Our Sectional Winners
Section A: #1 Parks & Recreation vs. #2 The Daily Show
Given the exalted status of Mike Schur’s kind-hearted comedy, it was shocking how close the kings of newsy satire kept this match-up. In voting, the show got off to a slow start akin to the tepid reception the actual first season met. However, the Pawnee spirit prevailed and while you don’t want to see the murinal (dammit, Jerry!) about it, Parks & Rec pulls it out. We hope Schur enjoys the win (we’re sure he’s watching) as after three weeks of dominance, he’s otherwise had a disastrous round. Also his reward for this win is facing off against the most revered, longest running comedy in history. D’oh!
Section B: #1 The Simpsons vs. #2 The Good Place
Celebrate good times, they will! The Simpsons are going to the Elite 8 and they had to beat heaven, hell and purgatory (well, Good Place, Bad Place, and Accounting) to get there. While The Good Place put up a fight befitting the resilience of Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, Jason, Michael and Janet, sadly, Mike Schur’s often tender, more often cutting half hour of meditation on the afterlife and humanity in general could not overpower 32 years of episodes (and maybe 10 years of classic episodes). Can it get past the live action show that came closest to matching it in regards to extensive universe building? We’ll see!
Section C: #2 The Larry Sanders Show vs. #4 WKRP in Cincinnati
Video killed the radio star yet again as Garry Shandling’s fake behind-the-scenes of a TV late night talk show beats out Howard Hesseman(et al)’s fake behind-the-scenes of a midwest radio station adjusting to a switch in formats. The venerated Emmy-magnet has lived by the skin of its teeth in this competition, winning every round by a handful of votes, but it’s alive which sets up an epic Jeffrey Tambor vs. Jeffrey Tambor match in this next round.
Section D: #1 Arrested Development vs. #3 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Well, that was a freebie! Although Rob McElhenney’s convention-breaking comedy had better luck with renewals than Mitchell Hurwitz’ convention-breaking comedy, it’s “The Gang Exits The Tournament” as the wealthy family who lost everything beats down the poor quasi-family who never had anything. The Cornballer bests Kitten Mittens! GOB crushes Charlie! Meta takes down… well, meta!
Section E: #1 Seinfeld vs. #3 Bob’s Burgers
Nothing could save the Belcher family against the show about nothing: not Bob’s clever sandwich names, nor Linda’s pluck, nor Tina’s wistful imagination, nor Gene’s brilliant songwriting, nor Louise’s vicious scheming. The excellent animated show about a dysfunctional family flipping burgers on the Jersey shore had a good run, but the even more dysfunctional group of four friends in Manhattan were just too powerful, setting up a battle between two of the greatest stand-ups of all time and their very different half-hour visions.
Section F: #3 Community vs. #4 Chappelle’s Show
Our lowest seed to make it through its section is a classic sketch show whose run was famously was only short-lived because of the misgivings of its co-creator and namesake, Dave Chappelle. In two plus seasons, Chappelle (with Neal Brennan, Charlie Murphy, Donnell Rawlings, Paul Mooney and others) crafted an impossible amount of brilliant sketches poking fun at racism, human frailty, the costs of fame, and the possibility that 2Pac was alive. It ekes out a victory against Dan Harmon’s meta AF show about a crew of misfits who found a new lease on life as part of a community college study group. It’s a classic, however while it somehow hit its six seasons goal (and may yet get the movie), six rounds and a tournament finals victory were not meant to be.
Section G: #2 Schitt’s Creek vs. #4 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
It’s a great week for wealthy families who lost everything as Dan Levy’s little show that could about the spendthrift Rose family and their adjustment to the simple life in an unfortunately named rural town they bought on a lark wins a decisive victory yet again. After winning 13 matches in a row, Mike Schur-related shows are 0-for-their-last-two as his Brooklyn police procedural send-up starring Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher goes down in flames. In fact, Schur might not want to look at his final match-up as the first major sitcom he wrote for loses to…
Section H: #1 The Office [US] vs. #2 30 Rock
It’s now hard to believe that there once was a question as to whether it would be Aaron Sorkin or Tina Fey whose show would be the enduring SNL-themed scripted show. I actually went to an upfront where both were screened and I wasn’t sure. However, a few years after Sorkin’s dramedy Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip went down in flames after one meh season, even Sorkin would guest on Fey’s now beloved comedy to give her Angry Birds tips (although the subject was still sore). One of the sharpest scribed shows moves on to the round of the Elite. As for The Office, it’s finished way too soon! [doooon’t say it, Michael Scott!]. The paper mill is closed, but The Girly Show lives on.