For my last night of Halloween themed reviews, I thought I'd cover the spate of Halloween themed sitcom episodes that have aired over the past week. As a bonus, I'll also be mentioning my favorite costume of each episode.
The Venture Bros -- It was good to have the Ventures back on TV, even if for just one night; ready for the new season to start. While not the show's strongest effort, it did feature a strange appliance faced Cennobite-esque creature intoning "Submit to my pleasure toast!" and you just can't beat that. Best costume: Pete White as "Thinner Whiter Duke"
Ben and Kate -- This has proven to be my favorite new sitcom of the year, and the Halloween episode highlights all of the show's strengths: Ben and Tommy acting goofy, Kate somehow making being a total control freak seem totally cut, and plenty of BJ/Maddy interaction. Highlight was Ben realizing that his past behavior of blowing in and out of town made him an "emotional carny"; I hope that signals more plots where Tommy acts as more than just Ben's yes-man. I also hope that Geoff Stults will be around for a while as Kate's new potential love interest. Best costume of the episode: Kate as "Babe Ruth Bader Ginsburg"
The New Girl -- Before I watched this episode, I'd gotten a text from TopGun saying it was so funny, he had saved it on his DVR to watch later. About 1/3 of the way through, I was thinking he had way oversold it. Then we had Schmidt's repeated failed attempts at headbutting, and I began to rethink my assessment. And then Nick entered the haunted house, and I laughed nonstop for several minutes; Nick's constant freakout was comedy gold. Best costume: Jess as "Zombie Woodie Allen"
The Middle -- Very little of the episode was actually Halloween themed, with the bulk of the plot revolving around Sue's attempts to learn how to drive and Axel's surprising excitement about voting, but the one Halloween themed plot -- Brick consuming monster amounts of sugar that made him act normal -- was the highlight of the episode, especially when he came down. Best costume: Frankie as "Raggedy Mouse"
Modern Family -- Overall, much inferior to the previous Halloween episode about the Dunphy's over-the-top Halloween traditions, but the episode was still worth it for the visual gag of Manny getting opposing advice from kids in angel and devil costumes. Best costume: Luke as the aforementioned devil.
Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23 -- I'm probably the only person who was disappointed that the plot point of James van der Beek hating the scary side of Halloween didn't result in June remarking that it was ironic since Dawson loved scaring people. That irrational quibble aside, I loved this episode: James's positivity party was inspired, and the twists in Chloe's romance were both unexpected and hilarious. Best costume: June as "female hobbit" because of the thematic resonance . . . and hairy feet, because if we're not being authentic, why are we even here?!?!?!?!
Suburgatory -- Normally I'm not bothered by how bizarre the people of Chatswin are, but the angry mob accusing the feminist of being a witch felt like it was stretching the premise a bit too much. Best costume: a group shout out to Tess and crew as Mystery Inc.
The Big Bang Theory -- I'll admit I was kind of distracted during this episode, and since a DVR log-jam forced me to watch it live, I wasn't able to rewind to catch any of the bits I missed. Best costume: Bernadette as Smurfette.
Raising Hope -- "That is the definition of trickerish!" Burt continues to be one of my favorite characters on TV. Best costume: Barney as "Buy in Bulk Hulk"
The Mindy Project -- Although I've enjoyed this series more than I'd expected to, this was probably the weakest episode so far, although I did enjoy Mindy's costume montage. Best costume: Mindy's "Li'l Wayne on the Prarie"