This Week’s Top 5 TV Moments: A Very Special Episode for 2016

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There are scores of TV shows out there, with dozens of new episodes each week, not to mention everything you can find on Hulu Plus, Netflix streaming, and HBO Go. How’s a viewer to keep up? To help you sort through all that television has to offer, Flavorwire is compiling the five best moments on TV each week. This time, a string of standout comedy episodes props up a week light on major premieres.

Black-ish Has “The Talk”

ABC wisely did its best to make sure this week’s episode of Black-ish, in which the family debates police brutality and the criminal justice system while watching yet another non-indictment and ensuing wave of protests on TV, got the media attention it deserved. There are so many things to praise about “Hope”: its ability to combine sitcom humor and pathos; the full spectrum of cynicism and optimism it represents; its status as something both uniquely contemporary and well within the hallowed tradition of the Very Special Episode. Regardless, it’s a must-watch.

Baby in Aisle 4

Also highly recommended is this week’s finale of Superstore, an underrated ensemble comedy about selected days in the lives of low-wage workers at the Walmart-esque Cloud 9. (Have a heavenly day!) As a standalone episode, it’s a great introduction to the show, combining the character work we’ve come to expect from Office-related shows — creator Justin Spitzer was a writer — with genuine commentary on real American labor issues like benefits, unionization, and maternity leave. Also: Ginsberg!

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Ilana for a Day

In this week’s Broad City, the Brooklyn co-op scene is both a thinly veiled excuse for Abbi Jacobson to bust out her Ilana impression and a perfectly reasonable explanation for it; stranger things can and have happened at the Park Slope mothership. Jacobson’s performance is a series highlight, showcasing the Ilana character’s absurdity through her renditions of wall-twerking, garbled social justice talk, and whatever dialect leads to that pronunciation of “kwayn.” Not that Ilana’s having an off week either, judging by her… acrobatic reaction to the news that Lincoln finally hooked up with someone else.

“A Street Corner Jesus”

I’ve already sung the praises of this Casey Affleck/Stephen Colbert interview elsewhere this week, but the principle bears repeating: sometimes, a terrible guest is a better gauge of a host’s abilities than a great one. A cranky, defensive Affleck brings out the gleeful insult comic in Colbert, who goes after the actor’s outfit and his apparent disappointment that the water onstage isn’t actually booze. There’s also a token effort to talk about the movie Affleck’s there to promote, but you can skip that.

Sad White People Unite!

Now that the actual Super Bowl is over, it’s time for the Thinkpiece Super Bowl: the season premiere of Girls! By airing Lena Dunham’s loving evisceration of hapless millennials back-to-back with Togetherness, the Duplass brothers’ loving evisceration of hapless Gen Xers, HBO restores its Sunday night comedy block to the hourlong troll we know and love. Both shows also demonstrate major improvements this season, but that’s not really the point, is it?