Thursday, June 12

Nuts To This.

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Meet Evan.

Evan is my 8-year old Nephew, and the Official Spokesbaby of the CDP. You may remember the very first photograph ever taken of him HERE, or when I held him in my arms and had an existential breakdown HERE, or how about when he guest-blogged his very first vacation RIGHT HERE?

Anyway, Evan is currently a normal kid attempting to live a normal childhood. He's working his way through Elementary School, making friends and absorbing knowledge at a rapid clip. He's quick-witted, passionate about nearly everything and always down for a game of MarioKart, which I have absolutely no problem accommodating whenever I come to visit. He's currently obsessed with Star Wars, as you can see in the look of unbridled joy on his face in the above photograph. I think he's even got a girlfriend. Bottom line, he's an awesome kid, and he's going to make an awesome adult.

In certain regards, Evan is a lot like I was as a kid. He's a little small for his age, so he's using his smarts and humor to get him through tough situations. He's a little nerdy, creates epic stories on the fly, is plenty social but is just as content with a book or video game. Like I said, he's just doing his best to make it through that rough patch of adolescence that probably won't smooth out for another decade at best. We've all been there.

However, where Evan is NOT like I was as a kid (and probably not like you were, either), is that he suffers from a genuinely life-threatening food allergy.

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In any other category, he's just a regular dude, but when it comes to his immune system, he might as well be Paul Pfeiffer from The Wonder Years. It's woefully unfair. Growing up is hard enough when you're perfectly healthy; I cannot imagine what it must be like to also have to worry about dying by touching an unsanitized stair railing. Or going to a baseball game. Or just hanging out at a friend's house.

Evan currently has major peanut allergies, but is also severely allergic to tree nuts, eggs, garlic, onions and soybeans. So, basically everything. Imagine your diet without those foods. Now imagine not even being able to share a room with those foods without going into shock. Eggs? Are you kidding me?

Immune issues run in my family. My mother has horrible allergies (she's the only person I know who's allergic to their own hair). My sister has immune issues (mosquito bites can swell to the size of a golf ball). I fortunately skipped the line (no allergies yet), but Evan did not. He's had more emergency trips to the hospital than I care to count. More IVs, blood tests and needles than any kid should have to endure. Anything peanut-related is banned from his household at any cost. I accidentally opened a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg on Easter, and it was slapped out of my hands. Everyone was really mad at me. This is serious business.

Look, I'll be honest with you. I have no idea why there has been such an influx of crazy nut/food allergies among kids over the last 15 years, but I'm almost positive that it's our fault somehow. Maybe it's our diets, maybe the way we shelter and sanitize our children from allowing their Immune System to do their intended job. I don't know, but I know I love my nephew and want him to live as normal of a life as possible. Growing up is hard enough; the poor guy doesn't need to live in a bubble.

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Evan's Elementary School has been as accommodating for him as possible, as most schools are in this new age of major allergies. There are peanut-free lunch tables and cafeteria sections. This is all fine and good, but it's never a foolproof way to make sure these kids properly avoid any possible areas where peanut dust and residue may lurk (which is basically everywhere nowadays). Look at your fast food wrappers and Dairy Queen cups; peanuts are everywhere, and when they suddenly become a thing that could kill you, the world becomes a much smaller, foreboding place. Throw onions, eggs and soybeans into the mix, and it becomes downright unbearable. He's been having more issues at school, as his allergies continue to become more pronounced.

Evan has reached a severity with his allergies that my sister is now faced with a rough decision: She made need to pull Evan from school in order to keep him safe while his allergies are being monitored, treated and (hopefully) cured. This is a worst-case scenario, but it's becoming a sad reality. Evan doesn't want to be home-schooled. My sister doesn't want to take him from his friends. And personally, we all feel that being pulled from school would essentially be a death sentence for his social upbringing. It's a pivotal experience of childhood that could potentially be robbed from him as a result of his allergies. Evan's options are becoming extremely limited.

But there is a solution.

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Meet Scarlet.

Scarlet is a service dog from Noelle's Dogs Four Hope, a wonderful business that specializes in training and placing service animals that assist people with things like seizures, mobility assistance and...food allergies! Similar to Seeing Eye dogs, certain animals can be trained to sniff out food allergens (like peanuts, onions and soybeans) so they may alert their owner to potential dangers and steer clear. After an application/waiting list process, Scarlet was hand-picked for Evan and is currently being trained to hone in on Evan's specific allergies as we speak.

