I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thursday TV Tournament: The Conclusion

Today's match-up is between twenty-eighth seed, Community Season Two, Episode Twenty-One, "Paradigms of Human Memory," which aired April 21, 2011, and seventh seed, The Office Season Seven, Episode Nineteen, "Garage Sale," which aired March 24, 2011. The winner of this match-up, as well as the best episode of television that aired on a Thursday night this past year is:

Community S02E21: "Paradigms of Human Memory" (4/21/2011)

In the previous battle between The Office, "Garage Sale" and 30 Rock, "Queen of Jordan," the idea that fantastic drama can defeat fantastic comedy was raised by Adam Friedli. While I agreed with Adam for the most part, I felt that there must be some kind of exception, or perhaps a ruling principle that trumps both. I knew that "Paradigms of Human Memory" was a better episode, but I just didn't know why. I think what I realized is that intelligence overrules both drama and comedy. For one, emotion and humor are completely different concepts, apples and oranges. They are comparable only insofar as they are fruits and personal taste comes into play. Well, the "fruit" of this occasion is "intelligence" or "good writing." While The office touched us all emotionally, in many ways it was reflective of other good moments that have happened in previous seasons. As for Community, the television program is only on its second season, which means that it is setting the rules that it will follow in later seasons. The fact is that the writers on Community took more risks, wrote without a safety net, and had no choice but to succeed. "Garage Sale" required a great deal of good writing, but much of that could be done by repeating patterns established over several years of success. Maybe even more than intelligence or good writing, "Paradigms of Human Memory" was just more original.

I want to take a moment right now to thank everyone who followed the Thursday TV Tournament. It was an interesting project for me. I especially want to thank Adam Friedli, because he's the only individual I know actually followed the tournament. (In the world of blogging, nobody knows there are followers unless they comment, and Adam sure did his fair share of commenting.) I also want to mention that last night marks a full year from the beginning of this project. Well, sort of. This project began last year with the first episode of the sixth season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and last night was the first episode of the seventh. Will there be a Thursday TV Tournament next year? Probably not. But if enough people hold hands and, well, stop holding hands enough to give some positive comments maybe I can see what I can do.


1 comment:

  1. I have to say I think you hit it on the head perfectly. I was busy being consumed by hw, but I had a feeling I would vote in the direction you did. Emotion can only take you so far, and Community really outdid itself on that episode.

    In a world of many network television shows we used to love now comfortably easing into repetitive mediocrity for the masses, Community is of the few that continues to deliver and prove its worth.

    All faux elitism aside, I really love Community. And if I remember correctly, you were the one who recommended I check it out. I really appreciate it, and thanks for this fun and entertaining tournament. It really helped make it clear why I enjoy the shows I watch. If there is ever a next time, maybe I'll be into 30 Rock by then.