1 - Curb Your Enthusiasm vs. 9 - Modern Family
4 - Parks and Recreation vs. 5 - Nurse Jackie
Curb has a 6-4 lead over current favorite Modern Family in the voting, while Parks & Rec is dominating against Nurse Jackie, 9-0. That matchup is a little surprising, although despite the fact that Parks & Rec barely gets ratings on NBC for unknown reasons (too funny? Americans are busy watching the horribly unfunny "Two Broke Girls"?), it still dwarfs the ratings for a show on Showtime, even an award-winning and popular one like Nurse Jackie. I do love Nurse Jackie, and it was the Vague Space show of the year of 2010, but I also love Parks & Rec, which was show of the year in 2011. Honestly I could go either way but I'll give the win to what the crowd is supporting, a show that is just non-stop hilarity from start to finish for the 4 year length of the show, Parks & Recreation. In the other matchup, we have Curb, which has been around since 2000 or so on HBO, and Modern Family, only in its third season. They have been 3 brilliant seasons (although not quite as good as the first three seasons of Parks & Rec or Nurse Jackie, in my opinion), but it's not going to beat Curb. Pretty much every season of Larry David's show has featured bunches of episodes that were instant classics, particularly in the first 4 or 5 seasons. But even in later years, including this past Season 8 that was rather weak by comparison, the show still has moments of absolute brilliance that no other show on the air today can match (ie. Bill Buckner at the shiva).
Winners: 1 - Curb Your Enthusiasm vs. 4 - Parks and Recreation (vote below)
2 - Always Sunny vs. 10 - Shameless
Weeds leads 6-5 in a close matchup over The Office in the poll voting. It's Always Sunny has a 5-2 lead over Shameless. Shameless is finishing up its second season on Showtime as the best show currently on television, which means a lot (including almost definitely the Vague Space show of the year of 2012), but it doesn't mean it can match the extended brilliance of the long-running FX series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. And as perfectly written and acted Shameless has been in its season 2, I still hold season 2 of Always Sunny (with the 'crack' episode and the 'coaching kids' episode among others) as the funniest season of any show ever. Sunny moves on. The other matchup features a couple once great shows that are closer to their last legs than anything. Weeds has held up much better, though, because the last couple seasons of The Office, particularly this one without Steve Carell, are obscuring why I ever liked the characters of Jim and Dwight and Pam and Angela et. al. I once thought that Carell was somewhat of a weak link in the series, with his rampant eccentricities distracting from the reality of the show, from the mind-numbing dullness of life inside an office that they were trying to portray. But without him, wow, the show is really unwatchable now. Weeds of course, has been known to delve deeply into eccentricities, and in some ways, the writers seemed to have spent the past 5 seasons writing themselves out of the corner they boxed themselves in when Nancy went from small-time pot peddler into full-blown drug dealer in Season 2. Along the way, we've had violent deaths and raging fires and Mexican drug lords and the innocent young Shane from Season 1 turning into a cold-blooded killer. In some ways, it is a bit admirable that the show hasn't shrunk from the reality of the world in which Nancy has chosen to live, and her impulsive and short-sighted actions do have horrible consequences (including a three-year stint in prison that kicked off this past season), but of course, the shift in focus has turned a sharp comedy about suburban excess into something else entirely, I'm not sure what. I think at the end of season 5 when Nancy hits what appears to be rock bottom and is driving to Mexico to "turn herself in" to future Academy Award nominee Damien Bichir (aka her drug lord husband) and calls in to a florist to order a gift for Silas's birthday that she will be missing (and she's assuming she will be missing the rest of his life), I think at that point, the writers showed that Nancy is acutely aware of all that she gave up in her pursuit of money and power in Season 2 -- the very thing she was supposedly trying to protect, her family -- and that was a pretty long but strong story arc that paid off beautifully, with the show finding the perfect center between comedy and painful drama. The seasons that followed have been dosed with more comedy, more insane situations, and maybe more violence if that was possible, but it's still pretty good I guess, and better than The Office right now. I think Weeds has one season left on its Showtime contract and I'm actually looking forward to seeing how they wrap this series up. The Office is being stripped down of cast members (Mindy Kaling and James Spader will not be back next year, and show-runner "Toby Flenderson" is also leaving to run "Shrute Farms", a new spinoff starring Dwight) so at best it will be limping to a final Ed Helms-focused final season next year (if it comes back at all), which I really won't want to watch and almost wish would be put out of its misery. The Office was Vague Space show of the year back in 2007 I believe. But I can almost not remember the glory days of the Dunder Mifflin Olympics and I don't watch it in re-runs. Weeds wins in a squeaker upset.
Winners: 2 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia vs. 6 - Weeds (vote below)