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What TV show do you think has the best writing?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on November 6, 2007

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Photo of Jon Carroll

“I’m going to have to go with either ‘The Wire’ or ‘Entourage.’ They’re definitely better than anything on network TV.”

Photo of Calli Noller

Desperate Housewives.’ The dialogue and story line complement each other, and I like how the narrator ties everything together.”

Photo of Ty Smith

Family Guy.’ I think it’s genius. It’s intelligent, and they are fast to incorporate current events. The humor is quick, witty and unbiased. They make fun of everybody.”

Photo of Christina Morgan

Flight of the Concords.’ The writing is unpredictable and very quirky.”

Comments

moo 6 years, 5 months ago

How could I forget Firefly??? That one ties for best ever.

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hujiko 6 years, 5 months ago

Arrested Development... STEVE HOLT!

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QuackyPrincessLauren 6 years, 5 months ago

Arrested Development!!

Being a nurse, I think that Scrubs is a horribly demeaning show and I'm always disappointed when I hear that people really like it...

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Godot 6 years, 5 months ago

The writers for CBS Evening News are quite creative.

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Agnostick 6 years, 5 months ago

Best writing on TV?

Right now... nothing...

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/34700

In the past? I'll just say "Whedonverse"... including "Buffy"... "Angel"... and "Firefly."

--Ag

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thecuteone 6 years, 5 months ago

I got addicted to Big Love during their last season.

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bugmenot 6 years, 5 months ago

People who find Family Guy funny should probably be institutionalized for their own good and society's. What a stupid show. Its only moments of decency are all moments ripped off from other shows. I truly can't believe it still has a following.

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Marcus DeMond 6 years, 5 months ago

Weeds is hilarious. Doug and Andy crack me up. I kind of miss U-Turn.

South Park is great too.

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KS 6 years, 5 months ago

There is a reason that network TV viewing is down. In part, it is called poor writing.

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Echoes 6 years, 5 months ago

The old Rocky & Bullwinkle Show was excellent. My Name Is Earl is also on my list of favorite shows.

Rocky & Bullwinkle was as clever as any cartoon on TV today. It was funny, but clever enough to make some good points.

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Marion Lynn 6 years, 5 months ago

Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone".

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GretchenJP 6 years, 5 months ago

moo (Anonymous) says:

"if we are talking ever than definitely Daria."

I completely agree with that one. I was also highly entertained by Friends in the beginning but they lost me after the 4th season or so.

Then there's Three's Company... I loved the physical humor and the fact that there was never once any kind of misunderstanding on that show what-so-ever. :P

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consumer1 6 years, 5 months ago

Consumer 1 says "Happy Birthday Dr. James Naismith".

James Naismith Encyclopedia Article Find | Print | E-mail | Blog It Multimedia

1 item James Naismith (1861-1939), Canadian-American teacher of physical education, recognized as the inventor of the sport of basketball. He was born in Almonte, Ontario, Canada, and educated at McGill University and Presbyterian College in Montreal. He taught physical education from 1887 to 1890 at McGill University, and from 1890 to 1895 at the Young Men's Christian Association Training School (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1891, aided by the American physical-education specialist Luther Halsey Gulick, he invented basketball as an indoor sport. Naismith developed the game as an activity for his students during the harsh winter months. He was director of physical education at the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Denver (1895-1898) and at the University of Kansas (1898-1937). As one of the most significant contributors to the sport of basketball, Naismith was voted to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959. Officially called the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, the institution was named in his honor and is located in Springfield.

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fraublucher 6 years, 5 months ago

Anything Mel Brooks writes, of course.

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jonas 6 years, 5 months ago

AAAaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!! Noooooooo!! Robert Jordon died in September!

Rest in peace.

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Tony Kisner 6 years, 5 months ago

Hold on,

Are the pic's correct - Ty the cook and Jon the mutual fund rep?

I may be guilty of profiling.

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acg 6 years, 5 months ago

Pywacket--"We're divided on Family Guy. My husband loves it. I find it occasionally witty, but peopled with the most loathsome characters in any cartoon." I will totally agree with you on Peter, but Stewie is awesome. I love it when he says stuff like "Some day your uppance will come!" That kills me.

