The last few weeks of December are filled with “best of” lists of everything from fashion to food to news to sports. Rather than merely adding to that jumble, I’ve compiled a list of random awards. (If you want to know what the best TV show of the year was, just ask someone who actually watches Mad Men. That won’t stop me from listing my favourites, though.) Some of these awards are good, some of them are bad, and some are just plain, well, random. The awards mainly deal with television, but some also deal with music, the Internet, print media, and movies. I’ve included runners-up for some of the awards. Read on for the winners, the losers, and the, um, “randomers.”



Favourite Album
Lowcountry by Envy on the Coast. The band abandoned their Long-Island-emo roots on this album, infusing their post-hardcore tunes with a Southern-fried sound. The result was something energetic (“Laugh Ourselves to Death”), scary (“Southern Comfort”), and at times, strangely beautiful (“Made of Stone”).
Runner-up: Invented by Jimmy Eat World. A mixture of soaring ballads, angry rockers, and sweeping epics, this album proved that sometimes, sticking to a formula is a good thing, especially when your formula is as good as Jimmy Eat World’s.

Most Disappointing Album
A Thousand Suns by Linkin Park. When pretension and ambition outweigh talent and ability, this is what you get. Why can’t this band just stick to angry nü-metal anthems so that we can all go back to rocking out?
Runner-up: High Violet by The National. If I wanted to listen to “Guest Room” 11 times on repeat, then I would.

Most Annoying Song
Runner-up: “Fuck You” by Cee Lo Green. This novelty song was alright…until they started played the radio-ready censored version, “Forget You,” ALL THE FUCKING TIME. Now, the tune is stuck in my head and it won’t get out.

Most Heartbreaking Break-Up
Envy on the Coast. After their drummer, Dan Gluszak, quit the band, it was only a matter of time before the rest of the band followed. I’d have loved to see what this band would do after Lowcountry, but unfortunately, we’ll never know.



Weirdest Internet Meme
Time of the Month Tiger. Why does this meme exist? I don’t know. But I appreciate the valiant effort at milking the menstrual cycle for humour.

Most Needlessly Provocative Magazine Article
“Too Asian?” which appeared in Maclean’s. If you want to sell more copies of an issue of your magazine, the best thing to do is to appear racist (without actually being racist). Earlier this year, Maclean’s ran an article about the concentration of students of “Asian” origin on Canadian university campuses. (I put Asian in quotation marks because people seem to forget that Russia and India are also part of Asia.) The article sparked a flurry of debate. Responses appeared in several other major publications, including the National Post. Many readers were outraged by the Maclean’s article. Personally, I didn’t find the content of the article offensive. However, some of the people interviewed for the article were pretty damn racist. Asian students don’t party? Get real, dumbass.

Favourite Movie
The Social Network. An amazing performance from Jesse Eisenberg, a compelling story, and a whole lot of weird, uncomfortable laughs. This is one of the finest movies that I’ve seen in a while.

Best Webcomic
Toothpaste for Dinner. Sometimes it’s clever. Sometimes it’s depressing. Other times, it’s just lame. But overall, it’s a nice distraction. Looking at crappy artwork never felt so good.
Runner-up: XKCD. It’s funnier than it used to be, but it’s still occasionally way too nerdy for its own good.



Favourite TV Show
Better Off Ted. Yes, this show aired only 9 episodes in 2010. But every single one of them was a laugh riot. In 2010, this show gave us sexual harassment disease, Veronica in the Key of Love, mandatory swearing, VD belt buckles, and much more. You’ll be missed, Ted. (Damn you, ABC. DAMN YOU TO HELL!)
Runner-up: Cougar Town. Last fall, if you’d told me that a show that involved Courteney Cox dating men half her age would become my favourite show currently on the air, I’d have said that you were on crack. Early in the show’s first season, the cougar shtick was abandoned, and Cougar Town ended up becoming the funniest comedy on television, bringing us Ultimate Penny Can, relationship remixes, and sweaty foot wine.

TV Show with the Most Wasted Potential
No Ordinary Family. How do you take a show about a family getting superpowers and make it shitty? Easy. Make them use their superpowers for accomplishing stupid, mundane things, like baking an assload of muffins or cheating at poker. Oh yeah, also make sure that the only person who is actually using his powers for good is TOO STUPID TO WEAR A FUCKING MASK. I had high hopes for this show, but now I just want it to end so that the talented cast can move on to better things. (In an ideal world, Ilsa and Ames would get killed off Human Target too, leaving room for Autumn Reeser to return as Layla, but that’s just wishful thinking.)
Runner-up: Adventure Time. How the most hilarious cartoon on the web got turned into such an unfunny mess, I’ll never know.

