My tops of 2011:
Season four of Mad Men really brought the show into the 1960s, seeing the newly-established Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce established in a new, modern office and struggling to make their business survive in the midst of ongoing existential crises. Amongst my favorite developments was seeing one Ms. Peggy Olson come into her own. In this clip, she calls a lazy, porn-obsessed artist out on his claims that he’s a free spirit and she’s repressed.
The smartest trash on TV. Season 3 brought us the long awaited hook-up of Sookie and Eric Northman and made Bill much more interesting by making him much more ambiguous morally. In this clip, the ever malevolent Pam, Eric’s “progeny,” completely loses it as she faces losing Eric.
Sons of Anarchy
Did SOA jump the shark in season 4? Only season 5 will tell.
If lush costumes and sets, minutely accurate historical data, and conflicted, loveable, morally bankrupt characters are your thing, then Boardwalk Empire is for you. Much has been made of the excellent casting of Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson, but the show deserves at least as much praise for the casting and writing of Margaret Schroeder (played by Kelly McDonald), one of the most enigmatic leading ladies currently on television.
Hyperbole and a Half: The hilarious and strangely touching visual and verbal stylings of Hyperbole brighten up any icky day. Clean all the things!
Smitten Kitchen: So yum. My favorite, go-to cooking blog.
Dooce: Heather Armstrong has lost her edge a bit in the last couple years as she’s grown wealthier and seemingly touchier about criticism. However, there’s still something fun and lovely about spending a few minutes in Dooce’s world.
The women of Slate’s Double X: Quick access to intelligent comment on woman-related news and ideas.
Go Fug Yourself: No day is complete without a stopover to visit the Queens of Snark, the Chiefs of the Fashion Police, the Princesses of Pop Culture—the Fug Girls.
“Holocene,” Bon Iver: The most haunting song of 2011.
“Only if for a Night,” Florence and the Machine: The second most haunting song…?
“Feral,” Radiohead: Almost certainly the third. All hail Radiohead’s reinvention!
“We Found Love,” Rihanna: I didn’t know I liked Rihanna but I love this song and I find the video intriguing for its depiction of a toxic relationship (although less so for all the acid wash and glimpses of Riri’s bum).
“Underwater,” Allison Harvard: This addition is half a joke and half a shout out to my comrades-at-arms. Having said that, I still get this frickin’ thing stuck in my head so that has to count for something, right?