Thursday, December 31, 2009

Things I've Loved This Decade (Pt. 1)

I cannot believe we're entering a new decade! I've taken some time to look back at the last ten years and have come up with this list of pop culture things that I have loved (some of them I could not live without). Note: this list is not a ranking - just how I have remembered them. Also, my only criteria was that I must love them as much today as when I first saw them. Feel free to let me know what you have loved - and what I may have missed!

Part one looks at my favorite TV shows.

30 Rock

Full Disclosure: I wish Tina Fey was my sister. That said, I know that each episode of this show will make me laugh. I may not laugh at everything that is said. I admit there is one character (who shall remain nameless) that I could do without. But this show has been funny since day one. Love it. Love the reruns. Love.

Breaking Bad

Before you watch that clip, you should know that it is one of the most disgusting things I've seen on television. Now, when I saw that during season one, I knew that this show was going places no show on cable has gone before. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul leave me on the edge of my seat each episode - will they get caught? Will they get killed? Will they blow themselves up making methamphetamine? I don't know. I just wish AMC would make its seasons longer so I don't have to wait until summer to find out!

Chappelle's Show

Wow. Dave Chappelle is crazy! And funny! It's too bad he got spooked by the fame because this show could have gone on for a very long time. Maybe it'll come back in some form (maybe a regular special?). Until then, I'll just have to watch clips like that one on line.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

If you're at work or are around children, you probably shouldn't play that clip. Let me say, I love HBO. Love that language is not an issue. Love that there are no commercials for me to forward through. And Larry David - I mean, he's the kind of guy you'd punch in the face and only invite over if you wanted to see your Grandpa get angry. Still, watching him on TV each Sunday makes me happy. And a bit Tourrettey.

The Daily Show
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I get that this is not REAL news. I just wish you could call the batshitcrazypeople on their nonsense. I mean, you can't go around attacking people for questioning the President's actions, then go on the attack when your team loses. You can't call yourself "fair and balanced" when you have no idea how to pull that off. I also love that Jon Stewart challenges all news outlets - and points out the silliness that is often mistaken for news when it is not. It shouldn't take a comedian to get news people to sit back and question what they're about to do. But it does. And that makes me giggle.

Damages

That's a preview for season three. If you haven't seen the first two seasons, I'll say this: Glenn Close scares the bejeezus out of me & Ted Danson is a big creep. OK - not them actually, but their characters - wow! And every other actor on this show is fantastic. I cannot look away from this show! I hate that it is only on for a few months at the beginning of the year. But it is scary good. Promise. I can't even watch it before bed because then I have nightmares about Patty coming after me.

Dancing With The Stars
OK. No video clip here. If you're rolling your eyes out of disappointment at me, it's OK. I thought this show would never last. Now, I find myself crossing my fingers before they announce who'll star on the show each season, hoping it's someone from a show that I used to watch but haven't seen in years. I admit to having stopped work just to vote for some has-been over another. It's fun. And the fact that Bruno Tonioli mumbles nonsense each week makes me laugh. So there.

Dexter

Nastiest show open. Ever. When I see that, it makes my stomach churn. Then, I remember how much I love this serial killer and his crazy ways. I mean, how can you NOT love a guy who's only killing people who deserve it (pedophiles, drug dealers and other criminals). Look. I'm from Texas. We kill the bad guys. Deal. Oh, please don't talk about the current season - I'm waiting for it to be available on DVD (I don't have Showtime - besides, I like spending an entire weekend watching the uninterrupted season).

Entourage

I don't care about Vincent Chase and his boys. I care about Ari & Lloyd. If these two were to have smaller parts, I'd stop watching. The douchebags aren't that funny. The relationship between Ari & Lloyd always gets a laugh out of me. Can't say so much for Vince and the boys.

Footballers Wives

Know what I love about BBC? The fact that they know not to keep a show on the air for year after year until every last viewer is turned away. This series was naughty fun. I couldn't help but tune into this soap opera. The acting is not great. But they end each season with definitive answers. (Hello, American TV writers - give that a shot)

Friday Night Lights

You don't have to love football to love this show. Trust me. I don't LOVE football. I do love this show. It almost makes me wish I had DirecTV so I didn't have to wait until spring to watch it! I find myself rooting for this make-believe team each week. They must be doing something right!

