making their way to Mereen, now via Volantis.
It was a good scene; but I’m worried about just how much of this season those two characters are going to spend on the road.

The show did manage to pull something new out of each of the characters. We never really get to see Varys be that open and honest (if he ever is, but that’s always up for debate), but Tyrion’s realization of how much he loved pulling the strings and having power is a big moment for the little man, especially now at perhaps his lowest moment. Neither of them will be leaders, either because of how they look, or who they are, but they can still do great things pulling the strings for those who do lead. Deep stuff. Maybe it was the alcohol.

Just hopefully, the show doesn’t keep these two locked in a box for the whole season.

Up at the wall, Jon is scared of leadership.

Stannis (Stephen Dillane) offered the bastard of Winterfell everything that he has ever wanted: A rightful name, a castle, and a lordship.

Jon turned it down.

Instead, Sam (John Bradley) nominated Jon to be the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. The show again does some nice compressing: The election wasn’t the long, drawn out process it was in the books. (It was nice they at least kept it an initial tie, though).

The best part though was Jon’s reaction to winning, played perfectly by Harrington. Jon doesn’t want to lead. He didn’t want to rule Winterfell. He didn’t want to lead the Watch. He’s just really damn good at leading. But he was shocked he won, and he’s scared of what that means for him. He tried running away from Stannis and ran out of the frying pan and into the fire. He dodged one leadership bullet, but another one (or a knife!) is waiting right for him.

“The House of Black and White” was a strong epsiode, and a step up from last week, and also pretty aptly named. Not just for the doors Arya enters, but for the many decisions that the characters are making. Vows or personal gain? Jon is always going to pick his vows. Idealism or smart political savvy? Dany only has one of those two things. And at the end of the day, everybody has to pick between which of their fears scares them the most, and make a decision, even if it isn’t black and white and clear which way is the right path.

Until next week, and the “High Sparrow!”

Notes and Quotes

-Best line of the week: “That smirking whore from Highgarden.” Let’s make that a meme internet!

-The House of Black and White always makes me think of half moon cookies. It’s a shame the door design here doesn’t have the moon face still!

– “I know S”

-Also, thank you Buddytv.com for being super helpful in getting my quotes together.

Community Season 6, Episode 4 “Queer Studies and Advance Waxing” Review

Community Season 6, Episode 4 “Queer Studies and Advance Waxing” Review

Better. Good. Not great. But good. An improvement. A step in the right direction. Cake, but no cherry on top.

All of these phrases describe the fourth episode of this oft-foretold sixth season of our beloved “Community.” It was the best episode yet this season, but with a caveat: I’m not sure if it would have even made a dent in the top ranks of past seasons. At least it means the fated season six is starting to head in the right direction.

The runaway leader here, by far, was newcomer to the group Elroy (Keith David), who got some of the best laughs this episode. Sure, both of them came at the expense of Britta (Gillian Jacobs), and both of them took place in that magical zone around the study table, but that’s a strong start for a character the show hasn’t really been able to (or even really tried to) explain his existence in any way. Justify him with laughs. That might just be enough.

Truth be told, I wasn’t a fan of the Britta/Elroy pairing originally, but after their two brief interactions here I’d love to see them paired off again, in some setting that just has Elroy yelling at her and her backing away scared. Bonus points if the yelling is video game related.

Instead, Elroy got to have adventures with his new friend, Abed (Danny Pudi), who the show really does not seem to know what to do with this season. The pair’s little standoff with security was a nice one liner, but again Abed is back into the shadows with a new character. The show also really seemed to miss a chance to connect the baby bird’s mother with Abed’s own mom leaving. I’m shocked that they set that all up and then just whiffed at the chance to take it one step further, which is an opportunity the show in the past never would have passed up.

I keep going back and forth on Chang (Ken Jeong) and Annie’s (Alison Brie) “Karate Kid” spoof. It did give us an excellent guest star in Jason Mantzoukas as Matt Lundergard, who aside from Elroy, was one of the big reasons this episode really worked. He was great. Kudos on that guest star casting.

It was also…interest to see Annie’s (purposeful) horrible acting continue to go on and on while Chang was instead the one getting yelled at. It was a nice little twist and turn-of-the-tables when it turned out that she wasn’t actually brought in because she could act, but the contrary. It was Lundergard’s constant railing on Chang that stole the show and continued to be hilarious, and was probably the best bit the show has done yet this season.

But, the bigger difference here, as compared to similar pop-culture spoofs the show has done in the past, is that while I’ve never seen “Apollo 13” or “The Karate Kid” (you can burn me in effigy later), I feel like most of the bits the show does are funny enough in their own right, which this was, but I don’t think it really needed “The Karate Kid” license to be that way. Once we got past the initial scenes of Chang being verbally assaulted, I’m not sure there was anything to be gained from giving even more screen time here, and those scenes would have been just as funny no matter what the play was that he was working on. The early laughs weren’t derived from the references, which is usually the way “Community” goes, but I felt the longer the play went on the more it was relying on viewer’s having seen the film, and was more a direct parody, and less funny as a result.