As you can imagine, this is tremendous news for Evan and his family.

Scarlet isn't a luxury item by any means. Scarlet is a loving, life-saving tool that will be used to keep Evan safe. Scarlet is akin to an insulin pump, pacemaker or Epipen, although the companionship certainly wouldn't hurt, either. Evan loves animals, and fortunately they're one of the few things he's not allergic to (I hope). With Scarlet, Evan could continue to go to school without fear. He would be able to travel to public zoos, tourist attractions, baseball games, vacation sites and anywhere else a typical kid would want to hang out. Scarlet could keep Evan safe, where humans, unfortunately, cannot.

Of course, I'm writing this essay for a reason: These dogs are pricey.

Noelle's is a fantastic organization, but training these animals is a long, time-consuming process handled by professionals. They're put through a rigorous boot camp to ensure beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are doing their job immaculately. This is literally a life-and-death task, so it's handled with the appropriate amount of seriousness.

It will cost $5,000 for Evan to own Scarlet, and thanks to a mountain of medical bills (along with the fact that most people I know don't just have $5k lying around), this is a cost that is proving difficult for Evan and his mother to scrounge up. Because of this, they have started a GoFundMe page where you can donate anything you'd like to the cause. Check it out, read Evan's story and learn more about what you could to do change my nephew's life for the better. And hey, just sharing it on Facebook and Twitter is completely free and would also mean a lot. You know me, and you know this isn't something I do regularly. I really believe it will help.

Now let's have some fun with this.

One of the things that I usually see on GoFundMe or Kickstarter projects are rewards or incentives to motivate people into donating. Evan doesn't have any, but that won't stop me from making a few of my own, so check this shit out:

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IF YOU DONATE $25 (Thanks!) - You will be publicly thanked, and your name will be mentioned right here on the CDP!

IF YOU DONATE $50 (Book!) - You will receive a signed copy of my hilarious book, Aerating The Mashed Potatoes (shipping included)! You will also get the public shout-out above.

IF YOU DONATE $75 (Haiku!) - You receive the book and shout-out above, but I'll also throw in a personalized haiku and any other random CDP merch I have in the archives! Expect stickers, patches, buttons, etc., some of it out-of-print.

IF YOU DONATE $100 (Mixtape!) - You receive the book, shout-out, haiku and merch above, but I'll also throw in a personalized mixtape! I'll ask you a few questions and masterfully craft a perfect mixtape to match your generous and sexy personality, and mail it right to your house.

IF YOU DONATE $250 (Drawing!) - You receive the book, shout-out, haiku, merch and personalized mixtape above, but I'll also throw in a personalized drawing/letter by Evan himself as a way to say thank you! He sincerely appreciates it, and his artwork is awesome. It'll be worth money after he gets famous.

IF YOU DONATE $500 (Video!) - You receive the book, shout-out, haiku, merch, personalized drawing/letter and mixtape above, but I'll also throw in a videotaped thank you message from Evan and I! It will be personalized and e-mailed directly to you; we'll do something rad, promise.

IF YOU DONATE $1000 (Mini Golf!) - You receive the book, shout-out, haiku, merch, personalized drawing/letter, mixtape and videotaped message above, but I'll also throw in a day of mini golf with me! That's right, a day of mini golf, on me, in either Madison or Wisconsin Dells (your choice!). We'll work out the details.

(Fine Print: In order for rewards to be, erm, rewarded, you'll need to contact me to let me know of your donation, as well as provide proof, such as a link to the donate page with your name on it. While the donation page will be up indefinitely, these rewards expire on 6/30/14. Rewards will be delivered by 7/31/14.)

Of course, you can just donate without having to deal with this reward stuff; I just wanted to sweeten the pot any way I could. This is my homie we're talking about here, and your donation will help him live a normal life. Simple as that, kids.

If you have any questions or anything you think you can throw toward the cause, please click the link and check it out. Thanks so much, and enjoy the rest of your week.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT EVAN'S GOFUNDME PAGE!!!

Tuesday, May 27

Time To Meet Your (Sandwich) Maker. Again.

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(Here's a 'lost' CDP essay from last year.)

