We appreciate that you stayed quietly in your seats since last week, because we’re back with Part Two of the Ninth Annual Spunky Awards! Outstanding Performance by an Inanimate Object! Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role! Best Dog! The trophies are shined and ready!
Best Weapon – There were a surprising number of contenders this year. There was a magic knife on Gotham, the survivors on Wrecked were given a literal pile of weapons (including a morningstar!), Sebastian St. Cloud got his hands on a lightning gun, Ash scored some cool future tech. But it’s hard to top a classic like Lodge 49’s spear gun. Bruce Campbell’s character (The Captain) owns an antique spear gun and once you introduce that, it’s just a matter of who’s going to end up getting shot with an old-timey harpoon. Michael Scott on The Office once claimed that introducing a gun to a scene is the most dramatic thing you can do. Clearly, he never considered a gun that shoots spears.
Outstanding Performance by an Inanimate Object – Most years we present this award, we just get to pat ourselves on the back for being clever, But in 2018, the winner of this category had an impact on real world appliance sales, which is a phrase we doubted we’d ever see on this website. Yes, we’re talking about the Crockpot that Killed Jack Pearson on This Is Us. Of course, the crockpot didn’t technically killed Jack, it just shorted out and started the electrical fire that led to the Pearson home burning down. This tragedy resulted in our hero Jack inhaling so much smoke because he had to save everyone (including Kate’s dog) that it triggered a heart ailment no one knew he had and died at the hospital after appearing to be totally fine. Right after the show aired, everyone involved had to do damage control to make sure people knew that it wasn’t the crockpot’s fault, because if they’d just sprung for one that wasn’t a thousand years old, maybe it wouldn’t have shorted out. So there!
Best Running Joke – This joke has been popping up once or twice a season for years now, and it’s always funny. Anytime somebody on BoJack Horseman (usually Mr. Peanutbutter) orders a banner or a personalized cake or anything with a message, the instructions always end up as part of that message (“Peanutbutter is one word”). Because the best jokes are in the background and require quick reading!
Biggest Surprise – There were so many big reveals in this season of Venture Bros. Not only did they answer long-running questions (How did Jonas Venture die? Who is the boys’ mother?), but we learned that Dr. Venture is a clone (though we don’t know of who, but check the recap for some theories) and after it was implied early on, the season finale confirmed that Dr. Venture and The Monarch are blood relatives. That’s going to change things up considerably for the arch-enemies, and if the glimpse of the time-travelling Doc we saw is any indication, they’re going to end up as allies in the very near future.
Best A.I. – Technically, most of the characters on Westworld are A.I., but no character took advantage of the “I” part better than Maeve. Last season she unlocked God Mode and pumped up her stats, and this season we saw just what that meant. She could take control of other hosts, either by giving commands or just by controlling their actions with her brain, which created some of the best moments of the season. That Renaissance tableau in the finale where she slowed down her attackers so much that they became immobile, the scene where she used a whole town to fight the Cheat Code Cowboy, and that moment where she unleashed a robot buffalo stampede in the middle of the lab and just stood amidst the chaos, being awesome.
Supporting Player of the Year – We have to give it up for Anthony Carrigan who made his mark on two different shows this year. He returned to Gotham as hitman Victor Zsasz and brought some weird energy with him. Zsasz has been great all along, but this year he got some of his mojo back (You can only have him fail to kill Jim Gordon so many times before he’s less scary) and faced a choice that brought some real depth to the character. And we loved it. But then Barry came out and introduced the world to the personable gangster NoHo Hank and Carrigan turned in the performance of the year. Words can’t do it justice. So we got to see Carrigan as a small part of a big ensemble and then steal a show from a cast that includes scene stealers like Henry Winkler and Stephen Root.
Best Duo – You know who we love? Hitchcock and Scully from Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Played by Dirk Blocker and Joel McKinnon Miller, the laziest detectives in the precinct are an absolute joy. Frequently found either eating or with food stuck to them from last time they were eating, these two very occasionally get to be useful, surprising nobody more than themselves. But generally, they’re trying very hard not to have to stand up or finding the best place to nap and every time either of them get a line, it’s going to be funny.
Best Kittycat – When is the best cat not a cat at all? When his true form is a goblin and he takes the shape of a cat to serve as his master’s familiar. You guys? The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a weird show. Especially if your only exposure to the franchise is the Melissa Joan Hart show. Regardless, the new incarnation of Salem is a splendid black cat who, this time around, does not talk in cat form. (Fun fact: Nick Bakay, who voiced Salem on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, wrote the Paul Blart movies.)
