Let me just say that I do not hate American TV. I love Entourage and 30 Rock and Lost. My dream to be on The Sopranos and Seinfeld will not be fulfilled… although Seinfeld was almost a reality…
And I am still holding out hope for Lost… and no, not just for the free trip to Hawaii… although knowing my luck, I’ll get cast on the episode that involves a flashback in Baker!
Okay while I’m thinking of it, here is my Top 10 TV list of All Time. We’ll do it backwards to build up suspense. And yes, I do have a few ties to cheat and go beyond 10!
10) Saturday Night Live – The first five years. I’ll never forget sneaking down to the den to watch my hero John Belushi and the show that made me want to perform. This is where I met George Carlin and Steve Martin, too!
9) All in the Family – This gets better and better with age. What brilliance.
8) The Simpsons – Pure and utter genius… the writing, the voice work… this never gets old.
7) Mary Tyler Moore Show – This show introduced me to the mind of James L. Brooks… and what a mind that is.
7) (Tied) The Carol Burnett Show – This show still makes me laugh… and I still miss Harvey Korman. Carol, I will never forget your curtain and curtain rod dress!
6) Are You Being Served? – Okay my love affair for the BBC did not start here, but I think of this show as comfort food. And the great thing about watching TV on DVD, is you can eat as much or as little as you want at a sitting.
5) Fawlty Towers – This was the one that started it all for me. Comic genius. I do love my Python, but this is what always makes me laugh.
4) The Sopranos – Fuggedaboudit. The best American drama ever. Ever! Will you ever forget Tony and Carmella or any of the crew?
3) Seinfeld – I was a fan of this show when it was called the Seinfeld Chronicles. I think it lost its way a little in the last season, and I did not love the finale, but I dare you to be flipping the TV and not watch when you land on any episode of Seinfeld!
2) The Office (BBC Version) – Although the American version became one of my faves in theri second season, the BBC version will always hold a place in my heart. Ricky Gervais is my new comic idle, and like all BBC shows, there is genuine heart and heartache buried in the comedy. Heck, sometimes it ain’t buried at all.
2) (Tied) MASH – Thank you Larry Gelbart, NU grad. Comedy, drama, heart, soul and incredible brains. When Radar comes in and makes the announcement that Henry Blake’s plane was shot down over the China Sea (McLean Stevenson… another NU guy) I just lose it. I mean I cannot even think about that scene without getting chills and tears. That is powerful!
1) Taxi – James L. Brooks please hire me, please. This show works on so many levels… writing, acting, full and rich characters and sheer comic enjoyment! Getting to work with and meet Christopher Lloyd was one of the highlights of my acting life. “What does a yellow light mean?” “Okey, dokey.” “It was either a tranquilizer or a Chicklet.”
I Love Lucy. The Dick Van Dyke Show. The Larry Sanders Show. Freaks and Geeks. Sports Night. Arrested Development. Undeclared. Cheers. The Brady Bunch. Twin Peaks. SCTV. The Flip Wilson Show. The Flinstones. The Electric Company. Gilligan’s Island. Extras.
A lot of Apatow on this list… (Subliminal message – Hire me!) His segue into films took a little while (hire me) to hit, but he is absolutely phenomenal and his films are defining (hire me) a comic generation! I remember meeting him and seeing him do stand up at Wilshire Boulevard Temple years ago. That would have been a good one to keep in touch with. Doh!!!
The real reason I started writing this was to review Chef, the BBC series. Yup, there he goes again. Frickin’ Anglophile! Series One and Two (that would be seasons in American terms) consist of 7 fantastic episodes each. The acting is a bit broad, but they push the boundaries on a lot of issues and it is quite funny and always enjoyable… another “comfort food” show… and if you are a foodie or restaurant fan, you’ll really enjoy it. Series Three is not as enjoyable for me… I think it was their last, but it is still worthwhile, if nothing else to finish the series off.