A few weeks back, my debit card snapped in half while I was swiping it at a gas station. I was annoyed but not wistful-- It had a good run. I use my debit card for literally every purchase I make. I seldom carry cash, open tabs at bars and absolutely never carry credit cards with me. My wallet consists of only my debit card, driver’s license and various coffee shop punch cards, and that’s the way I’ve always liked it.

I’m aware that while it’s responsible to keep credit cards out of your wallet to limit impulsive spending (or because they’re maxed out beyond all comprehension), it’s also important to have some reserve funds on hand in case your debit card snaps in half at a Kwik Trip. I guess I like to live on the edge. F the police and soforth.

That evening, I contacted my credit union and requested a new debit card. They told me that a replacement would arrive at my door in a few days, and since it was an identical replacement (same number and expiration date), a re-activation wouldn’t be necessary. As soon as it showed up, I could just place it in my wallet and start feverishly buying cat food and 90’s anime as per usual.

I had the operator verify this statement three times. It didn’t seem right to me. I should have trusted my gut.

I was home when my replacement card showed up in the mail. Following orders, I humanely euthanized the busted card (paper shredders have such a cathartic sound) and simply placed the new one in my pocket. After all, the operator said it was good to go, and surely the last thing a Call Center employee would do is say whatever I wanted to hear so they could end the call as quickly as possible.

I thought I’d celebrate a job well done by getting a sub sandwich for lunch. The Subway was about five minutes from CDP Headquarters, and I have the culinary abilities of a newborn giraffe when I’m alone in the house. I walked in, got into the (surprisingly lengthy) line and placed my order.

So many people feel that those in the retail and food service industries owe them something. I feel the exact opposite. Considering the work and care most people put into your food (or at least should be putting into your food), I’m always baffled at why sub sandwiches aren’t $20 apiece. I watch, marvel, thank profusely and tip (when I have cash) every time. It’s a job I fortunately never had to do, and I appreciate anyone who could just as soon gob into the mayonnaise every time you turned away, but doesn’t for one reason or another.

“That’ll be $5.29, sir.”

I handed over my shiny new debit card. It was about to be de-virginized.

“Sir…It’s saying that your card is declined.”

Oh no. Oh shit no.

Not only was I upset because I didn’t trust my gut when I assumed this would totally happen, but I didn’t have any other money with me, the long line behind me was growing impatient and my sandwich had already been made. I’ve never been in this sort of nightmare transaction before. I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Just walk out? Didn’t I still have to pay for the manual labor that went into the sandwich? This was about to get extremely embarrassing.

“Um, wow…okay,” I said. “I…guess I have to leave?”

Confused beyond words (as were the onlookers behind me), I turned around and goose-stepped out of Subway without my sandwich, which was slowly turning to room temperature behind the counter. As I got back to my car, my initial thought wasn’t that I should just run home and grab the money with which to buy this sandwich (I wasn’t even planning on eating it anymore; I just wanted to make things right). No, my initial thought was “I’m leaving and never coming back. No way can I ever face these people again after what just transpired.”

I eventually wised up and decided to reactivate my debit card in the parking lot. When I did, I questioned the operator as to the misleading information I was offered earlier:

“Yeah, I was told that I didn’t need to reactivate this.”

“(laughing) Who told you that?”

“You guys did!”


“Yeah…no.”

About 15 minutes after the fiasco, I bit my lip, lowered my head and walked back in. I needed to pay for this sandwich. Standing in line was weird to say the least:

“Hello! What would you like, sir?”

“Um, nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“Yeah, I need to…just…never mind. I’m good.”

When I got to the register, the same kid was there (for better or for worse). I explained to him what had happened, and that I didn’t even want the (now gross) sandwich, I just wanted to give them the money they deserved and immediately hook up with the Witness Protection Program. Or at the very least, start eating at the Jimmy John’s further down the street. My relationship with this franchise was officially over.

“Okay, sounds good. I just need to grab a manager. He needs to do a weird refund processing thing on the register.”

The line behind me was getting longer and more impatient. I started to sweat.

When the manager showed up (who was 16 years old at best), he had to futz with a computer underneath the register to reverse the mistake I had made earlier. He was ducked under the register, and at one point near the end, the cash drawer dinged open without him noticing. When he went to stand back up, he bashed the top of his head underneath the register, sending the drawer and loose change flying everywhere. A nickel landed in the teriyaki sauce. It was probably the loudest thing that has ever happened inside of that particular establishment. A woman gasped.

