I don’t even know where to start.
CommuniCon had been a pipe dream since the third season hiatus. I think the term was coined during the Paley Fest panel when we realized how many of our Twitter Study Group were either in the actual audience, at the “Greendale Pep Rally” at the NY Paley center (where the panel was being streamed) or huddled around computers watching the feed from Paley’s website. Someone tweeted that it felt like we were all at our own convention and the term “CommuniCon” was born. We started calling any gathering of two or more Community fans CommuniCon and we all talked about how wonderful it would be if a fan convention could happen.
But I never thought it actually WOULD happen.
Not that I don’t have faith in my fellow Community fans. It’s just that organizing an official convention is a massive undertaking. But I should have known better. The one thing you don’t tell a Community fan is that something is impossible. Community fans MAKE things possible.
My lovely friend Gillian followed our favorite instinct here at Head Over Feels (“Screw It, We’re Doing This”) and CommuniCon became a reality. Over the next few months, Gillian, along with me and the rest of the “Tranny Queens” Sarah, Jen and Catherine, emailed and brainstormed and flailed about and maaaaaaaaaaaaybe abused an imdb pro account (*innocent whistle*) to put it together (it should also be mentioned that NONE OF US lived in Los Angeles, where it was held). Tickets to the Con sold out in minutes and there was a wait list up until the very last day. I cashed in my long saved frequent flier miles for a trip to LA, booked a hotel room with my future wives and BARELY beat Winter Storm Nemo out of New York City on Friday.
It was better than I could have even imagined it would be.
“We’re together. That makes this the perfect timeline.”
Two years ago my friend Tevy changed my life when he handed me the DVD of the first season of Community and said “Kim, I don’t know why you aren’t watching this show but you should be.” Now, some people (though I doubt anyone who reads this blog) may think it is silly of me to say that a television show changed my life. But it’s true. Community unleashed the fangirl in me that had clearly been dying to get out, and I don’t regret letting her out for a SECOND. She’s a big reason this blog even EXISTS.
I have loved a lot of shows in my lifetime. The X-Files. Friends. Lost. How I Met Your Mother. Grey’s Anatomy. But little did I know what kind of love affair would launch when I started Community. I devoured practically two seasons in a weekend (the first episode I ever watched live was Season Two’s “Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts”). I found things in each member of the Greendale Seven that I loved and related to. Annie’s driven nature and competitiveness. Britta’s needless defiance and desire to do the right thing, even if she is the worst at it. Shirley’s desire to reinvent herself. Troy’s innocence and joy in everything he does. The way Abed sees everything through a pop culture lens because that’s how he relates to the world. Jeff’s struggle between being the man he thinks he wants to be and the man he actually IS. And even Pierce. Pierce just wants to belong and feel relevant. In fact, that is the common thread between all the members of the study group. Community is at its heart a show about finding where you belong and finding people who love you, no matter how weird or damaged you are. Isn’t that the very thing that all of us as Human Beings want? To know that we are not alone in this world?
I may have been late to the Community party, but once I was there, I was all in. I didn’t shut up about the show. I wanted EVERYONE to know what I had discovered: that something about this strange little study group at the world’s wackiest Community college was incredibly special. Sure, the show was hysterical, but underneath the metaness and movie parodies there beat a giant heart. I will never understand why some people don’t SEE THAT when they watch the show.
One of the things I love most about Sage is that I can text her my TV related thoughts (that are usually CAPSLOCKED) at anytime day or night. So the following exchange is not at all unusual at 11:52 on a Friday night:
Me: First ep of The Office done. ENDING UNACCEPTABLE
Sage: GOD DAMN IT BRIAN.
Me: Like. I can’t. It’s stressing me out. STOP BLOWING HOLES IN MY SHIP.gif
(That’s right. When I can’t USE gifs, I still talk in them. I am a completely normal person, okay?)
When a series is in the home stretch of its final season, it is inevitable that there will be some form of Eleventh Hour Drama. Someone gets a job offer/opportunity to travel to Paris and has to decide whether to stay with her friends or to go and forge a new path. Sometimes an ex-boyfriend comes back for the lead character after realizing that she’s been the one the whole time. And he comes back for her in Paris.
