I've been with this show Pre-Devito, and this year is kind of a dividing point for me. The storylines don't seem to flow as well for me this year. Prior to this season, only Curb Your Enthusiasm had a tighter ebb of story-by-story connections each episode. This season seems...kinda sterilized. The production value is up, but most of the jokes seem to be at the expense of the story. Also the writers seem to want us to know the jokes before the punchline, most of the time because it's gonna be shocking/disgusting. Like the glory hole deal earlier this year. From the second you saw it, you knew two of the main male characters would end up in an awkward situation with that and they didn't dissapoint.
Compare that to an episode from season two which is probably one of the smartest episodes of the series.
- Mac bangs Dennis' mom. - Dennis threatens to sleep with then-Supervisor Charlie's crush, the Waitress unless he gives up his power. - Charlie tells Dennis about Mac, telling him to go after MAC's mom. - Charlie dispatches Dee to take the Waitress to watch this. - Charlie then uses Dee as a double agent to have Dennis go after his own mother, again having Dee trail with the Waitress. - Dennis and Dee's mom dumps Mac, admitting it was only to get back at Frank. - The Waitress, getting revenge on Dennis, sleeps with Frank, Dennis' Dad, causing Charlie, who masterminded a four-layered master plan to fail and lose his supervisor position for nothing.
I think you can blame a lot of this on the sudden popularity the show gained because of Hulu.
Just a heads up - the finale is already posted on AdultSwim.com I'm hoping the spoiler tags are sufficient for anyone who is waiting until the actual TV air date. (edit - spoilers removed as episode has now aired) NOT 24!!!!