Television watched late 2015

“TV is a nickname, nicknames are for friends, and television is no friend of mine.”

Toy Story of Terror (2013, Angus MacLane)

After watching horror movies in the car trunk, the gang stays at a sinister hotel where manager Stephen Tobolowsky’s pet lizard steals toys from children’s rooms so Stephen can sell them on eBay. Also, Jessie struggles with her fear of boxes (cuz she spent years boxed-up). As usual, all looks hopeless until a last-minute rescue is mounted. Carl Weathers continues his post-Arrested Development self-conscious-comedy phase as Combat Carl, also appearances by Legos, a Transformers-Voltron hybrid and Ken Marino. MacLane has been a Pixar animator since Geri’s Game and A Bug’s Life, is codirecting the Finding Nemo sequel. Katy wasn’t too sure about watching The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with me for SHOCKtober, but she eventually agreed to this one (it wasn’t scary).

Parks & Recreation season 7 (2015)

Victory lap for one of the greatest sitcoms. This season is set in the near-future, with cameos by everyone from previous seasons. Until Amy has another show, we’re watching Aziz’s new one. One of the Parks & Rec creators works on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which Trevor said is good.

Inside Amy Schumer season 2 (2014)

I watched season 1, Trainwreck, and season 2 in a sort of continuum and I can’t keep straight which is which anymore. But obviously I love this. Appearances by Michael Ian Black, Ali Reza (Delocated), Jim Norton (Lucky Louie), Zach Braff, Greta Lee (Soojin from Girls), Josh Charles (Sports Night), Patrick Warburton, Rachel Dratch (30 Rock), Parker Posey, Scott Adsit, Janeane Garofalo, Jon Glaser, Mike Birbiglia, Colin Quinn, Todd Barry, Reggie Watts, Adrock, and Paul Giamatti as God. Most episodes directed by Ryan McFaul (NTSF, Broad City… and The Electric Company?)

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015, David Wain)

Not the pure, unfiltered genius that people seemed to be expecting, since I heard from all sources that it was a letdown. I’m not a quick-draw TV viewer, took us a couple months to get through eight half-hour episodes, and in the end it was certainly better than I assumed it’d be, and one of the few comedy series (miniseries, really) I’d consider watching a few more times.

Unbelievable string of actors on this, including everyone from the original movie plus Jason Schwartzman as a scandal-discovering counselor, Mad Men lead Jon Hamm as a spy, Mad Men lead John Slattery as guest director of the theater program, Kristen Wiig and Sports Night star Josh Charles at the rival camp across the lake, Chris Pine as a reclusive rock star, Randall Park as Molly Shannon’s post-lunch love interest, Michael Cera as a lawyer, Lake Bell, Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel, Jordan Peele, Weird Al Yankovic, probably a bunch I’m missing.

Rick and Morty season 1 (2014)

I loved the hell out of this. Justin Roiland (Sarah Silverman Program) voices both Rick and Morty, Dr. Spaceman is Morty’s dad, Kelsey Grammer’s daughter is Morty’s sister and Sarah Chalke (Scrubs) his mom – appearances by Dan Harmon, David Cross, Tom Kenny, Futurama’s Maurice LaMarche, Dana Carvey, John Oliver, Rich Fulcher, and Alfred Molina as The Devil. Weirdly specific and extended references to movies both popular (Titanic, Jurassic Park, Inception-meets-Nightmare On Elm Street) and not-at-all-popular (Needful Things). Standard family-sitcom drama with lots of interdimensional travel thrown in, kind of the best of both worlds from Simpsons and Futurama. I was enjoying the random travel scenarios, then in the second half of the season it starts tying together previous episodes, exposing huge Rick-vs.-Morty tension, and becoming weirdly self-referential with Rick’s catchphrase and breaking the fourth wall. And I only started watching this because I heard season two is even better, if that’s possible.

Pete Michels (Family Guy) codirected all the episodes, writing by a couple Community writers (in addition to Harmon), plus web comedians Wade and Eric.

Superjail! season 1 (2008)

This Adult Swim show fills the Metalocalypse-shaped hole in my life with its ten-minute episodes of ultraviolence and nonsequiturs. Although I should really watch the next two seasons of Metalocalypse, too. Every episode is absolutely overstuffed with animated mayhem, looks expensive to make. David Wain plays the Willy Wonkaesque Warden with assistants Jared (Teddy Cohn) and Alice (Christy Karacas, director/creator of this show and of Robotomy, which sounds fun). Another creator did animation for Fox animated features, the third wrote for a Speed Racer reboot series.

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