'Tis the Season To Be Jolly
And with that in mind, I feel the overwhelming need to cast off all gloomy thoughts of recessions, bailouts and what's happened to my net worth in the last few months and instead focus on the lighter and distinctly more trivial side of life.
No earnest discussion of TV measurement, emerging ad formats, digital transition and the collapsing ad economy here thank you. I want to focus on what -- from the world of TV and online video -- has made us all laugh over the last twelve months (sometimes despite ourselves) or just made us feel good.
I want to include them both, as where TV ends and online begins is largely a matter of distribution and the display device. The content jumps these barriers and increasingly feeds off each other, so let's go with that fact for the purposes of this column.
So to that end, I want to know what the good readers of MediaPost would nominate as their favorite funny and feel-good moments of the TV and video year 2008. It can be a series, a specific program, a news item or a comedy sketch -- it's up to you. Give me your top three -- in order if you can and with links where relevant -- and if enough of you respond over the holiday period I'll list the winners.
If nothing else it will put a smile on your face as you think back over the last year and enjoy the holiday season.
Here are some of my favorites to put you in the mood:
Top Gear: As someone not remotely interested in cars or anything to do with them I consider it a testament to the excellence of this program that it has engaged millions like me around the world along with all the gear heads you'd expect to expect to tune in. By turns hilarious, outrageous, irreverent and determinedly un-PC, this Brit export just made a welcome return to our screens here in the US. This trailer for series twelve gives you an idea of the fun the presenters have on this show.
Election Night - CNN: No introduction necessary. For me CNN got it just right with the right pacing, a good mix of commentary and a really bang-up job of information design and presentation that managed to convey a huge amount of complex information very quickly and clearly (though I could have done without the hologram interviews). In my case I have to add the experience of using Facebook at the same time and communing on a blow-by-blow basis with my online friends as the evening unfolded. Major TV news events will never be the same again without Facebook as far as I'm concerned, but CNN was the hub of everything for the election. And as for the rally in Grant Park, that was pretty special as TV moments go.
SNL - Election Skits: This was a great year for SNL, largely due to the sheer amount of comedy material the team was able to conjure up from the cast of characters playing in the electoral race all the way from the primaries to the big night and beyond. The sheer number of times people viewed these skits online and the proliferation of user-generated content along similar lines indicates just how popular and impactful satire can be. Some have even debated the impact of the SNL spoofs on the result of the election. Here's one of my favorites.
Two and a Half Men: I love this series. It stands out among American sitcoms for the sheer brutality of its humor and the relentlessly dysfunctional relationships and personalities it is based around. It shows the dark underbelly of human nature and somehow makes it painfully funny. More, please.
Craig Ferguson: For my money, this guy is the hidden gem of the talk show hosts. He far outstrips Conan O'Brien for originality and unpredictability and seems far less concerned with his own hype than having a good time. This is what keeps me working late at night in hotel rooms around the country (and laughing loudly at inappropriately late hours).
I could go on (let's face it, searching for comedy clips isn't exactly a chore), but you get the idea. Nominate your favorite funny and feel-good moments and we'll see what we end up with.
In the meantime, enjoy the holidays. I'm off to forget about work for a few days and to enjoy family and what I have. Take time out to think of those who don't have enough to get by this season. The food banks need more to hand out and if every reader of this column gave two items, that would really make a difference.