I contributed three write-ups to PopMatters's list of the best television shows of the year.The Best Television Shows of 2011 No. 33: Beavis and Butt-Head
You might guess that Beavis and Butt-Head, with their slacker attitudes and penchant for music-video-viewing, were wholly a product of their time. It turns out that the same dim-wittedness (and, in some cases, animation) work in any era. Sure, they’re now plopped in front of Jersey Shore
and Teen Mom
—shows that are basically their own self-satire, so you’d think there’d be nothing else to say about them. But writer/voice actor Mike Judge knows just what to say—something so profoundly stupid, it’s stupidly profound—to wring out the most laughs out of any situation, including The Situation. No. 32: New GirlNew Girl
begins with a very typical fish-out-of-water premise: When Jess (Zooey Deschanel) breaks up with her long-time boyfriend, she needs to find a new living situation and winds up taking a room in an apartment with three dudes. The charm comes from how goofy all four roommates are. Sometimes the boys rightfully tease Jess for her quirky social blind spots, and sometimes they’re just as clueless as she is. And it’s always a good time watching Deschanel indulge her ultimate inner dork. No. 23: Up All Night
NBC has best comedies on television because the network broadcasts shows about people, not premises. Up All Night
is proof: There are no wacky reasons these characters are together (sorry, 2 Broke Girls
) and no contrivances keeping them there. Instead, the show—about a couple raising a newborn, simple as that—draws humor from its characters not through their circumstances, but by being who they are. And, with the comedic chops of Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, and Maya Rudolph behind them, who they are is very funny indeed.
Click through to read the rest of the list at PopMatters.