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Introducing… Sam Rinkledink!

Having been a television addict since she was old enough to watch Sesame Street, Sam is now in her third year of Radio & Television Arts and is following at least 10 shows that are currently on the air. Sam can always find time to fit a show into her schedule, as she voraciously eats TV up in her spare time, going through seasons like bags of chips – mercilessly and with great enjoyment. She’ll give anything a try if it comes with a high enough recommendation (a.k.a. “This show is AWESOME! You should watch it!”). She is also very opinionated and will defend her favourite shows till the cows come home (The Office? Who CARES if it’s been running forever, it’s still HILARIOUS).

Top 5 Favourite Characters (of the Moment)

5) Richard Castle, Castle: Though not Nathan Fillion’s best work (people still insist to me it’s Captain Malcom Reynolds in Firefly… WHICH I WILL WATCH SOON), Richard Castle is a charming yet immature character that grows on the viewer with each new episode. According to Fillion, the character’s name Rick Castle was intended to sound “like you’re saying ‘Rick Asshole’”, which fits perfectly with Castle’s sometimes douchey behaviour and delusions of grandeur. He plays the Mulder to Kate Beckett’s Scully, acting as the voice of the viewer by insisting that there has to be a story-like element to the murders they solve, otherwise it would be “too boring”. His interactions with his mother and daughter provide the audience with a much more appealing and endearing Castle, who excels as a father despite his own lack of maturity. The main character of the show, the reason for its inception, and expertly portrayed by Nathan Fillion, there would be no Castle without him.

4) Tobias Funke, Arrested Development: A fabulous stand-up comedian in his own right, David Cross brings the Bluth family together in their mutual confusion and resounding awkwardness around their dealings with Tobias. From his unintentional sexual innuendos, to his “never-nude” disorder, to his insistence that he will one day become a great actor (or member of the Blue Man Group), Tobias keeps the laughs coming and the awkward humour of the show in top caliber. Without the resident “analrapist”, half the comedy of the show would be gone, and with it – one of the most beloved characters.

3) Abed Nadir, Community: According to the show’s creators, Danny Pudi really brought his own flair to the character of Abed, who would not have been the same without him. Accused (by Jeff, in the pilot) of having “Assburgers” (Asperger Syndrome), Abed interprets the world through the medium of television. This plays into the self-referential and meta nature of the show, as Abed turns out to be the most insightful member of the study group, drawing connections between the behaviour of the characters on the show and characters in other fictional works. Sometimes he can even predict the future!

2) Liz Lemon, 30 Rock: Sometimes it’s hard to tell this sassy, insecure, ultimately hilarious foodie apart from her actress and creator, the brilliant Tina Fey. Fey has even confirmed that this character is a fictionalized version of herself, due to the similarity in their professions (Fey was the head writer for SNL from ’99 – ’06, Lemon is the head writer for TGS with Tracy Jordan). Jack Donaghy – within moment of meeting her – provides this character analysis: “New York third-wave feminist, college-educated, single-and-pretending-to-be-happy-about-it, over-scheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that says ‘healthy body image’ on the cover and every two years you take up knitting for…a week”, which Lemon’s coworker, Pete Hornberger describes as “uncanny”. Liz is known for her hilarious dialogue catchphrases such as “NERDS!” and “Blerg”. The ultimate geek girl, Liz Lemon provides laughs for women of all generations who can relate to her foibles.

1) Dwight Schrute, The Office (US): Rainn Wilson describes his character as a “fascist nerd” who “does not hate the system, but has a deep and abiding love for it”. His constant desire for extremist behaviour results in many slapstick and sometimes, downright dangerous antics on the show. From simulating fires to bringing dead animal carcasses into the office, Dwight is constantly taking action without seriously considering the consequences. With a complete lack of social skills and inability to properly payback Jim Halpert for his many pranks conducted at Dwight’s expense, he becomes something of the laughing stock of The Office. Without this horrifying, yet somehow still lovable once Assistant to the Regional Manager, The Office would not have anywhere close to the following it still has today.

Top 5 Shows of the Last Decade

5) Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003): One of the first portrayals of a strong female lead, Whedon really broke the mold with this show. Aging with its audience, as opposed to pandering to a younger demographic, the characters address major issues surrounding both the real aspects of their young adult lives (such as getting a first job, doing drugs, a death in the family) as well as the fantasy element of living on top of the Hellmouth (monsters, demons and vampires, oh my!). Truly Whedon’s first (and some still may say greatest) masterpiece of television, the characters are consistently intriguing and deeply embodied by their actors, while the writing continually met and exceeded all the high standards viewers expected from one episode to the next.

