Favorites Week 2014

Favorites Week: Friends

Friends-Wallpaper-tv-series-photo-Lunch-Atop-a-Skyscraper-Photography

Shout out to my Emerson alumni network for this one– I gotchu, Kevin Bright!  The final show featured on Favorites Week is one near and dear to my heart.  I watched Friends from start to finish to heal from my first ever break-up, and I return to this show when I feel particularly hopeless.  It’s not only good for a laugh and a smile, it’s an emotional rollercoaster, thus perfect for readjusting your mental state.  As the theme song suggests, I truly feel like Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross, and Joey will be there for me.  And they are.  Here are my favorite episodes:

 

The One with the Prom Video

I especially love any Friends episode that has a flashback.  I love Fat Monica; I love Rachel’s old nose.  This episode prominently features a flashback of sorts, in that the gang gathers to watch a video of Monica and Rachel getting ready to go to prom.  This episode follows the discovery of Ross’s list.  (She’s not Rachem.)  When Rachel sees in the video that Ross, who was in college at this point, was willing to drop everything and take her to prom when it looked like her date was standing her up, she immediately kisses him and Ross and Rachel are officially on!  (He’s her lobster!)  It’s a sweet ending to a very funny episode.

 

The One with the Embryos

Sadly, Phoebe is absent for the majority of the fun in this episode.  She’s busy getting embryos implanted, as the episode title alludes to.  What I think it really fun about this episode is the trivia contest hosted by Ross.  Joey and Chandler challenge Monica and Rachel to see which set of roommates knows more about the other.  Ross makes the questions, as he knows both groups well, and he goes all out on the game even incorporating a lightning round.  I can quote the entire lightening round by heart, and I’m really proud of that.  The guys win at the end because no one know what Chandler’s job is, and as winners they make the girls switch apartments with them.

 

The One with All the Thanksgivings 

Okay, no show does a Thanksgiving episode as well as Friends.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and Monica’s too.  Chandler, however, hates Thanksgiving and refuses to celebrate.  This episode is full of flashbacks, and flashbacks in the truest sense.  Everyone recounts their worst Thanksgivings ever.  Phoebe’s is in another life, Joey’s is when his head got stuck in a turkey, Chandler’s is when he found out his dad is gay, and Monica and Rachel have two: when Chandler called Monica fat and when Monica accidentally cut of Chandler’s toe when trying to be sexy for revenge.  (Ooh, I love macaroni and cheese.)  This hilarious episode ends with a sweet and funny moment, where Monica puts the turkey on her head to cheer up Chandler, who tells her he loves her for the first time.

 

The One Where Everybody Finds Out 

When Monica and Chandler begin their relationship, they want to keep it a secret from the crew.  Joey finds out first, and Monica and Chandler beg him to keep it to himself.  When Rachel finds out, (hilariously overhearing an obscene phone conversation,) she can’t keep it in and comes to Joey who tells her they have to keep the secret.  Phoebe is apartment shopping with Ross across the street now that Ugly Naked Guy is moving out.  She sees first hand what’s going on between Monica and Chandler.  Phoebe and Rachel try to mess with Monica and Chandler in order to get them to admit the affair, but soon find out that they are in love.  Ross gets Ugly Naked Guy’s apartment as Naked Ross, and soon his new view allows him to discover the relationship too.

 

The One with the Proposal

Okay, this is absolutely two episodes and I’m completely cheating.  What I love about part one is the silent auction which Phoebe, Joey, and Rachel attend.  Phoebe drinks to excess and Joey misunderstands the concept of a silent auction and buys a boat.  Rachel tries to convince the next highest bidder to purchase the gentlemen’s day sailor, but Joey wants the Mr. Beaumont!  The first attempt at a proposal is botched in part I– Chandler and Monica run into Richard at the restaurant.  “Maybe he won’t see us,” Monica comments before screaming, “RICHARD” to get his attention.  What I love about part II is the proposal itself.  Chandler, believing he’s entirely lost Monica to Richard, returns to their apartment to see Monica waiting to propose to him,

 

Guys, even writing all of that was such an emotional delight.  Friends really is a fantastic show and even if sitcoms aren’t your cup of tea, this piece of pop culture gold should be on everyone’s to-see list!

I think that was a great note to end on.  I hope you all enjoyed favorites week!  Leave me some Friends-quote comments and let’s laugh some more.  Happy Friday, kids; enjoy the weekend!