I was goddamn mortified. This was all my fault. Not only did I ruin my day, I literally ruined the day of every single person in that Subway. The cashier, the manager, the sandwich artist, the customers, everybody. Again, I left with nothing.

And it cost me $5.29.

Monday, May 12

Give It A Name.

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After spending the last six weeks masterminding the CDP TV25 Tournament, I'm planning on getting back to essay writing very soon, I promise. I just...I just need a minute on this couch, with this cat for a second...

That's the stuff.

Friday, May 9

The CDP TV25 Tournament (Series Finale).

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Welcome to the Series Finale of the CDP TV25 Tournament to decide the Greatest Television Show of the Last 25 Years. It's all over but the paperwork, kids.

After 20 full days of voting, stretched out over nearly a month-and-a-half. After 127 total matchups. After the elimination of 127 of the greatest TV shows ever. After nearly four thousand total votes cast. After whining, ranting, complaining, joy, happiness, entitlement, criticism up the ass, passionate campaigning, and finally...acceptance.

We've made it all the way to the end. Only one show stands above the rest.

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The CDP TV25 Tournament has spoken: Breaking Bad is officially the Greatest Television Show of the Last 25 Years.

As a guy who only voted in tiebreaker situations, I can get behind this choice. I think it most represents the voice of the nation. I believe that if this tournament were held on a more massive scale, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Breaking Bad won that one, too. The timing doesn't hurt, either; a lot of people just got through watching the breathtaking 5th Season, or are plowing through it on Netflix as we speak. Would it win a similar tournament 22 years from now? Who knows, but it's a perfectly rational, defensible and most of all, worthy champion for 2014. I tip my cap to you, Breaking Bad.

Now, there are probably going to be quite a few of you who don't agree. I want to first state that if you did not vote, I don't really care what you have to say. You were probably one of the people who were the most grumpy and hyper-critical of the whole experiment from the beginning and didn't even consider participating except to throw in your two cents about not agreeing with anything. Well, good. Let this be a lesson to the kids out there: That is the voice of the Internet. It is the voice that critiques without creating, the voice that stifles any and all creativity and should never be listened to for a second.

Tournament's over. I don't have to be objective anymore. And for the last time, I'm sorry I forgot to include 24. I apologized like, three times, so put a cork in it.

To those who did participate, either every day until the bitter end or even just once, I sincerely thank you. I could not have done this without you. Literally, your votes controlled this entire thing. It was the culmination of over two years of research, organization and worst of all, blurb writing (those weekly recaps were murder on my dumb brain). I had wanted to do a fan participation tournament for a very long time now, and I was overall very pleased to see it take shape and succeed the way it did. I had fun, even though I stayed up past midnight nearly every night for the past month counting votes in an Excel spreadsheet. I've never turned the CDP over to you guys before, and to have almost no control whatsoever regarding a massive Pop Culture tournament was an interesting experience for me to say the least.

I agreed with the majority rule on most matchups. Some of your decisions also baffled me. Here are the Top 5 that left my head shaking:

5. Saved By The Bell defeating Roseanne (Round 1)
4. Friends defeating South Park (Round 4)
3. The Sopranos defeating The Wire (Round 4)
2. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air defeating Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Round 2)
1. Lost defeating Battlestar Galactica (Round 3)

...Okay, just kidding about that last one. That was awesome!

Like most of you, I get very passionate and defensive when someone criticizes a piece of art that I love. Whether we make a conscious effort to do so or not, we attach ourselves emotionally to things that we like (a revelation, I'm sure). They become an extension of who we are, so when they get bullied, we cannot help but take it personally. Books, films, sports teams; it's all the same sort of personal extension. It's why we cheer when they succeed and get depressed when they fail (or merely get canceled). A certain part of their success belongs to us, and as supporters of whatever respective art we choose, we ebb and flow right along with them. Sounds insane when it's spelled out like that, but it's also pretty beautiful.

