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Archive for the ‘how i met your mother’ Category

The talk sucks.

This little nugget from Barney explains the relationship talk so well, don’t you think?

See, Barney and Robin’s kiss at the end of last season caused Lily to a have a ” woo” moment, but they played it off as neither of them really wanting to take it forward. Except they have sex all summer long. That info makes Lily crazy, and she begins to pressure them into having ” the talk”. Robin insists they’ve tried to have ” the talk”, but neither of them likes “the talk” , so whatever. Why do they have to define it? Lily can think of one reason- you don’t end up going to a hockey game with built like a Mack truck Brad ( ” Wow, there are really six of them…” Robin exclaims after seeing his six pack) and having Barney going to the game to punch Brad in the face. So Lily tries the next logical step- lock them in a room until they have ” the talk”. And when push comes to shove, they decide to lie. Except the only people they’re lying to is themselves. Barney and Robin are a couple. Just don’t tell them that.

The other story, Ted, starting his new job at Columbia as an adjunct professor ( ” P-R-O-F-… F?”) gives us a schizoid douche Ted, as he changes his mind about what kind of professor he is going to be thirty times in ten seconds ( “You can call me Ted. Professor Mosby. T-Dog. Don’t call me T-Dog”). Turns out his ” class” is really Economics 305.  But as we know, the mother is somewhere in that Economics 305 class.

The show was uneven all through its fourth season, with some really great moments in between totally suck ass moments. This episode is a smashing return to form. It plays with the concept of relationships needing specific labels while admitting that the labels help the rest of the world know what you are. The show, for all it’s comedic brilliance, has been one of the best examples of the masks we place on everyday to impress a society that judges. Barney and Robin refuse to label their relationship for themselves out of fear and past mistakes, but in their own way label themselves as the iconoclasts they pretend to be. Lily’s obsession over the Barney and robin dynamic fits with Lily’s desire to be perceived as New York Typical ( even her double dating couples fantasy was oddly Americana- camping? Can you see Lily camping?). Even a woefully underused Marshall was complicit- he sees Professor Ted as Indiana Jones, and gets him a fedora and bull whip. But it’s Ted, so worried as always of what people really think of him, that learns a lesson. Late for his class, he doesn’t have time to think about a persona. He just talks about architecture.

Grade: B+

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5:50 Going for a quick cigarette outside before awards begin.

6:00 Opening spiel, then NPH singing in a white dinner jacket. Yummy.

6:04 ” I grew up on television.”

6:05 Shaiman and Whitman wrote the song. Knew it.

6:07 Tour of the Emmy set.

6:09 Funny Emmy clip reel.

6:11 Jon Hamm ( sigh) and Tina Fey ( sigh). Supporting Actress in a comedy.

6:12 WTF Chenoweth?

6:13 The winner is… Kristin Chenoweth (stunner shocker but happiness!) She sobs her way funnily through her speech. I wanna hug her.

6:08 Comedy categories first. I’m suddenly very nervous for hubby Jim Parsons.

6:21 Some Neil and Hodgman funnies, then a convenient plug for HIMYM.

6:22 So surprised 30 Rock won a writing award. (Sarcasm)

6:27 Jon Cryer wins. Why?

6:28 One very pissed off NPH/30 Rock fan right here. ARGH!

6:33 I’m very worried about the rest of my picks. I’m 1 for three. The one- writing.

6:35 Justin Timberlake presenting Actress in a Comedy series. And he’s funny and charming.

6:36 Toni Colette wins. I’m way off tonight. I’m trying to figure out what tonight is gonna be. Watch Charlie Sheen win in a couple of minutes.  This is turning into a nightmare show for me 9 although I like Toni and Kristin, I like their shows, but I honestly thought they wouldn’t win).

6:39 NPH asks Cryer to show the envelope. It really does say ” Jon Cryer”.

6:41 The GG girls turn it over to Tina and JT, who thank Lorne Michaels for their Guest Actor wins. Then the GG girls present  Best Comedy direction to The Office’s Jeff Blitz.

6:48 Rob Lowe presenting Actor in a comedy. He mocks himself.

6:52 I’m gonna drink an entire bottle of wine right now and drown ,y tears because Jim Parsons did not win.

7:29 I have spent the last forty minutes trying to fix a computer crash. Rundown- Reality shows no surprise, mini/TV movies are pretty ho hum. Dr. Horrible- hilarious! Love the buffering jokes. And Captain Hammer to boot. Jessica Lange beats out Drew Barrymore.

7:59 Apparently Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco were on stage with Jim Parsons when he presented. I didn’t notice as I laid at the foot of my TV stand staring worshipfully at a comedy God who was robbed of his Emmy. Really, I need a life.

8:01 I do not have a problem. All of you shut up.

8:02 Jimmy Fallon won as a member of the SNL writing team, right?

8:03 Jimmy is making me laugh. He hasn’t done this since he was on SNL.

8:05 It has to be “Motherlover”. Seriously.

8:05 It’s the Oscars team. Are you kidding me?

8:06 Ricky Gervais. Worshiping at the feet of the king.

8:07 ” Me, again.” HA!

8:08 Gervais present best comedy variety show to The Daily Show. Never disappointed when TDS gang wins. As I am also much in ,love with Jon Stewart. Have been since his MTV talk show in the mid 90s.

8:16 Prezzie time. But no Prezzie speech. Thank God.

8:17 Drama time. Great. Night should be ending soon. Crushing disappointments tonight. Cryer/Baldwin just took me out.

8:19 LL and Chris O’Donnell not funny at all. Supporting Actor goes to… Michael Emerson. My best friend Rosie probably just screamed with joy. I still couldn’t tell you what role he played.

8:21 Chris and LL also doing Supporting Actress. And that award goes to Cherry Jones.  Who is a theater goddess, so we are delighted.

8:23 In Memorium.

8:33 Hot vampires!

8:35 Ellen Burstyn and Michael J. Fox present directing for drama.

8:36 The award goes to the E.R. dude.

8:37 Now they present drama writing. I’m guessing… Mad Men.

8:38 Yeah, shocker again (Sarcasm).

8:39 Yeah, I’m one of those guys at Starbucks with a computer or notebook, writing away.

8:40 Simon ” Hot accent” Baker is presenting the actress drama award to Glenn Close. I am WAY OFF  with these damn acting awards this year. WTF?

8:44 Right now I’m kinda hoping Hugh Laurie wins and makes me 0-for-eight for acting awards.

8: 48 Dana Delaney presents Actor in a drama.  Bryan Cranston wins. This is the one I get right. And he rightfully deserves it. His performance is searing.

8:52 Bob Newhart presents Best Comedy. And drones on a bit.  But has some good lines.

8:54 30 Rock. Which is about as surprising as me eating peanut M&Ms.

8:56 I have never been so unhappy to see Cat Deeley in my life. I want my final award.

9:00 Emmys are going over.

9:00 I’m actually looking forward to Criminal Minds.

9:01 Sigourney Weaver presents best drama to Mad Men. No effing surprise.

That is it for the night and the year. Early surprises in acting awards turn into a night where many repeat winners come along.  Still crushed about Jim Parsons losing. May never be okay again…

Can’t wait until The Big Bang Theory premieres tomorrow night.

Till the next one ( Golden Globes in January, everyone!)

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Mondays:

CBS: How I Met Your Mother (8 pm EST), The Big Bang Theory (9:30 EST)

NBC: Heroes ( 8 pm EST), Chuck ( beginning in March 2010)

Fox: House ( 8 pm EST), Lie To Me ( 9 pm EST)

CW: Gossip Girl ( 9 pm EST)

ABC: Dancing With The Stars ( 8 pm EST), Castle ( 10 pm EST)

Mondays are again cluttered with good TV and fan faves. Expect Castle to see  ratings to increase as NBC replaces scripted TV with Jay Leno, Fox and CW go local,  and CBS airs the aging but still popular CSI: Miami.  Also, Big Bang will likely become the most watched scripted show on a Monday by May. Yes, it will surpass lead in Two and a Half Men. HIMYM  at 8 pm, as well as it’s 100th episode, may seal this sitcom’s fate. I predict that unless there is a serious ratings bump and it does a better anchoring job than in the past, this will be HIMYM final season. Heroesis in turmoil after two seasons of disappointing stories and uneven episodes, and the fans are leaving in droves. Only a section of diehards are here, and we’re holding out hope that Tim Kring turns it around. Introducing a new villain, as much as we all love Sylar, will help. CW still has the corner on the youth buzz market, but One Tree Hill  is past it’s prime, and Gossip Girl  needs less shock value, more actual story telling. All the whispers about the House  season six premiere being amazing leads me to believe House’s break down is going to revive the aging series and give Hugh Laurie something new to do.  Lead out Lie To Me still has two things going for it- an intriguing premise and Tim Roth. The biggest disappointments are the fact none of NBC’s one hour dramas, including Monday night entry Trauma, seem to be worthy of my time, and Chuck  won’t be back until March. Unless, of course, NBC’s entire fall sked falls apart. Which it will.

Tuesdays:

CBS:  NCIS ( 8 pm EST), NCIS: Los Angeles ( 9 pm EST), The Good Wife ( 10 pm EST)

NBC: forget it.

Fox: So You Think You Can Dance ( 8 pm EST), American Idol ( January 2010)

CW: destroying the happy memories of my youth.

