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Qualler Visits The Classics: The Best Television Episodes of the '00s (Part I - Midseason Masterpieces)

I've got to face the facts...television has slowly but surely usurped music as my pop culture movement of choice. I can pinpoint the preference change to the first time I started watching The Sopranos on DVD. Sopranos on DVD lead to finding episodes of Six Feet Under online, then ordering via Nerdflix multiple television series at a time, to my current diet of 5 or 6 ongoing series saved on the DVR at a time. Unhealthy obsession? Perhaps. But, the '00s have been a fantastic decade for television. Whether my obsession formed because of the great quality of scripted television or because I just got a lot lazier in listening to music, television is a good friend of mine now. So, for the next month, I will be detailing my favorite episodes of my favorite television shows of the decade. Because lists are so totes arbitrary, these shall be presented three at a time, in no particular ranking order.

– “Rose and Raven Rosenberg”, Season 2 Episode 9
August 17, 2004
Written by Brad Falchuck and Ryan Murphy
Directed by Elodie Keene

Sean: She's not giving up. She can survive...she can survive on her own!

Leading up to this decisive episode, the plastic surgery tag team of Sean McNamera and Christian Troy were facing a serious dilemma. Sean finally learned that Matt was his son with Julia, Sean’s wife, and Sean memorably punched Christian in the face in the surgery room, memorably telling him “I loved you the most.” In this episode, the doctors perform what is to be their last surgery, a pro-bono split-up of Siamese twins Rose and Raven Rosenberg. Naturally, in classic early Nip/Tuck fashion, the case-of-the-week comes to represent the state of our central characters. Turns out, splitting the Siamese twins causes complications for both, and our protagonists come to realize that they, also, cannot survive without each other. So how do the twin docs The way they resolve their problems? They hire a prostitute that looks like Julia whom they have a threesome with. When both twins end up dying, the docs put them back together posthumously, sewing them back together “as God intended them to be” as their mother stated, and sewing together their partnership. Sounds ridiculous on paper, but the way it played out on the small screen was a shockingly touching (if a touch over-the-top) testament to the strength of true friendship and the bonds of family.

Big Love – “Come, Ye Saints”, Season 3 Episode 6
February 22, 2009
Written by Melanie Marnich
Directed by Daniel Attias

Yes, this series about a polygamist family reached its apex (as of today) earlier this year in this mid-season episode in which the Mormon family went on a cross-country trip to follow John Smith’s spiritual trek. By focusing on the family throughout the episode, we get a few sprinkles of everything that makes the series great – the entertaining, occasionally hilarious interaction between the three sister wives, the yearning for finding oneself in the kids, and the spiritual journey of Bill Hendrikson. Bill finally reaches the end of their trek, having missed the passion play but watching an angel float up to the sky, in one of his most yearning times. And Sarah finally lets the rest of the family know about her pregnancy when she loses the baby. At the end of the episode, the family pulls over to the side of the road and embraces her together. Through all the hectic times in which the family forgets to connect, they embrace when they realize they all need each other the most. I cried.

Six Feet Under – “The Room”, Season 1 Episode 6
July 8, 2001
Written by Christian Taylor
Directed by Rodrigo Garcia

Nate, Sr: That's one of the perks of being dead...you know what happens after you die. And, you know the meaning of life.
Nate, Jr: That seems fairly useless.
Nate, Sr: Yeah, I know. Life is wasted on the living.

Although the later seasons of HBO’s Six Feet Under are more dramatic and probably more memorable, the simplicity and dark comedy of the first season is difficult to top. In this episode, Nate Fisher, Jr., learns about the room that his recently passed father used to rent out under mysterious circumstances. In classic fashion, Nate imagines his conversation with his dad, wracking his brain for any evidence he could think of that he really loved him. Nate Sr and Nate Jr's interaction (played as well as ever between the great Richard Jenkins and the more-than-capable Peter Krause) displays the always hard to convey feeling that one feels about someone whom you can never have a second chance with. Meanwhile, a funeral takes place at Fisher and Sons, in which an old man talks about his wife who passed away in her sleep talks about their last years together with David. “That’s love,” he says, after describing cleaning up her accident at the movie theater in the days leading up to her death.

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  1. Blogger chris | 1:38 PM |  

    All excellent choices, Quallzy!

    Almost makes me want to finish those last two seasons of Six Feet Under and try out Nip/Tuck again. Almost.


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