Tuesday night is huge for television comedy. In order to make sense of all of the options, we've decided to rank the best shows each week to suss out who is coming out on top.
Note: New Girl is on a two-week break while Mindy makes up for lost time with back-to-back episodes.
1. The Goldbergs
Yes, we're crowning The Goldbergs the best comedy on television last night – partly because it continues to be one of the most quietly consistent shows on TV, but also because we're punishing The Mindy Project for toying with our hearts (see below).
First, we need to talk about the timing of this episode. "You're Not Invited" had a very specific chronological peg: the opening of Al Capone's vault, which was broadcast on April 21, 1986. That's in contrast to, as far as we can tell, the show's desire to have as ambiguous a setting as possible (it opens each episode with "It was 1980-something.") There's a danger in tying itself to closely with actual '80s events – there are only so many years before you run out – but this reference actually worked, because instead of being simply used as a throwaway gag, it set up the theme of the whole episode: a lot of hype with very little payoff.
For his birthday, Adam was dead-set on getting his first kiss. And since watching Bob Ross (this is one '80s reference we welcome) with his maybe-kinda-girlfriend didn't set the mood, he got Barry to help him throw a make-out party. It was, predictably, a disaster, because Barry is an idiot who tries to drink a gallon of milk as fast as possible, but also because make-out parties are always super weird and never work in general. After a series of mom and dad and Erica-as-mom hijinks, Adam eventually got his kiss. But not before we saw Murray without pants (pretty sure 75% of the reason Jeff Garlin is in this show is the amount of time he gets to spend pants-less) and Beverly made this horrifying cake:
2. The Mindy Project
So Mindy and Danny are done. Already. Ugh.
Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's discuss how this happened and the implications. The first of two episodes that aired last night opened with Mindy and Danny deciding to keep their relationship a secret, a situation that always leads to comedy hijinks. (See: "They don't know that we know they know we know.") But by the end of the episode, Danny—freaked out by what a former fling said about his lack of ability to stay in relationships—decided to break things off with Mindy, fearing that a romantic relationship would mean the loss of their friendship. Danny left Mindy crying on her bed, and a distinctly Nora Ephron-y soundtrack played as he looked up at her window.
The moment might have felt more earned if the show had explored the ramifications of Danny's dick move in the episode that followed it. Only it didn't, really. Mindy was being courted by a celebrity OBGYN played by Anna Gunn, and Danny was hitting on Peter's sister, played by JoAnna Garcia Swisher.
On one hand, the desire to pull Mindy and Danny apart is understandable from a storytelling perspective. It's more fun when a central couple is in the will-they-won't-they phase of their relationship. On the other hand, the move feels just like a cheap fakeout, one that's a result of the show's refusal to commit to any one thing. Plus, we're betting they get back together in the finale. It's called "Danny and Mindy," after all.
3. Trophy Wife
There were some good things about this week's Trophy Wife—the always appreciated Jamie Denbo guest starred, for instance—but those were overshadowed by the fact that the episode was basically one long promo for another ABC show, Scandal. Kate is obsessed with Scandal. Kate, after saving Diane's life, gives Diane Scandal DVDs. Diane becomes obsessed with Scandal. The whole thing ends with Kate and Diane becoming Gladiators to stop Denbo's character from blackmailing Kate. The episode just felt especially cruel, considering Scandal doesn't need the press and Trophy Wife is still on the cancellation bubble.
4. About a Boy
Last night's episode started out with so much promise. Will's poker night meant the show brought in the guest stars to fill out his circle of friends: Toofer! Dax Shepard! All right, maybe some new blood would break this show out of its rut – wait, nope, sorry. The show stuck with its "Will doesn't want to grow up" premise, as he threw a fit when Fiona crashed his guy's night and corrupted his friends into doing yoga and taking shots. Also, for all the advice Will gives Marcus, someone seriously needs to talk to the kid about wearing that beanie 24/7. Last night's episode did have some solid points on the torturous experience that is watching horror movies at middle school sleepovers, but it finished with a "Fiona got drunk" joke. Pass.
5. Growing Up Fisher
We're starting to think the whole point of this show is that everyone is a stalker. Seriously, on last night's episode every single character was stalking some one: Henry continued to stalk Jenny from across the hall, Joyce stalked her grad school study group, Katie stalked her theater crush, and Mel stalked Katie. Is this show slowly devolving into some weird crime serial-sitcom hybrid? Actually, that might be kind of interesting.