While it wouldn't look this way to an outside observer, this tournament (and your willingness to participate in it), was an intimate peek into your tastes and personalities. Sometimes things like this tell more about what makes someone tick than hours of conversation. No matter how many essays I write, I usually strike the most personal chord with a stranger when I decide to rattle off lists of my favorite pieces of Pop Culture. Weird how we work, but it's fundamentally true, and I've grown to respect and appreciate the process.

So once again, thank you for participating. I'm never doing this again.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend. I'm taking a bit of a belated Spring Break, but I'll be back soon with brand new essays as the 10th Anniversary of the CDP rolls along.

Wednesday, May 7

The CDP TV25 Tournament (Finals).

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Welcome to Day 19 and 20 of the CDP TV25 Tournament to determine the Greatest Television Show of the Last 25 Years. It has all come down to this: Today you will be voting on the TOURNAMENT FINALS. But first, here's a quick recap of yesterday's SEMIFINAL Round.

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(If you wish to view the entire, 128-show bracket (and why wouldn't you?), you can check it out HERE.)

Parks and Recreation vs. 30 Rock
Winner: 30 ROCK

Parks and Recreation beat Shameless, Adventure Time, Modern Family, Community and Seinfeld to reach this point in the tournament; absolutely no easy task whatsoever, especially for a show still airing new episodes. But in the end, they lost out to a show I have absolutely no problem handing the Comedy Bracket Championship title to: the incomparable, instant classic 30 Rock. They now, however, have a major challenge on their hands in the form of perhaps the greatest Drama of all-time.

Breaking Bad vs. The Sopranos
Winner: BREAKING BAD

Maybe it was the fact that the Breaking Bad Series Finale is still fresh in our heads. Maybe it's because we didn't like The Sopranos' Series Finale all that much. Maybe we were angry because The Sopranos eliminated both The Wire and Friday Night Lights. Maybe we just thought Breaking Bad was a true masterpiece of Television. Whatever the reason, Breaking Bad kicked the collective, proverbial ass of The Sopranos, capturing the title of Drama Bracket Champion and easily punching their ticket to today's Finals.

Well, here we finally are. 128 shows. Over FIVE WEEKS of your voting has led us to this point. The CDP TV25 Tournament FINALS to determine the Greatest Television Show of the Last 25 Years. Now then, today's Championship matchup is:

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30 Rock
7 Seasons/138 Episodes

Tournament Victories:
Pushing Daisies, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Freaks and Geeks, The Office, Friends, Parks and Recreation

Accolades:
'Comedy Series of the Decade' by Newsweek in 2009
'7th Greatest Sitcom of All-Time' by 60 Minutes in 2012
'One of the Best-Written Television Series of All-Time' by the Writers Guild of America in 2013

Emmy Awards:
11 Emmy Awards, including Best Comedy Series 3 years in a row

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Breaking Bad
5 Seasons/62 Episodes

Tournament Victories:
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The X-Files, The Sopranos

Accolades:
Top 10 Television Series of '08, '10, '11, '12 and '13 by the American Film Institute
Highest-Rated Television Series of All-Time (Season 5), by the Guinness Book of World Records
'99 out of 100' by Metacritic (Highest rating ever for a Television series)

Emmy Awards:
7 Emmy Awards, including Best Actor In A Drama (Bryan Cranston) 3 years in a row

30 Rock vs. Breaking Bad

1. Voting for this portion of the tournament begins today at 12:01am CT and ends today at 11:59pm CT.

2. You may submit your votes one of three ways:
A. In the comments section below.
B. Through Facebook.
C. Through Twitter.

3. Vote only once per matchup, please.

Questions, comments or concerns? Want to make an argument for a show and sway some opinions? Sound off in the comments section and let your voice be heard. Tomorrow is an off-day as I tally the votes and prepare for Friday's finale, where the Greatest Television Show of the Last 25 Years will be crowned. Vote now and come back Friday, as the CDP TV25 tournament draws to a close.

Vote!

Tuesday, May 6

The CDP TV25 Tournament (Semifinals).

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Welcome to Day 18 of the CDP TV25 Tournament to determine the Greatest Television Show of the Last 25 Years. Today you will be voting on the SEMIFINALS. But first, here's a quick recap of yesterday's QUARTERFINAL Round.

