What do they have in common? They're both good. I've never watched "South Park" regularly -- in the early years, I'd dip into the show and there was always some hilarious moment or two but it felt scattershot. With the release of their picks for the 10 best episodes, I read that Parker and Stone don't think they hit their stride creatively until season seven. That intrigued meand I've been watching the collection and the new season: they are probably right. While it's certainly not for everyone, the show is indeed much more satisfying now than before. Wednesday night's episode, for example, had Satan throwing himself a Super Sweet 16 Party and throwing hissy fits over the details a la the MTV series. (Parker and Stone definitely have a bone to pick with spoiled rich kids.) At the same time, the kids on the show were trying that trick of saying a dead person's name three times in a mirror -- thus raising Biggie Smalls from the grave. (The kid Butters(?) is especially adorable while Cartman remains wonderfully vile.) And in a third, truly outrageous plot, three serial killers (Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer and Gacy) are sent by Satan to pick up his cake. I have no idea why, but they constantly behaved like The Three Stooges when they weren't slaughtering everyone in sight. It was nonsensical, meaningless and very funny.
Meanwhile, I just caught the latest episode of "Friday Night Lights" and it remains top-notch. Why more critics aren't writing about it is beyond me. Every season, we're lucky if one new show is worth devoting time to -- this year, that show is "Friday Night Lights." Every storyline is involving, from the coach overwhelmed with his job to the stuttering, nervous quarterback trying to deal with his grandmother fighting dementia while his dad is in Iraq, to the alcoholic player guilty over the star quarterback's paralysis and on and on. Really good stuff. Make sure you watch Monday at 10 p.m. and catch up on previous episodes via iTunes or nbc.com If you don't like it, I won't refund your $2 per episode, but I will feel bad.