Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009- Best TV Moments

As Chester so affectionately reminded me, my seasonal allergies prevent me from having a sense of smell, therefore rendering me ill-equipped to write about odors of any kind. What does a lilac tree smell like as the frosted glaze of winter melts away and its buds begin to appear? What does it feel like to step out of your sedan after a long drive to the ocean and take in your first whiff of the salty ocean breeze? What does my furnished-in-crumbs Valley apartment smell like?

I will never know. Never know. I'm okay with that last one. My guess is bad. It's bad isn't it?

What I can tell you about, however, are my favorite TV moments of 2009. Bear in mind, I gave up snobbery a long time ago when Six Feet Under ended and I had to fill the void of one brilliant show with twenty-seven shitty ones.

Most Out Loud Reactions Per Episode: Lost, Season 5 Episode 16/17: The Incident
I watched this on a computer screen with Tristan in a hot tub in a lodge by a lake in the middle of the Adirondack Mountains. Just thought that was worth mentioning. After two years of abuse from TV's shitty girlfriend you keep giving second chances because, at the end of the road you think it's gonna turn out all right, Lost creators Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse were given an end-date. And it showed in season 5. Finally after season after season of wondering if this show had a game-plan or if its point was to screw with your head in a way only David Lynch does because he doesn't think things "making sense" is an important element of filmmaking, the pieces began to fall into place. Episode after episode, Lost heat up this season, culminating in a wide, teary-eyed, scared, confused, bubbly (from the hot tub) scream from Tristan and I. The statue, Jacob, Locke, The Smoke Monster, The Island, Juliet, the white background. Well-played, you two. Well-played indeed.

Best Small-Screen Performance since James Gandolfini: Bryan Cranston in "Breaking Bad", Season Two
Yeah, the dad from Malcolm in the Middle. Yeah, the show on AMC that's not Mad Men. I believe Matt Chester has written about Cranston's portrayal of Walter White, Nobel Prize Winning Chemist turned High School Teacher turned Cancer-riddled Meth Kingpin, so I'll be brief. In short, I have not seen an actor carry a show on his shoulders the way this man does in each and every episode since The Sopranos. Every decision he makes is calculated. He's subtle, slow-to-act, always thinking, always trying to improve, and then, at a moments notice, he'll flip a switch and become Heisenberg, his meth cartel alter-ego. His story is compelling, the show is fascinating, the other characters are engaging, BECAUSE of Bryan Cranston's work. It's no coincidence that he's taken the Emmy two years in a row. I don't see anyone beating him as long as this show continues to air.

Funniest Actor Who Hasn't Been Funny For a Very...Very Long Time: Chevy Chase, in Community.
So Chevy Chase was very funny as Clark Grizwald. He did his I'm Trying to Be a Good Dad, But I'm Not So Good Because I'm An Idiot, It's Funny!, thing pretty damn well...maybe Vegas Vacation excluded. And then he lost his way. But he's found it again with his character in Community, Peirce Hawthorne, the aged moist towelette tycoon. He's rediscovered his comic ability (being a hilarious idiot) by playing the card that could have ended his career completely: dude's old. As Peirce, he's sexist, racist, tries to be young and cool and fails, buys spy technology to aid in gossiping, and wears strangely tinted almost purple reading glasses. Everyone in the cast does well with this fresh and hilarious new show. But I think I might laugh the most at Chevy Chase. And I didn't think I'd ever say that.

Sharpest, Most Well-Informed Writing: Damages Season Two
Stylistically, Damages is one of the most stark, potent, sexy, and biting shows around right now. And they must have a hell of a good team of legal consultants. The legal talk is as convincing as anything concerning the political process heard on The West Wing. And almost every line of script stings just a little.

Most Ambitious Start to a New Season of a Teenaged Show: House MD, Episode One, Season Six
They constructed an entirely new facility for this film-length season premiere, based almost exactly off of the actual Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital. It featured none of the ensemble cast; instead it featured an entire new crew of talented actors who, it was extremely disappointing to say goodbye to. At the top of this list was Lin Manuel Miranda, best known for writing and starring in one of my recent favorite musicals, "In The Heights".

Ballsiest Move: Fringe, Season One Finale "There's More Than One of Everything"
I'll keep this to the point. The main character is trying to figure out if she's made it into a parallel universe. This is confirmed by a long, pull-out shot of her standing inside an office building in the World Trade Center. Balls, Fringe. Possibly misguided, but nonetheless heavy, full balls.

Looking forward to 2010. I like TV.

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