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2015 Emmys: The Righteous Prick Reactions

Obviously you should have already listened to this week’s Righteous Prick Podcast thoroughly and hilariously making Emmy predictions, but if you have not now is the time to do it because the Emmy nominations are out and there are some successes (where they agreed with me) and some abject failures (where they disagreed).

The Good:

The usual suspects were nominated in drama, but good on AMC and the Emmys for getting Better Call Saul several significant nominations, including drama, actor and supporting actor.

In comedy, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt takes its rightful place among the nominees and Girls is nowhere to be found.

I am this excited about all the nominations for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

In best TV movie, I was beyond pleasantly surprised to see Hello Ladies: The Movie, get nominated, as it gave a beautiful and hilarious 90 minute finale to the most underrated and under-appreciated show of the previous nominating cycle.

Wil Forte for best actor in a comedy in The Last Man on Earth (see my blog praising Wil Forte HERE). The show was overlooked unjustly, but not its star

The Bad:

Netflix – shame on you. You almost certainly played politics (pun intended) and the Emmy voters fell for it. Both House of Cards and Orange is the New Black got best drama nominations after bad seasons.  Meanwhile, Daredevil, which ranks up there with Guardians of the Galaxy and The Dark Knight as the most inventive and surprisingly excellent comic book adaptations of my life is completely ignored (and I am not a comic book nerd type who thinks everything that is remotely enjoyable from a comic book deserves to be in the Library of Congress). Netflix clearly sold out Daredevil and is content to use it like a hot slutty escort that turns heads at a club, while taking House of Cards and OITNB to classy wife functions with dignitaries.

Possibly the best drama of the year gets zero major nominations.

Louie and Transparent – Granted I am biased because Louis CK killed a character that may have been more than loosely based on me, but neither of these shows has been particularly funny.  I think some Emmy voters just recycle their ballots from year to year.  I quit Louie a season ago, so I must admit ignorance, but it never struck me as very funny.  And Transparent is absolutely not funny (here is a post I wrote about “the rise of unfunny comedies” that got some traffic).  I cannot remember a show or movie winning such undeserved praise solely for the political and social climate but get ready for the least funny nominee by a wide margin to somehow walk away with best comedy, so Hollywood can pat itself on the back (I am left of center on most things, but with awards I am all about merit).

Key from Key & Peele for best supporting actor in a comedy?  How can your name be the show and then you sneak in with a “supporting” actor nod?  At least Peele didn’t get nominated (my east favorite of the two) – that should be awkward at the next writers’ meeting.

Based on nominees (and the seasons eligible) here is who I would pick:

Drama – Better Call Saul (Mad Men will win probably, for a subpar season)

Comedy – Kimmy Schmidt (Transparent will win, proving the best way to defeat a 5 time champ – Modern Family – is to have a comedy with no laughs – BOLD!)

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!

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Sons of Anarchy or The Walking Dead – Who…

In the wake of losing Breaking Bad I, like a lonely person after a break-up, have reverted to bad habits.  I wanted to give up on Sons of Anarchy for a variety of reasons. The first was once a biker gang was involved in international arms smuggling and getting in Civil War style battlefield escapades (but with rocket launchers), without a hint of law enforcement intervention I sort of had my eyes permanently rolled back in my head.  Then there was the burning of people alive.  And this season, in addition to the usual throat slitting and head bashing (this show is on basic cable – they cannot say fuck so they overcompensate with the word shit and insane violence – see this sketch as an example) there was a school shooting massacre by a 12 year old, which felt so out of place that it really just felt like the show’s creators said “I don’t think we are offending/shocking/repulsing enough people – PLOT AND SENSE BE DAMNED!”

