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The Good Place: Patty (2020)
Season 4, Episode 12
Wow. Just Wow.
28 January 2020
In a world ... that prides itself on being competitively shrill and vapid and meaningless, interacting with the depth of thought that went into this episode felt like being washed with a warm wave of deep soothing relief.

Oh, and Michael's weed in a standard baggie was a throwback to when Ted Danson was in college. Today's weed comes in fancy bags, dog.
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Perfect Harmony: Regionals (2020)
Season 1, Episode 13
Super and Dooper!
25 January 2020
As everyone knows, the all-time best sitcom season one ender is "The Good Place." Duh. But this sitcom season one ender comes in at a close second. Surprise after surprise, one plot turn after the next, and then leaving us with a song performance that rocks it in all the right places. I watched it two times in a row, never done that before. Needless to mention, the writing AND acting AND singing AND dancing definitely earn all 10 stars. And some of those one-liners are hall of fame material. Can't believe we have to wait till September to hang out again with our friends in Conley Fork.

And just passing this fun fact along -- Geno Segers, "Dwayne," used to be a professional rugby player. Cool!
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It just gets better and better
21 January 2020
Excuse my enthusiasm but I just finished watching this episode, and I came away from it having experienced a moment of first impression. Hardly ever have I seen an actor of any age deliver a performance as honest and as real and heartbreaking and emotionally raw as the one tonight from McKenna Grace, who plays Sheldon and Missy's smart friend Paige, whose parents are getting divorced. According to my calculations from the info on your website, McKenna is 13. And in this episode she gives us a performance that'll make Meryl Steep envious. Someone should tell Meryl not to watch it she's going to get so upset. I was sitting on the couch, incredulous at how good her performance was. Not just in the big now-here-it-is scene, but in every moment she was on screen. I hope she reads this. Speaking as a member of the audience you anticipated reaching, it was truly a rewarding experience.

And then, there's the storyline between George and Georgy that's so real and so right you feel like you're eavesdropping on an actual situation rather than watching television. And Iain (Sheldon). Man oh man. I know Sheldon's not athletic but tonight he knocked it outta the park. Really, every actor on this episode disappeared and some very real people emerged.

In today's world, I can't begin to say how grateful (read: relieved) I am that I get to spend 22 minutes a week in this East Texas town in 1990 with that group of people. The high quality of this show makes it easier somehow.
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Will & Grace: What a Dump (2020)
Season 11, Episode 7
Painful to watch
18 January 2020
What happened here? I'd say this episode was written with a random word generator, but if it had been it would've been much better. It's simply awful. The main plot, the subplot, the "jokes" -- nothing works. I kept looking to check how many minutes were left to see if I could make it.

When you get to this level, you have no excuse when you put out an episode this bad. Maybe it's some big joke on us we are supposed to appreciate because the plot centered around excrement and the show was excrement. Who knows. Where are the writers who wrote the Grandpa Jack episode?
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Mom: One Tiny Incision and a Coffin Dress (2020)
Season 7, Episode 11
Great episode
13 January 2020
Yet again this series raises thoughtful issues and encourages us to join the decision-making process rather than gawk from the sidelines. An interesting exploration of a deeply emotional situation for Tammy and her close friends.

And what a great performance by Kathleen Turner. Kathleen, the girl in "The Man With Two Brains" who made Steve Martin say, when he was searching for the right word to describe their first sexual encounter, "It was so ... so ... so ... professional!"
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Perfect Harmony: Know When to Walk Away (2020)
Season 1, Episode 11
Great plotting!
13 January 2020
There are two great twists at the end of this episode. The first one is a plot thickener and the second one reveals a clever character trait. When the first one occurs, you'll realize the way they set it up that you'd seen it coming. When the second one occurs, you will not have had any idea it was brewing during the story, even though they played fair and told us it might happen.

