Best Episode of the Season: Broad City Season 2

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Broad-City-Knockoffs

“Knockoffs”
In an inspired case of perfect casing, Ilana’s mother is played by the equally effusive. Susie Essman. In a counterintuitive, but just as perfect case, Bob Balaban plays her mellow father. And the entire Wexler is revealed as lovely, loving, and open-minded, as Ilana and mom head through New York-ish-ly surreal trip to find the perfect handbag. Meanwhile, Abbi finally gets it on with Jeremy, and although it is not everything she hoped it would be, she learns a lot about herself in the experience.

Best Episode of the Season: BoJack Horseman Season 1

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“I ate too many pancakes!”

“Downer Ending”
Netflix’s anthropomorphic horse show reached its season 1 pinnacle with a drug-fueled mind-bender that just does not let up. BoJack, Todd, and Sarah Lynn go on a days-long bender, with the anxiety of insecurity and missed opportunities warping into a beguiling mess from which waking out of appears impossibile. It all comes to a head in what looks like will be a declaration of love but is instead something even more vulnerable.

BoJack-Christmas

Honorable Mention – “Sabrina’s Christmas Wish”
This holiday special released outside the official episode count of season 1 offers a full edition of Horsin’ Around, the show within the show, and introduces a catchphrase that is only acceptably repeated in context (“Fire that Jew!”).

Best Episode of the Season: The Affair Season 1

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“1”
The Affair laid out what it was attempting with its ambitious thesis statement of a pilot episode. A man and a woman recount the details surrounding their extramarital affair during a summer in Montauk, with the subjective biases therein ensuring maximum intrigue. The rest of the first season got a little undisciplined with its premise, but the opener fully demonstrated the power of this show’s framing device.

Best Episode of the Season: The Eric Andre Show Season 3

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BirdUp

“Bird Up!”
An entire TEAS focused on the recurring “Bird Up” – “the worst show on television!” – was one of the best TV episodes of the year. Eric cavorted around in his greenscreen bodysuit, sprinting through an id-driven trip of insanity featuring guest director Chris Rock, a fake death prank, a desolately confounded focus group, and much, much more.

Best Episode of the Season: Mulaney Season 1

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“In the Name of the Mother, and the Son, and the Holy Andre”
I watched every episode of Mulaney, and it got pretty dark (don’t worry – I got paid). But amidst all the unmet potential were a few bright spots, like this episode that featured Nora Dunn as John’s mom and (wait for it) Pete Holmes as a priest.

To read my original review of this episode, head over here: http://www.starpulse.com/news/Jeffrey_Malone/2014/11/10/mulaney_season_1_episode_5_review_nora

Best Episode of the Season: Portlandia Season 5

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“The Fiancée”
An episode entirely focused around Nina and Lance was the best of Portlandia’s fifth season. If all you’ve seen of this show is the first season, and you did not cotton to Fred and Carrie’s voices for the “Cacao” couple, I know what you’re thinking: “No way, Jose.” But let me tell you this about “The Fiancée”: it features Justin Long as Lance’s mom’s new boyfriend, and he looks and sounds just like Lance (because Carrie always looked like Justin Long in her Lance drag). And it’s the best performance of his career.

Best Episode of the Season: Parks and Recreation Season 7

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Leslie&Ron&Sax

“Leslie and Ron”
One of the worst habits of sitcoms in their later years is retconning character development. It is always ill-advised to revert characters back to their original iterations, even if they’re the versions that fans fell in love with. In the first few episodes of its final season, Parks and Rec appeared to inexplicably be guilty of this as a time jump found Knope and Swanson at their most antagonistic ever. But then the heartbreaking backstory was revealed in a blowout bottle episode, and their friendship and our faith were restored.

Best Episode of the Season: Nathan for You Season 2

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“Souvenir Shop/E.L.A.I.F.F.”
“Dumb Starbucks” got the headlines, but there was another Nathan for You Season 2 episode that spun out in epic proportions, as Nathan’s efforts to improve a Hollywood souvenir shop’s profits led to the production of a short film that involved celebrity impersonators, an asteroid hurtling toward Earth, and the ever-unreliable Windows 95.

