REVIEW: THE GOOD PLACE – SEASON 4

Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, Marc Evan Jackson, William Jackson Harper, Manny Jacinto, Jameela Jamil, and D'Arcy Carden in The Good Place (2016)

Starring

Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
William Jackson Harper (All Good Things)
Jameela Jamil (Ducktales)
D’Arcy Carden (Barry)
Manny Jacinto (Top Gun: Maverick)
Ted Danson (The Orville)

Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, Manny Jacinto, Jameela Jamil, and D'Arcy Carden in The Good Place (2016)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Marc Evan Jackson (Jumanji: Welcme To The Jungle)
Jason Mantzoukas (The Dictator)
Mike O’Malley (My Name Is Earl)
Brandon Scott Jones (Hexed)
Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Veronica Mars)
Benjamin Koldyke (How I met Your Mother)
Maribeth Monroe (The Back-up Plan)
Tiya Sircar (Supergirl)
Patrick Cox (2 Broke Girls)
Maya Rudolph (Happytime Murders)
Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita Diet)
Rebecca Hazlewood (Equals)
Ajay Mehta (Spide-Man)
Anna Khaja (Yes Man)
Lisa Kudrow (Friends)
Leslie Grossman (Popular)
Nick Offerman (We’re the Millers)
Mary Steenburgen (Last Vegas)

Kristen Bell in A Girl from Arizona Part 2 (2019)After four seasons and four years on air, it’s fitting that Michael Schur’s The Good Place should conclude with a disquisition on the merits of eternity. Is paradise unending really all that it’s cracked up to be? If bliss is granted with the snap of our fingers, if our hearts’ desires are so easily achieved, and if we have all the time in the afterlife to indulge them without worrying about dying before we get around to each and every one of them, then maybe Heaven is actually Hell. At the very least, it’s kind of a bummer. When everything is possible, nothing matters, and when nothing matters, minds go to seed. Even Hypatia of Alexandria can’t endure such conditions without turning into a total “smooth brain.”Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, and Manny Jacinto in Chillaxing (2019)The Good Place’s Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), and Jason (Manny Jacinto) have an elegant solution: An after-afterlife, kept behind a green door. Step right through, and be at peace forever. Heaven’s great, but good times have to end eventually. I suppose the same is true of television. We’re past the point where “golden age” is an adequate descriptor for the days of peak TV. Frankly, even “peak TV” has outlived its usefulness for characterizing the 2010s, and now the 2020s, where there’s just too damn much TV to watch and series tend to go on, and on, and on, whether they deserve to or not.Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, Manny Jacinto, Jameela Jamil, and D'Arcy Carden in Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy (2019)Consider that there’s still a camera crew documenting the lives of the extended Dunphy family, that new crises unfold and steamy romances still heat up in the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, and that Bart, Lisa, and Maggie haven’t aged a day since 1989; think about the stranglehold that Game of Thrones has maintained over pop culture for the last decade, and that with a successor series on the way for 2022, its grips will slacken only briefly before choking out entertainment sites afresh.Ted Danson, Manny Jacinto, and D'Arcy Carden in Employee of the Bearimy (2019)Too much of a good thing is a problem. Mercifully, and not a little ironically, The Good Place understands that problem despite being set in the sweet hereafter — and the sour hereafter, and the second-rate hereafter. There isn’t a corner of the great beyond Schur, his writers, and the series’ cast haven’t explored over the course of its lifespan: the Good Place, which is actually the Bad Place, plus the Medium place, plus the real Good Place, including its filing offices, where good souls are sifted from bad souls, which means that, in accordance with the Good Place’s absurd requirements for entry, nobody ends up in the Good Place at all and gets tortured by chainsaw bears forever instead.Ted Danson and D'Arcy Carden in A Chip Driver Mystery (2019)Bless The Good Place for ending. As fun as it is watching the gang puzzle over new existential predicaments every week, drawing out their path toward enlightenment after shuffling off their mortal coils defeats the purpose of the show as the contemporary roadmap for goodness we all need, whether we realize it or not, at a moment where goodness is in short supply and badness trickles down from the very top of American society. We are in an era of casual cruelty: Anyone, at any given moment, has the power to taunt, bully, and abuse strangers from hundreds of miles away for such sins as liking The Last Jedi. We’re talking about badness in its pettiest form (though even petty badnesses can have meaningful consequences in the real world); it’s workaday badness, the kind of badness otherwise good people are guilty of and would end up in the Bad Place for. (Badness in its worst forms, a’la hate crimes and high crimes, comprise a separate category. Most of us won’t punch our tickets to the Inferno by shooting up Synagogues or extorting a foreign country.)Ted Danson and Kristen Bell in Help Is Other People (2019)Being good takes a lot of work. In The Good Place, as in life, goodness comes naturally to nobody: Not Eleanor, selfish and caustic, not Jason, impulsive and dim, not Tahani, haughty and proud, not Chidi, indecisive and trying. Goodness is relative, too. Tahani’s philanthropic endeavors afford her the veneer of goodness, but beneath the veneer lies arrogance and jealousy. Chidi’s brilliance, meanwhile, makes him a thorn in the side of his friends and family. He’s a man incapable of taking action, whether trivial or urgent, to the detriment of every sucker caught in his orbit.Television is rarely revolutionary, but Schur’s big idea for The Good Place — to massage the contradictions of goodness into a sitcom mold — qualifies. Being good is overrated. The architects of the Good Place, simpering goodie goodies dressed like L.L. Bean rejects, hoodwink Michael (Ted Danson), erstwhile Bad Place architect and reformed career demon, into assuming ownership of the Good Place after rebuilding it; it’s a slightly better Good Place, except that perpetual joy and happiness turn inhabitants into mindless zombies. They don’t know how to fix the problem, so they dump it on Michael, and, reformed or no, leaving Heaven in the hands of a demon is decidedly not good. If the Good Place architects are paragons of what it is to be good, there would appear to be little hope left for the rest of us — except, of course, for Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason, and even Michael and Janet (D’Arcy Carden).Kristen Bell and William Jackson Harper in The Answer (2019)Goodness ultimately isn’t about how good you are, but how good you strive to be. That’s the legacy of The Good Place, where angels are squirrelly traitors and demons believe in rehabilitation. The show is a testament to goodness as an ongoing spiritual enterprise, the work that people do to be better today than they were yesterday. Anybody can be good if they are willing to put in the effort. The Good Place demonstrates what “effort” looks like, and what goodness takes: Learning, vulnerability, struggle, failure, and most of all, perhaps, the help of a few good friends. Goodness is a journey. Having educated its audience on goodness’ labors from 2016 to now, The Good Place has gently arrived at the end of its own, stepping beyond the big green door to its final rest.

REVIEW: THE ORVILLE – SEASON 2

Starring

Seth MacFarlane (Sing)

Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Penny Johsnon Jerald (Star Trek: DS9)

Scott Grimes (American Dad)

Peter Macon (Shameless)

Halston Sage (Goosebumps)

J. Lee (Family Guy)

Mark Jackson (The Royal Today)
Jessica Szohr (Piranha 3D)

Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki in The Orville (2017)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Will Sasso (Mom)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Chris Johnson (The Vampire Diaries)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hal)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Chad L. Coleman (Arrow)
Lesley Fera (Pretty Little Liars)
Candice King (The Vampire Diaries)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Kerry O’Malley (Annabelle: Creation)
Patrick Warburton (Ted)
Molly Hagan (No Good Nick)
Norm MacDonald (Dr. Dolittle)
Michaela McManus (SEAL Team)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)
John Rubinstein (Angel)
Kevin Daniels (Atypical)
Wren T. Brown (Whoopi)
Bruce Willis (Glass)
Nick Chinlund (Training Day)
Mackenzie Astin (The Magicians)
Leighton Meester (The Roommate)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Sarah Scott (The Artist)
F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus)
Rena Owen (Siren)
Kelly Hu (Arrow)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: TNG)

