Friday, February 25, 2011

Perfect Episodes

I have had this column in draft status for quite some time. It's been sitting on the shelf because I kept debating on whether to flush it out to a Top Ten Best Episodes Ever or just go with the original ones that came to mind. This post started when Parks & Rec aired "Ron and Tammy" last year. That was the episode where I knew I was in love with the show.

A perfect episode (to me) is one that fires on all cylinders. The B-plot is just as important or funny as the main plot, and every character / actor gets a chance to shine. I have decided that I am not going get into a detailed recap of each episode. I have linked to wikipedia where others in the world have done that for me. Instead, here's why I think they are winners (*update* which I guess means I recap them).

30 Rock "Secrets and Lies"
The perfect example of everyone getting something to do. Jenna wins an award but is jealous of Tracy. Liz and Pete have to jump through hoops to baby them. Jack and CC talk about going public. The Twofer and Frank rivalry starts. Josh gets a new haircut. James Carville has a walk on to help out everyone. I downloaded this episode to my iPhone so I can watch it when I'm in need of some comedy.

Seinfeld "The Burning"
In the last season of Seinfeld, this was the pinnacle. I taped (on VHS) all episodes of the last season of Seinfeld and this one got the most play (besides Puerto Rican Day, which they stopped airing for a while because of the flag burning). Elaine finds out Puddy is religious. George tries to go out on a "high note" at meetings. Kramer acts out gonorrhea and Jerry's girlfriend got gonorrhea from a tractor. Many complain that Seinfeld got too absurdest toward the end of their run. I don't disagree, but it was still plenty funny.

Simpsons "Homer Goes to College"
All of the 5th season is the best. There is no arguing that. It's like picking your favorite child. But sometimes you have to make Sophie's choice. Mine is HGtC. I am so smart. I am so smart. S-m-r-t. I mean s-m-a-r-t. All while lighting his high school diploma on fire. Comic gold.

Angel "Not Fade Away"
Now we're getting into the drama. This one is tough. It's definitely not an entry episode. But if you watch the 100+ episodes that come before it (and all of Buffy, for good measure) then this is the single best payoff for TV of all time. Hands down. I know a lot of you out there don't like fantasy shows, and you're missing out. This is what television should be. This is how Lost should have ended (not plot wise, but thematically). Everything leads to this. Heart wrenching. Emotionally engaging. Perfect ending.

Buffy "Graduation Day"
BtVS hit its stride in the 3rd season. The end of high school. Literally and figuratively. The thing about this episode is that it didn't air right away. Columbine happened. The WB feared high school violence on TV would hit too close to home. I'm not sure when it ended up airing originally. Some time in the summer, I believe. I thought about putting the 5th season finale on here, but decided that this one beat it out. Yes, there are some cheesy special effects, but it also has toe to toe slayer fights, the end of Principal Schneider, and everyone (and I mean everyone) pitching in to do battle. "We're taking a moment." -Oz

Parks and Recreation "Ron and Tammy"
Finally, the reason for the article. Ron Swanson is currently my favorite TV character. And this episode is a showcase for him. Working with his real life wife Megan Mullally he gets to play crazy. Just a tour de force episode (did I use that right?). I think it is on Netflix Instant right now. So, what are you waiting for?


Post a Comment