Favorites Week: South Park

Whereas the last two shows I’ve written about for Favorites Week may fall in my top 10 or so, today’s show sits solidly in the top 5.  South Park may be lewd, crude, and ridiculous, but this show– despite it’s liberal use of low humor– is smart, and hilarious.  Matt Stone and Trey Parker might be able to reduce themselves to a 4th grade thought-level to tell these stories, but within a week’s time span these days, they are able to create truly valuable satire and commentary.  Sometimes this show does gross me out a bit, but for the most part, I am impressed, and laughing my head off.  Here are my favorite South Park episodes:

 

Rainforest Shmainforest

Jennifer Aniston guests lending her voice to Miss Stevens, the leader of an environmental choir called “Getting Gay with Kids.”  As a former show choir kid, I totally love this name.  Mr. Mackey forces the boys to join as punishment for making fun of the cause.  They embark on a tour to Costa Rica that doesn’t exactly go as planned.  Cartman tries to make the creatures of the rainforest respect his authority, and by the end, even Miss Steven hates the rainforest. My favorite gag, maybe in any South Park episode– Kyle says, “Miss Stevens, you have a bug on your back.”  “Oh really?” she responds, “Could you brush it off?”

Kyle: Um, no.

Kyle: Um, no.

 

Towelie

This could actually be my favorite episode of anything ever.  The concept is so ridiculous, that reading the Wikipedia version of it is enough to crack you up.  It starts out with the boys receiving an Okama Gamesphere, a new video game system.  Then a talking towel, Towelie, shows up reminding the boys, “don’t forget to bring a towel!” but then asking them to get high.  They notice various agencies are in search of this genetically engineered towel, and their Okama Gamesphere is stolen as ransom.  Throughout the episode, the boys are completely unimpressed despite aliens and government conspiracies, and literally just want their system back.  Even though Towelie is “the worst character ever,” according to Cartman, he’s absolutely hilarious.

 

The Jeffersons

It should be noted that this episode obviously was created before the death of Michael Jackson.  It’s a bit in bad taste of his memory.  “Mr. Jefferson” is a complete parody of Michael Jackson, who acts like a child and neglects the needs of his son, Blanket.  In addition, he appears white and at one point, his nose falls off.  What really gets me about this episode is what happens when the police are after Mr. Jefferson, in attempt to frame a wealthy black person.  A spotlight hits the front door as Mr. Jefferson tries to leave his house and he lets out a Michael-style, hee-hee!  That one note is enough to literally make me laugh out loud.

 

You Got F’ed In the A

Basically, an OC dance crew comes to South Park and “serves” the boys.  Hilariously, all the adults act like “getting served” is literally injury-inducing, while the boys are confused as to what happened.  Randy Marsh, South Park’s best character, teaches his son Stan to fight back by two-stepping to Billy Ray Cyrus’s Achy Breaky Heart.  This juxtaposed with the dance crew’s let’s see you daaaance, suckah, you got nothin’ on me is pretty fun.  Suddenly, “it’s on!” and Stan has to form a dance crew of his own to oppose the OC crew in competition.  It ends with Butters tap dancing to “I’ve Got Something in my Front Pocket for You” while sets off a Final Destination-style chain of events that kills the OC crew… so they win!

 

Sexual Harassment Panda

Aside from the name of this episode being amazing, the concept of the titular character is as well.  Petey the Sexual Harassment Panda is a mascot who talks to kids about anti-harassment behavior.  Cartman is conversely inspired to sue Kyle for calling him an explicit name.  Soon, everyone in South Park is suing everyone else.  The boys seek out Sexual Harassment Panda on the Isle of Misfit Mascots.  Other residents include Willy the “don’t stare directly at the sun” Worm, Hoppy the “don’t do stuff that might irritate your inner ear” Badger, and Oinky the “run around with scissors” pig.  (Yup, that one’s not great.)  The boys convince Petey to become Don’t Sue People Panda and save the day.  This episode also features our favorite redneck at the bar, Skeeter, who don’t take kindly to your type around here.  See clip here!

Coats?

 

What are your favorite South Park episodes?!

 

Favorites Week: The Office

Alright, friends, you may have noticed so far that I really appreciate the comedic moments of the two shows I’ve highlighted for Favorites Week.  Well, from here on out I’m talking about comedies!  What is life without lots of laughter?  Today’s favorite is a show that always cheers me up when I’m down: The Office.

The Dundies

This classic episode has Regional Manager Michael Scott hosting his yearly “awards show,” an employee recognition event that he invented called The Dundies.  Each employee receive little trophies of men with briefcases and Michael provides a lot of unwanted entertainment.  It’s held in a local Chili’s.  As usual, we see Michael acting foolish, but when his illusion of grandeur starts falling apart, Dunder Mifflin Scranton rallies and lets him have fun.  Oscar says it best: The dundies are kinda like a kid’s birthday party, and you go, and there’s really nothing for you to do there, but the kid’s having a really good time so you’re kinda there.  Pam gets super drunk on margaritas and proclaims, I feel God in this Chili’s tonight.

