Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year in Review (Superlatives, Ahoy!)



2012 is almost over, which means that everyone is now compiling lists – lists of their favorite shows, characters, movies, and music from the past year. The end of the year is always cause for reflection, recollection, and celebration. We want to remember what was good, block out all of the bad or uncomfortable moments, and prepare ourselves for a new year, ripe with possibility.

So it only stands to reason, then, that after reading through some friends’ lists of favorites from the past year, I would compile my own bulleted list of superlatives. What exactly will I discuss, you may ask? I’m going to choose to focus primarily on television, characters, and also stray slightly into the movie and music territory.

Ready?

Set?

RECAP!



TELEVISION

Favorite Single Episode of a Television Show (Comedy): “Injured,” New Girl

I know, I know.

It seems rather sacrilegious, considering how much I love and gush about Community, to not have one of its episodes crowned as a favorite this year. But, honestly, “Injured” was my favorite episode of New Girl in 2012, and it was definitely my favorite episode of a comedy series. “Injured” did everything right – it nailed its comedic moments, utilized the characters and brought out the absolute best moments from them, and it also delivered some powerful emotion and heart. The Nick Miller-centered episode revealed a lot to us about him as a character (his insecurities and fears, for starters), and also explored his relationships with his friends and Jess. The moment between Schmidt and Cece on the beach is one of my favorites, and the ending where the group comes together to rally around Nick, always makes me smile.

This was one VERY solid episode of television.

Favorite Single Episode of a Television Show (Drama): “Sucker Punch,” Suits

I started to watch Suits because SO many people talked about it that I felt rather out of the loop. I knew, through their tweets, what would happen from “Break Point” forward but that didn’t undercut the emotion and power of the episodes at all. “Sucker Punch” was one of the best episodes of a drama series that I have watched in a long time. There was a tenseness throughout the entirety of the episode, culminating in a mock trial where Donna takes the stand and is asked by Louis if she loves Harvey. But then, in perhaps the best and most powerful scene to date (that left me breathless), when Harvey confronts Louis over his severe treatment of Donna in the mock trial, Louis explodes – he rages at him, noting that everyone is trying to protect Harvey and that anything that happens to Donna is not on them – it’s on HARVEY.

I love Suits because it has the ability to seamlessly transition from comedy one moment to intense drama the next, and this episode was at the top of my list for the latter.


Favorite Magical Character on Television: Red/Ruby, Once Upon a Time (“Red Handed”)

Some people love Emma Swan, some love Belle, and some adore the Evil Queen. Me? I’m a huge fan of Red/Ruby. The episode “Red Handed” is one of the best of the series, because of the brilliant acting of Meghan Ory and the wonderfully unexpected and brilliant plot twist in the episode. Red is a character we empathize with, and Ruby is someone we – similarly – feel for. She’s smart and cunning, witty and endearing, and a powerful magical being.

Really, how can you NOT love her?

Best Television Show You’re Not Watching (But Will Watch Once It’s Cancelled and Available on DVD): Ben and Kate

If you need further convincing to watch this freshman comedy, please read this post or this one. Or… you know, just take my advice and watch the show. I won’t lead you astray.

Best Male Character: Schmidt, New Girl

Schmidt is one of my favorite characters on television because… wait, does there actually need to be an explanation? This is the character who had to have a Douchebag Jar created because of the things he says and does. Schmidt has the best one-liners, alternates between trying so hard to be best friends with Nick and chastising him for his way of living, and yet STILL also manages to have some of the best emotional moments on the show.


Best Female Character: Donna Paulsen, Suits

Donna Paulsen is the best female character on television, hands down. She is smart, sassy, loyal and hilarious. Donna is the person Harvey cannot function properly without – she proves to be both his conscience and his best friend on multiple occasions. He listens to her because, as he once said, he can’t be himself without her. Donna is the kind of woman who knows who she is, what she wants, and won’t stop at anything to get it, making her – simply – the best.