Penny Johnson Jerald and Mark Jackson in The Orville (2017)It would be profoundly unfair at this point to keep comparing The Orville to Star Trek: The Next Generation. But the parallels are pretty obvious. The titular Orville has the same ‘Giant Conference Hotel’ in space look that the old Star Trek show did; the Union has a similar aesthetic as The Federation, and so on. But all of this is shorthand; we know Star Trek, so all the visual clues are really just there to quickly get the viewer up to speed.Seth MacFarlane in The Orville (2017)Season 1 of The Orville worked pretty hard to establish its own world. This was an optimistic yet militaristic future in which people still behaved like people. They got drunk, they made dirty jokes, they had affairs, they got divorced. The central relationship of the show is that the First Officer is the Captain’s ex-wife, after all. Season 1 had a lot of missteps and frequently fell flat. Season 2 addresses these issues by simply being more straight forward and blunt.Halston Sage in The Orville (2017)For a start, it’s more obvious that the various prominent alien races in the show represent various social issues. Stories that feature the ‘All-Male’ Moclus tend to focus on sex, identity, and gender. It helps a lot that Peter Macon plays the role of Bortus brilliantly. He can switch from sombre and serious to physical comedy extremely well and is perhaps one of the most under-rated characters in the show. The war-like Krill allow the show to reflect on religious intolerance and the mechanical Kaylon serve a general cypher for the human experience. None of these ‘issue’ stories are subtle, but they are fun and filled with humour.Seth MacFarlane in The Orville (2017)The show’s twists and turns are also pretty significant, and from the outset there are plenty of them. The Orville isn’t afraid to use story arcs, and the ‘reset’ button is rarely used here. Mistakes and tragedies are permanent. Certainly the last few episodes of the series feel like a promise. The past is another country and that even the slightest thing can have ruinous consequences.Penny Johnson Jerald and Seth MacFarlane in The Orville (2017)The special effects budget has also gotten a significant bump. Though there are plenty of ‘people standing around talking’-type scenes, when the action gets underway it really does go for it, reminding the viewer that this show is versatile enough to do both action and drama very well.Penny Johnson Jerald and Mark Jackson in The Orville (2017)Despite the short second season, it seems that Fox is very fond of its very marketable sci-fi show. Season 2 is occasionally a bumpy ride for its changes in story and pacing, but it’s well worth the journey.

REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 4-6

CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner  (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Marca Wallace (Full House)
Phil Hartman (Small Soldiers)
Jon Lovitz (Happiness)
Bob Hope (The Muppet Movie)
Tom Jones (Mars Attacks)
Sara Gilbert (The Big Bang Theory)
Pamela Reed (Kindergarten Cop)
Adam West (Batman)
Linda Ronstadt (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles)
Elizabeth Taylor (Cleopatra)
Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek)
Joyce Brothers (Spy Hard)
Brooke Shields (The Blue Lagoon)
Barry White (Coonskin)
David Crosby (Hook)
Johnny Carson (The Tonight Show)
Hugh Hefner (The Girls Next Door)
Bette Midler (Hocus Pocus)
Luke Perry (Riverdale)
George Harrison (Help!)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
George Fenneman (Ocean’s 11)
Albert Brooks (Drive)
James Brown (Undercover Brother)
Ernest Borgnine (From Here To Eternity)
Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns)
Werner Klemperer (Hogan’s Heroes)
Robert Goulet (Two Guys and a Girl)
Sam Neill (Jurassic Park)
Conan O’Brien (The Lego Batman Movie)
James Woods (Another Day In Paradise)
Kathleen Turner (Serial Mom)
Buzz Aldrin (The Big Bang Theory)
Winona Ryder (Black Swan)
Larry King (The Larry King Show)
Henry Corden (Fred Flinstone and Friends)
James Earl Jones (Star Wars)
Meryl Streep (Into The Woods)
Dennis Franz (Scarface)
Anne Bancroft (The Miracle Worker)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)
Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Rhea Perlman (Sing)
John Ratzenberger (Toy Story)
George Wendt (Sabrina: TTW)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Dick Cavett (Apollo 13)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Mel Brooks (Spaceballs)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride)
Ron Taylor (Rush Hour 2)

By its fourth series, The Simpsons had come far enough for Lisa to make a self-referential joke about Dustin Hoffman’s and Michael Jackson’s pseudonymous guest voice appearances in series 2 and 3, respectively. In this series, no less than Elizabeth Taylor (in two episodes), Bette Midler and even the reclusive Johnny Carson blessed The Simpsons with their iconic presences. Awhile back, US magazine Entertainment Weekly ranked the top 25 Simpsons episodes. Five gems from series 4 cracked the top 12, including the (debatable) choice for No. 1, “Last Exit to Springfield”

SEASON 4 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

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4.1) KAMP KRUSTY

Bart and Lisa go to Kamp Krusty for the summer in order to have a break from their parents and meet Krusty the Clown. However, their promises of a fun summer at Kamp Krusty are broken when the director of the camp, Mr. Black, is revealed to be a ferocious accountant and that the camp counselors are the three teenage bullies from school. Meanwhile, Homer is rejuvenated with the kids gone and even begins to regain his hair and lose weight. All of the kids at the camp are treated horribly and Bart survives by clinging to the promise that Krusty himself will soon arrive. However, when this does not happen, Bart leads the campers into a rebellion and they eventually take over the camp. Homer sees a news report about this and immediately loses his hair and regains his lost weight. The real Krusty arrives at the camp and decides to make it up to the kids by taking them to Tijuana, Mexico.A_Streetcar_Named_Marge4.2) A STREETCAR NAMED MARGE

Marge is cast in a musical production of A Streetcar Named Desire as Blanche DuBois after the play director sees Marge’s deep-seated depression when dealing with an uncaring Homer. She struggles with a scene where she has to shove a glass bottle into the brutish Stanley Kowalski (who is played by Ned Flanders), but manages to get over it by imagining Homer as Stanley. Marge begins to become extremely angry with Homer as she sees parallels between him and Stanley. At the end of the musical, Marge believes Homer does not pay attention to her and confronts him with hostility. However, Homer explains that he was genuinely moved by Blanche’s situation. Marge realizes that Homer really did watch the musical, and the two happily leave the theater with Stan’s saddened expression left behind. Meanwhile, Maggie is sent to the Ayn Rand School for Tots where she attempts to retrieve her pacifier from a strict daycare attendant.4.3) HOMER THE HERETIC

While skipping Sunday’s church services, Homer discovers the joy of staying home and having the house all to himself while Marge and the kids experience a rambling sermon from Reverend Lovejoy. Homer decides to start his very own religion customized for himself, despite Marge’s continuing objections for giving up his faith. Marge, Reverend Lovejoy and Ned Flanders all try to convert Homer back to his Christianity religion but fail. The next Sunday morning, Homer once again stays at home, but accidentally sets the house on fire and is rescued by Flanders. After the blaze is extinguished, Reverend Lovejoy suggests that God was working in the hearts of Homer’s friends, despite their different faiths and this convinces Homer to give church another try.12537854.6) ITCHY & SCRATCHY: THE MOVIE

At Springfield Elementary’s Parent Teacher night, Mrs. Krabappel tells Homer and Marge about Bart’s behavior. Wanting Bart to one day become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Homer decides to punish Bart. However, he never makes his punishments stick and Bart continues on his destructive path. Marge confronts Homer and he agrees that next time he will make his punishment stick. Meanwhile, Bart finds out that Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie is about to hit theaters and immediately buys a ticket. However, when Bart one day forgets to watch Maggie, Homer bans Bart from ever seeing the movie. Bart tries everything to see the movie, but Homer refuses to budge and after the movie closes, Homer declares that one day Bart will thank him. In a flashforward forty years into the future, Homer and Bart, now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, decide to watch the movie together

4.7) MARGE GETS A JOB

The Simpsons’ house begins sinking into the ground. Marge decides to earn extra money to repair the foundation by working at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and Homer is dismayed about having to work alongside his wife. However, Mr. Burns falls deeply in love with her and begins to seduce her. However, Marge resists and Burns fires her after discovering she is married. Homer stands up for Marge and an impressed Mr. Burns treats them to a free Tom Jones concert. Meanwhile, Bart continually fakes sick to get out of taking a test.

