The Simpsons Season 29 Episode 17 Review

This week's The Simpsons puts the focus on Lisa, who is going through a musical struggle, as well as the city of New Orleans, which no longer has any food left in it, all thanks to Homer.

Mr. Largo tells Lisa to give up playing the saxophone, in order to avoid disappointment in the future. Instead, she should feel disappointed now. Skinner also tries to convince Lisa to give up, and she eventually does. Marge tells her not to give up her dreams, but Lisa just can't play the sax anymore. She has the yips. At dinner that night, Marge announces that her Aunt Eunice is turning 100, and that she wants them to visit her. She lives in Gainesville, where Marge wants to go on vacation. Homer hates the idea, and Lisa is dismayed at the mention of music. So, a vacation that pleases everyone. On the flight to Gainesville, things aren't going well. Everyone on the plane seems to be pretty upset, and then there's a passenger revolt. The pilot lands the plane immediately, which means Gainesville is a no-go. Instead, they'll be going to New Orleans.

Homer is in heaven in New Orleans considering the city's rich selection of foods, but Lisa is still upset. Elsewhere, Marge takes Bart to the voodoo shop, where he gets voodoo dolls for him to use to take out his revenge on the bullies at school. Back in Homer and Lisa's story, Lisa has a "talk" with "Louis Armstrong", who encourages her to pursue jazz, even if she won't be the best.

Bart starts using his voodoo dolls, and they actually work. Probably. Elsewhere, a man at a jazz club introduces himself as Bleeding Gums' nephew. He manages to cure her case of the yips, and she rediscovers her love of jazz.

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode of the Simpsons, even though there were some issues with it. The start of Lisa's plot felt completely out of left field and just very random. There's a chance that the writers were going for that, but either way, it was a strange start. That storyline definitely got better with time, though. Bart's storyline was really strange though. I don't even know if I can call it a storyline, it barely even made an impression on me. It felt like more of an excuse to throw in some classic New Orleanian culture (voodoo) than anything. My favorite part of the episode was that watching it, you really felt like you were in New Orleans. It was very authentic and a great trip down memory lane for me, reminding me of the times that I chowed down on po' boys, muffalettas, and beignets in the Big Easy. This made for an episode that was much more enjoyable than it would have been if the characters had stayed in Springfield.
Score: 8.5/10
Grade: B+

Sunday Broadcast Ratings 4/22/18: Deception and Timeless Hit Lows

Sunday Broadcast Ratings 4/22/18: Deception and Timeless Hit Lows

18-49 Ratings
Viewers (mil)
7 PMAmerica’s Funniest Home Videos 1.05.61ABC

60 Minutes0.78.78CBS

Dateline NBC0.63.91NBC

Bob's Burgers (R)0.41.06Fox
7:30 PMBob's Burgers0.81.63Fox
8 PMAmerican Idol 1.57.37ABC

The Simpsons0.92.20Fox

Little Big Shots0.85.85NBC

8:30 PMBrooklyn Nine-Nine0.81.74Fox
9 PMFamily Guy0.92.03Fox

NCIS: Los Angeles0.87.50CBS

Genius Junior0.63.65NBC
9:30 PMThe Last Man on Earth0.61.54Fox
10 PMMadam Secretary0.66.09CBS



Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 5 Episode 18 Review ’Gray Star Mutual’

***Spoilers Ahead***

Gray Star Mutual 

L-R: Jason Mantzoukas, Andy Samberg, Joe Lo Truglio. Credit: FOX

February 23, 2016, marks the date that Adrian Pimento graced onto our television screens with his self-titled inaugural episode. He stole every scene he was in with his madcap method of comedy and absurd outbursts. Mantzoukas's character continued to appear sporadically throughout Brooklyn's fourth season. While Pimento held the recipe for comedic delight, there was never any deviation in his schtick. This essentially made Adrian a caricature since the writers never properly explored who he really was. 'Gray Star Mutual' provides the solution to this predicament by shedding light on Adrian's true feelings and concerns. Amidst that, the series surprisingly builds on two recurring story arcs in solid fashion.

