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Archive for the ‘Dramas’ Category

5. Zack and Kelly from Saved by the Bell

No other couple exemplifies the early 90’s quite like Zack and Kelly. Whaaaaat was going on here? Sometimes they were dating, sometimes she was dancing with older men at The Attic, and sometimes Zack was secretly making out with Lisa in her bedroom (what a bitch!). But then there were those touching moments, like when Kelly couldn’t afford to go to the prom because her father lost his job (could you not have borrowed something from Lisa’s closet, I mean reeeeally) and Zack and Kelly danced cheek to cheek by the picnic tables out back. HOW ROMANTIC. I am forever scarred that I did not experience a cheesy Saturday morning love affair like theirs in high school. And let’s not forget that the SBTB wedding in Vegas, was probably the most entertaining thing I’ve ever seen on television.

4. Carrie and Big from Sex and the City

I sort of hate myself for including these people on this list, or any other, but come on! What a trainwreck these two turned out to be. He was suck a dick, that you couldn’t help but fall in love with him, and he was rich, and charming and rich and then there’s kooky Carrie Bradshaw yukkin it up in her studio apartment, writing her little sex column, learning lessons about love and life everyday, and breaking them down into cute little nuggets of wisdom to share with the world. I’m not sure what this says about me (or all the other people who LOVED it) but my favorite episode of SATC will always be the one in which Carrie cheats on douchebag Aiden with Big, oh, remember, they fight in the elevator! And next thing you know, it’s a full on affair. Let’s not forget that he essentially left her at the altar though, which was kiiiinda assholey, but I feel like she deserved it a little, she is ridiculous after all. Fortunately, he won her over in the in with a fuckin shoe closet. Way to possess any amount of self respect, Carrie.

3. Kevin and Winnie from The Wonder Years

Man, how crushed were you in the final scene of the final episode of The Wonder Years when we learn that Kevin and Winnie did NOT end up together? I guess we’re supposed to move on and accept that they were merely each other’s first loves, but for the love of god, HUMOR ME. It’s difficult to watch this show now, because I no longer relate to EVERYTHING Kevin is going through at an INTENSE EMOTIONAL level, and rather feel a little bit uncomfortable about how IN LOVE these middle schoolers are with each other. And remember, (see clip below) when Winnie was sick and Kevin “took care of her?” When I was 12, if some kid had come to my house and entertained me whilst I was ill in bed, I would have surely wanted to punch him in the face. Drop off my homework and get the fuck out of here already, I’m sick and would prefer to be alone. . .

2. J.R. and Sue Ellen Ewing from Dallas

A lesser person probably would have chosen Pam and Bobby as the greatest couple on Dallas and those people would have been DEAD WRONG. Sure, Pam and Bobby’s love for each other is undying, but J.R. and Sue Ellen’s, is unadulterated. Theirs is a match made in HEAVEN. She a Texas beauty queen, he a rich independent oil man; he attracted to her good looks and well mannered persona; she attracted to his wealth and power. I assume they must have been happy together at some point, but not for long! He continued to womanize, and she couldn’t wake up without crushing bourbon, which made for incredible fights. And hate sex.

1. Lucy and Ricky Ricardo from I Love Lucy

Aaaahhhhhhh. Thank god I was not alive in the 50’s. If you think that the news of Brad and Jenn’s breakup was crushing, IMAGINE how absolutely devastating the In Touch cover with Lucy and Ricky torn apart must have been! “I DON’T Love Lucy!!!!” But, all the same, onscreen they were just the bees knees of couples (Fred and Ethel were pretty great too, I must admit), but something about her putting up with his bossy “do as I say” attitude, and his ridiculous accent and him putting up with her zany to the max slapstick antics makes me feel all warm and cozy inside. I also like that they maintained separate beds.

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On a personal note, this is a very difficult topic for me. Not because of the whole “oh, it’s Valentine’s Day and I’m single, everyone has love but me” (said in whiny Ricky Gervais voice) nonsense but because when I was twelve I had a little whiteboard and one day I spent hours devising lists upon lists of my very favorite TV couples. For real. Thank god blogs didn’t exist when I was a pre-teen or I would’ve had to name it “SHAME.”

5. Happy Days (1974 – 1984) Joanie and Chachi

The Soap Opera Effect

This is a legit thing. It’s practically scientific. The reason why your grandmother is obsessed with Days of Our Lives, Young & The Restless, General Hospital etc? Sure, there’s sex and drama and corny moments galore. But there’s also a very real, very visceral reaction to watching someone for years and years, especially when that someone started out as a child. You invest in that person without realizing it, you watch and watch and one day you realize they’ve grown up, right before your eyes. It makes you somewhat emotional, dammit, when they celebrate their Sweet Sixteen, learn to drive, get their hearts broken for the first time, graduate high school… and especially when they, in this case  Joanie “Shortcake” Cunningham, fall in love with the once goofy, gawky cousin of the super cool guy who lives above your parents’ garage. This video proves it. We love Joanie with Chachi mostly because we love Joanie AND Chachi. We watched them grow up, get together, break up, make up, get married. We saw it all, over the course of the show’s ten year run. (Also, it’s Scott Baio for God’s sake. That guy is ’70s, ’80s magic. That part’s not exactly rocket science.)

4. Dawson’s Creek (1998 – 2003) Pacey and Joey

The Perfect Triangle

I just actually watched those clips and want to die a little. What were they thinking when they wrote this show’s dialogue? Why is Pacey calling Joey a “woman”? She is SIXTEEN. I don’t even call myself a woman now, for God’s sake. Anyway. Step aside from Dawson’s obvious shortcomings and focus on the show’s biggest surprise. Clearly, Dawson Leery was supposed to end up with little Joey Potter (tomboy, a modern day Jo March, literally the girl-next-door). The first season literally threw Joey at his feet as she climbed through the window of his room, after a year of angst that only a bunch of 15 year olds can muster. So then what happens? Dawson’s best friend falls in love with her too. And when that best friend (you can hear the call PACEY! over the blogosphere whenever Joshua Jackson makes an appearance in real life) is pretty much the Lloyd Dobbler of Capeside? Poor Cerealbox Head doesn’t stand a chance. 

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003) Buffy and Angel

The Beauty and the Beast

Well, so of COURSE the love of vampire slayer Buffy Summers’ life is a vampire. Of COURSE it is. Years before teenaged girls got sucked into the Twilight rabbit hole, before HBO had even heard of True Blood, sixteen-year-old Buffy developed the hots (it’s a ’90s expression, it works, leave me alone) for a 300 year old vampire with a soul. The show, in its smartest years, used Buffy and Angel’s relationship as a metaphor for the overpowering effect of first love (in maybe the most powerful example, Buffy decides to sleep with her boyfriend, for the first time, on her birthday, not knowing that the Gypsy curse of Angel’s human soul would be removed the moment he experienced a glimpse of pure happiness. So, yeah. Buffy wakes up the next day, all happy and in love… and her boyfriend has turned into a total monster. And you thought only Mormons could provide a subtle hint about the trouble sex can bring. Silly rabbit.)

2. The Office ( 2001 – 2003 / 2005 – Present) Tim and Dawn / Jim and Pam

The Kindred Spirits

Before there was Jim and Pam, there was Tim and Dawn. The settings may be slightly different but the stories started out the same- everyman Tim/Jim fall for their best office-mate, receptionist Dawn/Pam. Trouble is, she’s engaged to someone else. The beauty of how The Office plays what could’ve been a typical office romance is the dynamic between the two couples. Tim (it’s easier to stick with the first and greatest) is the Voice of Reason in this mad, mad world. He’s the one rolling his eyes along with us and wondering if everyone’s taken their crazy pills. S0, naturally he’s drawn toward pretty Dawn. She gets it. She knows everyone’s crazy. They speak the same language and in a world where you often feel like the last sane person on earth, this is crucial. It’s a lifeline. It doesn’t hurt when both of you are cute, funny, snarky and you let us all in on the joke. Of COURSE we’re rooting for you.

(Warning: this video will kill you)

(And the happy ending we needed)

1. The Cosby Show (1984 – 1992) Clair and Cliff Huxtable

The Perfect Couple

The following clip is ABSURD. Someone for Cliff Huxtable other than Clair? Please. TV has never gotten a pair more right than Brooklyn’s favorite Doctor/Lawyer duo. They’re smart, they’re playful, they fit each other like a forbidden hoagie with a bag of potato chips. There was no other way for The Cosby Show to end its eight year run than for Cliff and Clair to dance their way out of the studio. No other way.

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Oh, snow. You crafty bastard. Always using your wiles in the most inconvenient ways. You show yourself at the most inopportune times, blanketing our fake towns in fluffy white mush (that is CLEARLY not real snow), stranding our favorite fictional characters in cars and cabins and forcing dramatic, and sometimes hilarious, confrontations. You are cold, you are ruthless, you are unforgiving.

Keep up the good work.