4) The Office (2005-present): While based on the UK show of the same name, post season 1 the show really came into its own. The characters developed beyond the one-dimensional versions the short-lived UK series provided them and became both sympathetic and appealing to the viewers. Even chronic purveyors of the highest forms of awkward humour such as Regional Manager Michael Scott are found to have their own special charm. The writing is consistently clever, as shown in even the deleted scenes which one could argue are more “scenes they couldn’t fit in” than anything worth being deleted. The show even draws references from internet memes (Three Wolf Moon shirt) to real life (the Canadian Vancouver 2010 Olympics) which may date it in the future, but make the comedy that much more juicy.

3) Community (2009-present): One could say it’s a little soon to be establishing a show barely halfway into its second season as one of the best of the past DECADE, but if any show could carry that title it’s Community. Brilliantly satiric, with more references than most can catch even after multiple viewings, this show is one of modern television’s greatest wunderkinds. Dan Harmon has pumped every last bit of his lifeblood (and money) into his newest creation, and it shows. The writing is top-notch, the actors (while relatively unknown to the mass majority) portray their characters brilliantly, the plot lines are whacky but ultimately hilarious. You just can’t go wrong with this show!

2) Six Feet Under (2001-2005): My first and forever HBO love. It broke down many barriers in television, paving the way for the unique dark comedic dramas that now colour the HBO and Showtime landscapes. Analyzing a profession that anyone can say they never really wanted to learn more about, yet drawing in record ratings and audiences for its content, this show really pulled off the impossible. Truly Alan Ball’s greatest television achievement, with believable and sympathetic characters portraying the Fisher family. Finding new ways to examine mortality with each episode, the show drew in a generation of philosophers, pushing its audience to think about the deeper meaning in our life’s actions. Also, undefeated champion for THE BEST series finale of all time. Just try to say The Sopranos even came CLOSE to this.

1) Arrested Development (2003-2006): Best ensemble cast, best writing, best best best! With renowned creator Mitchell Hurwitz at the helm, there was no way this show could fail (except in its being cancelled, which one could argue is a blessing in disguise). A 9.6 (out of 10) rating on IMDB proves that most of the viewing public agrees with me. Only after watching it, can you truly understand the brilliance of this show. So if you haven’t already done so, GO NOW! RUN, DON’T WALK.

Biggest Guilty Pleasure

Does watching The Office after season 2 count? According to all the self-proclaimed “real” fans of the show, it started going downhill after that. I believe people just couldn’t appreciate it when the plot shifted focus from Jim and Pam’s relationship to the antics of the general cast. Not to mention Jim and Pam still do a brilliant job even within their reputedly “boring” relationship. I think the “real” office fans are the ones who still watch to this day and find it just as funny as ever.

Character I’d Most Like to See Get Hit By a Bus

Mia Lewis, Californication. Supposedly acting as a foil to Hank Moody throughout season 1, I found her antics beyond reproach and overtly immature. Stealing Hank’s novel and getting away with it? Preposterous! She continually fueled my frustration with images of her being violently murdered flashing through my mind each time she appeared. The initial OH NO THEY DIDN’T revelation that Hank bedded a minor was quickly overwritten by her constant need to meddle in the author’s life with no real rhyme or reason until she steals the manuscript. Even after the manuscript is stolen, the fact that no one even tries to stop her from taking credit for an entirely Hank Moody original work just reeked of pity that the girl did not even deserve. I found her bland and one-dimensional even when her character was supposedly being portrayed as sympathetic. She did nothing but incite conflict throughout the first season and I was more than glad to be rid of her in season 2 when she goes off on her obnoxious book tour.

TV Character I’d Most Like To Hang Out With

 

George Lass, Dead Like Me. There’d be no greater company in the afterlife than an equally witty, sarcastic and ultimately clueless girl who just wants to understand what’s happening to her and deal with her new reality. I have a feeling George and I would be very much alike in the same scenario. We could support each other and throw ideas back and forth as we try to figure out what we’ve gotten ourselves into. Deeply thoughtful and caring, I think George would make a great friend and roomie!

Coming Up Soon…

Expect episodic reviews of two of the best ABC shows currently on the air, Castle and Modern Family.

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