ABC: V (November 2009), DWTS Results show ( 9 pm)

Frankly, I’m not a huge NCIS  fan, I refuse to watch the new CW revivals of early 90s Fox shows, so outside of Fox’s dance and singing programs and the very promising looking CBS drama The Good Wife, the only thing I’m waiting for is V. I’m a geek, yes.

Wednesdays:

CBS: Criminal Minds ( 9 pm EST)

NBC: Nope.

Fox: SYTYCD Results Show ( 8 pm EST), Glee ( 9 pm EST), Idol Results Show ( January 2010, well, more like February 2010)

CW: America’s Next Top Model ( 8 pm EST)

ABC: Modern Family ( 9 pm EST)

I have faith that Criminal Mindswill find its way back after an uneven season that has given us a couple of classic episodes and several clunkers, but I’m such a Gleek that for the first time I’m really compelled to watch something besides my favorite BAU gang. Fox has put so much money into the musical dramedy that picking up the back nine is a good bet. NBC has nothing new to offer, really, just SVU and the disappointing looking Mercy. Modern Family  is the most interesting looking sitcom not on NBC Thursdays.

Thursdays:

CBS: The Mentalist ( 10 pm EST)

NBC: Community ( October 2009), Parks and Recreation ( 8:30 pm EST), The Office (9:00 pm EST), 30 Rock ( 9:30 pm EST)

Fox: Bones ( 8 pm EST), Fringe ( 9 pm EST)

CW: neither show is on my radar.

ABC: I’ve stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy.  No George, no me.

It’s either indulge my Comedy geek or indulge my science geek. Right now, I’m leaning to the science geek, as rewatching Fringe over the summer has reminded me that this is a really good show and deserves my patronage. And I’m still a Bones  fan. But giving up NBC’s one solidly good night of TV is a tough one. This may be the night I’m grateful for reruns. At least there is no Sophie’s Choice at 10, where I can watch Simon Baker’s charming performance on The Mentalist  all I want. I’m not into vampire love triangles and I’ve never been an avid Supernatural fan, and ABC’s soapy line up leaves me cold.

Fridays:

CBS:  I don’t watch any of them.

NBC: Or them.

Fox: Dollhouse (9 pm EST)

CW: Never watched Smallville.

ABC: Ugly Betty ( 9 pm EST)

Push comes to shove, it’s Dollhouse. I would follow Joss Whedon to the grave and I refuse to give up on this interesting but not yet great show. If it proves to infuriating, I’ll let the Betty gang continue to crush my heart with it’s continued downward spiral.

Saturdays and Sundays:

CBS: The Amazing Race ( 8 pm EST), Three Rivers ( 9 pm EST) ( both on Sunday)

NBC:  nada

Fox: The Simpsons ( 8 pm EST), the Seth McFarlane 90 minute block ( 8:30 pm EST)

CW: literally nothing. CW has dropped weekend programming.

ABC: can someone tell me why these shows are all still on?

ABC’s very tired line up of warm-hearted sob stories and drippy soapy dramedies has gotten boring. CW has nothing on. NBC has football. There is literally NOTHING on Saturday nights, and only CBS and Fox have anything worth watching on Sundays. Fox’s two hour comedy block is solid entertainment, still amusing, even if The Simpsons, entering it’s trillionth season, is creaking a bit ( it can still knock an episode out of the park once a season though). I’m not the biggest fan of Seth McFarlane’s work, but I certainly don’t begrudge him his phenomenal success. When I do watch The Family Guy I do laugh quite a bit. And The Cleveland Show is rumored to have more heart in the mix. CBS has the always reliable 60 Minutes,  and I love The Amazing Race, but launching Three Riverson Sundays is a bit of a gutsy move. CBS has a lot of faith in this show. I’m an Alex O’Loughlin fan, but I’m a bit worried about it.

Other shows to watch over the season:

HBO: Real Time With Bill Maher ( Fridays), Curb Your Enthusiasm (fall 2009)

ABC: Lost ( presumably Wednesdays, January/February 2010)

AMC: Mad Men ( currently airing on Sundays, with reruns throughout the week), Breaking Bad ( 2010), The Prisoner ( 2009/2010)

FX: Damages, Rescue Me, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

TNT: The Closer

 NBC: The Olympics ( February 2010)

 

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Best Drama

Big Love

Breaking Bad

Damages

Dexter

House

Lost

Mad Men

I know Mad Men  is the mega buzz show right now, I know Lost fans think that it is THE GREATEST SHOW EVER ( they’re wrong). House  and Dexter both buckled under their previous genius this past season, Big Love is pretty bland for something that’s supposed to be so controversial ( it’s just another family drama). Damages  has bright spots, almost all involving Glenn Close, but is wildly inconsistent. My pick is the searing, surprising Breaking Bad, which is quickly surpassing even Mad Men as my new favorite cable drama.

Best Comedy

Entourage

Family Guy

Flight of the Conchords

How I Met Your Mother

The Office

30 Rock

Weeds

I’m picking 30 Rock because the only sitcom better than it isn’t even nominated. ( All Big Bang Theory fans unite in your grief!) It’s not that 30 Rock is undeserving, it’s just that TBBT is much more consistent.

Best Television Movie

Coco Chanel

Grey Gardens

Into The Storm

Prayers for Bobby

Taking Chance

It was just sheer brilliance.

Best Reality Competition Series

The Amazing Race

American Idol

Dancing With The Stars

Project Runway

Top Chef

This is obviously a case between what I want and what I know. Project Runway  is one of my favorite shows in history, but it can’t compete with the exotic locales and sheer scope of CBS multiple award winning reality show.  The fact is, The Amazing Race is amazing.

Best Reality Series

Antiques Roadshow

Dirty Jobs

Dog Whisperer

Intervention

Kathy Griffin: My Life On the D List

Mythbusters

Kathy Griffin FTW.

 

Best Variety, Music, or Comedy Series

The Colbert Report

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Late Show with David Letterman

Real Time with Bill Maher

Saturday Night Live

I’m sorry. I love Jon and Stephen to death, you know it, I know it. But Bill Maher has been a favorite of mine for years. I still disagree with ABC’s decision to scrap him, I admire HBO for not letting him go away into that good night, and Religulous was a thought provoking scream. Give him a goddamn Emmy.

Best Actor Drama

Simon Baker The Mentalist

Gabriel Byrne In Treatment

Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad

Michael C. Hall Dexter

Jon Hamm Mad Men

Hugh Laurie House

While I’m still smarting about Hugh Laurie being Emmyless, Bryan Cranston is giving the best performance on television right now. I’m thinking Laurie’s time may have passed and James Spader has his Emmy.

Best Actor Comedy

Alec Baldwin 30 Rock

Steve Carrell The Office

Jermaine Clement Flight of the Conchords

Jim Parsons The Big Bang Theory

Tony Shaloub Monk

Charlie Sheen Two And A Half Men

Without question, Parsons is putting together a comedic performance that will go down in history. There is a very thin line he dances on between eccentric genius and hateful ass, but he plays it beautifully. For a character with little insight into the human condition, Parson’s Sheldon comes off as the most human of all. A lot of that credit must go to Parsons, who has an innate goodness and loads of charm. The two headed monster that is Alec Baldwin and Steve Carrell still have an excellent chance of winning, and one must never count Tony Shaloub out ( the Emmys love the guy). But my heart and soul believes that Parsons actually DESERVES it.

Best Actor Mini Series or Movie

Kevin Bacon Taking Chance

Kenneth Branagh Wallander: One Step Behind

Kevin Kline Cyrano de Bergerac: Great Performances

Brendan Gleeson Into The Storm

Sir Ian McKellan King Lear: Great Performances

Keifer Sutherland 24: Redemption

I never thought I would get a chance to see McKellen do Lear. I’m glad I got that chance, albeit on PBS. The highlight of my TV viewing life.

Best Actress Drama

Glenn Close Damages

Sally Field Brothers and Sisters

Mariska Hargitay Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Holly Hunter Saving Grace

Elisabeth Moss Mad Men

Kyra Sedgwick The Closer

Elisabeth Moss is so freakin’ good as Peggy Olson she has to win or there is no justice in this universe.

Best Actress Comedy

Christina Applegate Samantha Who?

Toni Colette United States of Tara

Julia Louis- Dreyfus The New Adventures of Old Christine

Tina Fey 30 Rock

Mary Louise Parker Weeds

Sarah Silverman The Sarah Silverman Program

Long time readers know I want to be Tina Fey when I grow up.

Best Actress Mini Series or Movie

Drew Barrymore Grey Gardens

Jessica Lange Grey Gardens

Shirley MacLaine Coco Chanel

Sigourney Weaver Prayers For Bobby

Chandra Wilson Accidental Friendship

It will be either Drew or Jessica, and I’m going with the former, because we forget what a good actor she is amongst the crazy that is her life.

Best Reality Host

Tom Bergeron Dancing With the Stars

Phil Keoghan The Amazing Race

Heidi Klum Project Runway

Padma Lakshimi and Tom Colicchio Top Chef

Jeff Probst Survivor

Ryan Seacrest American Idol

I have a bizarre crush on Tom Bergeron. And Cat Deely isn’t nominated.