5. My Boys “Madder of Degrees” (2009)

Ok, so TECHNICALLY this episode of the cable series is about what happens when a heatwave hits during a typically brutal Chicago winter but, in this case, I think it works since the absence of snow, really, is the device used here. Also, it’s -5 in Chicago right now and the very notion of a day when it’s suddenly warm enough to wear SHORTS and eat ICE CREAM makes me want to recite all of the episode’s lines by memory. I mean, it’s so cold that you actually have a moment, while walking outside, where you wonder if maybe you should just give up, if you should just lie down on the snowy sidewalk and let the cold take you. You wish for death, basically. I’m not even kidding. That’s how cold it is right now.

So yes, when PJ states that a warm day during a Chicago winter leads to 24 hours of temporary INSANITY, believe her. It’s the truth. Chicago winter will make you do insane things. Like spontaneously getting a super-nice condo with the guy you’ve only been dating for three months. Or getting a dog. And a Jeep. With no windows.

4. How I Met Your Mother “Three Days of Snow” (2009)

I just re-read the description of what happens in this episode and am amazed, once more, by how much plot HIMYM can cram into 22 minutes of air time. Basically, it boils down to Ted and Barney getting to man the bar in a blizzard (which goes great, “it’s THE DREAM”, until it’s overrun by college kids), Lily having a bunch of hilarious run-ins with her old car service driver Rajit at the airport, and Robin and Marshall stuck in the classic “It’s snowing really hard so of course let’s get stuck in our car” device. Does this ever actually happen in real life? Or is this a result of all these television episodes being written in Los Angeles, where a dude in a Hawaiian shirt sits at his desk, trying to guess how snow must feel and what it’s like when it actually falls from the sky. “People must get trapped in their cars ALL THE TIME,” he mutters to himself and reaches for another Corona Light. Yeah, I thought so.

3. Gilmore Girls “Love and War and Snow” (2000)

It’s hard to imagine a list about snow without mentioning Lorelai Gilmore. Lorelai loves snow, to the point that she can SENSE when the first snowfall of the season is coming, dragging everyone (her daughter, her boyfriend at the time) out into the middle of Stars Hollow to enjoy the first flakes. She’s crazy. About SNOW. (God, I’m tired.)

Anyway. Though there is a lovely episode in later seasons where Lorelai and Luke battle over whether snow is the most magical thing on Earth or just a royal pain in the ass (culminating in Lorelai getting all grumpy about her former BFF snow and Luke feeling bad so he builds her an ICE RINK on her front lawn. He really would’ve gotten the prize for Best Boyfriend Over 35 Ever if he hadn’t, you know, hid a secret daughter from his girlfriend for two months.) I prefer the Season 1 episode, where a snowstorm forces Rory’s adorable teacher/would-be boyfriend of Lorelai to stay the night with the Gilmores. If only for Rory, who gets to display a LOT of awkward small-talk with her TEACHER who woke up IN HER HOUSE the next morning.

2. Alias “Cipher” 2002

Let’s all agree to pretend that 1) the last season of Alias didn’t exist and 2) Season 2 of JJ Abrams’ spy show is seriously fantastic. “Cipher” is one of my favorites, with Sid’s near-death experience once of her most harrowing, involving Siberia, some thin ice, an ICE CAVE and a creepy music box.  The ending succeeds with a nasty cliffhanger. Just watch.

1. Taxi “Scenskees From a Marriage (Parts 1 & 2)” 1982


Back to the old “car stranded in the snow” routine! This time there’s SEX involved. Hol-ler! Latka is sent out to rescue a female cabbie who’s trapped in the snow. Unfortunately, he gets trapped with her and that whole “body heat” thing comes into play. So, yeah, Latka gets lucky, his wife Simca is pissed and their only solution (clearly) is for Simca to now have sex with one of Latka’s friends. Alex. Resulting in one of the show’s best lines ever- “Now peel me like a grape so I can get out of here.”

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Show/Character: Veronica Mars

Played By: Kristen Bell

Why Are We Talking About Her Today: Because every time I’m on Facebook, I am BOMBARDED with ads and polls and videos for her latest movie When in Rome which, frankly, looks terrible. I, the lover of all romantic comedies, would honestly rather watch that Sarah Marshall classic about the cell phone that kills people (“Why don’t you just take the battery out of the phone?!”) than see yet another movie about a grasping “career woman” trying to get her hooks into a hot photographer who clearly nails everything in sight (but not in CINEMA, clearly) while in my favorite city in the world. And because I know there are hordes of people out there who believe little pixie-nugget Kristen Bell is famous for these slight-to-middling movie roles, which is just APPALLING considering who she got to play on TV.