4.8) NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

The Simpsons’ next door neighbors move and are replaced by a single mother, Ruth Powers and her daughter Laura. Laura becomes the object of Bart’s affection but Bart becomes heart broken after learning that her boyfriend is Jimbo Jones. Meanwhile, Homer wages war against the Sea Captain’s seafood restaurant The Frying Dutchman, for falsely advertising their “all-you-can-eat” buffet.Mr-Plow4.9) MR. PLOW

After demolishing both his and Marge’s family cars during a snowstorm, Homer buys a snowplow and starts a business plowing driveways. He calls his business “Mr. Plow” and becomes a huge success. Barney Gumble, inspired by Homer decides to start his own rival company and becomes Springfield’s new favorite snow plower. Homer tricks Barney into plowing the dangerous Widow’s Peak. Barney does so, but gets trapped in an avalanche and after seeing a news report about it, Homer rushes to save him and the two decide to work together, but God melts all of the snow.4.10) LISA’S FIRST WORD

While attempting to get Maggie to say her first word, Marge tells the story of Lisa’s first word. In 1983, Marge, Homer and Bart are living in the Lower East Springfield district and Marge announces that she is pregnant. She and Homer decide to move into a house to support their bigger family and move into their present day home. Lisa is born during the 1984 Summer Olympics and Bart immediately becomes jealous of her. He tries several things mean things to her, but only manages to get himself in trouble. Bart decides to run away, but Lisa says her first word: “Bart”. Bart discovers that Lisa loves him and embraces her as his sister. In the present day, Homer puts Maggie to bed, saying he wishes that she will never talk. Once he leaves, Maggie utters her first word: “daddy”.4.12) MARGE VS. THE MONORAIL

After Mr. Burns is caught storing his excess nuclear waste inside Springfield Park’s trees, he is ordered to pay the town $3 million. The town is originally set to agree to fix Main Street, but the charismatic Lyle Lanley interrupts and convinces the town to use the money to buy one of his monorails. The town embraces the suggestion and Homer is hired as the conductor, but the only person remaining not so pleased about the whole situation is Marge. She discovers suspicious evidence and visits a town that had previously purchased one of Lanley’s monorails. She discovers that Lanley is indeed a con man and rushes back to town. However, she arrives too late and the monorail has begun to operate, but Homer is convinced to use an anchor to stop the train, thus saving the passengers.4.13) SELMA’S CHOICE

Marge’s Great Aunt Gladys Bouvier dies and the Simpsons, Patty, and Selma attend her funeral. During the reading of her video will, Gladys tells Patty and Selma not to die lonely and miserable like she did. Though Patty does not care, Selma decides that she wants a baby. Meanwhile, Homer eats a spoiled hoagie, and becomes dreadfully ill. As a result, he can not fulfil his promise of taking Bart and Lisa to Duff Gardens and Selma agrees to take them instead. However, Selma struggles with parenting and decides she is happier taking care of her pet Iguana Jub Jub.Brother_from_the_Same_Planet_224.14) BROTHER FROM THE SAME PLANET

After leaving Bart alone at soccer practice, Homer’s inept parenting prompts Bart to get a “Bigger Brother” named Tom. Homer finds out about this and decides to get revenge by taking part in the “Bigger Brother” program and taking charge of a young boy names Pepi. Pepi and Homer begin to bond and Bart starts to regret taking advantage of the program. At an aquarium, Homer and Tom meet and begin to brawl and Homer is injured. Tom becomes Pepi’s new Bigger Brother and Bart bonds with Homer by asking him to share his knowledge of fighting. Meanwhile, Lisa becomes addicted to calling a 1-900 number featuring a pretty-boy celebrity named Corey.I_Love_Lisa_774.15) I LOVE LISA

On Valentine’s Day, everyone in Lisa’s class receives a card, except Ralph Wiggum. Out of pity, Lisa quickly writes one up and gives it to him, much to Ralph’s delight. Ralph begins to develop an interest in Lisa, but Lisa is not interested. However, she does not know how to get rid of him. Ralph invites her to go to Krusty’s 29th Anniversary Special and she reluctantly accepts. During a televised talk session with Krusty, Ralph declares that he loves her and Lisa explodes and declares that she never liked Ralph. Ralph becomes heartbroken. For the President’s Day play, Lisa is cast in a role as Martha Washington and to her horror, Ralph gets the role of George Washington. She becomes afraid that Ralph will embarrass her again, but Ralph gives a rousing performance. After the play, Lisa and Ralph decide to just be friends7670484.16) DUFFLESS

After taking the Duff Brewery tour, Homer is caught driving drunk and is arrested. His license is revoked and he must attend traffic school and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. After much reluctance, Homer agrees to Marge’s suggestion of giving up drinking beer for an entire month. He struggles to make it, but eventually does and decides to forgo a reward of a beer by taking Marge for a bicycle ride. Meanwhile, Bart demolishes Lisa’s science project of a steroid-pumped tomato, prompting Lisa to make a science project pitting Bart against a Hamster.4.17) LAST EXIT TO SPRINGFIELD

After learning that Mr. Burns’ decision to revoke their dental plan has coincided with Lisa needing braces, Homer convinces his coworkers not to give up their dental plan and becomes the new head of the workers union at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. He holds talks with Mr. Burns, but these go badly because Homer is not intelligent enough to understand Burns’ sly innuendos. The plant goes on strike and Mr. Burns decides to take away the electricity for the entire town. However, this just encourages the workers union and Burns decides to reach a deal with Homer.4.19) THE FRONT

After watching a terribly lackluster episode of The Itchy & Scratchy Show, Bart and Lisa decide to start writing their own episodes and sending it to the studio. Roger Meyers, the CEO, immediately rejects their script due to their age. They put Grampa’s name on the script and send it back, and Meyers loves it and hires Grampa. Bart and Lisa’s cartoons are hugely successful and are nominated for an award. At the ceremony, Grampa finally sees an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon for the first time and is horrified. Meanwhile, Homer and Marge revisit a High School reunion, which prompts Homer to admit that he never officially graduated because he failed a science class. At the reunion, Homer wins several awards but these are revoked, causing Homer to go to night school to make up the lost credits on the class he never passed — remedial science.untitled4.20) WHACKING DAY

Bart is expelled from Springfield Elementary School, so Marge decides to home school him. Springfield’s annual holiday arrives: Whacking Day, a day specifically designed to drive snakes into the town’s square and club them to death. When most Springfielders celebrate the local holiday, Lisa is appalled at the upcoming celebration, but her protests fall on deaf ears. Lisa and Bart manage to convince the town about the nightmare of Whacking Day and Principal Skinner decides to allow Bart to return to school.4.21) MARGE IN CHAINS

Springfield is hit with the dreaded Osaka Flu, causing many of the town to fall ill. Due to the exhaustion from having to look after the rest of her ill family, Marge accidentally forgets to pay for Grampa’s bottle of bourbon when shopping at the Kwik-E-Mart. Marge is soon arrested for shoplifting and is sentenced to 30 days at Springfield’s Woman Prison. Marge’s absence is felt everywhere and she is welcomed back with open arms when she is released.S04E22_104.22) KRUSTY GETS KANCELLED

A new show about a ventriloquist dummy named Gabbo becomes the hottest show in Springfield and Krusty’s show is cancelled due to low ratings. Krusty is at first crestfallen at the cancellation of his show, but Bart and Lisa manage to convince him to stage a comeback special and invite his celebrity friends to take part. The special is a huge success and Krusty’s show goes back on the air.
The season where everything is bang-on; the writing, the animation, the voices, it`s all sublime. Its another season from the golden age of the show. There are some really great episodes In this collection.