But do you know why that drama worked on shows like Friends, Dawson’s Creek, and Sex and the City? Because the drama surrounded on again/off again couples like Ross and Rachel, Carrie and Big, and the Pacey/Joey/Dawson triangle, and since those relationships were all unresolved at that point in the series, some drama was to be expected (if not demanded). You didn’t see Friends throwing some sort of Hail Mary out of nowhere “is this relationship okay?” storyline with Monica and Chandler in the final season. And that’s why I am more than a little perturbed at what The Office is doing with Jim and Pam this season.
One of the best things about The Office over the course of its nine-year run is the way the Jim and Pam relationship was handled. Yes there was a good deal of pining and angst, but once they got together, they STAYED together. And the relationship progressed naturally through dating, dealing with long distance for a time, getting engaged, married and then starting a family (though not QUITE in that order. Which made it more realistic, quite honestly). We never once doubted that Jim and Pam were a team. Soul mates. Madly in love with each other, even once they got through the ridiculous honeymoon phase. Yes, as any normal couple would, they faced struggles. But even then we never doubted that our beloved PB & J would ride off into the sunset together, with CeCe and Philip in tow at the end of the series.
Friends will forever be my favorite sitcom.
Yes. Even more than my beloved Community.
I grew up with Friends, as it premiered when I was 15 and ended when I was 25 (ugh, now I feel OLD). It (along with The X-Files and Dawson’s Creek) defined event television when I was in college. I often had rehearsal on Thursday nights, but I would set my faithful VCR (remember when you had to do that? #theworst) and everyone would come over to my apartment afterwards to watch together. I lived for the day when a season would get released on DVD and I could marathon it. The day of the finale, my best friend and I ordered The Joey Special (TWO PIZZAS?!) and watched our favorite episodes all day and then cried while watching the finale.
As a side note we did the same thing earlier that year when Sex and the City ended, except it was cosmos instead of pizzas. 2004 was a rough year for TV lovers.
Friends remains my ultimate TV comfort food. I tend to watch the entire series every year or so, so asking me to choose my favorite 5 episodes is a bit rough. But I’ve done it AND I have ranked them. So here we go…
5) “The One Where Ross Got High” – Season Six, Episode 9
All of the Thanksgiving episodes are CLASSICS. One of my favorite traditions is watching all of the episodes while I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner…it’s the perfect way to pass the time while the turkey is in the oven. So why THIS Thanksgiving episode? Because I can never imagine an English Trifle without beef sautéed with peas and onions. Because whenever I am stuck somewhere I don’t want to be I do this. And because this is one of the greatest 96 seconds to ever happen on television:
If you watch the DVD commentary for this episode, you’ll learn that it took them FOREVER to get through this scene as the audience was laughing too hard with each confession. Amazing.
4) “The One With The Prom Video” – Season Two, Episode 14
Also known as the episode where Joey buys Chandler a gaudy gold bracelet that says “Best Buds” and they become bracelet buddies (THAT’S WHAT THEY’LL CALL US!!).
Also known as the episode with first appearance of Fat Monica. (“Shut up, the camera adds ten pounds!!” “How many camera are ON you?”)
Who am I kidding?
This is the episode where after MONTHS of torturing us with one of the most epic kisses ever and then immediately breaking up when he wrote a list comparing her to Julie (“She’s not RACHUM?!”), Ross and Rachel FINALLY got together for good. Well until mid Season Three anyway 😉
“See?! He’s her lobster!!” is one of the best responses ever. I remember screaming and jumping up and down when this happened. I should have known THEN what kind of fangirl I was.
Parks and Recreation
Season 5, Episode 10: Two Parties
– Posted by Sage
The wedding of the century is almost here, and the girls and guys of Pawnee are sending their friends Leslie and Ben into marriage with style. Well, they’re trying to, anyway.
Maid of Honor and beautiful nurse, Ann Perkins, has bought up all the penis-shaped novelties in three towns. She booked Babe Lincoln, professional historical stripper. But planning a party in honor of the ultimate planner is completely stressing her out. Meanwhile Chris Traeger, literally the Best Man anyone has ever had, is supporting Ben’s choice to have a beer and boardgames bachelor party. And maybe some Homeland on the DVR, if we have enough time.
