The Week in TV: "I'll Have...A Birthday Cake!"

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It was a pretty fun week in TV Land: Most of the fall programs are beginning to settle in, the CW continued its inexplicable existence, and David Letterman hit it with some employees. Insert your Worldwide Pants jokes here, and let's get to it!

• I won't go into much here about FlashForward, since I've started blogging it all official-like for the HP. But this show has the potential to be the most epic cheeseball sci-fi show on the air right now. Like when one guy said to another of the global glimpse of the future that everyone is now united by their story of where they were and what they saw, asking rhetorically (and I'm paraphrasing), "When in human history has that ever happened?" Well, 9/11, the moon landing, Pearl Harbor, every presidential assassination or attempt, and the time that chick shot J.R., for starters. Come on, dude! That stuff happens all the time! Maybe the show should explore that.

Community killed again, folks. This is the funniest new show of the season. John Michael Higgins was outstanding and hilarious as an idealistic teacher who makes his students stand on their desks and tells them to seize the day. (Sample: At a coffee stand, he examines the menu before tearing it, announcing, "I'll have ... a birthday cake!") I already loved Higgins for his work on Arrested Development and Christopher Guest movies, but taking the piss out of the cloying and overrated Dead Poets' Society? Sir, you are magnificent.

• Seriously, David Letterman spent like 10 minutes Thursday night turning the tables on CBS News' Robert Joel Halderman, who'd allegedly threatened to go public with news of Letterman's dalliances with employees unless the late-night host coughed up $2 million. Letterman responded "Oh no you di'n't son" and called the cops, then took to the airwaves to talk about it. Weird postscript: CBS didn't officially upload that clip to YouTube, as it often does with Letterman pieces, and it spent the weekend flagging illicit copies for removal. So get searching in case they scrub this thing from the intertubes.

• To the tens of you watching Dollhouse: Hang in there, because I have no idea if this thing will survive. Of course it would be nice if it did, but this isn't the WB, and creator Joss Whedon is used to being canned by Fox when his shows don't do well. The series posted its lowest ratings ever on Friday, with 2.1 million viewers and a 0.8 preliminary rating in 18-49. That's pretty rough. When is this guy gonna go to a premium cable network? Twelve eps per season, an hour each, all the cursing and plot development you want. The best shows of the past decade have all been on premium nets. Come on, Joss. Do something the way you want it done, and it just might stick around.

Modern Family's got some good moments, too. Like I said last week, Ty Burrell is on it, and I'm also a fan of the gay couple played by Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Show's got some legs on it.

• Here's a basic cable show for you: The First 48 on A&E. Homicide cops doing their thing. No frills, great stories, and totally worth your time.

• Over on Mad Men, Creepy Pete got kinda rapey with the German au pair next door, while Betty had the moves put on her by the government official she's been flirting with, and nobody really dealt with any consequences. But like Betty told her daughter: "You don't kiss boys, boys kiss you." Life's tough in the aluminum siding business.

Scheduling note: Community moves back to 7 p.m. Central on Thursday, its new time period. The Office, at 8 p.m., will be an hour long, since Jim and Pam are getting married and I'll watch and probably get a little misty. (I'm weak.) And a week from Thursday, on Oct. 15, the blessed 30 Rock comes back. I want to go to there.


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