The Patch

March 25, 2007

Sunday 25th March-Four Shows That You Should Love Too.

Filed under: Celebrity/TV — denesha @ 9:55 am

I noticed the other day that I’m incredibly distrusting of new TV shows. I watch them wearily, simply waiting for them to fail to meet my expectations. Going into new shows with this distrust means that if a show manages to meet or surpass my expectations, it has my loyalty and a Sky Plus season link pass. For example, my low expectations of Skins meant I was pleasantly surprised by how well it evolved. I’m actually going to miss it, but E4 will continue to play the adverts for it until it comes back, which should be absolutely delightful.
My low expectations stems from a love for four key shows that set the bar for me, in terms of quality. They have all been cancelled or reached a natural end, so you’ll have to track them down.

The West Wing
This is the best TV show I have ever had the pleasure of getting addicted to. It is highly educational, wonderfully entertaining and incredibly witty. I love it all. I love the political intrigue, the compelling characters, the idealism and most of all, the banter. Oh, the banter! I wish my daily conversations followed Aaron Sorkin’s banter rules. Conversational references to Groucho Marx, the Bible and Peanuts are common and everyone gets it. I wish I lived in a world like the West Wing
Josiah Bartlett is the type of man who we all wish was the real President of the United States. Jed is unashamedly intellectual, principled, kind and witty. He didn’t always do the right thing, but he would admit he was wrong, if he was. He would have moral dilemmas about going to war and is even nice to prostitutes. He is religious but believes in the separation of church and state. He wouldn’t have gone to war in Iraq and he fixed the Middle East. The West Wing world isn’t always so idealised, sometimes the bad guys win, but Jed tries, and that is what matters. The West Wing gives us all hope that someday, someone like Jed will be around to attempt to make the world a better place. His staffers are similarly wonderful. They are all intelligent, loyal and honourable. They were the smartest kids in the class, picked for their intelligence, rather than their loyalty. They are the kind of people, I aspire to be. I want to be the next CJ Cregg. I want to marry Sam Seaborn. I want to banter with Joshua Lyman and lose an argument with Toby Ziegler. The West Wing inspires me to use powerful rhetoric in my history coursework; it got me though AS level American history and has made a huge impact on my life. I know that it is very sad, but I’m sure if you watched it and gave it a chance, you’ll see why.

Van Dyke: If our children can buy pornography on any street corner for five dollars, isn’t that too high a price to pay for free speech?
Bartlet: No.
Van Dyke: Really?
Bartlet: On the other hand, I do think that five dollars is too high a price to pay for pornography.

Sam: Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don’t need little changes. We need gigantic revolutionary changes. Schools should be palaces. Competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be getting six-figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge for its citizens, just like national defence. That is my position. I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet.

Watch a clip:

Jed Bartlet whups a radio host’s ass.

Oh, the banter!

I don’t think many people have heard of this show. It was shown on Channel Five back when Channel Five was still called Channel Five. It was a high school dramatic comedy series which followed the popularity divides of a typical suburban American town. It could have easily been another run of the mill high school drama, but it was smarter than that. It was a satire aimed at the youth of 1999, which poked fun at the stereotypes in any school. The popularity line became blurred as the biggest nerd and hottest cheerleader learned to live and love each other as step sisters, which on the outset, sounds quite shit. I promise you, it wasn’t. One episode that sticks out, was one in which a geeky teen is thought to have killed herself in a car crash. A cheerleader fakes grief to get a day off school, while a grief counsellor is called in to determine the cause of the girl’s suicide. Through various flashbacks involving, a choreographed dance to Baby Got Back, the formation of a mullet mob and Spandau Ballet playing softly in the background, it was determined that everyone had a part to play in her ‘death’. (She wasn’t really dead, someone had stolen her car.) It was an odd series, but it pulled it off.
Popular only lasted two series and was left on a cliff-hanger. It doesn’t matter though, because for me, at least, it set the bar on teenage TV dramas.

Secret Society of Mullets Members [shouting their club catchphrase]: Richard Marx Rocks!!!

Nicole: But, what about me? This poll says, since I’ve been cut from the Glamazons, my popularity numbers are lower than venereal warts.

Nicole: Is this the part where I’m supposed to apologize because I’m a teenager and under stress and nobody understands me? I’m not gonna do that Principal Hall. Let me fill you in on my world view. My Dad cheated on my Mom and vice versa. I grew up with it. Recently, I read that over 70% of the population cheated on their taxes. I came of age in a decade ruled by a president who told the nation that he cheated in several forms. He was never punished, his popularity ratings improved. So am I sorry I cheated? Hell no, I’m not sorry. I’m the norm.

Watch a Clip:

Some clip from the first episode.

Malcolm in the Middle
In the first two minutes of every episode, there is a small sketch which has no association with the rest of the episode but is hilarious. The ensuing episode will be offbeat but funnier than any other family oriented comedy. Amongst my own family, Malcolm in the Middle is one of the few shows that we will quote, reference and enjoy together. Maybe that is because; Malcolm’s family could be any family, anywhere. It’s a shame that it’s over, as it was one of a few sitcoms that didn’t limp to its finish. It was a stellar comedy till the very end, and should be commended for being so utterly awesome.

Francis: What’s going on?
Lois: Your father’s enemy.
Francis: What, did the squirrel return?
Lois: No, this time it’s a human being.

Reese: If the future’s gonna be half as bad as Grandpa and I suspect, the only survivors are gonna be mutants, cockroaches, and me. All living underwater.

Watch a Clip:

Beginning of the final episode.

Arrested Development
This was quite possibly, the funniest programme I have ever watched. It’s a shame that BBC2 treated it horrendously, as I truly believe that if it was treated with the reverence it deserved by schedulers, it would have been an incredibly successful sitcom. BBC2 should take the blame for its lack of popularity in the UK, whereas Fox in America should be hit over the head for using low viewing figures as a reason for axing it. The show was critically acclaimed, won six Emmys and a Golden Globe, but I guess that wasn’t enough. Oh well. It was amazing while it lasted.
It followed the character of Michael Bluth (played by Jason Bateman) as he tried to hold his family together, after his father was arrested for dodgy accounting involving the Bluth property development company’s finances. As the family assets are frozen, Michael’s spoilt and absolutely dysfunctional family are forced to adjust. Each member of the family was eccentric, in the best possible way, from the wannabe magician Gob, to the closet homosexual brother in law, Tobias. The show was filmed in a documentary format with an omniscient narrator, voiced by Ron Howard. It used flashbacks, narration and improvisation in a way that was really quite special.
The show inspired loyalty with its long running jokes and plot subtleties. It was really quite awesome.

Lucille: If you’re saying that I play favourites, you’re wrong. I love all my children equally.
[Flashback to earlier that day]
Lucille: I don’t care for Gob.

Narrator: Then, mistaking a group of garishly dressed men for pirates, Tobias boarded a van full of homosexuals.

Watch a Clip:

Analrapist Clip

Mock trial with J.Rienhold! Mock trial with J.Rienhold!

I hope you enjoy my recommendations and they set the bar for you too.



  1. Popular was immense. There’s still some episodes at allfg.

    Comment by Claire — March 26, 2007 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

  2. I loved malcolm in the middle! Unfortunately I didn’t know anyone else who did so it got boo’d off the screen whenever i wanted to put it on. Sniffle…

    Comment by Amie — March 26, 2007 @ 8:28 pm | Reply

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