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MTV's Awkward. has steadily been one of our favorite summer sitcoms for two seasons now. Though the Season 3 premiere wasn't great, we assumed that Jenna and the gang would bounce back quickly... and it turns out, we were wrong. After watching last night's midseason finale, "Redefining Jenna," we're starting to wonder if we need to DTR back to "not worth watching." Here's why:
Okay, so are you finally done crying yet, or have your tears at least subsided enough to read text on a screen? By the end of "Because You're My Sister," I was literally sobscreaming, a term I made up just now that means "belligerently weeping while yelling at your TV in a very humiliating and overwhelming mix of happiness and insanity." I'd like to tell you that Parenthood is the only show that does this to me, but I recently watched PBS' Animal Odd Couples and had a very similar reaction to this particularly moving segment about a goat and a horse. (Highly recommended.)
During this winter break, I visited family and found myself not mentioning Parenthood when people asked for TV recommendations -- and not because I don't clearly love this show, but because I realized the individuals asking me have painfully lived through things we've watch the Bravermans endure, and it seems in very poor taste to tell my future mother-in-law whose own mother died of cancer not too long ago to tune in to Kristina fighting the battle. It begs the question: Is Parenthood a show for the privileged voyeur? Aside from the whole TV-as-escapism factor, I think there's an argument there with this show in particular. Then again, one of the reasons people love Parenthood as much as they do is because they've gone through some of the same emotions are the Bravermans, which can make our own lives feel less lonely, our issues less taboo and stigmatized and our problems more manageable (I see this a lot from fans in particular of Max's Asperger's, which, of course, makes sense). I've also had friends tell me that they can't stand Parenthood because they don't want to, say, watch Crosby and Jasmine sync their calendars when that's what they literally spent the week fighting with their spouse about. Can't win 'em all.
Full disclosure: This episode was spoiled for me, so the whole time I watched "Halloween Surprise," I just wanted to get to the engagement already. It's frustrating, because this was supposed to be special. It was going to be my big night and it was completely ruined. Humph.
In the season premiere, "Cazsh Dummy Spillionaires", the show came back with its particularly well-seasoned blend of fast paced pop culture references, crazy friend antics and some sweet moments (that were quickly soured), which is what this show does best. We'd love it if the gang had spent a bit more time together, instead of scattered into little duos, but we'll take what we can get. If you imagine this our review of each character's finest moment, set to the dulcet tunes of "Ebony and Ivory" as sung by Sinbrad, it will likely increase your enjoyment immensely.
I laughed a lot during "Sex Education," but I wouldn't call it a great episode of Parks and Recreation. Season 5 has been off to a fairly slow start, and I'm wondering if sectioning off two major players of the cast to another city maybe wasn't the best idea in the world. I love Ben and April together, but aside from building a nice little friendship, I don't really see how far the plot of the show can be moved along with the two of them joking around in Washington... unless one (or both?) of them leaves their partner, something that I'm pretty positive isn't going to happen. (Though my research has led me to find a tiny community of Apren/Benpril shippers and apparently there's some pretty convincing fan fiction out there, though I sure as hell am not ever going to read it.)
I've come to realize that my favorite Parks and Recreation episodes are the ones that are cartoonish in plot but realistic when it comes to the characters -- last year's "Pawnee Rangers" sticks out to me for doing just that, while last week's "Ms. Knope Goes to Washington" was disappointing because the Leslie-Ben plot was all too accurate while Ron's character was a caricature. Or, I don't know, maybe I just really enjoyed last night's "Soda Tax" because of clever writing and great acting. Either way.
How excited are you that Parks and Recreation is back for Season 5? How great was it to see the old gang again? How much did you think, "I really hope Amy Poehler is happy in her personal life!"? How disappointed were you by last night's episode?
If you haven't watched Degrassi: The Next Generation since Paige-and-Co. graduated, this summer is the perfect time to get acquainted with the current students of Degrassi Community School. Starting tonight, TeenNick will air new episodes of Degrassi Monday through Thursday. Don't believe the slander -- Degrassi hasn't died along with the use of Aubrey Graham's full name. This guilty pleasure is still as strong as ever, thanks mostly to the fantastic variety pack of characters that we've been treated to these past few seasons. Here are some of the superlatives we think these students deserve come yearbook time.
We've reached the penultimate episode of a pretty fantastic season of television... not that the gradually sinking ratings really reflect it. Last week's "The Debate" had the least U.S. viewers in the series' history, with the previous weeks behind it not faring much better. I don't fear Parks and Recreation being cancelled -- I'm just trying to say that it'd be ideal if everyone and their moms watched this show together to help build a better Pawnee. Though, it does make I... sad.
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