Tuesday, May 4, 2004

THE ONE WHERE THEY PLAY POND HOCKEY AND THEN DRINK MOLSONS IN THE TIM HORTON'S PARKING LOT: Say what you will about Canadians, but the country has produced more than its fair amount of comedic talent over the years (and that's not counting Celine Dion). So, when The Toronto Star asks its readers to pick the greatest sitcom of all time, you have to pay attention to the results. And the winner, with 23% of the vote, not surprisingly, was "Seinfeld" followed by "Friends" at 15% and "The Simpsons" at 14%. Nary a Canadian sitcom made the top 10, not even "contemporary Canuck gems Corner Gas and Trailer Park Boys."

Speaking of "Friends," some of you industry insiders might be aware that the series finale is set to air this week. Everyone from Omaha to Minneapolis has been making list of the best episodes in the shows 10-year run. In my opinion, the show doesn't really loan itself well to this kind of examination. Everyone has a favorite "Seinfeld" or "Simpsons" or "Cheers," but for some reason, I can't say the same thing is true with "Friends." Most of the lists of the favorite episodes seem more to be just the episodes where important milestones happened in the lives of the characters, rather than true 30-minute comedic gems. I guess, in a way, that was kind of the charm of the show.

And speaking of finales, it would seem with both "Friends" and "Frasier" leaving the building this month, some TV critic would have made a list of the greatest series finales of all time. I haven't seen one, so I'll throw it open to the Comments Crowd. I'll start with the obvs. picks: "Newhart," "St. Elsewhere," "Mary Tyler Moore," and "Cheers," Now what are some of your favorites, or in the case of, say, the heavy-handed "M*A*S*H" and the disappointing "Seinfeld" swan songs, your least favorites?

Update: MSNBC looks at eight memorable finales and you can vote for your favorite. Right now "M*A*S*H" is in the lead, followed by "Newhart."

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