So Who is Veronica Mars? (Asks my voice-over narrator): In the town of Neptune, CA, Veronica Mars is the local PI’s daughter. At school, she’s at the bottom of the social totem pole, the one-time best friend of the most popular kids in school before scandal and some big-time emotional traumas hit, turning fresh-faced, headband sporting, pep-squad leading Veronica into a cynical, wisecracking, bad-guy thwarting, pint-sized PI with a few major chips on her shoulder. Technically, she’s dad Keith Mars’ “assistant” at his dingy downtown office. Not-so-technically, she’s planting bugs, doing standard surveillance on cheating husbands, drawing out common thieves and crooks and basically making the whole Neptune Sheriff’s Department look like a bunch of Class-A morons.  She has precisely three friends to her name, new kid Wallace, computer nerd Mac and local gang-leader Weevil Navarro, horrible luck with boys, a doting dad, a runaway mom and a pitbull named Backup.

Why We Love: Rob Thomas (no, not THAT Rob Thomas)’s beloved show ran for an all-too-short three seasons on the WB/CW. Part teen drama, part noir, we loved Veronica Mars for its nifty premise (a screwy, insidious mystery unravels over the course of the season), its dynamic setting (the city of Neptune is all but its own character with half of it poor and crime-ridden and the other half filled with the filthy rich. Kind of like what The OC tried to do but a lot more effective. While those OC kids were busy punching poor Ryan Atwood in the face, Neptune’s rich kids were throwing boxing matches among drunk homeless guys) and some very taut, serious conflicts. A lot of the show’s material was pretty heady for your standard primetime show- murder, sexual and physical abuse, drugs. Those big time issues Veronica is dealing with in the show’s first episode include the aftermath of her best friend’s vicious murder, her alcoholic mom leaving town and her rape at a recent party (she was unconscious at the time). It’s all made her more than a little hard-boiled about her sleepy California town. Luckily for us, V is also bitingly funny, sharp and knows some pretty slick tricks of the PI trade, leading her classmates to solicit her help on the sly in her “office”, the school bathroom (aw, just like the Fonz!). She’s got heart, a hot, genuinely bad-boy love interest (remember the whole exploiting homeless guys thing? THAT guy), and she’s tough. Honestly, the only solace that comes with there being absolutely no way we’ll ever see our Veronica again is getting to imagine her all grown up, busting big-time baddies at the FBI and showing up her idiot cohorts.

And getting to watch free episodes of the show online here. For now, that’ll have to do.

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Sweet, delicious joy! The only kind of joy directly related to cable TV shows. First Leverage and now Burn Notice is back on USA, starting tonight at 10/9c. By the end of winter, I am going to be one kick-ass spy/thief. All I’m sayin’. 

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5.  30 Rock – NBC Thursdays 9:30/8:30

4.  Cougar Town – ABC Wednesdays 9:30/8:30

3.  Nurse Jackie – Showtime Mondays (Premiers March 22) 10:00/9:00


2.  Parks and Recreation – NBC Thursdays 8:30/7:30

1.  United States of Tara – Showtime Mondays (Premiers March 22) 9:30/8:30


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So. There’s good news and there’s bad news. The GOOD news is that there are some fantastical, magical, should-be-riding-on-unicorns shows on television in 2010. Some of those babies are so adored and beloved that their safety is secure. The bad news is that because of your neglect (yes, you. It’s your fault. I have a TV blog, I watch enough to cause social services to take my kids away.) some of them may very well be canceled before 2010 is out.

Fact: Earthquakes suck. FACT: Being financially stable enough to help people is awesome. Fact: Good TV can be saved too. Let’s do this.

5.  Better Off Ted (Tuedays 8:30/7:30pm, ABC)


Ah, yes. My panicked warbling about ABC’s (dare I say it?) quirkiest show continues. Great, snug writing, fantastically weird and likable characters, a setting that is just bursting with possible story ideas, Better Off Ted is a dream of a workplace comedy, capable of cheerfully zinging the ridiculousness of massive conglomerates in the same beat that a crazily-coiffed magician named Mordor the Unforgivable gets shot with a harpoon gun. Even this show on its worst day is far-and-away better than the middling sitcom fare you’ll find on CBS these days. At least tell Charlie Sheen to take a hike for God’s sake. Clear up some programming time for Ted instead (see what I did there? Classic Lemon).

