Our stomachs have been stuffed to maximum capacity, courtesy of Thanksgiving dinner. Christmas lights are being illegally strung in dorms across campus. Snow has actually carpeted the Rochester ground despite the uncharacteristically warm weather. And 2010 is creeping up behind our backs faster than we can imagine.

This can only mean one thing to those of us expecting wrapped boxes of television shows in our stockings this holiday season: It is time for the lists. Naughty and nice, best and worst, top 10s and bottom 10s, the works. With that, I present the first Idiot Box Awards. Fall television is coming to a close and it is time to acknowledge those shows that went above and beyond in distracting me from the endless onslaught of work. Spoilers abound, beware.

The Comeback: After one of the most critically derailed and put-down shows in it’s fifth season, Shonda Rhimes and crew stepped up their game with season six of ‘Grey’s Anatomy.” I’m not quite sure how I made it through last year. ‘Grey’s” seemed to be drowning in an overwhelming amount of criticism. I blame the ghost sex. Maybe the payoff was worth it, but I’m sorry, whoever thought that particular creative storyline was ‘genius” seriously doesn’t understand what good television is. Despite the mistakes of last season, the writers got their act together and have brought the heat throughout season six. The merging of hospitals has created new tension and drama that doesn’t rely on character relationships. The maternity leaves of leading actresses Ellen Pompeo and Katherine Heigel added to the creative obstacles of this season. Stories had to take different directions and brought brilliant results. McDreamy got to prove he is McSmarty (not that we didn’t know that already) with truly impressive medical cases that showcase the writers’ talent in telling the medical drama. Congratulations ‘Grey’s,” you’re back on the nice list this year.

Best Episode of the Fall: Do you ever watch an episode of a show that makes you stop and think, and then you feel compelled to watch it again right after?
OK, maybe it’s just me, but there were a few outstanding showcases from my favorite shows this fall. Jim and Pam’s wedding came in a close, notable second for this spot with Paul Feig’s brilliant directing throughout ‘Niagara Falls.”

But Mad Men’s ‘Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency” blew other episodes to pieces. The third season of a show tends to be the time when a show will fly or tank. ‘Mad Men” took its intelligence to new heights. We now know the characters well enough that the writer’s can really have fun writing the stories and this episode showcased that aspect in multitudes. It wasn’t just the fact that Weiner wrote an hour that ended with actual blood being shed in Sterling Cooper by a lawn mower yes a lawn mower but this episode showcased the brilliant talent of each and every character. And that is how great television is written.

The Newbie Award: There were many new shows this fall, from the science fiction dramas ‘FlashForward” and ‘V” to the medical failures ‘Trauma” and ‘Mercy.” However, the most outstanding original shows this autumn season were the comedies. ‘Modern Family” and ‘Community” stood out among all the rest. Now, unfortunately with my demanding schedule I was only able to watch the pilot of Modern Family and have not caught up, so this is me acknowledging its awesomeness that I’m sure many of you will argue for. However, I have to give this one to the crew over at Greendale Community College. ‘Community’s” quirky nature and hilarious scripts have just the right amount of heart and truth behind them. The cast is great. The setting is filled with amusement potential. All signs point to a winner.

Breakout Star: Along with the best new show of the fall, it is only natural that the newest star of the television airways was bred from the same crop. Danny Pudi of ‘Community” has proven to be one hell of a comedic actor. He has made brief appearances in many other popular shows such as ‘Gilmore Girls” and ‘Greek” but none that offered him the comedic gold mine provided by ‘Community.” Pudi plays Abed, the Indian student whose seeming naivety always comes back to the haunt his peers. He has shown us his genius as a filmmaker who tells the future and we’ve been audience to his vocal talents that can charm a rat back into its cage. And while most of Pudi’s acting is for the pure bizarre amusement that ‘Community” provides, like the show itself, the heart behind him makes Abed all the more charming.

Most Addicting: There are shows that you don’t expect to love. You don’t expect them to be the hour of television you look forward to most. For me that show was ‘Glee.” I expected it to be ‘High School Musical” for television. In some ways it is, but in other ways, it’s just awesome. Seriously, just imagine life with a soundtrack. On a bad day, a slow ballad plays. When a boy asks you out a love song comes out of nowhere. The slow-motion feelings of an emotional song as a fight breaks out (ahem, ‘Hide and Seek”) Emotions amplified to the max. ‘Glee” proves that adding musical numbers to high school drama makes it 10 times more entertaining.

And, with that, I declare the fall Idiot Box Awards complete. Looking forward to the insane amount of awesomeness hitting the airwaves in January. In the meantime, keep watching that idiot box!

Rosenberg is a member of
the class of 2012.

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