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Seinfeld vs. Parks and Recreation
Winner: PARKS AND RECREATION

Wow. Bulldozing their way past the likes of Family Matters, NewsRadio, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and even The Simpsons, the NBC classic Seinfeld could not advance past the current Must-See Thursday powerhouse Parks and Recreation. Leslie Knope and the fine employees of Indiana state government have officially earned their way into the Semifinals, where they will meet a worthy (and familiar) opponent.

30 Rock vs. Friends
Winner: 30 ROCK

After knocking out Hey Arnold!, Daria, Boy Meets World and South Park from the tournament, iconic 90's staple Friends finally runs into a buzzsaw named 30 Rock. And hey, no arguments from this guy; 30 Rock is as close to sitcom perfection as it gets. Tina Fey and company punch their well-deserved ticket to the Semifinals.

The X-Files vs. Breaking Bad
Winner: BREAKING BAD

The X-Files didn't exactly have an easy road to the Quarterfinals. Scoring victories over Homicide, NYPD Blue, My So-Called Life and The Wonder Years, the sci-fi masterpiece met their match when they finally crossed paths with the instant AMC classic Breaking Bad. Now, the Vince Gilligan-penned epic has just one more hurdle before advancing to the Finals.

Friday Night Lights vs. The Sopranos
Winner: THE SOPRANOS

The Cinderella story of the tournament, Friday Night Lights, has come to a bittersweet end in the Quarterfinals. After close wins against the likes of True Blood, Veronica Mars, Mad Men and yes, Lost, the Taylor Family was bested by the torch-bearer of the Modern Golden Age of Television, HBO's The Sopranos. Now, Tony and crew have themselves matched up against Breaking Bad in the Semifinals, in what is possibly the two greatest TV narratives ever told.

Now then, today's matchups are:

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Parks and Recreation vs. 30 Rock

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Breaking Bad vs. The Sopranos

1. Voting for this portion of the tournament begins today at 12:01am CT and ends today at 11:59pm CT.

2. You may submit your votes one of three ways:
A. In the comments section below.
B. Through Facebook.
C. Through Twitter.

3. Vote only once per matchup, please.

Questions, comments or concerns? Want to make an argument for a show and sway some opinions? Sound off in the comments section and let your voice be heard. Tomorrow, we will begin voting for the FINALS. Vote now and come back tomorrow, as we work our way through the tournament!

Monday, May 5

The CDP TV25 Tournament (Quarterfinals).

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Welcome to Day 17 of the CDP TV25 Tournament to determine the Greatest Television Show of the Last 25 Years. Today you will be voting on the QUARTERFINALS.

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Out of 128 shows, it has all come down to this. Today’s matchups are:

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Seinfeld vs. Parks and Recreation

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30 Rock vs. Friends

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The X-Files vs. Breaking Bad

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Friday Night Lights vs. The Sopranos

1. Voting for this portion of the tournament begins today at 12:01am CT and ends today at 11:59pm CT.

2. You may submit your votes one of three ways:
A. In the comments section below.
B. Through Facebook.
C. Through Twitter.

3. Vote only once per matchup, please.

Questions, comments or concerns? Want to make an argument for a show and sway some opinions? Sound off in the comments section and let your voice be heard. Tomorrow, we will begin voting for the SEMIFINALS. Vote now and come back tomorrow, as we work our way through the tournament!

Friday, May 2

The CDP TV25 Tournament - Round 3/4 Recap.

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Hello, and welcome back to the CDP TV25 Tournament to decide the Greatest Television Show of the Last 25 Years. We started with 128 shows, and we're finally down to a mere 8.

We're ending the week with a recap of the tournament thus far, as Round 4 voting has concluded. Here's what went down (and trust me, there was plenty):

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DAY 15

The Simpsons vs. Seinfeld
Winner: SEINFELD

Down go The Simpsons! The three most quoted works in the English language are The Bible, Shakespeare and The Simpsons. There’s no overstating their influence and magnitude; in fact, they were my personal pick to win the entire thing. However, if there was one 90’s sitcom that could dethrone Springfield’s finest, it would be Seinfeld, and that’s exactly what happened. The Show About Nothing (and maybe my favorite live-action sitcom ever), won by a single vote (no tiebreakers needed), making them our Q1 Champion and sending them into next week’s Quarterfinal showdown.