This episode already felt a little on the long end (the extra time hasn’t bothered me yet this season, but this one did clock in at over 30 minutes, longer than everything else this season), so sticking with the play all the way to the end just didn’t work in terms of payoff, especially since the show had already dedicated a lot of time setting everything with Annie and Chang already. We already had gotten the largest jokes about seeing Chang get there, there was nothing gained to see the play actually being performed.

The biggest – and most interesting bit – was the Dean’s (Jim Rash) story. After a scuffle with the local Gay Pride Parade, the school board (who pulled in a few good laughs, even though I’ve never been a huge fan of the characters) wanted to promote Pelton to the board…assuming he was gay.

The sexuality of the Dean’s character has long been one of the show’s long jokes, sometimes in the forefront, sometimes more subtle, and has worked to a varying degree of success over the years. It’s never really been crystal clear, and it was creative to see the way the show managed to address his sexuality without ever really managing to address his sexuality. The one thing we are able to glean, at least, is that the Dean is not just gay (that’s only 2/7 of his sexuality), and I think it probably works best that we don’t know what the other 5/7 parts of his inner sex palace are.

The story was really working – the Gay Dean song was a nice bit, even if it did feel a bit unnatural for the show, but it was the resolution that I felt really failed everything the show was building toward. Instead of coming out as what he really was, Pelton came out as a politician, in a press conference that just felt like another giant whiff at the plate this week. It just wasn’t funny, and I can see what the show was going for (somewhat, I guess), but combined with the song it just really felt like the show was out of its territory here. I’m not saying they can’t do the more direct parodies or commentary, but the show needs to sell them. And having Pelton being kicked off the board because people like politicians to be in the closet? That just felt like a shallow attempt (and jab) at the trying to say something about the political process – and gay identity – but not really saying much of anything about either. The song I bought, but not the ending to the whole thing.

Oh! And before I forget, even if it did feel like the show was tackling too many stories and trying to throw too much into one episode, one other thing of note: We got our first shots of Britta bar tending, which I’m now curious if that is going to become a new set piece for the show (and the characters) to gather around giving the whole committee idea seems to be running low on fumes.

Notes & Quotes:

-“Why would a plumber be fighting a monkey?”

-“Gay doesn’t begin to cover it”

-“Cutting women out of sex, it’s genius.”

-“Annie got my part and I got the Asian part.”

-“Need time to fix it? You sound just like you work in IT.”

-“Act better. Thanks.”

-the whole tear speech to Chang

-“Insects have wings.” “I’m sorry!” Britta and Elroy are the best here

-Curious about Jeff and Annie at the end, BUT Jeff had his arm around Britta at the bird funeral, so who knows.

-Oddly enough, we haven’t seen a costume for the Dean yet this season, and this seemed like the episode to bring one out.

-Still having problems with Yahoo Screen and the show coming back from commercial at the wrong cut. It’s not a huge deal, but apparently I’m not the only one. Please get on this Yahoo!

South Park Season 18 Episode 05 “The Magic Bush” Review: Lots of bush

“The Magic Bush,” as the name implies, was a lesson in just how many pubic hair jokes “South Park” can cram into one episode.

The answer? A lot.

After the flop that was “Handicar,” this season really needed a constant laugh-a-thon, and this week delivered a near rapid-fire constant succession of jokes, even if they all came down to bush. It was solid and, for the most part, worked.

Drones were the original issue at hand here, after Cartman learned that Butters (well, his dad), had a drone and decided to give it a little fly around town. After being caught filming Laura Tucker (Craig’s mom) naked, the whole town is up in arms over privacy issues, thus tying together people’s privacy fears over drones to the massive celebrity nude photo leak in September. Pretty normal jump for the show to make, all things considered.

The leak connection itself made sense, but was woefully underdeveloped. Sure, both issues have privacy issues at their core, but tying them together didn’t really add anything to the whole premise (aside from a few oddly aimed Jennifer Lawrence’s butt hole jokes). Each issue almost seems worthy of a dedicated “South Park,” and deserved some type of social commentary here to sell the premise, tie a bow on the episode, and really pull everything together.

Juggling two issues together is tough, and then the show added on a third. The next twist was worth it though, when a police drone shot down the unarmed, and of course, black, community watch drone, leading to a hilarious drone candle light vigil and poor South Park turning into a police-drone state. I’m a little surprised it took the show this long to turn to Ferguson, but like the leak plot thread, the show just left it dangling unsure of what to say or how to say it.

The show’s hardest task this week was taking these three very complex and hot-button issues and giving them each their due while still generating laughs. The laughs here mostly came right from the original concept of Craig’s mom’s bush, but there were just too many other things going on plot wise that held the episode back.

Making the connections was clever, but what the show then continued to do with the tri-premise was nothing special. It needed to go deeper into the real crux of each of these issues. It wasn’t quite paint-by-numbers, but the show is really struggling with a defining voice this season. Rarely does an episode leave you wondering what Matt and Trey’s thoughts on a topic are, and yet that laser-sharp focus is still lacking, even half way through this season’s run.

