I'm somewhat ambivalent on this show. On one hand, teaching kids problem-solving skills is a great idea. On the other hand, the show should also teach the kids the discipline needed to use their knowledge for good rather than evil (perhaps the show could be sponsored by Google?).
I'm sure many of us nerdy types were bullied in our youth and would have enjoyed the use of "night vision, hydro reconnaissance or rappelling" in an effort to fix the problem or at least make it go away. So what do you think? Is this program a good idea or a disaster waiting to happen?
(S07E14) "Rodderick Brody changed my life, maybe as much as Trudy." -- Monk
If I didn't know better, I would have taken this episode of Monk as the drinking game edition because if you took a drink every time someone mentioned the word "swirlie," you were seriously hammered halfway through the show. If that was what you were up to, good for you because you probably didn't care that the last act of the show was a ridiculous plot switch that spoiled an otherwise very good episode. More on the ill-advised plot development after the jump.
By and large, though, there was a lot of good stuff here. The flashback to little Adrian in seventh grade was superb, right down to his tweed jacket and beige shirt and black slacks. A lot of Monk's psychological damage occurred in that junior high school bathroom thanks to the bully in question, Rodderick Brody.
Clay: Orel, you know you shouldn't upset your mother by coming home with dirty clothes, because then your mother talks to your father, and no one wants that.
In my last review I said that Moral Orel would benefit tremendously by being a half-hour, rather than an eleven-minute, show. Creator Dino Stamatopoulos has said the same thing in interviews. There's simply too much subtext to cram into such a short amount of time.
(S02E22) I need to pay more attention to the opening credits, because I had no idea Kelsey Grammer directed this episode. You can see a video of Grammer talking about it here.
First of all, I loved how Chris' dad thinks everything can be fixed with duct tape. Who knew Julius and Red Green had something in common?
This episode had me, and then it lost me. When Chris decides to final exact revenge on Caruso, I was all set up. This was going to be yet another great episode of a series that never relies to heavily on sitcom conventions for its humor, but by the end, that's exactly what the episode had done. I'm sure a bunch of cats being turned loose in a school might work on a lesser show, but it's an idea that seems way too "sitcom-y" for a show like Chris. Also, isn't the show supposed to be based, at least somewhat, on Chris Rock's real childhood? What school did he attend that would allow him the ample time he needed to set up such an elaborate prank?
(S18E08) At first glance, these newer episodes of The Simpsons are like a box of unbuttered popcorn mixed with M&Ms: even if the whole snack is rather bland, there's plenty of great bits tossed in. I loved Marge uncharacteristically whacking Bart with a wooden spoon, Homer's cry of "Woo hoo! Marital sex!", and Milhouse telling Bart it's better to walk in on both parents being intimate instead of just one of them.
(S02E06) This episode marked the first appearance of Jason Alexander as the new school principal, a man who took some time off after assaulting a faculty member and has now re-invented himself as a kind of enigmatic guru of sorts.
Alexander's character only appears in the first part of the episode, but by the end we learn he was with Chris and Joey the whole time, at least, he had somebody watching after them when they become lost in New York City. It turns out his plan to make Chris and his bully understand one another didn't quite have the affect he had hoped, though.
(S02E14) The city of Jefferton has a problem: dangerous levels of starch are plaguing the residents, and Tom Peters is very concerned for his family. He's even purchased an Eez-Zee Stool Strips tester so he can make sure his stepsons don't have too much starch in their system. The machine, as demonstrated in an infomercial, is easy to use. In fact, you can test your stool on a bus in less than ten minutes. All you have to do is lick the tester, stir it around in your stool, enter the number that comes up into the machine, and then hold your thumbs on the special identicators for two minutes (it helps if you have some stool on your thumbs).
It turns out Tom's stepsons do have high levels of starch in their system, which he suspects to be the fault of the food they're eating at school. The Mayor suggests he and Tom go undercover, Tom as a student, and himself as the vice-principal. To fit in with the young crowd, Tom has a special surgery in which his knees and shinbones are removed and his feet are reattached to the bottom of his thighs. Also, his vocal chords are removed and stretched on a tiny rack in order to change his voice. The result is a dwarfish version of Tom with a voice that sounds like he's been inhaling helium.
(S10E14) When you're young, there's usually only one way to deal with a bully, and that's to give them a taste of their own medicine. It gets a bit more complicated, however, when you're a grown adult and your bully is a ten year old kid. In last night's episode, new neighbors move into the neighborhood whose unruly child, Caleb, begins harassing Hank by calling him "dusty old bones, full of green dust," trashing his work space, and, the most unforgivable crime of all, riding his bike on Hank's lawn.
If beating your own kids is frowned upon, beating other's children is probably more so. Hank thinks he has a solution when he takes Caleb's bike until Caleb learns to behave better. Unfortunately, Caleb's parents don't see their son as a troublemaker, but rather a feisty young sprite with a "precocious sense of adventure." When Hank swipes Caleb's bike to teach him a lesson, they don't make Caleb apologize, they call the cops. Hank finally realizes that the trouble lies with the parents, so he sicks Bobby on them to taunt and harass them as Caleb did. It's not until the parents actually start being parents that Caleb starts to behave. Anyone who has ever had to deal with the children of inattentive parents knows how frustrating it can be. I used to babysit for extended family whose children were so unruly the only thing I could do was try and keep as many sharp objects away from them as possible while they ran amok.
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