Monday, January 09, 2006

His name is Leo and he dances on the sand

So let's see... HBO has the lights off until March, "Grey's Anatomy" was a clip show, continuing to avoid "Desperate Housewives" was on my list of New Year's Resolutions, so in terms of things I actually watched...

"The West Wing": Sadly fitting that the first episode to air after John Spencer's death was all about Leo. Even sadder is that it wasn't very good. Even by post-Sorkin standards, this was a predictable one -- anyone who didn't see Leo doing fine in the debate, not to mention that he was the source of the leak, needs an eye exam. I liked the interplay between Leo and Annabelle, Josh and Toby on the phone was good, and I appreciated a glimpse inside the Vinick camp that didn't make them look like the Evil Empire (maybe because Vinick was nowhere to be found), but overall: meh. I'm incredibly sick and tired of Josh being a complete moron, solely as a means to make Santos look smarter for always disagreeing with him (in this case, by telling Leo to skip the debate prep). Couldn't care less about Will and whatsername having the least romantic TV dinner of all time. Here's hoping Sorkin and Schlamme are coming back for multiple episodes.

"Cold Case": I wrote about this both in Friday's column and in a Friday blog entry, but just coming back to it for one reason: in this New York Times interview, "Cold Case" creator Meredith Stiehm says she was on the nose with all the songs on purpose, and that she originally wanted the episode to have no dialogue whatsoever, to let the songs tell the story. I'm sure she got talked out of that by someone at CBS or Bruckheimer Inc. who thinks deviating from the formula too much is bad for the bottom line, but I think the show would have been much stronger had she been able to go with the original plan.

"The Simpsons": This is the Be Careful What You Wish For season. I wanted more narrative coherence, I wanted more focus on the family and their emotions. I'm getting both, and yet the couch gags are almost always funnier than the rest of the episode combined. (Lenny and Carl as the new parents was the best family photo.) Now, Homer having an epiphany about Abe while lost in a multi-million dollar mini-sub isn't quite on par with Lisa developing a crush on her substitute teacher or Homer buying Marge a bowling ball, but if this season keeps going the way it has, I'm going to start asking for more wackiness for the sake of wackiness, sort of like...

"Family Guy": One of the better ones, and I loved the random cameo by Mark Borchardt and Mike Schank from "American Movie" as Quagmire's production crew for the lesbian video. Question: are we approaching a point where getting to do a guest voice on "Family Guy" is considered a bigger deal than "The Simpsons"? Probably not; if "The Simpsons" is good enough for Ricky Gervais and Michael Chabon, it's good enough for me.

5 comments:

bk from delaware said...

For me down here in Delaware, Family Guy surpassed The Simpsons as MusTivo TV a little while back.

Looking back, I always think that I wanted to like The Simpsons a lot more than I actually did. It is hard to admit that especially since one of my friendships was based on little more than Simpson's quotes between the years 1997-2001. Thank Heaven we made it through that.

By the way, what do you think they get for a decent seat at a Sinatra Jr show at the Taj?

Anonymous said...

One of my fave recent Simpsons gags occurred during the ep where they find Sideshow Bob in Italy. The Italians have a book of American criminals and their crimes; on one page is Peter Griffin with the caption, "Plagiarismo," and on the next is a picture of Stan from "American Dad" with the caption, "Plagiarismo de plagiarismo." I still like Family Guy & American Dad, but they'll never be as good as The Simpsons.

--dez

bk from delaware said...

One more thing:
I did like the Leo ep of The West Wing. Sure I saw his sandbagging coming and knew he was the source of the leak, but I guess the sentimental side of me just enjoyed watching Spencer.

Also a nice little casting bone seeing David Barrera as Santos' brother.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yeah, I forgot to mention Barrera. Someone asked me whether that was stunt-casting. I'd have to say the subset of the remaining West Wing fans who might actually recognize him as Bobby Simone's cardiologist are so small that it's either a coincidence, or the casting director was an NYPD Blue fan and thought it would be a funny in-joke for the five people who got it.

Mickymse said...

I will truly miss John Spencer, and I thought it was a great episode. I liked knowing that Leo was obviously the leak, but you're right about the "doofus" Josh. His character should have known. Or they could easily have had the scene with Toby telling Josh that Leo was obviously the leak.

Agree with you on the interplay between Leo and Annabelle, but I also love the flirtation between Will and "whatsername"! It's about time those two find someone! Now if we could just get a man for Donna...