It's been a while since the 2010/2011 season concluded, but as they say, absence makes the heart forget about half the crap you watched in moments of complete boredom/laziness. Luckily I didn't have too many such moments, and my television viewing seems considerably less, on reflection, than in years past.
Which makes the challenge to choose my favorite scripted television episode of the past season, posed by Andrew at Encore Entertainment, considerably easier for me than it might be for others.
I didn't even need to review what I'd watched -- as soon as I was challenged, there were two episodes that came immediately to mind, two episodes that made my world a happier place merely by existing.
In the Northeast Corner we have Neil Gaiman's Doctor Who episode, "The Doctor's Wife."
No one knew anything about this episode apart from the title, so when it aired, there was the potential for total geek-mageddon. Thankfully, the Gaiman and Doctor Who alchemy proved more magical than anyone could ever have hoped. What a beautiful concept too, a being that lives off of Tardis energy, who accidentally transfers the soul of the Tardis into a living, breathing, sexy thing.
The episode rests almost entirely on the witty dialogue between the Doctor and Idris, the human incarnation of the Tardis. There have been loads of references throughout the series that the Tardis is alive, but for the first time we are allowed to see what that actually means. It's a very elaborate fan-fiction, proving that the Doctor's OTP is the Tardis herself.
We learn, once and for all, that despite the commitment in prior series to the Doctor's eternal loneliness, that he does in fact have one constant companion. Gaiman takes us right back to the beginning, when the Doctor enters this Tardis and runs away on his many adventures. She has been there the whole time, through the best and worst times of his life, always silent but always there. And you must have a heart of steel if you can't see the beauty in being able for once in your life, to speak to that being, to know him or her, and be reassured of their presence.
And in the Midwest Corner we have Amy Poehler's Parks and Recreation episode, "The Fight."
In this episode, Tom enlists the Parks department to come out to his club and help him promote his Kahlua-style liquor, Snakejuice. Meanwhile, Leslie tries to get Ann a job at City Hall so they can work together. Naturally, this does not go well, so the kids get into a big drunken brawl at the Club.
"The Fight" is jammed to the hilt with delightful nonsense, like how Andy and April's idea of role-play is a bizarre mish-mash of every Agatha Christie novel ever crossed with Tom Clancy. It also introduced the very exciting concept of "angry dancing." Poehler really does write her own best material, mining the considerable humor in her own peculiar physicality.
I don't think there's any other show that manages so many moving pieces so well, with one of the deepest comedy casts around, and still maintains a narrative. Because, despite all the alcohol-inspired silliness, the show continues to demonstrate one of the most realistic female friendships ever seen on television, based on mutual love and respect, but, like all close friendships, often travels on that special road paved with good intentions.
It's incredibly tough to call it, and to be honest, my decision keeps changing ever five minutes, but for now I'm giving it to Gaiman. Parks is still young, and likely has many years to keep outdoing itself (and with Leslie running for office next season, is definitely not running out of creative steam).
But there's just something special when an episode of a show that's almost 50 years old, that I've been watching for all of my 26 years, completely surprises me. There have been a few episodes this series that address the internal logic of the entire concept of Doctor Who, but none more so than learning that the Tardis always taking the Doctor where he needs to go, explaining why he's constantly running into trouble.
Gaiman answered a question that I never even thought to ask: who is the Tardis? And I am glad of the answer.
-The Good Wife season finale: ::melts:: ::swoons:: ::dies of happiness::