Most Heartbreaking Episode of Television: “The Angels Take Manhattan,” Doctor Who

We all knew that the Ponds’ departure would be sad. But, since this is a series currently being written by the gut-wrenchiest of gut-wrenchers, Steven Moffat, we all presumed it would be heartbreaking. And it was, to be honest, quite sad to watch Amy and Rory depart. But I think that the moment that broke me the most was watching how it impacted the Doctor. Hearing him beg: “Come along, Pond. Please”? Listening to the desperation in his voice, knowing that she could not actually come with him, that her fate was sealed? Watching him cry afterward?

Well, that was just devastating.

Best Newly Discovered Show: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

If you need any convincing whatsoever that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is that one web series you should be watching but aren’t… check out some of my posts regarding the show. Quite frankly, the series itself is exceptional – the writing, the acting, the characters. And, much like the cast of Community, I’ve found Rachel Kiley, Ashley Clements, and Mary Kate Wiles to be exceptionally lovely and accessible people.

(Plus, all three of the women noted above love Community so… go follow them on Twitter, as they’re fellow Human Beings!)

Show That Had So Much Potential This Year, But Lost It All: Smash

Yes.

… that’s all I can say about that. There’s a reason that #SmashBash as a hashtag exists. Join us when the show premieres again and use the hashtag to make fun of the incredibly cliché, absurd, and just downright insane plot points.

Oh, and also Leo. We make fun of him a lot, too.


Best Reality Show: The Voice

I think that The Voice is honestly so much better than any other reality singing competition out there. The show’s premise is based on what is important, after all – a person’s ability to sing, not what they wear or how heavy they are, or what they look like. There are coaches, not judges, who assist their teams in finding their niches and becoming the best they can be. And the singers are worlds better than anything you’ll hear on The X Factor or American Idol these days.

Plus, there’s a bromance between Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. What more could you ask for?

Most Annoying Character on Television (Female): Mindy Lahiri, The Mindy Project

It’s really difficult when you don’t like the character or cannot relate to them and they just so happen to be the main star of the series. I do like Mindy Kaling, but her The Mindy Project counterpart? Well, I just cannot stand her. Mindy’s infantile tendencies in regards to dealing with relationships doesn’t make me laugh at all – it, in fact, makes me cringe. Some episodes (“Josh and Mindy’s Christmas Party”) make her a bit more bearable and even a little sympathetic.

But those episodes are few and far between and overshadowed by a whiny, needy, juvenile and grating doctor named Mindy.

Most Annoying Character on Television (Male): Ellis, Smash

Honestly, Ellis is the one character on television so annoying, so weasel-like, so grating that… well, every time he walks onto the screen, you kind of hope he’ll be hit by a bus.

Sorry. Was that mean?

Television Show That Left Us Too Soon: Awake

I wish I would have watched this show more consistently than I did, but I was always busy on Thursday nights writing up notes for my Community blog-reviews. Nevertheless, I wonder how this show would have progressed, had it been allowed to have more seasons.

Show That Should Be Put Out of Its Misery (And Is): The Office

This show ended when Michael Scott left and no one can convince me otherwise.


Best Performance in a Television Series (Male): Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock

Honestly, for all of the awards he’s been nominated for, you’d think that Mr. Cumberbatch would have won more. Nevertheless, his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes leaves me awed and speechless every episode (so much so that I haven’t even dared to try Elementary). He plays Sherlock with such ferocity and determination, with such drive and poignancy that it’s hard to imagine anyone else actually playing the iconic detective.

(That’s my opinion and I’ll have it, thanks!)

Best Performance in a Television Series (Female): Lucy Punch, Ben and Kate

Supporting characters are difficult to develop over the course of episodes for some shows. Comedies and dramas alike often struggle to find the balance between a character overshadowing the main characters or slinking completely into the background. From the pilot episode, Lucy Punch stole the show as BJ, Kate Fox’s wise-cracking, lazy, hilarious best friend. And truly, BJ is one of the best characters on television this year. She’s funny, sometimes aloof, and did I mention lazy?

But she loves Kate and Ben and Maddie. And she’s always there for them. And sometimes, just sometimes, BJ is actually right and speaks truth into the Fox family.


Best Series – Comedy: Community

No series can replace Community in my heart. No matter how many times I watch an episode of this show, I fall in love. I’m always blown away by the talent of the writers, the evolution of characters, and the little inside jokes implemented that make us fall in love with the series even more. Joel McHale deserves all the awards for the work he has put into his performance as Jeff Winger, and Megan Ganz should be handed heaps of awards for “Basic Lupine Urology.”