**Head canon sidenote: before coming to Pawnee, I don’t think that Ben Wyatt would have called Chris Traeger his best friend. Old Ben drew a line between work and his personal life, and Chris’s status as his coworker would have trumped any familiar relationship they had. Also, thanks to Pawnee and Leslie, Ben’s come to appreciate the unique weirdness in everyone he meets. Thus, the coworkers become true bros. Head canon sidenote complete.**
But the boys can’t compete with a nationally ranked Settlers player and Tom Haverford isn’t going to let Jello Shot’s night go down like that. Andy, Ben, Chris, Ron, Tom, and Jerry move the festivities to Essence, Eagleton’s new “molecular mixology” bar, where Ron is served his drink via a whiskey-infused lotion hand massage. Turns out, none of the married or formerly married among them ever had a true bachelor party. So, new plan: this night is now about all of them, and each bachelor boy gets to pick one thing they want to do.
Female friendships often take center stage on Parks, so it was a complete joy to watch the boys bonding in this one. Again, Parks avoids the worst of tired and sexist sitcom tropes: These bachelor parties are about the guys celebrating their friends, not mourning their single lives. Tom gets his vaporized drinks. Andy gets to catch a touchdown pass thrown by the Colts’ Andrew Luck. Jerry gets a couple of ice cream cones and called by his actual name. And, of course, Ron gets a steak. With a rasher of bacon on the side. Chris is thrilled just to be the facilitator, but Ben wants to find some way besides a Best Man trophy to thank our lonely fitness guru. Then Pawnee reporter extraordinaire/former hole in the Beslie ship Shauna Mulwae-Tweep shows up, wanting to do a story on the rotating bachelor party. Ben hardly thinks it’s news, but Shauna disagrees. She thinks that people want to read about “a group of good friends, having fun, doing nice things for each other” and that she wants to write about it. (Ahem – practically Parks and Rec‘s reason to exist and brighten up our sad, desperate lives.) A light comes on in Ben’s mind, and he takes Shauna to Chris’s office to get the story – over lunch.
Let’s be real: this episode was all about the boys. I was disappointed with the girls’ storyline, mostly because my hopes for the return of my personal hero Drunk!Leslie were foiled. Of course it’s in character for Leslie to let work ruin her bachelorette party, but her lack of concern for Ann and the rest of her ladyfriends was a reversion to the Steamroller!Leslie of seasons past. None of them want to see another Paunch Burger location in old pit surely, but was it really worth digging Wamapoke artifacts out of the dirt in the middle of the night using penis hats for shovels? Just…Ann worked SO hard! And, sue me, I wanted the girls to have a little fun. On the bright side, now that this story has happened, hopefully the writers won’t let any Pawnee business get in the way of Ben and Leslie’s actual wedding. DON’T YOU DARE TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME, SCHUR. I NEED THIS.
By Guest Blogger: Anna Graizbord of Critical Mob
Fun fact: I was actually there for the aftermath of Sage’s Saturday night spill that inspired her Nice Trip post. I tried to over up all her blood (don’t worry, she wasn’t in any pain) with makeup at the bar we were at, which in no way actually worked to camouflage jack shit. It was actually pretty funny.
But, you see, no one more than I had the right to laugh, as there has not been a month of my life gone by without me either wildly tripping all over my own shoes, a weird step I took, or avoiding a trip to the point that it’s possibly even more comical than the potential fall itself. Now, this makes me sound like I’m mentally and physically handicapped, but let’s leave that to the professionals.
The point is, I know a funny pratfall when I see one, and Sage’s incident as well as her post got me thinking about the best TV pratfalls of all time.
And since this blog is all about “feels,” I must also mention that the #1 choice on my list had me laughing so hard, I was practically crying and had to actually pause my Netflix to finish laughing it out.
