10 Bad Episodes Of Otherwise Perfect TV Shows
Because even the greatest television shows don't have perfect track records...
Whilst undertaking the painstaking research this piece involved (basically I sat in my pants watching YouTube for a few hours) I came to one important conclusion: there's been a glut of truly great television over the past twenty years.
Sometimes we forget how hard the best dramas hit us when we first saw them, or how our favourite comedies shaped our sense of humour. Looking back on some of the all-time greats, you have to appreciate the talent behind the scenes - considering some of these shows have ran for multiple seasons and racked up episode counts in the hundreds, it's amazing how consistent the quality is.
However, even the most highly regarded shows don't get it right every time. The blunders on this list stem from a range of factors - some of the shows had arguably been going on for too long and become stale, while others are the result of writers straying from what made us fall in love in the first place. Others, meanwhile, fall squarely into the "what the hell were they thinking?" category and defy all explanation.
Below are ten turkeys from otherwise perfect shows. Spoilers most definitely will ensue.
10. Seinfeld - The Puerto Rican Day
It's possibly a controversial claim to say Seinfeld only had one truly poor episode - indeed there are a handful of sub-par offerings to be found within the show's early years and the final two non-Larry David seasons. But dammit, it's my list and personally, I find these so-called weaker episodes have redeeming points and wouldn't necessarily call them terrible. Even the much-maligned finale is more underwhelming than a total debacle.
The main stinker in the show's run for my money is The Puerto Rican Day. With the action based in real time, the episode was clearly designed as a callback to earlier classics such as The Chinese Restaurant. However, while those episodes had lashings of the sharp dialogue and clever observations that made the format work, The Puerto Rican Day has none of this. Indeed, the restricted setting actually accentuates the weaknesses that had crept into the show by the final season - contrived plot devices, more obvious gags and the increasingly cartoonish behaviour of the main characters.
George's plot - where he tries to find the source of an annoying laser pointer following him - is tiresome and is a prime example of loud, ALWAYS YELLING EVERYTHING George. The controversial flag-burning scene feels like it's trying too hard to shock, and a sequence where Jerry, George and Kramer's alter-egos all meet could have been so much more. As the show's 176th and penultimate episode, it's perhaps a sign that this 1990s classic was losing its touch. Jerry Seinfeld turned down a bucketload of cash by opting not to continue the show for another season - in hindsight it was probably a wise decision.