Basically, Greendale is where I belong. And I’m not going anywhere.

Best Series – Drama: Suits

Suits is just amazing and you need to watch it for: Patrick J. Adams’ and Gabriel Macht’s faces; the incredible writing; the hilarious jokes; the intense drama; and… wait, did I already mention the faces of the actors?

And Donna. Watch for Donna.

Actor I’ve Grown to Love A Lot More in 2012: Matt Smith, Doctor Who

I’ve loved Matt Smith since his final scene in “The Eleventh Hour,” but this past year I have grown to love him even more. His performances in this season of Doctor Who have just blown my mind. He is the kind of actor who is so nuanced that you notice when his jaw tightens or when his face suddenly becomes a bit darker – he is just THAT good. Matt’s always had a knack for comedic timing, for being the silly and goofy Doctor, but this year? This year he’s blown everything out of the water with his amazing knack for emoting.

Actress I’ve Grown to Love a Lot More in 2012: Gillian Jacobs, Community

On a show that is an ensemble, it’s often difficult for me to pick out characters or actors that are “favorites.” Britta Perry has always been a great character, but this season I have just grown to love her a whole lot more. Between her vulnerability in “Origins of Vampire Mythology” or her uncanny ability to actually understand Jeff Winger’s personality and flaws in “Contemporary Impressionists,” Britta Perry has been brilliant and wonderful this season. I love her tendency to Britta things because when she seems to ruin an event or a person or a situation, she actually provides the exact thing the group needed in the first place.

Television Show Everyone is Really Glad Was Cancelled: Are You There, Chelsea?

Just.

Thank you, television powers-that-be.

Thank you.

Television Show I Keep Meaning to Catch Up On: The Middle

I really do love this show and hope that I can get caught up in the coming year. It has an eclectic cast of people that I adore, a premise that seems so simple but is actually quite unique, and heart out the wazoo. I’ve watched a lot of episodes of the series and just haven’t gotten a chance to watch the series in its entirety. But it’s my goal!


Television Show I Wanted to Love, But Didn’t Quite Get There: Go On

Matthew Perry, I adore you. Completely and utterly. I’ve fallen quite behind on Go On thanks to the burden of having to choose what to watch on Tuesday nights (why is EVERYTHING at the same time on that night?). Even so, the series didn’t seem to quite find its footing until a few episodes in. I haven’t heard much buzz about it (positive or negative, actually), so I suppose it’s succumbed to the DVR/Hulu crowd. Nevertheless, I DO want to also catch up with this show.

Television Show That Was Sacrificed Thanks to Tuesday Night Television Scheduling: Happy Endings

On my list of “shows I regret not watching anymore,” this series is right up there. Quick-witted, funny, and insanely quotable, Happy Endings is the series I sacrificed for New Girl this past year. And I lament doing so, only when I see everyone tweet hilarious one-liners. So, Happy Endings is also on my agenda to catch up on. At some point.

WHY IS EVERYTHING ON TUESDAY NIGHTS?

Television Show I’m Most Anxious to Start in 2013: Parks and Recreation

I AM EXCITED TO MARATHON THIS, GUYS. JUST SO I CAN UNDERSTAND ALL OF YOUR TWITTER CONVERSATIONS AND EXCITEMENT.

Well, for other reasons, too. But that’s a start.

MOVIES



Best Movie I Would Have Never Seen Under Normal Circumstances: The Avengers

I am not a huge action movie, Marvel, or Joss Whedon fan (I do really like his work, but I’ve only seen part of the Firefly series so that’s not much to go by), but I went to see The Avengers because it was being heralded as the summer blockbuster and if there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s being left out. So, with brother and best friend in tow, I headed out to the movie theatre a week after the movie opened. My small town theatre is never packed.

… the second weekend of the movie, there was literally no seat left in our theatre. And the movie itself was astounding – it was visually wonderful, emotionally solid, action-packed, and also hilarious. It had everything that a great movie SHOULD have. And I’m so glad that I succumbed to peer pressure and went to see it! ;)

Actress I Was Surprised to Find Myself Loving: Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games

Jennifer Lawrence IS Katniss Everdeen. I loved reading The Hunger Games series this summer and was even happier when I got a chance to see the movie with my best friend. The series and subsequent film did not disappoint – Jennifer is a fantastic actress and plays the post-apocalyptic heroine with every bit of grace and strength that Katniss possesses.

