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Standouts

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DrFrylock, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. DrFrylock

    DrFrylock
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    Yesterday I was watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was the one where Wesley and Captain Picard fly to a starbase together in a shuttlecraft and it's totally awkward. I remember the episode being better than it was because it gave a lot of backstory on Picard's character for the first time, but once you know what happened, it wasn't so good anymore.

    No episode of that show will ever compare to the best episode of all time, The Inner Light. The entire series was absolutely worth it just for that one episode. It was not a season or series finale, it didn't make any major changes to the continuity - it was just a fucking awesome episode all around. All Captain Picard, all the time, and at the end when he pulls out the flute and starts playing it, it's heartbreaking. Here is a guy whose one biggest life regret is never having children, and he gets this opportunity to live an entire lifetime as another person, raising kids, being a family man, etc. And at the end he finds out it was all an illusion, but the passage of time and the experiences - literally decades of them - were real to him.

    A lot of other series have episodes that stand out from the rest.

    FOCUS: Name a TV series and identify its best episode, then explain why it is the best. If you just identify which one was the best without some exposition, you will likely be struck from behind with a banhammer.

    RULE: You may also identify the best book, movie, or videogame in a series, but only if the series has 10 or more elements in it. So you can argue about the best James Bond movie, but not the best Star Wars movie. Also, no music.
     
  2. dubyu tee eff

    dubyu tee eff
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    Thinks he has a chance with Christina Hendricks...

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    The very last episode of 6 Feet Under. I'll be damned if I have ever seen a better series finale. While the first 2 seasons of the show were excellent, the show lost a bit of steam as the seasons progressed. When I recommend the show to people, they always come back complaining a bit after maybe season 4 saying they're not sure if they will keep watching. I always have to tell them, it's worth it just for that last episode. I don't want to give it away but given the theme of the show, the series finale is just so god damn fitting. It manages to do the cliche "where did they end up" that series finales do but in a completely non-cliche way.
     
  3. Judas

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    Party Down: Season 1 Episode 9: James Randolph High School 20th Reunion

    I don't know why this episode is so cathartic for me, but it is hands down my favorite episode from a television series that I have watched. Ron chugging that bottle of whiskey felt like a victory for anyone out there who has ever been ostracized by another person. Combine that with the swing of emotions throughout the episode, and many of the characters resembling people I know, it just sets itself up for a perfect ending.

    It just makes me think about what I will be like in 20 years, and for someone who is barely over twenty, this idea scares me more than anything.
     
  4. DrFrylock

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    The best episode of House is Autopsy. This is the one about the little girl with cancer that they have to basically "reboot" to find a blood clot in her brain - even though it will not cure her cancer, it will just give her a little more time.

    The little girl in the episode acts right on par with Hugh Laurie himself, which is goddamn tough to do. Fantastic dialogue throughout, per usual for the series:

    House: "Is it still illegal to perform an autopsy on a living person?"
    Cuddy: "Are you high?"
    House: "If it's Tuesday, I'm wasted!"
    Cuddy: "It's Wednesday."

    The episode has a longer-than-usual denouement. When House laments doing all that work just to give this little girl a bit more time:

    Wilson: "She enjoys life more than you do."
    House: "Right."
    Wilson: "She stole that kiss from Chase. What have you done lately?"
    House: "I'm pacing myself; unlike her I have the luxury of time."
    Wilson: "She could outlive you."

    And the scene at the end with House riding a motorcycle into the New Jersey countryside with an excellent Elvis Costello of Christina Aguilera's Beautiful (recorded especially for the episode and never released) puts a capper on the whole thing.
     
  5. Kubla Kahn

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    Emotionally that episode didn't effect me like some of the early season episodes. It seems everyone loves it because it does what everyone basically wants in a final episode in any series except it made total sense in this show. It did put a good cap on the show.


    It's been a long time since Ive watched The Sopranos. The biggest stand out for me was the first season episode Isabella. The where his Uncle's and moms hit on Tony goes awry. Tony's depression is expertly displayed in this episode as he starts taking lithium and most of it takes place in a haze of him fantasizing about a house watcher for his neighbor that he wishes was his own mother. Maybe not the best episode of the series, it's up there, but there are so many great episodes its hard to do without listing 10*. I think a fan favorite is The Pine Barrons, directed by Steve Buscemi. The episode revolves around Christopher and Pauly's attempt to kill and dispose of a Russian mob figure in a freezing winter forrest. Not so much an emotional episode but it really nailed the bumbling idiocy of mobsters the show liked to poke fun at.

    over a weak cell phone signal
    Tony: You must make sure the package doesn't make it back alive. He was in the Ministry of the Interior, he killed 15 Chechen rebels with his bare hands.
    Pauly: What you're breaking up.
    Chris: What he say?
    Pauly: Tony said he killed 15 Czechoslovakians, he's an interior decorator.
    Chris: Interior decorator? His apartment looked terrible....



