Comedy tonight!

Posted in Duff 'n Stuff

Duff ’n Stuff, Jan. 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Welcome to a new year full of possibilities, as they all are. May we all wear the cloak of good health and prosperity in 2013, and may it include pockets packed with plenty of laughter brought on by the incredibly witty company we keep.

However, when one’s personal fools have absconded, excellent comedic entertainment can be found easily nowadays in movies, books, theater, radio, the odd YouTube video and on TV. A few posts back I offered a list of what I think are good television shows, and I said that it has everything to do with good writing in the script. My little sister Emily took umbrage with my list, on which I left out our favorite show.

“I CANT BELIEVE you didn’t mention ‘Arrested Development,’” she said in an email.

I told her I was writing only about dramatic television and hadn’t listed any of the comedies.

“Still … Come On!” she replied. She’s a die-hard fan.

You must understand that comedy is extremely important to my sister Emily. From the time she could form a complete sentence, she has possessed one of the sharpest and funniest wits I’ve ever known. Even as a toddler who was nine years younger than the fifth of her siblings, she would steal the floor at dinner by standing up in her chair and proclaiming something that revealed a remarkably dry wit, even for a three year old. She had our hearts with her cuteness, but we also knew she was blessed with what I think is one of the most magnetic of human traits:  She was funny.

Comedy is the spark between us, and I admit that we sisters (along with several of her nieces and nephews) are a little obsessed with the quirky characters of “Arrested Development.” Emily lives in Boston and we sometimes “text” each other lines from various episodes at random, and no matter where I am or what I am doing, it always makes me feel like she is in the room with me. So, in homage to Emily, who wears the most decorated lampshade (in a family of lampshade wearers) I give you some of what we have found to be the funniest contemporary television shows on at our house:

  1. Arrested Development
  2. Parks and Rec
  3. The Office
  4. Modern Family
  5. Seinfeld
  6. Malcolm in the Middle
  7. 30 Rock
  8. Third Rock From the Sun

Here are some more that I haven’t watched as often, due to the fact that there just isn’t time to watch all that T.V., but these are also some favorites:

  1. The Jon Stewart Show
  2. The Colbert Report
  3. Curb Your Enthusiasm
  4. Scrubs
  5. Slings and Arrows
  6. Bored to Death

My teenagers also think some other shows are funny and, although they are not my cup of tea, if you watch even a single episode, you can see why they work. As is true with all television, I think the writing is everything:

  1. Community
  2. Bob’s Burgers
  3. South Park
  4. Family Guy
  5. Adventure Time

“Arrested Development,” which was created by Mitchell Hurwitz and narrated by Ron Howard, received popular success with somewhat of a cult following and critical acclaim in the form of six Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. But despite approval from critics, the show received low ratings and viewership on Fox, which canceled the series in 2006 after three seasons. In 2007, Time listed it among the magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME.”

I Googled “top comedy shows” and what came up first was the “Highest Rated Comedy TV Series” at the Internet Movie Database. “Arrested Development” was third on that list behind a Turkish comedy called “Isler güçler” and an American comedy set in Philadelphia called “The Angry Video Game Nerd,” neither of which I have ever heard.

Recently, Netflix agreed to revive “Arrested Development” by licensing new episodes to be distributed exclusively on its streaming video service. The word on the Interwebs is that 12 to 15 episodes will be released sometime in the early part of this year. The script of an “Arrested Development” film has also been in development with the main cast said to reprise their original roles, which is great news for fans.

Watch it (from the beginning) and Emily and I guarantee you’ll have more than one good laugh.

From the heart,
Patricia Duff

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