Friday, July 30, 2010

The Countdown Dips into the Top 15

It's time to crack the Top 15 on the summer-long countdown of the Best Episodes of the Season.  This week, we focus on a hilarious scene involving a Storm Trooper, a trip to the wild west and a thrilling chase scene.  But before we get to them, we have to go over the rules for the countdown. We ended up with 28 incredible episodes that demonstrate the diversity and quality of the current television state. The shows and their episodes are from both NETWORK and CABLE television. All episodes aired between June 2009 and June 2010. Each episode that made the final list moved us in some way; either by making us laugh out loud, cry our eyes out or just left us with that "wow" feeling that stays with you for a few days. So basically, it's completely subjective! Since this is a summer-long countdown to the number 1 episode, PTR will reveal a few each week all summer. So, be sure to tune in every Friday to find out which episodes are on the countdown! Today, we're going to take a look at numbers 15-13.

15: "The Rough Patch" - How I Met Your Mother
Picture this: Lily, Ted and Marshall on a mission to break up Robin and Barney piled into a stake-out station wagon (because the iconic van would have cost them $25 more to rent) and setting a plan into motion that seemed destined to break up the pair: make them relive their four worst fights.  Lily hatched the break-up scheme that brought Alan Thicke, Crazy Meg, dirty dishes and a robot who was supposed to be a Storm Trooper together in a station wagon while she watched the unsuspecting couple from her binoculars.  During the hilarious stake-out, Ted couldn't stop pointing out lines from his newly acquired porn collection.  Marshall couldn't stop complaining about the station wagon.  Alan Thicke couldn't stop complaining about how long it was taking, the pizza guy couldn't quit going on about the sausage pizza, and the "Storm Trooper" just wanted a slice of pizza for crying out loud!  So. Freakin'. FUNNY!!  Why were Lily, Ted and Marshall bent on breaking up Barney and Robin?  Well, ever since B/R became a serious couple, they stopped caring about themselves.  They kept diving deeper and deeper into a permanent state of unhappiness.  Barney was eating his way through his troubles (special nod to the awesome make-up/costume effects) and Robin wasn't showering.  But most of all, both of them were miserable.  So, the plan was hatched and the players were put in place to trigger the couple's four biggest fights (dirty dishes, a crazy ex-girlfriend, a Storm Trooper and one simply dubbed "The Canadian/American War").  And while all of the hilarity ensued outside in the stake-out station wagon, Robin and Barney sat inside the restaurant seemingly unaware.  Then, they saw their own reflection in the window and neither could believe what they had turned into.  That realization triggered them to both admit they were unhappy.  When the gang had seen them kissing in the diner (and assumed they were in love and had overcome a simple rough patch), Barney and Robin were breaking up.  Or rather, two friends were getting back together.  So, it seems, too much awesome-ness does cancel itself out.  Written by Chris Harris and directed by Pamela Fryman.

14: "High Noon-ish" - Psych
It's no secret that I have a certain affinity for westerns. I also have a certain affinity for all things Psych, so combining the two in this fantastic episode was pretty much perfection for me. The Bonanza-style music playing over sweeping aerial shots, the "Saddlesore Saloon," the "cowboy" talk, and pretty much every other western staple made this one that much more awesome.  And then there was Sheriff Shawn. Those scenes were just plain HILARIOUS! When Lassie walked in and found Sheriff Shawn and Blacksmith Gus sitting around the desk playing poker and speaking "cowboy," I lost it. Shawn really embraced that simpler time when people weren't dependent on electronics ("or living past the age of 40" -Gus) and he got kinda used to the whole sheriff thing. Loved his shoot out at the "Saddlesore Saloon," his "New sheriff in town" speech, his ride on horseback two feet down the road to the saloon and his pointing to his sheriff's star at the end when his authority was questioned.  But, the best was saved for last as Shawn and Gus fell into the mine shaft.  Their little girl whimpering upon landing on a pile of rocks was funny, but the ensuing coccyx bone discussion was a whole new level of hilarity. Shawn, who previously thought that a Ponzi scheme had something to do with The Fonz, didn't understand that the coccyx bone is the proper name for the tail bone and not another part of the (male) anatomy. This made references to rubbing lotion on the coccyx and massaging the coccyx and so on and so forth absolutely HILARIOUS! If there was ever a side-splitting moment, this was it. Classic Shawn and Gus!  Written by Kell Cahoon and directed by Mel Damski.

13: "Waivers of Extradition" - The Closer
This fifth season finale did not disappoint.  And, as PTR Senior Staff Writer LillyKat wrote last summer, neither did director Kevin Bacon.  "Two words: Kevin Bacon.  For three seasons, he's directed at least one episode of The Closer.  For three seasons, he's never disappointed.  This episode was the first time we've seen him direct a finale, and I can still say there's something amazingly perfect about his episodes.  For me, he has a way of creating a certain kinetic energy with the camera. It's constantly moving, constantly generating curiosity, suspense, action and perfect-pitch pauses of reflection all at once. He doesn't show you everything; he lets you guess at what's coming, then delivers it in a way that makes you think for a moment.  Or two.  Or three.  Whether it was the truck pursuit sequence (THAT was fun to watch); or, the chilling confession Brenda gets from the serial killer (listening in punctuated silence nearly sick to her stomach, the underscore mimicking a girl's feint scream, placing each victim's personal item on the map to indicate where the murder took place ... GENIUS!); or, the tender stillness between BJ and Charlie when she has to force Charlie to return to Atlanta even though BJ does (at least IMHO) seem to want her to stay ... all of these moments lead me to continue to say that Kevin Bacon-helmed episodes consistently stand out. The way he chooses to set-up his shots, what he gets from the actors, how it packages it together doesn't seem procedural.  It's original.  Different.  Clever."  I couldn't agree more.  That truck chase scene alone was worth the price of admission, but it was Brenda's emotional and disturbing interrogation that put this one on the list this year.   Written by Adam Belanoff and directed by Kevin Bacon. (HUGE thanks to LillyKat for allowing me to borrow from her fabulous write-up).

So, there's a look #15-13 on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave a comment with your thoughts. You can also view previous entries by clicking the "Best Episodes" label below.  And be sure to tune in next Friday when PTR cracks the Top 10!


John said...

The Psych episode did have a number of fun moments.

The Closer episode was good, even if I did predict how Brenda would win.

HIMYM didn't do anything for me, but most didn't this season.

Anonymous said...

How come I haven't seen any cold Case on this so far? Season Seven wasn't a bad season at all, too bad it had to be its last.


TVFan said...

Lii2: Stay tuned...