    * Same goes for Deadwood. Any given episode could have a plot line that comes to a head and can define the characters personality and role in the story and be a microcosm of why the show is so fucking good.
     
  6. D26

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    I have a few for various series that I've gotten really into.

    Scrubs - My Screwup, Season 3: Dr. Cox's best friend/former brother-in-law, Ben, returns, while Dr. Cox is planning his son's birthday party. While Cox is busy, JD loses a patient, and causes Cox to lose his shit with him and remove all of his patients. Long story short, there is a reveal in the end that the patient that died was Ben, and the "Ben" that Cox has been talking too the entire episode was in his head and his way of trying to cope with the loss. Just an excellent episode all around in a series that had a lot of really, really great stand-alone episodes. John McGinley knocked this episode out of the park as Dr. Cox, and I'm still kinda surprised he never got an emmy nod for the role. The episode had laughs, but the ending was still touching enough in the cemetery for the funeral.

    Futurama: Godfellas, Season 4: This episode revolves around Bender floating through space, and a colony of living people that develop on his body. It manages to be funny, as well as look at a serious topic like religion. It didn't really establish any storyline or continuity, it was just a stand-out, excellent episode, with great gags and good character development throughout. I considered going with the more touching episode (Jurassic Bark) or the classic, emmy-winning episode (The Why of Fry) but for some reason this episode absolutely stands out to me.

    How I Met Your Mother: Bad News, Season 6: It might be that this episode is recent, but holy fuck was it amazing. The ending is an absolute gut punch that you weren't expecting, even though you KNEW something bad was going to happen. The subtle gags throughout the episode (such as the continual countdown in the background) also work really well in the context.

    For Video Games, Final Fantasy VI is the best in the series, in my opinion. It was before the characters all became emo-teen sad-sacks, the system of developing the characters was excellent, and the game actually let the villain won, in that he managed to destroy the world half-way through the game. A lot of excellent secrets and side quests, but not so overly difficult that they were off-putting. Yes, this is incredibly geeky, but oh well.
     
  7. audreymonroe

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    The most powerful cervix... in the world...

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    One of the two shows I've ever felt a connection with on a personal level was Daria. Watching the entire series from beginning to end last year when it came out on DVD made me feel this way even more. I can't choose just one episode, and I would probably have to separate my favorites into silly ones and serious ones if I were to take this any more seriously, but these are my three favorites off the top of my head:

    1. The Story of D: I related to Daria a lot when I was in high school (still do, really) and one of the many reasons why was she was also a writer. This episode deals with her anxiety about submitting a story of hers to a literary magazine. Ultimately, she gets rejected, and it's this perfect portrayal of trying to find your footing as a writer, especially at a young age, and facing the realities of what trying to make something of your passion will be. I had never seen a character on TV deal with something like that before, and I still wish that shows targeted at younger people would have more depth like this.

    2. Pierce Me: I think this was one of the first episodes where the show started slightly veering away from being just a wacky comedy about a social outcast and start having a bit more heart to it. Essentially, Daria gets her belly-button pierced to impress the guy she has a crush on, and then feels bad about ignoring what she really wanted all because she liked a boy. Again, I was glad to see this type of scenario on a show, especially one that I related to so much since because I was also trying to just be an angsty teen and then felt bad that I still cared about things like boys. It's so realistic for what girls go through at that age.

    3. Boxing Daria: This is the series finale, and it's one of the best finales I've seen for a show. It's a very quiet episode, but every time I watch it (especially when I saw the series in order) I cry a little. It's the perfect ending for a character that has grown so much, and has been so realistically developed. When you take into account that Daria started as a spinoff of Beavis and Butthead, it really hits you how great the show became when such a subtle episode can make such an impact. Basically, with high school graduation looming, Daria starts freaking out and starts hiding away in a refrigerator box like you do when you're little. Again, it so realistically captures that feeling you get when you're ready to set out on a new phase in life and part of you is excited, but a big part of you just wants to go back to when you were six and everything was simple. There were also really poignant moments with her family. I don't know. It's just great is all.