Actress I Wasn’t Surprised to Find Myself Loving: Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, The Amazing Spider-Man

I love everything and anything about Emma Stone. So much so, that I would just like to be her best friend for a day. Or more. And Emma as Gwen Stacy did not disappoint in The Amazing Spider-Man. She was funny, smart, and the scene in the rain was heartbreaking.

I just really adore the woman.


Most Endearing On-Screen and Off-Screen Couple in 2012: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone

‘nuff said.

Actor Who I Was Surprised to Find Myself Loving: Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, The Avengers

It’s not that I don’t like Mark Ruffalo, but… I’m no Annie Edison, so I’m not in love with him. I have to say though that Mark Ruffalo was pretty spectacular in The Avengers. He’s the kind of actor who seems quiet – like if you actually met him on the street, he’d smile bashfully or duck away. But there were moments in this film that he really shone (as did Chris Evans, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, and Jeremy Renner), and I was surprised that I enjoyed his performance as much as I did. Ruffalo has a quiet intensity that really fit his character well.

Best Movie That No One Will See Because It’s an Indie Film Not Yet in Theatres: Renee

I was a part of this film when they shot it in Orlando this past year and was able to see it at the Florida Film Festival. It’s a beautiful story about the life of Renee Yohe, the woman who inspired the movement To Write Love on Her Arms. It stars Kat Dennings (who I was blown away by), Chad Michael Murray, and Rupert Friend. And it’s dark, harrowing, powerful, and – ultimately – hopeful. If you ever have a chance to see it, please do.

Best Movie of 2012 That I Won’t See Until 2013: Les Miserables

The ONLY reason I have not seen this film yet is because the friend I was supposed to go with was sick. Otherwise, it would probably make my list as the best film of 2012. Why? Because Les Miserables is simply the greatest musical-opera of all time.

And because they could have performed it in a cardboard box and I still would have been satisfied.

Most Talked-About Movie of 2012 That I Have Not and Will Likely Not See: Django Unchained

I just wouldn’t be able to bring myself to watch the gore of the film, which I heard is pretty intense. Plus, it’s not really my style. Which means it’ll probably be nominated for an Oscar or something.


Movie Too Few People Have Seen That Is Actually Pretty Good: Pitch Perfect

This is actually a movie that I found myself enjoying more than I anticipated I would. Sure, the plot is a bit thin and yes the characters have the tendency to delve into caricatures at parts. But I genuinely found myself intrigued as to how Beca was FINALLY going to convince Aubrey to do more original songs.

Plus, guys… Skylar Astin’s face is really reason enough to watch this film. And the music is FANTASTIC. I am always a sucker for acapella music and am rather obsessed with the soundtrack at the moment.

Movie That I’m Not Ashamed to Have Seen in 3D: Beauty and the Beast

Two words: my childhood.

Wait, actually a few more: Belle is my spirit animal and favorite princess because she was amazing and beautiful and loved to read.

There.

Movie I Really Did Mean to See in 2012: The Dark Knight Rises

I really, really did. But I just haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet. Since it’s On Demand, it’ll likely be the next movie I rent. Because it’s Christopher Nolan, I’ve heard amazing things about it, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in it, so…

Most Acclaimed Movie I Have No Desire to See: Lincoln

I’m not really a history fan, so the prospect of sitting through this (long) movie, even though I know how acclaimed it is at the moment, makes me yawn. However, if this is your sort of wheelhouse, I suggest you  go see it because I HAVE heard that it’s brilliant.

MUSIC

Singer I Just Wish Would Go Away (Male): Justin Bieber

Please.

Pretty please.

With a cherry on top?

(And please take his insane, obsessive, borderline psychotic, stalker-ish fans with him.)

Singer I Just Wish Would Go Away (Female): Nicki Minaj

I’m actually really over Nicki Minaj and her doll-like face, her annoying tirades, her diva attitude, and her ability to pen everyone as racist just because they don’t like her or her music. Regardless of the fact that her songs are catchy, I wouldn’t mind if she retired.

