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TV That Matters: Dexter and The League

By: Matt ErnColumnist

Dexter-"Buck The System" Grade: B

If you’re still watching Dexter then you’ve probably had the heartbreaking experience of watching a show you love grow into a show you love-to-hate over the past few seasons. But surprisingly, this season has already been a huge improvement over the last year or two. Not quite to the level the show started out, but it’s at least watchable again. The best thing about this season is that Deb finally knows Dexter’s secret. The more boring part of Dexter in the past has been the lack of continuity between seasons- each one is sort of its own contained story where the status quo is restored by the end (except for maybe season 4). But this time the events of last season actually matter and Deb is trying to rehabilitate Dexter to get him to stop killing. It’s not the most thrilling storyline but at least it’s progress. Admittedly, the rest of this season’s stories are a little iffy. I find the whole investigation of the strip club kind of forgettable and Louis hardly seemed like a capable opponent for Dexter. He does deliver the episode’s best line: “It was a hooker! It’s not cheating if you paid for it!” But that’s not enough to make him a compelling character and I was really rooting to see him get his eyes drilled out on Dexter’s boat. The complexity of all the aspects of the investigations going on give me hope that the writers are building to some big, satisfying climax but I’ve been burned by Dexter before so who news. At least this episode saw a return to the kill-of-the-week format. Having Deb along for the ride was interesting albeit ineffectual in terms of Dexter actually killing his target, but that guy was one of the craziest murders the show has given us in a while so I’m kind of glad he’s still out there.

The League-"The Training Camp" Grade: B-

Last time I checked, The League wasn’t a cartoon, but you might not know that from watching last week’s nightmarishly cartoonish episode. Dream sequences abound and the whole sequence at the training camp relied a little too heavily on physical humor for me. The show has definitely strayed into that kind of broad, wacky territory before but something about last week’s episode missed the mark for me. The premise for getting the guys to the training camp was also a little flimsy for me, I find it hard to believe that Taco would have been able to scoop up the lapsed domain name for DallasCowboys.com. I did enjoy his new business venture though, a cowboy-based telegram system for delivering bad news (such as the fact that Taco won’t be able to pay back Kevin the money he owes him). There were plenty of other good bits to balance out the cartoony stuff too. Andre’s “talk to the hand” was solid as was Taco’s list of demands which included the right to post drawings of himself and people he knows on the Dallas Cowboys website as well as illustrations of famous people from history with food. The big twist to the episode was that Ruxin is now the league commissioner in exchange for not disputing Kevin’s status as league champion. Ruxin with total power has a lot of promise but also runs the risk of giving us a little too much Nick Kroll. He’s usually one of my favorite parts of the show but his personality can get grating in large doses.

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