#1 Arrested Development vs. #16 ALF
This one was over before it began. The voters did not make a terrible mistake as ALF had only the slightest of chances against one of the most groundbreaking and clever television shows to ever air. Mitchell Hurwitz’s mega-meta show was not just running gags and cutaway chuckles, but also would have jokes which would take weeks if not entire seasons to pay off. ALF had a loveable puppet and heaps of ’80s nostalgia, but its lead character eats cats! NO!
#8 Living Single vs. #9 The Mindy Project
In the battle of NYC neurotics, the more recent series had the slight edge as the ensemble program disguised as a Mindy Kaling vehicle takes this round by one vote over Living Single. It’s more impressive as to say The Mindy Project stumbled out of the gate is a huge understatement. It was revamped multiple times during its first season, with characters jettisoned and added until slowly it arose like a phoenix from almost certain cancellation to become a cult favorite. And it will now face a show whose lead character famously wanted to move to Phoenix. Did that segue work? We could try it again…
#2 Murphy Brown vs. #15 Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist
This was our closest 2-15 yet as comedians on couches being squigglevisioned came within one vote of knocking off the signature program of SNL‘s first five-timing woman and one of the most important sitcoms in televsion history. I’m relieved it was not a tie as my heart would go for a show I’ve named a pet for, but my brain would know the more righteous outcome. Although the reboot may have dragged it down just enough to be vulnerable. In any case, it has another tough matchup next week against another groundbreaking and classic situation-based comedy.
#7 The Jeffersons vs. #10 Archer
The late Jessica Walter went 1 and 1 in the second round as the show where she played a hard-drinking, wisecracking mother (the animated one) is defeated by George, Weezy, Florence, the Willises, and the rest of the deluxe-apartment-in-the-sky dwellers. It’s an outcome with which even some of Archer‘s most ardent defenders would ultimately agree. And while it’s The Jeffersons that move on, here’s Archer‘s crossover into one of the high seeds of the next section of shows…
#3 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia vs. #14 My Name is Earl
It’s “The Gang Goes To The Round of 64” as Dennis, Dee, Charlie, Mac, and Frank and their deranged adventures win a decisive victory over the reformed dirtbag Earl who only wanted to do good for his fellow man, but who some may say got preachy in its later seasons. Their next matchup might be a bit harder as it faces the sketch show that won by the largest margin of the week…
#6 Key & Peele over #11 Sex and the City
Was it the ampersand? Or was it just that the NYC romantic hijinks of four archtypes has not aged that well at all while Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s sketch show has proven timeless. It’s hard to believe Key & Peele only was around for three years; ask me what my personal favorite sketch from the show was and it will be different EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And I’m sure I’m not alone in that. Here’s today’s (and while Gremlins 2: The New Batch is bizarre genius and one of cinema’s top ten sequels, they’re not wrong here).
#4 Fawlty Towers vs. #13 Married… with Children
Maybe it’s the accents throwing off the scent, but at first glance, it’s not so obvious how similar these two shows are. Both are broad comedies featuring boorish, arrogant men with few redeeming qualities mocked by wisecracking wives and by a larger cast around them as they stumble into absurd farces. What puts Fawlty ahead may be Married‘s heavier reliance on a succession of punchlines and laugh tracks. Fawlty Towers is more of a classic farce where the characters’ idiosyncrasies draw them into more complex whirlwinds of misadventure that somehow culminate into one larger punchline. And perhaps that’s why John Cleese’s masterwork is on to the second round by the narrowest of margins.
#5 M*A*S*H vs. #12 Workaholics
As it had already logged eleven seasons before anyone under 40 was even born, and due to the fact it influenced so many shows which followed, it’s easy to underestimate just how subversive M*A*S*H actually was? It made fun of war and featured a theme song about suicide. It’s also too easy to forget just what a cultural touchstone it was. Only Super Bowls and other sporting events have bested its finale’s ratings. It’s a record that has now stood for almost four decades. Well, our voters knew as it was fairly easily voted to the next round over the very clever, but no M*A*S*H, Workaholics. So we’ll close this tally with the final 20 minutes as Trapper John exits on motorcycle, Hawkeye by helicopter…