Most Alarming Character Assassination
Ann Perkins, Parks and Recreation (end of season 2). Look, I understand that Paul Schneider asked to be written off the show, so Mark and Ann had to break up. I’m not really peeved about that. I’m peeved about how the break-up came about. I don’t know why the writers thought that it was a good idea to make the normally down-to-earth Ann flighty, shallow, and inarticulate. Furthermore, now she’s attracted to Andy again, and she kissed him, which happened only to fuel April-Andy drama. Now that Leslie has matured considerably, Ann is no longer needed as a foil for her. It would have been a better idea to write Ann off the show along with Mark, but instead, we have to deal with the fallout of her stupidity.
Runner-up: Chuck Bartowski, Chuck (season 4). I wrote about why I’ve been disappointed in Chuck’s character development (and in the show as a whole) this season here, but suffice it to say that regardless of whether Chuck has been acting in-character or out-of-character, he’s been really fucking annoying.

Best Guilty Pleasure Show
Wipeout and Wipeout Québec. I wrote about why I loved watching Wipeout here, but to sum it up in one word: schadenfreude.
Runner-up: The Event. As I explained here, this show never really made sense. But for some strange reason, laughing at this train wreck makes me happy.

The “How the Hell Did They Get That Past the Censors?” Award
“Pussy.” — Emmett Milbarge, “Chuck Versus the Pink Slip,” Chuck.
Runner-up: “I’m sorry. I don’t use the word ‘snatch’ very often for a myriad of reasons.” — Chuck Bartowski, “Chuck Versus the Anniversary,” Chuck.

Stupidest Plot Twist
Kate dies in an exploding plane, “Out of the Box,” White Collar. I don’t have the same hatred for Kate that many White Collar fans seem to have, so this seemed like a terrible payoff for Neal’s search. It also didn’t get explained until midway through the second season.
Runner-up: Daphne has amnesia, “No Ordinary Sidekick,” No Ordinary Family. Seriously, AMNESIA? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

Weirdest Episode
“Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples,” Community. Abed tried making an experimental religious film. It sucked balls. This episode was pretty experimental as well. It also sucked balls.
Runner-up: “A Deadly Game,” Castle. A fake spy game is a strange setting for a murder. Even stranger was Castle hooking up with his ex-wife in the final minute of the episode.

Most Overrated Episode
Winner: “Epidemiology,” Community. You can read what I thought about this episode here, but to make a long story short, it just ain’t paintball, folks.
Runner-up: “Chuck Versus the Beard,” Chuck. This episode was too wacky and over-the-top, even for a show that has one foot out of reality. Moreover, Creedence Clearwater Revival sucks.

Most Blatant Fanservice
The “strip-down-oil-up” scene from “Taking Ames,” Human Target. Before anybody protests that the air ducts were narrow, let’s get one thing straight: this is television. Air ducts can be as wide as the writers want them to be.
Runner-up: Sarah modelling bikinis in “Chuck Versus the Coup d’Etat,” Chuck. Two questions arise from this scene. 1) When am I going to see “Chuck Versus the Softcore Porno?” 2) Why the hell does Sarah own so many bikinis?

Worst Marketing Campaign Idea
The entire marketing campaign for Undercovers. Half the ads for this show essentially said, “Hey! Look at these two pretty married people!” I like looking at pretty people as much as the next guy, but what the hell do these two pretty people do? Spy work, apparently. However, in most of the ads, there was nary a gunfight, car chase, or explosion in sight. A bungled marketing campaign resulted in a swift cancellation for this series. (Of course, there are people who will blame the lead actors’ race for the show’s lack of success, but those people are morons.)
Runner-up: Trying to market Fringe to rebellious teens. If you’re a Fringe fan, you likely know about the show’s move to the Friday death slot. You can read more about Fox’s new marketing campaign for the show and its new time slot here. I see two major problems with this marketing strategy. 1) Teenagers aren’t idiots; they don’t do things just because their parents tell them not to. 2) What’s the point of targeting a demographic that isn’t counted in the Nielsen demo ratings?

Best Single-Episode Guest Spot
Maury Povich as himself in “Subway Wars,” How I Met Your Mother. In one of the most hilarious episode-long running gags in the show’s history, Povich appeared all over town, seemingly being in two places at once.
Richard T. Jones as Mr. White in “The Proof in the Pudding,” Bones. Mr. White needed to be mysterious, authoritative, and inconsiderate, all at the same time. He could have ended up being a total caricature, but Jones did a great job with the character, giving the episode a sense of urgency.

And finally, the category you’ve all been waiting for…
Best Performance by an Animal
The possum, “The Possum,” Parks and Recreation. It terrorized a Pawnee golf course, ran around Ann’s house, and then ended up in a zoo. That’s a lot of stuff for a possum to do.
Runner-up: Gene the cow, various episodes, Fringe. Walter wants to use her to make chocolate milk, people, chocolate milk! That’s insanity!

So, there you have it: random awards for a bunch of random things. In case I don’t post another entry before the end of the month, have a happy new year!