The overwhelmingness of lists

It seems everywhere I look these days, there’s another Best of 2009 or Best of the 00’s list. And while you all should know by now that I love a good list, I’m finding these completely overwhelming.  Seeing everyone’s favorites makes me think I should have a list, but the thought of comprising my favorite movies/tv shows/albums from the last ten years is just too much, even for me. (Though, off the top of my head: Gilmore Girls, Sex and the City, The Office, Extras, Six Feet Under, Dexter and The Daily Show would all make this hypothetical list. And The West Wing. And The Colbert Report. And 30 Rock. See – too stressful!)

The other overwhelming aspect of these lists is there’s so much I haven’t seen that I feel I should. Or, on the flip side, there’s these great shows, such as Deadwood, Arrested Development and the original Office, that I’ve seen, but not for years, and seeing them pop up on every list make me want to watch them again. There are only so many hours in the day and so many days in a year, people! Stop with the list making already!

With that in mind, I’m creating  my own list, with a twist.  The following are TV shows from the past decade I resolve to (finally) watch in 2010.

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K-E-L-L-Y: The best musical moments on TV

Lists, lists, we got yer lists here!

I don’t know why I am constantly making up pointless lists about TV in my head. That’s just me.  And yes, I’ve done it again. After the Glee album was released a few weeks ago, I started thinking about my favorite Glee moments, which led to thinking about my favorite TV musical moments. That led to me making a list of said favorites, which brings us here.

Before I begin, a few things: First, I’ve not seen every show out there. These are just some of my favorite moments. I know, for instance, that Ally McBeal was chock-full of musical performances. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen it. Ditto for the first four seasons of American Idol. Second, by musical moments, I do not mean montages. I mean characters actually singing, or music being used effectively in a scene. (But there are a few exceptions for truly outstanding montages that could not be ignored.) Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a musical montage. But the list is long enough already; if I included every musical montage I loved, I’d be writing this entry forever.

Ready? Okay, here we go, in no particular order. Continue reading

“Coroners have their own bars?” The Great Frasier Rewatch, Part III

Ladies and gentlemen, the wait is over. Your prayers have been answered. The long-anticipated blog post is finally here. That’s right, it’s Part 3 of The Great Frasier Rewatch! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go here and here to read parts 1 and 2. Excited? Me too, let’s get started!

Season 3
Okay, hold on. Before I begin, let me just say that season 3 has a lot of great episodes, but I only picked a couple for this list. I’ll list some notable mentions at the end. Okay. Now, for reals, the list.

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“Dad wanted to, but I won the coin toss.” The Great Frasier Rewatch, Part II

Here’s the second installment of The Great Frasier Rewatch. If you’re totally lost, scroll down, or go here for part one. Let’s get right to it, shall we? Here are some more of my favorites.

Season 2

The%20Matchmaker
The Matchmaker:
One of Frasier’s most famous episodes, this is the first farce they ever did, and the first episode written by the show’s farce master, Joe Keenan. The plot gets a wee complex, so I’ll do my best to whittle it down. Daphne is depressed about her lack of a love life, and she and Frasier have a heart-to-heart. The next day, Frasier tells Roz about Daphne’s woes, and she offers to set Daphne up with one of her former boyfriends. He declines, insulting (hah, I first wrote “insluting”) her in the process. Later on at work, the new station manager, Tom, comes by during Frasier’s show. Frasier decides to invite Tom over for dinner, after finding out he used to live in London and is recently single. When Tom talks to Roz, he tells her Frasier asked him out – and since she is still angry from their earlier conversation, she doesn’t bother to correct his assumption that Frasier is gay. Got it so far? Ok. We cut to the night of the dinner – and – well, here, I’ll let you watch what happens next. Fun fact: Tom is played by Eric Lutes, who turned this gig into a starring role on Caroline in the City. According to the audio commentary (yes I listen to audio commentary, shut it), the day after this episode aired, the producer’s phones were ablaze – everyone wanted to know who the new guy was.

Niles’ reaction to finding out Tom is gay is absolutely priceless, and cracks me up every time. Ditto Daphne’s reaction.

Flour Child: So, this show makes me laugh. A lot. Pretty much every episode has me laughing at something. But during the rewatch, this is the first episode that made me laugh till I cried. Ironic, too, because when the episode started, I thought it was going to turn into a huge cliche. Why? Because the three Crane men are in a cab when the driver goes into labor. It actually ends up being quite funny, and afterwards, Niles starts thinking about having a child of his own. Frasier jokingly says he should do the old high school experiment of carrying around a sack of flour, and Niles takes his suggestion to heart, since Maris is once again out of town. Much hilarity ensues, and in the end, Niles decides he’s not ready. Here’s just a sample of said hilarity, but you really just ought to watch the whole episode.

