This week we’re talking about Parenthood, Downton Abbey, Banshee, Shameless, New Girl, and Girls. We laughed, we cried, and some of us might have reveled in ridiculously excessive onscreen violence. *cough* Anyhoo. As always, spoilers abound, so proceed at your risk.

Parenthood, Season 6 Episode 12 – “We Made it Through the Night”
Christy King


What I Loved:

With only one episode left, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am finding it hard to concentrate over the resounding voice in my head that screams, “How can this show end?? It’s too soon!”

But it will always be too soon.

My friend and I called Amber having the baby and naming him Zeek a week or so ago, and I think we were both excited to be right. At the same time we were groaning, because we know what it likely means. Every Parenthood fan in the Universe knows what it likely means. The moments between Zeek, Amber, and baby Zeek broke my heart. They were so beautiful. I wished I could have been there to take photographs. Thank God this is a TV show. Some producer was all, “I gotchu!”

I also predicted Ryan returning just in time for the baby’s arrival, or immediately following, but that didn’t happen. It seems I’m a bit cart before the horse tonight so file that under What Could Have Been Better.

I loved the sweetness that is Hank; his happy ending is becoming one of my favorite parts of the conclusion of this series. I loved Max’s dialog about photography (as always) and Adam being a sous chef mentor (how much did you guys cheer when that soufflé came out fluffy?!)

What Could Have Been Better:

I feel like this is where I sound like a real brat. Christina showing her bitchy side reminded me of the things about her that I didn’t like. I don’t want to remember anything about her that I didn’t like. Though that’s what I love about this show, everyone has unlikeable qualities, yet they are still loveable. Just like you, me, and pretty much everyone we know and care about in this world. Okay, Christy: There’s another Parenthood Life Lesson. You may cry now.

I’d like for Julia and Joel to just unpack the clothes and stop talking. I’d like Zeek and Camille to stay the fuck off the damn mountains. Are they trying to kill me? I am on the edge of my seat over here praying he doesn’t drop dead before this show ends and they’re hiking? Not cool.

What I’m Looking Forward To:

Nothing. I never want this show to end. But since we all know what’s coming…

I want Ryan to come home to Amber. I want Zeek to live. I want Sarah to be happy with Hank. I want all of these characters that I have come to love so much to end up together, happy and with good lives. I want my flash forward with a confirmation that they all made it. I want a last supper without a Braverman war.


See? Brat.

Downton Abbey, Season 5, Episode 4
Shandle Blaha & Frances O’Brien

Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 4

What We Loved:

So many shocking moments this episode: Mary finally letting Tony off the hook! Isobel getting a proposal! The Dowager revealing the Russian Prince wanted her to run away with him! Lord Grantham losing his cool at a lady and the dinner table of all places! I had to watch that scene a few times, it was a shocking trifecta! Then Violet just turning and asking Edith about her column, like nothing had happened, so quintessential British.

What Could Have Been Better:

Shandle: Moseley getting Cinderella’d, poor guy was being run ragged. Mrs. Patmore’s tearful pleading for her nephew to be included on the memorial.
Frances: What the heck is Barrow doing?! And Lady Edith is reaching a boiling point it seems regarding her daughter. I still believe she’ll surprise us this season!

What We’re Looking Forward To:

Shandle: Hopefully finally discovering what happened to Mr. Gregson.
Frances: What really happened between the Dowager and the Russian prince. Also, Cora and the “traveling salesman” as Lord G calls him. That guy is crossing boundaries big time!

Shit The Dowager Says:

The conversation between Isobel and the Dowager when they were visiting the Russian refugees and speaking to Prince Kuragin was pure awesomeness.
Dowager: (referring to the hard times the Russian refugees had before and speaking about having hope) “Hope is a tease. It is designed to prevent us from accepting reality.”
Isobel: “Oh you only say that to sound clever…”
Dowager: “I know…you should try it.”
Then later when speaking to Shrimpie about his impending divorce, “I never take sides in a marriage… Because no matter how much a couple strive to be honest, no one is ever in possession of the facts.”

Banshee, Season 3 Episode 3 – “A Fixer Of Sorts”
Nanea Hoffman

Banshee S3E3 A Fixer Of Sorts Nola

Note: This episode reached Quentin Tarantino-like levels of bloody violence, and I sort of question the kind of person I am because I really dug it. I might have some deep-seated issues. Oh, well.

What I Loved:

– The fight sequence between Nola and Clay Burton, the bow tie wearing psychopathic henchman of Kai’s. Also, I would like to take a moment to appreciate Nola’s choker. I may or may not have bought a similar one circa 1993 after watching Janet Jackson’s ‘That’s The Way Love Goes” video a few dozen times. I feel like that fight might have gone differently if she’d kept her necklace on.
– Job and Sugar. I would watch a Job and Sugar buddy flick. For realz.
– The dude with the cyborg torture gloves! That was some James Bond level tech.
– Brock getting marital advice from a stripper during a lap dance.
– Wanda offering Lucas the drink her creepy boss asked her to fix before Lucas offed him. And then her chugging it after Lucas says she should have it.
– The FBI agent and Lucas trading badges back after Lucas decides not to kill him.

