Braverman Power Rankings: The Offer

After a few slow weeks on Parenthood, tonight’s episode ramped up the feels. The tears on screen from Max and Victor were certain to cause tears off screen, and if we could have just swapped out Sarah for Crosby this would have been a near perfect episode.

Braverman Power Rankings: Limbo

It was another slow week on Parenthood, although there were a few redeeming moments. Amber and Drew make the best team, and when all the Bravermans get together around one table there’s bound to be some excitement. You’ll never guess who made their way to the top of the power rankings this week.
Community Annie and Abed

Community 5.09: VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing

Community thrives on defying sitcom conventions, but tonight’s episode was about as straightforward and sitcom-y as any I can remember. The group is split up pre-credits, as has been the case lately. Jeff, Hickey, and Shirley will clean out an old storage room, and Annie and Abed will have a “double date” night at their apartment with Annie’s awesomely weird brother and Abed’s girlfriend. (more…)

Hannibal 2.02: Sakizuki

Tonight was one of the slower episodes of Hannibal action-wise. The most gruesome part was the opening sequence, and the majority of time was spent examining the various relationships between all our main characters. It may be one of the strongest episodes of the season.


Hannibal Season 2 Trailer is Here!

The first season of Hannibal was surprisingly excellent. It was disturbing, gross, and rarely watched by me at nighttime. Today NBC released a trailer for Season 2, in which we find Will Graham behind bars. Let’s deconstruct it together.

(0:25) “Will Graham you’re under arrest for murder.” – OH YEAH LAST SEASON ENDED WITH WILL BEHIND BARS WTF
(0:31) Hannibal is going to be Will’s biggest advocate? And insist that he be investigated too? That’s so Hannibal…
(0:40) Antlers!
(0:49) Dr. Bloom, you have no idea how wrong you were. Will’s got this.
(1:00) Is anybody else seeing hannibal smell this corpse? Seriously look how much he’s enjoying it! Jack Crawford, please watch this!
(1:02) Very Emo remix of “Stand By Me”
(1:07) ANTLERS!
(1:21) That is a straight up CIRLCE OF CORPSES. This is why I watch this show during the day.
(1:29) Ok so at some point Hannibal will attack Jack Crawford. How far into the season is this?
(1:39) “I’m going to remember, and when I do, there will be a reckoning.” – *Chills*
Overall a pretty great preview. The main question I have is how long does Will Graham remain behind bars – Will it take the whole season to free him and implicate Hannibal? I hope not. The procedural aspect of the show is always entertaining, but the most compelling part of Hannibal has been and will always be the relationship between Will and Dr. Lecter.

Braverman Power Rankings Week 3: Jump Ball

Note: All those related to the Bravermans by marriage, blood, or adoption are eligible whether or not they carry the surname. Sadly, this means Ray Romano doesn’t count, which might actually be a good thing since he would be Number 1 every week. 

1. Camille – Camille is back from Italy with a new outlook on life. Her wanderlust and the realization that she is no longer needed gives her ALL the power.

I’m moving on with or without you Zeek

2. Drew – You may think that Drew should be ranked lower given that he’s falling back in with Amy, but for now, he has all the power in the relationship. Keep that upper hand as long as possible Drew.

I am in too high of demand right now

3. Amber – Amber spiraling out of control is still Amber, and she’s awesome. Also, before trying to drive drunk, she does well telling off this dude in the bar.

You know what, I think a move is a good idea. In fact, I think I’m going to move down tot his side of the bar, and you can stay here

4. Adam – Adam is the rock of this season. In the first few episodes we saw him taking care of Max, and now he moves on to take care of Hank (albeit for somewhat selfish reasons.)

Jump Ball? C’mon I think it’s pretty obvious you’re on the spectrum Hank

5. Seth – A surprise new addition to the Power Rankings. He earned his spot this week by saving Amber from driving home drunk and letting her crash at his place.

I think you should be more afraid that you’re like your mom than me

Honorable Mentions: Joel, for cutting ties with Julia and Crosby, for being Crosby.