Best Supporting Actor Drama

Christian Clemenson Boston Legal

Michael Emerson Lost

William Hurt Damages

Aaron Paul Breaking Bad

William Shatner Boston Legal

John Slattery Mad Men

Best supporting categories are the most prime for surprises, though if you have seen Breaking Bad, you know this is no surprise. Paul gives as good as he gets.

Best Supporting Actor Comedy

Jon Cryer Two and a Half Men

Kevin Dillon Entourage

Neil Patrick Harris How I Met Your Mother

Jack McBrayer 30 Rock

Tracy Morgan 30 Rock

Rainn Wilson The Office

Because I will not rest until Barney Stinson is awarded an Emmy.

Best Supporting Actress Drama

Rose Byrne Damages

Hope Davis In Treatment

Cherry Jones 24

Sandra Oh Grey’s Anatomy

Dianne Weist In Treatment

Chandra Wilson Grey’s Anatomy

Chandra Wilson is truly the heart and soul of Grey’s.

Best Supporting Actress Comedy

Kristen Chenoweth Pushing Daisies

Jane Krakowski 30 Rock

Elizabeth Perkins Weeds

Amy Poehler Saturday Night Live

Kristin Wiig Saturday Night Live

Vanessa L. Williams Ugly Betty

Jane Krakowski is one of my favorite actresses of all time.

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Emmy Nominees Announced!

Below are the nominees for the major categories of the Emmys nominations released earlier today. I will post my thoughts and picks in the near future, but needless to say, the Emmy voters got more right than usual, but why do people who hate television so much get to select what is the best of television?

 

Best Drama

Big Love

Breaking Bad

Damages

Dexter

House

Lost

Mad Men

Best Comedy

Entourage

Family Guy

Flight of the Conchords

How I Met Your Mother

The Office

30 Rock

Weeds

Best Television Mini Series

Generation Kill

Little Dorrit

Best Television Movie

Coco Chanel

Grey Gardens

Into The Storm

Prayers for Bobby

Taking Chance

Best Reality Competition Series

The Amazing Race

American Idol

Dancing With The Stars

Project Runway

Top Chef

Best Reality Series

Antiques Roadshow

Dirty Jobs

Dog Whisperer

Intervention

Kathy Griffin: My Life On the D List

Mythbusters

Best Variety, Music, or Comedy Special

Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush

Ricky Gervais: Out Of England

Kathy Griffin: She’ll Cut A Bitch

The Kennedy Center Honors

Chris Rock: Kill The Messenger

Best Variety, Music, or Comedy Series

The Colbert Report

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Late Show with David Letterman

Real Time with Bill Maher

Saturday Night Live

Best Actor Drama

Simon Baker The Mentalist

Gabriel Byrne In Treatment

Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad

Michael C. Hall Dexter

Jon Hamm Mad Men

Hugh Laurie House

Best Actor Comedy

Alec Baldwin 30 Rock

Steve Carrell The Office

Jermaine Clement Flight of the Conchords

Jim Parsons The Big Bang Theory

Tony Shaloub Monk

Charlie Sheen Two And A Half Men

Best Actor Mini Series or Movie

Kevin Bacon Taking Chance

Kenneth Branagh Wallander: One Step Behind

Kevin Kline Cyrano de Bergerac: Great Performances

Brendan Gleeson Into The Storm

Sir Ian McKellan King Lear: Great Performances

Keifer Sutherland 24: Redemption

Best Actress Drama

Glenn Close Damages

Sally Field Brothers and Sisters

Mariska Hargitay Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Holly Hunter Saving Grace

Elisabeth Moss Mad Men

Kyra Sedgwick The Closer

Best Actress Comedy

Christina Applegate Samantha Who?

Toni Colette United States of Tara

Julia Louis- Dreyfus The New Adventures of Old Christine

Tina Fey 30 Rock

Mary Louise Parker Weeds

Sarah Silverman The Sarah Silverman Program

Best Actress Mini Series or Movie

Drew Barrymore Grey Gardens

Jessica Lange Grey Gardens

Shirley MacLaine Coco Chanel

Sigourney Weaver Prayers For Bobby

Chandra Wilson Accidental Friendship

Best Reality Host

Tom Bergeron Dancing With the Stars

Phil Keoghan The Amazing Race

Heidi Klum Project Runway

Padma Lakshimi and Tom Colicchio Top Chef

Jeff Probst Survivor

Ryan Seacrest American Idol

Best Supporting Actor Drama

Christian Clemenson Boston Legal

Michael Emerson Lost

William Hurt Damages

Aaron Paul Breaking Bad

William Shatner Boston Legal

John Slattery Mad Men

Best Supporting Actor Comedy

Jon Cryer Two and a Half Men

Kevin Dillon Entourage

Neil Patrick Harris How I Met Your Mother

Jack McBrayer 30 Rock

Tracy Morgan 30 Rock

Rainn Wilson The Office

Best Supporting Actor Mini Series or Movie

Len Cariou Into The Storm

Tom Courteney Little Dorrit

Ken Howard Grey Gardens

Bob Newhart The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice

Andy Serkis Little Dorrit

Best Supporting Actress Drama

Rose Byrne Damages

Hope Davis In Treatment

Cherry Jones 24

Sandra Oh Grey’s Anatomy

Dianne Weist In Treatment

Chandra Wilson Grey’s Anatomy

Best Supporting Actress Comedy

Kristen Chenoweth Pushing Daisies

Jane Krakowski 30 Rock

Elizabeth Perkins Weeds

Amy Poehler Saturday Night Live

Kristin Wiig Saturday Night Live

Vanessa L. Williams Ugly Betty

Best Supporting Actress Mini Series or Movie

Shohreh Aghdashloo House of Saddam

Marcia Gay Harden The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

Janet McTeer Into The Storm

Jeanne Triplehorn Grey Gardens

Cicely Tyson Relative Stranger

Best Actor in a Guest Role Drama

Ed Asner ER

Ted Danson Damages

Ernest Borgnine ER

Michael J. Fox Rescue Me

Jimmy Smits Dexter

Best Actor in a Guest Role Comedy

Alan Alda 30 Rock

Beau Bridges Desperate Housewives

Jon Hamm 30 Rock

Steve Martin 30 Rock

Justin Timberlake Saturday Night Live

Best Actress in a Guest Role Drama

Brenda Blethyn Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Carol Burnett  Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Ellen Burstyn  Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Sharon Lawrence Grey’s Anatomy

CCH Pounder No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

Best Actress in a Guest Role Comedy

Jennifer Aniston 30 Rock

Christine Baranski The Big Bang Theory

Tina Fey Saturday Night Live

Gena Rowlands Monk

Elaine Stritch 30 Rock

Betty White My Name Is Earl

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It’s that time of year, folks! This Thursday, the Emmy nominees will be read out by former nominee Chandra Wilson and sure to a first time nominee Jim Parsons. It’ll make my five am wake up call somewhat bearable to have this on the TV.

Below is the list of nominees I suspect will happen and frankly, pretty much as it should be.

Best Supporting Actor- Drama

Jeremy Davies (Lost)

Walton Goggins ( The Shield)

Robert Sean Leonard ( House)

John Noble ( Fringe)

Aaron Paul ( Breaking Bad)

William Shatner ( Boston Legal)

I’m not a watcher of Lost, but everyone I know has been raving about Davies’ performance this season. I’m troubled more by the fact Goggins has NEVER BEEN NOMINATED. Tragic. Also quite tragic is Leonard, who also has NEVER BEEN NOMINATED. What the hell, Emmys? Goggins and Leonard both have been the heart of their respective shows, and Goggins’ character went down swinging in The Shields final season. Leonard still doesn’t have a lot to do on House, but there were moments toward the end of the season where you see how important he really is to the show’s mythology. Noble’s delightfully off kilter performance on Fringehas been the most consistent thing about the show. Aaron Paul goes toe to toe with the incomparable Bryan Cranston every week and survives. And lastly, William Shatner is William fucking Shatner. He’s James T. Kirk and you’re not. Suck it.

Dark horse pick- Zachary Quinto (Heroes)

The best thing about this show for the past two seasons is Quinto’s steady, ferocious turn as the psychopathic Sylar. Bad writing doesn’t detract from this singular performance.

Best Supporting Actress- Drama

Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)

Rose Byrne (Damages)

Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy)

Christina Hendricks ( Mad Men)

Alison Pill ( In Treatment)

CCH Pounder (The Shield)

Again, Britton is on a show I don’t watch, but everyone keeps raving about her in particular. Byrne is on a show with a strong female lead and she holds her own beautifully. Heigl may be a brat, but she brought some soul back to GA after the ghost sex ( again, bad writing should not detract from a good performance). Hendricks is so stunning that it’s easy to forget her subtle work in Mad Men. Pill has been the only patient in the second season of In Treatmentthat I felt was compelling enough for me to turn into watch every week. And Pounder’s beleaguered Claudette remains one of the great female characters in the cannon of cop dramas.

Dark horse pick- Chandra Wilson (Grey’s Anatomy)

The true heart and soul of GA, she deserves it more than Heigl, but lacks the star power of the movie star, or the shock and awe storyline. But when I do sit and watch this show, she’s the real reason why.

