Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Foot: Best Episodes of 2010 Part 4 of 5

Welcome to Day 4 of the Best Episodes of 2010 celebration. There are only ten spots left for the best episodes of the calendar year. I wonder, will the likes of Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead, True Blood, How I Met Your Mother or LOST find their way into this celebration? For True Blood, hell no but the other shows might want to resist the urge to drop their head and walk in dejection to the sounds of the Charlie Brown music.

A brief recap of the week thus far: 15 episodes have made the Best Episodes of 2010 celebration in The Blog Formerly Known as Jacob's Foot. The episodes have come from Community, Party Down, 30 for 30, The Vampire Diaries, South Park, Friday Night Lights, Eastbound & Down, Mad Men, Dollhouse, Luther, Sherlock, Louie, Treme and It's Always Sunny Philadelphia. The only show to receive more than 1 episode is Community (with "Physical Education" and "Modern Warfare"). Some shows like Dollhouse and Friday Night Lights aired only three episodes in 2010 so their episodes were particularly strong considering the stiff competition from shows with more episodes.

Anywho, let us commence the fourth part of this exciting list:

TERRIERS--"RING A DING-DING"--Written By Angela Kang--Directed By Billy Gierhart

Not a weak episode exists in Terriers' outstanding first and only season. "Ring-A-Ding-Ding" is the episode that made me a devoted fan to the show. Funny enough, Shawn Ryan and the other top dogs didn't expect the episode to receive the adulation and praise it did. But it's a special episode, a microcosm of what made the show so damn good. The episode delivers gut punch after gut punch. The marriage day between Gretchen and Jason approaches quickly, much to Hank's dismay, while Britt knows he has to make a decision about the future for he and Katie--a decision about marriage. The third episode of the series receives tremendous praise for its case-of-the-week with Olivia Williams but the case-of-the-week is much more devastating.

A woman, Beth, is sick and dying. She knows her husband's cheating on her but she just doesn't know why, and the not knowing destroys her. She even reminds Hank of the promise every couple makes to one another on their marriage day: to love each other until death, and she just doesn't know why her husband left her for another woman in her darkest hour. The woman's grief is such a turn that it completely punches whomever is watching in the gut with the brunt force of emotion. Donal Logue deserves an Emmy nomination for his work in this scene alone, as he portrays the pain Hank feels from losing his marriage.

And the most heartbreaking line of the episode comes from Beth who, through tears, says "he'll be sorry when he loses me" over and over again as Hank comforts her, and only responds with "yeah he will." Terriers delivered great buddy-cop fun but it hit home because of its absolute fearlessness to tell these kinds of stories, and explore the deepest depths of human emotions. It is a FANTASTIC episode.

MAD MEN--"THE SUITCASE"--Written By Matthew Wiener--Directed By Jennifer Getzinger

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"The Suitcase" is the best episode of Mad Men in four seasons. The episode's all about the platonic relationship between Don Draper and Peggy Olson--an episode about five years of history between them. It begins with Don asking Peggy to stay late at work on her birthday, as her boyfriend and family wait for her at a restaurant and then greatness happens. The episode shows how much Don and Peggy need each other. He was there as she recovered from having a baby to give her advice: "It will shock you how much this never happened" and she's there, in the present, when he receives the call that Anna passed away. After being with him in his darkest hour, the following morning Don takes her hand to show Peggy that he'll never forget what she did for him and will continue to do for him.

MAN VS. WILD--"WESTERN PACIFIC"--Directed By Nick White

In August, I began writing weekly about the new season of Man Vs. Wild because the show is one of my favorites on television. The 5th season of the show might've been the strongest yet. When one thinks Bear Grylls will begin to settle down the challenges in episodes, he just ups the ante. In two episodes, he and his crew created extreme weather conditions so Bear could demonstrate survival in such catastrophic conditions. Whether Bear found himself under ice water for 4 minutes, buried beneath snow for 12 minutes and on death's door after a freak collision with his Director of Photography, one wonders when Bear will say enough is enough. The two extreme weather episodes don't even make the list. Instead, the episode to be celebrated is "Western Pacific

"Western Pacific" placed Bear in Pacific Rim (in Papua New Guinea), and what unfolded was legendary Bear Gryllls. The episode begins with Bear, in a helicopter, explaining all of the deadly creatures in the sea like tiger sharks, hammer heads, sting rays and jelly fish. Naturally, Bear decides the best thing to do is plunge into the water not more than 15 seconds after stating that fact that the ocean is a place where humans are very likely to be killed by sharks. The reason "Western Pacific" makes the Best Of celebration is because the episodes becomes Bear Grylls vs. Sharks. He embarks upon traveling through shark infested waters. Bear needed to travel to a certain piece of land but the entire region is broken up by water. In order for Bear to travel anywhere, the shark infested waters needed to be traversed upon. Bear offers simple and logical advice: never assume you're safe when surrounded by land with over 100,000 sharks. Bear moves slowly and methodically, knowing that he shouldn't draw the attention of the sharks through vibrations in the water. He gets bumped by a shark but keeps his cool. All the while, Bear only armed himself with a large stick should the group of sharks in the distance decide to attack the man. As Bear nears land, a shark moves at a fast speed toward him before veering off. Bear then gets out of the water as fast as possible.

Of course, once on the second island, Bear realizes he needs to get to the third island. Before you can say the word apoplectic, Bear tries to capture a shark in shallow water because he needs a good meal for energy. He's unsuccessful and settles for coconuts and a lobster. Before long, Bear makes a poor raft, sails it in a rough, choppy waters as a storm develops but, like all episodes of Man Vs. Wild, he find rescue.

COMMUNITY--"EPIDEMIOLOGY"--Written By Karey Dornetoo--Directed By Anthony Hemingway

It was a tough call between the Halloween episode and "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" because both are fantastic but I love Halloween episodes, and Community produced one of my all-time favorite Halloween episodes with their zombie episode. After the Dean accidentally ordered rancid army rations, the students became sick with high fevers and the desire to chew on human flesh (spreading the disease). One by one the group become zombies until Troy saves the day by pushing the thermostat down to break the fever, thus curing everyone. It's a great episode for Troy, who finally accepts that he's a nerd, and it's the first step in his transition into a man. The episode's also just pure insanity with Pierce biting Star Burns, Chang and Shirley's intimate experience in the bath room and the prolonged cat gag. Terrific show. Well worth anyone's time.

PARTY DOWN--"PARTY DOWN COMPANY PICNIC"--Written By John Enbom--Directed By Bryan Gordon

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The Party Down caterers get a rare day off but at a Party Down company picnic. Ron tries to convince Bolus Lugozshe to hire him as Operations Manager at the main office but with no luck until he meets Bolus' daughter, Danielle. Since it's Ron, some nonsense and weird romance happens. Meanwhile, Lizzy battles a man for the most trophies at the various Party Down picnic (such an awesome story) while Kyle coaches Lydia's diva daughter, and he and Roman challenge Valhalla in a series of events to determine the best caterers. I love fun episodes and "Party Down Company Picnic" is fun and funny.


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About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.