Braverman Power Rankings Week 2: Stay a Little Longer

Note: All those related to the Bravermans by marriage, blood, or adoption are eligible whether or not they carry the surname. Sadly, this means Ray Romano doesn’t count, which might actually be a good thing since he would be Number 1 every week. 

1. Adam – Adam was handling everyone’s business this week. Not only did he lay down the law with Oliver Rome, but he was amazingly touching when dealing with Max.

Adam is definitely an Iguadola fan

2. Jasmine – Just when I was ready to write Jasmine off as a strict stick in the mud, she becomes incredibly cool and convinces Rome to get in the studio and not be afraid of failure.

Did Crosby tell you I used to be a Dancer.

3. Crosby – Didn’t have much to do,  but was super cool about letting Rome crash at his place. I’ll be honest I don’t see Crosby ever placing outside of the Top 3 on an episode that he is in.

Oh Wait, Jaws is on?

4. Zeek – He did right by Ryan and Amber in this episode. Zeek is a rock.

Hey look. If I say it’s going to be OK, it’s going to be OK, OK?

5. Amber – Amber was tough with Ryan at the beginning, but came around to see him off at the end. Mae Whitman is amazing, as always.

What’s left?

187. Joel and Julia’s Marriage – I’m thinking this divorce might actually happen.

Community 5.02: Introduction to Teaching

After watching these first two episodes I was reminded of something: Community is hilarious. I can’t remember laughing as much at any point last season as I did during this second episode. Everyone is on point, and the addition of Jonathan Banks is handled extremely well.

As expected, Jeff is immediately having a hard time adjusting to his new role as a teacher. Checking out female students and verbally abusing Leonard just doesn’t fly now that he’s in a position of power. Luckily he has his office mate Buzz Hickey, Criminology to show him the ropes. I can’t think of a more fitting subject for Mike Ehrmantraut to be teaching.

Jeff confesses to the group how lost he feels, and Abed signs up for a 2 day course called, “Nicholas Cage – Good or Bad?” – He’s always wanted to know.

Teaching! Yaaaaaaaaaaay!

Dramatic Professor Sean Garrity let’s Abed know that although he was able to definitely prove who the boss was (It’s Angela) there will be no such answer to the Nicholas Cage Conundrum.

Mr. Hickey shows Jeff the perks of being a teacher.  He get’s Leonard’s meatballs, has access to the Dean-free teacher lounge, and there is no need to plan a curriculum. Also, if you want to frustrate a student, give them an A-. Annie soon realizes Jeff’s plan to coast through teaching, and signs up for his class to keep him in check. It’s good to have you back Annie.

Abed goes full on Carrie Mathison trying to figure out if Nicholas Cage is good or bad, and Annie offers up the most logical explanation – Maybe Nicholas Cage is just… Crazy? This leads to Abed freaking out and invoking some of Cage’s best mannerisms.

Jeff wins an argument with Annie, and in doing so impresses the class, realizing he does want to teach. He finds Annie crying about an A- she received from Mr. Hickey. When Jeff confronts Hickey about giving a subpar grade to the best student in his class, he finds him working on a comic called Jim the Duck and wait now I really want to read more of this comic.

Every strip ends with Jim thinking, “What the Hell.”

Jeff reveals to Annie that minuses are made up, really an indication that a teacher doesn’t like a student, inciting a classic Greendale riot. You really don’t realize how much you miss a place until you see a spontaneous riot break out. I’m glad to have you back Greendalians. Even Magnitude is getting in on the action!

Post window-smashing Pop Pops are the BEST Pop Pops.

Shirley helps Abed realizes that, much like Jesus, or a Cenobite, Nicholas Cage can be both good and bad, a genius to some and a demon to others.

