Sitcom Superlatives – Makeouts, Meta, and More

Nick Jess Kiss

This week on Sitcom Superlatives, we explore the best kisses, spoofs, goofs, and bid goodbye to ’30 Rock’ one last time.


Best Kiss – Nick and Jess, New Girl

Nick and Jess were getting to a truly ridiculous stage of suspending disbelief that they wouldn’t just jump each other already.
There have been, in my opinion, two great developments in sitcoms in the last five to ten years. The first is getting rid of laugh tracks. The second is getting rid of the idea of the Moonlighting curse — ie: that a couple can never get together no matter what and relationships must be drawn out as much as possible to keep an audience invested via romantic will-they, won’t-they tension. Case in point, Nick and Jess, who were getting to a truly ridiculous stage of suspending disbelief that they wouldn’t just jump each other already. Nick was so obviously enamored with Jess that I couldn’t get my head around why he hadn’t made his move until the terrible, horrible, wonderful delivery of “not like this.” Ta da!

Of course Nick has thought about kissing Jess. He’s probably spent the last two years on and off thinking about it and cycling through self-loathing and reasons why not to … why it was never the right time, what the right time would be … and so to see him kiss Jess wasn’t just good because it was a great kiss (and it was a great kiss), but because we finally got to see Nick get over himself enough to make that move he’s been waiting to make for a long time. And Nick’s move was perfectly timed and placed; wait longer and it becomes unbelievable that Nick and Jess wouldn’t have hooked up sometime, or that when they did Jess wouldn’t cite their friendship as a reason not to continue. Do it earlier and there isn’t enough of a friendship foundation to make them hooking up high stakes. But have them kiss now, two years in, and the timing is just right.

Also, it was a really great kiss. Have I mentioned that yet?

Best Meta – Raising Hope, “Modern Wedding”
So here’s the thing – I hate Modern Family. I don’t understand the appeal. It’s bland fare that’s been overdone a million times and employs some truly lazy writing. I am so tired of it winning awards that should rightfully go to other, more deserving and innovative shows. And so anything that makes fun of Modern Family is immediately going to be, in my book, superlative. But what was so great about “Modern Wedding” wasn’t just the lampooning of Modern Family, but the fact that it effortlessly displayed what the show is missing: an element of surprise, a sense of tongue-in-cheek self-awareness and heart.

Anything that makes fun of Modern Family is immediately going to be, in my book, superlative.
No one seems to care, in Modern Family, that they are being filmed. They never offer an explanation why or display any surprise, they just act like being filmed is a totally normal thing that happens all the time to everyone. Not so in Raising Hope, where not only do people acknowledge the cameras, but they act the way a person would normally act in front of a camera – surprised, on their best behavior, and shamelessly mugging for it.There’s nothing predictable or cliched in Raising Hope, no schmaltzy wedding moments that aren’t thoroughly earned, and no sense that the love this whacky family has for each other is anything but genuine because it’s shown, not told.

The gauntlet has been thrown, Modern Family. Top that if you dare.

Most in Need of a Steady Job – Wilmer Valderama
Has anyone else noticed he plays basically the same character in both Suburgatory and Raising Hope? Maybe it’s time he got a new gig.

Biggest Tearjerker – 30 Rock, “Hogcock!/Last Lunch”

I can’t discuss this coherently, but let’s just say this finale was everything I hoped for and more. I loved every minute of it, cheered every bit of character resolution, adored Jane Krakowski‘s work more than ever before (where is her Emmy???), sobbed at every goodbye (Hot bowl of bear meat! And did you know Tina Fey hand-wrote Liz’s goodbye to Tracy? Nope, too many emotions. Shutting it down), and adored every last second of it. It was perfect and I will miss this show more than words can express.

Goodbye, 30 Rock, you really went to there.

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

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