Peralta and Boyle helm the main plot that centers on Boyle's food truck being mysteriously burned down. Through the help of Pimento the insurance investigator, the trio must catch the criminal and save Boyle from being framed. The development of Mantzouka's character serves as the most meaningful part of a pleasant storyline. Although he continues his gimmick of acting out in an eccentric manner, there's an ulterior motive that comes with it this time. The fact that Pimento is angry about being left out of the loop establishes a softer, more human side to his persona. This new angle was necessary for Adrian to become a full-fledged character. It's commendable that the writers took a one-dimensional character and added a second side to them this late in the game. Moreover, due to his infectious feeling of dismay, it's almost upsetting to hear about the milestones that Pimento missed during his absence. In past seasons, this type of emotional connection could never have been made with Adrian. While overshadowed by Pimento, the duo of Boyle and Peralta still pack a punch. The dominance and confidence that comes with Boyle's stress is a trait that's always welcome. If Brooklyn Nine-Nine only highlighted Charle's beta qualities, things would get somewhat tedious. All things considered, this story acted as an ideal reintroduction to the crazy personality of Pimento.

The B-plot centers on the firm friendship of Amy and Rosa. Since this dynamic has been severely underused, their chemistry felt stronger than ever. The added factor of Santiago being a sergeant modified their relationship in a positive way. Since Amy is in a higher position of power, one would think that Rosa would be less blunt with her. But, this storyline emphasizes that nothing has changed between the two. Rosa can still call Amy weird and Amy can still take her advice on matters like picking out a wedding dress. The crowning moment here comes with Santiago's fierce takedown of the perpetrator. It's a scene that is effortlessly coordinated and stunning to watch. This subplot does a perfect job of capturing the magnificent bond that the ladies share.

In the weaker C-plot, Gina and Terry attempt to modernize Holt by getting him on social media. The writers essentially build upon the theme that had already been set in 'The Puzzle Master'. It's a touch bothersome to see Holt being portrayed as out-of-touch. Braugher's character usually has all the answers and it's a shame that something as trivial as Twitter could prevent him from his dream job. Criticism aside, this story still paved the way for some entertaining moments. Holt being labeled as a bot and his general resistance to the practice felt true to his character. Nevertheless, the trope of an old person being unfamiliar with social media comes off as a bit stale and overused. While it had its funny moments, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is capable of being substantially more original.

'Gray Star Mutual' brings back a phenomenal character and portrays them in a new light. That alone makes it an outstanding outing of the cop comedy. If that weren't enough, the B-plot showcased a pairing that doesn't often get the attention it deserves. And, while the C-story may have fallen a bit on the lackluster side, it still delivered in some ways. Overall, this installment did not disappoint and only makes me eager to see more of Adrian Pimento.

  • I appreciated the allusion to the Ted Cruz porn incident. 
  • The cold opening race was intense. But, Jake's screaming got a bit annoying.
  • I hope Andre Braugher is inspired by this subplot and makes a Twitter account.
  • It's quite interesting that Peralta and Boyle didn't bother to mention to Pimento that Rosa was dating again. 
  • This season is almost over and neither Genieve nor Nikolaj have made an appearance. 
  • A future side plot could focus on Hitchcock and Scully attempting to take off safe-search from their computers. 

Grade: A-

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NBC Renew/Cancel #10 [2017-18]: ’Timeless’ is a Tossup, ’Good Girls’ is a Likely Renewal

Predictions for 4/22/18

One show is upgraded. Two shows are downgraded. 

Show Title [Average Adults 18-49 rating/Most recent rating]

Timeless [0.65/0.5] - I've decided to downgrade Timeless from likely renewal to a tossup. The drama started out with a respectable 0.8 rating for its second season premiere. But, the decent ratings did not last for long. The most recent episode garnered an anemic 0.5 and registered as a new series low. It is also one of the network's lowest-rated programs. On average, Timeless only performs better than Blindspot, Taken, and Champions. But, there is still hope for the series. According to Deadline, Sony made a deal with NBC to give them a license fee reduction, guaranteed profits, and international distribution rights if they renewed the show. It ended up working out and Timeless snatched up a second season. If Sony negotiates in the same manner, then Timeless definitely has a shot. For now, it's firmly a bubble show. 