On the other end of the living spectrum, but even further along on the violence spectrum is The Walking Dead.  The Walking Dead is like Breaking Bad’s dumber, sluttier, less attractive sister that I have decided to hook up with in an attempt to hurt Breaking Bad’s feelings.  Thanks to Netflix I have been able to “binge watch” The Walking Dead.  It is a show that I must admit, considering I bashed it for an entire podcast episode, that benefits greatly from the cinematic feel of binge watching.  I always maintained that the first season of Walking Dead was a strong season and that season two, for several reasons articulated on the podcast, was weak.  I actually enjoyed it a lot more on a second viewing (in two days), though my main complaints are still valid (lack of black people in Atlanta, Shane’s varying accent and enhanced physique despite wandering the earth in a gym-less apocalypse, etc).  But watching the show in the aggregate like that led me to see about 1000 head smashes, ligament tearings and eye gouges in a short amount of time.  The show really is incredibly violent and it is not restricted to “dead” people. As season 3 progressed (I am 4 episodes in) it seemed more slashes and rips and blood poured forth from living people.

The fact is with language restrictions and sexual restrictions still on basic cable shows it seems like the only envelope they push is violence and it is now pushed to the max.  I hate to sound like an old fogey (for the last time stop texting and walking!), but the violence on basic cable in these two shows is ridiculous.  I am just assuming that child rape is really the only place left to go.  And I am betting that Sons of Anarchy will be the one to do it.  It would make no sense on The Walking Dead, since most of the villains are zombies, though in season 2 a now-deceased character alluded to a roving gang that raped two teenage girls while their father watched.  But I think Sons of Anarchy is the show with the “courage” to actually showcase this as a climactic scene.  That show literally has nothing left to do except that when it comes to a checklist of awful things to show on basic cable, other than make Ariel Castro an honorary executive producer.  Either way I think we can all agree that the parents who bring their children in for that fateful/eventual audition should be arrested on the spot, or at least be featured in Bruno 2.

On a lighter note, it has inspired one of my new sketches for this month. Considering how crushing a skull to the point of hearing a brain get squished (that sound that sounds like moist fruit being stepped on) is the most in-demand sound in cable television (Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy to name a few that now show that merely beating a guy to death just doesn’t get America hard without hearing the brain squish), my next sketch character will be the Spielberg of Skull Crushing Sound Effects.  Look for it in a couple of weeks, along with my Dante de Blaiso/Bill de Blasio parody.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic, iTunes and NOW on STICHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!

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Breaking Bad – The Greatest Show of All Time?

Well, ever since the end of season 4 of Breaking Bad I have been wondering if it could finish as well as it started, I enjoyed it more than any show I had ever seen, but only Six Feet Under had delivered the ending (and overall depth) that its greatness deserved.  And off the bat I would like to say that if you are thinking of your favorite all time show and it has the word Homeland or Lost or Dexter or “CBS drama” attached to the title then you may leave this discussion. This is not the kids’ table at a holiday meal.  There are, in my estimation, only five to six shows that can be in the greatest drama discussion – Six Feet Under, The Wire, The West Wing, The Sopranos, Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

The West Wing deserves special kudos for being what I believe to be the greatest network drama of all time.  Sure it was inconsistent once Sorkin left, but people make too much of this still.  How about some respect for how well the final season, which pitted Jimmy Smits vs Alan Alda for the presidency, basically predicted the Obama-McCain election?  And the first four seasons were sheer brilliance.  The West Wing was the last network drama to feel on par with the explosion of top tier, next level, cable dramas.

Mad Men I include because of the fact that it won 4 consecutive best drama awards (also accomplished by The West Wing and Hill Street Blues).  However, that is ridiculous.  The show has been an art house favorite, giving people born in the 1970s and later a feeling of nostalgia they could never actually have.  The show is solid, but also incredibly overrated (and even ardent fans of the show admit that it feels like it has jumped the shark).  Just because nothing happens does not mean you have to say it’s great.

That leaves the Holy Trinity of HBO and Breaking Bad as the last shows standing.  At this point all the shows are great on just about every level.  Although Homicide: Life on the Street did many of the stylistic things that the Sopranos did, The Sopranos really is the founding father of the great cable drama.   It provided the anti-hero of Tony Soprano and both the exciting and mundane problems that could be expected and unexpected in the professional and personal lives of a mobster.  However, my problem with The Sopranos, besides the ending (which after having it explained really appears to be a great ending, but I prefer after one or two viewings to be able to discern the meaning of a show’s ending without scholarly interpretation) was that it was not perfect.  The first 10 episodes of Season 6 (the one fans waited 22 months for) was subpar to say the least. These were the episodes that focused on a closeted gay character who was at best a third-tier character on the show.  As if to say, as Jimmy Failla said to me recently, “I know they are murderers and awful people, but they ALSO hate gays!”  The shock value and the social value was nil and it felt like a wasted chunk of 10 episodes.  Just as network drama has a challenge of making 22 episodes a year that can compete with cable, so too do cable dramas have the challenge of removing all waste and The Sopranos has a 10 episode dump in the middle of its overall brilliance (had the show gone seasons 1-5 and ended I might have to have Sopranos sitting at #1).

The Wire – how good is it?  It became a cliché to say how good it is.  Seasons 1-4 of The Wire average out to an A.  Season 1 – A, Season 2 – A- (shut up already people who did not like season 2 – David Simon, the show’s creator, wanted to create a thorough picture of Baltimore and how do you leave off the ports?  But it was less compelling than the other seasons), season 3 – A+, season 4 – A+.  And David Simon, when thinking about a sixth season thought about centering it around the growing Latino community in Baltimore, but decided not to because he did not feel informed on the same level as other aspects of Baltimore to give it a proper authenticity.  This is a respectable artistic decision by someone concerned about maintaining quality (though Treme is hailed as authentic and the first season put me to sleep), but season 5 of The Wire, which I give a B+ to out of respect for its association with the other seasons, is a noticeable step down, partly, if not entirely because Simon had an obvious and well-documented bone to pick with the media, of which he had been a part.  This heavy-handed criticism, along with a weird, fake-serial killer plot that seemed out of place with the rest of the show, made the final season of The Wire its worst, even if the finale brilliantly showed that the cycle of poverty, crime, drugs and bad decisions remained in tact after the journey the viewers had taken.

So that leaves my two favorite, and in my opinion, best dramas I have ever seen: Six Feet Under and Breaking Bad.  First, Six Feet Under.  The show’s structure was brilliant – each episode brings you a death, sometimes comical, sometimes heartbreakingly tragic, which leads people to Fisher and Sons, the funeral home, run by the main characters.  The cast was perfect and the writing was as well.  There was a hiccup according to most fans in season 4 involving Lisa (I will give no more info for those who will decide to take up the show), but I found the show to be pretty much perfect.  I have never felt like I had learned to know people more in a show.  It addresses sex, sexuality, life and death – major concepts to say the least, with such a personal touch and such depth that you feel like neighbors and friends have been lost when the show ends.  Whereas shows like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad, which show how realistically great writers can portray things that might never come close to happening to you, Six Feet Under showed how monumental the events of normal life can be.  It also stands as a landmark show in the portrayal of same-sex couples.  People can hail Modern Family, Will and Grace, etc. but Six Feet Under gave a same sex couple more detail and heart than almost any relationship ever in popular entertainment.  The show was full of great comedic and dramatic devices, had character growth and development better than any show ever and the finale is nothing short of a masterpiece.  For every fan of the Sopranos, or Lost of Dexter or Seinfeld that has ever complained about a show’s ending, Six Feet Under feels like a reward for all that disappointment and confusion.  I have cried exactly once during a television finale. And that was Six Feet Under.

And in the other corner we have Breaking Bad.  To cover the finale, it is obvious that Vince Gilligan has paid attention to the failed or disappointing finales of the last decade and took notes.  The final last night delivered the goods.  It was satisfying, thorough and had heart, but never packaged the good feelings with a bow and gift wrapping.  Not everyone forgave Walter and the forgiveness that was given felt realistic.  His death was well-played and he was finally honest to his wife.  He brought death to those who were worse people than him and he freed those who were better than him.  Of course, for all the hype that Ozymandias received (the 14th episode of the 16 episode final season), my favorite episode of the final season was the second to last one.  This was the one where Walt appeared finished with his son telling him to die and having to pay his smuggler thousands of dollars just to keep him company for an hour.  But the final scene of that episode, where Walter seems to be given the (angry) strength to finish the job, both of his life and the show, after feeling disrespected and dismissed by his former business partners on a Charlie Rose interview, gave me chills. The full version of the show’s outstanding theme song building until you see Walt’s unfinished drink, indicating that he is going to give himself and fans of the show the ending they want.

Breaking Bad delivered a show, perhaps more than any other ever, that was perfect on every level. The cast was great, the writing – both dialogue and story – amazing.  And on a level where many shows don’t focus, the art direction and cinematography were on a level with great, epic cinema. Sometimes you felt as if you could watch the show silently and still marvel at it.  It delivered big moments, heart racing action, and more than a handful of OMGs each season.  In short, it is great. It never slipped (people who criticize early seasons should recognize that, in the totality this plays as a brilliant 62 episode movie where all parts are necessary and all add to the recipe of greatness.  There were no weak spots (other than the acting of the man who played Gomie, Hank Schroeder’s partner), no weak seasons and it delivered the goods at the end.

So the question is, what is the Righteous Prick’s greatest show of all time?

Tie.

Six Feet Under has the greatest ending of all time (imagine a guy hit a walkoff grand slam in Game 7 of the World Series down 3 runs – sort of impossible to ever beat) and showed life so realistically and so epically, while still just being about every day life.  But Breaking Bad, did the opposite in equally brilliant fashion – it showed how using great writing and acting could bring cinematic brilliance and epic storytelling into our mundane homes each week.  Both shows lasted five seasons, which also showed the perfect sense that both Alan Ball and Vince Gilligan had to prioritize art and story over money (Hi Dexter – how did those last 4 seasons work out for you?).  So I declare it a tie.  But since today is about Breaking Bad here is how bad my life immediately turned after Breaking Bad ended:

My door lock broke and I was locked inside my apartment for 3 hours, like Jesse Pinkman with the white supremacists, minus the torture and ice cream.  Then a locksmith showed up at 1:30 am, charging a king’s ransom, all while wearing a “Party With Sluts” t-shirt (true story). Then I read that Mad Men will be splitting up their final season into two parts the way Breaking Bad did.  To show you what is at sake among the actual and merely perceived shows – for Breaking Bad (and Six Feet Under to an extent) the question was of mortality – who and how will characters die?  For Mad Men, I assume the question will be “Will Don Draper cry in the final episode?”  To be great something has to be at stake.  Six Feet Under and Breaking Bad, the two greatest dramas of all time – put it all on the line in their own way and our reward was the best entertainment.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic, iTunes and NOW on STICHER. New Every Tuesday!

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How Good Is Breaking Bad? Not Even YOU Can…

For most readers of this blog it is not news or a shock that I have a podcast where I trash, or at least debate, popular, trendy or oversaturated things in our culture.  As much as crushing them is fun, at least half the time it is not the thing itself, but the overwhelming and overdone reaction of fans to the thing in question that I am really trashing.  I don’t hate cupcakes, to use an example of an early episode topic, just the way every bored chick with money in 2012 in Manhattan seemed to be opening up a cupcake store trying to out-cute and out-trendy the last week’s cupcake offering.  And last night, as I saw how large the Breaking Bad fan base seemed to have grown on social media I feared Breaking Bad might suffer the same fate as many of my podcast topics: that the culture that now obsesses over something (or anything) as soon as it becomes cool would drain Breaking Bad of its cool from overuse and overexposure and in the process kill (or at least reduce) my joy in it (sort of like the old people in the movie Cocoon did to the cocoon).

The old people got near the cocoons, became cool, but then drained and killed what was in the cocoons.

