2001/2002 TV Season - Top 10 Comedic Episodes

 
Old 06-12-02, 02:39 AM
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2001/2002 TV Season - Top 10 Comedic Episodes

As requested ...

This list is sure to be more controversial than the dramatic, since comedic taste is so drastically varied among different people. Consequently, there is no order to this list. While I am confident that my dramatic list represents the absolute best of American television this past season, this one is more a personal list of 10 comedic episodes that struck me in a memorable manner. Anyway, as promised ...

NB: You should be aware that there will obviously be spoilers for the episodes in this list.


2001-2002 Season: Top 10 Dramatic Episodes




South Park - 'Freak Strike'

"Wha'evah! It's my hot body -- I'll do what I want!" This episode was not chosen for a consistent level of comedy, more for the uproarious laughter inspired by the "Please Help My Out-of-Control Child" segment of The Maury Povich Show. While a short season, this year's South Park had many great moments, from the 80s snowbunny parody to The Russell Crowe Show and everyone's favorite ... Processor Chaos. But for me, the most unforgettable moment was when Cartman realizes he could win a trip to the world's largest putt-putt course after sending Butters on the show to complain about his unfortunate disfigurement: chinballitis. Unfortuantely, the skank little 13 year old girl before him is quite out of control, and Cartman fears he may not be out of control enough to win his prize. He quickly fixes that with plenty of make-up, a thong bikini, and a giant lollipop to participate in a "Slut Off" of the highest proportions.

"You ain't tough, ho! I run with gangs!"
"Oh yeah? I run with 12 gangs, and we only commit hate crimes! Wha'evah! I do what I want!"
"You ain't bad! You ain't nothin'! I ditch class and go shoot heroin in the school bathroom!"
"Wha'evah! I ran for Congress and won. Then I had sex with an intern, killed her, and hid her body! Wha'evah! Wha'evah!"


The Bernie Mac Show - 'The King and I'

Now for a change of pace from the most outrageous show on television to the best new comedy of the year. The Bernie Mac Show is that rare brand of comedy that makes us laugh at our own absurd mentalities while at the same time embracing the beauty of our own humanity. Not since The Cosby Show have we seen such a wonderful family comedy, and 'The King and I' embodies all the great aspects of this Peabody Award winning show. This episode is a power struggle between Bernie and Vanessa, and we see that regardless what Bernie tells the children to do, they always first check with Vanessa before making a decision. It's always a brief wink or nod, and true to the format of the show, while talking to America, Bernie checks the instant replay to see what's really going on. The comedy surrounding these scenes is wonderful, until we get to the heart of the matter. The backstory, for those who do not watch, is that these three children have grown up virtually alone in the projects without their drug-addicted mother. While Vanessa enjoys the power over Bernie, she soon collapses under the weight of being constantly responsible for the two younger children and not being able to be a teenager child herself. This sets up some beautiful scenes as the family struggles to find balance in their lives. This is your classic "you'll laugh ... you'll cry" episode and exemplifies the intelligence in this show lost in all the TGIF family comedies of the early 90s.


Sex and the City - 'belles of the balls'

Sex and the City is quite possibly the most intelligently written comedy on television (no surprise -- it's on HBO) and has provided some absolutely brilliant insight to human relationships. While the themes are universal, they are still portrayed from the perspective of New York women. Last season, the women went to Los Angeles and could not handle the culture-shock of face-lifts and "no smoking" sections and quickly returned to their familiar slice of life. This season, they went after the other subject these women still can't figure out: men. In Carrie's most significant and stable relationship with Aidan, she is trying to make the sacrifices necessary to move forward. While she's a city girl, he's a country guy, and he loves the peace and quiet of spending a weekend in a cabin away from the city. We know full well Carrie will be completely miserable in such a situation, but she loves Aidan, so she takes the plunge.

While this is a source of much comedy, the best part of the show reveals itself when Big (the man Carrie cheated on Aidan with so long ago, and still a source of problems as they're still best friends) is devastated after a break-up with a supermodel. He explains to Carrie that he can never reach her: "you see, she can reach me ... but ... I can never reach her." She doesn't get it, but in her attempt to comfort him, she accidentally invites him to the cabin if he needs to talk. Aidan is pissed, but tries to be understanding, when Big shows up. Not knowing what to do around each other, they shoot hoops outside the cabin. The game gets increasingly more physical until the two men throw down and beat the crap out of each other. Then they clasp hands and head inside and seem like best of friends. Carrie is completely confused by this latest development, but she runs with it and tries to talk to the two of them, but she's a complete outside. Big confides in Aidan: "see, she can reach me ... but ... I can never reach her." Aidan understands completely ... "dude, that's fucked up." Carrie is so lost and gets a dose of her own medicine. She'll never understand her man; all she can do is love him. It's an absolutely wonderful scene.


Scrubs - 'My Occurrence/My Hero'

One of the better new comedies of the season, Scrubs is another show that balances comedy with a healthy slice of drama to keep you on your toes. In this two-part episode near the end of the season, J.D. is forced to confront some of his fears as a doctor when he has to inform a new patient, and friend, that he has leukemia. The play between the humor and drama within individual scenes is wonderful, and the gravity of the events in question help bring out some of the humanity in each of the characters, particularly Dr. Cox.


The Colin Quinn Show - All Three Episodes

I'm treating the three lone episodes of this series as one as they were all part of the same concept, one that was way too bold for NBC and will likely not be seen again on network television for a long time. Colin Quinn himself is certainly not the funniest man on the planet, and his stint on 'Weekend Update' really hurt his career in the eyes of many, but the concept of this show was brilliant. Gather a bunch of ethnic New Yorkers to laugh at and celebrate their wonderful cultural uniqueness combined with their similarities as Americans, and humans. The mandate from NBC was, "Do Something Different." He did just that. The show will be completely forgotten, if it hasn't been already, but it was a great shining light for a brief moment.

No one was spared. From his opening remarks he touches on one of the greatest hypocisies plaguing our nation: "nowadays the common wisdom is to celebrate diversity as long as you don't point out that people are different." He then follows right after that by jabbing at all the self-important people who want to attach themselves to the 9/11 tragedy in any way possible. "If you weren't there you don't have a story - no one want to hear your hypothetical heroic tale. People come up to me, 'you don't understand ... if I had taken the #2 train instead of the A train ...' 'Do you usually take the #2 train?' 'No, I've never been on it.'" It was a non-stop barrage of in-your-face comedy that would make even the most reasonable person stop and think, "uh oh ... do I really do that?"


Curb Your Enthusiasm - 'The Doll'

"Judy! Judy!" Every episode of this show left me in tears laughing, but this one was particularly humorous as Larry found a way to piss off his wife, his manager's wife, a poor little girl, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and everyone at ABC. With comic setup only Larry David can create, the story begins with Larry finally selling his new show to ABC. To be gracious, he agrees to join the execs at a private screening of some mini-series. Larry, of course, has a small bottle of water with him, because it's healty to drink plenty of water daily. Some bitchy know-it-all tells him he can't bring the water into the theater. He complains but ultimately complies and enters the screening. Before the show starts, the bitchy lady sits near him, and he realizes she wasn't an usher, but just some lady. This pisses him off, and they get into a shouting match where he frequently mocks her. After the show, everyone meets at the ABC exec's house for a party. Larry has been drinking water all day and has to use the bathroom, but there's no lock on the main bathroom. So he goes upstairs to use another bathroom. A little girl is there with a doll, but the doll's hair is too long, and she begs him to cut it for her. He does so, has a nice talk with the young girl, uses the bathroom and comes back downstairs. His wife needs to use the bathroom now, but she's not going upstairs, so she asks him to watch the door for her. While watching the door, all hell breaks loose. First the bitchy "no water" lady arrives and turns out to be the ABC exec's best friend. While they're talking bad about Larry, the little girl comes running down the stairs screaming "bloody murder" at the butchering of this doll. In his attempt to explain things, Larry forgets he's watching the door, and someone sees all of his wife.

In typical Larry fashion, he tries to repair everything by acquiring the head of another doll (of course, the doll is rare) and trading it for the cut-up one. He steals it from his manager's daughter and has to hide it in his pants while escaping. When arriving at the exec's house, he realizes he as a rash and asks to use her bathroom again. The workmen are there and have fixed the lock, so he goes in there, drops his pants and stares at this rash in the mirror. Just then the water lady walks in and freaks out. The climax comes at night 2 of the mini-series where he's scared to show his face, but he has to for the deal to go through. Before the show, he heads to the bathroom, but the men's is out of order. His wife agrees to watch the door to the ladies' room, but ditches him for revenge. While in there he decides to hide his water bottle in his pants so he can drink during the film. As he's leaving, the little girl walks in, recognizes him and wants to thank him for replacing the doll. She's so sweet and hugs him for being so nice. Then she shrieks, runs outside and yells, "Mommy! Mommy! That old man just hugged me in the bathroom, and there's something hard in his pants!"