The Injury

This is hands-down my favorite episode of the office, and it starts with Michael stepping on a George Foreman grill… which he has left cooking 6 slices of bacon by his bed.  It actually only gets more ridiculous from here.  Michael calls the office screaming in pain asking Ryan to come help him.  Instead, Dwight comes to the rescue.  On his rush out of the parking lot, he smashes his car into a telephone pole, stumbles out, projectile vomits, gets back in the car and drives to get Michael.  Meanwhile, the whole office is watching– “Ooh Dwight,” Jim says, “You forgot your bumper!”  The whole episode has a melodramatic Michael complain about his foot burn while a severely concussed Dwight tries to push through the brain injury.

Money

This episode is excellent for two reasons.  The first and foremost is Jim & Pam’s visit to Schrute Farms. They discover Dwight is running a bed and breakfast of sorts and can’t resist the strange experience of spending the night there.  B&B activities include table-making demonstrations, beet wine-making, a bit of farming, and Dwight reading an excerpt of Harry Potter before they go to sleep.  Jim also follows a mysterious wailing to find Dwight crying over Angela.  Pam discovers Dwight’s cousin Mose in an outhouse.  Very normal stuff.  They leave him a fantastic TripAdvisor review, which thankfully, you can actually view on TripAdvisor!  The second wonderful thing, and namesake of the episode, is Michael’s literal proclamation: I declare bankruptcy!  We actually get a nice Michael/Jan moment out of Michael’s money troubles too.

Fun Run

This is actually two episodes, but they share a name and plot lines.   This great episodes starts off with a bang– Michael hits Meredith with his car, accidentally of course, but gosh is it hilarious.

Guess what, I have flaws.  What are they?  Oh, I don’t know.  I sing n the shower.  Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering.  Occasionally I hit somebody with my car.  So sue me… no, don’t sue me.

When Meredith is hospitalized, we find out she has rabies.  Feeling badly about his part in it all, Michael has the office put on a fun run for rabies awareness and also Meredith.  Michael has a tough time at said fun run, because his idea of carbo-loading is fettucini alfredo and no water.  Dwight and Angela’s relationship comes to an end when Dwight kills Angela’s cat Sprinkles by shutting her in the freezer.  So, all around good times.  Jim & Pam’s relationship is confirmed at the end of this one.

Weight Loss

This is another two-part episode.  I love this for Jim and Pam’s adorable proposal, I love Angela’s continued affair despite her engagement to Andy, and I love Phyllis blackmailing her with this knowledge for control of the Party Planing Committee.  All of these things are great.  While the aforementioned proposal and Michael and Holly’s budding relationship make this episode stand out in the minds of most, this has always stood out to me for Kelly Kapoor’s dieting.  The very premise of the episode is that the branch that loses most weight collectively wins extra vacation days.  Kelly decides to swallow a tape worm (which she bought from Creed and is actually not a tape worm).  They way she laments, “I hate dieting, I hate it so much.  I hate this worm in my stomach!” only to have Michael misunderstand just cracks me up.

Bonus: If I’m having a bad day, I youtube this wonderful scene from an episode not mentioned about.  I simply cannot keep a straight face through it!

Favorites Week: Avatar the Last Airbender

Welcome back to Favorites Week, where I’m talking about my favorite episodes of some of my favorite shows.  Today, we’re talking Avatar: The Last Airbender.  I achieved very little balance here, picking mostly episodes from Book 2.   If you haven’t watched this show, I highly recommend you do!  Yes, it’s animated and yes, it was on Nickelodeon, but while certainly child-appropriate, this is not just a kids’ show!  Whatever you do, do not judge it by the live action movie which has almost nothing to do with this fantastic series.  I could go on and go, but let’s skip to the episodes, shall we?

 

 

The Cave of the Two Lovers

Looking for a passage to the earth city of Omashu, Team Avatar meets up with a vagabond group of minstrels who spin a tale of two lovers separated by a mountain and a secret tunnel than connects them.  Thankfully, these hippies accompany Aang, Katara, and Sokka through said passage providing a hilarious soundtrack to quell the badgermoles.  The comic relief in this episode is fantastic, and the cave itself showcases the beauty of the world of Avatar.