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The Unicorn: No Pressure (2019)
Season 1, Episode 9
Funny, touching, intriguing
8 December 2019
This show should be higher rated. Wade is letting his guard down and moving out into the world, and we're right there with him. Along with his very good friends. (Ever notice that sitcom friends are the best friends?) And in this episode we're so happy that a new experience has entered Wade's orbit. Will it go anywhere? Can't wait to find out. (And has anyone noticed that the first two measures of the theme song that plays during the credits at the end is from David Bowie's song Starman?)
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Will & Grace: With Enemies Like These (2019)
Season 11, Episode 3
Not so fast
20 November 2019
Yes, the episode was funny, but there's a big but on it -- It was funny, but you can't do that last scene with Karen and still claim to be who you claim to be. (I've seen your Twitter posts.) If you don't want a male owner of a female sports team -- or of a beauty pageant -- looking at naked women on the team, then you can't present us with a female owner of a sports team lining up naked male players to ogle them. And that's why you only get one star out of ten. Because you're better than that.
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The Good Place: A Chip Driver Mystery (2019)
Season 4, Episode 6
Great Episode
19 November 2019
The world may be going through a crazy time (the beginning of a more enlightened planetary society perhaps? Too much to ask for?), but television comedy is going through a true golden age, far better than the golden ages that have been claimed before. And this show is a big part of this new wave.

The level of plot complexity that unfolds in this episode is staggering, and yet they never goof up the many layers of back story we have so far. It's funny and it's moving in ways we've never seen before. And the characters continue to be fresh and funny and tender.

Must admit when the Donald Trump parody character got punched in the nose, I felt a momentary elevation. But -- yes yes yes -- I know that's not the solution, so I calmed down and just enjoyed the rest of the episode. (But still -- thank you, guys, for that moment.)
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17 November 2019
However many times this IMDB space would fit the word Wow! is how many Wow!s this episode deserves. They are bringing it strong on character development (we love them all more than ever), comedy (funny funny funny), and story expansion (just when you wonder how they can possible keep the story fresh and interesting, here it comes). And -- perhaps the best part -- is that this episode makes you realize it's time to join the "Not Gonna Get Angry About What They're Doing No More" Movement. I'm in! Doesn't mean I'm not doing everything I can to help. Just means I'm doing it without being angry. Thanks for suggesting it, ladies!
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A big high five
15 November 2019
This is comedy at its most sublime, and we get a new plot line for a beloved character at the end. Now that's the way to spend 22 minutes on a cozy fall night. And, you gotta love a scene that ends with a guy telling God how much he's doing for God, so where's the quid pro quo. Oh -- and they bring in a real heavy hitter with some major comedy gravitas with Craig T. Nelson. Hope we see a lot of him. This is really getting good.
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A wrong turn?
14 November 2019
I've given Bob Hearts 10 stars until now. I appreciated how they uplifted and encouraged a more inclusive understanding, while making watching the episodes enjoyable. In this episode, yes, a broader understanding is still there, but it's accompanied by situations that really increase anxiety. I found myself sitting sideways on the couch as though trying to protect myself.

In today's world, the last thing we need is another source of anxiety. I hope they recover from this turn, and quickly.
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The Good Place: Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy (2019)
Season 4, Episode 4
This is impossibly good
26 October 2019
I'm a sitcom snob. Never did the hour-long dramas, never watched anything unscripted. Just sitcoms. Hardly a week goes by but I equate something in life to a bit from Seinfeld. So I feel quite confident in making this statement -- this episode is quite possibly the most creative television programming ever to be broadcast.

The acting is amazing, of course. Every single performance is Emmy worthy, and Ted Danson has reached the top of Mt. Olympus. But it's the writing that's underneath the show, holding it up, propelling it forward, that's so fresh and original and unprecedented and unique and vivid it makes you feel lucky just to experience the words as the characters speak them. And the plotting? Riding the rapid-fire shifts in clues and probabilities, combined with all the outcomes and reveals you never saw coming, is more thrilling than anything they got at Disneyland.

I would be sad knowing that this is their last season except for the fact that we're experiencing a great crop of sitcoms now. Sunnyside. Perfect Harmony. Young Sheldon. The Unicorn. Just to name a few. This is truly a golden age for sitcom writing on television. And none of it -- not the shows I'm watching -- is grotesque. Hooray for the sublime!
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Perfect Harmony: Hunting Season (2019)
Season 1, Episode 4
This is some funny stuff, y'all!
25 October 2019
Gotta give it to them -- this episode of Perfect Harmony is a perfect 10! It's so funny, so original, so well written and acted. Much of what's been going on in sitcoms in recent years has gotten tediously derivative, but this show is going into areas -- with the plot lines, the characters, and the humor -- we've never seen before. It's so great to see comedy giving us a refreshing new landscape. I hope this show stays on for many, many years!
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Knocking it out of the park
21 October 2019
Here are 3 takeaways from this magnificent, magnificent episode:

1. Mary has the funniest line ever to be spoken in a sitcom. With no spoiler, just so you know (as if you wouldn't) which line it is -- the line references a classic novel and equates it with something the novel has nothing to do with.

