The Middle, 5x04, "The 100th"
I may or may not have watched this 3 times since it aired. (mid to late fall is when I lose the ability to cope with shows featuring emotionally complex characters and just soak my brain in infinite comfort sitcoms, apparently)
The unrequited Sue/Darrin stuff is more on the "ugch" side (using a patented Axl tone), but everything else about this was just so cozy and comforting. Town centennials! Nothing better than a good small-town celebration...unless maybe it comes with a float of a giant cow. That is totally the best float in the whole parade. I love Mr. & Mrs. Drunk!Heck (especially the latter).
I loved Brick's motto ("the heartland's hidden gem"), his outrage at the incredibly stupid and inferior motto, and the return of Mr. Ehlert to choose that stupid inferior motto with his usual obliviousness. I loved "Boss Co 2.0, With College Knowledge." I love the fact that Mike decided moving to Chicago felt wrong, and how happy Frankie is that they stayed here and have been here forever.
I loved their temporary fight over walkie-talkie, not realizing everyone with a radio could hear them. And even though I'm sad that the giant cow caught on fire, it was kind of awesome watching it snag the electrical wire (Axl: "Well, that was definitely our fault.") and the town pushing it into the community pool to douse the flames. Also: Ron Cougar Mellencamp singing "Teeny Place."
As a further stamp of approval, this episode was awarded the Rainbow Stevie Principles Foundation's "Best TV Show of the Week" award.
Plus, it gave me my favorite quote in the history of the universe: "It's too equal here. It's like everybody's as good as everybody else." #Glee fandom #Glee fandom on life #oh god Tumblr is trying sometimes #I'm bringin' exclusivity back
The only flaw in the whole episode is that her description of Nancy Donahue's brownies, which to spare you I won't retype, gave me such a craving that I had to buy the grocery store bakery kind...so there went like 600 calories today, whoops.
Also, I just saw the pilot of this show for the first time, and I gotta say, that was not a great pilot. It felt forced - I'm not sure how to describe it; I liked the setup of Frankie introducing each member of her family, but it was very in-your-face with "Brick: WEIRDO! Sue: TRY-HARD! Axl: SULLEN TEENAGER!" and also working overtime to make caricatures of the car dealership employees. Even Frankie seems more frazzled than she normally does, because she actually always seems kind of in control of the chaos, and the pilot is just her losing it all over the place. I can see it turning people off - which makes me all the gladder that it quickly shaped up and ultimately championed its way into season 5 (and counting??) with no problems.
5x05, "Halloween IV: The Ghost Story"
So what you're telling me is, Mike's dead grandmother visited him when he was a kid to tell him everything would be OK? Is that what you're telling me?? That is AWESOME. Meanwhile, I'm really glad we actually got to see the Santa Maria shadow gliding over the wall. Seems pretty clearly like it would be the result of headlights against a window sticker decoration somewhere, maybe? But I like that it wasn't ever really explained.
I also liked them acknowledging that Sue really hasn't changed at all from age 12 to 16, and she's "a little more innocent than most girls her age." Still getting this characterization exactly right.
And in Axl news, I love his new football buddy and respectfully request that he be around ALL THE TIME, please. I thought we were setting up for some horribly embarrassing one-upsmanship/rivalry, and I'm glad they just hit it off in their shared awesomeness - and how it doesn't even sound like bragging, they're just like, "Cool, so you know what being awesome is like." I also love that a) the hazing isn't terrible, and b) they're just taking it in stride like a minor inconvenience because nothing can faze them. Best: Axl's ingenious approach to crowdsurf their way into the Halloween party.
5x06, "The Jump"
Minor things I liked:
*Sue finally making a team...to make sure her parents won't sue over her potential injuries from the tryout disaster. Sounds about right. But I loved that she accidentally won the game in the end.
* Axl's tirade about how actually needs his parents on his back to make him get stuff done, not that they should ever know he said that. I'm a tad worried about this whole "failing most of his classes" thing, though. Isn't that kind of important for the scholarship, since they have no other financial means of putting him through college? I don't want to lose this setting so soon! It's golden! And it's been like 2 years in the making, so I hope there are plans to turn this around that are better than "Brick as a tutor."