 

The Blind Bandit

This is the first episode in which we actually see one of my favorite characters, Toph.  She does appear as an apparition in “The Swamp” which very near made this list instead of this episode.  The reason why this won out is two-fold.  Firstly, this is the first time we see her in action as the amazing earthbender she is.  Seeing her in action, learning that Aang’s earthbending master is a tiny blind girl, is awe-inspiring.  Secondly, The Boulder is in this episode.  A play on wrestler The Rock, who I also love, The Boulder amuses me in the best way possible.

 

The Desert

This episode shows initial weakness in my girl Toph– the loose sand makes her truly blind as she uses vibrations of the earth to see, and she’s just lost Appa to sandbenders, infuriating Aang.  It’s a tough time for Team Avatar, but the audience gets to enjoy some absolute Sokka craziness and he hallucinates from drinking cactus juice– clip above!  Iroh, my other favorite character, gets the chance to prove his worth in this episode at the Pai Sho table, introducing The Order of the White Lotus.  There are so many hints that this man has had a rich past, and here we see the value in his experiences.

 

Tales of Ba Sing Se

Taking a break from the typical episodic format, Tales of Ba Sing Se presents us with several small stories of our characters, now inhabiting that titular city.  Though not all of the tales are important or grand in nature, there is one that is particularly gripping: Iroh’s.  It’s an incredibly sad and touching story of remembrance for his departed son, Lu Ten.  Because I love Iroh so much, this touching piece of character development makes this episode very special.

 

The Firebending Masters

Okay, finally out of Book 2!  This episode occurs once Zuko has joined Team Avatar– something I was waiting to happen for so long!  Zuko in all his teenage angst actually has a heart (raised by his awesome uncle Iroh) and wants to teach Aang firebending.  When he finds that rage once fueled him and cannot any longer, the two seek the source of firebending: dragons!  Once again, we’re treated to something visually stunning as we watch Aang and Zuko literally dance with dragons.

 

Love Avatar: the Last Airbender?  Let me know what your favorite episodes are!

Favorites Week: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

It’s Shark Week everywhere else, but it’s Favorites Week here on nikkisee.com!  This is something I’ve been toying around with for a while– highlighting some of my absolute favorite episodes of my absolute favorite shows.  I’ve decided, for the scope of this week, I’d highlight my top 5 episodes of 5 favorite shows.  We’ll be 5 by 5 at the end of the week, which leads me into today’s show, my number one favorite: Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

 

IMG_0641

 

Earshot [S3E18]

An brush leaves Buffy to inherit an “aspect of the demon” which turns out to be telepathy.  This makes for a lot of humor with Buffy reading people’s thoughts.  It also makes for a very interesting concept in that she (unlike Sookie Stackhouse) cannot shut the voices off.  It gives her, and us, an opportunity to consider that everyone has their own internal struggles.  As Buffy says to Jonathan– “If you could hear what they were feeling. The loneliness. The confusion. It looks quiet down there. It’s not. It’s deafening.”

 

Pangs [S4E08]

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and Thanksgiving-themed episodes will appear on another list later in the week! At a particularly seasonally appropriate time, a Chumash Indian site is disturbed by Xander (as part of a construction crew) unleashing a vengeful spirit.  What I love about this episode is its comedy– from Anya’s classification of the holiday as “a ritual sacrifice with pie” to Spike, held hostage and tied to the chair, commenting, “You made a bear!  Undo it!”  The final scene with the motley crew sitting down to a meal with an arrow sticking out of a pumpkin says it all— see above!

 

Hush [S4E10]

This episode is absolutely brilliant– a full 27 minutes go by without any dialogue and the story is so engaging!  The premise is this: fairytale villains called The Gentlemen roll into town and steal everyone’s voices.  It starts with a creepy, classic horror dream in which a young girl sings a nursery rhyme indicating “they need to take seven” human hearts “and the might take yours.”  Hush explores communication in its characters and with its audience.  This is an absolute must-watch!

 

Once More with Feeling [S6E07]

This episode is a musical, and I know, musicals may not be everyone’s thing.  They do happen to be my thing, though!  With magic in play, it’s easy to rationalize why everyone is singing, although the Scooby Gang is stuck for an explanation at first.  All of Sunnydale is suddenly singing, dancing, and letting all their feelings out.  At a time when the characters are dealing with heavy emotions, music makes it enjoyable for us while still letting us experience these emotions.

 

Tabula Rasa [S6E08]

Fresh off the open wounds from OMWF’s airing of emotional baggage, everyone wishes they could just forget.  Willow takes this to the extreme and a spell goes awry making the Scooby Gang forget entirely who they are.  What would it be like to wake up with no idea who you are?  Watching them piece together clues about their own identities and each other’s with varying inaccuracies is super fun.  They also forget about demons… that’s fun to watch them find out, too.

 

Now it’s your turn!  What are you favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes?