Peaks and troughs 

The year in television

Since even the best television series can have bad weeks, sometimes compiling a "Best Shows of the Year" list feels a little scattershot, honoring the bloopers alongside the classics. Instead, here's a list of 20 highlights and moments better left forgotten from 2006, organized by when they first aired.

Jan. 2: "Arrested Development" makes hilarious sport of TV "event" programming -- and its own imminent demise -- in the episode "S.O.B.s" (for "Save Our Bluths").

March 2: In Rainn Wilson's tour de force of comedic acting, testy weirdo Dwight Schrute delivers a fascist speech to a sales convention in "The Office."

March 12: Uncle Junior shockingly shoots Tony, putting him -- followed by the audience -- into a two-episode coma in "The Sopranos."

March 22: After Scientologist Isaac Hayes quits "South Park," its creators kill off his character Chef by throwing him off a cliff, impaling him on a tree stump, mauling him with a bear and mountain lion, and much, much more.

April 6: Juliette Lewis guest stars as a vengeful bounty hunter on a Tarantino-parodying episode of "My Name Is Earl."

April 9: Democrat Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) defeats Republican Arnie Vinick (Alan Alda) in "The West Wing's" presidential election arc and seriously derailing the momentum of the show's final five episodes.

April 29: Live on C-SPAN, Stephen Colbert mocks President Bush to his face at White House Correspondents' Association dinner. The Internet guffaws -- the room, not so much.

May 3: Michael shoots Libby and Ana-Lucia on "Lost," establishing the castaway series as the rare TV show that can't kill off its hot women characters fast enough.

May 29: Taylor Hicks wins "American Idol." Awkward middle-aged-looking guys dance with even more enthusiasm than usual.

July 9: On "Deadwood's" battle of champions, Dority and Captain Turner brawl in the streets in one of the most exciting and violent fist-fight scenes ever on television.

Aug. 6: For the debut of VH-1's "Flava of Love's" second season, contestant Somethin' accidentally defecates on TV. Technically, it occurs off-camera and on a staircase, but TV standards go right in the crapper.

Sept. 10-11: ABC's four-hour miniseries "The Path to 9/11" concludes that the Sept. 11 attacks were pretty much Bill Clinton's fault.

Sept. 25: Aaron Sorkin's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" attempts to establish its fictional sketch comedy show-within-a-show as up-to-the-moment political satire with ... a parody of Gilbert & Sullivan? Edgy!

Sept. 28: On "Survivor: Cook Islands'" third episode, the racially segregated teams integrate, making America wonder what the point of segregation was in the first place. Maybe "Survivor" was commenting on the very pointlessness of segregation itself. Yeah, that's it.

Oct. 6: On "Battlestar Galactica," the Cylon occupation of the human colony of New Caprica becomes an allegorical critique of the Iraq war.

Oct. 15: On "The Wire," Tommy Carcetti gets elected Baltimore's first white mayor in a generation, but his reform plans predictably founder.

Oct. 18: In spite of -- or perhaps because of -- those weird neck tattoos, Jeffrey Sebelia wins the third season of "Project Runway."

Oct. 23: "Heroes" coins the new national catchphrase, "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World."

Nov. 5: On "The Simpsons" annual Halloween episode (airing, yet again, in November), aliens Kang and Kodos' occupation of Springfield becomes an allegorical critique of the Iraq war.

Dec. 7: On "30 Rock," Tracy Jordan, star of a fictionalized version of "Saturday Night Live," goes off his meds before appearing on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." The episode proves to be significantly funnier than either "Saturday Night Live" or "Late Night With Conan O'Brien."

Did I forget something? Let me know in the comments!

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  • Re: Fresh air

    • Local band Manchester Orchestra, who provided the soundtrack, probably would have appreciated a shout-out.

    • on June 29, 2016
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