My Ten Favorite Episodes of 2012

The Final Page, Part One And Two

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

Last week I talked about my ten favorite shows of the year. And, of course, those shows had some wonderful episodes in 2012. “The Other Woman” episode of Mad Men  was my favorite episode of the year.

But this week I thought I would turn my attention to my ten favorite episodes on shows that didn’t make it to my top ten list (got that?). It’s the holiday season — I’m spreading the love around.

My 10 favorite episodes of the year:

1. “Stride of Pride,” 30 Rock (October 18, 2012): This is the episode where I fell even more in love with Liz Lemon.  In 22 glorious minutes, Fey took on the ridiculous argument that woman can’t be funny. Plus we got a fun guest appearance by Olympian Ryan Lochte and a scathing commentary about how Hollywood treats actresses in their 40s. What more could you want? If you missed the episode, NBC is repeating it next Thursday, December 27.You can read my review of the episode for Paste Magazine here.
2. “The Final Page, Part 1 and 2,” How I Met Your Mother (December 17, 2012): This is the episode that made me go, “Oh right. This is why I love How I Met Your Mother.” In the final moments of the episode, viewers learn that Barney has pulled a long con on Robin to get her to realize that she’s in love with him.  The episode harkened back to the show’s glory days with inside jokes and delightful rapport among the friends (the jinx rule was right up there with the slap bet).  Plus it managed to shock viewers even when we knew was going to happen. Here I was annoyed that the show was drawing out the Barney and Robin engagement AGAIN and then the show pulled off one of the best surprises of the season.  It really was legen-wait-for-it- dairy. Bonus points for a terrific performance by Ellen D.Williams.  YESI’MTALKINGABOUTYOUPATRICE!
3. “Handle Your Scandal,” Nurse Jackie (June 17, 2012): I tend to binge watch Nurse Jackie. I’ll watch an entire season in one week. Perhaps that’s why the season finale hit me so hard. The anguish on Dr. Mike Cruz’s face as his son is brought into the ER stayed with me for a while. As brilliantly played by Bobby Cannavale, Dr. Cruz was a great adversary for Jackie because, even though he was often awful,  you could understand his point of view. Jake Cannvale, the son of Bobby Cannavle, was fantastic as a lost teenager trying to find himself in all the wrong places.  Every character dynamic reached its peak in the show’s season finale.
4. “Pilot” Smash (February 6, 2012): No, the musical drama did not live up to the promise of its pilot (boo Ellis! Boo!) but the pilot was a fantastic hour that did everything right from character introduction to central conflict. Let me be your star, indeed.
5.“Jimmy’s Fake Girlfriend,” Raising Hope (February 14, 2012): First of all I should have given an honorable mention to Raising Hope last week.  The show is terrific and weird and terrifically weird.  Its humor is out there and hilarious. And this episode, which found Jimmy conjuring up a fake girlfriend to make Sabrina jealous, was genius. The comedy upended audience expectations by putting the will-they-or-won’t-they couple solidly together (a move which totally worked) and putting the couple together in the sweet way while staying true to the unique humor of the show.
6.“A Reunion . . . “ Don’t Trust the B____ in Apt. 23” (October 23, 2012): Everything came together in this episode that found James Van Der Beek desperately trying to stage a Dawson’s Creek reunion.  I love the glorious relish with which Van Der Beek good naturedly mocks himself and the show that brought him fame. Add in cameos by Busy Phillips, Frankie Muniz and Mark-Paul Gosselaar and I don’t want to wait to tell you how much I loved this episode.
7.“The Dream Team” The Good Wife (May 6, 2012): Let’s all think back to the time BN – before Nick. Before the show went all 50 Shades of Food Products on us.  In this third season finale, two of my favorite guest stars (Martha Plimpton and Michael J. Fox) return to try to take control of the firm. The episode also featured the fantastic ending of Kalinda starring at her door with her gun loaded as she hears a knock on the door. Too bad that didn’t work out.
8.“Always”/“The Final Frontier”  Castle (May 7, 2012 and November 5, 2012): I know I’m breaking my own rules by picking two episodes from the same show but I simply couldn’t decide. “Always” brought television’s best star-crossed couple together in a way the delighted fans and “The Final Frontier” had such fun with Nathan Fillion’s status in the science fiction genre.
9.“My Life/Your World Parts 1 and 2” Cougar Town (May 29, 2012): I love the wine-loving cul-de-sac crew and never did I love them more then when Grayson and Jules got married and Travis confessed his love to Laurie. The title sequence read “Welcome to Cougar Town: Hopefully this is only the season finale.” Lucky for us it WAS only the season finale. The show returns with new episodes January 8 on TBS.
10.“The Countdown Reflection,” The Big Bang Theory (May 10, 2012): Since adding Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik to its cast, this comedy has thrived. The fifth season finale, which featured Howard and Bernadette’s wedding and ended with all the cast holding hands as Howard launched into space, was the perfect combination of humor and sweetness.

