It’s been a tough year for TV comedy. We lost a Golden Girl, a Designing Woman, and Gary Coleman. Party Down was canceled because the cast was just too successful on other shows. And, worst of all, Ke$ha was on $aturday…er, Saturday Night Live. But no matter to what depths our hearts plunged this year, our desire to laugh allowed us to persevere. And laugh we did, at this year’s outstanding funny television moments that made us feel totally double-rainbow. — Martin Moakler, Video Publisher
Glee Theme Episodes
The musical phenomenon had already proven itself more popular than The Beatles, but this year the kids from McKinley High’s New Directions became event television with theme episodes that utilized the collections of Madonna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the story’s narrative. Certainly some of the most talked-about television of the year, these Glee episodes revered these musical icons and whetted Gleeks’ appetites for the next target of the show’s adulation.
Katy Perry and Elmo-gate
Katy’s décolletage proved a bit too scandalous for parents who protested her appearance alongside Elmo on Sesame Street this fall, prompting the PBS children’s series to pull the clip altogether from the show. It would seem that Katy got the last laugh as she made a provocative cameo on The Simpsons’ Christmas special, in which America’s favorite yellow family was re-imagined as puppets in honor of her arrival.
Betty White Hosts Saturday Night Live
The power of the Internet was never so apparent as when a random Facebook campaign convinced NBC to invite comedy legend Betty White to host Saturday Night Live … and Betty had never even heard of Facebook! The episode, which honored SNL’s funny ladies past and present, was just one jewel in the resurgent crown of popularity she experienced this year, proving that funny (not to mention muffins) has no expiration date.
Modern Family Wins the Emmy
In their second season, The Pritchett-Dunphy clan proved that they were no sophomore slumps when Modern Family snagged the Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Eric Stonestreet’s performance as the hilarious Cameron.
John Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
In the midst of the mid-term election, political pundits who preach rather than report and government officials telling us the latest thing we need to fear, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report banded together to host the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Created as a means to hold up a mirror to the three-ring circus that our news and politics has become, the D.C. rally boasted an attendance estimated at 215,000, with an Internet and television viewership of close to 2.5 million. Of course, the rally didn’t solve our current societal woes, but perhaps it did as their motto instructed: “Take it down a notch for America.”
The Office’s In/Out Tray
Less than nine months (ahem) after their wedding, Dunder-Mifflin power couple Jam (Jim and Pam) gave birth to Cecilia Marie Halpert. This joyful arrival was quickly obscured, however, by Steve Carell’s summer “WUPHF” that the 2010 season would be his last, leading to wide speculation as to who in the office will fill Michael’s void. (That’s what she said!)
Late Night Wars
After handing over the reins of The Tonight Show to Conan O’Brien last year, NBC gave them back to Jay Leno in January after his ten o’clock talk show failed to gain any momentum. Outrage from O’Brien’s minions passionately rang in the form of organized protests and Facebook groups, and a Che Guevara-esque icon as your avatar instantly demonstrated that you were “with Coco.” After months of gag orders, high-profile interviews, and a summer-long touring show, Conan is back on the air, albeit basic cable. The hullabaloo has almost totally died down, but it was sure a heck of a ride.
30 Rock Live Episode
There was more frenzy than usual in the halls of 30 Rockefeller Plaza when the madcap comedy did not one, but two shows in front of live studio audiences in Tina Fey’s old SNL stomping grounds, Studio 8H. With the help of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as “Past Liz” to smooth over the sitcom’s trademark jump cuts, the live 30 Rock event was a wild success, and even managed to include jabs at more timely events like the Chilean miners and Brett Favre’s … um, photographic largesse.