Saturday, February 11, 2006

Perfect episodes and characters

TV shows are funny things.

By the very nature of their structure, it's hard for them to be "perfect" or "masterpieces." We know there are Great American Novels (Huck Finn, Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick, Gatsby, Sound and the Fury) and Great American Films (Citizen Kane, Godfather). But can there be a Great American Television Show?

Probably not. Eventually, time is going to catch up with any successful show and force it to churn out a poor episode.

But it's possible to have perfect episodes and perfect characters on a TV show. Over the weekend, I'll debut an occasional series with my first picks for one perfect episode and one perfect character. I'll talk a little about what makes these things work so very well and what we as TV writers, critics or viewers can take from them.

I already know what I'm leading off with, but if you have some suggestions, make them here.

I look forward to working with you!


Moses said...

I haven't seen that X-Files episode, but I have to commend you on your character choice. Lisa Simpson is as human as a cartoon character can get. She has complex moral objections that some people go their entire lives without considering (see her vegetarianism and Buddhism), yet, more than anything else, she wants a pony. If I were eight-years-old again, I'd probably have a crush on her.

And I've been trying to think of episodes and characters I'd nominate and I think I'm going to go with "Series Two - Episode Six" from The Office (UK of course) and Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks. Obviously, these choices are too perfect for me to defend them with commentary.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

I haven't seen Twin Peaks in years, but The Office episode you mentioned is already on my short list.

I will try to revisit Cooper when they release season two on DVD.