Those were my favorite episodes of the year. What were yours? Talk about it below.

My Favorite Shows of 2012


By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

When I first started writing about TV, I could list my ten best shows of the year with confidence. Sure one viewer’s trash is another’s treasure (some think American Horror Story is brilliant, I find it rather laughable). Lists are always subjective and my opinion is just my opinion. But, back then, I had at least watched one episode of every show and felt I had given every series its fair consideration.

That, my friends, is no longer the case. Even if I did nothing else but watch TV, I don’t think I would be able to say I’ve seen everything the medium has to offer. There are way too many shows on the air. For example, I will admit to you that I’ve never seen a single episode of Justified. It’s been on my “I need to watch this show” list for years. There are other shows I liked –The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad among them – that for whatever reason I haven’t kept up with. The second season of Downton Abbey is just sitting on my desk waiting to be watched. Do spa/TV viewing vacations exist? Because that’s what I need.

My other issue is the rise of what I like to calls shows that are rated NFA – Not For Amy. For example, I can appreciate that Lena Dunham is creating something unique with a distinct point of view with Girls. However, from the opening moments, I couldn’t stand the show. I found the characters to be whiny, obnoxious and self-centered. And series such as Game of Thrones are also NFA.  With its gratuitous sex and violence, I didn’t even make it through the series premiere of Game of Thrones.

What I can offer you are my favorite shows of the year. The shows that have been consistently high in quality. Show that each week offered thoughtful, moving performances and strong writing. Shows that make me laugh, cry or both. Shows that are among the best TV has to offer. I have ranked them in terms of what I would choose to watch first on my TiVo.

1.Homeland (Showtime): So we’re all kind of in a fight with Homeland and I totally get that.  The show is cutting corners and sacrificing realism to advance the story and get the characters where they need them to be. I mean we’re going to have to ask Carrie more follow-up questions about how she escaped from Abu Nazir, right? An acceptable answer isn’t “I got lucky” when it comes to freeing yourself from the world’s number one terrorist. But all my quibbles aside, no other show surprises me and keeps me engaged like Homeland does.  Especially in season two, I never knew what the show was going to do next. Every time I lulled myself into believing I knew what was going to happen, the series zigged in a totally different direction.  But what really sets Homeland apart is the incredible acting. Clare Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin are breathtaking every week. They rise above the most inane writing and ridiculous plot twists.  Danes and Lewis have made me believe in TV’s most unlikely and unhealthy romance. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked forward to a show as much as I look forward to Homeland. And that means, despite the ridiculousness of late, the drama is doing a lot of things right.

2.Parenthood (NBC): This is the season Parenthood transitioned from a good drama into a great one.  I wrote about Parenthood being one of the best shows for Paste Magazine. You can read what I had to say here.

3. Southland (TNT): The best cop drama on TV. With gritty realism, Southland pulls the viewer into its world each week.  This past season the drama added Lucy Liu and, as much as I enjoy Liu on Elementary, I am really going to miss her on Southland. Her performance was transformative. I could write paragraphs about the brilliant acting that occurs each week on the show but I want to especially praise Regina King, whose Detective Lydia Adams is one of the strongest female characters on TV. Bonus points to the show for having C. Thomas Howell in its cast. When I was a girl, pictures of Howell adorned my bedroom walls. How wonderful it is to have him on TV. Some things that are gold can stay.

