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Our favourite Christmas episodes

Our favourite Christmas episodes

Studio 60 on the sunset strip: The entire episode was all sharp Sorkin dialogue and hilarity (a Santa that looked like it was giving a nazi salute) but the crux of it was that Matt Alby wanted a show that was “christmasy.” And he delivered. A moving end that had to be heard to be believed and one character finally making a big confession that changed the course of the series. This episode is all kinds of heart-warming.

Friends: We spent a fair amount of Christmases and thankgivings with the gang, but the episode where Chandler has to spend Christmas in Tulsa was our favourite. Of all the flashbacks he goes to, our favourite is of course Phoebe singing her Christmas song with all her friends’ names in it. And Chandler came back in the end. Because he missed his wife so much he couldn’t stand it. Awww.

Modern Family: The Pritchets and the Dunphys always know how to balance funny and sweet, but they outdid themselves at the Christmas episode where they all had to arrange Christmas in a day (December 10th). The clan split up and organised food, presents and decorations, all to the kind of comedy errors that cause you to cry with laughter. The episode ended with them all frolicking in fake snow. Perfection to the end.

Community: Abed’s uncontrollable Christmas is one of those episodes that make your jaw drop at the brilliance of this show. The entire show turns into Claymation as they travel through Abed’s head to a Christmas-themed planet. They sing songs and travel through a dark zone and find the true meaning of Christmas. So so cute.

The Big Bang Theory: Putting one of the most important issues of Christmas at the forefront; Sheldon is struggling to find Penny a gift equal in value to the one she gave him. But of course he fails, when Penny makes a thoughtful gesture and gifts him an autograph of Leonard Nimoy. Anything that has Sheldon Cooper stumped is a wonderful moment by our standards.

New Girl: Although New Girl is relatively new, season one had a rollercoaster of a Christmas episode that involved Paul giving Jess and expensive gift while she plans to break up with him, Nick struggling to make it home, Schmidt being Santa for his boss and Winston forming a bond with a little kid. And when everyone has clearly had a terrible day, the gang drives down to see Christmas lights and manage to wake up an entire street and it’s absolutely beautiful.

Happy Ending vs Friends

Happy Ending vs Friends

Every book about youthful angst isn’t trying to be The catcher in the rye and every sitcom about a group of friends isn’t trying to be Friends.

Friends and TV watchers, today I urge you to stop quoting, talking about and mostly importantly, comparing new shows to Friends. Friends was something beautiful that happened to our lives. We laughed, we cried, we wished people would get off planes for us but now, it is time to let it go.Let it go, I say. I know it’s tough and it will take time but this is 2012 and really, we need to move on and fill the Friends shaped hole in our lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I love them as much as you do; their incessant coffee-drinking, their sexual exploits, their hilarious jokes, everything. But I’m really tired of critics comparing every new show about a bunch of friends with Friends. So, this column right here, is me defending the “friends rip-off” Happy Endings.

Happy Endings premiered last year on ABC and is currently in it second season. It is about Alex, Jane, Dave, Penny, Max and Brad, a group of friends who live in Chicago. Alex and Jane are sisters, Jane is married to Brad, Alex left Dave at the altar, Max is a lazy gay dude and Penny is the crazy, obnoxious goof.

The show fills us to our hearts content with witty banter (one of the few things I love in television dramas), pop culture references (not obscure and brilliant like Community but real ones I could use in general conversation) and the absolute whacky plot lines (the believable kind. Not the ‘only happens on TV kind’).

The show never treats love and romance too seriously but understands so much about it. The comedy is intelligent yet downright silly. The actors bring a sense of improvisation to it, which makes it look unwound, like a real group of friends hanging out. Casey Wilson who plays Penny brings her in-your face physical comedy to the show. Sure, intelligent comedy is lovely but falling down a flight of stairs is just rib-hurting hilarious.

In an early episode of Community, Abed mentions how he is Chandler and Annie is Phoebe (“they never really had stories together”). (I guess he forgot the famous contest to see whether Chandler would finally admit he was doing Monica) And that strikes me as something really important. In Happy Endings, everyone is friends with everyone. The group comprises of spouses, exes and siblings, yet Jane is friends with Max and Dave and Alex are fully formed characters and not two halves of a couple.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that every show about a rat pack, whether it is How I met your mother or It’s always sunny in Philadelphia isn’t trying to be Friends. Let go of the comparisons. A bunch of oddball friends hanging out is not really the most novel sitcom format but more than one good show can come out of it.

