Aug 26, 2011

The Funniest Shows - By Me

I recently read an article stating the 25 funniest shows of all time as voted by a group of people at IGN. While I agreed for the most part, I had some conflicts with the choices. How is Arrested Development the funniest show?

The article stated that it also was highly based on influence to the culture as well as the relativity. It may be a great show, but Arrested Development at most has a large, dedicated fan base in comparison to, say... the Honeymooners or Happy Days (which were both left off). I felt upset that the more classic shows were left off, and that the Ben Stiller Show made it but not Mr. Show.

I decided to compile my own list. To match their logic, I have decided to keep with tradition of only choosing shows that were in existence 5 years ago and back. So, no Bored to Death or Community, which I feel bad for, but that's logic. What is to follow is the shows that make me, the person, laugh and love the most.
You probably will notice I am missing a lot of your favorites, but I must admit, Seinfeld didn't leave a lasting impression, and Friends just sucks. Of course, it can be argued that many of my choices aren't that great in the history of comedy. But you know what... this is just another excuse to plug my favorites while making a list.

1. The Simpsons
Where to begin? This show has been incorporated into my daily life that I can quote the most obscure of lines. I can also apply the Simpsons to any social conversation. It really does work. I love the universe, the vast amount of characters, and even though many fans have given up, this show remains one of the highlights of my Sunday nights.

2. Soap
Easily the best comedy ever written. It's bizarre, edgy, features a great cast getting into obscure situations without breaking the formula of their parody material, known as soap operas. Susan Harris managed to make four solid seasons of the most unique characters, including one hell of a season one finale, though that itself as a parody of Dallas.

3. Futurama
I can marathon this show any given weekday and still enjoy it. In truth, I shamefully don't know it as well as the Simpsons, but it still evokes the same emotional response. While it looked iffy on the return last year, it has returned to it's great, deep content of parodying sci-fi and taking some emotional punches without ever feeling forced.

4. Taxi

James L. Brooks' biggest achievement to TV. It features arguably one of the best casts of the 70's, including a pre-Back to the Future Christopher Lloyd and Andy Kaufman. The plots are very simple nowadays, but the characters hold up for their ability to maintain humanity while driving taxis around New York.

5. Animaniacs
I am cocksure that in 10 years, when this generation grows up, I can shove in their faces that our generation was the best because Steven Spielberg made our cartoons and J.J. Abrams wrote our movies. I cannot find too many flaws on Animaniacs besides the fact it introduced me to so many properties and comedic concepts that it has helped form me into the open minded weirdo that I am.

6. Arrested Development
A great successor to Soap. A dysfunctional family with so many of the Hollywood elite back when they were lesser known manages to develop a great arc than wraps up nicely at the end of each season, knowing that they may be cancelled any moment. I felt their carpe diem attitude helped them in choosing to be so out there and weird.

7. Spaced
Along with Asylum, it's hard to not praise Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg as the modern nerd gods. They manage to take anything in popular culture and spin it into comedy gold without ever making it seem forced. This show is short, but sweet and should be seen as one of the achievements of British comedy, alongside the Office.

8. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
The better question is what won't they do? This show is crazy and hilarious as a result. There's no borders, and it manages to be edgy with some unlikable bartenders, but the more you get into this dark, perverted world, the more you cannot get out. It also helped launch the FX channel's comedy run of a lot of great shows like Louie, the League, and Archer.

9. Freakazoid!
Only two seasons of bizarre humor tearing apart the superhero genre for children. Also, any show that has Ed Asner flipping off nonsense deserves a spot on this list.

10. Monty Python's Flying Circus

I saw it on a DVD box set when I was really young, and it helped shape my comedic mindset, notably the darker sides.
11. Chappelle's Show
I showed up to this party late. However, after discovering the supremacist sketch to be one of the most amazing things I've ever seen, I have managed to add it to my roster of quotable shows amongst my friends.

12. Get Smart
Mel Brooks and Buck Henry created the great spy comedy show that lead to the likes of Police Squad and other shows. However, none of them managed to be as endearing as Don Adams' performance of dealing with faulty equipment and being a little bit of a dimwit. It deserves a place on any list because it manages to be funny, and a little bit intense and mysterious at the same time.

13. Saturday Night Live
Go ahead and argue all you want about this show. I am just saying that this show features a strong ratio of my favorite actors of the past 30 years. Also, the first three seasons features essentially my favorite form of comedy and pretty much converted me to a fan of sketch comedy. It's bizarre and fun, and those first three seasons have never been matched. Bravo!

14, The State
It lasted 30 episodes, and I couldn't get enough of the juvenile, bizarre attitudes of this gang of comedians. My interest in this crew remains strong in their current work, including the Risk podcast, Children's Hospital, Party Down, and David Wain's Role Models. This group of comedians may not be on everyone's roster, but dammit, if you are a fan of any form of comedy, you have to watch this show.

15. 30 Rock

While it's kind of past it's peak, the behind the scenes comedy with a superb Tina Fey manages to be one of the funnier thing on TV every season. It also makes Tracey Morgan tolerable and very funny. Great characters.

16. Batman
Let's face it, Burt Ward's dialog was hilarious. You try not laughing next time he says something. Sure, it's very of it's time, but it manages to be funny while taking itself serious enough to be the greatest form of camp. Just avoid the Egg Head episodes, and you'll be fine.

17. King of the Hill
It's not quite the Simpsons or South Park in terms of influence, but it managed to update Mike Judge's humor from juvenile to family while teaching ethics and still being downright bizarre. With a stellar cast, the characters grew up, we laughed, and kind of saw ourselves in every moment.

18. Mr. Show
I love David Cross. Bob Odenkirk is amazing. Put them together with another group of comedians that now run the best supporting roles alongside the State kids, you got one hell of a sketch show.

19. Mork and Mindy
It wasn't so much about the plot as watching Robin Williams riff in his hey day. He was a steam engine of bizarre energy that manages to make me laugh every time I see it.

20. My Name Is Earl
This may be my favorite thing that Jason Lee has done outside of Chasing Amy. I love that it's essentially a very politically incorrect show while trying to better it's characters. While it waned towards the end, it managed to make redemption so painfully funny while never once making the characters unlikable.

21. The Bob Newhart Show
I'm sorry, but Bob Newhart is amazing. His slow, dry wit is underrated by the modern generation, but those rants he did are incredible. True, Newhart never matched the greatness, but again, if it had Newhart, there's a good chance I already loved it.

22. South Park

It's amazing that a show can be so brutal, yet manage to make great metaphors for today's current events. Sadly, the show recently jumped the ship with shoddy writing, but you cannot deny that when it was on, it was hilarious.

23. The Honeymooners
I have to be honest, if this show is on on New Years, I will be watching it. It may have not lasted long, but it did have a very solid single season run. The Art Carney and Jackie Gleason pairing was brilliant, and often hilarious. It was the original sitcom, and I think it's influence can be seen through the progression of TV.

24. Beavis and Butthead
My first real exposure to pop culture critique. It may not be the brightest show, but damn, sometimes you have to agree with their rantings of "This sucks."

25. Laverne and Shirley
Cannot figure out why, but it always warms my heart while watching it. It's funny in an inoffensive way. Love it.

1 comment:

  1. "I must admit, Seinfeld didn't leave a lasting impression, and Friends just sucks." It's refreshing to see that I'm not the only one who thinks that.

    One show that I would have included is "The Carol Burnett Show." Simply an amazing talented cast! And even though I am not a fan of the Lucille Ball shows (I Love Lucy, etc.), I believe she opened the doors for many comediennes. The entertainment world would not be the same without her.