Band I Was Surprised to Find Myself Enjoying As Much as I Did: fun.

This is, in part, thanks to Jaime and also to the radio for constantly playing their two hits this year. After listening to “We Are Young” and “Some Nights,” I decided to check out fun.’s album and was not disappointed. Their songs are unique, diverse, and all very good. I can definitely see why they are Jaime’s favorite band!

Best Album (Band): Babel, Mumford and Sons

This album is just pure, unadulterated, beautiful and amazing… perfection. There isn’t a song that I don’t love on the album (well, okay, I’m not a fan of cursing so “Broken Crown” is a bit jarring for me to listen to). Mumford and Sons’ lyrics are so gorgeous and profound that they just touch your soul. You can tell how carefully constructed each verse and line is, that it kind of blows my mind.

If you haven’t listened to this album, DO IT. DO IT NOW.

Best Album (Artist): Red, Taylor Swift

Look, you all may hate me for it or tease me mercilessly but I don’t care – Red was one of the best albums I’ve listened to recently. Apart from the top 40 radio hit that Swift had released from Red, this album is full of beautiful, emotional, and moving tracks. There are fun, upbeat ones that are peppered throughout the album as well. But, at its heart, Red is about energy and passion and love. It’s not always pretty to listen to, but it’s Swift’s narrative. And even if you don’t like her as a person or performer, respect her as a songwriter – she is quite brilliant.

That One Song That You Belted To Everyone and Didn’t Know Why: “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Goyte

If you didn’t belt this by yourself in your car or room at least once this year… you’re lying.


That One Song That Was Annoyingly Catchy: “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor Swift

You either fall into two camps regarding this track: either you hate that you love it so much or love hating on it. Either way, it is DEFINTELY (and intentionally) catchy.

The Song That Was Good… Until It Was Overplayed: “Payphone,” Maroon 5

This track by Maroon 5 (also known as Adam Levine and Those Other Guys) went from precious to annoying… fast.

That Song That Was Good… Even When It’s Overplayed: “Some Nights,” fun.

I cannot get enough of this song which is ironic because of how insanely overplayed it is on every top 40 radio station I know. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s more diverse in lyrics and melody from any other song on the radio or maybe it’s just magical. Whatever the case, I have not grown tired of hearing this song in my car over the past few months.


That Song You Don’t Know Any Words To, But Dance To: “Gangnam Style,” Psy

Let’s be honest: no one knows the words to this song and no one really cares about that anyway. If you haven’t yet been to a wedding in 2012, but are headed to one in the upcoming year, chances are this will be on the DJ’s playlist. And chances are you’ll be dancing along on the floor.

That Emotionally-Charged Song You Can’t Help But Belt: “Set Fire to the Rain,” Adele

BUT I SET FIIIIIIIRE TO THE RAAAAAAAAIN / WATCHED IT POUR AS I TOUCHED YOUR FACE

If you didn’t sing this to yourself or dramatically to someone else this past year, I have lost all hope in humanity. Just kidding.

The Song You’ll Never Admit to Liking (But Secretly Know All The Words To): “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful,” One Direction

You all know that you’re secretly One Direction fans, or perhaps you’ve at least caught yourself humming or tapping along to this track’s beat sometime this year. I’ve unashamedly belted the song in my car.

Like I said: no shame.


That One Song You Couldn’t Get Out of Your Head All Year: “Call Me Maybe,” Carly Rae Jepsen

If you aren’t familiar with this track, with the plethora of spoofs and parodies of it, or with the artist herself… did you live under a rock in 2012? Seriously though, this is perhaps one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever listened to, and definitely a defining song of this year in terms of both popularity and radio play.

So there we have it, friends! What were some of your favorite and least favorite moments from this year? Did yours make my cut? What other superlative categories would you add? Drop a comment below and keep the conversation going.

Have a safe, happy, and wonderful New Year! :)

1 comment:

  1. AMAZING!!!!!!!! That's all I have for you, but still very true!

    Oh and also:

    "I will love with urgency, not with haste."

    [album: repeatrepeatrepeatrepeatrepeat]

    ReplyDelete