2. The touching moment between George and his daughter goes to the perfect spot. Not too cute, not too sappy. Just right.

3. This season it's time for Iain Armitage to be nominated for an Emmy. His personification at the end of the episode of an iconic character is mind-blowing.

Another great day at the office for the Young Sheldon team!
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This rocks!
17 October 2019
Okay -- what is going on?! So many great new comedies this season, and this is at the top of my list.

This show explores previously untouched territory. It looks at relationships in a new and refreshing way, presenting situations that are sticky and awkward and real and somehow in the process they manage to bring the funny. And this episode will have you sitting on the couch with a very satisfied smile on your face as you hope for the best for these new friends you have come to love -- already.

And Missi Pyle gives us a guest appearance that will have you howling with laughter. From Galaxy Quest, Hot in Cleveland, Mom, to this series, when she plays crazy, she brings it!
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The Good Place: Chillaxing (2019)
Season 4, Episode 3
Wow and Wow Again!
13 October 2019
This episode is one of the best things ever to be on television. Ever. It is amazing. Wonderful. Fantastic. Mind-blowing. Surprising. Original. Get the thesaurus. This episode gets 10 stars to the 10th power. I love you, Michael Schur!!!
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Sunnyside: The Ethiopian Executioner (2019)
Season 1, Episode 2
But the concept is very good
10 October 2019
The writers need to get back to basic story structure and character development, and then work into the plot the very, very great concept that this show is based on.

We love it that the writers are showing us -- through fiction -- what immigrants in this country today are having to deal with. How they're often being taken advantage of. We need to see that. And, yes, the writers have given themselves quite a task of making a comedy about such a serious and often horrifying subject. But it can be done.

It pretty much boils down to this -- take the caricature out of the characters and give them stronger identities. Then really think through the plot outlines. The raw material is there. The pieces just need to be put together better. You might need to make it less surface and more surreal. Think Terry Gilliam and Brazil.

Seven stars as kudos for the effort.
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The Unicorn: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (2019)
Season 1, Episode 2
A very very likable show
6 October 2019
Wow. An episode where people act the way we all wish people would act AND it's extremely funny?

Our protagonist Wade is like a guy who's been totally sequestered for 20 years and now finds himself trying to negotiate his way through today's weird world. He's a nice person in a time when social media has brought out the worst in people and forces them into superficial meaningless situations. What's he gonna do?

Well, what he does is -- he remains the nice guy that he is. Which is why everyone in the world should watch this show. Besides the fact that it's so darn funny and well written and well acted. Everyone should watch it because we're under a constant barrage of widely publicized insults and meanness hurled with no regard to their consequences, and here's a show that makes us pull for a guy who is constitutionally incapable of not being nice.

Ahhh! What a breath of fresh air this show is. What a very, very funny and likable breath of fresh air.

Keep 'em coming.
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The Good Place: A Girl from Arizona Part 2 (2019)
Season 4, Episode 2
Well played
5 October 2019
The intrigue remains high. What's going to happen? So many story questions. Will so-n-so get together with so-n-so? Will the four (main) humans achieve eternal salvation? Will the point totals be straightened out for the rest of the humans? And will Michael get a job he'll like, now that he can't go back to being a demon?

But, even as I look forward to these answers, I'm starting to wonder if the writers have been working from the premise of an entirely different story question. One that's been in plain sight all along but we've overlooked. You know, something, along the lines of a The Sixth Sense level twist. We'd say, "Man! We should've seen that coming but we didn't." And with this twist all the previous story questions would become moot (or is it moat? Anyway ... ).

We'll be watching.
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Almost unbearably funny
4 October 2019
Before the review of tonight's episode, a few words about Young Sheldon. This show is taking situation-based comedy to a new place. It's been believed, since the beginning of television programming, that for a show to be funny -- to be a comedy -- it had to be unreal. Rob and Laura Petrie. Frasier and Niles. Jerry and Elaine and so on. It was believed that if you had real people acting and reacting and talking and being like actual people actually are, the show couldn't be funny. This is the first show to totally dispel that now-antiquated notion. That's quite a milestone.

