No pretense. No fucking around. It’s the top ten TV shows of the year, as decreed by two guys who watch a whole lot of television. Let’s do this.
Tag Archives: Lists
When it’s all said and done, what we remember about any given year are individual moments. We don’t remember entire TV seasons, entire games or even entire movies — we remember small, fleeting instances within those larger wholes. We may think we remember that the first season of Survivor was great, but all we really remember is Susan Hawk’s speech in the finale, or Richard Hatch taking off his clothes. We don’t remember the entire 1986 World Series play by play, we remember the ball going through Buckner’s legs and Jessie Orosco hurling his glove in the air after the last out.
Life is ephemeral, and human memory diminishes with age. In the end, the moments are all we have.
So how will we remember 2010 a few years down the road? The best moments of the year, coming right up:
2010 in music, you guys! If someone made a Girl Talk-type sound collage of all of 2010′s hottest hits, what would it sound like? What songs would be featured? I’m not sure, except that I don’t think very many of our year-end choices would be included.
Because we’re massive elitists, you see.
After the jump, find out what David Simon Cowell and I considered the best albums of the year. Where will Katy Perry rank? How many American Idol finalists will make our top ten? Let’s find out together.
This time of year is notable for two things: the holidays and making pointless lists on the Internet.
Let’s combine the two, and count down the best Christmas songs of all time.
As David Simon Cowell and I prepare to unveil our best-of-the-year music lists next week, I thought I would take a step back for a moment and think further back than just the last 12 months.
Year-end music lists are a tricky and random cultural oddity. They place random time parameters on the music being released, and they give an advantage to music that was released early in the year, which has had more time to grow on the listener. In that way, they’re the opposite of year-end film awards, which are always heavy on films released in the fall and early winter that are fresh in voters’ minds (it also helps that “prestigious,” Oscar-baiting movies are usually held back until autumn intentionally). Music as an art form also often takes months or even years to reveal its true greatness, or lack thereof, so even a full year may not be enough to properly judge an album.
Thus, year-end music lists are hindered by short-sightedness. So I’m going to take a look back at my own year-end lists from the last few years, see where I was right and where I was way off, and try to keep that in mind as I develop this year’s list.
A little self-examination never hurt anyone, right?
Modern Family and Community both return to the air with new episodes this week, marking the start of the new fall TV season. Last year, those two shows turned in undeniably strong opening seasons, helping to temporarily quell talk about sitcoms dying. (Until this year, when new shows like Mike & Molly kill off networks for good.)
But where do they rank among the all-team best premiere seasons ever for American sitcoms? Which finished ahead of the other? Was either season the greatest of all time? To celebrate the return of two great young upstarts, we’re counting down the ten best opening seasons in American sitcom history.
The day after Labor Day is a new beginning — a rebirth. A fucking depressing rebirth, but still…
In honor of new starts, we present the top ten songs that began a band’s career.
This has been done before, but it’s never been done correctly.
Mad Men is in the midst of a very fine fourth season, and each Sunday night we’re treated to one of the best opening credits sequences/theme songs in TV history. But where does Mad Men rate among the all-time greats?
- An astronaut
- A pick-up thing
- A murderer
- A curse, shoved in a hearse
- An open book to a verse of your bad poetry (and that’s coming from me)
I come today to praise a rarity in pop music that should not be quite so rare: the eponymous song.
Most of us root for the sports teams we do because we grew up in a certain city, or our families cheered for those teams, or we made random decisions when we were little kids, or we’re soulless bastards who root for the Cowboys, Yankees, Notre Dame and the Lakers even though we live in Maryland. We’re either born into the teams we love, or we’re locked into those teams so early in life that there’s no turning back. The teams you root for become a part of you, no different than your family, lifelong friends or your hometown.
But what if you reached adulthood first, studied all available options, then made an informed, objective opinion about which team to bestow your fandom upon? Who would you pick? What team most merits respect and adoration?