What Could Have Been Better:

– I’m bummed about Nola. I really liked Odette Annable. Also, Meghan Rath is a good actress, and I know a brown sister has to work, but it is DISTRACTING to me to have a Native American played by an Indian. I will try to get past this.
– Not enough Job.

What I’m Looking Forward To:

Chayton finding out what happened to his little bro. It’s gonna get real.

Best Line:

Brock, addressing the stripper’s ass: “You’re a wise woman, Platinum.”

Shameless, Season 5 Episode 1 – “Milk of the Gods”
Emily Parker

Shameless Season 5 Episode 1

Well, we’re back with the Gallaghers, around six months after where we left off. Frank is settling into married life with Sheila, Sammi and Chucky are squatting in Sheila’s house, Fiona is still on house arrest but is working for Dermot Mulroney, who is conspicuously missing the scorpion tattoo on his neck present in last season’s finale, and is also now conspicuously Dermot Mulroney, not Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

What I Loved:

I love the show, but I feel like we’re off to a rocky start with a few of the characters here. Fiona’s boss is definitely hot, but I’m not sure she has a crush because of that, or because she has a tendency to throw herself at the most inappropriate man in the room. Frank is drinking again (surprise, surprise), and while I would expect nothing less, it seems particularly distasteful given his new liver. I’m loving the changes that Kev and Vee are going through, parenting twin babies.

What Could Have Been Better:

I liked Sammi when her purpose was to be goofy and needy and take care of Frank. Now that Frank is better, he’s ignoring her and she has become a parody of herself. An annoying one. Acting out because of your Daddy issues isn’t cute when you’re forty. The rivalry between Sammi and Sheila is also growing tiresome, even though I’m with Sheila on this one – Sammi has got to go.

What I’m Looking Forward To:

I’m loving the new ‘sensitive side’ of Mickey. His overprotectiveness of Ian is adorable and sweet, but I’ll be interested to see what happens when Mickey inevitably gets in over his head with Ian’s mental health. Manic-depressive bipolar people don’t just “snap out of it” with a little love.

Shameless, Season 5, Episode 2 – “I’m the Liver”
Emily Parker

Shameless Season 5 Episode 2

What I Loved:

As strong as nearly every character in this show is, I always love when Fiona is the focus. Fiona has been playing the role of the wronged criminal in the wake of Liam’s accidental overdose, although to her credit, she has been contrite about it. Still, she has been pretending that all of this happened TO her and not because of her. Fiona believes she’s a chaos magnet and a victim of circumstance – it never occurs to her that she gleefully courts disaster. That’s why I loved that she was forced to see herself through the eyes of her boss, who rejects her advances. His speech to her is incredible. Despite Fiona being technically an adult who has raised five children, she’s still a little girl in denial about who she is. Enter her boss, whose twenty years on her afford him the foresight she lacks – she believes they could be good together, and he knows that if he doesn’t want to invite disaster and chaos into his life, don’t invite Fiona.

What Could Have Been Better:

Sammi and Chucky have REALLY got to go. Sammi has crossed from annoying into agressively trashy and disgusting. I suppose it could be argued that most of the characters in Shameless are aggressively trashy and disgusting, but there is a line. You don’t take a dump on someone’s coffee table. You just don’t. Even in an episode which included Frank drinking wine in front of his liver donor’s parents, Sammi was the worst.

What I’m Looking Forward To:

Kev forged an unlikely friendship with Svetlana this episode, bonding over their babies. It was fun to get to know Svetlana a little, despite Vee’s completely flying off the handle when she found out that Kev had let her breastfeed their twins while she (Vee) was at work. If Vee lets us, I’d like to see more of Svetlana, who up to this point has been a non-entity save for when she’s torturing Mickey.

New Girl, Season 4 Episode 12 – “Shark”
Tomi Wiley James

What I Loved:

I need to put this out there up front: I watch New Girl for Schmidt. I adore Schmidt. He absolutely makes the show, and his chemistry with all the rest of the cast makes them all sparkle. But another aspect that really makes me tune in is the support, love and camaraderie between the ensemble cast. In “Shark,” Schmidt and Jess actually oppose one another in Jess’s effort to stop noisy night construction outside their loft. Jess, as her usual “doe-eyed pixie” self and with the help of Cece, her “Indian henchman” (God I love Schmidt’s one-liners), takes on the local councilwoman, who seduces Schmidt by grooming him to be her “Hiliary Clinton.”


