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Laugh Tracks: Two P&Rs are better than one

CBS’s HIMYM still hasn’t answered their own question on Monday night, though they may be getting closer. FOX borrows from a couple of other sitcoms for ideas. ABC has some teenage lessons, a birth and cancellation, Freaky Friday-esque switching of parental roles, guest star Nia Vardalos and another double up of a new show. CBS Thursday has some germs and new friendships. NBC celebrates with both season finales and season finale eves. Watch for The Office and P&R conclusions this week.

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Date Posted: May 16, 2011

By Amy Van Veen (The Cascade) – Email

CBS’s HIMYM still hasn’t answered their own question on Monday night, though they may be getting closer. FOX borrows from a couple of other sitcoms for ideas. ABC has some teenage lessons, a birth and cancellation, Freaky Friday-esque switching of parental roles, guest star Nia Vardalos and another double up of a new show. CBS Thursday has some germs and new friendships. NBC celebrates with both season finales and season finale eves. Watch for The Office and P&R conclusions this week.  

Monday night’s HIMYM saw the culmination of several episodes’ devotion to the Arcadian with one crucial question for Ted: “Do you think the Arcadian should be made a landmark?” This is the most loaded question Ted has seen in a while because if he sides with his girlfriend, who according to Barney has magic lady parts, both he and Barney will lose their jobs. Cue a Barney flashback when he’s convincing his bosses to hire Ted: “If Ted Mosby isn’t fantastic, fire me.” But if he says no, then he and Zooey are over. Robin says it best when she compares it to chess, okay Angry Birds, okay she’s never played either, but the “key is to see every possible outcome.” There are three potential scenarios: (1) he answers no and Zooey dumps him; (2) he answers yes and they’re happy for a moment until he resents her because he had to give up everything to be with her and subsequently dumps her; or (3) the ninja Zooey’s ex-husband hired shoots Ted with a blowdart. All have an equal chance of actually happening. Barney as the original architect for the Arcadian visits Ted in a dream to let him know, “mo’ buildings, mo’ problems,” and for all those who thought it was just Barney and not a dream, Ted’s mother showing up with her magic lady bits set all us sceptics straight. After Marshall makes his case with rhymes to the board deciding the Arcadian’s fate, Ted answers no, which leads Zooey to pull out the tape recorder of that time in the museum, which makes Robin and Lily turn into Southern elderly women. The gang needs a plan. A diabolical plan. A Lily plan. The lions’ head stonework that Ted thought it was worth saving? It may be above Barney’s bed, which may not be earthquake proof, but he and Ted get to keep their jobs, and Zooey and Ted are a little bit done. Will he finally meet his kids’ mother?

Raising Hope admittedly borrows Tuesday night’s storyline from a couple of other shows. While Burt is waiting for his boomerang to come back, he and Virginia hear another couple fighting on Hope’s baby monitor, but it is okay because Virginia has seen this on “Modern Family and countless other sitcoms.” Now it’s Hope’s turn. When they go to investigate, it turns out part of the cast of My Name is Earl has shown up to play Donna and Andrew, a fighting couple where she’s the bitch and he’s the idiot and they don’t have a baby monitor, they have a puppy monitor. Meanwhile, Jimmy and the Howdy’s East gang want to try to beat Howdy’s West by making a better commercial. This, then, turns into the P&R episode “Camel” where everyone comes up with their own idea on what they think is a worthy commercial. Frank’s includes fear. Jimmy’s includes goblins and Barney, and Sabrina’s includes her, Shelley, Maw-Maw and Hope as a 1960s singing group with big hair and sequins. While they fight, Barney decides not to enter any commercial to corporate in order to save his team from falling apart, especially after he feels the heat of their competition: “shame on you for making me use my rape whistle in a non-rape situation!” Back at home, Burt really wants to try to help out Andrew in his abusive relationship, but Virginia wants nothing to do with it because she does not want to be one of those “judgmental busybody snoops” who judged her so many times. Too late, though, because Burt invited them both over to dinner to help Donna see how cool Virginia can be at Burt’s own kind of “wife school.” This, unfortunately, is overheard by Donna on the baby monitor, but thankfully her hating Virginia has taken all of the heat off of Andrew. The Chances never have a dull moment, even if it does involve borrowing from other sitcoms.