5) Blanche Deveraux sings Marilyn – The Golden Girls
The Golden Girls have experienced a relatively recent (semi-ironic) resurgence in popularity due to the ubiquity (and persistence of the alive-d-ness) of one Betty White — but for a long time since the show has been off the air, it was generally under-rated and dismissed. Sure, many of the jokes were of a Babaloo Mandel production sensibility, but what do you want? It was the ‘80s/early ‘90s — Bonnie Raitt was the height of “cool” older lady aesthetic/distressed leather wear and everyone owned at least one piece of jewelry that looked straight out of a kiln.
And no one at the time, aside from the Designing Women Sugarbakers, gave the world “Something to Talk About” more than Blanche Devereaux.
Watch as Blanche tries and fails to pull a Marilyn:
4) Calvin Kramer — Seinfeld
How can you even have a pratfall list and not mention Kramer? Impossible. And it was nearly impossible to choose just one moment.
But I did it. And it’s only because these & nearly all the other clips on this list exemplify best what is so funny about pratfalls, besides the inherent lizard brain face-value hilarity of it: nearly nailing something and then totally blowing it.
Here, Kramer’s being evaluated to become a model for Calvin Klein. I forget why exactly, but I think it had to do something with that “beach scent” he wanted to pitch from earlier in that episode. Just when he’s really laying it on thick, he leans as sexily as he can manage against the wall, and….boom goes the dynamite.
You didn’t think we could stop at 12, did you?
After Kim’s top TV moments post, a few of you were kind enough to ask about my list. My babies, you flatter me. It didn’t take long to come up with 12 (and a half) more memorable pieces of television that aired this year. This list is highly subjective and not at all complete – I’m a season behind on Louie, and I haven’t even started Homeland or The Walking Dead. But that’s enough with the excuses. On with the list!
1) The Gabby Giffords “Fix You” Montage – The Newsroom
It’s not that I DON’T realize that Aaron Sorkin is manipulating my emotions, it’s that he’s so good at it that I don’t care. The Newsroom had its moments this year, and the best were usually when the news team kicked into action. This montage also includes some of the best dialogue in the first season of the series: “It’s a person. A doctor pronounces her dead, not the news.” and “You’re a fucking newsman, Don, I ever tell you otherwise, you PUNCH ME IN THE FACE!”
2) Amy Poehler and Julia Louis Dreyfus switch Emmy acceptance speeches.
As much as I worship at the altar of Amy, I’ve got nothing but love for Julia Louis Dreyfus. And apparently, Amy does too. Their bit was cute and clever, and acknowledged that Julia realized (though she’s brilliant) that she was taking home an award for one season of work vs. Amy’s five. The TV funny lady crew has always seemed chummy instead of catty, and you can’t help but cheer on this kind of friendship and support. Love.
2.5) Leslie Knope votes for herself – Parks and Recreation
But seriously, Amy should have won that Emmy.
3) The Battle of Blackwater – Game of Thrones
It seemed like all of the action in the talky second season of GoT was crammed into this episode. Explosions! Fire! Heads chopped off! And meanwhile, Cersei Lannister getting gloriously hammered and bitchy.
It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and then it’s hilarious.
My Saturday night involved, among other things, a spectacularly unglamorous faceplant on the subway stairs. And I woke up Sunday morning looking something like this:
Embarrassing and painful falls have their silver linings. Sometimes it’s a day off work to get an X-Ray, but mostly it’s entertaining your friends. And I’d never deny my friends the right to laugh at my humiliation. Let’s all just agree to admit that you are never too sophisticated to laugh at someone biting it.
Also, I think I heard somewhere that you’re supposed to channel your pain into art. It was probably on Smash, right before everyone pretended that they’d actually recognize Ryan Tedder on sight. So, here is my cathartic blog full of awesome falls. I’m feeling better already.
Chandler Bing and the bullies – Friends
There’s no shortage of Friends falls to choose from, but this one has always been my favorite. Matthew Perry defined Chandler’s physicality so early in the series (it’s all about the arms) and this is just a brilliant moment. He is simultaneously running AND falling down, which I don’t think is even possible. FF to 2:44 for the good stuff.
Tobias as Mrs. Featherbottom – Arrested Development
“We shan’t be telling your mother this, shan’t we?”
