Monday tv, 4/27

Very quick takes:

Chuck–that’s how you do a season finale. My recent gold standard is Burn Notice’s finish, which resonated emotionally because

1. it made excellent use of what we had learned, piece by piece, about the characters

2. it built the action up to a previously unrealized level

3. it suggested new horizons for future episodes, which require significant changes to how characters relate to each other and to how they move in the world

Chuck passed all of these goals with flying colors, although I’m nervous about what will come out of #3. Our feel for the characters tinged what would otherwise be fairly rote exercises (of course Chuck is going to re-do his sister’s wedding) with significance. Much of the credit has to go to Zach Levi for elevating the material. Not sure I like the replacement of Fulcrum with this new, larger villain (especially as we never got to know what Fulcrum wanted besides the intersect). And I too wonder whether Chuck would have a cover, have handlers, be reduced to an action cliche, although my fears are less severe than those of others.

Big Bang Theory–This is the second straight week in which the bulk of the storyline is built around Leonard and Howard pursuing women, even though this week involves a prostitute, and we’re led to believe Howard has sex with her. That could be slightly interesting, as it gives prostitution a normativity not often witnessed on television. But that’s nearly all that’s interesting about the Vegas plot. What a missed opportunity! I find it hard to believe that Sheldon is not interested (in an anthropological sense) in the workings of Vegas, and BBT could get a lot of mileage out of Sheldon counting cards, getting in trouble, and having to actually deal with Vegas enforcers. But the Sheldon/Penny storyline was definitely a winner. This pairing is consistently entertaining, because Penny is the character least willing to let Sheldon have his way, and she continually acts perplexed at his inquiries.

How I Met Your Mother–I miss Lily. I miss Robin, too, even though she did technically appear in this episode. As the opening scene played out, Robin kept looking and listening, but not responding or interjecting into the boys’ conversation. Has this show gotten a little too male lately? Sure felt like it, although the ending seems to point toward the resurrection of sympathetic Ted.

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