4. The Middle (ABC): This week Frankie (Patricia Heaton) woke up in the middle of the night to fight with Mike (Neil Flynn) and you know what I loved best about that scene? Frankie was in mismatched pajamas. That, my friends, is real life. (My biggest complaint with Homeland this season remains that Jess packed a negligee to go to a safe house). While Modern Family may be the show all the cool kids watch, The Middle is the show that truly captures the humor of family life. The comedy has the best teenage characters of any show. Each week Eden Sher and Charlie McDermott are perfect as the ever enthusiastic Sue and her older, slacker brother Axl. (For real fun, follow these two on Twitter to see how they interact in real life).  When people ask me what’s the one show they are not watching that that they should be watching, I always say The Middle.

5. Scandal (ABC): From her first power-suit strut into the office, I was all about Olivia Pope and her not-so-merry band of Gladiators. The show provides a juicy soap opera and intense mystery while, without making a big deal about it, has built a show around a successful woman of color. Plus nobody enunciates quite like Kerry Washington enunciates. I want to be a client of Pope & Associates just so I can hear Olivia say my name. Most of the time, I have no idea what the Huck the show is going to do next and I love that.

6. Parks and Recreation (NBC):  What other series could make local politics so utterly compelling? I literally love this show. Parks has the best ensemble cast on TV. There are no weak links. I adore every single character on it.

7. The Glee Project (Oxygen): The Glee Project is the only reality competition that is truly rooted in reality.  The audition process is grueling and, in the end, no matter how much the casting director, vocal coach and choreographer may love you, it all comes down to the executive producer’s capricious decision.  I love that this is a tough competition but one where none of the coaches are mean-spirited or nasty. If you’re not performing well, they will tell you but in a way that allows the performers to flourish. Bonus points to the show for 1):  Totally making up words.  We all need a little glee-ality and romanticality in our lives.  2): Giving me my new secret boyfriend Zach Woodlee. His proud papa face when he watches the kids perform makes me tear up every time.  3): Giving Glee Blake Jenner and Alex Newell. They’ve both been great additions to the series.

8. Mad Men (AMC): Not everything worked this season but when the show worked, it worked brilliantly. Joan finally telling her husband to get out. Peggy leaving the agency and coming into her own. Joan becoming a partner in the worst possible way. These are TV moments indelibly inked in my mind. Mad Men continues to create a world that is mesmerizing.

9. Awkward (MTV):  Yes I know I’m way too old to be watching this show. But what I love about Awkward is that although the technology has changed (no one had a blog when I was in high school), the experience of being a teenager hasn’t. Awkward takes me right back to the not-so-glory days of high school. But it’s not just nostalgia that makes me love the show – it is witty, hilarious, poignant and heart-breaking.  While I always rooted for Jake, the Jake/Matty/Jenna love triangle is one of the best ones out there.

10. New Girl (FOX): For a show ostensibly about a girl, it’s the men who have made this comedy flourish. The rapport between Schmidt, Nick and Winston is the stuff of TV magic. If Schmidt is the series breakout character, Nick is the sleeper breakout character. I still laugh every time I think about Jake Johnson’s “I give you cookie” diatribe.

Honorable Mentions:

The Good Wife (CBS): I adore this show. The only reason it isn’t part of my top ten is due to the mandatory “Nick is a bad husband” deduction. May we never have to see a fight involving raw eggs again.

30 Rock (NBC): As always, I want to go to there. In its final season, this smart comedy has enjoyed a greater and more hilarious freedom as it mocks its corporate parent and takes Liz Lemon through some major life changes.

Switched at Birth (ABC): Bunheads may be Gilmore Girls Redux but it’s Switched at Birth that has filled the hole Gilmore Girls left in my viewing schedule.

Go On (NBC): This comedy is doing exactly what a freshman comedy should be doing: It gets better every week as Ryan (Matthew Perry) continues to grieve his wife’s death with an unlikely support group. It can’t be easy to make a comedy about people continuing on with their lives after a great loss, but Go On is doing an excellent job.

Those are my favorite shows of 2012. What are yours? Talk about it below.

Checking in on the Believability Rating of ‘Modern Family,’ ‘New Girl,’ ’30 Rock,’ ‘Homeland’ and ‘Parenthood’


By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

As we have discussed, I don’t require a lot of realism in my TV shows. I’m okay with most of the outrageous TV conventions. Couples can have babies that they often seem to forget they have.  Female detectives can walk around all day in high-heeled shoes.  Characters can go to work at offices that don’t require they do any actual work. Jess can pack a sexy negligee to go to a safe house. Heck Abu Nazir can even Skype with Brody on a smart phone and, in general,  I’m pretty much okay with it.  Let’s take a look at some of the things that happened on TV last week and see where they landed of the believability scale.