SEASON 5 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

9605.1) HOMER’S BARBERSHOP QUARTET

In a flashback, Homer recounts his time with a barbershop quartet called The Be Sharps that also featured Principal Skinner, Apu and Chief Wiggum who was later replaced with Barney. The group became music stars with their hit song “Baby on Board” and won a Grammy. Eventually, Homer started missing his family and the group began to lose its popularity, so it broke up.5.2) CAPE FEARE

Bart starts receiving threatening letters in the mail and it is soon revealed that they were sent to him by Sideshow Bob. Bob is released from prison, so Bart is placed in the Witness Relocation Program and the Simpson family is moved to Terror Lake. However, Bob follows the Simpsons there and sneaks onto the family’s houseboat and tries to kill Bart. Cornered, Bart asks Bob to sing the entire score of H.M.S. Pinafore as a last request. Bob does so, and during his performance the boat drifts through Springfield and Bob is caught.5.3) HOMER GOES TO COLLEGE

After failing a test at the nuclear plant, Homer’s lack of a college degree is revealed and he is sent back to pass a nuclear physics class. Homer, having seen too many bad National Lampoon’s Animal House knock-off movies, goofs off, so he is sent to a group of boys for tutoring. The boys, who are stereotypical nerds, try to help Homer, but he instead tries to help them party and decides to pull a prank on another college. They steal Springfield A&M’s mascot, but his friends are caught and expelled. Homer invites them to live with him, but his family soon become angered by their new housemates, so Homer decides to try to help them get back into college. Consequentially, he fails his final exam and is convinced by Marge to return to college for another year.5.4) ROSEBUD

After a disastrous birthday party, Mr. Burns pines for his long-lost childhood toy, a teddy bear named Bobo. The bear ends up in the hands of Maggie and when Homer discovers this, he tries to use the bear to get a large reward from Burns. When Burns agrees, Homer tries to hand the bear over, but is stopped by Maggie. Homer, seeing that Maggie has become attached to the bear, decides not to give it back to Mr. Burns, who promises that Homer will regret the decision. Mr. Burns later returns and talks to Maggie and she eventually gives it back to him.5.6) MARGE ON THE LAMB

Marge and neighbor Ruth Powers have a girls’ night. Meanwhile, Homer tries to have fun without Marge and Lionel Hutz is hired as Bart, Lisa, and Maggie’s babysitter. Homer hitches a ride home with Chief Wiggum, who is following behind Marge and Ruth and decides to pull them over. However, Ruth speeds her car up and reveals to Marge that she stole it from her ex-husband. Marge decides to stay with Ruth, but eventually the police catch up with them and the charges are dismissed.5.8) BOY-SCOUTZ ‘N THE HOOD

Bart and Milhouse find $20.00 on the street and buy a Squishee made entirely of syrup. After a night of bingeing and carousing, Bart wakes up to discover that he has joined a Boy Scouts-esque troupe called “The Junior Campers”. Bart initially hates the group, then enjoys it, until Homer agrees to participate in their river-rafting trip. In a boat with Ned and Rod Flanders, Homer loses their map and the boat gets lost in the ocean. After being stuck out at sea for several days, they discover an oil rig with a Krusty Burger and are saved. At the end of the episode the rest of the campers including Ernest are attacked by an unknown monster at an abandoned campsite.5.9) THE LAST TEMPTATION OF HOMER

Mr. Burns hires a female worker named Mindy Simmons in accordance with government policy and Homer is worried that his crush on her will ruin his marriage with Marge. Both Mindy and Homer have feelings for each other, but in the end Homer decides not to cheat on Marge. Meanwhile, Bart becomes a nerd after doctors find several things physically wrong with him and apply treatments that make him look like a nerd.Simpsons_05_105.10) $PRINGFIELD (OR, HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE LEGALIZED GAMBLING)

After the local economy stalls, everyone in town votes for gambling to be legalized, prompting Mr. Burns to open a casino. Homer becomes a blackjack dealer, and Marge becomes so addicted to gambling that she forgets about her family life. Meanwhile, Bart opens up his own casino after being kicked out of Mr. Burns’s and Lisa struggles to have her costume done for a school pageant. Homer agrees to help her, but does a terrible job, so he decides to go to the casino to get Marge back.5.11) HOMER THE VIGILANTE

A crime wave hits Springfield, caused by the elusive cat burglar and Lisa’s saxophone is stolen, so Homer agrees to try to get it back. The police are ineffective, so Flanders creates a neighborhood watch group, which Homer takes charge of. However, Homer’s incompetence causes the vigilante group to commit more crimes than it prevents, and they are unsuccessful in catching the cat burglar. With the help of Grampa, Homer discovers that the burglar is a charming senior named Malloy. Malloy is arrested, but he tricks the citizens of Springfield into thinking he has hidden millions of dollars and escapes during the ensuing rush to find the money.untitled5.12) BART GETS FAMOUS

After sneaking away from a school trip to a box factory, Bart sneaks onto the set of the Krusty the Clown show. He gets a job as Krusty’s production assistant and soon becomes sick of the job. One day, he is close to quitting, but Krusty runs up and says he needs to use Bart in a sketch. Bart becomes an accidental star when he says, “I didn’t do it” during the botched sketch. He becomes famous but soon becomes tired of being known for one line. Marge convinces him that the main thing is to make people happy, so Bart decides to continue, but the audience soon becomes tired of Bart’s act and forget about him.5.13) HOMER AND APU

After twice getting food poisoning from expired food sold at the Kwik-E-Mart, Homer teams up with Kent Brockman to report Apu. Apu is fired from his job and comes to stay with the Simpsons, and he is replaced by actor James Woods. Homer resolves to help Apu get his old job back, and the two travel to India to talk to the owner of the Kwik-E-Mart, but are unsuccessful. Apu decides to visit his old Kwik-E-Mart and saves James Woods’ life. Woods is so grateful that he helps Apu get re-hired.Simpsons_05_105.14) LISA VS. MALUB STACY

Lisa protests against the phrases on her new Talking Malibu Stacy doll, which she finds demeaning to women. She tracks down the reclusive creator Stacy to make a more politically correct doll. Meanwhile, Grampa is worried that he is getting old, so he takes a job at Krusty Burger. Lisa and Stacy create “Lisa Lionheart” which gets a lot of positive buzz, but is a flop when the Malibu Stacy executives release a new doll that comes with a hat.5.15) DEEP SPACE HOMER

NASA decides that they need to hire average joes in order to get higher television ratings. They recruit Homer and Barney to train to be the first average American in space. Homer, who wants to be respected, is the winner by default, and goes into space with Buzz Aldrin. While there, he causes a lot of havoc and eventually breaks the handle on the space shuttle’s hatch. Homer inadvertently seals the door shut with an inanimate carbon rod, and the shuttle returns to Earth. The rod is hailed as a hero, but Homer gains the respect of Aldrin and his family.5.16) HOMER LOVES FLANDERS

Homer begins to like Flanders after being invited to a football game. However, Homer’s constant presence around Flanders and his family causes Ned to feel hate for Homer. One day while trying to drive away from Homer, Flanders is arrested and charged with drunk driving. Flanders begins to lose the respect of the church congregation until Homer sticks up for him. Flanders thanks Homer and the two remain friends.5.18) BURNS’ HEIR

Mr. Burns has a near-death experience which prompts him to find an heir to inherit his wealth after he dies. Bart is rejected, but Burns soon decides to choose him after seeing that Bart is “a creature of pure malevolence”. Marge convinces Bart to go spend some time with Burns, and soon becomes more disruptive than normal to his own family and decides to go live with Mr. Burns. Bart eventually starts to miss his family, but Burns manipulates him into staying. Burns tries to have Bart prove his loyalty by firing Homer, but Bart instead decides to go back to living with his family.5.19) SWEET SEYMOUR SKINNER’S BAADASSSSS SONG