Best Supporting Actor-Comedy

Adam Baldwin (Chuck)

Neil Patrick Harris ( How I Met Your Mother)

Simon Helberg ( The Big Bang Theory)

Tracy Morgan ( 30 Rock)

Jeremy Piven ( Entourage)

Jason Segel ( How I Met Your Mother)

I honestly think Baldwin’s Col. John Casey is Chuck‘s best acting shot- because even though he’s a closed off grunting hard ass, Baldwin never let’s us forget his humanity or his humor. The fact Harris has not won an Emmy is one of the great crimes. Helberg’s horny nerd from hell is surprisingly well drawn for a character that was originally an after thought. Piven still rocks the world on Entourage.Morgan’s dim witted comedian is now my favorite character on a show full of brilliant writing and acting. Segel has been so good for so long on HIMYM.He may get outshone by Harris’ flashier role, but it’s time to give Segel some lovin’,  too.

dark horse pick: Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)

Oh. My. God. Naivete has never been so funny.

Best Supporting Actress- Comedy

Portia de Rossi ( Better Off Ted)

Jenna Fisher ( The Office)

Jane Krakowski (30 Rock)

Jean Smart (Samantha Who?)

Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)

Vanessa L. Williams (Ugly Betty)

de Rossi has a habit of appearing on quirky comedies ( see: Ally McBeal, Arrested Development), but her ice queen boss takes the cake. Fisher still makes me care about the Jim-Pam story by being true to the moment. Krakowski’s over the top deluded diva had some brilliant moments this season ( in blackface, no less.) Smart won last year, and she still shines as Samantha’s over bearing mom. Smulders went from being the weak link on HIMYM to being it’s hidden gem, and I love the Canadianisms she clearly contributes to the writers for those awesome scripts. Betty  may be fading fast, but Williams’ Wilhemina is still the grandest grande dame of them all.

Dark horse pick- Alyson Hannigan ( How I Met Your Mother)

It’s tough to leave Hannigan out, since she had a truly great season despite being pregnant for most of it ( and absent for four weeks). Her Lily, the beer guzzling, potty mouthed kindergarten teacher, is a bright light in my dreary life.

Best Actor-Drama

Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment)

Michael Chiklis (The Shield)

Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)

Jon Hamm (Mad Men)

Hugh Laurie (House)

Denis Leary ( Rescue Me)

Byrne’s detailed performance as a shrink in need of help of his own is one of the finest wrought of the year. Chiklis (  former winner for this role) went down and was brilliant in the way he portrayed his character’s twisted logic and decaying worldview. Cranston is nearly unstoppable as the teacher with nothing to lose. Hamm’s suave, subdued performance seems to be almost forgotten with the bright lights of the women this season, but he was darkly brilliant.  Laurie is a perennial nominee and will be till his show ends or he wins one of these goddamnedthings. He’s so singularly brilliant he deserves every accolade.  And even though Rescue Me had an off season, Leary just keeps getting better. 

dark horse pick- Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights)

Because it’s a tough category, I don’t know if he’ll squeeze in.  But from what I have heard, Chandler’s performance is one of the best on TV.

Best Actress-Drama

Glenn Close ( Damages)

Mariska Hargitay ( Law and Order: Special Victims Unit)

January Jones ( Mad Men)

Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)

Anna Paquin ( True Blood)

Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)

Close won last year. Her ferocious turn this year is even better. Hargitay is another perennial nominee who delivers solid performances year in, year out. Jones and Moss both shined on a show that saw their character grow from meek women used by the men in their lives to fiercely independent minded pre feminist heroines. Paquin’s accent may be distracting, but her slightly slatterly, tempermental Sookie is a gem. And Sedgwickis just so good I had to include her. 

dark horse pick- Mary McDonnell ( Battlestar Galactica)

Another show I never quite got around to watching, another performance I have heard nothing but praise for, another show leaving the air, last shot for the gold.

Best Actor-Comedy

Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)

Kyle Bornheimer (Worst Week)

Steve Carrell ( The Office)

Lee Pace ( Pushing Daisies)

Jim Parsons ( The Big Bang Theory)

Charlie Sheen ( Two And A Half Men)

We have a couple of clueless bosses ( Baldwin’s Machiavellian Jack Donaghy, Carrell’s hapless Michael Scott). We have a smooth talking womanizer on a show i personally hate but kind of like him on it despite myself ( Sheen’s jingle writer Charlie Harper). We have a newcomer on a show that was cancelled just as it began to find it’s footing ( Bornheimer), playing a spazz to end all spazzes. We have a charming pie maker who can raise the dead on a single touch, making it really hard to make out with his girlfriend ( Pace’s melancholic Ned). And then we have a genius comic creation, a genius who is both OCD and clueless ( Parson’s hilarious Sheldon Cooper).

dark horse pick- Zachary Levi (Chuck)

My favorite performance by any comedic actor this year was in Chuck season two finale, at turns sad, charming, and thrilling. The show would not work without him. I hope Emmy voters notice.

Best Actress- Comedy

Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?)

Toni Colette ( The United States of Tara)

America Ferrera ( Ugly Betty)

Tina Fey (30 Rock)

Julia Louis Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine)

Mary Louise Parker (Weeds)

Applegate is well liked in the industry and I liked her on her show. Colette has a really tough road to hold and does it admirably well. Ferrera still sparkles through the dreariness that is Ugly Betty. Fey is my hero and I want to be like her when I grow up. Louis Dreyfus is on a much improved show that she was always good on ( now, she’s pretty fantabulous). Parker handles the more dramatic moments of her drug dramedy as effectively as the high comedy moments.

dark horse pick- Kaley Cuoco ( The Big Bang Theory)

It’s easy to dismiss her as another blonde starlet on a TV show, but she is so much more than that. She grounds the four male leads in a snese of reality, she’s the every(wo)man we need to handle the world of these four geniuses. Her role is harder than it looks and she does it better than I ever thought she would. Her growth as an actor this past season is welcomed.

Best Drama

Breaking Bad

House

In Treatment

Lost

Mad Men

The Shield

It honestly will come down to the two AMC dramas, but as much as I love Mad Men, I think Breaking Bad is even more ground breaking, earth shattering, and ultimately, a better show.

Dark horse pick- Friday Night Lights

Critics love this show to the point of  column over saturation. Give it an Emmy nod.

Best Comedy

30 Rock

The Big Bang Theory

How I Met Your Mother

The Office

Two And A Half Men

The United States Of Tara

If anything beats 30 Rock, I’ll be surprised.

Dark Horse pick- Better Off Ted

It’s original! It’s fresh! It’s new! It actually is really good. And it was a mid season replacement. I would not be adverse with Emmy handing some love over to this show.

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First, the good news.

Best Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Years of Devotion to How I Met Your Mother and Scrubs has been painful at times, as both of these hilarious but criminally under watched shows suffered from time slot shifts and near cancellation more than once. But HIMYM‘s fifth season was all but assured this year as it experienced a small uptick thanks to it’s new lead in. Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady’s superior Friends meets Seinfeld meets SciFi convention multicam sitcom has quickly become the most reliable funny show on the boob tube.

Best Comedic Performance- Male

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory

The lanky actor with a slight lisp and a gift for comedic OCD reactions has been the breakout  star on a solid ensemble cast. A virtual unknown before the show, he has quickly become the front man for the cast, doing more press than all the others four combined. And if anyone has seen his spots on Craig Ferguson, he is charming, funny, and Un-Sheldonlike. But nothing tops TBBT Christmas episode, in which Sheldon hugs Penny ( Kaley Cuoco)- that is physical comedy at it’s best.

Best Comedic Performance- Female

Jane Krakowski as Jenna on 30 Rock

She has always been funny ( look at her character on Ally McBeal), but this year, Jenna has been inspired, even profane ( black face? Seriously?). Jane and Tracy Morgan are making a brilliantly idiotic comic team. Jenna’s vacuous presence makes up for a more uneven season.

Best Drama Series

Chuck (NBC)

Okay, it’s one of the funniest shows on TV. But this spy dramedy mashup is also one of the most affecting shows I have ever had the privilege to watch. The Josh Schwartz /Chris Fedak run show has vastly improved in it’s second season ( and it’s first, strike shortened season wasn’t bad to begin with). Wildly inventive while being almost religiously devoted to geek world references ( plus a deep love of the 80s- the show adores Spies Like Us to the point of ridiculousness, but you love every minute of it). Bonus- an awesome soundtrack. Well, it is a Josh Schwartz show.

Best Dramatic Performance- Male

Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski, Chuck

We in the know and who loved Less than Perfect  remember Levi as being comically gifted ( and a great singer- ” Luck be A Lady” was a series highlight for me). But his portrayal of the Nerd Herder with a government computer in his brain is a gentle mix of comedy and pathos. He breaks my heart as often as he makes me laugh. And now that he knows kung fu, I’m all agog. Brilliant.

Best Dramatic Performance- Female

Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olsen, Mad Men

As the girl who walks into the mean manly man world of advertising, she delivers a subtle, heart breaking performance. She has suffered tremendously for her ambition on both a personal and a professional level, but do not mistake her for a pushover. Moss, so winning on The West Wing as Zoey Bartlett, has really grown into a spectacularly nuanced actress.

