My Favorite Things: 15 Television Shows

I’ve watched a lot of television in my (almost) 23 years of life. Anyone who knows me is well aware of that fact. And while I’ve always been quick to say “That’s one of my favorites” to a variety of different shows, I’ve never actually made a list. When I sat down to write this, I intended for it to be a Top 10. However, there were some that I just really needed to include. So, without further ado, here is the list nobody really asked for…My Top 15 Television Shows!

West Wing

1. The West Wing

I watched this show mainly because my best friend asked me to. I knew I would enjoy it, but I had no idea I would fall deeply in love with it. This show combines everything I love into one: politics, smart writing, walk-and-talks, and the most perfect television ensemble of all-time. But most importantly, this show is about a family of people–Jed, Abbey, Leo, Josh, Donna, CJ, Toby, Charlie, and Sam–trying to make the world a better place. It gives me hope that maybe one day we’ll actually have some politicians like them in office.

Favorite Character: Donnatella Moss

Favorite Episode: 17 People

The West Wing is available to stream on Netflix.

Previous blog posts about The West Wing can be found here and here.

2. Friends

I have been watching Friends my entire life. I was only two years old when it started so I truly can’t remember a time when it wasn’t on TV. I didn’t read Harry Potter as a child like a lot of people in my generation (I have since read it, don’t worry). I always say that Friends was my Harry Potter. These six people have been there for me in literally every stage of life. When it ended in 2004, I cried myself to sleep and thought I would never love again. From this list, you can see I was clearly wrong about that. But I’m thankful that Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross will always be there when I most need them.

Favorite Character: Chandler Bing

Favorite Episode: The One Where Everybody Finds Out

Friends is available to stream on Netflix.


3. The Office

I recently rewatched all nine seasons of The Office and was immediately taken back to the days when I was deep in the fandom on message boards and OfficeTally. The Office was the first show I can remember binge-watching. It was back in 2007 so I had to do it the old-fashioned way—I purchased the DVDs for seasons 1 through 3. It was a complete obsession that I left behind when Steve Carell exited the show. But as I rewatched it, I really missed those glory days. It’s such an intelligent and hilarious show with the most wonderful cast. I also didn’t hate seasons 8 and 9 nearly as much as I thought I did. I won’t ever forgive them for what they did to Andy Bernard, but everything else about it is pretty perfect. If you can find me a better season of pure comedy than season 2 of The Office, please let me know.

Favorite Character: Pam Beesly

Favorite Episode: The Dundies and The Injury (tie)

The Office is available to stream on Netflix.

A previous blog post about The Office can be found here. (This list has changed a bit since then.)

4. Breaking Bad

Is there a show quite as flawless as Breaking Bad? I have yet to find one. It’s clear from the beginning that Vince Gilligan meticulously planned every facet of this show, and it definitely pays off. Each season builds wonderfully on each other, which made the show better as time went on. That’s rare in television, and I’m glad Gilligan and AMC had the sense to end the show when they did rather than keep it on the air for ratings. It’s the only show in the top fifteen that I continued watching despite the hatred I felt towards the main character and the weekly anxiety I had for Jesse Pinkman and Skyler White. The show is so perfect that it makes all of those things so worth it.

Favorite Character: Jesse Pinkman

Favorite Episode: Ozymandias

Breaking Bad is available to stream on Netflix.

5. Parks and Recreation

The Parks and Recreation that just ended is incredibly different from the Parks and Rec that premiered in 2009, and I could not be more grateful. The first two seasons of this show are a bit rocky. Originally slated as a spinoff of The Office, Parks and Rec truly became its own show by the end of season two. And once the characters were firmly established, Parks and Recreation was an incredible treat about a group of misfits with big dreams to make their crazy town better. Throughout its seven seasons, the show remained optimistic, lighthearted, and genuinely hysterical, culminating with a finale that for any other show, I would have loathed. For Parks and Rec, though, it felt just right.

Favorite Character: April Ludgate

Favorite Episode: Flu Season

Parks and Recreation is available to stream on Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime.

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Goodbye Office, it’s been nice…

The 2007-2008 writers’ strike was a bleak time for everyone remotely interested in popular culture. Our favorite television shows were forced off the air, and we sat for months staring at our TVs trying to find something to entertain us. But it was during this time that I fell in love with a television show that I never expected to love as much as I did. One evening, after putting the kids I was babysitting to bed, I turned on a rerun of The Office on TBS. It was the premiere of season 2, “The Dundies.” I spent the next 30 minutes laughing so loud that I woke up the kids. When another episode of The Office didn’t come on afterwards, I immediately became sad and wanted to watch more.