Let’s start with pregnant Gloria on Modern Family.  I loathe pregnant Gloria. Loathe her. It’s as if the writers googled “pregnant women stereotypes” and then decided to gift Gloria with all those traits this season. She doesn’t want to wear maternity clothes. She’s forgetful, irrational, emotional, and even unbalanced. I’ve been pregnant and I’ve known a lot of pregnant women and no one I know acts like this. For some reason I am unable to willingly suspend my disbelief on this one. Perhaps it’s because pregnant Gloria is not funny. She’s just gratingly annoying.  Can you imagine how ridiculous she’s going to be a mother of a newborn? Believability Rating: 1 out of a possible 10

Over on New Girl, the comedy tried to send women over 30 into a panic about their ovarian egg reserve. Let’s ignore the fact that the show blatantly disregarded actual medical facts on what constitutes ovarian reserve testing, when it can happen, and how the results are interpreted. I’ll  go ahead and suspend my disbelief on that one because hopefully no one is seeking out medical advice from a television comedy.  What bummed me out about the episode is that there is a larger, more thoughtful conversation to be had here about being a single woman over 30 who knows she wants to have a family but isn’t ready to yet. Instead we got lines like Jess shouting “give my nipples a purpose” and her referring to her uterus as a 1930’s dustbowl.  I’m curious to see if the show brings this topic up again or if it was merely a one-shot plot development. Although I know this is something that mostly affects women, it would be great to see some male characters (other than Ted Mosby, of course), discuss their desire to have a family. Believabilty rating: 0 out of 10 on medical facts, 3 out of 10 on emotional reactions

But thank goodness Liz Lemon had the most perfect wedding on 30 Rock. As I wrote about in my review of last week’s episode for Paste Magazine, Liz was able to confess that getting married was a big deal without losing her sense of self or suddenly becoming a different character entirely. I would have been so angry if suddenly she wanted to wear a princess ball gown and surround herself with women in pastel-colored matching dresses. That’s not the Liz Lemon we know and love. I really hope she and Crises get to have a baby before 30 Rock says its final goodbye in January. Believablity rating: 10 out of 10.

I  also wrote about my beloved Parenthood in Paste Magazine’s Best TV Shows of 2012.  But what I want to talk about today is how much the show is stressing me out. What is Sarah doing? After my initial panic, the series has set up the Hank/Mark/Sarah triangle believably.  Hank and Mark are such completely different people and you can see how they each offer attractive qualities the other doesn’t have. I even believe that Hank kissing Sarah would send her into a full-fledged panic where she would immediately move in with Mark to try to squelch any feelings she might have for Hank. But would she cancel her plans to attend a wedding with Mark to help Hank out? I’m not so sure. I don’t quite know what the show is trying to do here. And I like not knowing. But if Sarah and Mark do break up, we have to figure out a way to keep Mr. Cyr on the show. Believablity rating: 6 out of 10

Okay, now let’s talk about Homeland. At some point this season I decided to give into all the ridiculous Homeland plot twists and just go with the show. It’s absolutely one of those situations where if you think about a show too much you’re not going to be able to enjoy it. And I want to enjoy Homeland.  So I went with the fact that the world’s most renowned terrorist would be able to get into the country, rent a car, buy a big gulp (really he doesn’t have a minion he can send in to the convenience store?) and kidnap Carrie. I’m not saying I preferred this plot twist, I’m saying I  went with it. But the biggest question Homeland faces now is: Can the show continue with Brody or does he need to be killed off? Brody crossed a line he had not crossed before when he killed the Vice President.  His switching from abject horror at what Abu Nazir was asking him to do to smirking as he told the Vice President he was killing him was way too abrupt. And what’s with Carrie going back in to find Abu Nazir? She’s like the teens in some B horror movie that go into the woods alone. My biggest concern with the most recent episode is that Brody has long been a bad guy for whom I’ve had some degree of sympathy for but that’s gone now.  And I’m not sure I’m interested in watching a completely evil Brody. I was hoping for way to keep Damian Lewis on the show next season because I love him so but I don’t see how that’s possible now. I’ve learned, of course, to never doubt Homeland so I can’t wait to see what happens in the final two episodes of the season. Carrie believability rating: 5 out of 10, she  is crazy enough to go after Nazir. Brody believability rating: 4 out of 10, why didn’t he give Nazir a number that was a little bit off?  Abu Nazir believability rating: -1 out of 10, but I didn’t care.