Take out your favorite broken-in ballcap, a tin of chewing tobacco, and grab a seat around the fireplace. Let’s discuss.
So, we all reluctantly, belatedly agreed to call the decade that recently ended, “The Aughts.” Ugh. That is just a shitty name for a decade. But it was the best of a bad bunch. We did what humans have always done when faced with an impossible situation…we just fucking survived. We gritted our teeth, and named it “The Aughts,” and that was that. At least we refused to call it “The Naughties.”
Now, me, I lobbied from 2000 until 2003 to call it “The Gyllenhaal Decade.” But you guys outvoted me, and that’s fine. I accepted your decision. The bad news is that we have another nomenclature issue on our hands. What are we going to call the current decade, the one in which we are now mired? We can’t call it “The Teens,” because that would completely discount the first three years of the decade. “The Tens”? Nope. Stupid. Just as one nightmare ends, another begins.
Without a proper name, a decade cannot have a legitimate identity. It’s why the last decade sucked so much (you thought it was because of 9/11, but you were wrong). The ’80s wouldn’t have been such a cocaine-fueled, neon-lit, synth party if it were called “The Aughts” or “The Tens.” So what are we gonna call this thing? Some humble suggestions from Pop Culture Has AIDS:
- The Snooki Decade
- The Chinese Decade (Time Magazine warned us)
- The Marriage Ref-cade
- Humanity’s Last Stand
- Decade.org (idea submitted by Diablo Cody)
- The Time of the Na’vi
- The Real Housewives of Decade County
- The Decade Soccer Finally Takes Over America!
- The Decade: On the Wings of Love Edition
- The “Imma be ya bank, I be loaning out semen” Decade
- The Let’s Just Get Through This So We Can Get to the Roaring Twenties II Decade
There’s a winner in that list somewhere, I can feel it. In 2020, when we’re all trying to remember who the fuck Taylor Lautner was, and why he appeared on the 2010 Academy Awards, we’ll be using one of those names.
Apparently, it’s Anti-Fatty Day at PCHA.
Chicago music critic/professional contrarian Jim DeRogatis is at it again. He’s supplied the AV Club with his list of the worst rock movies ever. Keep in mind, these aren’t his most overrated movies, or movies that rub him the wrong way, these are the worst rock movies ever made. According to Jim.
Now, I know that Jim DeRogatis wants people like me to be shocked and outraged at his choices, and the best thing I could do would be to ignore him. But…
#1 The Last Waltz
What in the fucking fuck of fuckeration is wrong with you, man? The Last Waltz? DeRogatis is a miserable misanthrope who wants to ruin everyone else’s day because he can’t get laid. By posting this, I’m letting him win, but I cannot let this go unprotested.
Scorsese—and a lot of rock photographers have this problem—sees it as his job to put the rock star on the mountaintop. These are no mere mortals; these are geniuses. And the entire film is shot that way. Except for the documentary parts backstage, which show everybody basically being an asshole—except Levon Helm, who is cool—there’s this blind worship of these people. I’m from the punk era. I believe what’s great about rock ’n’ roll is community and the tearing down of boundaries. And the basic thrust of The Last Waltz is that these are superheroes so much better than you. Plus, it’s boring.
He’s from the punk era. That makes a lot of sense, because the person he most resembles is modern-day John Lydon, desperately clinging to the last vestiges of a time and sensibility that ceased to matter decades ago. The Last Waltz is a fucking masterpiece. It’s the best concert film ever made, and it captures the dying breath of one of the most important bands of all time. There is absolutely no justification for including The Last Waltz on any list of the worst anything of all time, let alone naming it the worst rock movie ever. No one should take anything DeRogatis writes seriously. He’s the shock jock of music critics.
Scorsese in his great films goes beneath the surface and gives us the gritty soul of his characters. But when he makes rock movies, he’s Joe Fanboy.
Oh, oh, oh. I see what happened here. DeRogatis is actually talking about Scorsese’s Rolling Stones film, Shine a Light. The guy interviewing him must have gotten confused. Now it makes sense.
