2015 is coming to a close. We thought we’d get together with some of our favourite guest stars to answer some burning questions about TV this year.
1.) What show had the most impact on you this year (and why)?
Kerri: There was no shortage of excellent shows that I fully enjoyed (and some that I’m still enjoying) this year. The Americans, Fargo, Wolf Hall, The Knick, Catastrophe, Mr. Robot, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Mind of a Chef, The Jinx, Veep, Broad City, Transparent, Nathan for You, Review, Show Me a Hero and Gravity Falls were all shows that made me laugh or cry or feel disgusted or disturbed. The end of both Mad Men and Justified were spot-on and profound and the end of Hannibal was just about as insane as I’d hoped. But no show got me in the feels like a little sitcom called Playing House. Starring Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, Playing House is about two best friends who get into mild scrapes and pickles together. And that’s about it. There’s nothing “important” or especially new or even exciting about the show. Often it’s broad and relies on sitcom clichés. But Parham and St. Clair are just about the most delightful performers you could ask for and the way that they play off each other is exceptional. It was the show that had me giggling more than any other this year and the one that had me crying more than most, too. I didn’t always like Playing House but I always loved it.
Graeme: While this isn’t really a “show” I’m going to give a shout out to SPORTS! and say nothing could have as much impact on my health and well-being as watching the Winnipeg Jets blow it in the NHL playoffs.
Honourable mention to Community – I definitely misted up a bit at the conclusion of the show, especially at the end when Britta toasted the remaining few Greendalers, “This is the show”.
Jane: Parenthood. I watched it for the first time this year so it counts. I find it difficult to write about Parenthood. It affected me so profoundly that I’m afraid I’ll ruin it. I love the love that these characters have for each other. It is sometimes messy but it’s real and I never doubt it for a second. The feeling of that love is still stuck to my guts.
Raph: The final Late Show with David Letterman. The whole last week was bittersweet as I grew up with Dave lulling me to sleep. I loved the last episode as they had a mini-documentary of how the show gets put together. As well as Dave’s son Harry introduced and being un-comfy on camera sitting next to his school chum – who was fantastically comfortable on camera.
2.) What was your favourite inanimate object in a TV show this year?
Kerri: That Coca-Cola bottle on the Mad Men finale had all the fancy significance and proved pretty divisive but the most joy I got from inanimate objects this year was from Peggy and Stan’s respective telephones. I don’t care if it was corny or unbelievable or too Romantic Comedy-esque, I loved it.
Graeme: I have to say, it’s great to have Evil Dead back! I’ll have to go with the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis because that’s one creepy-ass book.
Jane: The dinner table in the Kitteridge home from Olive Kitteridge. The entire family history could be told in the silences that exist around that old table.
Katie: Abbi’s knockoff strap-on dildo from Broad City. Favourite strap on moment: when Abbi gets it caught in the door as she exits Jeremy’s apartment. Second favourite moment: when Abbi mounts it to her wall and uses it as a necklace rack.
Raph: Peggy Olson’s roller skates. True they would not be much without Peggy – but they added so much to the gorgeous bits with Peggy and Roger alone in the empty SCDP office. It allows Peggy just to chill and be a girl without trying to prove any thing and Roger gets to play the piano and have an audience of one.
3.) What was your favourite TV workplace this year?
Kerri: The precinct on Brooklyn Nine-Nine seems like it might be the best possible place to work, mostly because it doesn’t seem like there is a whole lot of actual work to do. In terms of workplace drama, nothing was as captivating and sometimes downright scary as the Yonkers City Council sessions on Show Me a Hero. I’ll also give an honourable mention to the fsociety headquarters on Mr. Robot. Although, if you work in an abandoned arcade, you might want to play the games every once in a while.
Graeme: The White House. Veep is just such a perfect show and while it wins plenty of awards and critical adoration, I still feels it’s under-rated because I just don’t know that many people who watch it. I’d put it against any other sitcom on TV right now; it’s truly hilarious and has a ridiculously talented cast.
Jane: The pharmacy in Olive Kitteridge. A pharmacy doesn’t immediately leap out as an exciting place, but the love that Henry and Denise have for their jobs make it a place I’d like to be. I love the display of greeting cards. It could be my memory playing tricks on me, but to my mind it perfectly conveys the spirit of whatever holiday is occurring. The setting usually provides relief from the tension of Kitteridge family home. Happiness seems more possible when the characters are there.
Katie: The panty sweatshop in Orange is the New Black. The fact that all the prisoners have jobs at Litchfield means that we spend time in different parts of the prison: the kitchen, the laundry, the library. The sweatshop is nothing special, but I thought Piper’s panty scheme was brilliant, so the sweatshop wins.
Second place goes to Jessica’s Jones’s PI office, Alias Investigations.
Raph: I really like the office set up on the new Muppets program. They borrow liberally from The Office and Larry Sanders and Studio 60. But the jokes themselves are really solid and you know all the characters. I’d like to be the cue-card guy and get yelled at by Fozzie and Piggy about my lacklustre penpersonship.
4.) Do you have any shows that you MUST appointment watch (watch the day it airs)?
Kerri: The only “shows” that I really appointment watch are live sports because it’s so hard to avoid scores and updates and all that junk. Survivor is one of the two actual show-shows (Game of Thrones being the other) that I watch on the day it airs. Which makes sense, the show is kinda like sports after all. What makes Survivor even more appointment viewing-worthy these days is just how much damn fun Season 31, Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance has been.
Graeme: I’m very in favour of PVRing shows and watching them later to fast forward the commercials. Fortunately HBO is commercial free and right now it’s a very short list – Game of Thrones. While the last season was a bit disappointing, it’s still appointment viewing due to the high likelihood of next-day spoilers. This is especially important now that they’ve passed most of the book series’ content. Also, RIP Mad Men, the other Sunday must-see.
Jane: I used to. It was Mad Men. I watched every episode as it aired. The anticipation as it got closer to 8:00pm was part of the Mad Men experience. So was waiting for the commercials to end and the show to begin again. Not to be dramatic but as the credits rolled in the final episode I felt lost and upset. I thought it was brilliant how the future was like a dark cloud in those final episodes that still lingers.
Katie: Survivor is no good stale. I have to watch it that day or the next day so that I can discuss it with my mom and with Kerri.
Raph: I watch Shark Tank live Friday nights. I usually make a fancy meal for it or get fancy take-out. I love the haggle, the bidding wars and the pensive pace of the show. It has a very hypnotic rhythm and you get to learn things like debt capital, credit default swaps and other things that wheelers and even some that dealers know.
Stay tuned for Part 3…