Good Girls [1.05/0.9] - Good Girls has been upgraded from tossup to likely renewal. While not a success in the 18-49 demographic, the series has been relatively stable. Additionally, the first eight episodes of Good Girls has the same average that Taken did through the same point in its first season. That series ended up receiving a second season. Finally, the middling ratings can be overlooked thanks to an international distribution deal with Netflix. While not a lock, Good Girls is a safe bet. 

Champions [0.55/0.4] - Expectedly, Champions has been downgraded from likely cancellation to certain cancellation. The latest episode of the series garnered a dreadful 0.4 rating. Moreover, the fact that NBC is making the show air out of repeats proves that they've given up on it. To add insult to injury, the comedy is the second lowest-rated NBC series. It only beats Taken which was recently pulled off the schedule. This series is the dictionary definition of a dead show walking. It's a miracle that the peacock network is even letting it air its full episode order. 

Taken [0.44/0.4] - NBC recently pulled Taken off the schedule. The remaining episodes of the movie-based drama are scheduled to air in the summer. I'll wait for an official announcement to move it to the 'canceled' section. Nevertheless, it's essentially dead.  

Which show would you save?

The Brave


Law & Order: True Crime


Great News


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Atlanta ’Robbin’ Season’ Season 2 Episode 8 Review ’Woods’

***Spoilers Ahead***


Photo: Brian Tyree Henry (center). Credit: Atlanta/FX

In the first season of Atlanta, Paperboi was a traditional underground act. Alfred was constantly undermined by artists of higher prestige and only received recognition through Earn slipping his song to the radio. While not entirely unknown, Paperboi evidently wasn't a household name. For better or worse, season two has altered Al's status in the rap game. After chasing the fame in the first season, the fame now mercilessly chases Alfred at every corner. Time and time again, the series has shown that stardom is a double-edged sword. Amidst the fame and fortune, there's the pain of having to keep things real and potentially having a target on your back. Following several episodes that did not pertain to rap, 'Woods' returns to Atlanta's roots by finally zooming in on Paperboi's career and the struggles that he faces. This installment acts as an indirect antithesis to the light-hearted 'Barbershop'. That Al-centric outing focused on humor while 'Woods' dives deep into more pressing and depressing matters.

The calm first half of 'Woods' centers on Paperboi's day with the arrogant, pushy Sierra. The clashing values between the two showcases how Alfred has stayed true to himself despite his new-found fame. But, it also highlights Al's difficulty in his quest to keep it real. The price of being a celebrity has clearly been getting to him for a while. One can sense the worry he feels about losing his identity and going down the same path as Sierra. Although Al is hellbent on being himself, the writers make sure to emphasize that you have to sacrifice a part of who you are to become successful. This theme becomes more apparent as the installment dives into the ominous second act. This episode also opens up about Earn being an insufficient manager. Between this and Clark County's talk in 'Money Bag Shawty', it's clear that Atlanta is foreshadowing a future where Earn is no longer Paperboi's right-hand man. Personally, I feel that would be a depressing and unnecessary turn. But, Atlanta works in mysterious ways and they would surely be capable of pulling it off. 

Although the outing initially takes place in a relaxed environment, the mugging of Alfred signals a drastic shift to an intense and perilous journey into the woods. The anguish that Paperboi goes through feels insanely genuine and down-to-earth. This can be attributed to the frightening scenery and visible pain on Alfred's part. These components come together to produce a spine-chilling ride. Brian Tyree Henry's acting sells the raw fear he feels as he makes his way into treacherous territory. Paperboi's hallucination of meeting his father also contributes to the eerie tone that 'Woods' sets and taps into Alfred's inner demons. While not fully developed, the appearance of both his deceased parents suggests that he's dealing with subconscious problems underneath his surface troubles. It generates a higher level of sympathy for Alfred's character and makes one realize just how much pressure there is once you reach a level of success. Overall, the suspense that comes with Al being threatened and the relief that Alfred feels when he finds himself at a gas station demonstrates how Atlanta can effortlessly hook viewers through raising and lowering the stakes. In the short time span of twenty-six minutes, the writers can make the viewer incredibly invested in a standalone storyline.

