100 Things I Love About Television

To quote Homer Simpson, television is our “teacher, mother… secret lover.” It bathes us with entertainment whenever we want. TV gives us comedies, dramas, cops, lawyers, mobsters, doctors, variety shows, and just about anything else you could want. It’s time to give something back to TV. Thus, here’s my love letter to it- a listing of 100 things I love about television.

1. Charlie Kelly’s illiteracy…

2. and this letter to Chase Utley from Mac.

3. “I hate every ape I see, from Chimpan-A to Chimpan-Zee…”

4. The relationship between Wu and Al “Swedgin” Swearingen on Deadwood

5. The opening credits of Louie

6. The Saul Bass-inspired opening credits of Mad Men

7. Gob Bluth’s magic act

8. Bill Cosby’s sweaters

9. Grisly murder after grisly murder after grisly murder on The Sopranos, as well as…

10. the surprising humor on the show

11. Omar’s comin’!

12. Two words, Seinfeld fans: The Contest

13. The fact that everyone over the age of 16 assumes that Shaggy from Scooby Doo is a huge stoner

14. Stan, Kenny, Cartman, and Kyle launching a whale to the moon

15. Every single Breaking Bad episode since the middle of the third season

16. The follies of Larry David

17. Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory

18. All of this stuff, and a lot more, that Ralph Wiggum has said:

19. Two fictional characters who share my not-that-common name, John LaRue (Hill Street Blues and SCTV)

20. There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.

21. Seymour, the world’s most loyal and lovable dog, from Futurama

22. Barney Fife and his single bullet

23. Daisy Duke wearing her daisy dukes

24.  The irreverent wit of Hawkeye Pierce

25. Carol Burnett’s spoof of Sunset Boulevard

26. SNL’s fake ads, including Action Cats

27. and Pet Chow brand rat poison, featuring Old Shep on the bag

28. Saturday morning cartoons with a big bowl of cereal, preferably with some kind of marshmallows in it

29. What you talkin’ about, Willis?

30. All the times that Seth MacFarlane and the Family Guy writers remind us that even though he talks, Brian Griffin is still a dog

31. The theme song to The Jeffersons

32. A network dedicated to music despite never playing any music, along with…

33. a network dedicated to history that airs reality TV and programs about aliens

34. Big Bird

35. The last few minutes of the Six Feet Under series finale

36. The whistling intro to The Andy Griffith Show

37. A bunch of old people (Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Tom Bosley) solving mysteries in the 80s and early 90s

38. Fox Mulder’s “I Want to Believe” poster

39. Early Cuyler’s hats

40. The wit and wisdom of Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Leon Black

41. The death of Colonel Henry Blake

42. The planet Melmac, home world of furry cat-eating aliens

43. A whole TV show themed around the classic Universal creature features

44. The existence and continued high quality and value of PBS (so stop trying to cut their funding, you buttholes)

45. Mary Tyler Moore forever frozen with her hat half-flipped in the air

46. Sit, Ubu. Sit. Good dog.

47. The epic, ongoing argument- Ginger or Mary Ann?

48. Homey the Clown

49. Discovering that Sam Malone had a toupée

50. This Week in Baseball, especially the Mel Allen days (suck it, baseball haters)

51.The shocking fate of certain major characters in the first season of Game of Thrones

52. Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve

53. Charlie Brown, the Peanuts gang, and their assorted holiday specials

54. The delicious moment before Dexter Morgan murders someone and tells them why he’s killing them

55. Trying to figure out what the hell was going to happen on Lost

56. The “Why We Fight” episode of Band of Brothers…

57. and the “Bastogne” episode of Band of Brothers

58. and pretty much everything else about Band of Brothers, too.

59. The Bunk Moreland interrogation technique

60. Eric Cartman getting pinkeye from Scott Baio

61. Rob and Laura Petrie’s separate beds

62. The dogs humping outside of Peggy’s window at the end of Mad Men, season 5

63. Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Arnold Rothstein, Bugsy Siegel, and Meyer Lansky all as regular characters on Boardwalk Empire

64. What is Jeopardy?

65. Balki Bartokomous’ “Dance of Joy”

66. Carla Tortelli’s intense hatred for the New York Yankees

67. Roots

68. John Stewart and the Daily Show‘s fake news

69. Mister Peabody and Sherman

70. Watching Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant tease Karl Pilkington on The Ricky Gervais Show

71. And torture Karl on An Idiot Abroad

72. A Lannister always pays his debts.

73. Mags Bennett’s apple pie moonshine, which is probably even better than…

74. Uncle Jesse’s moonshine

75. Lucille Ball drunk on Vitameatavegamin, which tastes “just like candy”

76. The opening monologues in Alfred Hitchcock Presents

77. Magnum’s ferrari

78. Granny Clampett’s shotgun

79. Ron Swanson

80. Tio and the wheelchair pipebomb. DING! DING! DING! DING! DING!

81. Never hearing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” again without thinking of Tony Soprano

82. Deadwood: Shakespearean dialogue about booze, guns, and prostitutes

83. Dan Fielding’s unyielding sliminess on Night Court

84. Super Bowl ads

85. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them….maybe you can hire The A-Team.

86. The holy triumvirate of 80s sitcom character best friends: Skippy, Cockroach, and Boner

87. The immaculate beauty of Winnie Cooper through the eyes of Kevin Arnold

88. This:

89. And of course, this:

90. Phil Hartman as the unfrozen caveman lawyer, Frankenstein, Lionel Hutz, Troy McClure, Bill Clinton, Charlton Heston, and all the rest

91. Knowing exactly how Julius Caesar’s character would end on Rome and enjoying it anyway

92. Archie Bunker, bigoted buffoon

93. John Belushi’s endorsement of little chocolate donuts

94. All six episodes of Police Squad ever made

95. Syndication

96. Dr. John Zoidberg, lovable loser

97. Shark Week

98. Robert Osborne’s introductions to TCM movies

99. Sam Beckett’s eternal hope that the next leap will be the leap home

100. The PBS American Experience


Filed under Television, TV Shows

21 responses to “100 Things I Love About Television

  1. Man oh man is this awesome! I think Matt Dillon’s character in “Drugstore Cowboy” would probably have called you a TV baby! By the way i think “Squidbillies” is the funniest animated TV show airing right now. That or “Bob’s Burgers” or “Archer” or “China, IL” or “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” in it’s prime. And i wish “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law” still existed as well as “Space Ghost Coast to Coast”. Keep on keepin’ on with the great posts!

  2. aleksa

    101 — When someone who you didn’t know watches “your show” quotes a line from “your show”.

  3. Craig

    Awesome, though I would have had something about 30 Rock and Community, which along with Parks and Recreation are some of the funniest comedies ever made.

  4. KLK

    Fantastic list. Well done!

  5. KLK

    Oh, and when I read that first sentence.. I read it in Homer Simpson’s voice. Try to not read it in his voice. It can’t be done.

  6. Over in Queens there’s a film and Television museum with some Cosby sweaters. I was pretty happy when I saw that.

  7. Terrific list! I love the Muppets, Southpark and all things HBO. I love TV theme songs that are reminders of certain times/memories. 🙂 Cheers to TV! 🙂

  8. What a great list. Of course I have a few I would add & omit, but overall you really killed it. For me, the West Wing deserves some kind of mention. As does .John Facenda. I was compelled to respond (& retweet it after I read #56, 57 & 58). Nicely done sir

    • Thanks, Fulmer!

      Band of Brothers is/was amazing. It would’ve been easy to put 20 Band of Brothers things on the list- the Eagle’s Nest episode, Simon Pegg’s cameo, Dick Winters’ unflinching bravery, Vat 69 whiskey…

  9. Pingback: Everybody’s Talkin’ 10 – 25 (Chatter from Other Bloggers) | The Matinee | Cinematic Passion & Perspective

  10. LOVE this list. Just saw TIo let the pipebomb go episode–I cannot get over how they revealed Gustavo’s face! Nuts.

  11. Dan

    Nice work, John. There are so many great things on this list. I haven’t seen all the shows you mention, but most are on my list. Glad to see a lot of ’80s and early ’90s references in here like Dan Fielding, Homey the Clown, Quantum Leap, and Cheers. Great stuff.

    I’d add Andre Braugher’s ability to raise his voice and stop everyone in their tracks. It was great on Homicide, and I’m thrilled to see him back on his game in Last Resort.

    Plus, I’m a fan of some actors’ abilities to say ridiculous techno-babble on shows like Stargate SG-1 and Star Trek: TNG. Amanda Tapping is the master of these silly lines on SG-1. There are a lot more examples across many sci-fi shows.

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