Parks and Recreation vs. Community
Winner: PARKS AND RECREATION

In the most modern of our Sitcom Brackets, we had a matchup of two ‘Must-See Thursday’ favorites in Parks and Recreation against Community. In the battle of Pawnee vs. Greendale, Leslie Knope and a flawless ensemble cast won handily over what could be the most ambitiously odd network sitcom in existence. Hey, Parks deserves it, though, and their title of Q2 Champion earns them a tough date against Seinfeld on Monday.

30 Rock vs. The Office (US)
Winner: 30 ROCK

One thing this tournament is telling me is that Must-See Thursday is, was and (hopefully) always will be a beacon of classic network sitcoms. In fact, I highly recommend Warren Littlefield’s outstanding oral history of Must-See Thursday, Top Of The Rock. In addition to being an NBC Thursday night sitcom, 30 rock was essentially a love letter to the mechanics behind creating a great NBC comedy. Containing a healthy amount of real-life network drama, satire and realism (a lot of what Jack Donaghy did actually happened), 30 Rock gathered Emmys at a rapid clip, even when their ratings were struggling. The Office was an all-time classic sitcom (with Michael Scott being one of Television’s all-time great characters, comedy or drama), but in the end, Dunder Mifflin fell to Tina Fey by a single vote, making 30 Rock our Q3 Champion.

Friends vs. South Park
Winner: FRIENDS

Friends also won.

Did You Have To Break Any Ties? - Nope!

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DAY 16

The X-Files vs. The Wonder Years
Winner: THE X-FILES

If The Wonder Years never existed, I'm not entirely sure I would have ever written an essay in my life. It's as personally influential to me as any piece of art- TV, music, film, books, you name it- I've ever cared about. It's one of my favorite television shows of all-time, and quite frankly, I was surprised to see it get this far in the tournament. In the grand scheme of Television History, we seem to remember The X-Files more fondly (minus the final season). It ushered sci-fi back onto mainstream, network television (a trend that has continued to this day), and it is now your Q1 Champion and moving on to the Quarterfinals. I did once name it the Greatest TV Series of the 90's, after all.

Breaking Bad vs. The Walking Dead
Winner: BREAKING BAD

You'd think that this matchup would be a nailbiter until the final whistle, but Breaking Bad actually claimed the easiest victory of the round over AMC's The Walking Dead. Zombies, gore, insane action and decapitations a'plenty have made TWD a ratings darling, but in the end they could not stop the Masterpiece (with a capital 'M') tale told by Vince Gilligan. Breaking Bad is our Q2 Champion, and deservedly so.

Lost vs. Friday Night Lights
Winner: FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose. And you know what? If this had been a tiebreaker situation, I probably would have made the same choice. I've said it many times before: Season 1 of Friday Night Lights is the greatest season of television ever produced. If you haven't watched it yet, consider this your intervention. The Dillon Panthers (or the East Dillion Lions, if you wish) are your Q3 Champions, and Lost has finally left the Church of Purgatory to meet their maker.

The Sopranos vs. The Wire
Winner: THE SOPRANOS

In the battle of wildly influential HBO dramas that ushered in the new Golden Age of Television, we saw in The Sopranos a show that had been voted by TV Guide as the Greatest Drama of All-Time, versus The Wire, a show the majority of TV viewers have unofficially voted the Greatest Drama of All-Time. In the end, TV Guide won out, and The Sopranos took the Q4 title by a single vote. Better luck next time, Baltimore.

Did You Have To Break Any Ties? - You ain't gonna believe it, but I had to pick The X-Files over The Wonder Years. That hurt like hell, but it was for the greater good.

Thus completes ROUNDS 3 AND 4 of the CDP TV25 Tournament: 120 shows have been eliminated; only 8 remain. THE CONCLUSION OF THE TOURNAMENT WILL TAKE PLACE NEXT WEEK, as the final surviving shows continue their quest (with your votes) for Pop Culture immortality. Here's the schedule for next week:

5/5 - QUARTERFINALS
5/6 - SEMIFINALS
5/7 - FINALS (Day 1)
5/8 - FINALS (Day 2)
5/9 - WINNER ANNOUNCED

Sound off in the comments section, let us know what pissed you off (or made you happy) about Rounds 3 and 4, and the matchups you're looking forward to in the Quarterfinals. To view the entire tournament as one cohesive bracket, CLICK HERE. Thanks for all the votes this week, and thanks in advance for all the votes next week.