'Woods' concludes with Paperboi finding his way into a liquor store and meeting an eager fan. After an episode full of backstabbing and violence, it was a nice change of pace to have the kid not whip out a gun or knife. Additionally, it conveys how much Paperboi evolved and grew through his ordeal. Al realized that he has to sacrifice a bit of himself for the greater good. Under normal circumstances, he wouldn't have been so warm towards the fan. But, now he's loosening his rugged personality a bit. It was a calmly satisfying ending to an episode that acted as a brutal beatdown to Alfred. In all, 'Woods' was another exceptional addition to Atlanta's library. The combination of the compelling acting and intimidating landscape perfectly conveyed the raw emotion that they were trying to produce. Once again, it proves that the series has what it takes to formulate drama-heavy episodes.

  • I'm starting to miss Earn. He hasn't had a main role in several episodes.
  • Darius putting his foot in the pasta was a great bit of improvised comedy.
  • This is one of the few shows where any character can be the main character and it'll still be amazing. 
  • I'm not ready for Al to drop Earn as manager. It's going to be really depressing. 

Grade: A

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Instinct Season 1 Episode 4 Review

In this episode, Dylan and Lizzie investigate a chemical explosion on a subway in Central Park, and Dylan's father's FBI team also work on the case. The case sounds interesting this week, and I like how we get to meet Dylan's family member. This should be a good one.

The episode begins with Lizzie and Dylan going to a subway to investigate a bombing, that they immediately know was done on purpose. The passengers on the train were in between stations for a long time. They then find a person who survived the explosion, but he stole things from the victims. We then learn that there was a French diplomat on the train. It is being treated like terrorism. Dylan doesn't think that this is a terrorist attack. They find one of the victims mates, who the victim, Josh, was having an affair with. She said that someone knocked into her, and that guy then jumped onto the train with a backpack, but then quickly got off. We then learn that there was an explosion at a carousel in Central Park. There were explosives in the carousel area, and one person died. Dylan's father then shows up at the carousel area.

Dylan's father is offering to have them back on the case, and Lizzie wants to be back on the subway case. Dylan thinks that his father didn't read his book, which makes Dylan upset. Dylan, Lizzie, Andy, and Dylan's father are out at dinner together. While they're at dinner, Dylan and Lizzie need to go to a hotel, where there was a fire and a murder of a man. The murderer ripped up the hotel furniture before burning it. Dylan realizes that the targets were actually the carousel horse and the hotel room, not the bodies. Dylan thinks that the room had personal meaning to the man, who was destroying old memories. Both Dylan and Lizzie agree that all of these deaths were not on purpose, and the killer meant to damage the subway car, carousel horse, and hotel room instead. Lizzie calls Dylan's father to find out what chemical was in the backpack in the subway car, and it was chlorine, which was used to destroy the subway car, horse, and hotel room. This just proves that the subway car incident was not meant to kill people. Something on the man who was killed in the hotel room's body leads Dylan and Lizzie to find a man, who was friends with Kyle Adams, the man who assisted Dylan and Lizzie at the carousel, with a horse in Manhattan.

There is a picture of the horse that was blown up next to the friends horse, and it turns out that it's Kyle's horse, but he has the day off, since it is his birthday. It turns out that one of Kyle's co-workers, was one of the men murdered. Dylan and Lizzie go to Kyle's apartment, where they find drawings of all the crime scenes. It turns out that Kyle's father committed suicide 28 years ago on that day, which is also Kyle's birthday. It turns out that Kyle left the objects at the crime scenes, as opposed to them being found there. Since Kyle's father jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, Kyle will try to blow it up. Dylan tries to talk with Kyle, and he says that his fathers death was not his fault, and he is not like his father. Dylan tries to tell him that he shouldn't kill all of the innocent people who are just trying to have fun and enjoy life. Kyle then commits suicide by jumping off of the building.