Best Series Finale- Till it wasn’t

Scrubs (ABC)

In perfect cohesion with the rest of the series. Everyone was there. Hooch really is crazy. Beardface, Snoop Dogg Intern/Resident, Gloria, even those who have passed. A sweet sentimental moment where J.D. ( Zach Braff- still so good here) sees his future. Small cameo by Bill Lawrence himself. Then ABC ruins my deep affection for this perfect episode of a much beloved network cannon fodder show by bringing it back for a ninth season. It still is a moving show, but I can’t imagine Scrubs without J.D.

Best Series Finale That Is Actually A Finale

ER (NBC)

The Thursday night lead out for fifteen seasons, ER  stopped being the big focus of NBC somewhere around the time George Clooney left. Lord knows I barely watched it in the last decade. But I tuned in all the same. And it, too, was a perfect finale. In fact, it really wasn’t a finale at all. Yes, old timer cast members came back for a visit, but it felt organic, not forced. The episode mirrored the pilot in many ways, yes, but it felt like it was true to the show as a whole. It was special because it wasn’t special.

And now the bad:

Worst “Comedy”

Kath and Kim ( NBC)

Just not funny. Too bad. I love Molly Shannon.

Worst ” Drama”

Knight Rider ( NBC)

This show wasn’t that good in the 80s when Hasselhoff was the MAN. Did Silverman and co. really think it would work now?

Moments from the season that should be remembered:

  • Adam Lambert’s gorgeous version of ” Mad World”, Kris Allen’s stunning rendition of ” Falling Slowly”, Allison Iraheta ‘s exquisite ” Someone To Watch Over Me”, and whatever that note was that Danny Gokey let loose at the end of ” Dream On” which wasn’t even human. ( American Idol)
  • An injury plagued season of Dancing With The Stars that was more entertaining than it had any right to be.
  • Barney Stinson is in love with Robin Sherbatsky!
  • While we’re on the topic of HIMYM, damn, they did the lamest/coolest job of hiding Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders pregnancies.
  • I cannot reiterate how hilarious the hug Sheldon gave Penny in the Christmas episode of The Big Bang Theory is. Just genius.
  • Chuck Bass says ” I love you”. Twice.
  • The entire second season of Chuck. This show is so much better than Heroes.
  • House losing his mind. Kutner’s suicide. Amber. Huddy sex that wasn’t real.  ( House).
  • The performance of Harvey Keitel in the short but glorious run of ABC’s Life On Mars. yes, I was the person watching.
  • Barack Obama elected to the office of President of the United States of America. ( every network imaginable).
  • The Daily Show
  • The White Stripes showing up to sing ” We Are Going To be friends” on Conan O’Brien’s last Late Night
  • Jimmy Fallon not totally sucking as he took over Conan’s slot.
  • Jimmy is still no match for Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show.
  • The Colbert Report
  • Hugh Jackman hosting the Oscars. The Theater geek in me died a glorious,rapturous death. I loved most of it.
  • Gray Gardens
  • Almost everything on the Food Network’s prime time sked.

So this lead me to the question of the day. What was your highlight of the 2008-2009 TV season?

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CBS announced it’s sked today, and The Big Bang Theory is moving to 9:30 on Mondays, behind Two and A Half Men ( still won’t watch that). HIMYM is taking over the 8:00 spot TBBT has had all season.

Oh, and Criminal Minds was on the sked, same place, same time. 

I’ll be misisng the first half of tonight’s CM two hour finale. Hey, the BAU in Canada- and Idol conflicts. Stupid networks.

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The recent cancellation of ABC’s great remake of BBC’s ” Life On Mars” annoyed me a great deal. Good shows aren’t given chances anymore ( Seinfeld would be cancelled now if it got the type of ratings the first season got). Bad shows aren’t given chances, either, but beggars, choosers, never the twain shall meet. The following five shows are currently on the air and are on the bubble. Four are shows I enjoy a great deal but could survive without if need be. The fifth is a show I would possibly go postal over if it was cancelled.

5. Mad Men ( AMC)

I am unaware of where the movie channel falls in the realm of American cable channels. But on my Canadian cable service, it’s included in the third tier standard cable pack and in the lower fifty channels. We watch the network a lot in my house ( hey, I got a thing for eighties schlock horror and bad war movies and constant Godfather marathons). But in this sadly lacking movies movie network is a surprisingly smart man who has taken up the mantle of what HBO used to. Bless the exec who grabbed Matthew Weiner’s  sixties era ad drama when HBO turned it away.

The series is pitch perfect in tone- it kinda feels like a sixties era drama in some way. It is deliberately paced, with impossibly beautiful people populating dark smoky rooms in expensive looking clothes. But it is also darkly subversive, hinting at the socio-political changes about to explode while still reacting to the strait-laced ideals of the fifties. It’s not an easy series to watch- it cuts straight to the heart of it’s characters. In fact, it’s not just a historical piece, it’s a pretty affecting psychological drama.

4. How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

I know, it’s been on for four year, and with syndication money coming up, it seems unlikely that the show will be cancelled ( not to mention there is talk of an eight year plan? Really?) But this and it’s preceding program, the much buzzed about “The Big Bang Theory”, are two really great sitcoms that bend the parameters of the classic multi-camera. Of the two, HIMYM is actually more genre bending. Yes, there is a laugh track, but I hardly noticed it for three seasons. They play with flashbacks, flash-forwards, and memory flaws. There are hints, red herrings, and the show has it’s own separate language. Damn it, this show brought the word “awesome” back to awesomeness. Even when the story telling becomes to goofy, to out there, there is something about this show that is surprisingly heart warming and gentle. 

3.  Flashpoint (CTV/CBS)

It’s not just national pride here. Do I like seeing a show about Canada, sounding like Canada, on TV? Of course. But the Canadiana is limited. It’s about the cops, their job, the impact.

The fact is, Flashpoint is a very different kind of cop show. Snipers have always been the cavalry that comes in in SWAT jackets and rifles and save the day. The life and emotions of these people have never really been dealt with on television. It’s a thrilling show to watch- it is a well produced cop show. But the strength actually lies within it’s cast- particularly Hugh Dillon, who has the ability to break hearts without saying a word. A strongly ACTED cop show is a rarity.

2. 30 Rock (NBC)

NBC has been getting a lot of flack. A LOT of flack. A lot of it from me. The former network series champion has suffered from a drastic turn of events the last five years to be fourth place. A lot of this comes from Fox having American Idol, 24, and House, three shows that dominated for a few years. Some of it has to do with CBS being able to re-brand itself with crime dramas and solid comedies. ABC has managed to stay a float with popular reality shows. NBC has been stuck. It hasn’t had a huge hit that doesn’t involve Howie Mandel and a suitcase in FIVE YEARS. Even when they get lucky ( the first season of Heroes), they manage to screw it up somehow. It’s flagship shows, the Law and Order triad, have gotten stale, old, and floundered ( the mothership has gained some strength in the last season due to recasting efforts, but it still comes off as comfort food viewing, and the ratings are way down from the glory years of the mid to late 90s). They even moved Criminal Intent to cable ( where, surprisingly, it thrived. Go figure.)

NBC has tried to keep up with what made it so fabulous in the 80s and 90s- Thursday night comedy. And the comedies are good. The three really good ones are all in the Scrubs vein- single camera oddball shows that have their own language and style. Earl and the Office both had a great hook when they started-  Earl had a new and interesting premise, the Office had a pedigree.

30 Rock has Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, two of the greatest things to happen to American comedy in the last ten years- and so few people are watching it. It boggles my mind. The show has always been hit or miss, but man- when it hits, it really hits. The show is never going to be joke- punchline. It’s smart comedy, subversive, shocking, fearless comedy.

Never mind, I think I just answered my question.

1.Chuck (NBC)

So I believe that NBC should rethink it’s programming  strategy- take the place of Fox as the network unafraid of being the place where shows can be experimental, fearless, and yes, even low rated. Be the new cult show network. Don’t be scared. Yes, ad revenue will be down. But cult TV fans are loyal and spend according to the cult they follow.

Which explains my strong desire, as a Chuck fan, for I Phones, Nerd Herd shirts, and $5 foot longs from Subway. I also want an Intersect. But I digress.

Chuck is probably one of the top three shows on the air right now. It is probably the greatest action comedy show in the history of television ( i am that bold). It’s another fiercely subversive show, a show in which technology, geeks, and science rule the world. Our everyman Chuck is a genius supercomputer with absolutely no implants or anything in his brain. He is just that smart. The show takes swipes at commercial culture as well ( the employees at Buy More are the laziest SOBs in the world). But mostly, it’s a cool show to watch. Zachary Levi is a charming, funny guy who deserves the success this show should bring him. Adam Baldwin is on this show, people, and Browncoats should be there to see his John Casey as one of the greatest creations right now on television 9 what does it tell you that the man has to be shot three times with a tranq gun to bring him down- and that little smile on his face and the little noise he makes when he falls over stoned? Priceless). The show also speaks volume about family and loyalty, which is really rare these days. It’s not a typical family- Chuck lives with his sister, sure, but both their parents took off when they were young, they raised themselves. They are close without coming off as needy and creepy. The family has extended to include Morgan and Devon, Sarah and yes, even John Casey. This is the family of geek culture, my friends.

Plus, how can you not love a spy comedy? The explosions, the gadgets, the constant Star Wars references ( ” Chuck, you’re my only hope” has popped up a few times with precise cadence without being cloying). The fact our hero has a super computer inside his head. The fact he has to live these two very different lives. The fact Devon’s nickname is Captain Awesome ( this is not even a cynical, sarcastic nickname- he really is that awesome). Everything is right about this show. Why aren’t you watching, people?