Quarterfinal voting begins Monday. Let's do this.

Thursday, May 1

The CDP TV25 Tournament (Day 16 of 20).

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Welcome to Day 16 of the CDP TV25 Tournament to determine the Greatest Television Show of the Last 25 Years. Today you will be voting on THE FINAL 8 SHOWS of the DRAMA BRACKET.

Before we get to the voting, however, let's quickly recap the shows that won on Tuesday to advance to today's Round 4:

DAY 14

In the biggest mismatch of the round, sci-fi masterpiece The X-Files made short work of My So-Called Life. In a result that I was personally ecstatic (and surprised as hell) about, The Wonder Years took out Law and Order to advance to the Drama Bracket Quarterfinals. Breaking Bad defeated Game Of Thrones in a match that was destined to piss a ton of people off, and AMC's The Walking Dead ended the run of Netflix's House Of Cards on their way to the Sweet 16.

The nerds have spoken, and Lost has sent Battlestar Galactica packing. Also, CDP fan favorite Friday Night Lights finally stopped Mad Men, setting up a gut-wrenching matchup against Lost today. Finally, two HBO classics are moving on, as The Sopranos and The Wire claim victory over ER and Six Feet Under.

Did You Have To Break Any Ties? -Yes! The Wire over Six Feet Under. I picked Six Feet Under in a tiebreaker last week, but it just wasn't enough to save them this time around.

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That all being said, today’s matchups are:

Q1 Final - The X-Files vs. The Wonder Years
Q2 Final - Breaking Bad vs. The Walking Dead
Q3 Final - Lost vs. Friday Night Lights
Q4 Final - The Sopranos vs. The Wire

Holy shit. Winners advance to next week's Quarterfinals.

1. Voting for this portion of the tournament begins today at 12:01am CT and ends today at 11:59pm CT.

2. You may submit your votes one of three ways:
A. In the comments section below.
B. Through Facebook.
C. Through Twitter.

3. Vote only once per matchup, please.

Questions, comments or concerns? Want to make an argument for a show and sway some opinions? Sound off in the comments section and let your voice be heard. Tomorrow, we will recap this week's Rounds 3 and 4, and prepare for the FINAL THREE ROUNDS OF THE TOURNAMENT, ALL taking place next week! Vote now and come back tomorrow, as we work our way through the tournament!

Wednesday, April 30

The CDP TV25 Tournament (Day 15 of 20).

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Welcome to Day 15 of the CDP TV25 Tournament to determine the Greatest Television Show of the Last 25 Years. Today you will be voting on THE FINAL 8 SHOWS remaining in the COMEDY BRACKET.

Before we get to the voting, however, let's quickly recap the shows that won on Monday to advance to today's Round 4:

DAY 13

Thank God for The Simpsons. The Cinderella-esque run of Saved By The Bell hit a steamroller in Round 3, and we were all the better for it. Seinfeld accomplished a similar feat, sending The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air back to Nick At Nite. Parks and Recreation defeated Modern Family in a showdown of the two best sitcoms currently on TV (or at least two of the Top 3), and NBC's Community sent FOX's Bob's Burgers packing.

Instant classic 30 Rock beat cult classic Freaks and Geeks, and in the most interesting matchup of the day, The Office (US) defeated Arrested Development by the slimmest of margins. The defining sitcom of the 90's, Friends, defeated Boy Meets World, and in the final match of the day, the over-the-top satire of South Park seized victory over the more subtle satire of King Of The Hill.

Did You Have To Break Any Ties? - Nope!

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Today’s matchups are:

Q1 Final - The Simpsons vs. Seinfeld
Q2 Final - Parks and Recreation vs. Community
Q3 Final - 30 Rock vs. The Office (US)
Q4 Final - Friends vs. South Park

1. Voting for this portion of the tournament begins today at 12:01am CT and ends today at 11:59pm CT.

2. You may submit your votes one of three ways:
A. In the comments section below.
B. Through Facebook.
C. Through Twitter.

3. Vote only once per matchup, please.

Questions, comments or concerns? Want to make an argument for a show and sway some opinions? Sound off in the comments section and let your voice be heard. Tomorrow, we will vote on THE FINAL 8 SHOWS of the DRAMA BRACKET. Vote now and come back tomorrow, as we work our way through the tournament!