The “Who’s a Good Boy?” Award for Best Dog – In a year full of good dogs like Cheddar and the service dog from Patriot, but none made a bigger impression than the plain-spoken German Shepherd who can start fires with his mind, The Tick’s Midnight. Voiced by Townsend Coleman (the voice of the Tick on the nineties animated series), Midnight is the only survivor of the Flag Five, which left the talking pyrokinetic dog with some wicked survivor’s guilt. But he worked through it and wrote the self-help book Good Intentions. Not only is Midnight a good dog, but he wants the best for you.
Badass of the Year – There were some solid badasses this year, but the real standout is Brooke Dillman as Karen on Wrecked. When they’re fighting for their lives, whether against one another or a common foe, the wreckedaways all know that Karen is a killing machine, to the extent that she warned everybody to take her out first or she’d definitely be the last one standing. This former cult member and Bing employee took an arrow to the gut and kept on going, just like Brock Samson except without all that training. She’s a self-taught badass and she will kill you if she has to. By the way, just to make Dillman even cooler, she does a lot of voices on Bob’s Burgers.
Best Cliffhanger – It’s tough to beat dozens of gas-masked survivors coming up from underground to confront the cast of Last Man on Earth. The only problem is that FOX cancelled the show after the finale aired and it will remain forever unresolved. Just for starters, one of those people would definitely turn out to be a huge star who would die before they got to finish a line, and we can only speculate. Chris Pratt? Kristen Bell? WE WILL NEVER KNOW! We’ll also never know what those gas-masked folks were up to and what they had in mind for Tandy and the rest. It’s possible that we’ll learn to love in a post-Last Man on Earth world, but it seems unlikely.
Most Passive-Aggressive Moment – Now, don’t think for a moment that we’re endorsing anything about disgraced former CBS head Les Moonves. But as he was on his way our on sexual harassment allegations, his wife and Big Brother host Julie Chen suddenly started signing off as “Julie Chen-Moonves”. It was a bold stance and you just know nobody in that studio felt at all comfortable when it happened.
Best Show within a Show – There’s a lot to love about GLOW, and one of those things was “The Good Twin”, an episode that was (almost entirely), an episode of GLOW as produced by Sam and company. We’re talking hilariously cheesy skits, including Zora’s good twin coming to America with her pet goat (who later tries to hook up with Sheila), an all-out music video for an anti-kidnapping song, ads for off-brand merchandise, Liberty Belle fighting her way to her daughter and a voodoo spell. It was an affectionate tribute to the day of the real life Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and also completely nuts.
Best Hairpiece – Usually, this award goes to a single hairpiece, but in 2018, there’s a whole Wig Wall. Yessiree! It belong to famous soap opera actress Moira Rose (the always enchanting Catherine O’Hara) on the charming and quirky Schitt’s Creek. Yes, Moira and her family may have lost their entire fortune and still be forced to live in a motel in the small town they own–Schitt’s Creek–but the whole family at least got to keep their extensive wardrobes, which in Moira’s case includes a fabulous assortment of wigs. They are wigs of many colors, lengths, with and without bangs…heck, there’s even a blonde afro wig. Moira’s outfits are often outrageous, so it makes sense that her hairstyles must be everchanging as well.
Biggest Tearjerker – It happened early in the year, right after the 2018 Superbowl as a matter of fact, but it was a very long time coming. After a season and a half of conspiracy theories and red herrings, This Is Us patriarch Jack Pearson’s cause of death was finally revealed; and it was simultaneously less dramatic than we expected while being even more heartbreaking than we could have anticipated. We’ve all been watching TV and movies long enough to experience the deaths of many beloved characters. Jack’s death was unusual in that we knew it was imminent, but we didn’t know key details. His death–from cardiac arrest due to an unknown heart ailment that likely would have killed him suddenly at some point–happened in the lull after the Pearsons had all escaped a harrowing house fire, mostly thanks to their heroic husband and father. While his wife was making hotel arrangements and checking on the kids, Jack was expiring alone in a hospital room. The tears came when, upon getting the impossible news that Jack was gone, an incredulous Rebecca brushed it off as a mistake and marched in to tell Jack about the hilarious mistake. Her mix of horror and anguish at seeing her soulmate dead in a stark hospital room was positively devastating, and we never even saw the body.
Hold on to those seats because we’re wrapping up the Spunky Awards next week. Who will be our Entertainer of the Year! We will not tell you! Until next Friday.