Bart accidentally gets Principal Skinner fired after he brings Santa’s Little Helper to school for show and tell. Bart feels guilty for what he did, and befriends Skinner. Meanwhile, Ned Flanders is hired as principal and the school goes to pot. Bart decides that while he enjoys having Skinner as a friend, he needs him as an enemy, but discovers that he returned to the Army to be a sergeant. Bart convinces Skinner to return and they get Flanders fired so that Skinner can get his old job back.5.20) THE BOY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH

Bart plays hooky from school and ends up at the birthday party of Freddy Quimby, the Mayor’s nephew, where Freddy is accused of assaulting a waiter. Bart knows the truth, but would have to admit that he was playing hooky if he testifies. Meanwhile, Homer is chosen for jury duty in the assault case against Freddy Quimby and takes advantage of being sequestered in a hotel.5.21) LADY BOUVIER’S LOVER

While attending Maggie’s first birthday party, Grampa falls for Marge’s mother Jackie. Grampa and Jackie start dating, but he is soon pushed aside in favor of Mr. Burns. Burns and Jackie are soon engaged to be married, much to the chagrin of Marge and Smithers. Grampa crashes the wedding and tries to get Jackie back, but she decides that she does not want to be married. Meanwhile, Bart steals Homer’s credit card to buy a piece of Itchy and Scratchy memorabilia that turns out to be a rip-off.5.22) SECRETS OF A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE

Tired of being called “slow,” Homer signs up to teach a class on keeping a successful marriage at a learning annex. He is an unsuccessful teacher and finds that the only way he can keep the class interested is to tell racy secrets about Marge and their bedroom antics. Marge soon gets fed up with Homer telling their secrets and kicks him out. Homer starts living in Bart’s treehouse and becomes so lost without Marge that he begs her to take him back, and she eventually agrees.

Another series of everyone’s favourite family, another collection of cracking episodes, and with 25 episodes to choose from, including some of the very best ever, you’re a little spoiled for choice. First aired back in the mid-nineties, the show had really hit its stride following a massively successful fifth series and this series marks a particularly popular period in the show’s history, with celebrity interest bringing a gamut of guest appearances. So, we see Winona Rider in ‘Lisa’s Rival’, Kelsey Grammar in ‘Sideshow Bob Roberts’ Meryl Streep in ‘Bart’s Girlfriend’ and Mel Brooks and Susan Sarandan in ‘Homer vs. Patty and Selma’. But perhaps the most notable, certainly the most amusing, guest vocal is offered by Patrick Stewart in the funny ‘Homer The Great’, which also features one of the funniest Simpsons’ songs ever–‘The Stonecutters Song’. This is The Simpsons on top form.

SEASON 6 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

Simpsons_05_106.1) BART OF DARKNESS

A heat wave is gripping Springfield and the townspeople attempt to cool down. Bart and Lisa persuade Homer to buy them a swimming pool, which proves popular with the town’s other children. Bart ends up breaking his leg when he dives off his treehouse and is forced to spend the rest of the summer in his room. Realizing that he has become isolated, Lisa gives Bart her telescope to cheer him up. Using it, he witnesses Ned Flanders digging a grave and through his ramblings, becomes convinced that Ned has killed his wife Maude. He sends Lisa over to the Flanders’ house to look for proof of the “crime”, only for Ned to return, holding an axe. However, he is merely putting it away; and it is revealed that Maude is still alive and well, and all that Ned killed was her favorite plant.6.2) LISA’S RIVAL

A new student named Allison Taylor arrives at Springfield Elementary School and proves to be more than a match for Lisa in both educational and musical feats. After Allison wins first chair saxophone in the school orchestra ahead of her, Lisa vows to defeat Allison at something: by winning the school diorama contest. Meanwhile, Homer steals 500 pounds of sugar from an overturned truck and decides to sell it to the town. However, despite his best efforts to guard his sugar mound, a rainstorm dissolves it. At the contest, Bart switches Allison’s diorama of The Tell-Tale Heart with a cow’s heart to help Lisa win. Lisa’s guilt at the plan forces her to give Allison’s real model back. The pair set aside their differences and become friends. Principal Skinner decides that neither Allison nor Lisa’s entry deserves to win, awarding victory to Ralph Wiggum.Simpsons_05_106.4) ITCHY & SCRATCHY LAND

Bart and Lisa convince their parents to take their family vacation at the newly opened Itchy & Scratchy Land. After experiencing several of the violent attractions, Homer and Marge go to “Parents Island”, while Bart and Lisa continue to explore the park. The vacation seems to be going well, until Bart and Homer are both apprehended by the park security for assaulting a staff member dressed in an Itchy suit. Professor Frink realizes that all of the park’s Itchy & Scratchy robots will turn on their masters; an event which proves true as a horde of Itchy and Scratchy robots advance on the Simpsons. Homer throws everything he can at them, before discovering that a camera’s flash destroys the robots. The family take more cameras from a gift shop and defeat the Itchy & Scratchy army. Roger Meyers, Jr. thanks them, and the Simpsons agree that it was actually their best vacation ever6.5) SIDESHOW BOB ROBERTS

After pleading his case on air to right-wing talk show host Birch Barlow, Sideshow Bob is released from prison. Soon, Bob is announced as the Republican candidate for mayor of Springfield. Bart and Lisa help campaign for Mayor Quimby but despite their efforts, Bob wins the election with a landslide majority. Within days, the Simpsons awake to find that their house will soon be demolished to make way for the planned Matlock Expressway. Bart and Lisa begin to suspect that Bob somehow rigged the election. While searching through the voter records, Lisa is left a message by someone who claims to know what actually happened. The whistleblower turns out to be Waylon Smithers, who dislikes some of Bob’s policies. He gives Bart and Lisa the name of a man who voted for Bob, but had really been long dead. The pair discover that virtually every single person who supposedly voted for Bob is actually dead. At the trial, Bart and Lisa trick Bob into confessing his crime, and he is put back in prison.Bart's_Girlfriend_1146.7) BART’S GIRLFRIEND

Bart becomes attracted to Reverend Lovejoy’s daughter Jessica, but finds his attempts to impress her repeatedly ignored. After pulling a prank on Groundskeeper Willie, and offending Jessica’s parents at dinner, she becomes interested in him. As they begin a relationship, Bart believes that Jessica is a bad influence on him and decides against seeing her anymore. However, at church Bart has to sit next to Jessica, who steals the money from the church collection plate and frames him for the crime. Next week, Lisa tells the congregation that Jessica was the real perpetrator, and suggests they search Jessica’s room. The money is found hidden under Jessica’s bed, and she admits to the crime.