The next day, I went out and bought the first two seasons on DVD, and the rest is history. By the time the show returned from the writers’ strike, I was ready to watch the episodes as they aired live on NBC. The Office was the first show after Friends that I really loved. It helped to fill the hole left by those 6 friends that I missed so much. Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam, and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin paper people made me ridiculously happy. Sadly, since Carell left, I haven’t loved the show as much as I once did. I’ve even missed a few episodes and decided that I didn’t care enough to catch up. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I love The Office dearly and will spend tomorrow night crying my eyes out over the ending.

To celebrate, here are my top 10 episodes of this almost perfect show:

  1. The Dundies (Season 2): Because this episode was the first I ever saw, it will always be my favorite. This episode is the epitome of awkward Michael Scott situations and cute Jim & Pam moments. It sets up the show well. It’s hilarious but also has a lot of heart—a perfect explanation of what The Office is.

  2. The Injury (Season 2): Mindy Kaling knows how to write comedy. This episode is a phenomenal example of her skill. Michael burning his foot on a George Foreman grill is one of the greatest things that has ever happened on television. Rainn Wilson is also superb in this episode, especially his line “You can’t fire me! I don’t work in this van!” It will go down as one of the best lines of the show, in my opinion.

  3. Traveling Salesman/The Return (Season 3): Any episode that involves Ed Helms punching a hole through the wall is a good one. This episode puts Jim and Pam back together for a wonderful prank and also gives us a nice guest appearance by Yvette Nicole Brown. It’s a classic that  makes me cry from laughter.

  4. Dinner Party (Season 4): The Office’s return from the writers’ strike was an epic one. Dinner Party takes the characters out of the office for a night, which honestly always made me nervous on this show. But Dinner Party was a great way to prove that the setting didn’t matter for these people. This is Michael’s and Jan’s best episode and also has some great moments for Andy and Angela. It makes me so happy. (I also highly recommend the bloopers for this episode. It’s a miracle they ever finished this episode.)

  5. Booze Cruise (Season 2): Never, ever, ever give up. These words proved that Michael Scott wasn’t just an ignorant regional manager. He was kind-hearted and often had good advice to give. This episode helps put into motion what happens at the end of Casino Night, another great episode. Steve Carell is perfect, and it’s an overall fantastic episode that brings the entire Dunder Mifflin crew together in a fun setting outside the office.

  6. Goodbye, Michael (Season 7): Tears everywhere. That’s all I have to say.

  7. Fun Run (season 4): Jim and Pam are finally together. Michael hits Meredith with his car and then hosts a fun run for rabies. Dwight kills Angela’s cat. It has all the ingredients for a great episode, and it certainly is one. It’s an hour of hilarious perfection.

  8. Diversity Day (Season 1): The pilot of The Office is terrible. I hate it. I’ve watched it multiple times and still don’t like it. But this episode, the second episode of the series, is a fantastically awkward introduction to the people of Dunder Mifflin. This should have been the pilot. I will stand by that belief forever.

  9. Women’s Appreciation (Season 3): I’m honestly not sure how they even filmed this episode. The bloopers from season 3 are filled with moments from this specific episode because it’s just so ridiculous and well-written. And of course, it’s full of moments that should never, ever happen in your own office. If they ever did in mine, I know I’d be upset, but when it’s on this show, it works really well.

  10. A.A.R.M (Season 9): I watched season 9 sporadically because I wasn’t happy with a lot of the choices. However, I watched last week’s episode, and it was the perfect penultimate episode for this show. Aside from the lackluster Andy Bernard storyline, Dwight, Angela, Jim, and Pam had some of the greatest moments in the show’s history. I’m beyond excited they brought Dwight and Angela together for the end, and Jim and Pam seem to have finally solved their problems. Jim kept his Christmas letter for Pam for 7 years. How perfect is that?! I love it. I’m so glad the show seems to be ending in the right way.

I’m nervous, excited, and sad to say goodbye to The Office tomorrow. I really haven’t enjoyed much of what I’ve seen this season, but this show will always hold a very special place in my heart.  It will always be a show that can cheer me up, no matter what the situation. Tomorrow night, I’ll be wearing my Dunder Mifflin pajama pants and sitting on my couch with a bunch of gross, teary tissues.

Goodbye, Office. It’s been really, really nice.