Also in this episode, which I think will provide a great arc and a lot of material for the show and his character, Winston begins his training period with the LAPD. Coach and Nick – who has been best friends with Winston since childhood – are very worried about Winston’s safety on the hot, mean streets of L.A. (More about this below.)

Jess rallies her new boyfriend Ryan, British beauty with a heart of gold and enough awkwardness to balance Jess, to help her at the city council meeting, where he poses as a hot construction worker with the worst. American. accent. ever. Cece derails Schmidt’s stand against Jess by pressing his conceit button: Schmidt has a new tailor who sews “like an Army medic” and distracts Schmidt with uneven suit jacket cuffs. His wayward horror leads Councilwoman Fawn to side with Jess, securing “a ton of votes – or as I call them, tiny orgasms.” Again, a one-line example of why I binge watched this show for the first time a few months ago and haven’t given up since.

What Could Have Been Better:

I can understand how the guys would want to protect Winston in his new role as a cop. But responding to Winston’s training officer (a petite woman who turns out to be much more of a badass than any of the guys) as if she would “drown in a raindrop” is a bit much, and the lengths they go to in order to “protect” Winston are baffling and a bit bafoonish. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I really like Nick. I tried to watch “Let’s Be Cops” just because he is in it. So let’s allow the sweet, sensitive and sometimes startlingly naive Winston grow a bit with the force, shall we?

What I’m Looking Forward To:

Honestly? I want Jess and Nick back together. Ryan is cute and sweet and all, but the dynamic between Jess and Nick was electric, and I relished scenes when they argued. Their sexual chemistry before they hooked up was palpable, and that has been lost this season. I want it back. (More on this coming up.)

New Girl, Season 4, Episode 13 – “Coming Out” Or, Let’s Meet the Crazies at Jess’s School
Tomi Wiley James

New Girl S4e13 Coming Out

What I Loved:

Once again, Schmidt steals the show for me, but unfortunately he’s in considerable pain in this episode: he’s suffering from ulcers for which he refuses to take medication. This inner physical turmoil reflects the external frustration he feels in his career, where he’s being held in middle management by his boss. Nick and his new girlfriend, who I shall call Whatshername because I don’t like her (more on that later), swaddle him in an effort to help him heal. I love the love between this two, and when they team up later in the episode to find some new product to make Nick rich and Schmidt famous, their chemistry lights up and keeps me watching. Black robots, indeed.

This is also the episode when Jess reveals that she is dating Ryan to the faculty at her school. This causes some hubbub, considering some of the other female teachers are in serious lust with him and she’s afraid of what everyone will think – this is a major issue with Jess: she actually, honestly cares what others think about her. What I really loved about this episode was more time spent on that weird tall teacher, Lorenzo, or “Biology Teacher,” as Jess calls him. (Brian Posehn, couldn’t really find a good pic of him) On his proposed “field trip,” he sets the students up doing yard work at his house, which, let’s be honest, is a brilliant way to get those leaves raked.

What Could Have Been Better:

Look, I just don’t like Nick’s new girlfriend. All they do is lay on the couch, and I feel like she’s enabling him to just be this lazy schmuck. Schmidt points it out, reminding Nick that while in college he considered Nick “Da Vinci in tie-dye.” She needs to go. Soon. Or at least start getting their names correct.

What I’m Looking Forward To:

I can’t wait to see more of Winston’s days on the LAPD beat. He’s so innocent and sweet, I want to see how he’s going to handle what the city (or, you know, the writers) throw at him. I also want Nick’s girlfriend (or, Whatshername, or, CouchBlob) gone and more of Schmidt and Councilwoman Fawn. (Or, you know, just more Schmidt.)

Girls, Season 4 episode 3 – “Female Author”
Shandle Blaha

Girls Female Author

What I Loved:

Ray being the voice of reason for all of their crazy: telling Marnie the hard truth about her “relationship” with Desi and then bailing Jessa and Adam out of jail and telling them that they are barbarians. Elijah’s epiphany about photos made me snort. He is such a scene-stealer. Hannah’s ego trip in which she tells her classmates about themselves and awkwardly climbs over the couch was fabulous and Lena totally nailed it.

What Could Have Been Better:

What the hell is up with Hannah’s bike getting stolen all the time? Is Iowa full of bike thieves?

What I’m Looking Forward To:

Seeing how Adam and Jessa’s friendship progresses. Her admitting she needed him was touching. So long as it stays platonic.

Best Lines:

“This guy has it made in the shade. He’s got a bungalow on easy street where he has his cake and eats it, too. Do you understand? This guy’s a Svengali okay? He’s a Casanova who counts cards secretly while he’s got four queens up his sleeve. He is not to be trusted.” – Ray to Marnie about Desi

“Your whole story was a wink-eye emoji followed by a poop emoji.” – Hannah to classmate, Chester


What are you watching this week?




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