6.8) LISA ON ICE

Lisa discovers that she is failing gym class. In order to pass, she joins a local ice hockey team as their goalie. This creates an intense sibling rivalry between her and Bart, who is jealous of Lisa’s abilities because he had always been the family’s star hockey player. Marge tries to resolve their conflicts by reminding them that they are not in competition with each other, but this backfires as the next fixture is between Bart and Lisa’s teams. During the match, Bart prepares to take a penalty against Lisa, but remembering past events in which they helped each other, the pair throw aside their equipment and embrace, tying the game.6.9) HOMER BADMAN

Homer and Marge attend a candy convention, where Homer successfully steals a gummy Venus de Milo. Later, after Homer takes the children’s babysitter Ashley Grant home, he notices that the gummy Venus has become stuck to her pants and grabs it, an action that Ashley misinterprets as a sexual advance. A mob of protesters soon appear at the Simpsons’ house, claiming that Homer sexually harassed Ashley. All of Homer’s attempts to prove himself innocent go wrong, until he tells his side of the story on a Public-access television. Groundskeeper Willie sees Homer’s speech and gives him a secretly recorded video tape that shows Homer was innocent after all.6.10) GRAMPA VS. SEXUAL INADEQUACY

Homer and Marge’s marriage is beginning to sour due to their fading sex lives. Grampa concocts a tonic that successfully cures their problems. The effectiveness of the tonic results in he and Homer going into business together, selling “Simpson and Son’s Tonic” to the public. When they visit the farmhouse where Homer grew up, the two get into an argument, resulting in Grampa calling Homer an “accident”. Homer refuses to speak to Grampa ever again, and vows to be a better father to his own children. Later, he goes back to the farmhouse, coincidentally at the same time as Grampa. Both of them accidentally set fire to the building, and reconcile.14621132751636.11) FEAR OF FLYING

After being banned from Moe’s for life, Homer goes to a pilots’ bar. There, he is mistaken as a real pilot and destroys a plane. As payment for the mistake, the Simpsons are given free tickets to anywhere in America. Marge becomes uneasy on the plane and admits that she has a fear of flying, putting the vacation on hold. Marge undergoes treatment with therapist Dr. Zweig, who uncovers the roots of Marge’s fear. The problem she has is that her father was a male flight attendant. Zweig assures her that male flight attendants are now very common, and Marge is ostensibly cured.6.12) HOMER THE GREAT

Homer discovers that Lenny and Carl are members of the ancient secret society known as the Stonecutters. Gaining membership through Grampa, Homer takes great pleasure in the society’s many privileges and events. Unfortunately, during a celebratory dinner he unwittingly destroys the Stonecutter’s “Sacred Parchment”. Homer is stripped of his membership, until it is discovered that he is “The Chosen One” who will lead the Stonecutters to glory. Homer’s reign eventually angers his fellow members, who break off and form a new society known as “The Ancient Mystic Society of No Homers”, banning Homer from joining.6.13) AND MAGGIE MAKES THREE

Homer regales the long story of Maggie’s birth. Back in 1993, Homer dreams of working at the bowling alley, even though it pays less than his job at the Power Plant. Homer works out a way that means the family will have enough to live on, as long as everything stays exactly the way it is. However, Marge becomes pregnant once again, but tries to keep the news from Homer. He eventually finds out and, because of the impending financial problems, is forced to go back to the Power Plant. As much as he dreads the idea of having another child, when Maggie is born Homer immediately falls in love with her.6.14) BART’S COMET

During detention, Bart accidentally discovers a comet. It is then discovered that the comet is heading straight for Springfield, and a rocket is launched to destroy it. However, it misses and blows up the only bridge out of town, dooming everyone in Springfield. The Simpsons and the Flanders share the bomb shelter that Ned had built, to hopefully protect themselves from the comet. Soon, everyone in town joins them in the shelter, but the door cannot be closed unless somebody leaves. Homer decides that the only useless person there is Ned, and forces him to go. Homer then feels guilty about his decision and leaves, with the rest of the town following him. However the danger is averted when the comet enters the atmosphere and burns up in the thick layer of pollution.maxresdefault6.16) BART VS AUSTRALIA

In order to prove Lisa wrong about the coriolis effect, Bart calls several locations in the southern hemisphere. He collect calls Australia, but the call lasts six hours and costs $900.00. After the call’s recipient complains, Australia indicts Bart for fraud. The United States State Department negotiates a settlement, with Bart having to publicly apologize in Australia. There, after Bart apologizes, the parliament wishes to give him the additional punishment of a booting. Bart and Homer flee, but Bart later agrees to accept the booting anyway. Before he can be punished, he moons the Australians and the family leave in a helicopter.6.17) HOMER VS PATTY AND SELMA

After a bad investment, Homer is forced to borrow money from Patty and Selma. In return the pair make Homer’s life miserable. After Marge finds out, Homer decides to become a chauffeur, but is pulled over when he does not have a chauffeur’s license. When he goes to apply for one, Patty and Selma (the DMV examiners) mercilessly fail him on all counts. The pair begin to smoke, but are told by their supervisor such an action could cost them their promotions. Homer acts quickly and claims the cigarettes are his own, saving Patty and Selma, in exchange for clearing his debt to them. Meanwhile, Bart is forced to take ballet but finds that he enjoys it.6.19) LISA’S WEDDING

At a renaissance fair, a fortune teller predicts the story of Lisa’s first true love. She explains that Lisa will fall madly in love with British student Hugh Parkfield. The pair’s relationship grows, with Hugh eventually proposing to Lisa. The wedding will take place in Springfield, but Lisa becomes embarrassed with her family’s behavior, particularly Homer’s. Hugh begins to bond with them, until Homer presents him with a pair of tacky cuff links, which he grudgingly agrees to wear at the wedding. He does not actually wear them, and when questioned by Lisa he states that after the wedding they will return to England and avoid all but minimal contact with her family. Disgusted, she calls off the wedding.6.23) THE SPRINGFIELD CONNECTION

After he cons Homer, Marge chases down Snake, and gets him arrested. Finding the experience exhilarating, Marge enrolls in the police force. After passing the training course, Marge begins fighting crime. Initially Homer finds that being a “cop-husband” is good, but changes his mind when Marge arrests him for illegal parking and stealing her police hat. After he is released, Homer finds a jean-counterfeiting operation in his garage, led by Herman. As the group prepares to kill Homer, Marge saves him. Herman escapes and takes Homer hostage in Bart’s treehouse. Marge rescues him again, and Herman falls to the ground and is apprehended. After finding that the rest of the force is corrupt, Marge resigns.2.25) WHO SHOT MR. BURNS? – PART ONE

Springfield Elementary School strikes oil, and plans to spend elaborately. Mr. Burns finds out about the oil and establishes a slant drilling operation to take it for himself. As a result Moe’s Tavern is closed, the Springfield Retirement Home collapses, Bart’s treehouse is destroyed and Santa’s Little Helper is injured, and the school loses all of its money. Burns next decides to build a machine capable of blocking out the sun over Springfield. He fires a recalcitrant Smithers, and Homer vows revenge after Burns repeatedly fails to remember his name. After an emergency town meeting, Burns sets up the sun blocker, believing himself invincible. However, he is shot by an unidentified assailant, and collapses on the town’s sundial Everyone realizes that since Burns angered several people recently, just anyone could have been the assailant.

 

 

REVIEW: THE GOOD PLACE – SEASON 3

Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Manny Jacinto, Jameela Jamil, and D'Arcy Carden in The Good Place (2016)

Starring

Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
William Jackson Harper (All Good Things)
Jameela Jamil (Ducktales)
D’Arcy Carden (Barry)
Manny Jacinto (Top Gun: Maverick)
Ted Danson (The Orville)

Kristen Bell and William Jackson Harper in The Good Place (2016)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids)
Adam Scott (Krampus)
Mike O’Malley (My Name Is Earl)
Marc Evan Jackson (Kong: Skull Island)
Eugene Cordero (The Mule)
Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Barry)
Ben Lawson (No Strings Attached)
Ben Geurens (Reign)
Leslie Grossman (Popular)
Anna Khaja (Quantico)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Managment)
Tiya Sircar (The Internship)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Jama Williamson (School of Rock)
Stephen Merchant (Logan)
Jason Mantzoukas (The Dictator)
Maribeth Monroe (Downsizing)

