Happy New Year (better late than never)!
Recently I was involved in a discussion about great TV and I mentioned how Breaking Bad wasn’t as great to me as it is to most people. For me BB doesn’t really hold up well over time and despite how well acted it was (by only a handful of the characters) I struggled to get past the ridiculous premise of the show. Walter White, a bumbling science teacher who is actually a chemistry genius diagnosed with advance stage cancer delves into meth cooking to ensure there’s a nest egg for his family, rises to be one of the key figures in the southwestern drug trade. Really? Walter White? This guy? Do you really think that the drug kingpin powers that be are so particular about the quality of their meth that they’ll allow Walter White to gain a foothold in their operations? What world is this? It’s meth. It’s not cars, or personal computers, or designer handbags. It’s freaking meth. And just like plenty of people are rocking knockoff Louis Vuitton bags, because quality be damned, I’m going to assume your average meth head is only concerned about getting from point a to point b. Still, let’s just say Walter White was the G.O.A.T. of meth cookers and he did have the formula for the greatest meth product ever, any B or C level drug kingpin would still tell him to reduce the quality by 50% in order to double the output. This is the United States of America. The country where our air would be made in China if it had a price tag on it. Quantity over quality. So no, I don’t think WW is that great and if he were around a real bout it drug cartel, he’s right, they would not be the ones who knock because knocking is for suckers and for cartels whose “reigns on the top are short like leprechauns.” No; Chris and Snoop will kick in the door and put a gun in his face until those tighty whities of his were brownie boxers.
Which brings me to the question that was posed to me, “what shows are on my Mount Rushmore of TV?” They are as follows:
This is a no-brainer. It’s the greatest show EVER. You can perform a google search and find any number of analysis on the greatness of that show. There’s no need to re-hash it here lest I be charged with plagiarism.
Side note: When I first got this question my immediate thought was what are the greatest dramas from television that should be on my Mt. Rushmore? And then I realized, why would it be only dramas? For me it’s about what shows I found to be great, had staying power, and left such an impression that I always revisit or reference the series fondly. And with that, let us continue.
It’s freaking Chappelle Show. It’s been off the air for over a decade and it still is one of the greatest sketch comedies shows ever (or in my case, it is the greatest ever). In two season (we won’t count the third) Dave Chappelle and friends pushed envelopes and made some of the funniest ish to ever make its way onto the small screen. It was intelligent, shocking, outrageous, and unapologetic. I still revel in the fact that Dead Prez’s Hip Hop was the theme played at the opening of each show. I have a hard time even choosing my favorite sketch. Just last week folks were referencing Chappelle’s Racial Draft sketch when talking about Stacey Dash and Raven Symone. I love the Reparations Sketch and who can forget Wayne Brady? The show is timeless. If it’s not on your Mount Rushmore, you’re immediately disqualified.
Big Sean’s Play No Games video spoofs a show that went off the air almost 20 years ago (yeah, your ass is old). Not to be outdone, the Miami Heat recently shared their own spoof of Martin. Martin became a part of our culture. Everyone (that I know) knew that Sheneneh was an around the way filet, Tommy ain’t got no job, Bruh Man was on the fo/fif floor, and Jerome was in the house to declare that Tichina Arnold had the nicest junk in the trunk until Serena came along. A lotta folks take issue with black men dressing up as women the way Martin has when playing Sheneneh and Big Momma’s House but Martin is no Tyler Perry as Martin spoofed EVERYBODY. Women, men, white people, old people, young people, and a few others. Martin didn’t ride a caricature of a woman to the top, he was a character comedian. It was great. And it still kills. If you go to a friend’s house and they’re watching TV One and one of their Martin marathons happens to be on, you might as well take a seat because you aren’t going anywhere for at least two hours. When you can sit and watch a show of which you know every word for hours on end, there’s no better example of great TV.
Trying to decide on the final show for my Mount Rushmore was tough and then “like Tina did Ike in the limo it finally hit me;” you always remember your first love and in my case my first love wasn’t a drama or even “live,” my first love is the greatest cartoon there ever was, Robotech. What makes Robotech so great you say? Especially with other cartoons like Voltron, Transformers, Looney Tunes, Batman, etc…however, Robotech was ahead of its time. It was one part action, one part, humor, and one part soap opera all in one. Three completely separate series were weaved together to create this masterpiece that helped introduce Japanese animation to the United States. The opening intro is still one of the most dramatic and awe inspiring of any cartoon. The Macross saga featured an inter-racial couple of Claudia Grant and Roy Fokker. Claudia wasn’t some racially ambiguous character, she was unmistakably black with natural hair and Roy was a top gun pilot. What makes this tidbit so awesome wasn’t so much that Claudia and Roy were an interracial couple as it was that Claudia was a smart and beautiful black woman who held an important position on the SDF-1’s crew who happened to date a prominent figure in the first part of the series. Claudia wasn’t the only representative, Admiral Glover while I can’t quite determine his ethnicity what I do know is he was a man of color and he was in charge and Yellow Dancer had her own more than meets the eye moment. Again, ahead of its time. Another major sticking point for me was, and this is going to sound a bit morbid but, one of the most captivating aspects of Robotech was that characters died. I felt the loss when Fokker and Ben Dixon died. Truthfully I was in shock but it endeared me to the series even more because it was touching. If you watch Robotech now it will surely seem dated, especially given how far animation has come but this cartoon was so great that in addition to buying the DVD box set, I also bought the soundtrack/score because even the music was fantastic. There is so much more I could say about Robotech but I’ve gushed enough.
So there you have it. A list that should be included in the Mount Rushmore of lists about the greatest television series ever.