    I'm thinking of dozens more that were wonderful, but I'll stop. I'm going to have to rewatch the series soon I think...
     
  8. Kubla Kahn

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    Homer Bad Man- Right now I consider it the best episode of the Simpsons ever. Homer unwittingly "sexually harasses" the babysitter after peeling his missing Gummy Venus De Milo off of her butt. From beginning to end I don't think Ive laughed harder at an episode. They way it satirizes trash tv, from news magazine shows to talk shows to TV movies of the week, there is a five minute stretch in the episode of tv parody that I am in tears laughing every time I watch it. The Gentle Ben show usually sees me on the floor not even being able to receive outside stimuli since I am laughing so hard.

    Reporter: Simpson schandel update! Homer sleeps nude in an oxygen tent which he believe gives him SEXUAL POWERS!!!

    Homer: Hey, thats a half truth!
     
  9. DrFrylock

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    I have not seen every episode of The Simpsons (and honestly I stopped watching around Season 10), but my pick for top episode would be Homer's Enemy. The characterization of Frank Grimes as both deeply sympathetic and unsympathetic at the same time is a masterstroke. The ending plays completely against type for the entire series, and the whole encounter is never made right in the series. My favorite moment is when Homer is introducing his kids to Grimes, and he says "and this is my son Bart, he owns a factory downtown" (Bart bought the dilapidated factory at an auction that nobody bid on).
     
  10. Kubla Kahn

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    They tried to half ass rectify it a few seasons ago. It was a Sideshow Bob episode. Basically Frank Grimes son tries to take revenge on Homer and Sideshow Bob as a Hannibal Lector type character helps in solving the mystery. Yeah everything after seaon 10 sucked.
     
  11. D26

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    Okay, I have to do one more that I just thought of.

    South Park: Scott Tenorman Must Die: To this day, this episode of South Park makes me laugh more than any other. Cartman is so unbelievably gullible, and yet so unbelievably evil at the end that it is fantastic. This was back when every single episode didn't have to be about the topic of the week, and this was the best part of it. They still reference the time that Cartman made a kid eat his own parents, and it is so fucked up, but it is still awesome.
     
  12. slothers

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    It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The D.E.N.N.I.S System

    Demonstrate value
    Engage physically
    Nurture dependence
    Neglect emotionally
    Inspire hope
    Separate entirely

    The above listed system is a method used by Dennis Reynolds in the show. Dennis is a self proclaimed woodman who has a gigantic ego that is equal in proportion to his horrible ideas of gaining money and or fame. And in this episode he details a method of treating women that will cause them to lust after them forever. You guys will love it. It involves a bar, pick up lines that we are well acquainted with, and delusional train wrecks of thought that we have either been neurotic enough to use, or been fortunate enough to view at others expense.

    AND AND...

    The finale includes his friend Mac that introduces his method of swooping in after all the havoc to bone the girl afterward ... and we have all at least heard of sloppy second friend right? ITS AWESOME. end plug.
     
  13. Man On The Moon

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    Someone brought up "How I Met Your Mother", a show I think's amazing, so I thought I'd add on to that.

    How I Met Your Mother-Where Were We? The whole episode summed up break ups, and the awkwardness of having a roommate going through shit when you just nabbed the girl of your dreams. Add to the fact, the ending scene, with Grant Lee Phillips' cover of 'Boy's Don't Cry'.

    Friday Night Lights-The Son I consider this the best T.V. show of all-time, and this episode cemented it. The acting by Zach Gilford as Matt Sarancen was outta-this-fuckin'-world.

    Dexter-The Getaway The season finale to Season 4 of Dexter, which might possibly be the best season of any show ever. The Trinity Killer, the ending with Rita/Dexter, just gut-wrenching.
     
  14. FreeCorps

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    Futurama S4 E7: Jurassic Bark

    I don't think any animated episode ever got me as misty eyed as this one. To be honest, the whole episode is pretty much standard Futurama fare, what with Bender being jealous of Fry's fossilized dog. But the last montage...I cried all right? Don't judge me.

     
    #14 FreeCorps, Apr 6, 2011
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  15. Juice

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    Twilight Zone: Eye of the Beholder. People will argue that Nightmare at 20,000 Feet or Time Enough at Last are the best ones, but I think this one is better. Its about a women who just went through a last ditch effort for plastic surgery to make her look "normal" as she is horribly deformed. She laments how children run away from her in fear and people constantly stare at her. As the doctor begins unwrapping her bandages, he informs her that if it didnt work, the government has set up a colony where she can go and live with other people like her. When they finally come off, her face is revealed and she is beautiful, however the doctors inform her that the surgery didnt work and her face hasnt been changed. The twist is, in her world "normal" people look like this:

    [​IMG]

    She runs through hospital hallways screaming as orderlys are chasing her down. As she does, monitorings are glaring throughout the hospital with a totalitarian dictator on the screen (probably supposed to resemble Hitler) speaking about how there needs to be "one race, one people" of superior genetics. She runs into a man who looks like her (handsome to us) and her takes her to the colony, away from "normal" society.

    The obvious irony is that we saw her as beautiful and her world saw her ugly and wished to cast her out. It looks absurd, but the fact that humans have actually done similar things to each other because of looks, religion, genetics, etc definitely sends a shiver up your spine. Its better than other episodes because its a metaphor for the danger of society norms and perceptions of superiority. It can be furthur interpreted as the way people look in the episode are not the way they look at all, but their personalities. The woman and the man she encounters may actually be ugly, but their personalities are pure and beautiful, while everyone else has accepted the totalitarian superiority and has become metaphorically ugly.
     
  16. bebop007

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    I'll have to disagree with good sir Frylock and state that the best TNG episode is Tapestry. Or the one where Q gives Picard his very own "It's A Wonderful Life." In short, Picard's artificial heart gets badly damaged in an accident and Q gives Picard a chance to relive the day he was stabbed in the chest by a Nausicaan (+1 to the writers for a Miyazaki reference). Picard relives the day playing absolutely safe and taking no chances whatsoever and the end result is him alienating two of his best friends and when he is brought back to the present, instead of being captain of the Enterprise, he is a Lieutenant in the Astrophysics department. He realizes that he'd rather die as a result of having been bold, confident and headstrong than living out a dreary unimaginative live by taking no chances at all. A great, if not simple, and often easily forgetten aesop about the importance of taking chances in your lilfe.

    Some good quotes from the ep:

    Picard to Q: "I refuse to believe that the afterlife is run by you; the universe is not so badly designed."

    "There are many parts of my youth that I'm not proud of... there were loose threads... untidy parts of me that I would like to remove. But when I pulled on one of those threads... it had unraveled the tapestry of my life."

    "The Jean-Luc Picard you wanted to be, the one who did NOT fight the Nausicaan, had quite a different career from the one you remember. That Picard never had a brush with death, never came face to face with his own mortality, never realized how fragile life is, or how important each moment must be. So his life never came into focus. He drifted through much of his career, with no plan or agenda...going from one assignment to the next, never seizing the opportunities that presented themselves. He never led the away-team on Milika III to save the ambassador, or take charge of the Stargazer's bridge when its captain was killed. And no one ever offered him a command. He learned to play it safe...and he never, ever got noticed by anyone."

    The second episode of a tv series that always stood out was Heart of Ice from Batman: The Animated Series. A massive tearjerker of an episode and one that not only helped rocket the tv series into fame but also redefined the character of Mr. Freeze by making him more of an anti-hero than a straight up cartoon villain.

    Also plenty of great quotes:

    "Think of it Batman. To never again walk upon a summer's day with a hot wind in your face and a warm hand to hold. Oh yes, I'd kill for that."

    "You beg? In my nightmares I see my Nora behind the glass begging to me with frozen eyes. How I've longed to see that look frozen on you!"

    And finally, it's difficult to pick out the most outstanding Twilight Zone episode, but one that always gets to me is The Changing of the Guard. Much like Tapestry was a compressed "It's A Wonderful Life", this episode is more or less a compressed "Goodbye, Mr. Chips". An aging professor is fired from his beloved teaching job and becomes despondent and suicidal, believing that his lessons fell on deaf ears and he had no impact whatsoever on his students lives. Just before he tries to commit suicide, he is visited by the ghosts of his students. One, a young man who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on Iwo Jima, another who was developing X-Ray treatments and suffered a lethal dose of radiation, another who died rescuing over a dozen fellow soldiers during the attack at Pearl Harbor, and many others. Each student explains how the lessons he taught them shaped them into the men they became and enabled them to perform such noble and heroic acts. A great episode all around.
     
  17. silway

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    It's so hard to pick just one from some of these series. I'll second Jurassic Bark for Futurama, or the episode about Fry's brother. Somehow that damn cartoon can really get to you.

    Babylon 5 - Intersections in Real Time. John Sheridan captured and tortured for an episode by a very sympathetic and smart interrogator. Another B5 standout episode has to be the series finale. Just beautiful and poignant. I could list endless episodes in this series as being fantastic which is unsurprising since it is my favorite series of all time.

    West Wing - First episode. It has all the energy, wit, humor, and charm of the entire show encapsulated in this first episode where the President doesn't appear until the final five minutes at which point he gives one of his excellent monologues and demonstrates exactly the difference between being part of a petulant interest group vs. being the motherfucking President.
     
  18. Dmix3

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    Sopranos - Knight In White Satin Armor: I would agree that Pine Barrens is probably the fan favorite, but this one is mine. It's my personal favorite for two reasons.
    One - The way Junior realizes that Ritchie doesn't command the respect among the capos to take Tony out and his rationalizing in front of Bobby Baccalieri why he's better off with Tony as boss.
    Two - The buildup between Ritchie and Tony that finally comes to a head at a dinner table no less, with Janice, fresh from getting popped in the mouth, decides to do some popping of her own, sparing Tony from having to have him whacked and prompting Christopher to remark, "It's gonna be a while before I eat anything from Satriale's"

    Scrubs - My Steak Night:Brilliant episode dealing with death and fear of dying. J.D. and Turk are excited about their steak night, their one night a year when they go to a steakhouse, complete with a steak night song and dance. Their plans are put on hold when they meet a terminal patient and learn that he has no friends or family coming to visit. After buying him a cold beer they spend the night talking to him and they all comes to grips with being afraid to die and help ease his transition into the afterlife.

    Dexter - Hungry Man: One reason. John Motherfucking Lithgow. Holy shit did this episode establish that he is utterly buttfucking insane. From snapping his kid's fingers, to telling his wife to "shut up cunt" this episode beyond all other established just how off the rocker the Trinity killer was.
     
  19. lust4life

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    As "juice" stated, Twilight Zone had several great episodes ending with ironic twists. I'm not sure of the episode titles, but here's a few recaps:

    *Aliens come to earth (Ted Cassidy, Lurch from the Addams Family played the lead ET) and present us with a book entitled "How To Serve Man." Turns out to be a cookbook.

    *Burgess Merideth plays a bookworm who is constantly criticized by his wife and boss about reading. After an atomic apocalypse which he survives, he has all the time in the world to read as he gathers up books from library, only to break his glasses and render them useless.

    *The guy who becomes immortal, accidentally kills his wife, goes on trial with a Devil-may-care attitude thinking he'll get the death penalty and then walk, only to be sentenced to life without possibility of parole.

    I loved the sitcom Taxi. This clip is from the funniest episode and is one of the funniest bits of TV comedy ever:

     
    #19 lust4life, Apr 6, 2011
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  20. TeslaCoil

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    My favorite Simpsons episode is Lisa the Vegetarian. In this episode, Lisa goes to a petting zoo with her family and falls in love with a lamb. After this she starts seeing the lamb face on all meat and decides to stop eating meat, and comes up against a lot of mocking and such from her family and friends. At the end, she succumbs to peer pressure and eats a hot dog at the Quik-E-Mart. As she does so, Apu tells her that it's a tofu dog and then introduces her to Paul and Linda McCartney, who are in some garden on the roof of the Quik-E-Mart.

    Why is this my favorite? So many great one-liners, combined with Paul and Linda McCartney living on the roof of the Quik-E-Mart. Hilarious.

    Best lines/scenes (IMO):
    Bart and Homer dancing around the house with bowls on their heads (I think) singing, "You don't win friends with salad! You don't win friends with salad!"

    The lamb voice as Lisa is about to dissect her worm in science class (in a sheepy voice), "Liiisaaa, I thought you loooved meeee."

    Mr. Burns telling Smithers that he will donate $1 million to charity when pigs fly. Seconds later Homer's suckling pig shoots by the window. At the same time Homer is chasing the pig as it goes through the bushes, river and shoots in the air (after Lisa has pushed the pig off a slope in the riding lawnmower) yelling, "It's just a little dirty, it's still good...It's just a little wet it's still good...It's just a little airborne it's still good, it's still good."