Adam Scott and Kristen Bell in The Good Place (2016)After their down right incredible second season I was more than a little curious about how this season would turn out. The real joy of The Good Place is how every season is drastically different in content while still staying true to the shows sense of humor, core characters and themes of moral philosophy.Ted Danson and D'Arcy Carden in The Good Place (2016)Season 3 opts to explore the usual ideas of morality while on Earth, giving more great moments of the core group of humans interacting and learning together without so much of the original gimmick.Kristen Bell and Jameela Jamil in The Good Place (2016)The biggest positive of this show is how well written the interactions between the main cast are managing to be very funny while offering actual incite into the underlying philosophy of the show. By taking the characters out of the crazy afterlife setting for a large part of the season forces the writers to focus on this element and allows the actors to show of their comedic sensibilities. However I would be lying if I said that the later half of the season, where more of the absurd elements the show rose to prominence for came back into play more, wasn’t the more interesting part. I have to give props to the writers for trying something different though and I can’t wait to see where they take this concept next.Ted Danson and Kristen Bell in The Good Place (2016)This season is where the cast got to show off more. The character of Jason became far more realised, fleshed out and funny when he had more mundane concepts to deal with. Kristen Bell and William Jackson Harper got to flex their dramatic mussels for larger sections and D’arcy Carden absolutely crushes it in every episode, especially in episode 9 “Janet(s)”.Ted Danson and Kristen Bell in The Good Place (2016)With it’s emphasis on name-drooping actual philosophers and general upbeat and absurd tone, The Good Place continues to separate itself for most of it’s competition.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: TED

CAST

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Mark Wahlberg (The Other Guys)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Joel McHale (Spider-Man 2)
Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar)
Aedin Mincks (New Girl)
Patrick Warburton (Get Smart)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Matt Walsh (Semi-Pro)
Jessica Barth (Next)
Bill Smitrovich (The Phantom)
Alex Borstein (Family Guy)
Ralph Garman (Yoga Hosers)
Jessica Stroup (Prom Night)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
Ryan Reynolds (Buried)
Norah Jones (My Blueberry Nights)
Tom Skerritt (Alien)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Robert Wu (Hot Tub Time Machine)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Melissa Ordway (17 Again)
Tara Strong (Sabrina GOes To Rome)

In 1985, 8-year-old John Bennett is a lonely child living in Norwood, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, who wished for his new Christmas gift—a jumbo teddy bear named Ted—to come to life and become his friend. The wish coincides with a shooting star and comes true; word spread and Ted was briefly a celebrity.27 years later, John (now 35) and Ted are still living in Boston, and are still staunch companions enjoying a hedonistic life. John is dating Lori Collins, who is from Philadelphia. As their anniversary approaches, Lori hopes to marry John but feels he could not move forward with Ted around. John is hesitant about making Ted leave, but he is persuaded to act when they find Ted at home with four prostitutes.John finds Ted his own apartment and a job at a grocery store, where Ted begins dating his coworker Tami-Lynn. Lori learns that John has been skipping work—using her as an excuse—to continue to spend most of his time with Ted. John and Lori are invited to a party put on by Lori’s womanizing manager Rex, but Ted lures John away to a party at his apartment with the offer to meet Sam J. Jones, the star of their favorite film, Flash Gordon. John intends to stay only a few minutes but gets caught up in the occasion. Lori finds John there and breaks up with him. John blames Ted for ruining his life and tells him to stay away.John and Ted confront each other about their ruined friendship and they fight but manage to reconcile. To repair John’s relationship with Lori, Ted arranges for an old lover, singer Norah Jones, to help by having John express his love for Lori with a song during her concert. He does an off-key rendition of All Time High by Rita Coolidge and is booed offstage. Lori is touched by the attempt and returns to her apartment where Ted confesses about his role in John’s relapse and offers to leave them alone forever if she talks to John.Lori is persuaded, but Ted is kidnapped by Donny, an obsessive stalker who idolized Ted as a child. Donny plans to make Ted his brutish son Robert’s toy. Ted manages to reach a phone to contact John but is immediately recaptured. Realizing Ted is in danger, John and Lori locate Donny’s residence and track him to rescue Ted. The chase leads to Fenway Park, where John punches Robert, but during the chase, Ted is damaged and falls onto the field ripped entirely in half. A police car arrives, forcing Donny to flee. John and Lori gather Ted’s stuffing and Ted relays his wish that John be happy with Lori before dying from his injuries.Unable to accept Ted’s death, a distraught John and Lori attempt to repair Ted, which proves useless. Feeling guilty about the incident, Lori makes a wish on a shooting star. The next morning, John hangs his head while looking over Ted’s dead body. Fortunately, Ted is magically restored and reconciles with John and Lori, encouraging them to resume their relationship. John and Lori are married (with Sam Jones as the presiding minister), and Ted comfortably accepts having a life of his own as he and Tami-Lynn continued their love affair. Sam Jones attempts to restart his career and moves into a studio apartment with Brandon Routh. Rex gives up his pursuit of Lori, goes into a deep depression, and dies of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Donny gets arrested by the Boston Police Department for kidnapping a plush toy, but charges are dropped. Robert hires a personal trainer, loses a significant amount of weight, and goes on to become Taylor Lautner.Comedies are hit and miss, or run out of steam towards the end. Ted, however, is not one of these and this is why it is probably one of the best and most original comedies I have ever seen. Perhaps the plot is fairly standard, but with the creator of Family Guy at the helm, things don’t always go the way you expect.

REVIEW: THE GOOD PLACE – SEASON 1


MAIN CAST

Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
William Jackson Harper (Paterson)
Jameela Jamil (T4 on The Beach)
D’Arcy Carden (Other People)
Manny Jacinto (The Romeo Selection)
Ted Danson (Cheers)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Adam Scott (Krampus)
Tiya Sircar (The Vampire Diaries)
Marc Evan Jackson (22 Jump Street)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Leslie Grossman (Nip/Tuck)
Seth Morris (Veep)
Anna Khaja (Yes Man)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Rebecca Hazlewood (Equals)
Dominic Burgess (Santa Clarita Diet)
Keston John (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power)
Maribeth Monroe (Bob Hearts Abishola)

Michael Schur is not the first writer to create a comedy about the afterlife. Dante Alighieri, for one, beat him by about 700 years. But Dante’s “The Divine Comedy” had the advantage of drawing on theology widely accepted by his audience and not having to deal with network notes. (“Beatrice: Relatable enough?”) So in “The Good Place,” an ingenious metaphysical sitcom, Mr. Schur (the co-creator of “Parks and Recreation” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) has a couple of challenges. First, how to invent a Great Beyond that amuses viewers of many faiths (or none). Second, how to introduce conflict — the engine of narrative and laughs — into a perfect world.

The second first: It turns out this heaven has a few bugs in it. The biggest is Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), a self-centered heel who awakens after a fatal accident in what looks like a college admissions office. She’s greeted by Michael (Ted Danson), the bow-tied “architect” who designed the bespoke subdivision in which she will spend eternity.

The Good Place, as Michael calls this higher plane, is like heaven if it were run by Whole Foods. It’s a pristine, nonsectarian afterlife where arrivals are greeted by a sign reassuring them, “Everything is fine!” in the cheerful green letters of an organic cereal box.There’s no mention of any supreme beings, though, Michael says, “Every religion guessed about 5 percent” right. The residents are mostly young and attractive, by the demographic standards of the dead, and there is a ton of frozen yogurt.

Entrance into this hyperselective moral Harvard is determined by a complex algorithm in which one’s every act on earth is added or subtracted from a point score. Plus: “Plant baobab tree in Madagascar,” “Hug sad friend.” Minus: “Disturb coral reef with flipper,” “Tell a woman to ‘smile.’” Only a few souls make the cut. Everyone else goes to the Bad Place, including Christopher Columbus, every dead president except Lincoln and every deceased member of the Portland Trail Blazers. Mr. Schur, like Dante, realizes the most fun part of creating hell is getting to put people in it.

So how in the Bad Place did Eleanor get here? Mistaken identity: The management believes she’s a do-gooder who spent her life helping the unfortunate. But after she gets the grand tour and is assigned an eternal soul mate — Chidi (William Jackson Harper), an earnest philosophy professor from Senegal — she decides to fake it. This throws off the community’s cosmic balance, with disastrous and surreally C.G.I.-enhanced results.Like many high-concept sitcom pilots, “The Good Place,”  at first seems more like a movie idea  But the series  holds up.

