Friday, May 23, 2014

Happy TV

I have been a lifelong fan of television. Now we're in a bit of a golden age, with shows like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad dominating the conversation, but I have some other shows I'd like to talk about. I have always gravitated toward certain random shows that have made me giddy happy. It's often quirky, smart writing that just makes me roll on the floor laughing and that I hold dear to my heart years after these shows have aired. For one thing, it's just great to be witnessing a golden age in television, but a lot of it is pretty bleak so I unabashedly obsess over the shows that are quirky, shamelessly happy, and willing to look silly. Here they are in order of discovery:

Starring: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Keiko Agena, Melissa McCarthy, Kelly Bishop, Edward Hermann, Scott Gordon-Patterson, Yanic Truesdale, Sean Gunn, Liza Weil, Liz Torres
Gilmore Girls was the first show I clicked with. It was the first show that made me sit up, pay attention, and educate myself. I had always been a kid that paid attention to pop culture what with two older brothers who switched out my Christina Aguilera for The Ramones, and my Princess Diaries for Monty Python. Gilmore Girls made me feel like a show finally got me. The fast pace, sarcasm, and constant referencing became the language that I aspired to speak, and the mother/daughter closeness was something I could relate to, even though my own relationship with my mom is incredibly different. Though the show as a whole strayed in the later seasons, it still remains one of my all-time favorites because of all of the jokes most people just don't get, from the first quip to the last.

Starring: Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride, Kristin Chenoweth, Jim Dale, Ellen Greene, Swoosie Kurtz, Sy Richardson, Field Cate, Sammi Hanratty
I've talked about it before (on the blog and to about 90% of my friends who try to tune me out), but I will never let this die. It is a morbid concept wrapped in the most saturated, hilarious little package that gives you the warm fuzzies. Pushing Daisies chronicles the adventures of Ned, the Pie-maker, who woke up one day discovering he had the ability to bring the dead back to life with the touch of a finger. There are so many layers in each episode and that makes them worth, not only one watch, but several. From the scene-stealing Chenoweth and McBride, to the sweet but never boring Friel and the amazingly awkward Pace, this show is zany and full of characters that make any oddities in your life seem totally normal.

Starring: Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer, Scott Adsit, Judah Friedlander, Keith Powell, Katrina Bowden, Kevin Brown, Grizz Chapman, John Lutz, Maulik Pancholy
Where would I possibly be without Liz Lemon? The soul sister of anyone awkward, nerdy, and smart who likes to make up words and doesn't quite have her life figured out, Liz and co. always made my day whenever they were brought into it. From hilarious cameos by other celebs, to some of my favorite dialogue ever to quote, to the use of music (Midnight Train to Georgia and Muffin Top), 30 Rock always had me in stitches. It wasn't afraid to push boundaries with live shows and jokes on the brink of impropriety. It always stayed true to its weird little core and let the whole cast just fire off their best material. Plus, you had Tina Fey in your living room every week. Now that it's gone I am especially thankful for Netflix.

Starring: Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Ken Jeong, Donald Glover, Chevy Chase, Jim Rash
I started writing this post long before Community's death notice. Unfortunately it won't make it to #sixseasonsandamovie and this will serve as my little tribute to one of my favorite shows. The queen of themed episodes and meta, Community never shied away from being itself and being outrageous (I'm kind of ignoring season 4, for the record). It's a show that you have to pay attention to because you will laugh that much harder and just get twice the fun out of it if you don't watch passively. They have done just about everything under the sun including multiple paintball themed episodes, Law & Order themed episodes, and even Christmas old school animation styled episodes. Nothing is too weird or out of reach for the study group to conquer and the weirder they strive, the better the show. Whenever you think they're going to zig, they zag. Plus, Jim Rash.

Starring: Kate Wetherhead, Colin Hanlon, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Stephen Bienskie, Santino Fontana, Asmeret Ghebremichael, Max von Essen
This is the little webseries about Broadway that can. Season 3 came out, fa-fa-FINALLY and it was worth the wait. If you've ever been a performance kid, chances are you will find something funny about this show. It's snarky, hilarious, and gives you a new set of best friends who actually don't exist. It makes me laugh out loud without fail every time I watch and it's so perfectly written. There are jokes upon jokes that, if you have ever experienced auditioning, will have you in stitches.

Starring: Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Jim O'Heir, Retta, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe
Parks & Rec is like the little engine that could. Somehow it is still going for one more year and is as perfectly funny as always. The cast is absolutely killer (and I'm still depressed about Rashida and Rob Lowe leaving) and they all bring something so different to the show. The cast is so well-rounded and perfectly utilized that it just makes the show. It's a true ensemble and they make each line and every look count. Once they found their footing after the first season (and made Leslie a little less like Tracy Flick) it really took off and became the show it is now. Whether you're following Tom's entrepreneurial ventures, Donna's latest obsession, or Ben's most recent nerd-venture, you're equally invested in every storyline. It's impossible to not be happy when watching this. Leslie Knope wouldn't allow it. It's literally the greatest show ever.

Starring: Mindy Kaling, Chris Messina, Ed Weeks, Ike Barinholtz, Zoe Jarman, Beth Grant, Adam Pally, Xosha Roquemore
I started watching this show right away and I felt pretty casual about it. Then as it developed and the characters became what they are now, I was completely hooked. It feels like my spirit animal turned into a show, because Mindy Kaling is at the helm and she knows exactly what she's doing. Kaling and Messina have such insane chemistry and it is just everything. Add that into the silly, absurd humor provided by Kaling herself and the rest of the cast (aka anything Morgan and Peter do, whenever Danny feels defensive about New York, and Mindy's lack of self awareness) as well as the constant rom-com references and The Mindy Project is a hilarious comedy that always leaves me wanting more.

What are your favorite tv shows?

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