#2 Rattle and Hum
It’s just so goddamn silly and bloated and pretentious and over-the-top. These were a couple of putzes from Dublin who heard the Sex Pistols and thought, “We can do that.”
Wait, I thought you were from the punk era, Jimbo. Isn’t the entire punk ethos built on that idea — “we can do that?” Somewhere, Joey Ramone and Sid Vicious are sobbing at the way you’re using them to build yourself up, then blatantly contradicting yourself two paragraphs later.
Steven Hyden of the AV Club correctly points out that it doesn’t seem as though DeRogatis actually thinks these are poorly made films, he just doesn’t like the personalities of the bands they feature.
I hate Woodstock. There is the birth of one of the most destructive myths shoved down the throats of Generations X and Y ever, that this thing that happened in 1969 is the best thing that ever happened in pop music and nothing you’ll ever experience in your lives, pathetic young ones, is ever going to be as good. And yet you watch that movie and it’s a bunch of dirty, smelly hippies rolling in the mud, listening to fucking Richie Havens strumming an acoustic guitar.
I’ll be the first one to hop on any bandwagon that claims the ’60s are overrated and that we’ve let baby boomers dictate cultural history for far too long. And maybe Woodstock is too hyped, both as an event and a film. But criticizing it as “a bunch of dirty, smelly hippies rolling in the mud” doesn’t exactly raise the level of discourse. That makes you send like an ignorant putz — or a 16-year-old Dilemma railing against Phish.
Woodstock is a documentary of a sprawling, multi-day event, with a whole bunch of bands playing. Some of those bands were good, some weren’t. As such, the film is inconsistent. But it’s not bad, and it’s certainly not among the worst rock films. If anything, it’s a fairly accurate depiction of a major cultural touchstone.
#6 The Doors
Now you have gone too far, sir!
I’ve seen movies about bands or genres that I don’t like that actually have a kernel of truth or warmth to them. Like that movie Rock Star with Mark Wahlberg. It’s supposed to be about Judas Priest and the cover-band singer that gets asked to replace Rob Halford. And it’s pretty cheesy and the music sucks and it’s full of clichés, and yet there’s a certain thing they tap into really well: The guy who’s working at Jiffy Lube one day and the next morning he gets to live out his rock dream. And I think that’s universal and really neat.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no. As fate would have it, Rock Star was on HBO yesterday, and I happened to watch it for the first time. It’s awful. It doesn’t tap into anything really well. That movie doesn’t have one redeeming quality, even though fucking McNulty is in it.
You, Rock Star, are no The Doors.
But I love rock ’n’ roll, and anything that tries to mystify and create this separation between audience and artist, it’s just silly. The great Doors movie would have tore back the curtain and have Morrison admit that he was a buffoon, but he was making lots of money doing it so he’s going to create this character.
The Doors, the band, were ridiculous. They had no purpose other than to create “poetry” for 12-year-old boys. The Doors, the movie, is one of Oliver Stone’s finest hours. It plays to Stone’s strengths as an iconoclast, a boomer, a conspiracy theorist and a weirdo. It makes you buy into the Jim Morrison myth even as it shows how ridiculous he was as a human being.
Jim DeRogatis has no soul
Tomorrow marks the beginning of the end for the weirdest network drama of recent times. It’s remarkable that a show about manipulative demigods, Luddite cults and time travel can last six seasons in today’s TV environment, let alone become as big a hit as Lost. To celebrate, I rewatched the first five seasons over the past couple months, and I made some damn lists. On with it. (Spoilers, obviously)
In an effort to come to the truth of the matter about important issues, and engage in our favorite pastime (arguing), we will from time to time engage in an e-mail version of a barroom debate. Today’s discussion, essentially the decade in review, gets downright cordial, with more agreement than disagreement. What is the world coming to? Join us after the jump for some good-natured camaraderie (?)