I liked Breaking Bad when I could still tell people about it without annoying them (3-4 seasons ago).  Now everyone who has caught up on Netflix in the last 8 weeks is preaching the Gospel with all the annoyance of a born again crystal meth Christian. I was not quite John The Baptist (that was comedian Nick Cobb for me who got me on the show after season 1 had aired), but I was a relatively early and outspoken fan, while the cool kids were still sucking Mad Men‘s balls (do you STILL think Mad Men is better????).  But now it has become a “thing” which is when I start to hate stuff, even if it is not the stuff’s fault.

But guess what?

Breaking Bad is too good for social media or humans to ruin, no matter how hard they hashtag and pun their asses off about the show!  This is the true sign of greatness – delivering the goods (which the final season premiere certainly did) while simultaneously withstanding the surrounding douchebaggery of trendiness that usually makes me hate something.

Congratulations Breaking Bad.  You are truly great.  Now I just hope there is not a mad rush to watch Six Feet Under by assholes.

Today’s post is short because I am conserving my energy. I just started the Paleo diet and will be bidding adieu to processed foods, potatoes of all kinds and desserts that are not fruit salad.  So hopefully by January 1st I will have dropped 60 pounds or died because I will not be able to deal with any other outcome.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes. New Every Tuesday! 

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The Social Media Guide to Watching Breaking Bad

Last Sunday night I watched a great episode of Breaking Bad, the best show on television by a mile and a show that is only looking up at Six Feet Under in my all-time drama rankings.  But thanks to Twitter, Facebook, E-mail and Adult Friend Finder my television viewing has become a high wire act to avoid both spoilers and requests for immediate analysis at 11:05 pm every Sunday.  This Sunday’s episode was particularly bad because a fairly major event occurred, but because I was 11 minutes behind on my DVR I was treated to an alert on Twitter that spoiled the ending (Yes, I know the solution is to avoid Twitter, but I was not checking it.  It was when I went to look at something else on my computer that the message was up on my screen. The person deleted the tweet which was a good idea because I went looking for the tweet so I could publicly shame them).   So, in keeping with this blog’s love of Breaking Bad, as well as its beloved condescending and angry tone, here are my tips/requests of people who ruin Breaking Bad:

1) You must wait at least 48 hours before revealing significant plot points.  Sunday night has become television’s most packed night. Perhaps you are still cleaning off your vibrator of bad taste and loneliness from an episode of True Blood or enjoying Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom, the only thing liberals refuse to abort, despite the fact that it endangers the health of the viewer, but Breaking Bad belongs on the level with The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and The Wire (no, Mad Men you may not join this party you pretentious B+ of a show posing as an A+) as Sunday’s greatest achievements (Church and NFL are already in the Sunday Hall of Fame).  But folks, the DVR has been invented!  So people are not watching all their shows from 10:01-11:04, but may start it at 10:15, 10:30 or even the next day!  Granted, if you are a true Breaking Bad fan only military service or the birth of a male child should prevent you from watching it the night it airs, but unless you start at 10:11 pm with flawless fast forwarding skills you will be seconds or even minutes behind the real time viewing.  If you feel compelled to comment on the show (instead of staring blankly at the screen for hours, the way I did after the final two episodes of Season 3 of Breaking Bad) here are examples of acceptable and unacceptable social media posts:

  • ACCEPTABLE – “Tough/Sad/Great Breaking Bad tonight””
  • UNACCEPTABLE – “RIP ——–(enter name of character)”

Now I believe RIP messages on Twitter and Facebook are usually inappropriate, but reasonable people can differ on that (you are still wrong if you disagree with me). However, RIP messages for fictional characters that ruin plot points for others can not be acceptable in a civilized society.  And this says nothing for people in later time zones who are also victims of these Breaking Bad social media terrorists.  Admittedly I have done this on shows like American Idol, but I have no respect for fellow viewers of American Idol.  Breaking Bad viewers deserve more respect.

And as a follow up to this – if someone is good enough to post an acceptable message, you should not then retweet or comment with information that spoils what the original poster was not revealing.  You are a bad person if you do this because you are both spoiling the show and hijacking someone else’s status update for your own evil agenda.