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Ausiello at EW has confirmed that Life On Mars has been cancelled by ABC. Mourn everyone.

Two And A Half Men has gotten a three season pick up from CBS. Mourn harder.

Now rejoice- The Big Bang Theory has gotten a two season pick up. SHELDON COOPER FOR THE WIN!

No word yet on How I Met Your Mother, though.

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  • Yay, Steelers!!!! Way to pull it out.
  • Yay, Boss!!!! Way to kick ass during halftime. Born To Run!!!!!
  • Why the fuck are people acting like idiots about Michael Phelps taking a good hit off a bong? Seriously? The dude’s not in competition, and the last drug on earth that enhances anyone’s performance in any sport is marijuana, so for Hendrix’s sake people, quit stroking out. ( Um… you could probably guess where I fall on the issue of pot…).
  • Idol sucks this year. Just reiterating. But seeing Fantasia’s performance of ” Lady Marmalade”, Kelly’s new video, and J-Hud’s astonishingly moving ” Star  Spangled Banner”, it just made the past five episodes even more painful.
  • Liam Neeson as Charles Bronson wins the box office ( seriously, is Taken anymore than a revisitation of the Death Wish movies?)
  • I accidently slept through the Dundler Mifflin hour. I apologize, Michael and gang.
  • New episodes of Big Bang Theory, HIMYM, and House tonight.

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Barney’s got a MOM! And she will be played by Patricia Conroy, best known as the Matriarch on Six Feet Under.
Bonus casting for the 4-15 Episode labelled ” The Stinsons”- Barney has a ” wife and kid” on hire to fool mommy, and the ” wife” is going to be played by Brooke D’Orsay ( Kristy on TBBT- you know, the Whore of Omaha.)
Coolness.

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After last weeks disturbing Ted story about how he kept nailing Aunt Robin, I half expected an episode that opened on the kids receiving electroshock therapy to burn the images away. Or an episode in which Ted pesters Barney into admitting his actual feelings for Robin ( Lily would have told Marshall a while back, as this season we have established Lily cannot keep a secret to save her life). But instead we get a standard HIMYM gem in which Ted and Barney mack on some barely legals, Marshall and Lily do cute and cheesy romantic stuff, and Robin wears very little clothing at some point and is the cynic in the whole shebang.

Story A: Ted and Barney meet some hot young thangs and try to set up a date. Seeing their band played was nixed because Barney didn’t want to be the bleached blonde skank waving her boobs at a Van Halen concert ( although Ted does point out those girls usually get to have sex with Van Halen- I sure hope he was referring to Van Halen circa 1984…). Exchanging phone numbers was also eschewed by the Barnacle ( if they have your number, they can call and cancel and you are screwed in a very unpleasant way).  But they agree to meet the next night at McLarens. But it starts to snow. Heavily. So much so that they are the only two in McLarens the next night when Carl tells them to take off, he’s closing early to go and set up beds for the homeless. Instead, he agrees to allow Barney and Ted man the bar till their dates show up. This allows for a cool Cocktail inspired sequence that ends with the boys breaking liquor bottles and glasses all over the place. It also fulfills a dream they both have in which they open a bar called Puzzles ( why Puzzles? That’s the puzzle). They girls finally arrive, and ask to bring the whole band with them. The guys agree, but our band is actually the Arizona Tech Fighting Hens Marching Band. Oopsies, boys. Needless to say, fifty drunken college students are not neat, and when Carl calls to inform them he’s on his way back, they move the party upstairs to the apartment, where B&T agree not to open a bar. Then they decide to start a band. Named Puzzles.

Story B: Marshall and Lily started this cute airport pickup thing a while back in which the picker upper wears a chauffeurs hat and carries one of those signs with the arrival’s name on it, and the one who is arriving brings a six pack of local microbrew from where ever they had been. Since it’s the HIMYM universe, they are able to take this on the plane. But they have decided to put this aside. But it’s Marshall and Lily, so that didn’t last long. Marshall feels guilty for letting Lily’s lunch time phone call go to voice mail, and Lily admits to herself Marshall would be there waiting for his beer ( leading to them both believing if they don’t follow through on their ritual, the other would leave them for someone hotter, and in Marshall’s case, more height appropriate). Marshall convinces a barely dressed Robin ( the radiator was broken, apparently, but Cobie’s baby bump is getting noticeable) to drive him to the airport. On the way there, Marshall and  Robin get into a fight about love and rituals- Robin thinks they’re stupid, leading to Marshall to call her a robot. Robin, hurt, pulls over, and while they fight, the car gets buried in a ton of snow by a plow. Marshall admits that he loves these little rituals he and lily have, and apologizes for his snide remark to Robin, and the two escape the car and somehow make it to the airport. Where they discover Lily’s flight was delayed in Seattle.

Story C ( Which feeds into story B): Lily commandeers Rajit ( yay! Rajit!) and goes to get a six pack of microbrew from Seattle in NYC because of the sudden guilt that Marshall wouldn’t get his beer ( and again, that image of the blonde Amazon in he head). It turns out all they had was a keg. Lily gets it. She waits for Marshall. Who shows up with  the Arizona Tech Fighting Hens Marching band Now they have to get a marching band each time one of them gets home from a flight.

Overall, a cute, charming episode that still felt like a bit of a letdown after last weeks’ disturbing but gut wrenching Barney episode. Neil Patrick Harris needs an Emmy STAT.

Grade: B+

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  1. The Big Bang Theory– a bit of a let down considering the glorioski ending of the Christmas/Saturnalia episode, but still, nothing better than Sheldon running down the hallway shreiking ” Don’t hurt us! Don’t hurt us! DON’T HURT US!”. BTW, the guy who plays Kripke- yes, I know people who are pissed about the ” speech impediment”, but whatever, I laughed, I’m a huge bitch and some Brits may even call me that other one I really hate- but anyhoo, I came across his Livejournal blog in my daily email reading, and he’s a crack up there, too.
  2. How I Met your Mother– will somebody hand Neil Patrick Harris the motherfucking EMMY ALREADY! God damn it, people, he was amazing this week.
  3. Criminal Minds– well, it was okay. C level for me. Wasn’t as taken in as I was on other episodes. WTF was up with MGG’s hair?
  4. 30 Rock– I wanna be Tina Fey. Still. Really, really badly. I am nowhere near that funny. Or that pretty. Damn it. I’m gonna eat another three giant M&M Chocolate chunk cookies…
  5. No House means no House and Cuddy sex watch this week. And apparently Chase and Cameron are still alive, although you could never tell from their screen time.
  6. Kevin James has the number one movie in America this week and it took in over $34 MILLION. WTF, America?
  7. Joaquin Phoenix used to be on my husbands list. Now I’m afraid to run into him in a dark alley. Come back, sexy man who played the Man In Black, and get rid of that wooly mammoth you’ve become.
  8. Obama rules.
  9. Obama will be president on Tuesday, and I’m taping MSNBC while at work. Oh, yeah, I upgraded to digital cable so I could have MSNBC, KTLA, WGN, and HBO Canada.
  10. Oscar Noms will be out on Thursday.

Anyone want to add anything. Comments are open. And yes, I avoided the news about the DC-KC breakup because- well, whatever.

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This time from the other great CBS sitcom, How I Met Your Mother and Proceeded to tell My Teenage Children of How I Slept With their Aunt Robin all the Time ( I was  little disturbed with Ted’s story this week…). Ted’s ex and future girlfriend has been cast and she’s being played by Laura Prepon ( That 70’s Show). She’s there for at least five episodes and her character is the opposite of sweet but flawed Stella. And no, we don’t know if she’s the mother. God, people, it’s gonna be picked up for a fifth season… celebrate!

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First, how awesome that the cast of HIMYM are getting raises and an extension? They deserve it. Too think, this show was a bubble show. Now, where are the glory gifts for TBBT boys and Kaley?

Second, Slumdog Millionaire picked up five at the Critic’s Choice awards.

Third, Neil Patrick Harris is on SNL Saturday.

Fourth, the Golden Globes air Sunday.

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As 2008 draws to a close, I am again dealing with a cacophony of voices proclaiming that the sitcom is dead. Now, television is a cyclical business, and this news comes every time a long running show leaves the television landscape and no one steps up the following year with some zeitgeist consuming hit. The last one was Everybody Loves Raymond, which ran for nine seasons and was probably the quietest 90s bred hit sitcom. It never had the buzz of a Seinfeld or a Friends, but it was a good quality, funny traditional three camera sitcom in the vein of a family comedy. I was never the biggest fan of the show, but I know funny and I know quality funny, and it was that. Companion piece King Of Queens ended two years later, another quiet 90s bred hit sitcom that was never an overwhelming success.

The truth is, the last decade or so has been pretty uneven for sitcoms. I get that. The last blow you out of the universe success was Friends, and it debuted in 1994. It’s not that sitcoms haven’t debuted in the last eight ( nine) years that haven’t been successful. According to Jim on ABC is going into a truncated eighth season. No one knows why, as no one I know watches it, or knows anyone who watches it. It’s a bland, often unfunny show, and I have never seen a moment that redeems it in my eyes. But clearly someone is watching it and kept it on the air for eight seasons. But it’s an unmitigated success as it has lasted almost as long as Seinfeld. I wish I was kidding.

