Tuesday night is huge for television comedy. In order to make sense of all of the options, we've decided to rank the best shows each week to suss out who is coming out on top.
Note: Because Mindy and New Girl ended this week, this will be the final installment of our Tuesday Night Comedy Power Rankings. The other four shows still have finales to air, though, which we'll cover in our TV finale round-up.
1. The Mindy Project
The Mindy Project has been an emotional roller coaster for some of us (namely, Esther) this season. We began the season disappointed at the show's inconsistency, got all excited when Mindy and Danny finally shared that intense lip lock, and then became frustrated again when the show abruptly split them up. The season ended, however, on a glorious episode that played to the show's strengths, namely Kaling's talent for paying homage to, while also lightly skewering, romantic comedy tropes. So, we got a hint of You've Got Mail as Danny tried to catfish Mindy in order to win her back. There was a lot of When Harry Met Sally... considering the characters watched the movie—clutch Meathead reference there too—and then embarked on a scenic tour of New York City. (Real New York City > Hollywood Backlot New York City.) Finally, the show ended with a whole bunch of Sleepless in Seattle as Mindy and Danny finally reunited on the top of the Empire State Building. When Danny arrived, after having given up way too early, Mindy was passed out because a stupid guard told her the elevator was out of service.
Though we admit to being annoyed with the quick break up, earlier in the season, it makes sense now seeing the show's finale. Kaling and her writers set up a perfect romantic comedy final act. The question is now: what comes next? It's fine that we don't know what happens to Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan at the end of Sleepless in Seattle after they walk off the Empire State Building to the tune of "Make Someone Happy." We are going to be obligated to know what happens to Mindy and Danny because the show has been renewed.
And a great finale doesn't mean that the show still doesn't have problems. Some characters still feel underused. (Poor JoAnna Garcia Swisher, introduced seemingly as a big foil to Danny and Mindy's relationship and then tossed to the curb.) What made the finale so appealing is that it put all the focus on the show's sure thing: the chemistry between the inherently appealing Kaling and Chris Messina as Mindy and Danny. Here's hoping things work out for those two.
2. The Goldbergs
The Goldbergs followed up last week's stellar episode with another Barry-centric one, and while it wasn't quite as all-around great, it was plenty entertaining. Barry's foray into high school wrestling was, like his arcade addiction, a perfect fit for the character. So what if he kept confusing Wrestle Mania for the real thing? The Goldberg does what The Goldberg does — his mother says his eyes are "the brownest brown," after all. Barry and Murray kept the wresting a secret from Beverly, though, telling the worrywart mother that Barry was playing "Daddy Fucking Warbucks" in Annie instead. The episode ended the only way it could: with Barry wrestling his mother in front of the school.
But let's talk about that B-plot for a second. It followed Adam and Erica waiting in line for the Return of the Jedi premiere, which proves The Goldbergs does not adhere to chronological consistency. Jedi premiere was in 1983, but in "You're Not Invited," which aired a month ago, the opening of Al Capone's vault (1986) played a central role. That's not necessarily an issue, and it explains why the show opens with "1980-something."
3. Trophy Wife
Once again we got a charming episode of Trophy Wife, which continues to pair its principals in interesting ways. This week, Diane and Pete took Hillary and Warren to college, where Pete tried to get Warren interested in more than just cereal and Diane tried to talk Hillary down when she realizes she's not the smartest one in her science program. Meanwhile, Jackie took Kate to her high school reunion, and pretended that the two of them were married in order to seem cool to her once-teenage tormenters. Finally, Meg and her dumb boyfriend Tevin (hi, Paul Brittain) babysat Bert. By continuing to arrange its characters in various ways, the show proves how strong each of the performances are. Save Trophy Wife!
4. New Girl
What a boring finale. For a season that had truly phenomenal moments — the Nick/Jess break-up comes to mind — it ended with a dud. The gang goes on a cruise that Nick and Jess booked when they were still a couple, despite "qualms" that the now-exes would make it weird. And they did, of course. Nick and Jess can claim to be "the best ex-couple in the world" all they want, but it will only lead to a weird intervention in a cramped room on a cruise ship. The ending of the episode was solid, with the gang admitting all their weirdness: CeCe has made out with half the guys they hang out with (Schmidt, Coach) and Winston has had nightmares about making out with the other half (Nick, himself). But that doesn't matter, because "all of us are weird but we're all still friends," which is probably the clearest distillation of this show yet. Not even Zooey wearing her own dress could turn this episode around, though, as the best part about it was what it set up for next season: Nick and Schmidt living together, sharing bunk beds.
5. About a Boy
Finally, an episode of About a Boy that didn't fall into exactly the same formula. Will, remarkably, was not a completely stunted man-child. Instead, he had to make an adult choice between the woman he is dating, and the kid who has essentially become his surrogate son. Sure, he and Fiona fight over what entertainment to have at the party—video games vs. bubbles—but that's not the root of the episode. Unfortunately, Benjamin Stockham, the kid who plays Marcus, has seemingly grown more unnatural and hammy as the series progresses.
6. Growing Up Fisher
Fisher is prone to creating uncomfortable story lines, but without being funny. This week's was a weird one where Henry is bullied by some eighth graders who call Joyce a "MILF" (the network-friendly version: Mom I'd Like to Feel-up), and Henry, not knowing what that means, says "Yea she is!" It leads to him threatening to fight an eighth grader, which doesn't end up happening, but not before Runyen punches Henry in the face. The episode had the Fisher family lying to one another, with Katie breaking up and reuniting with her boyfriend yet again, Mel hiding his stress-induced back pain, and Joyce quitting school.