This episode was really good. I loved the case, and I liked the aspect that the people weren't the targets, which seems to be the case in police procedurals often. The way that the three crime scenes tied together really interested me as well. And lastly, Alan Cunning was really great when he was trying to prevent Kyle from blowing up the Brooklyn Bridge. That scene was easily the best of the episode. My only complaint about this episode would be that we didn't get to know Dylan's father enough. I hope that he comes back in a later episode.

Score: 9.5/10

Saturday TV Ratings, 4/21/18: ’NASCAR’ & ’NHL Hockey’ Tie For Top Program of the Night

Here are the preliminary broadcast ratings for Saturday, April 21, 2018. 

Total Viewers  
(In Millions)
NASCAR: Toyota Owners 400 (FOX)

NHL Hockey (NBC)

Ransom (CBS)

American Idol (R) (ABC)


48 Hours (CBS)
20/20 (R) (ABC)
(R) = repeat

FOX's showing of the 'Toyota Owners 400' (0.6) tied with NBC's hockey (0.6) for the top program of the night. 

ABC had repeats of 'American Idol' (0.3) and '20/20' (0.4). The latter matched its Friday original rating.

CBS's 'Ransom' (0.3) was steady with last week. The network rounded out the night with an encore of 'NCIS' (0.4) and an original '48 Hours' (0.4).

’Ghost Wars’ Canceled After One Season

Photo: Syfy
Syfy has canceled 'Ghost Wars' after one season. The paranormal drama starred Avan Jogia, Kim Coates, Vincent D'Onofrio, Meat Loaf, Kandyse McClure, and Kristin Lehman. The series premiered on October 5, 2017. The 13th and final episode aired on January 4, 2018. In all, the drama averaged a meager 0.09 rating in the 18-49 demographic and just 0.38 million viewers. You can see the full ratings for the series here. This was a correct prediction by the TV Ratings Guide.

What do you think of this news? Would you have watched another season? Are you sick of all these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

4th Annual Pilot Pick-Up Tournament

As pilot season advances, it's time for our 4th annual Pilot Pick-Up Tournament. You can view the descriptions for all pilots on The Futon Critic, which also outlines production companies and on-and-off-camera talent. Then, fill out the form below by checking the boxes of all pilots you think will be ordered to series.

You get 1 point for every correct prediction, and lose 1 point for every incorrect prediction. 0 points are awarded/taken away if a show gets ordered to series that you did not pick.

Friday TV Ratings, 4/20/18: ’Blindspot’ Returns Down, ’Once Upon a Time’ Steady (UPDATED)

Here are the preliminary broadcast ratings for Friday, April 20, 2018. 

Photo: NBC

Total Viewers  
(In Millions)
MacGyver (CBS)

MasterChef Junior (FOX)

Blindspot (NBC)

Once Upon a Time (ABC)

Dynasty (CW)

Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)

Dateline NBC (NBC)

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (ABC)

Jane the Virgin (F) (CW)

Meghan Markle: American Princess (CBS)

20/20 (ABC)
(F) = finale

On NBC, 'Blindspot' (0.5) returned after being off the air for nearly a month. It was down a tenth from its last episode. Since 'Taken' was pulled, the peacock network capped off the night with two hours of 'Dateline' (0.7). 

ABC's 'Once Upon a Time' (0.4) was steady with last week. 'Agents of SHIELD' (0.4) inched down. '20/20' (0.4) matched its last episode.

'MacGyver' (0.8) and 'Hawaii Five-0' (0.9) were both steady. The latter was the highest-rated program of the night. At 10, 'Blue Bloods' took the night off in favor of a Meghan Markle special (0.6). It performed markedly worse than a typical 'Blue Bloods'. 

FOX had another two hours of 'MasterChef Junior' (0.8). It inched up from last week's episode. 

'Dynasty' (0.2) returned to the CW and was steady with its last episode. At 9, the 'Jane the Virgin' finale (0.2) matched last week.