The Chris Isaak Show - 'Driven'

One of the great unwatched shows on television, this show is the epitome of "cool" and stars Chris Isaak's real life band. Surprisingly, they are all very good on the show, but much of the show focuses on Anson, the keyboardist who is in fact an actor. A loveable, yet gullible, character, he is devastated when his friend is crushed while trying to tip the local vending machine for free drinks. He realizes that if he dies today, he would have nothing of substance to remember him by. So he decides to set a world record. After many humorous failures, he shoots for something he's good at: go-cart racing. His plan, to set the record for most laps in a 24 hour period. One problem: some punk kid sees him doing this and decides to challenge him ... just to piss him off. The ensuing competition underscored by the other bandmember's utter boredom with the situation sets up some wonderfully entertaining comedy.


Sex and the City - 'my motherboard, my self'

The plot: Carrie's computer breaks. What more do you need to know? The comedy surrounding these events is wonderful as the helpless Carrie, needing her laptop for her job but completely ignorant of computers, seeks help from the obnoxious computer repair guy. She's is so frustrated she can't stand it, and the events trigger a break-up with Aidan. Meanwhile Samantha starts to lose her orgasm and is completely wrapped up in her own problems. Then reality sets in: Miranda's mother dies. All the crap they've been bitching about is meaningless, and the groups stuggles to console her. They all know the right things to say, but the uncomfortable Samantha sounds completely insensitive with everything she says. At the funeral, we are treated to two incredibly touching moments: first Aidan is there to support Carrie's friend; and second Samantha breaks down in tears and proves to be the biggest source of comfort for Miranda. Like the best of the genre, this episode merges the comedy and the drama perfectly, so the audience is mid-tear when something happens to burst out laughing. Nothing beats the combined tears of sadness and laughter, and it's rare when a television program can bring the audience to that point.


The Family Guy - 'Emission Impossible'

At the top of many peoples' "Crimes Against Humanity" list is the treatment FOX game The Family Guy. Every aspect of this show kicked complete ass, but such things were unimportant. Thankfully, we were at least treated to 3 seasons of hilarity. Airing opposite the President's Address to the Nation (and garnering higher ratings), this episode chronicled Stewie's fear of a possible new sibling. The comedy arises as he tries everything to ruin the mood for Peter and Lois to have sex, but when that fails, he invents a shrinking machine, enters Peter's body and wages war on his sperm (the lead dog voiced by the great Wally Shawn). What ensues is a tribute to numerous science fiction films and enough laughter to make you cry.


Undeclared - 'The Assistant'

Remember that "Crimes Against Humanity" list? Way to go, FOX. Anyway, while every episode of this unique comedy was both insightful and entertaining, I was particularly stuck by the episode where Adam Sandler visits campus. Contrary to his career, Sandler plays the straight man opposite of everyone else's craziness. They all want to impress him enough so he'll hang out with them, so they walk on eggshells trying not to say something "uncool." Marshall gets kicked out of the room, Hal shares a horrible and hate-filled song about his ex-wife, and ultimately Adam can't take it any more. He leaves ... and takes Lizzy with him. The subplot involves one of Adam's good friends falling in love with Rachel and the college life. He becomes the man who came to dinner around the door and remains long after Adam has left. Hilarity abounds in this episode capped off by the final moment when Lizzy calls her long-distance boyfriend to break the bad news that she cheated on him with Adam Sandler. Instead of being pissed, he replies, "dude ... that's so cool!"




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Old 06-12-02, 03:38 AM
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Completely agree with your number 1 choice.

"Wha'evah!"
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Old 06-12-02, 10:48 AM
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i've noticed you usually dont post in the same comedy threads as i do so i figured we'd differ on this list. I'm surprised there are any we have in common. Instead of specific episodes I was just thinking of shows that should be represented and I'd definetly have to agree with Family Guy, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Undeclared (the ones I watch out of hte list).

Haven't seen that South Park but its probably funny. I also liked the one with Osama bin Laden.

I probably would have included an episode of That '70s Show and maybe even a Greg the Bunny.

What about the Star Trek episode of Futurama? Throw in a Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle and we'd have a full list.....well maybe a Friends but there weren't any episodes this season that jumped out at me.
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Old 06-12-02, 10:58 AM
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Originally posted by Venusian
Haven't seen that South Park but its probably funny. I also liked the one with Osama bin Laden.

The 'Bin Laden Has Farty Pants' episode was great, but "technically" it was last season, even though it fits into the possible calendar space of Early Fall 2001 -> Now. I did consider it, though, but realized if I did, then I'd have to go to earlier in the season and grab 'Scott Tenorman Must Die', and so I just decided to stick with the latest season and be done with it.