SNL Season 39 (2013-2014) Recap

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Saturday Night Live Season 40 has already begun, but let’s not forget about the best of last season.  The full breakdown of my SNL Season 39 recap can be found at the following links:
http://www.starpulse.com/news/Jeffrey_Malone/2014/09/20/best_saturday_night_live_cast_members_
http://www.starpulse.com/news/Jeffrey_Malone/2014/09/21/the_10_best_best_saturday_night_live_s
http://www.starpulse.com/news/Jeffrey_Malone/2014/09/21/every_snl_good_neighbor_comedy_skit_sh
http://www.starpulse.com/news/Jeffrey_Malone/2014/09/22/the_best_saturday_night_live_episodes_
http://www.starpulse.com/news/Jeffrey_Malone/2014/09/23/the_best_saturday_night_live_guests_of
http://www.starpulse.com/news/Jeffrey_Malone/2014/09/24/the_best_saturday_night_live_weekend_u
http://www.starpulse.com/news/Jeffrey_Malone/2014/09/26/the_best_of_saturday_night_live_season

Most Valuable Cast Members
1. Aidy Bryant
2. Kate McKinnon
Rookies of the Year:
1. Kyle Mooney
2. Beck Bennett

Best Sketches
1. We Did Stop (the Government)
2. Super Champions with Kyle
3. The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders
4. Hip Hop Classics: Before They Were Stars
5. Guess That Phrase
6. (Do It on My) Twin Bed
7. Ice Cream
8. Blue River Dog Food
9. Josie
T10. (TIE) Flirty/dancing/A Very Smoky 420/Chris Fitzpatrick for President

Best 10-to-1 Sketches
1. Super Champions
2. Tourists
3. Herman & Sons Sperm
4. Halloween Candy

Best Host
1. Drake
2. Louis C.K.
3. Charlize Theron

Best Monologue
1. Anna Kendrick
2. Louis C.K.
3. Andy Samberg

Best Musical Guests
1. The Black Keys
2. Sam Smith
3. St. Vincent

Best Commercial Parody
The Bird Bible

Best Weekend Update Segment
1. Jebediah Atkinson
2. Olya Povlatsky
3. Drunk Uncle and Drunker Uncle

Every Good Neighbor Short Ranked
1. Wing
2. Super Champions with Kyle
3. Ice Cream
4. Flirty
5. Dancing
6. A Very Smoky 420
7. Chris Fitzpatrick
8. Tourists
9. Miley Sex Tape
10. Inside SoCal
11. Sigma
12. Will Smith Concert
13. i know

Best Episode
1. Miley Cyrus (10/5/13)
2. Jonah Hill/Bastille (1/25/14)
3. Drake (1/18/14)
4. Melissa McCarthy/Imagine Dragons (2/1/14)
5. Louis C.K./Sam Smith (3/29/14)

Best Dress Rehearsal Cuts That Were Posted Online
1. Wing
2. Viper

Best Quote
“If someone was like, ‘Hey, come live in this house, there’s only nine of us,’ I would say, ‘You got it dude!'” – Olya Pavlotsky (Kate McKinnon), on Weekend Update

Best Episode of the Season: The Big Bang Theory Season 7

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Season Analysis: While The Big Bang Theory will probably never stop undercutting itself by giving every episode the quickest, easiest conclusion, Season 7 did show off some of the strongest recognition yet of its best cast dynamics

The Status Quo Combustion

“The Status Quo Combustion”
While it is not the worst offender on the dial and while it has gotten better in this regard, The Big Bang Theory is one of the most allergic-to-change shows on television.  But it has always had a tendency to mix things up in its season finales, and Season 7 was no exception (as explicitly made clear in the episode title).  The status quo has combusted before, and Sheldon has left the apartment before, and things have ultimately gone back to normal.  But this time is different – the Big Bang writers have actually set themselves up in such a way that the changes must stick (at least somewhat) permanently.  Raj actually did have sex with a girl he likes, Leonard and Penny are really getting married, Stuart’s comic book store actually did burn down, and Amy actually did suggest that she and Sheldon live together.  This is all too much for Sheldon, but more so than ever before, the show he’s on is not following his example.  Leonard and Penny ultimately decide to just let him leave town, and it is unclear just how this will be resolved, and when it comes to The Big Bang Theory, that uncertainty is thrilling.

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