Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Favourite TV Shows 2010 - Top 5 Comedies

Well here we go, finally my top 10 (or at least the start of it). If you can't tell this year's top 10 list will be done in a slightly different style to the way that it has been done in the past few years, I'll be doing two top 5s. This first top 5 shall be documenting my favourite funny shows on 2010 (not that all of them are only funny) and the second will be my favourite dramas of 2010 (again not that they're all strictly dramatic). I don't know how long this messing around with the lists will last, but this way seems an interesting way to give people 5 shows if they prefer comedies to dramas. Although really I could have just done two top 10s with my honourable mentions....
Ahhh fuck it, on with the list.

5. Charlie Brooker's XXXwipe
If you know me then you know that I hold Charlie Brooker in the highest regard possible. The pinnacle of this achievement can be found in his XXXwipe shows, ranging from Screenwipe, Newswipe, Gameswipe and this years 2010wipe. Whilst 2009 had more overall episodes, I didn't actually put him on my list last year even though the shows would have been just as worthy then. So this year I'm giving Brooker the respect that he deserves. All of the shows in the XXXwipe vein look at the world of television, news, etc. through the highly cynical eyes of Charlie Brooker who brings the hilarious smackdown like almost no one else. Whether it is pointing the sheer stupidity and hypocrisy that can be found in the news media or just ripping a crap TV show to shreds, Brooker is nearly always hilarious and never not interesting. Not many shows can be this brilliantly funny, topical and just down right fascinating to watch.

4. Cougar Town
This time last year, I don't think I'd seen an episode of Cougar Town. Whilst the involvement of Bill Lawrence of Scrubs had me interested, but the idea that the show would centre on Courtney Cox (from Friends dontcha know) fucking guys half her age just seemed like an awful idea. The first few episodes did absolutely nothing to alleviate these woes with one scene in the pilot focusing on Courtney Cox's character Jules giving a college student a blowjob. This was the kind of thing that happened for about 6-7 episodes, until all of a sudden the show started doing stuff right. Bill Lawrence started using the ensemble in interesting and often hilarious ways. Eventually the show completely dropped the idea of Jules being a cougar and instead focused on the extended family of the cul-de-sac crew. Now the show easily ranks as one of the best comedies currently on TV, a wacky sense of humour very reminiscent of Scrubs (without the hospital drama element) focusing on a bunch of functional alcoholics who come up with hilarious ways to spend their time (PENNY CAN!!!). Any show that pokes fun at the awfulness of it's title every week is worth watching if you ask me.

3. Party Down
Sadly one of the best comedies of the year was also cancelled this year. Luckily there still exist 20 hilarious episodes of Party Down for people to watch and treasure for years to come. Party Down centres upon a catering company called 'Party Down' and every week the show travels to some new function or even that they're hosting. Every week you just don't what sort of event you'll get with parties ranging from orgies (yup, orgies), birthday parties, picnics and funerals. The show thrived on the awkwardness that can be produced from these situations, but the best part of the show had to be the superb ensemble cast. Whilst Jane Lynch left part way through Season 1 to go and do Glee, that came as no harm to the rest of the cast. Adam Scott plays Henry (now of Parks & Recreation) was great as the straight man lead for the show who could also be funny when the time called, and especially worked as a counterpoint to Ken Marino playing Ron (Veronica Mars) who has so much shit happen to him that it's hard not to laugh. There was Ryan Hansen playing Kyle, the aspiring actor and the only one of the team who can get jobs purely because of his looks and not his talent. The superb Martin Starr as Roman, an aspiring writer who writes hard-sci-fi, so woefully fantastic as a completely up himself douchebag who was great in every scene he was in. The show thrived and making it's characters lives awful, such as Lizzy Caplan's character Casey having her scenes in the latest Judd Apatow movie, cut or Megan Mullally's Lydia, be completely oblivious to the actual nature of show business. Party Down was a show that left our screens far too quickly but left 20 perfectly formed episodes that all comedy fans should track down and watch.

2. Community
Community for a while had the number 1 spot on this list, based on the pure virtue that it had aired more episodes and that I had seen it far more recently than the show that currently resides at the top spot. But now it must settle for this (equally fantastic) number 2 spot. Community, as almost every show on this list, has an absolutely superb ensemble that it would be unfair to focus on any one character. Community is a show that ranges through so many different ideas that it is easily the most ambitious comedy on television. Whilst not every idea may work to the fullest of it's potential (the space episode, I'm looking at you) but how many other shows can boast episodes ranging from paintball spectacular, gangster movies, zombie apocalypse, stop motion Christmas special, conspiracy movie and religious morality tale. Even at the end of it's first season, Community did two finale episodes in a row. Community completely thrives upon pop-culture references, and if you're a pop-culture geek like me then that kind of thing just appeals to you. Luckily the meta-ness doesn't come at the cost of the shows heart, with the characters still feeling like real people, even amidst the craziness. Community is a testament to the versatilely of television as a medium and is damned funny in the mean time, making the second best comedy of 2010.

1. Parks & Recreation
How could it not be? Whilst there have been no episodes in 7 months*, Parks & Recreation was still far and away the best comedy of 2010. It's amazing to think that every single show on this list made it's d├ębut in 2009, but that just proves how fantastic a year for comedy it truly was, but Parks & Recreation still reigns supreme. All I will say about this show is that it really just has to be watched, it has a reached a level of just sheer comedic consistency that it almost never fails to make me laugh. Almost no other show on TV can attest to being as consistent every single episode as Parks & Recreations is. The show is now at a level that the US Office was at during it's 2nd season, and has no sign of slowing up. If you aren't watching this show then you truly don't know how funny TV shows can be. So now I'm just going to list brilliant moments from the show in 2010. DJ Roomba, Jerry falling into the river, every single forum that is held that lets the citizens of Pawnee speak their mind, the entire relationship between April and Andy, Mouserat!, any scene where the characters from the Parks department are in or mention a library, Rob Lowe's character introduced at the end of Season 2 and how he himself introduces himself to people and of course...

...Ron 'Fucking' Swanson. Breakfast connoisseur, wood work specialist, self defence trainer, hunter and jazz musician, Ron Swanson is just a superb character, effortlessly hilarious and played to perfection by the brilliant Nick Offerman. If there is only reason to watch Parks & Recreation (there isn't) it's because of this guy and his epic moustache.

And now I leave you with the single most infectious piece of music I've ever heard.


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