I probably would have included an episode of That '70s Show and maybe even a Greg the Bunny.

What about the Star Trek episode of Futurama? Throw in a Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle and we'd have a full list.....well maybe a Friends but there weren't any episodes this season that jumped out at me.


If you hit channel up and channel down on your remote you'll find other stations than FOX. Seriously, the Star Trek parody on Futurama was a great tribute. Greg the Bunny, while featuring the best character on television -- Tardy -- seemed just too short-lived and never had a chance to develop a truly great episode. I loved watching it and wish it would come back, but in the end, I only had 10 spots. As for Friends, you're correct -- quite underwhelming this season.

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Old 06-12-02, 11:11 AM
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I didn't know bin laden was from last season. I think its brilliant how they parodied the old bugs bunny cartoon and most peopel dont even realize it.

Yeah, I know i watch too much Fox, but they have great shows. Greg the Bunny was too short lived but had many great parts in its episodes.

I still think Simpsons and That '70s Show should be on there. I was watching a rerun of 70s Show and although i had seen it before i was still laughing out loud, same thing with Malcolm in the Middle. I can't think of a Simpsons off the top of my head but I'm sure there were good ones, and afterall its Simpsons, it has to be on there
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Old 06-12-02, 11:41 AM
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Originally posted by Venusian
I still think Simpsons and That '70s Show should be on there. I was watching a rerun of 70s Show and although i had seen it before i was still laughing out loud, same thing with Malcolm in the Middle. I can't think of a Simpsons off the top of my head but I'm sure there were good ones, and afterall its Simpsons, it has to be on there
Gotta make room for the newcomers. I love The Simpsons as much as the next guy, but I tried to find some balance between the old and the new, a balance between the poplular and the underrepresented, a balance between the outrageously funny and the heartfelt substance. My goal was to cover as many perspectives as I could. Unfortunately, an over-emphasis on FOX shows (that I love) would have hurt that cause.

In the end, there's a hell of a lot on television that's very funny and worth watching that didn't make this list.

das

P.S. Thanks for the input. It's pointless to post a list like this if I don't get to hear what feelings others may have.
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Old 06-12-02, 11:58 AM
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well i notice you had room for 2 sex and the citys. that show sucks. okay well it doesnt suck but i dont get the hoopla. I can see how women might like it but i only find it mildly entertaining. I guess I aint a chick and even worse i aint in the age group that would probably like it (then again many female friends of mine in my age group like it). I just dont see why people make such a big deal about that show (winning the golden globe) when another comedy on the same network, CYE, is so much better
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Old 06-12-02, 12:01 PM
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I don't watch much TV, but the funniest show I saw last season was the Futurama with the classic video game stuff. Great show.

That "Curb Your Enthusiasm" show you described sounded real funny. I've never even heard of the show. I may have to look for it. What channel is it on?
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Old 06-12-02, 12:13 PM
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btw, the men's room wasn't out of order....someone had just left a stinker in there....but that doesnt matter, just thought i'd be picky


btw, its on HBO
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Old 06-12-02, 01:16 PM
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Originally posted by Venusian
btw, the men's room wasn't out of order....someone had just left a stinker in there....but that doesnt matter, just thought i'd be picky
That sounds about right. Going from memory at 4am on these things may not have been the best of ideas. Thanks for the correction.

As for Sex and the City, it's not the show ... it's you. Some shows aren't for everyone, I guess, but for those who appreciate that type of insightful comedy about mature (or perhaps immature) relationships, it's a brilliant program. Women are more thoughtful (not considerate, just always thinking about it) when it comes to relationships, so it makes sense that on the average, it will appeal more to them, but the shows is just as good for men. I made room for 2 episodes, because it's the best comedy on television and has been for years. Not unlike all the other shows on HBO, it dominates its genre in terms of quality.

Goblincat, Curb Your Enthusiasm is hysterical. Definitely try to track it down whenever it reairs on HBO.

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Old 06-12-02, 01:18 PM
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I thought that the Adam Sandler Undeclared ep was one of the worst of the season.
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Old 06-12-02, 01:33 PM
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I'd love to lavish das with praise on another awesome list that I completely agree with......but I just don't watch all that many sitcoms. Still, I'm quite sure that's a damn good list.
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Old 06-12-02, 01:34 PM
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Originally posted by Red Dog
I thought that the Adam Sandler Undeclared ep was one of the worst of the season.
I figured someone would say that. I guess I just liked the twist they took on the whole "guest star" mentality. With NBC beating this whole guest star nonsense into the ground, it was refreshing to see a different take on it. As most of the episodes of each of these shows was very funny, I tried to pick episodes that showcased something particularly unique.

