My TEN FAVORITE TELEVISION SHOWS of 2010! (C.A.T.T.L.E.)
Oh television, the glowing spirit box that is my wisest teacher, loyalest friend and sexiest teacher. As someone who could work the VCR before I could walk, I’ve had a special relationship with the medium. Even during those years at college when my compatriots were boasting how they didn’t have a TV in their room, I opted instead to not be pretentious and keep the good times rollin’ in half-hour and full-hour blocks.
Now, if TV has one flaw (and believe me, there’s only one) it’s that there’s just too much of it. I know it’s impossible to see everything the miracle cube has to offer, and that’s why I should say right now that I *know* I need to watch ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ ‘Modern Family,’ and ‘Archer.’ There’s just so much great stuff out there, combined with the never-ending replay value of ‘To Catch a Predator’ re-runs, that it can get overwhelming. So if I missed anything you thought I would love, be sure to let me know. Otherwise, Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza continues with my favorite television of 2010!
10 ) The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
Yes, they had to reshoot the pilot and it got off to a bit of a rocky start, but once Will Arnett came to Europe to directly interact with Cross the show took off! Cross played Todd Margaret, arguably the single most dislikable irredeemable protagonist on television. Outside a few early retooling, it was as dark as comedy got and had more than enough flinching fun to earn a spot on this list!
9 ) Eastbound & Down
As much as I kinda think Baseball is OK, season 2 of ‘Eastbound and Down’ really benefitted from getting away from the sport and focusing on the great Kenny Powers character in everyday life. Of course, by everyday life I mean rolling around Mexico as only he can. This season they went deeper into the character, his familial history and it lead to even heartier laughs. “I thought you were a whore with a heart of gold but it turns out you’re just a whore with a regular whore’s heart” is easily my favorite quotable of the year.
8 ) United States of Tara
Showtime had a strong year, and
Dakota Fanning’s Diablo Cody’s United States of Tara was arguably their best offering. The real star of this season was Patton Oswalt whose “Neil” character was among the most endearing real portrayals of a regular dude on television. It’s hard to say what it is I see in you, wonder if I’ll always be with you. Words can’t say and I can’t do too much about the show without getting into spoiler territory but even as someone who isn’t much of a Cody fan, some of the best writers in TV today are working on the show and I highly recommend giving it a shot if you haven’t.
7 ) Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town
One of the most important times for me growing up was when I was home for that hour between 1:00 and 2:00 PM. It was then that, since I was six-years-old, I had my sense of humor shaped by Canadian sketch troupe the Kids in the Hall through back-to-back reruns of their self-titled sketch show. Neither my parents nor my friends until high school really *got* it, so flipping my gourd over The Eradicator and The Cincinnati Kid felt like my own secret treasure. Fifteen years later, thanks to my DVR, that hour was special again. ‘Death Comes to Town’ was the troupe at their best, delivering a miniseries about a small Canadian town in the thralls of scandal. Subtle, quirky and unapologetically them, ‘Death Comes to Town’ was a head-crushing crowd pleaser.
6 ) Dexter
So the first half of this season of ‘Dexter’ was bad. Really, really bad. But just when it looked like a shark’s fin was surfacing, Wendy West (the show’s best writer – look her up!) saved the day with the “Everything is Illuminated” episode and the show caught fire once again. Jordan Chase is arguably Dexter’s greatest foe yet, Lundy lurking in the shadows added extra suspense and Julia Stiles was so great as Lumen that I began entering rap battles under the name “Julia Stylez.”
5 ) South Park
‘South Park’ has always been great, but after 2008’s lackluster 12th season, things seemed a bit dire. Luckily they bounced back hard with a fantastic 13th season and kept the momentum going through this past year. Most notably, 2010 gave us their 200th and 201st episode, among the ballsiest and most controversial they’ve ever aired. The debate it struck over whether or not to air an image of Mohammad cut to the very core of what makes the show one of the most consistent of all time.
4 ) Tha Late Night Warz II
How great was this? I mean, while I won’t go as far as some and call Leno an outright hack, I believe he’s at his most interesting when he’s being a dick. Case in point, Leno making Kanye West cry on national television was the far-and-away the greatest moment of broadcast television in 2009. That being said, there’s few things greater than a dick getting a public flogging from the comfort of home. Letterman was the most entertaining he’d been since coming to CBS after finally being able to sound off on “Big Jaw Leno,” and Conan got to have his cake and eat it too by dragging his unsupportive network over hot coals and still going out with class. But the #ether moment had to go to Jimmy Kimmel who got to dis Leno to his face. Flawless victory. Fatality.
3 ) Party Down
The best reason to have Netflix streaming, ‘Party Down’ had a fabulous second season. While Jane Lynch left for Fox’s ‘Glee,’ Megan Mullally took her place and the show remained just as strong. With easily the best selected ensemble cast since ‘The Office’ and the perfectly timed directing of Fred Savage, ‘Party Down’ is destined to be a celebrated cult classic. A must see.
2 ) Delocated
The best way I’ve heard ‘Delocated’ described is “unfairly funny.” From the mind of ‘Conan’ writer Jon Glaser, this fake reality show about a family in the witness protection program just keeps excelling into the comedy stratosphere. The addition of always awesome Jerry Minor as “Mighty Joe Jon, the Black Blond” made for one of the funniest new characters on television. There’s a good chance this might go down as Adult Swim’s greatest contribution to the world, so don’t miss a frrt!
1 ) Community
Heart. Laughs. Hearty laughs. It’s a show that just keeps getting better. The best thing NBC has going on their Thursday nights, ‘Community’ picked up where it’s contemporaries began losing steam and gave us a show as unpredictable as it is constantly rewarding. For instance, the clip above gave a character an entire subplot in the foreground without once even being hinted at until the very end of the show. No other comedy is really doing that, and that’s why ‘Community’ is number one-one-one-hu-haa!
So until next time… let’s agree to agree!