It’s the end of the week and, time permitting, we like to shine the Friday Spotlight on the best TV of the week. But programming has been kind of light what with the Olympics and all. And so, in need of some positivity, I made a short list of TV thinks that make me happy. Characters or performances or weird jokes – just little things that I enjoy.

 

  1. Whenever two characters who haven’t had a scene together in a while reconnect on Gotham and catch one another up it’s always great because it sounds crazy as hell but everybody’s cool with it. “I caught the rage virus and tried to destroy the city.” “Cool. I was dead for a bit and now I’m an arms dealer.”

 

  1. The second- and third-tier kids on Bob’s Burgers. They’re all so funny, but the standouts for me are Regular-Sized Rudy and Zeke. Rudy’s this nice kid who’s such a great foil and Zeke is, well, exactly what you expect from a Zeke. Virtually every time he speaks, it’s funny.

 

  1. Martha’s cast on Baskets. She’s been wearing it for three seasons and nobody has ever mentioned it.

 

  1. The way Tandy on Last Man on Earth tunes up his guitar before he sings, and with one exception, he never actually plays it. He smacks it with his palm instead, and it’s the weirdest running joke. I love it.

 

  1. Any narrator on Drunk History who has a pet. Somebody starts playing with their dog or cat instead of telling the story and I’m in heaven.

 

  1. The little details on Ash vs. Evil Dead that tell you that they understand a very specific kind of Michigan dirtbag culture.

 

  1. The way Heidi Klum says “Nina Garcia” when introducing the judges on Project Runway. It’s just a little off and she’s said it the exact same way every episode for sixteen seasons.

 

  1. Along those lines, the way Matt Iserman casually nails the pronunciation of his co-host on every episode of American Ninja Warrior. That’s a dude who knows how to say “Akbar Gbajabiamila”.

 

  1. Whenever John Oliver points out a Trump lie and he announces “We Got Him!” and balloons fall from the ceiling and the music cues up. Last Week Tonight is full of running jokes, but that’s one of the silliest.

 

  1. The food puns on The Good Place. Writer Megan Amram came up with hundreds of gag names for restaurants and they’ve only scratched the surface.

 

  1. I wasn’t going to do the same show twice, but if we’re talking food puns, those wonderfully awful Burgers of the Day on Bob’s Burgers make me laugh every time. Also, well over one hundred episodes and they still have a new exterminator pun name in the opening credits every week.

 

  1. Jay Bilzerian on Big Mouth. Such a rotten little garbage kid but by the end of the season, you can’t help but love him. Zouks got us again!

 

  1. Hank Azaria’s jacket on Brockmire.

 

  1. The ridiculously specific magazines we see people reading on Stan Against Evil. Like Evie’s favorite, Single Female Sheriff – does she subscribe or does the newsstand in Willard’s Mill only sell the one copy every month?

 

  1. Pausing every episode of Westworld multiple times to look for Easter Eggs on the ridiculously dense tablet displays. There aren’t as many as you’d think, but when you find one, it’s really satisfying.

 

  1. That shot in every Amazing Race episode where the first team starts to approach the mat and host Phil Keoghan leans in toward the greeter and points them out as if to say “See? That’s the team I was telling you about!” It’s very cute.

 

  1. Guys? We’re not recapping it, but Metta World Peace didn’t understand how to vote on Celebrity Big Brother and thought he was voting to keep Chuck Liddell but actually voted to evict him.

 

  1. After all these years, my favorite pun name is still Venture Bros.‘ Herr Trigger.

 

  1. Jareb running for mayor on The Detour and beating the incumbent, an alpaca. Also, the fact that they committed to “Jareb” in Season One and kept it up.

 

  1. Whenever Jon brags about his “cool shots” on Jon Glaser Loves Gear and it cuts to shaky GoPro footage of an inanimate object.

 

  1. The way The Gifted acknowledges that the X-Men movie continuity is a mess and the characters freely admit that they don’t know if the X-Men even exist anymore.

 

  1. The CIA’s mail robot on The Americans.

 

  1. Mack’s favorite weapon on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is an axe that’s also a shotgun. That’s just the best.

 

  1. I know the scenes in Love where Gus and his friends write theme songs for movies that didn’t get theme songs are supposed to emphasize how dorky he is, but I actually really enjoy the songs they come up with.

 

  1. You know on Ghosted when Max’s cover story was that he and Leroy were a bachelor party and also his name was “Bachelor”? That still makes me laugh when I think about it.

 

  1. The annual MasterChef Junior episode where the kids get to dump goop on Gordon and the other judges. Chocolate or pancake batter or whatever, it’s the same thing every season but the kids are delighted and that makes it fun.

 

  1. The running joke in Luke Cage where all of Luke’s shirts have bullet holes in them.

 

  1. The DuckTales reboot has been teasing the debut of Magica DeSpell and really setting it up as a big event. And I like that because, for all that it was just accepted in the original series, if you were a regular guy and suddenly there was an actual sorceress who hated you, that would be terrifying.

 

  1. Every single thing about Ruth Wilder / Zoya the Destroya on GLOW.

 

  1. You know that episode of Justice League Action where Batman learns that screwup Booster Gold is constantly saving the timestream from threats and starts to respect the guy? But in order to save the world, Booster has to manipulate time in a way that will make Batman forget everything he just learned and once time starts again, Batman chews out Booster for being a jackass? Yeah, that’s a really good episode.

 

  1. Any scene of Jimmy and his film crew shooting a commercial in Better Call Saul. They are all delightful and that one guy looks just like a young James Urbaniak.

 

  1. Jon Hamm’s guest appearances on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

 

  1. The one J.K. Simmons’ casual contempt for the other J.K. Simmons on Counterpart. Trust me, it makes sense.

 

  1. The Tick‘s reveal that electric supervillain Miss Lint has to share an apartment with her slacker ex-husband. It’s so sad.

 

  1. Darin Morgan writing a funny and perfect X-Files episode every season.

 

  1. Captain Holt’s relationship with his dog, Cheddar, on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He loves the little guy but remains as expressive as Holt ever gets.

 

  1. Stephen Colbert making edicts while wearing a big furry hat. There’s a lot to love on Late Show, but that bit kills me every time.

 

  1. The way so many characters on Wrecked think nudity will solve a problem and it virtually never does.

 

  1. Any time Nathan Fielder reacts to a surprise on Nathan For You with a simple “OK.” It’s that weird note of acceptance for even the craziest tangents that makes the show work.

 

  1. Vincent Adultman on BoJack Horseman. “I did a business!”

 

Spread the joy and let me know about the things that make you happy!

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