Top 5 Episodes of ‘Review’ Season 1

By Will Ashton

branding_review_about_600x400

Although Comedy Central has been producing better and better original content of late, Andy Daly’s Review is among the best new shows the station has put on in some time.

Through intelligently crafted story-lines and a refreshing tab of dark comedy, Daly’s show not only lets its star propel to his fullest potential, but demonstrates a sense of skill that, should the show get a second season, can certainly blossom into an even more intelligent and punchy show.

It is up in the air as to whether the show will get a second season. But, for now, let’s look at what was season’s one best five episodes.

HM: Pancakes; Divorce; Pancakes

5. Quitting; Last Day; Irish

Directed by Jeffrey Blitz

In the show’s season (series?) finale, the show didn’t quite produce its most hilarious episode to date. But through its extremely well-conceived final ten minutes, the episode was not only able to redeem itself, but produce some of its finest comedic and dramatic moments. Not only was this episode finally able to address some hanging questions that have been in the show’s spine since its conception, but it was also able to address its sense of morality in a way that can truthfully push the show in a unique direction—should they come back at all. If they don’t, then this is certainly a fine way to wrap up everything that happened in this season and series.

4. Stealing; Addiction; Prom

Directed by Jeffrey Blitz

Moving from the last episode of the season to the first, although the show wasn’t completely aware of itself in its pilot, it still was able to create some of its funniest moments. Particularly, in the show’s middle, where the host has to come down from being addicted to cocaine—a joke that pays itself off handsomely throughout the season. Additionally, this is the episode that teased what the show would eventually become, and demonstrated what a funny character Forrest could be.

3. Road Rage; Orgy

Directed by Jeffrey Blitz

As the show was begin to get repetitive, it’s decision to get bolder and riskier in its decision making was ultimately the show’s most fruitful ideas. This episode, in particular, demonstrates the good risks the show was able to take this season, and hopefully shows a glimpse at what the show will offer in any future episodes it may or may not get. As we, the audience, have finally grown to understand that this show has consequences for Forrest, this episode’s greatest contribution is showing how the actions of this show affect others—something that should have developed more this season but truthfully did not.

2. Best Friend; Space

Directed by Jeffrey Blitz

Undoubtedly, this is the season’s darkest episode. But, also, it is without a doubt one of its funniest too. Although the beginning segment is fun, it is truthfully the episode’s second half that sores, both figuratively and literally. In addition to including a more prominent role for Fred Willard, this episode has what will probably be the best use of Lance Bass in the history of anything ever. He is surprisingly quite good at comedy, at least here, and gets some of the episode’s best laughs. In addition to being one of the season’s best written episodes, this is also one of this season’s most decidedly vicious as well. Thank God.

1. Making a Sex Tape; Being a Racist; Hunting

Directed by Jeffrey Blitz

Although there a number of solid episodes this season, this is the one, in my opinion, that really got the show right. Particularly, its middle segment, with Forrest trying to become a racist, is not only the show’s funniest segment, but it also it one of the funniest I have seen on television in some time. But beyond this, however, there are a variety of great moments here that make the show shine, as well as show that this is a program that should be looked out for.

Advertisements

Top 5 Episodes of Community Season 5

By Will Ashton

Image

Although it was definitely better than the last Harmon-less season, this newest season of Community didn’t quite live up the greatness that was earned in the second and third seasons. That said, though, this season, which fell somewhere between pretty good and good, still had its bright spots, and even a couple great episodes. Below, I discuss the newest season of the meta NBC sitcom.

Honorable Mention: Basic Story

5. Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality

Directed by Tristram Shapeero

After the show was finally figuring out its groove again, that is when Dan Harmon’s show finally was able to return back to its whip-smart mentality. Although this episode isn’t quite as memorable as some of the episodes to follow, this episode was a shining example of the show’s return-to-form. With some clever banter between Jeff and Duncan, along with a solid re-understanding of the characters, this episode represented the show returning back to its peak. Even if this episode, in particular, didn’t quite reach that glory.

4. Basic Sandwich

Directed by Rob Schrab

Although not quite as great as the season finales of the past, this is certainly better than the rehash that was the season 4 finale, and featured some of the most consistently funny one-liners that the show has had this season. Whether it was Dean being his usual hilarious self, or Abed being perhaps a little too meta for his own good (seriously, guys, calm it down with the meta stuff. It’s getting too on-the-nose now), this episode didn’t quite have all the heart, but it certainly had the laughs.

