5. Shameless – Admittedly for awhile I was considering dropping it out of the top 10, if not off the list entirely. However, cooler heads have prevailed and I realized that I admire the parallelism of storylines this season, even if I’m not totally digging the details of each one.
The Gallagher clan is all trying to escape from situations they’ve been trapped in for a long time and then reinvent themselves into something they strive to become. Fiona is trying to find a semblance of normalcy and has a great opportunity to do so with her corporate job, but is struggling to shed the “South Side” girl mentality and her thirst for danger. Lip is also trying to shed his delinquent ways, but is having trouble dealing with his new environment where all his old tricks do not work. Kudos to Kevin for challenging his manhood and inspiring him to work harder in order to find the loopholes in the college system.
Kevin is also trying to reinvent himself from simple bartender to successful bar owner in order to take care of his future children. I’m liking the idea of Mickey setting up a brothel at The Alibi Room from a story perspective, but as a fan of Kevin I do not see this ending well for him. While the other Gallaghers are fighting sociological and psychological battles, Debbie is struggling with a biological one. She is trying to act well beyond her years and desperately wants her body to mature in order to be considered a woman. Even Ian is fighting a battle to reinvent himself, albeit entirely off screen, by trying to become a soldier before reaching the proper age. Right now he is having the most success, but I have a feeling that is going to change very soon.
As for the details that bother me, it is not that I do not like Fiona struggling to fight her old urges its more who she is doing it with that bothers me. Nick Gehlfuss’ Robbie is totally lacking any charisma or charm. At least Steve, for all his faults, especially dragging down the story, had some charm and was suave enough to be believable as someone Fiona would keep going back to over and over again. Robbie just comes off as a creepy, stalker douche and a total anarchist who rebels in ways that even Mitt Romney thinks are lame. I’d dig this storyline a lot more if Robbie was convincing as someone Fiona would be rabidly attracted to. Right now all he has is the magic “clitoris touch” on trains.
4. Parks and Recreation – Last week Parks and Rec said goodbye to Chris and Ann. No other comedy on TV can make you swing the full gambit of emotions like this one. The key is never overplaying an emotion. Schur and Goor make sure that the show never swings to wildly in the direction of being cartoonish, nor the other way by being too sappy.
It is sad to see Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones go. They will be “literally” missed terribly, but Parks is not a show lacking in characters. The bench is so deep that really any character not named Leslie or Ron could leave and it would not be a huge detriment. I would almost put Andy on that list too, but the show did not suffer terribly in his absence last fall. Though it is certainly much nicer to have him back. It was a simple and sweet send off for these two regulars, but there absence will allow for the writers to have more time to fill out the remaining characters story arcs for the end of the series run over the next year.
Bravo Parks and Recreation. Bravo.
3. Archer Vice – New name, new concept, same old laughs. This complete overhaul in the concept of the show is more than just a cool, creative gimmick. It has brought such freshness to the series. I didn’t think it was possible for Pam to get any funnier, but Pam on cocaine is a whole new level of comedy. Along with the change in concept, Adam Reed has slowly turned this show into more of an ensemble than a vehicle to show off H. Jon Benjamin’s incredible voice and comic timing.
Every show has to fill out the supporting cast with more details as the series chugs along. A series just cannot withstand putting too much story on the shoulders of one character. An audience will get easily bored and start to turn against the character. The problem is that if you do not have a dependable supporting cast, then the show may fall apart anyway. Luckily that is not a problem for Archer Vice as Pam, Cheryl, and Krieger are all funny enough to carry their own shows. Add in the always dependable Mallory-Archer mother-son relationship and the show will be chugging along just fine for the foreseeable future.