Friday before last I went to a Melbourne Writers Festival session with Emily Nussbaum, the New York Times TV critic. It was a small session at ACMI, only about sixty or so people, and the topic was Desert Island Films, which is part of a series that ACMI does with well-known people where they come in and discuss the five films they’d take with them to a desert island. Because Nussbaum is the TV critic, they asked her to choose five episodes from TV shows that she loves. She chose episodes from My So Called Life, 30 Rock, The Wire, Buffy, and Englightened. She was quick to tell us that these episodes are representative of some of her favourite shows that were formative for her as a TV viewer, rather than a critic.
It got me thinking. I like TV. I have favourite episodes. If I could only take five episodes of a TV show with me to a desert island, what would they be? Some were a no brainer. Some I really had to think about. Herein lie my choices:
Seinfeld – The Puerto Rican Day Parade
This episode is my favourite Seinfeld episode ever. EVER. The entire episode takes place outside Jerry’s apartment, as the Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer drive back to Manhattan from a baseball game, only to encounter a backlog of traffic due to the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. The thing I love about Seinfeld, and about this episode, is the masterful way they have so many storylines running concurrently, and then weave them all together seamlessly. The above clip is a perfect example. The scenes in the apartment for sale are probably some of my favourite scenes from a sitcom, ever. The other thing I love is the way their pseudonyms occur throughout the series. Everything about the scenes in the apartment is perfect: the timing, the introductions, the odd quirks Kramer invents about his character. It’s just comedic perfection, and I can (and have) watch this episode endlessly and find it amusing in a variety of ways.
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