Welcome to Day 3 of the Best Episodes of 2010 celebration. By now, show runners, network executives, the writing staff along with the cast, crew and various assistants are feeling a bit antsy. No doubt some are thinking that time remains in the week for their show to be included. A CBS executive might be thinking, “we’re the #1 network on TV…of course The Foot will include one of our series.” The CW, meanwhile, broke out the champagne glasses last night when TVD’s “Brave New World” cracked the last spot on Tuesday’s list. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse must be thinking, “this guy only wrote about LOST for an extended period of time yet our show has been shut out the past two days. He did write 10,000 words for “The End,” did he not? And an average of 2,000 words for any other LOST write-up. Sure, every awards show is shutting us out but NOW The Blog Formerly Known as Jacob’s Foot has shut us out for 2 days running? He’s ol’ reliable! WHERE’S THE LOVE?!?” As you see, friends and well-wishers, I have an active imagination. Regardless, the tension continues to build as some new shows will garner some love. Of course, some shows will earn a second episode on this prestigious best-of.
For anyone jumping in without reading yesterday’s post, or the day before: I celebrated episodes from Community, Party Down, Mad Men, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Luther, Sherlock, The Vampire Diaries, Louie, Treme and Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. Most of these series won’t return an episode to the list while a certain few will.
Let us commence with Part 3 of the Best Episodes of 2010.
30 FOR 30–”THE TWO ESCOBARS”–Directed By Jeff Zimbalist & Michael Zimbalist
30 for 30 was one of the most enjoyable documentary series I’ve watched. I was torn between ‘The Two Escobars’ and ‘Into The Wind’ for today’s write-up because both documentaries are excellent. ‘The Two Escobars’ is a 90 minute masterpiece about the relationship between the Colombian drug cartel and professional futbol during the late 80s/early 80s when Pablo Escobar ran Colombia. Following the death of Pablo Escobar, the Colombian national soccer team qualified for the 1994 World Cup in the United States. Colombia had one of futbol’s top soccer talents in Andres Escobar. He played for the best Colombian team, and many believed Andres could carry Colombia to a World Cup victory; however, the team did not advance out of the Group Stage in part because of an own goal by Andres in a game versus the U.S.A. In Colombia, Andres is murdered. The actual motive behind the death remains a mystery but the dominant thought is, members of the cartel murdered him because he cost them a lot of money. One of the most fascinating parts occurs after Andres’ death, when people suggest that Pablo Escobar would’ve never let something like Andres’ death happen–an interesting supposition considering the kinds of violence Pablo Escobar indulged in. In addition to being a terrific exploration of life in Colombia during its worst years, it’s a fascinating look at sports culture and fandom, and just how dangerous fandom can be.
COMMUNITY–”MODERN WARFARE”–Written By Emily Cutler–Directed By Justin Lin
Thee most iconic Community episode, thus far, unless “Abed’s Christmas Miracle” took over that spot. The previews for “Modern Warfare” indicated that the episode would be something special, and indeed it is special. “Modern Warfare” parodies action flicks and Glee while remaining rooted in a character story belonging to Jeff and Britta’s relationship-full-of-sexual-tension. As a former Community College student myself, I can wholeheartedly relate to the prize the winning paint baller gets in a world without mandatory advisers, and a time that really does become like a battle field. There are so many great moments like Chang’s great idea, the bathroom scene, anything with Leonard, Annie pouting and the final battle scene. If you haven’t seen the episode, find someone with a DVD and watch immediately. “Modern Warfare” proves that Community’s the best single camera comedy since Arrested Development.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS–”THANKSGIVING”–Written By Jason Katims–Directed By Michael Waxman
The fourth season finale of the series finally pits the East Dillion Lions against the West Dillion Panthers. Improbably, the thrown-together Lions beat the vaunted Panthers and even knock the team that fired Coach Taylor out of the playoffs. It’s a great moment for East Dillion, and for Coach, but the episode makes the Best of 2010 because of everything around the game: Saracen’s curtain call in which he and Julie get some closure on their relationship as it ends plus a moment of reconciliation between Saracen and best friend Landry, the conclusion to the chop shop storyline that gives Tim Riggins (and Taylor Kitsch) one of his finest moments on the show, and one of the best moments between those crazy Riggins brothers. Plus, Tami resolves the abortion controversy rather peacefully and leaves West Dillion’s school on her own terms. There are other small moments like Vince, Jess and Vince’s mother eating thanksgiving dinner together. It sometimes feels silly to feel happy for fictional characters but not with Friday Night Lights (or LOST).
EASTBOUND & DOWN–”CHAPTER 7″–Written By Steven D. Harwell & Jody Hill & Danny R. McBride–Directed By Jody Hill
I don’t think Eastbound & Down could’ve failed with Kenny Powers in Mexico and it didn’t. The first episode of the second season succeeds wildly. Following the events of the first season finale, when he left April at a gas station because the baseball contract fell through, he fled to Mexico where he lived under the alias “Steve” and ran wild cockfights with his two henchman. The man has corn rows, gambles and has sex with the hottest woman in town (Vida). Meanwhile, Stevie expresses his frustration working as a Batista in Starbucks in one of the greatest scenes of all-time. Before long, Kenny draws the attention of a Mexican baseball manager so in the midst of offending the native people around him, butting heads with his two lackeys, the man might yet make it back to the majors one small step at a time.
SOUTH PARK–”CRIPPLED SUMMER”–Written & Directed By Trey Parker
Intervention with Towelie. A slapstick comedy adventure with Timmy, Jimmy, Nathan and Mimsy. It’s fantastic–the best South Park episode in season 14. Following a two part celebration of their 200th episode that was censored because of an image of Muhammed, and death threats made against Parker and Stone, the duo delivered this insane episode about a summer camp for crippled children and a towel addicted to drugs. Each time Nathan attempts to foil Jimmy, Mimsy misinterprets the instructions and Nathan experiences whatever was intended for Jimmy like a big ol’ shark. It’s hilarious, vulgar, offensive–classic South Park.
THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK