This TV Season I’m Thankful For…

When we sit down to our dinners this Thursday, many of us will be prompted by our loved ones to share what it is we’re thankful for before we can dig into the turkey. At least that’s what TV families do when they find themselves in a festive Thanksgiving episode, so I like to believe that somewhere out there, real families do it too. My family prefers fights to the death over who gets the first serving of dressing, but hey, we all have our own traditions, right?

Since the holiday season also coincides with the year winding down, I decided now would be a good time to reflect on some of the wonderful things the past year in television has brought me. If my family would relent and let me play the “I’m thankful for…” game at the dinner table, I’d obviously name check the usual suspects (family, good friends, food), but since they refuse to assist me in my quest to mold our family into a sitcom cliche, I’m giving in to to my TV fangirl ways and expressing my gratitude for some of the awesome TV shows, characters and events that have kept me riveted in 2012.

Fox’s Tuesday Night Lineup
 

Fox’s Tuesday night quartet of ratings-starved sitcoms–Raising Hope, Ben & Kate, New Girl and The Mindy Project–have become the highlight of my television viewing week. It’s two solid hours of sunshine that provides me with my weekly dose of cool female characters, Nick Miller, precocious kids and hijinks. How can you not want to hang out with those goofball Fox siblings on Ben & Kate? Or appreciate how functional the Chance family’s dysfunction is on Raising Hope? And not love…well, every single thing about New Girl? (That show has grown into itself in a big way this year.) The Mindy Project is still working out a few kinks, but it’s well on its way to reaching the same level of wonderfulness as the shows that surround it, and in the meantime it stars Mindy Kaling.

Fox’s sitcoms may be short on viewers, but they’re always #1 in the Neilsen Ratings of my heart.

Game of Throne– “Blackwater”
 

Game of Thrones

Honestly, I’m thankful for everything about Game of Thrones (with the exception of the rampant sexposition), but I’m extra thankful for “Blackwater,” season two’s epic penultimate episode. From the dark beauty of the wildfire overtaking Stannis’s fleet to Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage’s stunning performances, “Blackwater” was a masterpiece that took an already brilliant show to a whole new level.

The Voice Stylings of Kristen Schaal
 

Bob’s Burgers and Gravity Falls are both terrific shows and they happen to share a secret weapon: Kristen Schaal. On Bob’s Burgers she voices evil mastermind in training, Louise Belcher, a scene-stealer in bunny ears. On Gravity Falls, she’s Mabel Pines, the impossibly bubbly, eccentric twin sister of Dipper.

The characters share little more than Schaal’s dulcet tones and an innate ability to appreciate the small things in life (like grappling hooks and Edward Scissorhands-themed manicures), but both of them are standouts on their respective shows thanks to Schaal’s killer comedic chops and unique voice. They also happen to be two of the funniest characters on TV.

British Imports
 

Sherlock, Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Miranda, Rev, Being Human, Misfits…I know it seems counterintuitive to thank the Brits on this particular holiday, but so many entertaining and addictive British series made their way to our side of the pond in 2012, it would be rude not to, especially when season two of The Hour is just around the corner.

Peggy’s Graceful Exit From SCDP on Mad Men
 

Let me be clear, if Peggy Olsen had been written off Mad Men for good, I would have packed up my mid-afternoon martini and went home, but since her exit from Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Pryce was a natural move for the character, rather than an exit from the canvas, it was perhaps my favorite individual television moment of 2012. After a season of watching Don take out his marital frustrations on Peggy and pass over her for plum jobs, the actual moment of Peggy’s departure for more lucrative pastures was mesmerizing and wrenching in equal measure.

The look on her face as she walked out of the office for the last time was beautiful. Now I’m just dying to see if Don makes good on his season three promise to spend the rest of his life trying to hire her back.

Parks and Recreation
 

Parks and Recreation Season 5 Episode 5 Halloween Surprise (3)

Now in its fifth season, it seems like Parks and Recreation should be beginning to lag, but the show gets better with age. This past year has given us moments of triumph (Leslie’s face when she walked out of the voting booth in “Win, Lose, or Draw”), unabashed romance (Ben’s heartfelt proposal in “Halloween Surprise”), and lots of laughs (like the time the gang struggled across an ice rink in “The Comeback Kid”). No other show on television is as consistently smart, funny and lovable as Parks & Rec. I’m very thankful that I can look forward to seeing the Pawnee gang every Thursday night–I know my life would certainly be dimmer without Leslie Knope and all of her friends in it.

 

Those are just a few of the things that I’m thankful for this season, but now I want to hear from you. Share your list of shows, episodes, characters and events that you’re thankful for in the comments!

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