2009 Calvin Awards: Best TV Show

February 9, 2009

Not pictured: Alec Baldwin, who was busy making a phone call to his daughter.

There were some big changes at the top in this year's race for Best TV Show. After two consecutive years of Friday Night Lights, Battlestar Galactica and The Office dominating the top three, 30 Rock catapulted from fourth place in 2008 voting to win the category this year.

The support for 30 Rock was perhaps galvanized by the fact that one of the webmasters of BOP, yours truly, had turned on the show midway through its second season. After a moderate amount of mocking occurred over the quality of Tina Fey's writing, the body of 2008 saw something of a staff civil war involving passionate debate over 30 Rock as well as the genius of Tina Fey. By the end of the year, her Sarah Palin impressions had made her arguably the hottest comedian, actress and writer on television, rendering the entire discussion largely moot. Even so, the staff at BOP isn't above piling on, so they voted en masse for the show that a pair of the webmasters at BOP despise. 30 Rock's support was so strong that its voting tally more than doubled from last year, bumping from a respectable 42 points to 87 points, the highest in the history of the category, and an easy win in the race for Best TV Show of 2009.


What is it about 30 Rock that our staff loves? Obviously, I'm not the best person to ask. Then again, no one else on the face of the planet has been told so frequently what there is to love on the show...and I include Tina Fey in that. What my friends fervently believe is that 30 Rock has the best and deepest cast of zany characters that network television has seen since the heyday of Friends and Seinfeld. Fey's sense of humor is such that she can take the best parts of The Office's premise as her own then throw in the slapstick moments she learned so well as a content creator on Saturday Night Live. She also honed her ability for quick and timely pop culture jokes that may negate the show's holdover appeal in reruns (a fate Seinfeld has suffered), but currently provides a plethora of celebrity critiques that are acerbic as well as surprisingly introspective. This is a show that not only has a crazy man, Tracey Morgan, at its core, but it also goes further than that and gives plenty of face time to his minions as well as how others interact with the mini-posse. It somehow manages to give just the right feel for how 30 Rock operates behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera, a rare accomplishment and one that is done without the need for documentary style filmmaking, the process our second favorite show requires.

I said it last year and I will say it again. Always a bridesmaid (or perhaps the Maid of Honor) is The Office. For the third straight season, the Steve Carell comedy finishes in second place. The good news is that its voting totals keep increasing, giving The Office hope that it may eventually supplant its competitors and finally finish in first place. After garnering 50 votes in 2007 and 52 in 2008, the show spiked to 77 votes in 2009, a score that would have won any of the past three years. Unfortunately, support for 30 Rock was so strong that The Office is left with the silver medal yet again. Our staff's slogan for the comedy has proven to be "The best show on television each year...except for that one."

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