 

Breaking the ice

Breaking the Ice: So, my favorite relationship on the show is, surprisingly, NOT Niles and Daphne, but rather the relationship between the three Crane men. Frasier and Niles have little in common with their father, but beneath the surface is a deep father/son bond. This is one of the few episodes in which their relationship is explored. In an attempt to bond with their father, Frasier and Niles agree to go ice fishing with Martin after his friend backs out. They both have their reasons: Niles just wants to get closer to Martin, while Frasier wants to Martin to finally say “I love you.” Once they get to the cabin, the bickering starts, and culminates with Niles dropping their car keys in the fishing hole. Forced to be with each other, and aided by Jim Beam, they begin to confide in each other (or, “break the ice”, if you will). Just before being rescued, Martin shyly tells his sons he loves them. It’s really Frasier (or any sitcom) at its best – perfectly combining the funny (such as Niles learning a bunch of inane facts about ice fishing to impress Martin) with the serious.

An_Affair_To_Forget

An Affair to Forget: Y’all remember this episode, right? It’s the one where Niles has an old fashioned duel. (Sort of.) It also won the 1995 Emmy for best writing in a comedy series. I have no idea what else it was up against, but for my money, the award was totally deserved. Niles tells Frasier how much more relaxed and pleasant Maris has been since she took up fencing on the same day Frasier gets a call from a German woman who suspects  her fencing instructor husband (Gunnar) is cheating on her. Frasier puts two and two together, goes to confront Maris, but accidentally tells Niles instead. On Martin’s advice, Niles decides to confront Gunnar. The only problem is, Gunnar doesn’t speak a word of English. Luckily, Niles’ maid Marta speaks German. So, in an odd game of telephone, Niles tells Frasier in English, who tells Marta in Spanish, who tells Gunnar in German. Here’s how the scene plays out:

Next: More farce and a big heartbreak, with seasons three and four. Stay tuned!

Emmy Nominations: The Good, The Bad and The Snubbed

Well, folks, the 2009 Emmy nominations came out yesterday, and as usual, there’s the expected (30 Rock), the unexpected (Jim Parsons!), the ridiculously snubbed (FNL, and though I’ve never seen it, Battlestar) and the mercifully snubbed (suck it, Piven!)

Believe it or not, I’m mostly ok with this list. There are some egregious snubs, which I’ll get to in a sec, but there’s also some unexpected delights.

The bad:

– It is ludicrous that Connie Britton didn’t get an nomination – and after switching over to supporting actress, even! I know that FNL is an off-the-beaten-path kind of show that shoots in Texas and not in Hollywood, and it’s probably off the radar for a lot of voters. But after seeing episode 4 of this season, in which Tami and Eric debate buying a new house, I don’t know how she could possibly have been left off the list. (This clip is, maddeningly, not available online, so here’s another great scene from this season.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

– Also oddly snubbed? Amy Ryan for outstanding guest actress on The Office. I’ll give them the Tina Fey SNL nom, but Christine Baranski and Jennifer Aniston over Amy Ryan? I love them all, but Ryan was the clear pick, here. Anyone who can make Michael Scott a human being with feelings deserves some acclaim.

– While I love Rainn Wilson, I would have rather seen The Office nomination go to John Krasinski. Or better yet, skip The Office all together and give it to Jason Segal for HIMYM. If you must include Rainn Wilson, fine, but what’s up with Kevin Dillon? Granted, I haven’t watched Entourage in years, but from everything I’ve read, the show is a distant memory of its former self. While we’re on HIMYM, no love for Cobie Smulders or Alyson Hannigan? Really?

– I kind of can’t believe the Beau Bridges nomination. It was a nice episode (yes, I watch Desperate Housewives. Shut up.) but not Emmy-worthy. Ditto with Steve Martin. If it’s protocol to honor guest stars from 30 Rock, why not give a shout out to Dean Winters, who plays the always  hilarious “Beeper King” Dennis Duffy? All together now, “Sub-way He-ro!”

– I have no real gripes about the drama nominations, mostly because I don’t watch many of the nominated shows. However, I was definitely bummed the supporting cast of Dexter didn’t get any recognition. Sure, Michael C. Hall is the best part of the show, but it has an extraordinary supporting cast. Were I in charge, I would have recognized Julie Benz as Rita and Lauren Velez as Lt. Laguerta.

The good:
– NPH! And no Piven to upset! This is his year, right? RIGHT?

– Jim Parsons! I only discovered The Big Bang Theory this year, but Sheldon is by far my favorite character. Dude makes the show.

Dr. Horrible! Wait, what? Yes, it’s true. They made up some new category, and I don’t fully understand the title (“Outstanding Special Class – Short-format Live-Action Entertainment Programs”….what?) but I’m thrilled the little Internet TV Sensation That Could is getting some major recognition. That’s good for Joss, for the Internet, AND for all the filmmakers out there who are trying to make it without studio backing.