 

Here comes the wedding post

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Here comes the wedding post

After I spent last week ranting about lovelorn romantics on television, this week, I thought about another of my favourite television staples: the big wedding. Oh what fresh hell is this one going to bring? Ruined gown, groom getting cold feet, father of the bride drunk and boisterous? Television’s approach to weddings is usually pretty damn predictable, whether it’s Full House where Jessie lands in jail or Carrie from Sex and the City who puts a bird on her head only to be abandoned at the alter. But there are some, of course, that make me cock my head to one side and go “Aww, I also want.”

This week, I watched a lot of wedding scenes, some because they restore my faith in love and unicorns and some because they remind me of a car crash where I just can’t stop looking.

My viewing started off with one of my favourites; Lily and Marshall on How I met your mother. What makes this wedding so utterly believable is that I can totally imagine this happening to me. Getting carried away by the grandeur of that perfect wedding and then just going for an ‘intimate outdoor wedding; just close friends and an acoustic guitar’. In the follow up to the big day, they make a list of wedding clichés to avoid (slideshow of pictures set to Green Day’s Time of your life, Conga line, the Corinthians) and decide to spend nights away and fail, which of course introduces us to the super cute Night night Lily. Everything goes wrong, Marshall shaves his head, the harpist goes into labour but true love and champagne trumps everything.

The next one is the real life wedding on Keeping up with the Kardashians. There is a perverse joy in watching this episode because listening to them talk about how much they love each other makes me giggle and scream “72 days you guys!” at the TV screen. You just have to register the epic size of this wedding (and Kim’s chest in that wedding gown!) and it’s easy to see why preparations make the bride insane. I mean more insane than usual, of course. Our diva turns so super controlling that Kris starts feeling left out and has to remind himself that he IS on a show where the spotlight will always be on her. It always amazes me that weddings are a license for women to go nuts and men are supposed to be the cool ones. They don’t care about the details; the most they can do is show up. I call bullshit.

Next up; Turk and Carla from Scrubs. The wedding that gets delayed because the groom is stuck in surgery which he opted for so he could get two extra days off for his honeymoon. Though the wedding episode was funny, the dress rehearsal was where it all went down. Turk can’t seem to write his vows and ends up reading the speech from when Harry met Sally (Carla’s evil brother tricks him into it). He saves the day, of course by delivering a beautiful love speech in the end, JD tells Elliot he doesn’t love her any more and all hell breaks loose. Of course, the highlight of the episode (apart from all the love and Kelso calling him Turk Turkelton) is Scott Foley’s entrance.

Of all the things to go wrong and turn your wedding into the most awkward one, nothing beats Margaret Sterling’s wedding in Mad Men. It is absolutely the worst thing for a wedding to be cancelled after all that preparation (like Phoebe and Mike’s almost does in Friends) but to go ahead with it on the day President John F. Kennedy is assassinated? Terrible, terrible move, Margaret. Your dad’s new young wife getting wobble-on-your-high-heels-drunk at the wedding is just a speck of the awfully embarrassing things to happen to you on that day.

I am not the biggest fan of Monica or Courtney Cox but I have such immense love for Matthew Perry and his character Chandler on Friends, that I have watched this wedding episode more times than any couple has had to change their seating arrangements. Predictably of course, Chandler takes off, Rachel lets everyone believe Monica is the one pregnant and Joey shows up late to officiate. I always hope that if this happens to any of my friends, I’d be able to lie better than Rachel’s “ooops, I’ve fallen down” delaying tactic. Of course, they do end up married and in a super follow up episode Chandler loses all the pictures and creates new one’s at a stranger’s wedding. A classic wedding episode, if there ever was one.

The best wedding episode I have seen on television so far, is April and Andy’s on Parks and Rec. A party-turned-wedding with absolutely no thought whatsoever (“I can’t emphasize how little we thought about this.”), this wedding is part hilarious and part super-duper-makes-you-want-to-dance cute. Andy makes everyone his best man and the soundtrack is Simon and Garfunkel. Andy’s speech is beautiful (April you are the most awesome person I have ever known in my entire life. I vow to protect you. From danger. And I don’t care if I have to fight an ultimate fighter, or a bear, or him. Your mom. I would take them down. I’m getting mad right now even telling you) and April is unabashedly sentimental (I guess I kinda hate most things. But I never really seemed to hate you.” So I wanna spend the rest of my life with you, is that cool?). There are dead pigeons, a creepy goth wedding guest that everyone avoids and Jean Ralphio. April’s sister gives an emotional speech, which ends with “Has anyone seen my grey hoodie?” Everything about this episode is so unexpected and not dramatic like you would expect a wedding episode to be; it stays true to the characters and it is the most sweetest and coolest wedding.

Six faceless characters we would love to see

Six faceless characters we would love to see

Mrs. Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory

We’ve heard so much of and about her; we assume she is an obese woman with too much body hair and some serious boundary issues. You can’t help but feel bad for the creepy Howard. But here’s what she looks like in real life.

Ms Sara Bellum from the Powerpuff Girls

We know a lot about Sara Bellum. She has shapely legs that go upto there and curves that would make Beyonce sign up for self esteem therapy. What’s more, we suspect she’s the brain behind the happy but useless mayor, how could she not be with that smart pun in her name. We have never seen her face. The only time we come close is when she attends the carnival, but…oh, what’s that…a bunch of balloons have covered her face.

Wilson from Home Improvement

Oh, the times I’ve spent wondering why nobody ever says, “Hey, Wilson, come over for dinner would you?” So we could finally see his face. Born out of the Tim Allen’s childhood when he couldn’t see his neighbor’s face over the fence, Wilson was Tim’s go-to guy for all kinds of advice.

Charlie from Charlie’s Angels:

After all the approving “Good work angels!” We expected to at least see the damn guy at some damn point. Charlie from Charlie’s angels has to be the most faceless presense on television.

Ugly naked guy from Friends:

He’s caused plenty of hilarity, he killed a cat (poor thing never saw that big butt coming), Ross stripped to the bone in order to curry favour with him…So many fond memories and yet we never end up seeing the guy or hearing him speak. Maybe because he was ugly. And naked.

Our favourite TV apartments

Our favourite TV apartments

Tom Haverford’s house, Parks and Rec: However much of an idiot he is, Tom Haverford does things in style. Including his crib. We really can’t make up our minds about this man’s house. Is it incredibly cool or incredibly gay that he has hand moisturiser and exfoliator lying around at random? Or a soft-as-a cloud-bed made with seven zillion thread count linen?

The studio guest house, Bunheads: Michelle from Bunheads moves into a studio apartment/garage so gorgeous that it made us cry (and that’s saying a lot, considering one of us works in an interiors magazine) Lamps shaped like bee hives, pale walls, a wicker rocking chair, a royal blue bathtub with Queen Anne legs, screen doors with a view.

Joey and Chandler’s, Friends : In stark contrast to the perpetually pretty apartment next door, Joey and Chandler’s apartment has gone through some good and bad phases. The wall unit that didn’t really fit, the barcaloungers, the replacement barcalounger with an attached ice box and speakers, the foosball table, the boat couch, the picture-of-a-baby-on-the-wall-and-potpourri-on the table, so many phases; so much personality.

House’s House, House MD (haha): Now this is a house we’d love to live in. Warm colour scheme, Books lining the walls= one million (approximate), Grand piano (one) and scotch (that never runs out). House’s apartment is pure class.

Sherlock Holmes’ house, Sherlock Holmes: 221 B Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes’ apartment is a mix of eclectic and confused genius. A printed wall with bullets lodged in it, a leather couch, a study table and human thumbs in the refrigerator. The apartment will tell you who the resident is even if you didn’t ask.

My show, your show

My show, your show

There is absolutely nothing better than meeting a person who loves television as much as you do. It means there isn’t going to be a dearth of conversation and you won’t ever need to rely on small talk.

If they’ve watched the same shows as you, brilliant! That’s a few hours easily spent talking about Studio 60 and Community. If they haven’t, that’s good too. Then there is that wonderful feeling of recommending something amazing to them (made more wonderful when they watch it and confirm it’s amazingness). You haven’t seen The Wire? Oh my god, give me 4 hours of your life while I tell you in detail why it’s the best thing ever made while simultaneously telling you, you have to watch it to understand it’s brilliance.

The show you say is your favourite is always a telling hint about who you are. Here are the broad categories that TV watchers I have met can be classified into –

The hardcore watcher: They like their shows to be dramatic, hard-hitting and want every scene to make them go “faaaaacck”. No namby-pamby sitcoms for these guys. They like their heart rate at a steady 300 please. Their favourite shows include Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones or Boss.

The honey watcher: The honey watchers might be the ones who share motivational quotes of Facebook and Pinterest, they just might. A bit sickly-sweet, these guys get all their life advice from TV, and will generally use the term ‘heart warming’ to describe a show. They are always on the lookout for a deep meaningful conversation and believe that true love makes the world go around.  They also love to cry. Their favorite shows include Gilmore Girls, Dawson’s creek, Bunheads, Glee or Parks and Rec.

The obvious nerd watcher:  Have you seen Firefly? Is it better than Battlestar Galactica? How can you not have seen Falling Skies? I hate The Big Bang Theory. This type is pretty self-explanatory.

The time-warped watcher:  These are by far the worst kind and I have met so many of them. The ones who talk way too fondly of Friends or Will and Grace. I love both these shows but, god, move on and stop quoting dialogues. I know every dialogue from Friends too but how about waking up in 2012, man. Get an internet connection and change the time setting in your head! If you say how you doin’ one more time, I will punch you. Oh my god, remember that episode when Joey tell Ross to punch him and…shut up!

The always-ready-for-a-fight watcher:  I truly love these kind of people (mostly since I belong to this category). It doesn’t even matter what their favourite show is, it could be The Wire, Six Feet Under, House, Boston Legal or whatever, they will defend it like their annual salary depends on it. You could spend hours telling them that Suits is a speck of dirt on Boston Legal but they will hit you with Harvey Spectre quotes and shake their head at you when you talk about Alan Shore’s epic closing statements till you want to slap them. But they are the best kind. Increasingly, my comeback for everything is, you haven’t seen The Wire? Yeah, you don’t count.

Passionate television watchers of the world, you guys are amazing. This week I have been watching Louie, Go on, Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Newsroom. Talk to me about these and I’ll love you forever.

“Ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi ho sakte”

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“Ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi ho sakte”

Thanks Maine Pyaar kiya. We shall carve this down in stone.

Raven, Eddie and Chelsea, Lizzy, Miranda and Gordo, Miley, Lily and Oliver. I was always fascinated that Disney channel made sure all their lead characters had two best friends, one of each sex. There was never a romantic angle there (except in the Lizzy Mcguire movie, when she kisses Gordo).

With kid shows, friendship is easy but past 16 and it’s a whole different ball game.

Too few TV shows manage to show that a guy and a girl can be friends without ever adding some romantic conflict. Almost like it’s fucking impossible. One drunken night or one vulnerable evening and bam! None of my friends have ever comforted me by making out with me (and thank god for that).

I’m not saying TV doesn’t explore the concept of friendship well. They do, but it seems like it’s just easier to stick to same sex BFFs. Christina and Meredith (Grey’s anatomy), Raj and Howard (the big bang theory), Paul and Kevin (the wonder years), House and Wilson (House MD), Abed and Troy (Community) Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, Charlotte (Sex and the City), JD and Turk (Scrubs), Bart and Milhouse (The Simpsons), Leslie and Ann (Parks and Rec)….you get my drift.

But put one boy and one girl together and at some point in the story, one of them is going to hear violins in the background. 90210 and One Tree Hill are so incestuous, you’d think there were no other people left in the world. Naomi was initially sleeping with Liam, and then Annie started sleeping with Liam, who is now sleeping with Silver, who was initially sleeping with Navid, who you used to be sleeping with Adrianna, who is now sleeping with Dixon, who used to sleep with Silver and thank god, that Annie and Dixon are related. And I promise I did not just make that up. Even My Boys, a show about the life and times of a bunch of friends playing poker, theres a conflicted PJ who has had secret kisses with two out of 5 boys (one of them is her brother).

Unless you are kooky like Phoebe who doesn’t fall for any of her guy friends or gay like Will from Will and Grace (or Kima and McNaulty from The Wire if they can be called friends), it’s unimaginable to have a group of friends where everybody doesn’t get involved with each other at some point. If Danny Tanner had a girl best friend instead of Joey, it’d be a whole different Full House. Even the pure, lets-watch-movies-together-in-bed-without-ever-toughing-our –private-parts to-each-others relationship a la Joey and Dawson from Dawsons creek goes to hell in a basket. Dawson starts dating Jen and Joey chooses his best friend Pacey – cue for angst, significant glances and conflict.

ABC Family has an utterly ridiculous show called Jane by Design (I secretly love it) where Jane is juggling two lives, one in the fashion industry and another in High School. Many boys and girls come and go to basically point out that best friends Jane and Billy are meant to be together. Why the fuck? They’ve been friends since they were children, have no shortage of hot girls and guys wanting to make out with them, but none of them work out. Why, they are meant to be together of course.  And Billy realises it first and then moves on when he thinks she’s not interested and then of course, as the season finale rolls in, she realises she’s in love with him. I mean, god! How about some communication? Also, how about realising that you both like different things and are different people. You can be best friends but you can’t be a couple? Also how about keeping it in your pants for once?

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