Monday, January 03, 2005

Top 10 TV moments of 2004

2004. Jon Stewart, ascending. Conan O'Brien, deferred. Family Guy, revived. Six Feet Under, shark jumped. You won't find any of these moments on this here my authoritative list, because either I had no access or time to watch, or I simply didn't care enough. But more importantly, in the space of just over 6 months that overrated television synopsis site and forum warned me three times. Cos the moderators needed to feel like moderators.

This list obviously does not concern itself with "important" things, as the very definition of importance is problematic in the field of any studies. Buying into canonical events, though, it's still to early to valorize anything that will definitely be considered of as important in 10 years. Instead, I'm opting for a less ambitious and more practical list, stuff that I liked, but even then I'm sure there'll be things that I'll realize I forgot, or things I'll retroactively come across and proclaim genius. So if something you thought was tops is missing, it's because, for a self-proclaimed "TV Guy," I don't watch that much TV.

Standard spoiler warnings apply, if there's a show you're waiting on or whatever, you'll want to skip the hell out of it.

Addendum - I should really have stated that my "indie rating 'system'" is meaningless and almost entirely arbitrary, a move made purely to reconnect with my indie "roots" of keeping it real. From now on, I'll end most posts with a "rating" i.e. a song that may or may not have anything to do with the post.

10. Nipplegate
No kidding, everyone's tired of the boobie, and now you can't even broadcast a harmless orgy or anything on America's Next Top Model. Why is this a good thing? Jefferson or some dead white guy said, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." I'll just speak for myself here, but I had taken free speech for granted before Nipplegate, but there's nothing like encroaching on rights to make me appreciate those rights the more. Eat a dick, Michael Powell.
Indie rating: Godspeed You! Black Emperor - "Motherfucker=Redeemer"

9. The Simpsons - "Diatribe of a Mad Housewife" & "All's Fair in Oven War" -- Re-reading Gravity's Rainbow
My favorite reclusive author "appearing" on my once favorite show ever? It doesn't matter that "Diatribe" didn't live up to the hype or that on its own merits was a bit of a dud episode, but: THOMAS PYNCHON!! And when I remarked that his voice sounded like he was parodying himself, I was right! In his follow-up in "Oven," he spoke in a "normal" voice, as opposed to the weird, cartoonish voice in his first appearance. Not to mention that "Oven" was a pretty good episode to boot. Yet: he's such a Simpsons-whore now. Next thing you know, he's going to end up as a head in a tank for Futurama... oh wait.
Indie rating: Muslimgauze - "Ishmael Tongue"

8. 24 - "12:00PM - 1:00PM" -- Choppy choppy
With a single swing of an ax, Jack disposes of no less than two annoying characters -- Kim and Chase, no doubt to be replaced by even more annoying characters. At least the farewell was bloody.
Indie rating: Slint - "Breadcrumb Trail"

7. Wonderfalls - "Wax Lion" -- Jaye's face
Maybe too weird (and misanthropic) for its own good and my tastes sometimes, but Caroline Dhavernas' assortment of withering stares, stumped looks, pouty grumps, and humoring smiles were the hottest thing ever. I know I say that a lot, but I mean that this time.
Indie rating: Mirah - "Light the Match"

6. Alias - "Blood Ties" & "Resurrection" -- Von abuse
Von gets worked over from a pre-pubescent Sark. Then a gentle knife in the back courtesy of Sydster Katya. Ah, vicarious punishment of annoying characters!
Indie rating: Wolf Eyes - "Stabbed in the Face"

5. Olympics 2004 - Women's Beach Volleyball
Forget Michael Phelps and his self-aggrandizing, self-promoting individualistic glory seeking -- he wasn't the most entertaining person on his own swimming team (Gary Hall, Jr wins that distinction), and Phelps didn't even have the best name in the Olympics (that one goes to Pieter van den Hoogenband). But the biggest winner of the Olympics as far as the US goes to women's beach volleyball, and specifically to Misty May and Kerri Walsh making competence sexy like no one's business. One of the difficulties with women's athletics is a visible difference between the level of play as compared to the men's side. Through savvy marketing (not just the amount of skin flashed, but lowering the net so that spikes and kills have a more dramatic flair) and a more strategically-oriented game (the men's game seems to be based on overpowering which equals yawn), the women's game was easier to follow and featured a winning team who were actually wonderful to root for. And Kerri Walsh is awesome. How awesome? She went to Stanfurd and she's still awesome.
Indie rating: Sleater-Kinney - "Dig Me Out"

4. Lost - "Walkabout" -- Spooky!
While "Raised by Another" has been the high point of the series so far, the end of this episode proved how effectively scary Lost could be. Who is that figure that Jack sees? What is he doing there? Why is he so well dressed? Why do we only see his back? SCARY.
Indie rating: Bardo Pond - "The Migration of the Duck Billed Platypus to Australia"

3. Alias - "Hourglass" -- Sydney disguised as Robocop
We all knew she could take names, but was she ever as determined and baaad and epic as she was here?
Indie rating: Isis - "Weight"

2. The Apprentice - "Scoop Dreams" -- Bradford gets his nuts handed to him
Going into the board room with immunity, Bradford was the epitome of the ideal imago. He could do no wrong and he knew it -- he was the Other. So with pre-Oedipal aplomb, he acceded his immunity to the phallic mother -- more commonly known as Trump -- who promptly castrated him. (If I'm distorting Lacan here, absolutely let me know. I'll give you a cookie and a hug.)
Indie rating: Damon & Naomi with Ghost - "The Mirror Phase"

1. Elyse's LiveJournal
Given the short life expectancies of blogs, who knows how much longer she'll keep updating it. Nevertheless, her sharply-honed sarcasm, self-effacing humor, formidable intelligence and insightful wit make her site even better than mine (since every four posts I complain about why I hate Von and the second season of Alias so much). If it weren't for Elyse's indie ways and wiles, my blog probably would be called something puerile and idiotic, like something having to do with television being pitiless. And as far as I can tell, she genuinely reads all her comments and she'll even respond if they interest her enough. No inaccessible and aloof minor indie celeb is she. Thus, dare I say, Elyse's LJ is the best blog EVER? Yes! Proven by science! The only blog worth reading on the Interweb in fact! (Why are you still reading this? GO GO GO!)
Indie rating: Mogwai - "2 Rights Make 1 Wrong"


haenschen said...

Your ratings system I do not understand. But that's ok. The Speedo, on the other hand, RULES!

Anonymous said...

Caroline Dhavernas was so great on that show. Have you seen Kristen Bell? My favorite thing about Veronica Mars is Bell's slightly cross-eyed mug and the unexpected things she does with it. Hot chick AND great comic timing. Plus the show isn't getting cancelled, even though I like it. Weird.

I got kicked off the Fametracker boards for no reason anybody ever bothered to explain, so I'm with ya.