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Last edited by das Monkey; 06-12-02 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 06-12-02, 01:41 PM
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Wow Das, I thought I watched a lot of television. How old are you?

Also, do you watch King of Queens, My Wife and Kids, or the Simpsons? I like seeing Bernie Mac on there, that show is hilarious.
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Old 06-12-02, 01:43 PM
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what about the "statue" episode on everybody loves raymond.
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Old 06-12-02, 01:46 PM
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Originally posted by PacMan2006
Wow Das, I thought I watched a lot of television. How old are you?

Also, do you watch King of Queens, My Wife and Kids, or the Simpsons? I like seeing Bernie Mac on there, that show is hilarious.
Too old but not old enough. Yes. Yes. Yes.

King of Queens is one of my favorite shows, My Wife and Kids is up there with The Bernie Mac Shows in terms of new family comedies, and if you don't like The Simpsons, you must be a terrorist.

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Old 06-12-02, 01:54 PM
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My #1 would be the Simpsons "Little Girl in the Big 10"
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Old 06-12-02, 02:01 PM
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Originally posted by juiio
My #1 would be the Simpsons "Little Girl in the Big 10"
Great episode. I loved the college analysis of 'Itchy and Scratchy'. It's always nice when you get some good brother/sister moments between Bart and Lisa.

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Old 06-12-02, 02:39 PM
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Originally posted by das Monkey


Goblincat, Curb Your Enthusiasm is hysterical. Definitely try to track it down whenever it reairs on HBO.

das
Has anyone seen when HBO would be re-airing older episodes and starting the new season? Also, how many seasons have there been? I've had HBO for about 6 months is all and have seen just a handful of episodes and they are brilliantly written.
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Old 06-12-02, 02:48 PM
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das, good list and well tought out...as soon as I saw the thread though I thought to myself "he better have a Curb episode in there" and you did....good job

Although this season of Curb wa not as funny as the first season, it still was funniner than just about every other comedy out there.

Bernie Mac. What can I say about this show...it is just fantastic...funny and heart warming and very well written, acted and delivered. I was very happy it got picked up for a second season.

Sex and the City has become the new show to flame it seems for some unknown (to me anyway) reason. It consistantly delivers very witty and sharped tounged.

Missing from your list (or what would be on my list) is one of the Simpsons episodes towards the end of the season. Those were some of the best in the show's history.

Also either the "Wedding" or "Cancer" episodes from Andy Richter. A comedy on "regular" TV has never made me laugh that hard.

I agree on Greg the Bunny. A couple of episodes just absolutely killed me.....Senior Truck!.....but it was too short lived to make it on my list.

There are a couple of other shows I am missing like The Family Guy and such but your list pretty much has everything I would have chosen.
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Old 06-12-02, 03:16 PM
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curb your enthusiasm has had two seasons with 10 episodes in each. i think the new season will start in the fall.
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Old 06-12-02, 05:05 PM
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I'm glad you qualified why you didn't include the Osama Bin Ladin South Park episode as I've never laughed near as hard watching anything else on TV in my life as I did as they kept building the Cartman Vs. Osama bits near the end.

That episode was far and away the funniest 30 minutes I've ever seen on TV... even though I'm a Seinfeld freak, no episode of that can beat this South Park ep.
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Old 06-12-02, 11:10 PM
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Originally posted by JonTurner
I'm glad you qualified why you didn't include the Osama Bin Ladin South Park episode as I've never laughed near as hard watching anything else on TV in my life as I did as they kept building the Cartman Vs. Osama bits near the end.

That episode was far and away the funniest 30 minutes I've ever seen on TV... even though I'm a Seinfeld freak, no episode of that can beat this South Park ep.
I don't want to use these words too lightly, but "genius" and "brilliant" describe that episode (and, in fact, much of that entire season).

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Old 06-13-02, 11:23 AM
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The best simpsons episode of the year was when Homer had his jaw wired shut. The popeye thing at the end had me rolling
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Old 06-13-02, 03:54 PM
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The funniest "Undeclared" episode was when Stephen was rushing that fraternity, and was forced to eat buckets of pickles (among other grueling frat rituals), and finally Stephen gets fed up and quits, and then leads to non-frat boys that live with Stephen pulling plenty of pranks on the frats, and the whole show was just insanely funny, coupled with plenty of slow-motion footage of the conflicts and pranks.
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