Every Friday morning I do a brief writeup and review of shows I watched the night before, including FlashForward, Fringe, the Office, 30 Rock, Survivor, and Parks and Recreation. There will be spoilers about what happened, so consider yourself forewarned.
FLASHFORWARD: The Hobbit continues to be a poor choice for a bad guy. Good thing for the show that I'm convinced he and Simcoe actually had nothing to do with causing the blackout. (My money is on brilliant Ricky Jay as the bad guy.) The poker game would have been a perfect opportunity to nerd out on quantum physics, which is all based on probability. But besides some passing references to quantum suicide, the exchange seemed more about Simon and Llyod's relationship. Also, I saw the star tattoo twist coming a mile away, and the "Jericho" security contractors seemed a little derivative of...well, Jericho.
FRINGE: Another decent effort in the X-Files tradition. I liked the twist of the kid being the mind controller -- reminded me of that Twilight Zone episode where Bill Mummy plays that kid with psychic powers. I'm also pleased when they find a way to weave an X-Files episode into the larger mythology of the show. I'm guessing the drug was part of Massive Dynamic's attempt to create super soldiers of its own in anticipation of the final battle. On that note, memo to Nina Sharp: you need a mirror and typewriter to communicate with the mirror reality.
THE OFFICE: More mixed feelings about this episode. Oscar doing an awful southern accent was one of the true laugh-out-loud moments of the season, and I think Andy awkward courtship of Erin is adorable. But Michael was back to being mindlessly stupid, even if he was vindicated by the end of the episode. Ordinarily, I like it when the writers switch things up by making Michael look stupid, then reveal him to be right. Think of Michael's commercial for Dunder Mifflin. But the payoff really has to be genius, and I didn't quite buy Jim's change of heart regarding the game.
30 ROCK: This episode started slowly, but picked up steam by the end. Many of the best episodes deal with Jack and Lemon's (aka Lesbian Yellow Sourfruit) platonic love affair, and this was no exception. Kenneth became a tad overexposed in the last season or two, but his psychological ploy to get Cheyenne Jackson's character (does he have a name besides "robot guy"?) to pronounce "about" like an American was hilarious. Padma Lakshmi was a little wooden but pleasantly self deprecating. Her "invention" of the sandwich bag hilariously evoked the rampant product placement of the Glad family of products on Top Chef.
SURVIVOR: Last week, I suggested that Russell might be the best manipulator since Johnny Fairplay. After finding a second immunity idol -- with no clues! -- and engineering yet another blindside, I'm prepared to say Russell is better. How he managed to swing a 7-4 disadvantage into a 5-5 balance of power is beyond me, but it's been a thrilling pleasure to watch. If Russell wins it all, he may well merit the title of best Survivor ever.
PARKS AND RECREATION: I think the writers probably assumed that Tom Haverford would become the star of the show. As I mentioned last week, however, I think the funniest character on the show is Ron. His storyline involving the orgasmic shoe shine was at once hilarious and disturbing. Andy's reaction ("What the f**k was that?!") was perfect, too. I also enjoy the way supporting characters like Jerry and Donna are starting to develop. More of them, and less of Audrey the intern, please.
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