What are your favorite episodes of any TV show? I was inspired to write about this because Sarah Silverman tweeted that Seinfeld’s Chinese Restaurant show was a perfect half-hour. I do think Chinese Restaurant was a seminal Seinfeld episode, and was the start of the show becoming a “water cooler” show. My personal favorite episode of Seinfeld, though, is The Contest in season 4, which is the one where they bet on who can refrain from being master of their domain the longest.
For some series, it’s hard to choose a favorite. One of my top 10 shows is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I waffle on which episode is my favorite. Once More, With Feeling is an easy choice, because I adore it and will re-watch it a million more times before I die, but it was such a special episode that I almost consider it as a separate entity. I have an ever-changing list of favorite episodes of Buffy, which includes Welcome to the Hellmouth, School Hard, Hush, What’s My Line (parts 1 and 2), Surprise, Innocence, Band Candy, Earshot, Doppelgangland….you see what I mean. It’s like I have 30 babies that I adore and cannot possibly pick a favorite.
But some shows, be they mediocre or outstanding shows, have an episode that stands above the rest. Here are some of those, in no particular order (all my own opinion, which of course you are welcome to disagree with):
Better Off Ted: Racial Sensitivity
This episode played off of a real incident, where facial recognition software did not recognize people of color in photographs. Veridian Dynamics has installed facial recognition software, and Lem cannot get into or out of the lab. The software is used not just for access to rooms, but also to detect when someone wants to drink from a water fountain. Ted notifies Veronica of the problem and she takes it upstairs, and their attempts to fix the problem make everything worse. It is hilarious and satirical and has lots of Phil and Lem.
Lem (with gusto): Yes, I might!
The IT Crowd: The Work Outing
A co-worker asks Jen to see a play with him, but she isn’t sure whether he wanted to go on a date with her or he was gay and wanted to just be friends, so Roy and Moss go with her. The musical does not help clear things up (it’s called Gay! A Gay Musical), but Philip, the co-worker, keeps sending mixed signals to Jen. Hilarity ensues and the closing button just seals the deal for me.
Jen: Why else would he ask me out?
Moss: Well, don’t take this the wrong way, but could he have thought you were a man?
Second favorite quote:
Roy: I’m disabled!
Just Shoot Me: Slow Donnie
The greatness of this episode is due to the perfect casting of David Cross as Eliot’s younger brother Donnie, who fell out of a tree in high school and has been “slow” ever since. Donnie is not what he appears to be, though, which makes this episode great.
Donnie: (singing) chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot pie!
Second favorite quote:
Donnie: (sing-song voice) Donnie has secret. Promise not to tell anybody?
Maya: I promise.
Donnie: You swear? Cross your heart?
Maya: Cross my heart.
Donnie: On a stalk of bible books?
Maya: I swear.
Donnie: (normal voice) Okay, here’s the thing. I’m not really slow. I just faked falling off that tree, and now they wait on me hand and foot. It is the sweetest scam in the world.
….TO BE CONTINUED!