Bad Haircuts, Good Car Ideas, Lube Men: The Very Specific TV Awards For 2019

Hello and welcome to the Very Specific Television Awards of 2019. What a year. So much… stuff. So many… things. It’s all so much that it’s difficult to wrap your head around let alone discuss in any sort of logical way. Which is why we are not going to do that. No, instead, for the fourth year in a row, we are just going to hand out awards to some of the funniest and weirdest and most notable events of the television year.

Some ground rules:

  • There are no rules
  • This is my list
  • Make your own list if you have so many good ideas

Away we go.

Best Worst Haircut — Fleabag


Fleabag’s sister Claire showed up with this haircut in the show’s second season and promptly set the world on fire. Or, set my timeline on fire at least. So many screencaps, justifiably. She said the haircut made her look “like a pencil,” but I would argue it’s more of a parenthesis-zero-apostrophe situation. Here, like this — (0’

Either way, her misfortune is our treasure. Congrats.

Best Caption — Game of Thrones


There were a lot of problems with the final season of Game of Thrones. No one is arguing against that. There’s time to re-litigate all of it later if you want. For now, though, we must focus on this, an image of a horse on a battlefield that was captioned by some genius rascal at HBO with “neighs hoarsely.” Hoarsely! It’s so beautiful I could cry and it creates a tiny little soft spot in my heart for the entire season. Yes, the issues and the coffee cups and the genocidal turn by Daenerys and the screen so dark you couldn’t see the action. Of course. But also…

Neighs hoarsely. Come on.

Best Song — “Misbehavin’” from The Righteous Gemstones

This song has been stuck in my head on-and-off since the moment I heard it and I suspect it will stay that way for the foreseeable future. It’s so relentlessly catchy. And it features the best and most confusing line of the entire television year: “running through the house with a pickle in my mouth.” I had never once considered doing this but I also can’t argue with their position here. If I saw a child running through the house with a pickle in his mouth, I’d probably classify it as misbehaving, too.

Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Also Being a Good Song — “Holiday Party” from Documentary Now!

The “Co-op” episode of Documentary Now! was genius for about a dozen reasons and you should probably go watch or re-watch the whole thing to check my math on that, even though my math is correct. My favorite was this little number, “Holiday Party,” if only because the twist at the end of the first verse had me howling. The delivery of it. So theatrical and silly and perfect. Slip it into your Christmas party playlists. Have some fun.

Best Dance — Noho Hank from Barry


No contest.

Best Series of Cameos — What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows is a blast of a show, as weird and strange and funny as you could possibly hope for. This was never more true than in “The Trial,” an episode in which the main vampires faced justice from a tribunal of other fictional vampires from film and television. I did a double-take at seeing Tilda Swinton but I was outright cackling once Wesley Snipes Skyped in as Blade. I love a good Blade-related twist. It’s one of the many reasons I loved Detroiters.

Most GIFable Actor or Actress — Paul Giamatti


Paul Giamatti is the King of GIFs. I’m sorry if you disagree but you are wrong. There he is on Lodge 49 competing in a dumpling eating contest in Mexico, and here he is on Billions


… doing some incredible phone business while setting up some sort of duplicitous action. I really like this one. I think it’s the little bounce he does in the middle while switching phones. Or maybe it’s just… all of it? I will continue to think about this or maybe just keep watching this GIF a lot. One or the other.

Most Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Squelching — Stranger Things


A NEW CAPTION WRITER AT NETFLIX: Hey, what do we put for the sound in this scene?

LARRY THE VETERAN CAPTION WRITER WHO HAS SEEN EVERYTHING: [eating a sandwich] Definitely a squelch.

A NEW CAPTION WRITER AT NETFLIX: … Again? I feel like we have a lot of squelches in here…

LARRY THE VETERAN CAPTION WRITER WHO HAS SEEN EVERYTHING: [still chewing] Listen, kid. They do a squelch, we write squelch. That’s the game.

Best Payoff — Ballers


One of my favorite weird facts about television over the last few years is that Elizabeth Warren was a superfan of Ballers, the Football Entourage show starring The Rock. She loved Ballers so much. So much. She loved Ballers so much that she wrote about loving it in the introduction to her book, This Fight Is Our Fight. On the first page. This is real.

And it got better. Look closely at the book The Rock is reading on the beach in the first episode of the show’s final season.


Putting aside the fact that she mentions the show Ballers in a book The Rock is reading on Ballers and the questions this raises about the entire Ballers Universe, this is a fun shoutout and a fitting end to the weirdest little platonic television love affair I can ever remember.

Best Guy and/or Alien — The Car Guy from I Think You Should Leave and Baby Yoda (tie)


Car Guy

– Bald
– Adorable
– Good car ideas

Baby Yoda

– Bald
– Adorable
– Drank some soup

No way to separate them. Only solution is to call it a tie and move on.

Best Potentially Disturbing Offscreen Development — Cousin Greg’s Journey on Succession


The second season of Succession was a whirlwind, with Congressional hearings and deals falling through and betrayal, but I would not be doing my job if I didn’t point out how concerned I am about my sweet boy Cousin Greg. A lot of his problems were right there on the screen but there was almost a second, more disturbing issue going on in the background. You had to look closely. First, there was his repeated mention of cocaine, which seems to imply he’s developing an issue there. Then there was the weird cult-like meeting in his apartment in the episode where he got a haircut. That was weird. It was definitely some kind of NXIVM-ass “personal growth” trap and it was happening on his couches and it was never mentioned again. What’s going on with Greg?