That’s all for today. I would love to hear your thoughts on Modern Family, New Girl, 30 Rock, Parenthood and Homeland below. And if you have seen a familiar face or heard a great quote, definitely let me know about it.

Where Have I Seen Them Before and Quotes of the Week for October 25, 2012

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

Where Have I Seen Them Before?

Skyler Day was the teen who wanted to keep sailing even though she might lose her foot on Grey’s Anatomy. She was Amy, Drew’s girlfriend, on Parenthood. Meeghan Holaway was the lawyer for Derek, Cristina, Meredith and Arizona. She played Amanda Burke, the lawyer Kathryn and John had on Switched at Birth before they hired Craig (Sam Page).  Ned Vaughn was the lawyer for the airlines. We just saw him in an episode of The Newsroom, where he played a representative for Halliburton who came on Will’s show.

Patrick Fischler was Artie Hornbacher, the NSA employee who tricked Olivia on Scandal. Fischler has been on so many things but I remember him most as Jimmy Barrett, the comic who did the Utz Potato Chip commercials on Mad Men and Phil, a DHARMA Initiative employee on Lost. Wendy Davis was Kimberly Mitchell, the talk show host. She’s Joan on Army Wives. Steven W. Bailey, who played the bartender Joe on Grey’s Anatomy, was the medical examiner. Brian Letscher is Tom, the secret service agent. I wanted to point him out because he’s the brother of Matt Letscher, who played the evil Billy Chambers last season on Scandal. So Shonda Rhimes hire within her TV family and within real families as well.

Adam J. Harrington was the robot like Congressman on Parks and Recreation. He was Ethan last season on The Secret Circle and Agent Walker on Dexter.

Rosa Salazar was Molly, Kate’s wild high school friend on Ben & Kate. She played Zoe, the woman who changed her mind and kept her baby last season on Parenthood.

Yancey Arias was the father of the missing girl on Elementary. He played Senator Tom Kingsley last season on Revenge but I’ll always remember him as Miguel on Kingpin.

Matthew Del Negro was Kent, Penny’s physical therapist on Happy Endings. We just saw him in the season premiere of The Good Wife as the police officer who pulled over Zach. He’s lodged in my memory as Brian Cammarata on The Sopranos.

Rachel Shelley was Milah, Rumplestiltskin’s wife on Once Upon a Time. She was Helena Peabody on The L Word

Quotes of the Week

“I loved you . . . if only the circumstances had been wildly different. You’re a disgrace to your nation Sergeant Nicholas Brody. You’re a traitor and a terrorist. And now it’s time to pay for that.” Carrie to Brody on Homeland.

“You’ll never be done.” Amanda to Emily on Revenge.

“I’ll wait until I hear them all sing and then I’ll text in my choice.” Axl on which Presidential candidate he’ll cast his vote for on The Middle.

“You gave me cookie. I got you cookie.” Nick to Schmidt on New Girl. This is definitely one of those quotes that makes no sense out of context but I loved it so much I had to include it this week.

“There are no bad ideas Lemon. Only great ideas that go horribly wrong.” Jack to Liz on 30 Rock.

“You see her again, I’ll blow you away. And I’m an excellent shot, remember?” the First Lady to the President on Scandal.

“Christopher, this is no time to be petulant.” Tim to Christopher on Project Runway when he won’t stop sewing when his time is up.

“I’m proud of you but also a bit fearful that we’re verging on what I call feelings territory so let’s stare at the fire in silence.” Ron to Tom on Parks and Recreation.

“It’s going to be old school – guitars and great songs. Just a show for people who love actual music.” Rayna to Juliette about her new tour on Nashville. Rayna could rival Victoria Grayson for biting one liners.

“Now I don’t feel like pie. Wait. No. It’s back.” Kevin on The Office.

“He won the election. Honey, our son is the new president of Cedar Knoll Middle School. God help us all.” Adam to Kristina on Parenthood.

“I will always come find you.” Emmett to Bay on Switched at Birth. Thanks to Diane for the quote.

