Best Episode of the Season: Broad City Season 2

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“Knockoffs”
In an inspired case of perfect casing, Ilana’s mother is played by the equally effusive. Susie Essman. In a counterintuitive, but just as perfect case, Bob Balaban plays her mellow father. And the entire Wexler is revealed as lovely, loving, and open-minded, as Ilana and mom head through New York-ish-ly surreal trip to find the perfect handbag. Meanwhile, Abbi finally gets it on with Jeremy, and although it is not everything she hoped it would be, she learns a lot about herself in the experience.

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Best Episode of the Season: Broad City Season 1

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Season Analysis: A big deal is often made when female voices emerge in male-dominated genres, and Broad City accomplished that, but not because that was what it was specifically attempting.  It worked out that way because Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson – who conveyed their unique, optimistic, and pleasantly skewed perspective on young adult life in New York City – just happen to be women.

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“Hurricane Wanda”
Bottle episodes– those half-hours that take place entirely within one physical location – continue to be sitcom staples because they continue to work so well.  Keeping everyone stuck in one spot raises the pressure and thus the emotions that have been simmering over the course of the preceding episodes.  When a hurricane keeps Abbi and Ilana stuck in Abbi’s apartment, they are forced to deal with the overwhelming presence of Abbi’s crush Jeremy, the overwhelming (in a different way) presence of Abbi’s roommate’s boyfriend Bevers and Bevers’ sister (UCB stalwart Shannon O’Neill in an energetic performance befitting an episode named after a hurricane), and a malfunctioning toilet.  There wasn’t much development on the Jeremy front (although we did get a memorable threesome dream sequence thanks to Ilana).  The Bevers siblings, while freakishly aggressive to most everyone else, were mostly destructive towards each other, thanks to the mystery plot of the shit in the shoe.  Ultimately, like all of Broad City, this episode was about the power of friendship, with a coda showing Ilana’s duct tape-aided adventure in disposing of Abbi’s turd that would not be flushed.

The 10 Best TV Shows of 2014 Thus Far

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It doesn’t take much time for the calendar to elapse for me to start putting together lists of the best television of the year in my head, and apparently I’m not the only one.  So I now feel compelled to unspool from my brain a preliminary list of the best of 2014.  There are plenty of shows not on this list because they have yet to debut or have just barely debuted, or because they were not quite as good as those that I selected.  It’s looking like, when all is said and done, this could be the most difficult year ever for putting together a definitive ranking.  It has been a strong year for new shows, with half of my selections having debuted in 2014 (or late 2013).

Here are my top 2, listed in alphabetical order:

Hannibal – Unbearable in the best way possible.
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Rick and Morty – More inventive than I thought was possible.
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And now here’s numbers 3-10, also in alphabetical order:

Billy on the Street – There’s a lot of hilarious New Yorkers out there.
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Broad City – Just the right amount of wild and zany.
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Community – An excitable comeback.
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Fargo – It’s got a lot of character.
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Louie – I’m not sure if I would prefer to live in the dream world of Hannibal, or the dream world of Louie, and that’s a compliment to both.
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Mad Men – Great job tying it all together.
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Review – What is this thing we call life?
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True Detective – Mystical, but also personal.
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