Butter’s Dad’s plot got the weirdest arc this week, and the screen time could probably have been better spent fleshing out everything else going on. His ‘losing enthusiasm’ joke was solid…the first time, but the bearded crazy (No, not Craig’s mom) paranoia that came toward the end felt like the kind of escalation the show has done time and time again. It’s also a little out of character, considering he’s never had problems blaming Butters for misbehaving before.

That left bush jokes, and a few typical “South Park” delivery and situational moments to carry the brunt of the heavy lifting. And even though there was so much focus on Craig’s mom, there was oddly little of Craig. It seemed weird to not have him go after Cartman, and weirder still that Kyle didn’t actually tell anybody that he learned that Cartman, Butters, and Kenny were behind everything. It’s one of the strongest episodes the show has put forward this season – and yes, it was funny – but by trying to juggle too many balls this week, some got dropped and were left underdeveloped and discarded. Lost in the hedges, maybe.

Notes and quotes:

-“Your dad has a fucking drone?!?”

-“Kenny’s here. I told him all about it.”

-Pretty much every bush joke. Hedge clippers, Tarzan, forest ranger…

-“Fuck you, hypocrite dick-spy.”

-This episode probably couldn’t have been done a season or two ago before they finally figured out the South Park town map.

-Yup, looks like continuity for this season is, sadly, over.

-If I was a betting man, my bet is Gamer Gate next week.

South Park Season 18 Episode 04 “Handicar” Review: Quite a car wreck

Well, that one was rough.

Lyft and and Uber have been in the news a lot, and given the ridiculousness both sides have turned to, and the attempts taxi cab companies have taken to try to shut them down, the whole thing should be rife with comedic possibilities.

The problem? Bringing back Nathan and Mimsy from “Crippled Summer.” The whole Rocky and Mugsy bit wasn’t that funny then, and it still isn’t that funny now. And the ice-on-top-of-the-water thin comparison between Nathan’s plans always backfiring and Lyft and Uber’s doing the same, well, it just wasn’t enough to fuel a whole episode.

Therese’s only one real plot this week, centering on Timmy. He has just started a brand new handicar service that allows the merry residents of SP to use an app and have Timmy pick them up wherever they need to go. Convenient? Yup. Timmy is using the money to fund-raise for summer camp, which Nathan doesn’t want to go to again, so he and Mimsy set out to shut down Handicar for good.

But, instead of centering on developing the taxi cab union, Tesla, or anyone else really, everything eventually boils down to Nathan and Mimsy coming up with a plan, trying to sell it with another snake and sheep herder metaphor, the plan backfiring, and Nathan getting raped in a bathroom (At least it wasn’t a shark?).

Of course, only Mimsy (and as Nathan put it, he’s mentally disabled) brings up the real point: Why don’t taxi cab drivers just make their service better in an attempt to compete with Timmy? Maybe we shouldn’t be trying to save the taxi cab companies after all?

It’s the only real clear message that comes through in a quite muddled episode. I’m not quite sure where the show was going with the whole special treatment because of a handicap thing. Was it calling out the ride share services for getting special treatment? The parody just seemed mismatched. SP brought it up several times, only for the show to then seemingly back away from it, leaving nowhere to land.

And then there’s “Wacky Racers.” The “Wacky Racers” segment took up quite a bit of time at the end of the episode, and as far a “South Park” homage goes, was pretty cut and dry. It never really elevated itself past a cutesy connection (and sure, it’s one that probably only “South Park” would make), but it’s something that probably seemed like a way better idea in the writer’s room at crunch time than one that nearly a half an episode should be based off of. There’s a certain crowd for a “Wacky Racers” throwback joke, but it was a bit of a reach and let’s be honest, it’s something most “South Park” viewers (myself included) are probably going to have to Google first to get any referential humor from. A smirk? Sure. Any kind of real humor or laughter? Not anything that couldn’t be gotten from regular Saturday morning cartoons.

Instead, the show takes its one good idea about the whole situation, shoves it early in the episode, and waddles around chasing a car parody for the rest of it. Throw in outdated pop culture references and a major lack of jokes, and what we got was one of the weakest episodes in some time. SP is running lesser episodes than usual now, so in theory it really shouldn’t have missteps this bad.

I mean, if even Matthew McConaughey couldn’t save an episode, it couldn’t have been that great to begin with. Timmy!

Notes and quotes:
-Timmy/Jimmy episodes are rarely my favorite, this being no exception to that.

-Got a few chuckles out of the Hummer salesman coming back, but does it really fit in with the rest of the stakeholders here?

-“And I thought a shark was bad.”

– OK, the president of Tesla hitting Mimsy was worth a chuckle, at least.

-“Driven by an angry Russian.”

-One one Lorde mention….is this season’s continuity over?

-I’m counting this as somewhat of a throwback to the Timmy Express in “The Stick of Truth,” even if that may be stretching it a bit.

E3 Throwback: Photos from E3 2012