So I think 48 hours is a good amount of time before openly revealing plot points. Please abide by this out of respect for people who watch television’s best show.  Or you shall be dealt with like Gus Fring dealt with the cartel in season 4:

2) Please Do Not Ask Me For Instant Analysis.  As part of the social media culture we are in a race to declare, opine or explore everything instantaneously.  I am usually bombarded with emails within 30 minutes of the conclusion of a good episode.  I am still wiping the lotion off of my nether regions thirty minutes after a good episode of Breaking Bad, so what makes you think I want to immediately get on my computer, AKA porn machine, if I am already spent?  Besides, Breaking Bad episodes, the truly powerful ones (which is all of them, including The Fly episode – shut up haters!), are meant to linger in your mind and soul and make you question all that is good and bad in the world (or am I taking it too seriously?), so let those thoughts and feelings marinate.  That is why it is called water cooler conversation – because you should wait until mid-morning on Monday to discuss it. In other words, if enticed to ask questions either go to sleep or follow Walter White’s advice:

3) Do Not Live Tweet Episodes of Breaking Bad.  I know AMC has all sorts of “two screen experience,” promotions but dammit,  just watch the show.  This is simply a respect issue.  Like people who play fantasy football and then ruin your experience because they are rooting in your face for a back up running back against your team, simply because their Dungeons and Dragons league is at stake, live tweeters are ruining the show for themselves and you.  Like taking your hat off indoors or holding a door for a woman who is not starting at her iPhone, this should be a time-honored part of proper, mannerly behavior.  I think computers should be rigged to react like Tio Salamanca’s wheelchair here for anyone who live tweets Breaking Bad:

That is it people – really easy steps to making the final 9 episodes of Breaking Bad more enjoyable for everyone.  And sorry if this post spoiled season 3 or 4 for you, but what the fu*k have you been waiting for?  If you read this blog and have not watched Breaking Bad until now and are not at least caught up through Season 4 then it is your own fault. Bitch.

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What You Should Be Watching On Television

While spending a few hours on Facebook the other day I stumbled on to a discussion on my friend and comedian Nick Cobb’s page.  He was asking for a new show recommendation and friends of his were offering suggestions as to what they thought the best show of the last decade was and what the best show currently on is.  There were some sensible answers and some real awful answers.   Here are some examples and shows that did not make the cut:

THE LOSERS

House – who are you my parents? 

Lost – you are too stupid to appreciate the list I am putting together

Rome and Deadwood – these are the people that in a music discussion of the best band of all time would ignore the obvious rule that you MUST say Rolling Stones or Beatles (my favorite band is Guns N Roses, but my answer would be Rolling Stones).  Those who drop Rome and Deadwood – a good and a very good show, respectively – are the people who drop Nirvana in a “best band” discussion.  Shut your mouths and just accept that sometimes, like a broken clock, American culture gets it right.

John Adams – it’s a miniseries. read Nick Cobb’s question.

The Mentalist – seriously?  CBS is the network that produces dramas to make Jay Leno fans feel smart.

True Blood – a show that like Glee, seemed to realize that their main demographics were women and gays and decided – to hell with writing – we’ll just get everyone on this show in a gym, skimp on story and consistency and still draw ratings as long as we amp up the sex, gore and campiness.  Headed down a path of awfulness this season.  The real shame is that Alan Ball, who created a television masterpiece in Six Feet Under, is also listed as a creator of True Blood.  My guess is that after Six Feet Under he made a ton of money, found himself a trophy wife/husband (no idea what his sexuality is) and after season 1 of True Blood said – “Hey, you are shallow and pretty dumb – wanna write this show for me? Most of it is written in a book already – you will just have to add more breasts, blood and campiness?  What’s campiness?  Well you know when you think something is good? Right, like Paul Walker or Dexter – just write it with that same feeling.”