Meanwhile at Greendale, as chaos is erupting, and the students demand “Slightly Higher Grades!” Jeff stands up on a cafeteria table and gives a classic Winger speech about why everyone should get along. Only this time, he is received with a chorus of boos and handfuls of pasta. Although it is unrealistic to think that Greendale can eliminate riots completely, Dean Pelton believes they can be reduced by 40% through the creation of a student-teacher alliance with Jeff in charge. Thankfully for us viewers, Mr. Hickey joins the alliance. The episode ends with a touching inner-monologue from the Dean which is sung in French for some reason.

I am thrilled with how strong these first two episodes of Community have been. The ability to squeeze so many jokes into 22 minutes reminds me of the glory days of 30 Rock and Happy Endings. If these episodes are any indication of what the rest of the season will be like, than Community has a real shot of being the funniest TV show of 2014…. Too soon?

Community 5.01: Repilot

The much heralded return of Dan Harmon to Community is finally here! And what has Jeff Winger been up to since he graduated from Greendale? THIS.

Apparently his private practice hasn’t been going well, as all of his belongings are being repossessed – even his alcohol. Luckily Jeff’s old partner Alan (played by the always hilarious Rob Corddry) shows up with a job for Jeff and guess what- It involves him going back to Greendale.

“Weird choice by the way. Bachelor’s Degree on the wall.”

With no options left, Jeff agrees to go back to get the records of an alumnus who is looking to sue Greendale for being inadequately educated.

The old study room has been turned into the records room – closed for sentimental (and asbestos) reasons. Jeff’s simple lie to the Dean as to what he is doing at Greendale leads to the return of the entire study group (minus Chevy Chase) for the “Save Greendale Committee”
Abed starts in with some of his typical meta commentary about how they are on a TV show, and even refers to the “repiloting” of Scrubs in season 9, pointing out that Zach Braff was only in 6 episodes (We’ll miss you Donald Glover.)
Son of a bitch! After everything ‘Scrubs’ did for him!

The Dean has already shredded the records Jeff is looking for, but he has a new plan to use his old friends to sue their Alma Mater. Now it’s catch up time, where we find out what the group has been up to since graduating.

Annie- Currently she administers things to hospitals, like pens. (Pharmaceutical Sales Rep)
Britta – On sabbatical (not the Jewish kind) from therapy – She’s a bartender.
Troy and Abed – Abed is building a social media app, which Troy will sue him for when it makes millions. He had one film job, directing Jeff’s commercial, which in case you missed it can be found here. 
Shirley – Andre left her again, with the boys, the dogs, and the DVR (with 67 episodes of Bones.) This time it was her fault for losing their money on “Shirley’s Sandwiches.”
Jeff hints that his friends all have potential lawsuits against Greendale for the ways in which it has failed them. His plan does not turn out quite as he hopes, as the study group decides to re-enroll at Greendale, rather than litigate.
Chang is back, and his return is explained as quickly as possible. To be honest I never much liked Ken Jeong’s character on the show, so excuse me while I mention as little Chang as possible (It’s my Changnesia.)
Alan reveals Jeff’s evil plan to the study group, and Jeff continues to try and convince them that Greendale has failed them. His monologue fascinatingly addresses some of the show’s most ardent criticisms. “How did Britta become the airhead?” “What happened to Annie?” “Can we blame everything on the ‘Gas Leak’ last year?”
The group signs Jeff’s lawsuit claim (which is a thing he had ready for them to sign?) and they essentially leave the fate of Greendale in his hands. On his way out he is visited by the ghost hologram of Pierce, convincing him that Greendale is in fact a special place.
Did I sound gay at the end? Want to do another take?

After confronting the Dean about how bad the community college really is, Jeff begrudgingly fulfills Abed’s prophecy by accepting a job as a teacher at Greendale. The group all decides to pursue their real dreams, and to collectively try to talk Britta out of pursuing her dream of becoming a psychologist. After a ‘Scrubs’ voice over from Zach Braff, the repilot is over.
I thought this was a great way to kick off the fifth season. It was funny, direct, meta as always, and set up everything we needed to get the study group back to Greendale while seeming relatively plausible, which is no small feat for Community.