Parks and Recreation
Season 5, Episode 9: Ron and Diane
– Posted by Sage
Merry Congratu-Christmas, Parks fans! Our favorite show gifted us with a hell of a holiday episode, featuring some lessons about friendship and the return of one of the most notorious Pawneeans. We laughed, we cried, we flashed our goods while climbing into a dumpster.
A Ron Swanson original has been nominated for an Indiana Fine Woodworking Association Award, and for once, Ron is just about as excited as Leslie. I mean, he hasn’t composed a Congratu-Christmas carol or anything, but he did invite his ladyfriend Diane (Lucy Lawless) to the banquet. Leslie will also be there, as Ron’s “self-appointed emotional guardian.” Ron is going to actually publicly care about something and Leslie will get to meet and vet Diane? The only thing left to make this night perfect is Ron winning the coveted award for “Achievement in Chair.”
At the awards dinner, Leslie and Diane hit it off over hopes and dreams and Hogwarts houses, while Ron fangirls over his carpentry heros. But the evening threatens to be ruined when Ron’s second and two-time ex-wife Tammy 2 shows up, demanding to, well, get drilled. Head Canon: Tammy 2 knows about the awards because she is the only other person besides Leslie Knope to have a Ron Swanson Google Alert. Leslie double-thumbs-up approves Diane and is horrified that Tammy 2 will scare her away. The “sex-crazed demon librarian” successfully turns Ron’s acceptance speech into a monosyllabic mess with a Basic Instinct move and forces Leslie to consider lifting her ban on the b-word, but can’t shake Diane. (“I’m a middle school vice-principal. I deal with hormonal psychopaths all the time.”) What does worry Diane is Ron’s relationship with Leslie.
My condolences to the Ron/Leslie shippers, but this episode effectively put an end to that dream. They both vehemently deny any romantic interest in each other, but that’s not quite the issue. Diane knows that Ron’s “not a big sharer,” but then meets someone, a female someone, who has been able to break down some of those walls. The difference is that Leslie tirelessly chipped away at them for years with cheerful determination and Ron begrudgingly accepted her intimacy. Diane doesn’t have to do that work. Ron wants to be open with her. Meanwhile, though Leslie Knope is used to being the woman in Ron’s life, she has the grace to step back and support him in a different way. Ron tracks Diane down to do some soul-baring. He confirms that Leslie is “a wonderful loyal friend who is very important in my life” (all my Leslie/Ron friendship feels) and who, at that moment, is taking on Tammy 2 single-handedly to protect them.
To affirm his commitment to her, Ron reveals his alter-ego to Diane – the secret identity unknown even to Leslie. Ladies, get your panty-throwing arms warmed up, because Duke Silver is in the house.
Meanwhile, Tom, Donna, April, and Andy are about to celebrate their favorite annual holiday: Jerry Dinner! In a reverse version of New Girl’s douchebag jar, the four would put a dollar into a box every time Jerry did something stupid or embarrassing and then use the haul to treat themselves to a fancy meal. Ann points out how cruel the game is, but they say it’s not mean if he doesn’t know about it. (“It’s like talking about people behind their backs – everybody wins.”) Still, Donna has an attack of conscience on the way to Jerry Dinner and decides to swing by his house to invite him. The meanies are shocked to find Jerry’s house in full Winter Wonderland-mode. It’s a Gergich Family Christmas!
Party guest Ann plays Ghost of Christmas Present and lets the crew look in on the wholesome fun time (Santa! An indoor buffet!) they’d be having if they weren’t so unkind to Jerry. She won’t let them in until they do something nice. They point their sarcasm at Jerry because he’s too sweet to retaliate and therefore, they aren’t made to feel guilty. But there’s a price to being too cool. Tom, Donna, April and Andy are the ones left (literally) out in the cold, while Jerry is surrounded by friends and his gorgeous blond family. Tom gifts Jerry the full wad of cash and tells him that they’d been putting a dollar in the box any time they caught themselves being jerks. Poor, sweet Jerry is touched as can be and welcomes them inside before summarily being locked out. Sigh. There’s the first dollar in the 2013 Jerry Dinner collection.