Best Concept — Russian Doll


Makes an excellent point. Still stands.

Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Lubing Right on Up and Sliding into a Sewer — Watchmen

Stacked field but this one has to be the winner.

Best Use of Twitter by an Actor in an Emmy-Nominated Television Show — Henry Winkler

Lots of actors and actresses use Twitter to shout about politics or engage in various forms of brand-building. Henry Winkler, television icon and Emmy winner for his role in Barry, used it this summer to share pictures of fish he caught while on vacation.

This is much better. Everyone start tweeting like this now. Not necessarily all fish pictures, though. That could be a bit much. But definitely the same energy. More “Henry Winkler tweeting fish pictures while on vacation” energy, in general, now that I think about it. That would be nice.

Best Description of a New Series — Blood & Treasure

Allow me to present two perfect sentences.

Blood & Treasure centers on “a brilliant antiquities expert and a cunning art thief who team up to catch a ruthless terrorist who funds his attacks through stolen treasure. As they crisscross the globe hunting their target, they unexpectedly find themselves in the center of a 2,000-year-old battle for the cradle of civilization.”

An art thief and an FBI agent team up to track down a terrorist who funds his devious activities with treasure heists. Yes. Yes, this will do just fine. The show was actually pretty fun, too, in a summer network series kind of way. This is all I’ve ever asked for, really — shows about attractive criminals and attractive cops running around gorgeous locations to hunt a terrorist who is flush with treasure heist loot. It’s crazy it took someone this long to figure it out.

Best Cocktail — Derek’s Nonsense Martinis on The Good Place


A few things to note here:

  • Jason Mantzoukas is a valuable natural resource and should be protected by the government
  • I love how confidently he holds the glass, like in his mind he’s saying, “Yes, of course, this is a fashionably smart cocktail and this is how one who drinks such cocktails carries oneself”
  • I’ve spent the last 90 seconds or so thinking about the funniest thing he could have in that glass and the best option I’ve come up with so far is an entire basketball balancing precariously on the rim, just wobbling and teetering as he strides through the crowd with the self-assurance of Don Draper

I am going to miss The Good Place very much when it ends next year.

Best Greeting — Veronica Mars


I refuse to give you the context for this. A single droplet of background information would ruin it. I would never do that to you.

Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Grumbling the Loose Cannon Main Character’s Last Name While Sitting at a Piano With a Glass of Wine — Lance Reddick on Bosch


I am so happy for Lance Reddick. He’s found the perfect role. He gets to spend entire seasons of television alternating between disappointed and furious and frustrated all because Bosch is up to his goddamn loose cannon shenanigans again. It feels like 10-15 percent of his lines are just grumbling Bosch’s last name, sometimes with an effing in front of it. He’s so good at it. I’m not being facetious here. He is honestly so good at playing a cranky police chief. The voice and the posture and the face. It’s all perfect.

If any you know Lance Reddick, please ask him to sit at a piano with a glass of wine and grumble my last name, possibly with a “you son of a bitch” at the end. Film it and email it to me.

Most Useful GIF From a Very Good Show That Got Canceled Because Nobody But Me Watched It — Lodge 49


I am not ready to talk about losing Lodge 49. Please just accept this good GIF and let me grieve.

Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Dropping Repeated Emmeffers — Regina King


Look, there were like 40 things from Watchmen that could have made this list. An early draft awarded Best Fart to Jeremy Irons, which is a collection of words I never expected to type in that (or any) order. But I don’t see how I can avoid recognizing Regina King for her continued and terrific usage of our language’s best cuss word. She delivers it in a way that makes it seem like the word was made for her and her alone. I might make it my text alert.

Best Murder That Took Place in Public and Featured a Pig Mask — Killing Eve


Background: Villainelle, the assassin on Killing Eve, was hired to kill a wayward husband, and did so in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, in a sexy pig costume, in a room with a glass front facing the street, in front of many people, by hanging him upside down and cutting him collar-to-belt with a large knife.

I have thought about this a lot and come to a decision: I do not think I would like this. If you have to murder me, if I really can’t talk you out of it, please do not gut me like a fish while dressed as a sexy pig. I don’t care what people tell you. This is not something I want.

Best Bickering Boys — Big Little Lies


Big Little Lies was kind of a mess in season two, which was a shame. There were still some good parts, and yes, I am speaking about Meryl Streep going full Columbo and Laura Dern shouting about wealth to her train-obsessed doofus husband. My favorite part of the season was the rapidly devolving relationship between Ed and Nathan. Ed started turning into a little supervillain and it flummoxed Nathan so much. He kept trying to fix things and it always ended with cussing or tussling. He was so confused about it. I hope there’s a third season and it’s just these two on a road trip to, like, Texas.

Best Holiday Spirit — The View

Please do watch this entire clip. What I wouldn’t give to live in a real world where someone shouts “LASAGNA” and a crowd of people starts whooping and dancing about it. The View is rarely watchable and should only be congratulated in very limited situations, but this is definitely one of them. I want lasagna so much right now.

Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Being Relatable — True Detective


We’ve all been there, Stephen Dorff.