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Why the drop? Well, that’s hard to communicate. The 90s had brilliant shows that helped grown the sitcom brand that lasted for nine or ten seasons and that’s hard to over come. Funny hasn’t changed. People still laugh at pratfalls and double entendres. It’s also not cable’s fault. Cable has focused on dramas, not sitcoms, although there are charming funny shows on cable. There is also a lot of crap. But the cable channels are more interested in pushing the drama envelope, as there appears to be more taboos to break in that genre. Funny is funny, but funny also has sketch comedy and stand-up to bust the FCC’s balls with. We can’t blame it on September 11th or the wars or the economy. The golden age of film comedy happened during the Great Depression on through World War Two. Preston Sturges, one of the funniest men who ever worked in Hollywood, wrote an entire film about it called Sullivan’s Travels. Plus, the economy didn’t start tanking till this year, so what excuse does Chuck Lorre have for giving Charlie Sheen a regular gig.

When I posted my top ten television shows/ moments, I made a rule to not be too heavy on one genre. Thank God for that, because it was actually sitcom heavy. The ten shows I watch every week, without fail, are:

The Big Bang Theory

How I Met Your Mother

House

Criminal Minds

Life On Mars

The Office

30 Rock

Project Runway/Top Chef (whatever is currently running)

CSI

The Simpsons ( still a family ritual every Sunday night)

Throw in Mad Men, Damages, Dexter whenever they’re on.

I love funny. Funny makes my day. I’m a sad, angry human being, folks. We dominate comedy. Look at Chuck Lorre, fer chrissakes, the man is an angry genius despite the existence of Two And A Half Men.

I can understand the general appeal of that show, and I bash it perhaps a little unfairly. No, I don’t. I find the men perverted sex crazed lunatics, and the women are crazy or shrewish. These are standard comedy stereotypes, and they annoy me even on shows I love. But I forgive a lot if the jokes are funny, and as much as I adore Chuck Lorre ( and I do), the jokes aren’t there. Not that Charlie Sheen is horrible, and Jon Cryer has saved a few episodes from complete idiocy by being naturally persnickety funny, but overall, the show disappoints simply by refusing to burst through comedy boundaries. It’s a classic sitcom with unfunny jokes.

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Classic sitcoms ( typically, three camera, filmed in front of an audience, laugh track is usual, but not necessarily used anymore) have fallen by the wayside as single camera shows like Scrubs and Arrested Development stole the thunder and are now the gold star comedy standards.  The most successful of these traditional sitcoms on all artistic and comedy levels is Chuck Lorre’s other CBS Monday show, The Big Bang Theory. It is a standard friendship, hot girl next door comedy ( think… well Friends was a version of this, as was Seinfeld, except the latter had no hot girl but wacky neighbor, which is an acceptable alternative to hot girl). But we take a quartet of atypical protagonists and turn the sitcom standards on their ears. How many sitcoms can you name that stars for geeky physicists/engineers ( Wolowitz is still only an M.Eng., after all)? The hot girl, Penny, lives across the hall, and at first I was suspecting she would be a typical dumb blonde ( and was played like that in the pilot, which was why on first view, the pilot was a massive fail for me, despite the appealing comedy stylings of Jim Parsons). It became clear by mid season Penny was not dumb, but normal- she was insecure, struggling, and smart without being- well, the guys she knows. She’s clever enough to play against Sheldon in a game of one upsmanship, but normal enough to be bored at the Physics Bowl. Not only that, she is learning and growing as a human being ( throwing out the Schrodinger cat theory on a date- Sheldon had told her the story two episodes before). She likes her scientist neighbors genuinely, even Sheldon. She’s understanding to their quirks ( even if she desires to challenge them- The Party Pinata episode, anyone?). She is refreshingly normal. She is our every-woman dealing with these hyper-intelligent goofs next door.

The male characters are also twists on standard sitcom characters. Leonard is intelligent geek, but he’s also the romantic lead on the show. It’s his desire to break out from this tiny universe he and his friends have created that begins the series. Howard Wolowitz is as much of a mack daddy as Joey Tribianni- just creepier, as he just doesn’t get the word “no” or ” stalker” or ” gross, I do not want to hear about how you engineered the International Space Station’s Liquid Waste Removal System”. Rajesh is the quiet type- literally, as he is so pathologically shy around women he cannot speak to them. Grasshoppers help with this, but then he turns into an ass.

Then there is Sheldon Cooper. A child prodigy with an IQ not able to be measured by any standard tests, he takes the Felix Unger type and adds in the Ted Baxter blowhole and comes up with magic. He is incapable of seeing the world in any normal way. Social relationships are a burden, but he enjoys the few he does value to an extent.  Jim Parsons, though, imbues this difficult to like character type and imbues him with humanity. Sheldon is desperate for respect from the scientific community, and takes insults to his research seriously ( he would, however, be arrogant enough to deny any of what I just wrote, while plotting to dazzle the world with his next discovery). He is attempting to learn social niceties as he values Leonard’s friendship, and Leonard values Penny ( that Saturnalia hug was priceless).

The show is super smart- the science goes over my head.  but it’s accessible and makes science fun and quasi-cool.  It consistently makes me laugh, particularly as Sheldon tries to deal with the increasing pressure around him to behave like a normal human being. There has been criticism that the show is becoming too Sheldon centric. This is true, but honestly, the worst episodes tend to not focus on Sheldon or waylay him to sidekick status. The shows shining moments, though, are Sheldon-Penny moments, with the pinnacle so far being The Barbarian Sublimation, where Sheldon accidentally gets Penny addicted to Age of Conan and tries to remedy the situation by trying to get her a man. Priceless.

The other high quality traditional sitcom on the air that is consistently funny is The Big Bang Theory‘s lead out, How I Met Your Mother. I keep reading about how this show, which barely made it into it’s fourth season, is slipping. I don’t see it. The first thing I had to do when researching this essay was figure out if the show had a laugh track and/or studio audience ( it has one or the other). I never noticed it. Because I laugh out loud. Still.

A lot of this show’s success is based on the fact the show is a variation on the Friends-Seinfeld paradigm- it’s another buddy comedy. But it’s told in flashback, with the fluidity of memory, that allows for in-jokes and clever wordplay ( pot=sandwiches). It deals with growing older and looking for that perfect adult life without being cloy or predictable. The characters are standard with a twist. Marshall is a lawyer with a heart, ideals, and a naivete I find refreshing in a world populated by cynically men.  Ted is a professional and a dreamer who actually wants to settle down. Robin is a guy’s perfect girl. Too bad that guy appears to be Barney, who is a pig, but is played by Neil Patrick Harris, so he shines and shimmers like a new penny. Even he shows suprising heart and a conscience ( a little late- he already had slept with Ted’s ex, Robin, but he really did feel bad, and ran across Manhattan after Ted was in an accident because bros before hos, dude). Lily is the world’s dirtiest kindergarten teacher- she drinks like a champ and still is unafraid to flash bouncers to get into a bar. They delight in each other, and even Marshall and Lily’s wedding hasn’t slowed down the friends life style.

The show uses a voice over technique to tell the primary story, which actually adds to the comedy ( again, pot=sandwiches. Do you want to tell your kids that you spent your first day of college getting high?). The voice over, smashingly done by the dirtiest man in comedy, Bob Saget, is both a testament to the imperfections of memory and a gift to fans- we obsess over that stupid goat that keeps getting mentioned, but never in the order it’s supposed to be, what the hell BlahBlah’s name is, and the subtle hints of the future. The series is laden with clues- the yellow umbrella, the Stella red herring ( which actually set up a series finale in case it wasn’t renewed), the Barney-Robin connection, Lily drinking water instead of scotch ( although producers insist Lily isn’t pregnant, unlike Alyson Hannigan, who is in real life), Robin’s sudden job loss, Marshall’s ginormous future office at home, which leads me to believe that he never stops working for Goliath National Bank ( there isn’t a tonne of money in environmental law, although in the future, who knows?). All these things are hinted in the voice over as being the beginnings of grand adventures for our favorite five. It’s one of the best uses of a voice over in television.

The other great voice over is on Scrubs. Entering it’s final season ( again), Scrubs is the little sitcom that could. Again, it was never a great commercial success, although we fans are fanatical ( as the six current season DVDs on my self attest to- it’s the only long running series outside of House I own all available seasons for).A mix of heart, funny, and fantasy, Scrubs was a single camera comedy ground breaker. A lot of it’s success rests on the appeal of leading man Zach Braff, who plays John ” J.D.” Dorian as the goofiest, spaciest doctor in the history of television. He’s sensitive, needy, and a bit girly ( to the point Dr. cox, played by the uproarious John C. McGinley, calls him girls names). Entire episodes have taken root in parody and homage ( The Wizard Of Oz episode remains a personal favorite). They did a musical episode ( with smashing tracks like ” Everything Comes Down To Poo” and ” Guy Love”) that was funnier than any musical comedy to come out of Broadway the last five years. In fact, music plays a big role on the show- Eurasure’s ” A Little Respect” played a role in a season one episode, and the season two premiere focused on a Colin Hays song. The show reintroduced the John Cale version of ” Hallelujah” to the world ( and it’s still the best version- Jeff Buckley fans that want to kick my ass can form a line to my left). The humor is biting, but it’s soften by the serious heart of the show. Creator Bill Lawrence isn’t afraid to deal with big issues- returning vets, death, drug addiction have all been dealt with. It’s touching and funny.

