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Qualler's Episode of the Month: May 2011

I admit that now that our first 80 degree weather in Minneapolis has passed by, that my brain has started to turn to mush. And when my brain turns to mush, I am less likely to watch good TV shows and more likely to watch sports (like last night's AMAZING STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF GAME ONE FINALS!!!), or, read Twitter about sports (like last night's AMAZING NEWS THAT MY FAVE HOOPS-PLAYING SPANISH TEEN RICKY RUBIO IS FINALLY COMING TO MINNESOTA!!!) or, just watching dumb movies, like Thor. So, forgive me while I dig through the mushy parts of my summer brain to access the best TV show episodes of May 2011.

Game of Thrones started pretty clumsily with its pilot, all exposition and blank faces and no passion. But its third episode "Lord Snow" demonstrated the way the series can get around the inner dialogue issue it faces by being a TV series instead of a book. The final scene with Arya practicing her swordsmanship and Ned getting all distracted-like by his flashbacks of real sword fights and looking all sad-like was a much less wordy way of saying "Ned has ambivalence toward his kids living a rough life like I have so far." Sometimes, brevity can be good, George R.R. Martin.

Treme has always been accused of being "too slow" (personally, I am a fan of its "let's hang out in New Orleans and see what happens" modus operandi) but its second season's third episode "On the Way Down" certainly moved things forward plotwise more than the show ever has. It may have been done with a plot twist that could easily be construed as cheap and exploitative, but fit excruciatingly well with the theme of the episode and the season (theme being: crime brings us all down.) The fact that said plot twist was not at all exploited and/or shown onscreen made it all the more haunting. Meanwhile, the revelations that Sonny's cliams about saving people in New Orleans were indeed true, the continued gross "progress" of new character Nelson Hidalgo, and Janette's continued struggles making it work in New York were spellbinding. Treme is definitely making a play for show of the year in 2011.

Cougar Town is one incredibly weird show to be on network TV, having all but abandoned its "cougar" premises and allowed its characters to pretty much just stand around and do weird stuff and drink wine. And that was in full effect in "Free Fallin'", an episode that featured Children of the Corn-style children who draw rainbows on the sidewalk, alongside Lou Diamond Phillips being brought on to pitch a robotic Penny Can that has blinking lights and moves around. I had to choose between this show and Community for one of the treasured spots on this list, and ultimately went with Cougar Town because its weirdness and delightful set of characters is preferable to me, despite Community also being worthwhile. Too bad ABC decided to premiere season three at midseason instead of next September, cuz I'm gonna miss Busy Phillips. I have a crush on Busy Phillips. DoktorPeace, Hottie Count that ess!

Parks and Recreation had a ridiculously perfect third season, culminating in its ridiculously perfect season finale duo episodes "The Bubble"/"Lil' Sebastian". The intellectual in me appreciates the well-crafted character relationships and witty humor. But the joy centers in my brain go off on Ron Swanson on a swivel chair (and Chris saying "SWIVEL!" extremely enthusiastically), and on Andy singing "5,000 Candles in the Wind" (a song dedicated to the dearly departed Lil' Sebastian), and Detlef Schrempf on retainer in Tom Haverford and Jean Ralphio's 720 Entertainment Company (cuz you travel around the world TWICE!) Booyah, Parks and Recreation.

Friday Night Lights easily had May's episode of the month, "Kingdom". Though its final season started a little slow, the setup definitively started paying off with a classic style episode featuring the East Dillon Lions taking a road trip to Kingdom, TX. Included in this episode was the instantly memorable balcony scene where Coach Eric Taylor listened the floor below as his newest players bonded over their shared experiences and their new relationships. Add to that the instantly classic final scene ("Are we there yet, coach?" "Nope. We're getting there. Slowly but surely, we're getting there.") brought mega tears to my eyes. And even the at-this-point weak link plot of Julie dating the creepy TA started to pay off when the creepy TA's wife screamed at her. If the fifth episode of the season is any indication, I will need kleenex for the series' final six episodes that air on NBC this summer. Thankfully, raw emotions are just the types of things that can easily penetrate my summer brain mush.

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  1. Blogger DoktorPeace | 5:06 PM |  

    Your fave Spanish teen is 20 years old? Weird.

    I heartily agree with your tweet last night about the energy level of the end of that hockey game trumping the entire NBA finals.

    I like Game of Thrones' wordsmithery right now. I only worry that when winter comes it will bring too many action scenes. Give me words over dragons any day.

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