In the interest of it being a particularly busy time of the year and because it is also the time of year for lists we thought we would forego our regularly scheduled Email Roundtable. Instead, we have each asked each other about a few of our favourite things from 2012. We attempt to discuss those things here. **Warning: this article probably contains spoilers**
Jane asks Kerri: What was your favorite challenge on a Reality Show this year?
I really had to think about this one as I really don’t watch all that many reality shows these days. However, I do think that the way that the current season of Top Chef began was pretty brilliant. Starting off with a crop of WAY too many chefs and making a bunch of cuts in the first episode is the way that Top Chef has been working for a while now. But, I quite liked the way this crop of chefs were separated into 4 different groups with a different famous chef overseeing a specific challenge. Tom Colicchio sent his “team” into Craft to see how they moved around his kitchen, Emeril Lagasse had his group make soup, Hugh Acheson did a salad challenge, and Wolfgang Puck had his group make an omelet. The great thing about this is that the tasks were simple enough that a good chef SHOULD make it through but also simple enough that it would be easy to overcomplicate and overthink things.
I also thought that the head to head Top Chef Masters challenge in the boxing ring was a good one. It was really high stakes and high stress, which is always semi-lacking on Top Chef Masters.
The other challenge that was memorable for me this year was the giant ball mud pit challenge on Survivor where the contestants gave up/bargained for the reward. I love it when the contestants screw with the game masters so that was pretty fun.
Jane asks Kerri: What was your favorite guest star performance this season?
I can’t really talk about guest stars without mentioning Louie. I don’t think that any show makes better use out of its guest stars than Louis C.K. does on his show. And this season probably had the very best line-up of guest stars of maybe any show ever. Parker Posey and David Lynch were my favorites in a season of spectacular guest star appearances.
The more I think about it, though, this year has been an animation explosion for me. And so it would be crazy if I didn’t talk about my favorite episode of Archer from this past season (and ever), “The Limited”. I’m not a huge Archer supporter. I know everyone loves it and it is hilarious and crude and amazing but there is something (maybe the meaness) that I can’t always get over. However, “The Limited” was probably the first time Archer had me in stitches from beginning to end. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police ask ISIS to help them transport a Canadian terrorist. Most of the action takes place on a train (because Canadian’s don’t do things the easy way?). The episode is funny enough in its own right but perfectly, brilliantly the terrorist is voiced by guest star Rob Wells who played Ricky on Trailer Park Boys (and in fact Julian and Bubbles make appearances too!). It is a great bit of Cancon and it works like a charm. Archer already has some of the best voice acting on TV (I think only Bob’s Burgers comes close and that’s because H. Jon Benjamin is on both shows) but the Canadian accents on display in this episode are perfect.
Kerri asks Katie: Favourite ensemble? (That’s a gimme, unless it’s not)
Kerri phrased this question this way because she assumes my favourite ensemble is from Parks and Recreation, because that is my favourite show. She is correct. The leads on Parks and Rec are consistently hilarious but also capable of conveying true heart. They are some of the best actors on TV. The secondaries are just as notable. The show has been compared to the Simpsons in how Pawnee is full of secondary characters that we know and love, just like Springfield.
I’ve talked about this show before and will again, so I’m going to cut this one short and mention other favourite ensembles from TV this year:
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Kerri asks Katie: Favourite use of music in an episode of TV?
I am a broken record. Mad Men. The episode is “Lady Lazarus.” Meaghan gives Don the Beatles’ album Revolver to listen to. He puts on the record, sits down, listens to 30 seconds of “Tomorrow Never Knows” and promptly shuts it off. I don’t remember anything about the episode except the thrill I felt when the record started to play.
Hearing the Beatles through the ears of a character I love so deeply gave me fresh perspective on the song. Don feels how many people felt hearing “Tomorrow Never Knows” for the first time. That’s probably how I felt the first time. It’s awful and amazing and like nothing the listener would expect. It’s a powerful experience. And if you haven’t heard this factoid enough times already: it was the first time a Beatles song was used on a television show.
Katie asks Jane: What is your favorite moment that made you Laugh out Loud?
Community Season 3, Episode10: Annie’s song “Teach Me How to Understand Christmas”: This entire “Glee” episode of Community had my laughing out loud but it was this song that had me laughing the hardest. Annie clad in a sexy Santa suit attempts to seduce Jeff into joining the Glee Club. After all they’re “a shoe in for regional’s, right?” In a spoof on sexy Christmas songs like “Santa Baby” Annie get’s progressively more infantile demanding “won’t you be my daddy/ I’m a silly Christmas baby,” until she is crawling around on the floor talking baby talk. Funny turns to squirmy as she coos, “Bwain huwty undewstandy Cwismas / Mistletoe for eatie taste good? You smawty, me dumb help pwety have fun!” however the end of Annies song produces an LOL as she finishes with, “Boop be doop be doop boop sex.” You have to watch this episode for yourself because Annie’s very last line of the scene is my favorite laugh out loud moment. I’d try to transcribe it but it isn’t quite English.
Katie asks Jane: What is a moment that made you truly sad?
I’m going to cheat here. I’m going to talk about a TV episode that I’ve seen years ago. I’ll start by admitting I’m a crier. I probably cry at least once during most TV shows, this includes reality TV. Because I cry at the drop of a hat, the sadness doesn’t always stay with me. The saddest moment in TV that has stayed with me for years is from Futurama Season 5 Episode 2 : Jurassic Bark. I still can’t think about that episode without getting upset.
In this tear jerker Fry finds a dog in a museum which has been fossilized from the future. He recognizes him to be his beloved pet Seymor. After successfully protesting to get the fossil back he asks the professor to help him bring him back to life. The professor tells Fry that they can bring Seymor back to life by making a clone of his DNA but he won’t have all his memories intact. Fry hesitates because he fears that the dog will have made new memories with a new owner. The thought of Seymor not remembering him causes Fry to abandon the idea of bringing Seymor back.
The killer is that we see in a flashback that Seymor has been waiting in the very same spot that Fry left him thousands of years ago. Fry told him to wait there for him and Seymor died waiting for Fry to return.