About tonight's episode -- funny, funny, funny. The writing was funny and the acting was funny and the tension was tense and the moments of personal breakthrough were tangible. And Georgie. What a great character. His brother may be a genius about the invisible machinery behind the visible operation of the universe, but Georgie has decided that here in this crazy world he can think for himself thank you very much. I cheered for him.

And Pastor Jeff's and George's coaching buddy's performances may be the all-time best performances by occasional characters.

Looking forward to next week.
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Sunnyside (2019– )
Bring it on, baby!
2 October 2019
Michael Schur, you know how to raise the bar! It all made sense when I saw Fremulon after the end of the episode. (What does Fremulon mean? Anyway ...)

This is a funny, funny, funny show! I had to pause it several times because I was laughing so hard and didn't want to miss the next line. The characters are charming and engaging and overflowing with reasons for us to like them, pull for them, and definitely want to spend more time with them. And the actors are throwing it down SO well you want to find out what else they've been in.

It's got a plot premise with undeniable tension from the get-go. We have a group of folks who each want something, and they all want what they want for the correct reasons. They're smart, they're hard-working, and they have so much to add to the lives around them -- if they get what they want. (You see, boys and girls, that's how you formulate a story question.)

No, it's not Seinfeld, but the days of making a sitcom about nothing are behind us. Today, we want to spend time with characters who have something on the line. And when it's this funny, and this well written, and this dynamic -- well, it makes you glad shows today have more substance.

To the writers and producers -- keep 'em coming. You guys know how to rock it!
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Perfect Harmony: Pilot (2019)
Season 1, Episode 1
Way to go!!!
1 October 2019
I had absolutely no expectation of liking this show, but I do love Bradley Whitford. (Yes, there's West Wing but have you seen his guest appearances on Mom? Out of the park.) So I reluctantly watched it but only because my partner is the world's biggest West Wing fan, and now, after this awesome pilot, I'm looking forward to the whole season.

It is a series opener, but they managed to get the requisite exposition out of the way with a lot of story fun and intrigue. They gave us plenty of reasons to like the characters without being cliche or sappy. And they showed us they know how to establish just the right amount of conflict to provide some plot tension but to make sure we know it's a sitcom.

And then they wrapped it all up with an ending that rocked the house down, honoring what we expected in a way we never expected.

My sincere appreciation to the makers of Perfect Harmony. I'm looking forward to spending 22 minutes in Kentucky each week with my new friends.

And yes, Bradley Whitford was exquisite in this role.
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The Unicorn (2019– )
CBS is kicking it!
30 September 2019
Thursday nights used to belong to NBC. Now CBS rules.

This show hits every mark in the exact right spot. Single cam (so no laugh track) but you'll supply the laughter. A relatively unexplored concept. A 40-something widower with two daughters finally starts dating with the encouragement of his four friends, who consist of two married couples. He's catnip to the ladies -- but he's not going for points based on pity. And thankfully they don't belabor the difficulties he's been through. The show establishes his new trajectory, and then it escorts us along it in a way that we understand his challenges and we laugh as he finds (and stumbles) his way into new territory.

It's a show about family -- his relationships with his daughters come across as so real. It's a show about friendship -- his relationships with his friends come across as so real, even though they are totally fictional. BUT -- they are the kind of friends relationships we wish were real, and we wish we all had, so we gladly spend time with them, enjoying an undeviatingly supportive camaraderie no one but sitcom characters ever experience.

Looking forward to going on this journey with him and his crew. Way to go, whoever put this together!
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Bob Hearts Abishola: Pilot (2019)
Season 1, Episode 1
Good start
29 September 2019
Series openers are tough. So much exposition to cover. But we saw what they're going for here and it is commendable. Bravo. It's time for all the barriers that divide us to come down, and this show is about moving in that direction.

The writers need to be careful about making repellent characters, and from episode one it looks like Bob's family is going to be odious to watch. Hopefully that will change.

And, c'mon, the time markers everywhere got old quick. They can drop that.

I'm pulling for the show. The concept alone gets them points.
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