HIMYM for best comedy! Even if it doesn’t win (and we all know it’ll go to 30 Rock) I’m glad it’s being recognized, because it truly is outstanding.

– All the Grey Gardens nominations. They were inevitable, but still, SO deserved. I don’t know how the academy will pick between Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. Hopefully, if they can’t decide, both ladies will take home a statue, instead of canceling each other out. I tried to find some clips for those who didn’t catch the film, but nothing really gave it justice. It’s out on DVD now; go rent it. If you get through the ending without crying buckets, you’re as soulless as Dexter Morgan.

My picks for the major nominations.

BEST DRAMA SERIES
Big Love
Damages
Dexter
House
Lost
Mad Men
Dexter, all the way. Granted, I don’t watch the other shows, so I am biased. But Dexter has been captivating from episode 1. Any show that can turn a killer’s confession into a marriage proposal (see below) is top notch in my book.

BEST ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Hugh Laurie, House
Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Simon Baker, The Mentalist
Again, I’m going with Dexter, though I realize Michael C. Hall probably won’t win. I’ve heard great things about all these guys. But it takes a lot of skill to turn a serial killer into a lovable, even funny, character, while still being scary as hell. And Hall gets extra props this year for dealing treading the line between “family man” and “psychopath.” (Though he is at his most fun when he returns to his crazy killing roots.)

BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Sally Field, Brothers and Sisters
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Glenn Close, Damages
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Holly Hunter, Saving Grace
I don’t watch any of these shows, and have no opinion.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Rose Byrne, Damages
Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy
Chandra Wilson, Grey’s Anatomy
Dianne Wiest, In Treatment
Hope Davis, In Treatment
Cherry Jones, 24
Ditto – though I did just see Cherry Jones on a theater panel, where she was wonderful. But again, I don’t watch these shows.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Kevin Dillon, Entourage
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Rainn Wilson, The Office
Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock
Jack McBrayer, 30 Rock
Jon Cryer, Two And A Half Men
Well, duh. NPH! I tried to find some of his best stuff from season 4, but HIMYM is also noticeably absent from YouTube. However, I think this pretty much says it all:

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
William Shatner, Boston Legal
Christian Clemenson, Boston Legal
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
William Hurt, Damages
Michael Emerson, Lost
John Slattery, Mad Men
Again, no opinion.

BEST COMEDY SERIES
Entourage
Family Guy
Flight Of The Conchords

How I Met Your Mother
The Office
30 Rock
This is a tough one. The Office saw a resurgence this year with the Michael Scott Paper Company plot line and Amy Ryan. 30 Rock is always amazing, and lest we forget, they had a Mamma Mia this year! However, I’m going to go with HIMYM, because it’s been deserving of a nomination since season 1, and 30 Rock and The Office have had their days in the sun.

BEST ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Jemaine Clement, Flight Of The Conchords
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Steve Carell, The Office
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Charlie Sheen, Two And A Half Men
I love Alec Baldwin and Steve Carell. But I’m going with Jim Parsons, because, as I said before, he makes the show. But really, I’d be happy if any of those 3 men won. Just as long as it’s not Tony Shaloub or Charlie Sheen.

BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures Of Old Christine
Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?
Sarah Silverman, The Sarah Silverman Show
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Toni Collette, United States Of Tara
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
Sorry haters, I’ve gotta go with Tina Fey. I hear MLP is amazing, I love Toni Collette, and Christina Applegate was hilarious as Rachel’s sister on Friends. But Tina Fey makes me laugh week after week. Also, what single gal my age doesn’t want to be Liz Lemon, just a little? In celebration of awkward, nerdy girls everywhere, here’s the best of Liz Lemon, as stated by…some person on YouTube with lots of time.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds
Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty

I have no real favorite here, but it’d be nice to see Kristin Chenoweth win for Pushing Daisies. I liked the show a lot – not as much as some fans, but a lot. However, for me it wasn’t Ned and Chuck. I was all about Olive Snook. (And also, the idea of Olive and Ned. Shh. Tell no one.)

The only thing I’ll say about the reality categories is I hope American Idol wins. Just because…look at the impact it has every year. I love Project Runway as much as the next person, (and would be thrilled if it won) but I think AI deserves some Emmy love.

And in terms of Variety or Talk Show…I am torn between Colbert and Stewart. Jon Stewart had Hall and Oats. But Colbert had Cookie Monster. Decisions, decisions.

So what are your thoughts? Did I get anything wrong? Are there any shows I don’t watch that I should? (Besides Mad Men. I already know. Oh, and Lost, because the reality is, I’m never going to watch that show. Sorry, Internet.)

For a full list of nominations, including best title sequence (do they still have those), best cinematography for a single camera show, and best lackey, go here.