Studying for finals, was thinking about skipping the writeups for the last couple days, but the shows were just too good Sunday to skip.
Simpsons: Even after every terrible episode about a fad that happened three years ago, The Simpsons can still pull out an excellent story like this week's, an out of nowhere tale about Bart missing the bond that comes with having a brother. After a few "trick Homer and Marge into conceiving" gags that felt lifted from Family Guy (ironic in an episode with a direct South Park gag), bart goes to an orphanage to try and score a little brother, then winds up with one that followed him home. The shenanigans were fairly tame (no "the little brother is worse than Bart/they have to trick him into leaving" schtick that a lesser episode might have tried to pull), and the ending was bittersweet, with the kid having to leave, then getting adopted...by a family with six girls. I dug the little brother character though, and it wasn't a "hey look, here's a celebrity!" voice, which makes me wish they'd fold him into the library of minor characters. Speaking of celebrities, we got three Mannings and two Smothers in a great dream sequence (reminiscent of "Bart Sells His Soul"). Overall, possible the best episode they've done in a long time, and one that I'll think back on the next time I read the inevitable "The Simpsons needs to hang it up" article.
The Cleveland Show had their traditional Christmas episode this week (thankfully, not sponsored by Cascade), and they seem to be finding a groove with the storyline. Cleveland/Rallo is turning into the show's money pairing, as they provide the most (and best) conflict. The bit about Rawanda freeing the reindeer didn't pay off for her, although it did provide a funny runner through the rest of the episode, culminating in a nice mildly dark ending. The jokes are hitting, but how long can they milk the "two families becoming one" tension? Time will tell.
Family Guy: Not the most cohesive episode, pretty much a "something something Peter takes over Pewterschmidt Industries" plot, but there were some decent gags in there. Hugh Laurie as House was worth some giggles, and a good payoff in the end. An extended Scooby Doo homage was also very appreciated. An average episode, but on a night where everything else was above average to great.
American Dad: And speaking of great...wow. I almost don't want to talk about this too much, since everything was handled so flawlessly. Just...just watch it. It's on Hulu, it'll take you 25 minutes, and you'll thank me later. Watch it, and we can discuss it in the comments or something (yes, there's a place for comments...hint hint)
How I Met Your Mother: I don't smoke, so I'm sure I missed some hilarious subtleties about smoking and falling off the wagon and cold turkeys and whatnot. Robin's new co-anchor was funny (especially the lack of production elements on the set of her morning show), Lily's smoker voice was funny (the first couple times), the kids reactions to finding out their dad/dad's friends smoked (yes, the kids speak!), and especially Marshall repeatedly beating up his 13-year old self. Bob Odenkirk was a little wasted here, although here's hoping it pays off down the line. They may just be saving all the comedy juice up for the 100th episode (with musical numbers!), so HIMYM gets a pass this time.
Minor Housekeeping: FlashForward and Dollhouse I will be trying to get to next week when finals are over. I'm looking to catch up on Modern Family, as I've gotten a slew of recommendations for it. Better Off Ted and Scrubs will be new for a while, and I'm going to try and watch the first season of Veronica Mars and of Dexter over the holiday rerun period. We'll see how successful I am. Still, a fellow's got to have goals.