20 Funniest Shows….Ever

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A few weeks ago, my friend Kim and I went to see a live performance of Tituss Burgess (“Titus” from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”). While waiting in line, Kim mentioned that one of her friends had asked why she and I would go to something like that, considering that “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” isn’t one of the 20 funniest shows ever. I don’t disagree with the unnamed critic, at least as far as rankings go (though, as long as it’s a show that I enjoy, why wouldn’t I pay to see Tituss (and Jane Krakowski) live?). But of course, it got me thinking about what shows actually are the 20 funniest ever.

A few caveats: 1) I purposefully did not count talk shows, so you won’t see shows like Late Night with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, or the Daily Show with Jon Stewart on here. 2) Shows get dinged for going on past their natural expiration date. For instance, I have “How I Met Your Mother” off of the top 20 – had it ended after, say, season 4, it easily would have sailed into my top 20. 3) This is a list about funny shows. I know there are good shows, especially on cable, that are categorized as comedies (“Transparent,” “Shameless,” etc.). These are not funny shows. They are purposefully not included. No show has ever been more liberally described as a comedy than “Girls.” Yet there’s not one laugh in any of the episodes I watched. 4) My (long) list of Honorable Mentions is beneath the Top 20, presented in alphabetical order.  5) This endeavor is wholly personal. Please feel free to disagree with me in the comments below. Without further ado, my top 20:

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2014 MLB Playoffs

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I’ve tried to keep sports out of this blog, despite my rabid fandom for the Yankees, Knicks and Jets. That said, it’s time for the baseball playoffs, and because my beloved Yankees failed to qualify, I have to determine which team I will support. So, I came up with the only scientific metric I could think of: Judge each team based on the most famous television show that took place in that city, and crown a winner. Spoiler alert: TV shows that took place in LA are far more plentiful than those that took place in Kansas City, as you’ll see. Without further ado, my 2014 MLB Playoff Picks: Continue reading

March (TV) Madness

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In honor of March Madness, I thought I’d take a look to determine, bracket-style, what really is the best TV theme song ever. Rather than a full 64-song bracket, I started with a top 32. A few caveats: Obviously, I’m biased more on recent shows, although the art of the great TV theme song is vanishing. Also, I tend to favor songs with words (plural), so no Batman, Parks and Recreation (even with Star Wars references), or The Office (US version). Lastly, these had to be opening theme songs, so the chung-chung from Law & Order doesn’t count. (And I was torn whether to include the Jeopardy! music as well).

To me, the ideal theme song conveys enough of what the show is about to catch up casual viewers (i.e. blatantly spelling out the plot, like in The Brady Bunch or Green Acres). But it also has to be a good song; that’s crucial. Catchy, but also good enough that you won’t mind hearing it, say, 400 times. Continue reading

We have to go back, or, Why I still don’t like the finale of LOST

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May 23, 2010. “The End.”

I’m not sure that I’ve ever anticipated a series finale more than the last episode of LOST.

I remember watching the last episode of Cheers, and thinking that it delivered in a perfect way. In the final moments of the show, Ted Danson’s Sam Malone is standing in the darkened bar and says, “I’m the luckiest son of a bitch on Earth.” As a potential patron knocks on the door, Sam simply replies, “Sorry. We’re closed.” It was an elegantly simple conclusion: A show about a bar, ending after last call and with the tavern closed for the night.

The Seinfeld finale has been lambasted (rightly so) for underwhelming and failing to deliver a satisfying conclusion beyond merely parading out characters from past episodes. But Seinfeld didn’t have the burden that LOST did of having to answer questions, resolve mysteries, and confirm or make obsolete fan theories that had built up over six years. Continue reading