This week I highlight (relatively) new tv station BOUNCE, Donald Glover and Yvette Nicole Brown in COMMUNITY and more.
Community is still one of the most original shows on TV, the best of those being ‘The Civil War’ documentary remake, episode 14’s ‘Pillows & Blankets’ which spotlights best friends turned into enemies Troy (S&A favorite Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) in their epic battle of Pillowtown vs. Blanketsburg at their school (hence the show name) Greendale Community College. Also starring on Community is Yvette Nicole Brown who has appeared on numerous television shows and movies, most notably Kevin Hart’s failed 2004 sitcom The Big House, which centered on a wealthy, pampered guy from Malibu (Hart) who moves to Philadelphia to live with his blue-collar relatives after he is arrested for embezzling millions of his clients' dollars, as the older sister of Toni (Jill Marie Jones) on Girlfriends and Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh. Her character Shirley is a cheery church-going optimist who tries to always show the better side of things but has a deep dark temper underneath; Malcolm Jamal Warner plays her husband on the show. Glover’s character Troy started as an arrogant football player who lost his scholarship, but transformed into a goofy, and yes hilarious, partner to Abed – really showcasing his comedy chops for nationwide audiences. The whole cast, which also includes Joel McHale (host of E’s The Soup), Chevy Chase, Alison Brie (Trudy Campbell from Mad Men), and recent Academy Award winner Jim Rash is extremely talented and comprise among the best comedy ensembles on television, which is saying a lot. With yesterday’s renewal of the show for a 13-epsiode fourth and presumably final season, there won’t be much more of Community to see but you can definitely catch up on it on Hulu and buy it on DVD.
The Game started with Malik (Hosea Chancez) falling off the wagon and his cousin Tee Tee (Barry Floyd) helping him find out why. Turns out the last thing that he did was meet with Roger Keith, the owner of the San Diego Sabres for which Malik plays quarterback for, who hates Malik after the star was sleeping with his wife. Come to find that injured QB Kwan Kirkland will be out for the rest of the season and with the Sabres prime for another championship, Malik is reinstated as head quarterback and leader of the team, which caused him to drink in order to numb the pressure of bringing the team another championship. Meanwhile Melanie (Tia Mowry) goes off the deep end, as she’s unhappy with being Derwin’s wife and not being her own person. By episode’s end Derwin (Pooch Hall) is so pissed with her bellyaching that he hands her a suitcase, indicating the she can leave. Meanwhile Queen Latifah showed up on the show she produces, Let’s Stay Together, in a very boring episode in which she guest-starred as an entrepreneur that Tasha (Joyful Drake) seeks to work for as a designer. Because Tasha’s sexy outfits and demeanor remind Latifah’s character of her ex-husband’s mistress, Tasha allows her to dress her down in an extremely unsexy manner in order to get hired, which because the center of attention is no longer on her beauty causes her act kindly toward others. I see where they were trying to go with this episode, but it didn’t work overall and Latifah seemed like she didn’t want to be on her own show.
This weeks episode of Scandal wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, and ended gruesomely. Mostly shown as flashback, it focused on how Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and President Fitzgerarld’s professional and personal relationship began. Personally, I found it extremely far-fetched that Fitz would be so instantly fascinated with Olivia that he’d want to fire her on the spot regardless of her ‘spin doctor’ skills being his best chance of winning the presidency just because he’s attracted to her on first sight. I suppose with the real-life present day trial of ex-US presidential candidate John Edwards happening we see that some people will put their libido ahead of winning the presidency, but still, give us something stronger. Even with the revelations of how various cast members worked with Olivia to get the President elected, this episode was very wanting. Even with the climax (BIG SPOILER AHEAD) and big reveal from VP chief-of-staff Billy Chambers (Matt Letscher) that he is the mastermind behind the whole Amanda Tanner business (I had a feeling he was!), and that reporter Gideon would spill all his evidence to entrap him – leading to Gideon’s scissor-to-the-neck murder - I hope next weeks season finale is stronger. I have a good feeling that Scandal will be renewed.
Grey’s Anatomy was pretty fun this week, until the ending. How contrived. I knew that all the residents making up their mind to leave that they somehow wouldn’t allow that to really happen. But a plane crash? I felt like I was watching an episode of 80’s nightly soap Dallas (which by the way is returning to television in an updated form in a few weeks). Meanwhile Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) focuses on being a workaholic instead of spending time with new beau (Jason George) who unbenknowst to her is going to propose. She takes so long to get it that he ends up getting great news that he can become a surgery resident at UCLA. No love for Dr. Bailey!
Meanwhile, NYC 22 isn’t doing so well in the ratings but the episodes have been good. Last week’s episode and this week’s own have co-starred Victor Williams, best known as Deacon from The King of Queens and most recently of the independent film Single Hills, as a new duty sergeant. It’s been great seeing him back on TV and hopefully he’ll be a regular recurring character.
Meanwhile as highlighted on this site numerous times, African-American owned and run TV network BOUNCE is still on the air and running mostly old movies. Every time I turn it on they’re playing pretty corny movies, oftentimes starring only one Black character (like last night’s airing of Halle Berry in 1996’s Race The Sun), but it’s times like right now where they’re airing the Calvin Lockhart, Rosalind Cash and Vonetta McGee starring movie Melinda, a movie I’ve always wanted to see but never gotten to, that makes their mission of featuring programming geared toward blacks in the 25-54 age range totally worth it. With them airing old episodes of Soul Train every night at 6pm EST and now going into original programming with the Omar Gooding show Family Time, that we have to look out for some more hopeful pleasant surprises from this network. Are you watching BOUNCE? Please write in the comments section and let me know.
Lastly, my BBC pick of the week. Richard Ayoade but most don’t know he started in the BBC show The IT Crowd, where he played a nerdy and (to me) slightly mentally disturbed information technology technician. This is a great sitcom and I’ve spent many a late night watching it on Netflix. Check it out folks.
I fell a bit behind this week and won’t get to a write-up on the final season of Eureka as I promised, but I WILL get to that in a separate column next week. As for next week’s column of This Week in Black Television, I’ll focus on what show’s with Black talent were cancelled, renewed or in limbo.