So here we are. It's finally over. Or almost over. The championship game will appear next week. But after all the drama and all the comedy and all the voting, we are down to the 4 greatest television shows in Vague Space history. Thanks to everyone who voted over the past month and I hope you enjoyed this endeavor. Now, on to the matchups.
2 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Active Shows) vs. 6 - Arrested Development (Comedies)
I like the idea of comparing the greatest episodes in history so we'll stay with that. Here's the Sunny list from the last post:
- Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare (season 2)
- The Nightman Cometh (season 4)
- Sweet Dee is Dating a Retarded Person (season 3)
- The World Series Defense (season 5)
- The Gang Dances Their Asses Off (season 3)
- Mac's Banging the Waitress (season 4)
- The Gang Gives Back (season 2)
- Paddy's Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens (season 5)
- The Gang Hits the Road (season 5)
- A Very Sunny Christmas (after season 6)
- Underage Drinking: A National Concern (season 1)
- The Gang Reignites the Rivalry (season 5)
- Who Got Dee Pregnant (season 6)
- Mac and Dennis Break Up (season 5)
- The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention (season 5)
- Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire (season 3)
And here's the Arrested Development list:
- Afternoon Delight (season 2)
- S.O.B.s (season 3)
- Justice is Blind (season 1)
- Missing Kitty (season 1)
- Amigos (season 2)
- The One Where Michael Leaves (season 2)
- Shock and Aww (season 1)
- Development Arrested (season 3)
- Staff Infection (season 1)
- The Ocean Walker (season 3)
- The One Where They Build a House (season 2)
- Visiting Ours (season 1)
- Good Grief (season 2)
- Making a Stand (season 3)
- Burning Love (season 2)
- Spring Breakout (season 2)
1. Dennis and Dee on crack to get welfare + Charlie and Mac on a spending spree with hookers and limos + Frank hiring welfare "slaves" to work for him. Wow. The Afternoon Delight episode is the Christmas party classic where Michael and Maeby perform the song and realize it's really not appropriate for an uncle and niece to be singing together. Good times. But did I mention Dennis and Dee are on crack?
Winner: Sunny (by a lot)
2. S.O.B.s is the episode toward the tail end of the series where the writers and actors openly beg the viewers to "Save our Bluths", realizing their show is about to be cancelled. It's over the top but absolutely brilliant. Of course, it's not beating The Nightman Cometh.
Winner: Sunny (by a lot)
3. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as Maggie Lizer in the second of a 2-parter that is funny as a main plot with the whole fake blindness stuff but even funnier when Tobias sneaks into the house using his "cat-like" reflexes and then there's the whole subplot about Maeby's "twin sister" Surely. Good times. Of course, it's facing the song that started "The Nightman Cometh".
Winner: Sunny (by a little)
4. Gob's spring break grand "illusion" wins out here.
Winner: Arrested Development
5. Everyone ends up in Mexico to find George Sr., including Ann Veal. Her?
6. Michael tries to leave the family several times but can't get very far before realizing they are not concerned and going back to tell them he's leaving again. Meanwhile Tobias and Lindsey try an "open" marriage.
7. This episode of Arrested features Heather Graham as Miss Baerly. The Gang Gives Back is them "coaching" basketball for local kids.
Winner: Arrested Development
8. Kitten Mittens vs. the finale of Arrested Development, when the renewal of the series was pretty clearly not going to happen and all the threads of the amazing series were mostly tied up, including George Michael finally - maybe - admitting his feelings for Maeby.
9. Buster, Gob, and Lindsay all are forced to work for the Bluth Company which leads to anarchy. The Gang Hits the Road but never leaves Philly.
10. Michael discovers that his fiance is retarded. The family discovers that she's rich. The Christmas episode that wasn't aired on TV is just brilliant.
12. Sunny. I was about to give it to this one just for George Michael's attempts to hide from heading to jail but Flip-a-delphia is just about unbeatable this low.
And the final tally: Sunny 8, Arrested 5, Ties 3
Actually it ended up closer than I thought. At some point in this contest, particularly after my wikipedia trips down TV memory lane I realized that Sunny was going to make the Finals as my favorite comedy (active or not). And so there it is. Great run by a 6 seed but ultimately the Final Four is the furthest Arrested Development will go. It's more a Butler than a Villanova or NC State.
Winner: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
The other matchup?
2 - The Daily Show (Other Shows) vs. 1 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Dramas)
I went on and on and on about Buffy in the semifinals, dissecting my favorite episodes in detail but it's almost impossible to compare it to a show like The Daily Show, which is (a) still on the air, (b) airs daily (or mostly), (c) is a comedy, (d) is political, and (e) features some of the most important and hilarious social commentary in modern America at a time when we desperately need a sane voice in the American political landscape. Meanwhile, Buffy was a show about high school kids fighting vampires. So, you know, not really much of a comparison here. I'm not entirely sure what if anything more I could say except that I really expected Buffy to win this whole thing but when it comes right down to it, can I really pit the abbreviated and now-distant brilliance of Joss Whedon up against the current, constant, ongoing brilliance of Jon Stewart? Can I really ask Joss to win that battle? Well, in the first season of Buffy alone, she found out she was a vampire slayer, moved to a new school, found the greatest evil ever known (at the time, this was only Season 1 of course), fell in love with a vampire with a soul, got thrown out of school, and you know, actually died. And she came back to life (thanks to Xander's CPR), came back to a second season on a fledgling network with no viewers and no hype, and kicked ass all the way into one of the greatest series in the history of television, peaking with a Season 3 that not only included the greatest "Big Bad" ever invented (The Mayor) but also Faith (!) and Oz (joining the cast as a regular) and high school graduation and Angel returning from his own death and then leaving the cast and Spike (returning sans Drusilla) and Mr. Trick and Wesley (Alyson Hanigan's future husband) and Cordelia turning back into a bitch and Willow/Xander 'shipping and the "Class Protector" Award and did I mention The Mayor? And that was all just in a single brilliant season. Seasons 2, 4, 1, and 5 were also all kinds of great (in that order), not to mention Once More With Feeling. So yes, I'm doing it. Sorry, Mr. Stewart. The underdog vampire slayer stakes its way into the finals (sorry, but pun intended).
Winner: Buffy the Vampire Slayer