3. G.I. Jeff

Directed by Rob Schrab

As far as gimmick episodes go, this was a pretty darn good one. Although not quite at the same level of, say, “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”—which this episode serves as the spiritual sequel to—it has a lot of fun with the format, and makes sure to get good mileage out of its comedy potential. The animation is good, the writing is strong, and the cast, even in animation form, still have a good repertoire together. It is, altogether, a fun 21 minutes.

2. Geothermal Escapism

Directed by Joe Russo

As much fun as the past mentioned episodes were, this is really where the show started to get its heart back. In addition to being as funny as before, this metaphoric episode, once again, continues to develop the relationship of Abed and Troy, while continuing to make sure that the rest of the cast gets time to shine. And, with a ending as bittersweet and touching as this one, it’s hard to imagine a better episode this season. Until you remember the episode before it.

1. Cooperative Polygraphy

Directed by Tristram Shapeero

Which was this one. While this season had its ups-and-downs, this was the episode that really, truly got it right. Funny, touching, smart and beautifully conceived, this episode is right up there with the best episodes of the first three seasons, and was the only real episode to get back to the charm that was found in the earlier seasons of the show. This was the truly great episode of season 5.

Top 5 Episodes of Girls Season 3

By Will Ashton

Girls-Season-3

On the whole, this latest season of Girls was, simply, just pretty good. It started out really strong, then began to fizzle out towards being painfully average before eventually picking itself up towards the end. Much like last season, this season didn’t quite hold a candle to the first season’s success but, compared to the steady decline season 2 had, this season was at least better at getting its barrings.

That said, last season took risks that, while they didn’t quite pay off, were an interestingly dark look at these characters. Many of those failed to pick up any steam this season, or even get addressed. So, ultimately, these last two seasons fall somewhere down the middle.

However, that is not to say that this season didn’t have its gems. Let’s look back on those now as I count down the five best episodes of season 3 of Girls.

Honorable mention: Role-Play

5. Flo

Directed by Richard Shepard

Girls has always been in a unique position whenever it decides to get out of its New York City comfort zone. Whether or not it is in Hannah’s hometown, or Jessa’s hometown, or in a destination that I will talk more about in the near future, these changes in scenery don’t always work, but this is one where it does. Getting to see a hilarious and oddly heartfelt look at Hannah’s family, including a great supporting performance by June Squibb as Hannah’s dying Grandma, this episode is better at capturing the balancing act of dry comedy and uncomfortable drama that the show established itself on. It also has the added benefit of including some family issues sass.

4. Truth or Dare

Directed by Lena Dunham

In the season’s second episode, involving the full return of Jessa into the show’s dynamics, the show is once again able to capture the oddball dynamic that was beginning to disappear from the end of season two with her disappearance. While her story lines, unfortunately, took a more routine path than I would have liked this season, the beginning of this season featured some of her best scenes in some time, and, ultimately, ever. Whether it is chewing out her fellow rehab buddies or causing one to find their sexuality in a very explicit way, this is easily the best the character has been used in some time.

3. Two Plane Rides

Directed by Lena Dunham

Considering that last season’s finale was the only episode thus far in the show that I felt completely shit the bed, I was relieved to find just how emotionally tender and bittersweet this episode was. Not only was I happy to see how they tied up some characters interactions, especially for a show that gets confused along its way with what to do with them, but I liked how this episode was able to address Adam and Hannah’s relationship, a sort of won’t they, will they stay together that has been building throughout this season is a surprisingly successful way, in a manner that felt genuine and heartfelt. Whether or not the next season is able to pick up steam, they seem to be in a good place right now. Which is more than I can say at this time last season.

2. Beach House

Directed by Jesse Peretz

Featuring the characters in an environment that is completely alien to what we have seen from them before, this episode was able to be one of the best the show has had in a while thanks to the fact that it kept it about what makes this show work: the characters, and their interactions together. In addition to the fact that they, finally, brought back Elijah—a small, but much need gesture—the final scenes with all these characters bickering with each other is one of the funniest and most satisfying that the show has in some time.

1. Females Only

Directed by Lena Dunham

Ultimately, the episode that started off this season with so much promise is the one that was the season at its height. In case you haven’t noticed yet, the show seems to be at its most successful, generally, when it is headed by its show creator Lena Dunham. Her vision and her acute understanding of these characters makes for the funniest and more sincere interactions (minus the season two finale, of course). This episode was no different. Her writing is top notch here, and this is the episode that truly makes us sympathize with Adam. Which, for all considerations, is not an easy task.