Glee

If ever there was a show that is perfect for little Kristin Chenoweth and her big voice, it's this one. At first, I rolled my eyes, thinking this was a show for kids. Then, I gave it a shot. Hooked from the very first song! Even if you don't love musicals, you must watch it for Jane Lynch! Her snappy, crude remarks make me laugh out loud (and maybe it's because it often sounds like something I would say).

How I Met Your Mother

Truth: I don't care how Ted meets his baby mama. I find his character whining and annoying. I love every one else - especially Neil Patrick Harris as Barney. This show is a pop culture hit! I'll go so far as to call it my generation's "Seinfeld." So there!

Lost
I can't show you a clip of this show without it spoiling something. I have to say, from the second I saw that plane crash on the island, I had to know why they were there and how would they get back home? I am so happy ABC and the people behind this smart show decided on an end date. It has given this show direction. I know that each week they are answering questions and leaving a few more out there. I only hope in its last season, this show leaves me satisfied. If not, ABC owes me a trip to Hawaii.

Mad Men

Of all the scenes I could have included, this one made me rewind and say "OH MY GOD!" This show is like a little movie each week. My Sundays are not the same without it. It makes me want to drink - and for all the right reasons. The attention to detail is amazing. It is dark. It is sad. It is funny. It is one of the best shows on TV - maybe ever.

Modern Family

Just when I was about to give up on ABC (I mean, a show about a Cougar - really? What's next, a show called "How I Got My Vagina Ready For My Teenage Boyfriend?" Ugh.), they come at me with this show. This ensemble cast is so funny! Each week, I never know which character I'll love most. And I like that! Politically correct? No. But funny.

Parks & Recreation

You may have written off this show with its abbreviated first season. I hung in there for season two because Amy Poehler has always made me laugh. This episode is one of my favorites - from the silly rap at the beginning to the very awkward end. And that is how each episode goes. Silly fun!

Sex & The City

The opening let guys know this is clearly not a show for them (unless they favor high heels, trendy clubs and sex - lots and lots of sex). I saw beyond that. I saw four ladies trying to find their identities. Ladies trying not to live up to the lives others thought they should want. Fellas, you can make all the comments you want. HBO never wanted you to watch this one. It gave you plenty of other options.

The Office

There is not a single character on this show that doesn't make me laugh at some point (though it's not every week that everyone gets me). The last year hasn't been as funny as the previous seasons, but it has picked up again. It makes me laugh. It makes me glad I don't work in an office like that (I mean, my office is not perfect, but I have never found my desk materials in the vending machine or found my belongings in jello - yet). I also give this show credit for offering extras on its website (the webisodes are always fun to watch, especially when the show's in reruns).

The Middle

I'm not gonna lie - I love little, weird Brick the most. I love that he reminds me of a miniature Pee Wee Herman. I love that he whispers to comfort himself. I love that he pets ketchup packets for comfort, too (think about it - squeezing those packets without having them explode is calming - like a stressball). The show tries to be Every Family. I promise you, if every family in America was like this, Child Protective Services would not be able to keep up.

The Sopranos

This show had me until the very end. I loved every potty-mouth-filled episode. Then came the finale. Spoiler alert: fading to black is NOT an ending! I need to know what happened! Did they get arrested? Did they die? Did they keep up their mafia ways and manage to keep the law at arms length? I want answers. So unless you're gonna tell me how it ends, save your "It was the perfect show ending" remarks. Jerk.

The Wire

If you haven't watched an episode of this show, you might not want to watch the video. If you've seen it, watching those clips will make you wish HBO would bring this series back. I have to say, I loved David Simon's "Homicide" when it was on NBC. That's why I checked out this series. And I can't wait to see the next series he's rolling out in 2010. His shows have a way of making you love and despise the characters - who are all flawed. I love that they're not perfect. They're real. I hate to see them go.

The West Wing

There was nothing about that opening sequence that did not make me feel like I was getting a peek into the White House each week. Yes, this show started in 1999, but it finished well into the next century. It made politics fun to watch. Can't say I get that much pleasure from cable news. It tackled real topics. It was balanced. The final season with its election story line was a true cliff-hanger. More shows should be as well written and produced. Viewers might stick around and watch more network TV if that happened.

Honorable Mention: Bravo
That's right. I'm naming this silly network, with its reruns of NBC shows mixed in with original reality programs. I cannot choose one city's "Real Housewives" over another because they are all over the top and trashtastic! I won't choose my favorite chef or gay house-flipper, either. When I can't find anything to watch, I turn to this network. It keeps me glued to my sofa. And I don't feel bad about it at all. Well, at least, not until I realize I haven't left my house all day.
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