The series expands its world and delves into back stories like a sitcom variation on “Lost.” (It begins, like that drama, with a tight shot of the protagonist’s eyes opening.) Supporting actors include Jameela Jamil as an upper-crust British humanitarian and D’Arcy Carden as Janet, sort of a Siri in human form. There’s more in this undiscovered country than first appears, and each episode ends on a twist or revelation that sparks the next. The performances help ground this cloud-nine soufflé. Ms. Bell, who could turn a nimble line in “Veronica Mars,” makes a natural sitcom lead, and Mr. Danson makes a fine, fastidious bureaucrat. But the show’s big find is Mr. Harper, whose line readings make Chidi’s moral nausea palpable as he tries to teach Eleanor to be a good person, or at least fake it. More important, Mr. Schur seems to have found a deeper idea behind the show’s premise: Is acting good the same as being good? Through Chidi’s tutorials, he even manages to work in a tidy primer of ethical philosophy (John Stuart Mill alert!).

And it’s hard not to be won over when Eleanor challenges the very idea of a snooty, meritocratic paradise that excludes 99.99 percent (give or take) of imperfect humanity. “I was a medium person!” she tells Chidi. “I should get to spend eternity in a medium place, like Cincinnati!” She may not belong in heaven, but it’s fun to watch her give it hell.

REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – VOLUME 11

Image result for american dad logo

MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Wendy Schaal (Small Soldiers)
Scott Grimes (Robin Hood)
Rachael MacFarlane (The Batman)
Dee Bradley Baker (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
Jane Krakowski (Alfie)
Daisuke Suzuki (I Am Gangster)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Paul Reubens (Batman Returns)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Kim Kardashian West (2 broke Girls)
Constance Marie (Puss In Boots)
Corey Stoll (Ant-Man)
Cristian Solimeno (Highlander: The Source)
Kat Purgal (Her Story)
Cedric Yarbrough (The Boss)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
DJ Qualls (Road Trip)
Stephen Fry (Bones)
Lorenzo Lamas (CIA)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Kerri Kenney (Anger Management)
Andrea Martin (Wag the Dog)
Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Peter MacNicol (Agents of SHIELD)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Agent Carter)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
June Diane Raphael (New Girl)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager)
Carl Reiner (Two and a Half Men)
Mickey Rooney (Night at The Museum)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Robert Wuhl (Batman)
Ted Danson (Cheers)
Jaeden Martell (IT)
Sinbad (Jingle All The Way)

American Dad! returns for an iconic series’ 11th volume. The series centers on super-patriotic CIA agent Stan Smith and the misadventures of his unconventional family in Langley Falls, Virginia. Stan’s blissfully unaware wife Francine has an unfaltering loyalty that allows her to turn a blind eye toward Stan’s unabashed arrogance. Meanwhile, Stan constantly butts heads with his 18-year-old, left-wing activist daughter Hayley who knows just how to push her father’s buttons, whether it’s by helping the homeless, demanding women’s rights or advocating gun control. Hayley’s 14-year-old brother is the geeky-yet-confident Steve, is a kid who spends his time playing video games and obsessing about the opposite sex. The Smith cabinet is rounded out by two rather unconventional members: Roger, the sassy, sarcastic and routinely inappropriate space alien who is constantly trying on new disguises and, with them, new personalities, and Klaus, the attention-starved goldfish with the brain of a German Olympic skier who always throws in his two cents, regardless of whether anyone is listening.The Highlights on this Volume are.ROGER PASSES THE BAR: Roger is forced to sell his beloved attic bar to a restaurant chain after suffering a heart attack, and a new next-door neighbor (Jane Krakowski), who was recently registered as a sex offender, promises to take Steve and his friends’ virginity in return for housework.A BOY NAMED MICHAEL: Roger moves in with Greg and Terry as their adopted Russian son “Michael” after growing tired of the Smiths not being sophisticated. Meanwhile, Stan orders a La-Z-Boy and slowly becomes white trash to annoy Roger while he’s living with the Corbin/Bates.

BLAGSNARST: A LOVE STORY: A furry pink female alien (Kim Kardashian) is discovered in the woods by Francine and Roger, who begins a relationship with her, but quickly tires of her many quirks and eccentricities after having a one-night stand. Roger makes several attempts to get rid of her, including calling the CIA, but then realizes that he can’t go through with it.Image result for AMERICAN DAD BLONDE AMBITIONBLONDE AMBITION: Hayley decides to become a blonde when her efforts to save the planet get no attention. Meanwhile, Stan and Steve go on a journey to search for a new Smith home.BIG STAN ON CAMPUS: When the CIA is forced to make cutbacks, Stan inadvertently volunteers to go on furlough and gets a job as a security officer at a local college. Meanwhile, Roger opens a bed and breakfast to boost the family’s income and must give in to the demands of an eccentric guest.Image result for AMERICAN DAD NOW AND GWENNOW AND GWEN: Hayley suspects that Gwen, Francine’s sister, is up to no good when she comes to town. Meanwhile, Roger tries to find out the location of a treasure from a guy in a coma, Stan teaches Steve the art of man-hugging, and Klaus shadows Roger’s dramatic comments.Image result for american dad dreaming of a white porsche christmasDREAMING OF A WHITE PORSCHE CHRISTMAS: In a parody of It’s a Wonderful Life, Stan wishes to have Principal Lewis’ swinging bachelor life, however, he soon regrets the wish when he finds out that Francine is married to Principal Lewis in an alternate reality.Image result for american dad lgbsteveLGBSTEVE: Steve has a gender identity crisis when Hayley convinces him to join an all-girls roller derby team with her. Meanwhile, Stan and Francine hire a magical repairman to fix the backyard, but everything he does makes them angry.MY AFFAIR LADY: Hayley considers having an affair with a married man when she gets a new job from the help of Roger, her new life coach. Meanwhile, Stan tags along with Steve and Francine to a mother-son dance.Image result for american dad a star is rebornA STAR IS REBORN: Stan and Francine win a trip to Los Angeles, however, upon arriving, an old starlet believes Stan is the reincarnation of her deceased husband. Meanwhile, Roger kennel-trains Steve and Hayley by trapping them in crates, after they disrespect Roger’s enjoyment of Bones.Image result for american dad Manhattan Magical Murder Mystery TourMANHATTAN MAGICAL MURDER MYSTERY TOUR: The Smiths head to the Big Apple when Francine is nominated for an award for her housewife novella. Meanwhile, Stan and Hayley hang out with actor Robert Wuhl and Roger and Steve re-create their fictional partnership, Wheels and the Legman.Image result for american dad holy s... jeff's backHOLY SHIT, JEFF’S BACK: Jeff makes his return from space after being abducted, but Hayley and Roger suspect that Jeff isn’t who he seems to be. Meanwhile, Steve looks after Snot’s hamster.Image result for american dad american fungAMERICAN FUNG: Stan has Francine committed to a mental hospital so he can hide the fact that he once again forgot their wedding anniversary. Meanwhile, American Dad! is sold to a Chinese billionaire.Image result for american dad seizures suit stannySEIZURES SUIT STANNY: When Stan warns Hayley about the dangers of texting, he soon learns of the enjoyment of texting, but when he gets into a car crash because of it, he fakes a seizure. Meanwhile, Roger helps Steve with his anxiety of performance.Image result for american dad seizures suit stannyThis has to be one of the best adult cartoons ever created. It’s hard for me to compare them with South Park. I think that in many aspects, American Dad is way better than South Park. Probably because it addresses to a much larger public, while South Park contains jokes that sometime require some background knowledge, before you can fully understand them. Even for non-Americans, this series are equally funny and enjoying. Great job! I recommend this to anyone who enjoys some good humor.