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jonas 6 years, 5 months ago

Firefly tore me. On the one hand, it ended way too soon. On the other, it didn't end way too late.

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sgtwolverine 6 years, 5 months ago

Ah, Firefly. You can't take the sky from me.

I did enjoy that show.

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kansas778 6 years, 5 months ago

Pywacket--you do probably spend more money than an 18-24 year old male, but you're smarter than them too, and aren't so easily swayed to make purchases based on advertising. Also, they advertise to them to get that brand loyalty going at a young age, as eventually most of them will become heads of households and direct the spending.

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monkeyspunk 6 years, 5 months ago

Yes Firefly was an amazing show.

But hands down, one of the most "wrong" yet entertaining shows out there is Robot Chicken. If you haven't seen it and like stop motion animation, YouTube it. Ten minutes of "I can't believe they did that."

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acg 6 years, 5 months ago

Do you guys remember a cartoon called the Tick? Then they made it into an actual show and Patrick Warburton was the Tick? I loved that show. But then, I love Patrick Warburton.

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prospector 6 years, 5 months ago

The closed captions all looks the same to me.

A 'remember when', for the nostalgic and WATB, Eagle Cam. Do they play fast or slow pitch?

http://www.ljworld.com/eagle_cam/

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Melanie Birge 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't get into T.V much, but last season and this so far is Heros...

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Pywacket 6 years, 5 months ago

LogicSound--Absolutely! We love South Park in this household. Likewise My Name is Earl, Northern Exposure, and The Office--both the Brit & the American versions. A friend turned us on to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which we enjoy a lot.

We're divided on Family Guy. My husband loves it. I find it occasionally witty, but peopled with the most loathsome characters in any cartoon. Stewie should be crammed down the garbage disposal. Peter should be thrown to the sharks. Hate both their voices. Hate Lois's voice, too, but she's not as obnoxious a character.

There are a lot of cartoons I like a lot better. Lots of stuff from Cartoon Network's Adult Swim: The Brak Show was great--especially before they replaced the original voice of Mother, who was one of the highlights. Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2020, Robot Chicken, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Harvey Birdman, Moral Orel.... All much better than Family Guy, IMO...

Oh--and for the idiot network demographry wonks who think they're targeting MALES aged 18--24 with these shows, listen up: I'm a 40-something female, married w/kids, and I lovelovelove Adult Swim cartoons. So do my friends. Do you really have a clue? There are lots more of us than there are 18-24 males. And we have more money. So listen up. We want more Robot Chicken--fewer idiotic reality shows (for the record, I've never turned any of those on).

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staff04 6 years, 5 months ago

Re: Orgasmo

"Well, you two boys can just fork right off."

"But I haven't slapped my ass yet!"

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acg 6 years, 5 months ago

I had also forgotten about Daria. That was well done, too. I loved Jane. She was my hero.

Other women from tv that are my heroes:

Karen Walker--Will & Grace Grace-Grace Under Fire The two chicks from Ab Fab Cartman's Mom--Southpark

Gotta love it!

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moo 6 years, 5 months ago

if we are talking ever than definitely Daria. currently on TV: the Office, Pushing Daisies, Ugly Betty, Daily Show, Colbert Report, the Closer, and maybe My Boys

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avaholic 6 years, 5 months ago

Here's my list:

Entourage Weeds West Wing The Office Daily Show Colbert Report Conan O'Brien Sports Night Boston Legal Californication (my curve ball) this show is great

All of them have great writing

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Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 5 months ago

My vote goes to the UK version of "The Office". It was the funniest thing I have ever seen. The American version is pretty lame in comparison.

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jonas 6 years, 5 months ago

choda-boy: (Tying on dildo hat) For some reason, women don't seem to take me seriously.

I'm pretty fond of Heroes, but don't know if you'd consider it well-written. Pushing Daisies is pretty well written. Daily Show and Colbert Report are both fantastic. Past that, I pretty much just watch anime, and most of its not that well written, I imagine, but it helps me practice Japanese, and it's always entertaining.

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oldvet 6 years, 5 months ago

Rats, bcman, you beat me to that line!!!

But the Reba series has some great humor and and the facial/body expressions will leave you rolling.

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acg 6 years, 5 months ago

OMG Orgasmo was hysterical!! That was one of the funniest movies ever, A_A. Choda boy was awesome.

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Azure_Attitude 6 years, 5 months ago

South Park lost me. I just don't think they're funny anymore.

Stone and Parker's movie, Orgasmo, now there is a celluloid masterpiece!!

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logicsound04 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm surprised no one has cited South Park. Say what you will about their go-out-of-their-way-to-offend attitude, but they've done some pretty clever things.

One of my favorite recent episodes was the one about head lice, with the dry lice-as-people subplot throughout the entire episode.

"I've got to save ma' bay-beh"

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Mr_Ramirez 6 years, 5 months ago

thebcman (Anonymous) says: the Coldwell Banker McGrew Tower Cam

LOL!!! nice!

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chewyfally 6 years, 5 months ago

Family Guy is the sorriest excuse for a television show I've ever SEEN! It's pathetic, the creator is completely self-centered, and can hardly be called entertainment. It was okay before the comeback, but now my dog could sh*t out a better program.

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Bubarubu 6 years, 5 months ago

The Office is great, everyone's spot on there. No one has mentioned Pushing Daises yet, which either means you haven't seen it or you have seen and don't have a soul. The writing is great, plus a unique visual style (at least among TV shows currently on the air).

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Gootsie 6 years, 5 months ago

Northern Exposure - always be my favorite! Lost was pretty good, but now we will need to Netflix Twin Peaks and watch those - thanks Snap!!!

Love me some log.

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sgtwolverine 6 years, 5 months ago

Woohoo! Detroit!

Anyway, I enjoy House. Also, Py, I just got to start watching Arrested Development, and I can't believe how great it is.

(I have to be honest: when the news came out about the writers going on strike, my first reaction was something along the lines of, "So ... does it really matter? The world will go on.")

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Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

Pywacket, Twin Peaks was just released in a boxed set that contains the pilot and all episodes. There goes my evenings for a while.

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acg 6 years, 5 months ago

Pywacket I also loved Twin Peaks. What a quirky, funky mess, eh? I also loved this show they had on called Picket Fences. That was also a great show. So was Northern Exposure.

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Pywacket 6 years, 5 months ago

Like Badger, I hate to be tied to any TV show, timewise, so we usually see fiction series long after everyone else does--when we can rent whole seasons at a time and watch a season in 3 or 4 evenings. That said, I do line up at 10 for The Daily Show, then The Colbert Report, both of which are brilliant.

Other excellent writing: The Simpsons, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, Arrested Development (curse them for cancelling it), Carnivale (double curse), Deadwood (more curses).... Going back further, I am a big fan of the wonderfully weird Twin Peaks.

Guilty pleasure: Scrubs.

We just caught the first few episodes of Dexter on DVD and I was rather disappointed in the writing. Hall is wonderful, and most of the ensemble cast (with the painful exception of the sister character, who is an atrocious actress) rises to the challenge and does justice to the writing, but that writing is often lame and trite. Several characters are unnecessarily two-dimensional--particularly those we're supposed to dislike (okay, we get it--this one's a b*), when it would have been so easy to make them more complex and, hence, more intriguing and realistic. The neighbor with the barking dog was simply over the top. Unadulterated b*iness, no logic to her words or actions... when it would've been so easy, and so much more powerful, to give her some depth. She is simply a cartoon. One of the hallmarks of truly great TV writing is that each character, however minor, matters and is well developed. In that respect, SFU and Twin Peaks excelled.

Similarly, there are several incidents in each episode that just don't make logical sense--and that (maddeningly) would've been so easy to fix. Sloppy. I'll watch every episode, just because of Hall and the fact that the premise itself is fascinating, but I think the writing could've been a lot better.

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Azure_Attitude 6 years, 5 months ago

The Daily Show, Colbert Report and My Name is Earl. Ooh, and The Shield.
Sheweeeee!!! What an intense show!!!

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SkepticKnitter 6 years, 5 months ago

Penn & Teller Bullsh*t! Fun and Educational!

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Tom Shewmon 6 years, 5 months ago

Six Feet Under was brilliant. Curb Your Enthusiasm sends me limp just at the onset of a scene----loved it since it's been on. The episode with the 'stained' blanket----thought I was gonna pop a kidney and the "Blacks" .....Leon is hilarious. The "N word" episode was TOO funny!

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logicsound04 6 years, 5 months ago

Family Guy is horrible. It can occassionally be funny (because it's so wrong), but the writing is not clever--all they do is throw a bunch of pop-culture references together in a cheap imitation of the Simpsons. There is no plot consistency and the jokes often don't tie into the storyline (if there is a defined story).

As far as writing goes, I loved SportsNight for the two or three seasons it was on. It was funny and thought-provoking, and it had a bunch of really good actors. It also had a serious, sentimental side.

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acg 6 years, 5 months ago

Family Guy, because its so wonderfully wrong. Boston Legal is done really well. I also love That 70's Show and Two & 1/2 Men.

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alm77 6 years, 5 months ago

TOB, I agree. Curb Your Enthusiasm is awesome and I do love The Office, but both of these shows have a fair amount of impromptu that wasn't originally in the script, but came to pass as the actors ad libbed until they got something great, or awkward, which also makes for great comedy. Flight of the Conchords is also well written, we love that show.

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tyger_lily 6 years, 5 months ago

I agree with Dexter also, gotta love America's favorite serial killer. I also really enjoyed Six Feet Under when it was on.

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Bassetlover 6 years, 5 months ago

Damages on Fx. Most riveting series we have ever watched. Each episode kept you on the edge of your seat. Sometimes you had to watch an episode twice just to catch every little thing that happened. And it had some of the best one-liners ever.

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DonnieDarko 6 years, 5 months ago

For pure, unadulterated fiction: Anything on the FOX "News" Channel.

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ontheotherhand 6 years, 5 months ago

"Frasier" was the best well-written comedy ever and I miss it! "Cheers" had great writers, too. Geez, I feel pretty old today . . . .

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nekansan 6 years, 5 months ago

The Daily show. Written every day, consistently funny and topical. And employs at least 1 KU grad.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 6 years, 5 months ago

Little House On The Prairie.

It won an award you know... for best written show... ever.

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deskboy04 6 years, 5 months ago

Major League Baseball. The script is already in...Yankees and Red Sox spend more than everyone else and one of them wins the World Series.

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badger 6 years, 5 months ago

Dexter's a pretty fine show.

Of course, when it first came out, I thought they were talking about the cartoon "Dexter's Laboratory," and I couldn't figure out why the little red-haired kid was killing people.

I don't watch much TV, but I've gotten to kind of like the Las Vegas CSI. The other two, not so much but something about the pacing of the Las Vegas version works really well.

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Mike Edson 6 years, 5 months ago

I would say Dexter, and My Name is Earl.

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BABBOY 6 years, 5 months ago

Sopranos was good the first couple of seasons then took itself too serious.

I do not watch any others shows regularly. I do not like set my clock each week to watch a TV show. I did make an exception for the Sopranos until they got to wierd with symbolism and other stuff. I admitt it. I just liked seeing Tony control everything and whacking any one that got in his way.

Gameday, I guess on ESPN

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Kyle Neuer 6 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, I know it's probably over, but "Deadwood".

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The_Original_Bob 6 years, 5 months ago

Flavor of Love or Survivor. It's hard to pick between those 2 high quality shows.

Yech. I'm going to go vomit.

Larry David's show had some pretty good writing for several seasons. ;) This season not so much.

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blue73harley 6 years, 5 months ago

I think "Boston Legal" is great.

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H_Lecter 6 years, 5 months ago

I only look at the pictures.

Who knows, but "According to Jim" makes me chuckle.

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