It’s time for the guy trip on Traffic Light and Mike is in charge of deciding what it will be. His decision is aided by Lisa calling him out on his evolution from a man’s man into the man he is today after he and Callie decide to take photos of Tommy the same way he had photos done at his age: as a cowboy, with guns, which Lisa does not like. Therefore Mike’s plan is to go hunting for Guy Trip 2011. Callie then offers to retake all of the photos, and Mike and Lisa convince her they want to pay her. Lisa loves the new photos, until she sees the bill.  Business and friends should never mix. While the guys head off on their hunting trip at dawn, they realize how soft they’ve actually gotten in their older age with breakfast sandwiches, cell phones and Carl. Yes. Carl is one of the guys and therefore he is on the trip, Mike has been outvoted. While the gents, who are all garbed up in their appropriate attire (Mike in standard camo and orange, Ethan in camo because he looks great in it, and Adam looking like a pylon because he doesn’t want to get shot) the ladies try to deal with their awkward money situation with some day drinking. Callie feels terrible about the price, so she tears up the receipt and tells Lisa to pay her whatever she feels she’s worth. This leads to some banter that is right on the edge of being harshly true, until Lisa throws the ball back in Callie’s court by giving her a blank cheque and telling her she can fill in what she feels she deserves to be paid. While they drunk negotiate on the price, Mike is upset because he wishes he could go back to the simplicity of their first guy trip and things get really deep when he’s given the opportunity to shoot a buck, but lets it go. On the way back, things continue to get real for the guys when Adam shares his plan to ask Callie to marry him. And then they hit a deer.

The Middle starts Wednesday off with a little help from Reverend Tim Tom. Axl needs to figure out which Ashley he inadvertently invited to prom, unfortunately it turns out to be Weird Ashley. Since Frankie and Mike won’t let him disinvite her via text and Axl is a teenage boy, so he never actually disinvites her. Thus, Reverend Tim Tom. Sue and her friend Carly are never sure which table to choose in the pecking order that is the middle school cafeteria, but since Sue holds the cue cards, or “Sue cards”, for Samantha who sits at the B Table, they think they have a shot to actually sit down instead of doing laps while eating. Reverend Tim Tom helps her out. Brick and his only friend Arlo wrote a show to perform for Mike and Frankie, but after the first one things go a little downhill and while Frankie uses grocery trips as an excuse, Mike is caught in its endless boredom. Reverend Tim Tom is less needed here because Brick is the one to teach Mike a lesson: “You make allowances for family, Dad, because it’s the right thing to do.” Speaking of the right thing to do, Reverend Tim Tom helps Sue find the confidence to sit at any table, even though all of the B Tablers move to the A Table and leave Sue and Carly to do laps again, and he helps Axl do the right thing. Instead of standing Weird Ashley up, he goes with her because “it’s only one night,” despite the fact that one night with a girl in a purple wizard cape is one long night for a teenage boy.

Better With You has a baby. Well, they don’t have a baby, Mia and Casey are about to have a baby when they decide they want to be married. Meanwhile, Maddie is looking for a new career by perusing the patient list, when she finds a judge in the next room over to marry the preggo love birds. This show is kind of like stale bread, but it’s a necessity to get from The Middle to Modern Family. The only saving grace of this one is the fact that the judge is played by Edward Herrmann, who played Richard Gilmore. Casey and Ben get a marriage license, Mia tries to put off her contractions, and Joel and Vicky are in charge of finding something borrowed, blue, old and new. They get married amidst her screaming, and then the baby comes in what seems like seconds, and they’re happy, but the audience is bored. This show, sadly as well as Mr. Sunshine, has been cancelled by ABC.

Modern Family is still going strong with yet another hilarious episode. Cam is sick, and as much as Mitchell is worried for him, he really wants to go to the Lady Gaga concert.  Gloria collects every kind of stray looking for work, money, or help and brings them home constantly, but her latest case involves some business advice from Jay. In their parenting style, Phil and Claire normally play good cop, bad cop respectively, but on Wednesday night they decided to switch it up. Mitchell tries his best to be a good man for his man by taking care of him, all the while keeping Gaga on the back of his mind. When Cam finally nods off, Mitchell takes his chance. Cam will never know, until Mitchell forgets to take off the glow necklace. Jay is forced to break a man’s dreams when he hears the stranger’s pitch for a Good Doggy Bad Doggy treat system. It’s the worst dog training system, but Gloria would rather he put a “sugar jacket” on it. In the end, the guy has to move back in with his sister in a bad part of town and give up his own dog, who Gloria adopts. Jay is opposed and goes to return the dog before he falls in love with it along the way. Phil and Claire try their best to step outside of their strengths in their new roles, but it leads to Phil being a dictator when he forces the girls to clean their bathroom and his bathroom and Claire becomes a fun tyrant forcing Luke and Manny to eat too much junk food and get sick of good times. In the end, it’s important for people to find someone who complements them and, as Gloria says it, “when you find each other you should never let go.” It was one of those rare episodes where we see why each couple is a couple and we love them for it.

Next: Cougar Town, Big Bang Theory, Community

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