Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Great Television Episodes: Comedy Edition (Can there be just One?)

Last night after a long long day at work I laid down in bed to watch Friends.  I have had the longest days waking up at 7:30 am and finishing up work stuff at 9 pm at night.  I am a Resident Director at a school in Boston, and we are in the middle of RA training and getting ready for our buildings to open.  In order to relax every day after work I have been either watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Friends.  Last night I watched my favorite episode of Friends, There are some episodes in a television series that are just phenomenal.  When it comes to great comedy I have my favorite shows and my favorite episodes.

In the Friends episode "TOW Everyone Finds Out" Monica and Chandler have been secretly dating and Joey and Rachel have found in previous episodes, but at the beginning of this episode Phoebe sees them having sex in through the window across the street.  Phoebe and Rachel play games with Chandler in order to for Chandler and Monica to finally admit they are in love, add Ross sitting with ugly naked guy (naked himself) and you have my favorite and the best episode in the history of Friends.  The hands down star is Kudrow, who in my my mind was the thing that made every episode brilliant.

In I Love Lucy like always Lucy wants to be a part of Ricky's show and take part in a commercial in the episode entitled "Lucy Does a Commercial."  Lucy gets to do a television commercial for a product called Vitametavegamin but she has so much that she gets drunk slurs her words, and is just plain hilarious.  I love Lucille Ball's comic timing, but she shines more than ever in this episode, and this is just classic television.

Will & Grace had up its highs and lows but there was no better episode than "Lows in the Mid Eighties." My favorite characters in the show were always Jack and Karen; they had the chemistry and provided way more laughs than the central characters, but in this episode there is no weak link.  In this flashback episode we get to see Will and Grace dating (and telling her he's gay), Will meet Jack (and Jack tell Will he's fat), and Karen meet Rosario (and turn down a female tennis player).  Grace's haircut alone is amazing.

There are of course Friends fans who will save their favorite episode is where Rachel kisses Ross after she sees the prom tape, or Will & Grace fans who think the best episode is where Jack's mother comes to Thanksgiving and does not know he is gay, or when Lucy meets John Wayne.  These are all great episodes.  Good television is hard to come by and making not only one good episode that makes people laugh can be a challenge, but these shows captured magic that will be revered forever!

On the other hand, after writing about these three episodes, I thought and thought about the different comedies I watch like The Office, Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Seinfeld, and many more (I watch a lot of comedies) that picking one episode from each of these shows was incredible difficult. My favorite episode of The Office would be a tough call either "Casino Night" "Gay Witch Hunt" or "Niagara." The great thing about shows like 30 Rock, and Arrested Development are that narrowing down one great episode is difficult I enjoy all of them!  I like to think that most of the shows i have watched throughout the years were incredibly well rounded.  In today's writing comedies are less about the situational aspect.  I would consider the newer shows today to be versions of the sitcom, but stylistically they are far more advanced and take comedy to a whole different level.

I took a pop culture class last spring on the sitcom, and I do not think it is dying, but I think it is evolving from the older days where those truly great (classic) episodes in one season, to being good all the time.  Seinfeld set the bar for this, and was a sitcom about nothing where every moment was just funny, and it made it hard for people to pick just one moment or episode that highlights the shows greatness.

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