Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top 10 TV Comedies of the Aughts

I never got into Curb Your Enthusiasm and I have never watched Chappelle's Show so I apologize for them not being on this list. I also left off shows that started in the 90s, like Family Guy and According to Jim (har dee har). Finally, shows like Community, Better Off Ted, Parks and Recreation, and Modern Family have only just gotten started. They may belong here one day.

Honorable Mention:

Ed - The only hour-long I even considered. I really loved this show. Ed and Mike made me want to have $10 bets with people. Also, there's the Michael Ian Black effect. They filmed this show in Jersey which makes it even more lovely. Hell, I married a lawyer. Still waiting for her to open a bowling alley. I love red pin nights.

Andy Barker, P.I. - Andy Richter kept getting chances to be a sitcom star and none of them worked out. Some of them deserved a little more time and this was one of them. An accountant who was bored with his life and gets mistaken for a P.I. should have worked. Was the accountant angle where they went wrong? HBO seems to think so. Anyway, I loved how they used everything at the strip mall to solve cases and anything with Tony Hale is good.

Undeclared - Judd Apatow's second attempt after Freaks and Geeks was short-lived and very funny. My favorite episode was when Marshall entered the talent show on Parents Weekend. It was his way of showing them he wanted to grow up to be a Beck-like musician. That song will be in my head forever. Even on DVD, this show didn't get its due. They put the episodes in the wrong order on the discs. Nicely done, network.

My Name Is Earl - A fantastic show that had 1 down season and 3 great ones. Jason Lee, Ethan Suplee, Jaime Pressly, and Eddie Steeples kept me entertained every week. This show had heart and Greg Garcia deserves another show. There were rumors that TNT or TBS were going to keep it going and it was a mistake that they passed.

Top 10

10. Flight of the Conchords - This show was so simple. The humor was so easy. It never felt like it was stretching to make a joke. Sure concepts were weird but the behavior was right. And who will ever forget that love is like a roll of tape?



9. Scrubs - This started off as a great show, then had a down and a half a down season (end of the NBC run) and came back strong for its final season on ABC. The current show is a spin-off so it doesn't count. My best friend and I have had a steak night. We've sung "Guy Love" to each other. We own leather Eddie Murphy Raw suits. This show could make you cry and silly laugh in the same episode. That's not easy to do.

8. How I Met Your Mother - This show has been hurt by the laugh track. You’ll also notice that it’s the only show I have on here that has one. There is joy in this show. You can tell the cast likes being there. They are allowed to laugh at things that are funny which other sitcoms don’t do. And deriving a song out of the Slap Bet on Slapsgiving is something that gets me in the laugh region.

7. Weeds - Does my crush on Mary Louise Parker help this show? Of course. She’s beautiful and, if you weren’t in Almost Famous Mr. Crudup, I’d dislike you. Anyway, this show is smart and the supporting cast is tops. Andy, the brother-in-law, is a scene-stealer. Could I have made a show about a pot-dealing mom last 5 seasons? No, but that’s why there’s TV writers. They do it for me.

6. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia - This is a show that started off with 4 and moved up to 5 unlikeable characters. There is not one redeemable person on this show and yet it works. How? And find me a better yeller on TV than Charlie Day and I’ll give you a medal that says, “Meticulous Searcher For Entertaining TV Yeller.” It may be hitting a creative wall but that happens when you set the bar so high.

5. The Office (U.S.) - This show was under the huge shadow of its British origin but it has grown out of it and into its own being. There is room in the world for both and people with open minds can see that. I would be lying if I said that Pam and Jim’s wedding didn’t make me cry. I’ve become invested in these characters and they make me laugh every week.

4. Andy Richter Controls The Universe - A travesty. This show got 19 randomly released episodes before it was cancelled and those were some of the funniest episodes I’ve ever seen. I know this sounds clich├ęd but I think TV wasn’t ready for it. It did the visible imagination thing infinitely better than Ally McBeal and should be owned on DVD by everyone that loves comedy. Fortunately, the guy who made this is behind "Better Off Ted," one of the funniest shows on TV right now.

3. The Office (U.K.) - While there is room for both versions, this is leaps and bounds better than the U.S. one. The uncomfortable, squirmy scenes make you cover your eyes and wish they would be over. It took me about 2 or 3 episodes to get used to the accent and manner of talking but once I managed that, I was hooked and watched all the episodes in a couple of days. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are unparalleled comedy geniuses.

2. 30 Rock - This show is pure comedy. It’s silly. It has so many jokes in an episode, you can’t possibly catch them all. Though I’m sure Dr. Spaceman has a pill that can help you try. Sure the writer’s room is funny and Tracey Morgan is ridiculous. Kenneth the page isn’t so bad, either. But it’s all about Tina Fey. She made a masterpiece that I can’t believe is still on the air. It’s too good to last this long. Speaking of which…

1. Arrested Development - It’s not even close. In the same way I speak of Anchorman in my 2000s movies column, this is perfectly written. There are jokes interwoven throughout this series that human beings shouldn’t be able to plan. I don’t think there is one bad moment, one bad line, one bad reaction in any episode. This show should be studied and then attempts should be made to replicate the excellence. Even halfway decent stabs at making a show like this will be better than most of the stuff we watch nightly. Fie on the network for stopping the show. There is supposed to be a movie in the future and, sure it will be fantastic, but we deserve to be watching Season 7 right now.

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