4. Parks and Recreation (Thursdays 8:30/7:30pm, NBC)

One of the all-time best turnaround stories for a network comedy. When Parks and Rec first aired last year, I made it through two episodes before I had to stop watching. Despite my love for Amy Poehler, watching her grating, Tracy Flick-esque Leslie Knope stumble, crash and burn amongst coworkers and townspeople who seemed to despise her was too much for me. (That episode where she’s flagellated in a town hall meeting in front of her mother? Just painful.) And then… and then someone (probably Beal) told me to take another look at the show when season 2 came around. So I did. A few weeks back, I sat down and caught up on Parks and Rec. And then I proceeded to watch every episode back to back in the span of three days.

What’s different? Leslie Knope is now completely lovable. Sure, she’s still got her high-falutin’ ambitions but it’s tempered with a lot more self-awareness, a healthy dose of idealism and hard work. Instead of her begging for Anne’s friendship, you can tell Anne adores her. And Louis C. K as her boyfriend-cop? Adorable. The episode with Megan Mulally as a slutty, malicious bureaucrat for the library? Fantastic. And that damned Christmas episode made me tear up.

3. Friday Night Lights (Fridays 8:00/7:00pm, NBC)


Here’s how good this show is and I swear, sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a wall when I bring it up. My dad, holed up for weeks after surgery, got the first season of FNL thanks to his third and doting daughter’s recommendation. Cut to three weeks later. My mother, who is incapable of staying up past ten minutes of any show (something about the lull of the voices, the softness of the couch? Or maybe the fact that she gets up at 5am every day) is rabidly asking me when the show is coming back on NBC (DirectTV has shouldered the production costs with NBC, so it gets the new episodes first. I love you, DirectTV). My dad reports that she is obsessed. He even caught her sneaking upstairs to watch an episode while he napped and rested. When I brought up the scene where Smash learns he’s going to college, she choked up. And my father is just as hooked.

Returns to NBC on April 30th. Rent the first three seasons on Netflix. Email me a nice thank-you card when you’re done.

2. Lost (Tuesdays 8:00/7:00pm, ABC)


If you’ve been watching this show, then I don’t need to convince you to do anything. You’ll watch. You might shake your fist at Obama’s State of the Union if it pre-empts it too. Lost for us TV geeks is the very definition of appointment television (and there is far too little appointment television these days.)

For those of you who haven’t watched it- look, don’t be turned off by the “mysteries” and the “clues” and the “LEXICON.” It’s a show. A damned good show. The acting is good, the twists are great and when Lost is good? It’s very, very, very good. I could personally give a damn about what the polar bear symbolizes. To me, this is a twisted, funky show about a whacked out, magical island and the very flawed people stuck on it. The end. Watch it because it’s fun. And because I think this whole plan to map out the story and end it this year was a brilliant one (and something serial dramas should always do. Hello, shows-that-spin-out-of-control-toward-the-end-because-they-have-no-direction! Yes, Alias. I am talking to you.)

This is a big year for Lost. The last season. And there’s still time! Hole up for a few weekends, catch up and don’t get bogged down in all the extra stuff.

Returns to ABC on February 2nd.

1. The Tonight Show with CONAN O’BRIEN (Mon-Fri 11:30/10:30, NBC)

I have seen every single episode of Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show, which would be a laudable feat if it had lasted the usual tenure of 10-15 years on air. It looks as if Coco’s run, however, will be capped at a measly 7 months. Catch up on the whole story here, just in case you’ve been on Mars for the last week and missed it.

I’ve tweeted and Facebooked and languished over every bit of news and every awkward and hilarious and awful and painful late night segment about the debacle since it all started with Heir Zucker’s announcement to move Jay Leno back to 11:30pm. I am, quite frankly, too sick at heart to talk about it for much longer. Suffice it to say, my perspective of the situation is merely one of a devoted fan. Like so many others, I’ve been watching Conan O’Brien for years and years, for so long that when he saw his dream of hosting The Tonight Show realized, I was beyond thrilled for him. He’s talented, he’s paid his dues and he deserved it. To see it taken from him just hurts.

I don’t care to dissect the reasons or the secret reasons behind the lineup changes or why we hate Jay and love Conan and what it means for comedy and for NBC. It’s all been said to death. Suffice it to say, Conan did not have enough time to secure his legacy with The Tonight Show or to prove himself in the ratings. We’ll miss him and we hurt for him. And wherever he goes, we’ll go. Simple as that.

The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien could very well end on Friday Jan. 22nd. Watch it until the fat lady sings or I will stab you in the face.

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