The only big time comedy to debut in the last few years outside The Big Bang Theory is the Emmy winning 30 Rock, a single camera comedy that takes a look at the behind the scenes of an SNL type show. The show shines on the performances of Tina Fey as the working single every woman Liz Lemon, who is mean and cynical but in denial about it, and Alec Baldwin as NBC/GE head of Programming ( and Microwaves) Jack Donaghy, who is vicious while speaking softly. And I must say, any show that hires Elaine Stritch to be Jack’s mom is the greatest show on television ( Elaine is a legend and one of the great actresses and why didn’t she become huge outside of theater?) Again, standard sitcom stereotypes apply, from Tracy Morgan’s whacked out comedian to Jane Krakowski’s clueless star Jenna, and then there is Jack McBrayer’s Kenneth the NBC Page, who is naive to the point of absurdity. And it’s the theater of the absurd that makes this show stand out. Most sitcoms these days value the farce, sarcasm, or irony to make us laugh. 30 Rock is a modern day Beckett comedy, and you know if Beckett were alive and working today, he’d be a staff writer on this show.

The other five major comedies on the air- The New Adventures Of Old Christine, Samantha Who?, The Office, My Name Is Earl, and Two And A Half Men– all have their audience. The Office remains beloved by everyone, and manages to hold its core audience well, but with rumors percolating about an imminent Steve Carell departure, I wonder if the shows best days are behind it ( frankly, the jokes have slipped this season, and I’m not feeling as compelled to watch it). My Name Is Earl has always been funny ( it has an original premise- Karma’s a bitch, so let’s make her happy), but it’s also prone to wild swings of quality and taste. Samantha Who? has a dazzling star in Christina Applegate, but I think the material is beneath her. The new Adventures of Old Christine has actually improved since it’s first season, but I’m not as in love with it or Julia Louis Dreyfus as other critics are, and it pains me to say it. And as for the last one, well, I have already declared my issues with it, but I must admit, Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer make the best out of crap material ( that kid, though, has always annoyed me). The few other shows on the air are either in their first season ( and I’m not a big fan of any of them), or are on CW ( and I never watch CW unless Top Model is on- or Gossip Girl, which has also slipped, but that’s a different day), or on Fox ( which hasn’t had a decent sitcom since they stupidly cancelled Arrested Development).

So, is the sitcom really a dying art form? I’d love to say no, but in an ever expanding entertainment universe, I can’t be as sure as I was in the early 90s when  The Cosby Show and Cheers ended and Frasier, Seinfeld, and Friends were just starting out. There will always be sitcoms on TV, there always have been. And eventually,due to the cyclical nature of television, one will be that earth shattering buzz show we wait for every year. But in a day where much of the funniest stuff is coming from the Internet, the age of the sitcom may well be on it’s way out. And I think that’s a shame.

Unless you consider all those MTV “reality” shows sitcoms. Lord knows they are laugh out loud hilarious. Granted, it’s because the level of suck is so high as to be embarrassing, but still- Funny is funny. All I know is that after watching five minutes, I need to go douse my self in bleach to get rid of the skanky feeling I get.

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”It’s very simple. Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitates lizard, lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes rock, and, as it always has, rock crushes scissors.”
—Sheldon (Jim Parsons), explaining his new game of Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock, on The Big Bang Theory

” I never have any normal fans.”

Dr. Spencer Reid ( Matthew Gray Gubler), lamenting the fact yet another serial killer is a fan of his work, on Criminal Minds

“I hate New York! I’m sorry, but it’s true! Today, I was walking around PriceCo. Have you been there? It’s huge! All the stores in New York are so cramped! Every time I turn around I knock something over. I’m like some huge monster that came out of the oceans to destroy bodegas! …I’m too big for New York, okay! I’m always trying to fit into cramped little subway seats, or duck under doorways that were built a hundred and fifty years ago. “Hey, people are bigger now! Build bigger doorways! What the hell is wrong with you?” …And it’s so loud. All the time. Yes, I know it’s the city that never sleeps, but guess what? I like to sleep! I’ve been tired for eight years! Tired and scared, with black and blue marks on my elbows from trying to fit into all these tiny elf doorways! New Jersey’s great! It’s got huge stores, and lawns, and you never have to carry a cup again! For the rest of your life! I’m not afraid to say it: I love New Jersey! ”

– Marshall ( Jason Segel), ranting after spending time at Stella’s New Jersey home, on How I Met Your Mother

” I can see Russia from my house.”

-Sarah Palin ( Tina Fey), giving a press conference with Hillary Clinton ( Amy Poehler), on  SNL

”I am Shiva the destroyer and your harbinger of doom for this evening.”—Kym (Anne Hathaway) in Rachel Getting Married

Penny: Sheldon, it’s me.
Sheldon: You’re in my bedroom.
Penny: I need your help.
Sheldon: People aren’t suppose to be in my bedroom.
Penny: Well, can we talk in the living room?
Sheldon: I’m not wearing any pajama bottoms.
Penny: Why?
Sheldon: I spilled grape juice.
Penny: Well, can’t you put on other pajamas?
Sheldon: I can’t put on other pajamas, these are my Monday  pajamas! Penny, people really aren’t supposed to be in my bedroom!

– Penny ( Kaley Cuoco) and Sheldon ( Jim Parsons), after she enter’s his room in the middle of the night for game playing advise, on The Big Bang Theory

Penny: I know this is none of my business, but I just… I have to ask — what’s Sheldon’s deal?
Leonard: What do you mean, “deal”?
Penny: You know, like, what’s his deal? Is it girls…? Guys…? Sock puppets…?

– Penny ( Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard ( Johnny Galecki), after witnessing a girl fawning over an oblivious Sheldon ( Jim Parsons), on The Big Bang Theory

Penny: Sorry the napkin’s dirty, he wiped his mouth with it.
Sheldon: I possess the DNA of Leonard Nimoy?!
Penny: Well…yeah, I guess. But look, he signed it!
Sheldon: Do you realize what this means?!?! All I need is a healthy ovum and I can grow my own Leonard Nimoy!
Penny: Okay, all I’m giving you is the napkin, Sheldon.

– Sheldon ( Jim Parsons) and Penny ( Kaley Cuoco), after Sheldon opens his Christmas gift, on The Big Bang Theory. This is followed by Sheldon giving her a half dozen gift baskets and the funniest hug in the history of television.

” I kissed a girl and I liked it/ the taste of her cherry chapstick.”

– Katy Perry ” I Kissed A Girl”

 “Denny is my best friend. I love him with all my heart. If I could yank that horrible disease out of his body, I would fight it and I would win. I would use every ounce of my strength and I would win, if I could — but I can’t.” 

– Alan Shore ( James Spader), in front of the Supreme Court, on Boston Legal

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10.  The season nine premiere of CSI

I stopped watching after Tarantino made a mark and other shows popped up. But the news Gary Dourdan was leaving was enough to make me tune in and see the cast actually act for what seems like the first time in four seasons. Emotionally charged, and William Peterson reminding me that at one point, he was an awesome actor.

9. Flashpoint

Every once in a while, a Canadian television show gets it right. this is one of those occasions. The thrilling SWAT team drama dazzles with it’s complex moral dilemmas, and Hugh Dillon is amazing as the aging hot shot with a chip on his shoulder. And Toronto is fucking TORONTO!

8. Top Chef

Food. Reality show. Anthony Bourdain. Knives. I’m surprised that no one has died. And did I mention food?

7. American Idol Season 7

The talent was astonishing even if the show itself was not. The gaffes made by Paula and clearly biased Randy made the show more controversial, and the Davids made it more exciting than most hockey games.

6. Project Runway

Like Top Chef, only with fabric swatches, and Tim Gunn, who is my hero for being able to put up with Kenley as well as he did. And Kenley was the best villain on television this year.

5. Life On Mars

As someone who loved the original BBC series, I was sure I would hate what ABC would do. I don’t. On the contrary, it’s the only new show I love this year. P.S.- best supporting role this year to Michael Imperioli’s ‘stache.

4. House Season Finale Parts 1 & 2

The first part, ” House’s Head”, was more of House trying to self destruct while looking for answers, but the second part ” Wilson’s Heart” is probably the shows greatest emotional moment.

3. How I Met Your Mother

It just keeps getting funnier. Not to mention Barney is still scum, but he’s evolving scum. And Marshall is still sweet, but he’s working for a huge corporate entity. And Lily is still the trash talking kindergarten teacher, but is contemplating motherhood. Robin is still more guy than the guys, but she’s lost in a sea of self doubt. And Ted? Well, he’s still searching for the mother. Some things just do not change.

2. The Big Bang Theory

It started off odd with a sperm bank, but it found it’s stride and is now the most consistently funny sitcom on television. Jim Parsons as Sheldon is possibly the funniest character on television.

1. Criminal Minds

The show has quickly become the best police drama on television. Exquisite acting and well thought out story lines make for the best hour on TV.

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reid and morgan

reid and morgan

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