* the canon confirmation that they still have the evil rabbit, apparently
* Axl taking over Brick's email correspondence with the authority of "who here has actually kissed a girl in the last ten years that's not a gross mom?"
* the fact that it made me give my mom a hug because sometimes this show just hits you RIGHT in the straight-from-life bone, and I realized that sometimes you do all sort of accidentally dogpile on your mom, taking her for granted and thinking it's a joke - which it is, and doesn't bother her on its own, but does when you start to add it up. This show is so good at capturing family dynamics.
Reason this episode is worth remembering: THE DOG!! It's not even in the top 50th percentile of cutest dogs, with that wiry fur and basic tan/white coloring, but oh goodness how I hope it stays. The way it followed her around in a circle was ADORABLE, plus, is this not the cutest image you have ever seen?
You have taunted me twice before with a dog staying overnight in the Heck household, show, third time you better make it stick. I have hope that one day it will learn to love the other family members. A one-person dog isn't great for families, but I hope Colin Firth mellows into the sort of dog Kym was, where he has one favorite person from whom he will tolerate anything, and then grows to like the others but is not above reverting to snapping and growling if they do something irritating.
p.s. trolled through the Tumblr tag hoping to find dog .gifs, ran across a "Heckcest" fic. AUGHSLJKLASDJAFKLSJDFS, GOD, I had managed to forget that garbage existed. GROSS. Excuse me while I paw frantically at my head in an attempt to claw it out of my brain.
NCIS, 11x06, "Oil and Water": Agent Abby's back! Another performance in fine form, particularly in her sad new backstory about losing "my Marine" - that got to me. Also enjoyed Abby coining the moniker "Gabby" to refer to him + Borin collectively, Gibbs cheerily pulling pranks without anyone suspecting him (just when you think you know a man...), and their last conversation in the basement. (although I must sigh at yet another golden opportunity for a third team member being dangled without any weight behind it. I hope I like the real replacement this much)
Also, as much as I loved the old SecNav, after seeing the new one previously appear on Revolution, I have to say I love her face even more. There's a little touch of the old Jenn Shepard about her, only more composed and laser focused. I like that.
11x07, "Better Angels": Oh, how I love Papa Gibbs, and the person our Gibbs becomes around him. I liked Abby's investigative techniques to find the hospice-care location. And that war story was amazing - I may or may not have cried at the end (I also really appreciate how the grainy black-and-white they used for the flashbacks actually resembled 1940s film). I would totally have watched a movie based on the storyline in this episode. The heartwarming introduction of Gibbs, The Man Who Helps People And Whose Existence You Made Possible, was just perfect.
Meanwhile, I LOVE Abby's Gibbs-voicebox, and the fact that Delilah is now her buddy-buddy source in the DOD (speaking of the Codetalkers, why don't we hear more about nearly-extinct languages being used for codes?), and while per usual I was not really paying attention to the case at home, the amount of snark in that final takedown was fantastic. Paraphrased for better humor --
Mr. Spiffy: I told you, I don't have any drugs here!
Tony: *unlocks not-very-well-hidden drawer full of drugs*
Mr. Spiffy: Fine, I have drugs. But I did NOT kill that guy!
Tony: *pulls out a Glock 17 not-very-well-hidden under the drugs* Hey Timmy, what was our murder weapon again?
McGee: Glock 17
Mr. Spiffy: FML.
11x08, "Alibi": The Strangers On A Train gets less exciting every time you see it used...so the really fun part of this was the defense attorney using tricky tricks to clue Gibbs & Co. into learning her confidential information on their own. That definitely seems ethically suspect, but I guess all's fair when you're taking down murderers. Once in a while, our otherwise fabulous justice system is a bit flawed with its over-insistence on by-the-book rules. Plus I liked her, and you should always make exceptions for pretty women anyway. Unless they are murderers.
Whew, finally, I can watch this show live again and don't have to worry about spoiling myself on any new team dynamics! (wish I had known that wasn't a concern anyway...)