Dexter – I made it through one season.  Some of the worst acting I have ever seen.  Michael C Hall should die poor and be remembered for David Fisher than collect paychecks with that cast of nothings (though I hear John Lithgow was good in later seasons – too bad I give a show one full season to at least entice me.  It didn’t).

Special Note – Why I have no faith in Showtime – You may notice that Dexter is the only Showtime show even mentioned by me.  That is because Showtime is stupid.  Their shows are made with the following concept – can we write one character, line up one credible actor or actress and surround him or her with mediocre writing and acting?  Yes, well then we want to make your show!  Even USA at least says “CharacterS welcome.” Showtime’s phrase should be “Character welcome as long as long as character brings mediocre humor, drama and/or co-stars.”  I hate Showtime in all its forms – Lakers, Cable Television, etc.  If HBO, AMC, USA and Showtime all went to school together, HBO would be the Harvard bound quarterback, AMC would be the slightly arrogant and nerdy valedictorian, USA would be the guy who chicks inexplicably liked and Showtime would be a Goth kid.  No, it would be the girl that dates the goth kid, but is not goth herself.  Loser.

Treme – wake me up from my coma – have they cancelled it yet?

Mad Men– Mad Men to me is once again, like sushi – it is something that lots of people like, but also something that lots of people like to say they like because they want to be people who like things like sushi and jazz and other overrated things.  Mad Men is a well done show.  But like Treme, Mad Men sometimes feels like a documentary on early 1960s life, which can be somewhat boring.  I found Season 3 of Mad Men (until an admittedly great finale) to be an excruciatingly boring endeavor.  I often defend shows like The Wire by praising its authenticity, but it helps that there is actually some intriguing plot development to go with the realism. 

So here for all of you is the definitive list of what shows from the last 10 years you should watch.  It is objectively correct.

1) Six Feet Under – Funny, moving and the most realistic look at relationships and human fears of any show ever made, by far.  if the show feels “too gay” for you, rent Queer As Folk, watch it and then re-start Six Feet Under.  f the show is too troubling or upsetting for you then it is working.  And it is widely and justly considered to have the greatest finale in television history – take that MASH!

The Fisher Family will change your life.

2) The Wire– Would be number one, but Six Feet Under is just more personal.  If this show is too slow for you, then watch The Shield and consider yourself ignorant.  If the show is too black for you, watch Southland and consider yourself slightly racist.

3) Arrested Development – The best comedy I have ever seen.  Nothing is actually close, especially this decade.  So naturally it only made it three seasons on television.  I blame the South.

4) The West Wing– If this show is too political for you, then you are dumb.  As impressive as the dialogue, plot and acting is, the details of the show are incredible. To say nothing of the fact that they basically predicted the election of Barack Obama before he had even announced his candidacy.

5) The Sopranos – The first of the Big Three for HBO (Seriously in an 8 year period HBO dropped Six Feet Under, The Wire and The Sopranos on America – to me that will go down as the greatest accomplishment in original television programming).  Sopranos, unlike The Wire and Six Feet Under did not quite end in a way that met with its overall impact and quality.

6) Breaking Bad– the best show on television right now by a mile.  It is dark, filled with tension and excitement, well acted and yet feels incredibly plausible and realistic at the same time.  This is the first drama I have seen that clearly indicates that HBO has dropped the ball recently.  Mad Men gets mentioned as the one HBO let get away (especially because that might have meant naked Joan!), but Breaking Bad is so superior to Mad Men it’s a joke.  More entertaining without sacrificing anything in terms of writing or acting quality.  If the show can finish with way its first three seasons began then it may move towards the top of this list.

Here's an objective truth about a show about a scientist - Breaking Bad is the best show on television.

I feel I must mention Eastbound and Down (but only 1 six episode season to show so far) and I have not seen In Treatment – an HBO show that has been highly recommended to me.  Other than that those 6 shows above will entertain you and raise your expectations for what television can do.  Then when you are done with them you will look down on most other people’s television show opinions like only a condescending six-foot-seven comedian can.