Best Exchange of the Week

“Who’s your favorite rapper?” Nick to Schmidt in a flashback to their college days on New Girl.

“Brian Austin Green.” Schmidt’s response. I would watch a whole show about Nick and Schmidt in college. Can we make that happen?

Have you seen a familiar face or heard a great quote? Email me through my contact page and let me know about it. And remember to follow my blog (enter your email in the upper right hand corner) so you’ll always know when I have a new post.

TV’s Best Tertiary Characters

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal®

How do you know you’re a great character?

There’s a fan outcry when you aren’t around.

Since Homeland began its second season, viewers have been plagued with questions:  Will Carrie realize she was right? Will Brody get caught? But perhaps the biggest question troubling viewers was: Where is Virgil?

The beloved surveillance expert brilliantly played by David Marciano finally returned on Sunday.  I actually clapped when he came on the screen. There is something so wonderful about Virgil and his relationship with Carrie. He’s exasperated when he should be, protective when he needs to be, and funny when the show is in desperate need of comic relief. Plus, he’s kind of the only character besides Carrie that I truly trust at this point.

But the really interesting thing about Virgil is that he’s obviously not a main character (that’s Carrie and Brody). But he’s not a secondary character either (lsuch as David Estes or Mike). He’s a tertiary character. And to make a tertiary character stand out you’ve got to be really good.

Here are some of my other favorite tertiary characters on television:

First Lady Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) on Scandal: I adore Mellie. First of all, she’s a woman in the right. Her husband, the President of the United States, cheated on her and continues to be hung up on a woman he cannot and should not have.  Secondly, would you want to cross her? Young brilliantly pulls off the tricky act of being simultaneously sympathetic and devious. The scene in the limo where she asks her husband to forgive her? Heartbreaking. The scene where she tells her husband that she needs to start making plans for her future.  A little terrifying.  The season Young was promoted to series regular and is rightly getting so much screen time that she’s almost a secondary character.

Grizz (Grizz Chapman) and Dot Com (Kevin Brown) on 30 Rock: As Tracy’s entourage, the pair have provided some of the comedy’s best laughs with their droll commentary on their boss’s ridiculous antics. They’re the voice of reason not just in Tracy’s world but sometimes for the entire series. I would so watch the Grizz and Dot Com Show. Now that 30 Rock is ending, isn’t it about time for a spinoff?

Cora (Barbara Hershey) on Once Upon a Time: How do you make viewers feel sorry for the Evil Queen? Give her a mother who is worse than she is. Hershey is wonderfully evil. I’m so glad she is still around this season causing trouble. Also bonus points for the fact that Hershey actually looks like she could be Lana Parrilla’s mother.

Brad Bottig (Brock Ciarlelli) on The Middle: As Sue’s enthusiastic former boyfriend, Ciarlelli makes me smile every time he comes on the screen.  He also exemplifies what makes The Middle such a fantastic show.  Brad could have been a one note joke – Sue doesn’t realize that her boyfriend is probably gay. But he has become so much more than that. The Middle thrives because it’s a very funny show with humor based in truth and characters we know. I always say there’s a little bit of Sue in anyone who has ever been a teenage girl. And I definitely had friends such as Brad when I was in high school. He’s simply a fantastic character.

Burt Hummel (Mike O’Malley) on Glee: O’Malley provides some of Glee’s best moments. He is my favorite television dad.  Here’s hoping there’s a holiday episode in our future where Kurt goes home to see his dad.

Who are some of your favorite tertiary characters? Talk about it below.

Happy Endings, Don’t Trust the B ____ in Apartment 23 and Nashville

Here’s my three-part TV viewing assignment for the week:

There are times when I truly believe an episode of television was created just for me. It’s like television’s way of saying “thanks Amy. We’re glad you’re here.”  And the premiere of Don’t Trust the B____ in Apartment 23, which returns for its second season tonight at 9:30 p.m. on ABC, is one of those times.  James Van Der Beek, who continues to hilariously spoof himself, reluctantly decides he will do a Dawson’s Creek reunion.  I don’t want to ruin the jokes by telling you any more than that. But any show that can reference The Facts of Life Goes to Paris and stage a fame intervention is my kind of show. You must watch.

I have championed Happy Endings since it premiered. Dave writing thank you notes after being left at the alter is one of the funniest television moments ever (“Darkness reigns. Hope gurgles out its dying breath. Thank you for the beautiful crockpot.”).  As it returns for its third season (tonight at 9 p.m. on ABC), Dave (Zachary Knighton) and Elisha Cuthbert (Elisha Cuthbert) are back together but keeping it casual. They’re this decade’s Ross and Rachel if you didn’t think Ross and Rachel should actually be together. The show has become more Scrubs-like as the seasons have progressed (more totally out there flights of fancy humor) but the writing remains razor sharp. What other show has hilarious lines such as “You two have fun talking like Scott Caan’s groomsmen.”  Again, you must watch.

People, people, people. What is going on? Why oh why is Nashville (Wednesday at 10 p.m. on ABC) on the bubble? Why aren’t you watching the best new show of the season? This is starting to remind me of Lone Star. Talk to me.  Why aren’t you watching?

That’s all for today. Remember to follow my blog so you will know every time I have a new post. And on Thursday I’ll have this week’s best familiar faces and quotes so if you’re heard a great quote or seen a familiar face email me about them through my contact page.

Who needs to be Ellised? The Most Annoying Characters on TV

Photo by: Patrick Harbron/NBC

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal®

To Ellis: The act of removing a terrible, irritating character from a show.

When Smash returns next year, the much reviled Ellis will no longer be a part of the show.  Thankfully the new showrunner course corrected and decided to exile Ellis instead of trying to save his character. No amount of rewriting could have fixed the show’s Ellis problem.

Sometimes characters simply don’t work – a combination of a poor story arc, bad writing and questionable acting choices. They are characters who are so annoying that we fast forward through their scenes. Their presence brings the whole show down.

A few weeks ago I talked about good characters stuck on bad shows. Today, I turn my attention to bad characters who need to be Ellised out of a show.  They need to go to that great season pass manager in the sky or at least join Ellis on his Starbucks run for the creative team.

Here are the characters I would Ellis off a show:*

Hazel (Kristen Schaal) on 30 Rock: Kristen Schaal is a funny lady but I am so tired of Hazel. As a one-off joke as Kenneth’s replacement, she would have been fine. But I do not need to see her on a regular basis.  Hazel’s shtick got old very fast. Her character gets more freakishly bizarre in each episode but I’m not the least bit curious about her.  This is the final season of 30 Rock. We can’t be wasting valuable screen time on her.

Charlie Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos) on Revolution: Of my many issues with Revolution, my biggest one may be that I cannot stand Charlie. I probably should be rooting for the teen at the center of this post-apocalyptic battle but she is whiny and annoying. Honestly she could work with Emily Owens.  Revolution has been about shocking deaths lately. Let’s make Charlie one of them.

Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) and Declan (Connor Paolo) on Revenge: Sure Fauxmanda also is an annoying character but at least she serves an important plot purpose. Declan has absolutely no reason to still be on the show. The show keeps wedging him into the ongoing storyline. Really now Declan is going to become a part of a teen robbery ring? Paolo is returning to Gossip Girl for its final season. Can’t he take Allen with him and then the star-crossed duo can live out their remaining TV days on the Upper East Side.

Sam (Taye Diggs) on Private Practice: Why I’m still watching this insipid show is a blog post for another time but Sam is my pick for the worst character on TV right now. He’s an awful friend, a terrible romantic partner and a lousy brother. He’s a different character each week who is always righteously indignant about something.

Nick (Marc Warren) on The Good Wife: We can’t blame all the problems with the Kalinda storyline on Nick. The whole thing is the epitome of When Good Shows Go Bad. But Nick isn’t helping matters with his petulant sneer and penchant for food products.

Sugar (Vanessa Lengies) on Glee: When I first heard about Lengies’ casting last season, I was confused. The actress played a teenager on American Dreams, then actually got to play an adult on Hawthorne and now she was back to playing a teenager again? Her vapid character really doesn’t serve any purpose on this increasingly over-populated series. She’s not nasty enough to be fun to hate. We don’t have enough of her back story to actually care about her character. It would be easy enough to get rid of Sugar. I often forget she’s even on the show. And then Lengies, who I’ve always liked, can move on to another project.

*Please note that I decided not to pick on any child actor. I simply couldn’t do it.

Who do you think needs to be Ellised off a show? Talk about it below. And remember to follow my blog so you will know every time I have a new post.