Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mensa's 10 Smartest TV Shows Ever

Oh, this is rich. First of all, the list is from the head of Mensa -- one dude -- not the membership. I bet they are pissed, too, because Jim's picks are lame-o, and his comments sound like the words of someone recovering from a head injury, not the head of Mensa. Read on. You'll see.

The head of genius organization Mensa has picked the 10 smartest TV shows of all time — sparking debate in the blogosphere, especially over the inclusion of the 1990s sitcom "Mad About You."

Jim Werdell, chairman of Mensa International, selected the shows after being posed the question by (while his head bandages were being changed).

“They weren’t pure comedy, mystery or action,” Werdell said. “They tended to be shows that dealt with issues in the world, and from my perspective that’s considered smart. Some sitcoms reach a higher level of intellect than others, and you can say the same about some of the dramas. The stories may be cliché, but the characters and dialogue are smarter. (I'm glad he cleared that up for us.)

1. M*A*S*H – "It had smart repartee and was so much more than a comedy." (True. It was an overrated comedy with one small problem: it wasn't funny. At all. I hate M*A*S*H.)

2. Cosmos (with Carl Sagan) – "Sagan was able to communicate something extremely complicated to the layman (i.e. morons like me) and do it well, and that’s unusual for a scientist at his level."

3. CSI — "The way they use science to solve their programs is intriguing to viewers. My pants itch."

4. House – "Again, it’s high level type of show; it’s the personality that makes it a winner, plus it deals with science." (Medical shows usually do.)

5. West Wing – "You had to pay attention to stay up with it. The repartee was fast and furious and you needed a fairly high level intelligence to keep up with it. So I watched 'According To Jim' instead."

6. Boston Legal – "It’s primarily because of the characters. The story lines are okay, but the characters are incredible and the writers give them great dialogue. I just made a poopy."

7. All in the Family – "The show dealt with social issues before its time and was on the forefront of trying to show people’s feelings, beliefs and the complexities of personality, in both a serious and comedic way."

8. Frasier – "The repartee
(Jim just learned the word repartee) was sensational; the main characters were very good. Even though they portrayed people who were likely of high intelligence, they also showed their weaknesses."

9. Mad About You – "It’s a personal favorite.
(No shit? Why else would it be here?) I loved the characters and the back and forth. It was very smart."

10. Jeopardy – "It’s about the only game show that really tries to test people’s intelligence. There’s very little luck involved, and there are few game shows like that. I don’t watch it all that much, honestly
(so I'm talking out of my ass here), but from what I’ve seen it tests more than knowledge, it tests intelligence too."



  1. What? The Nanny didn't make it? But those British accents sounded soooo smart.

  2. I know! Crazy, huh? And no Mannix. He lost all credibility when he left out Mannix.

  3. I'd put "Studio 60 no the Sunset Strip", "Frasier", and "Gilmore Girls" on that list.

  4. No mention of Joanie Loves Chachi? *sniffle*

  5. When it comes to M*A*S*H, there were two different series - the first four years, which were produced by Larry Gelbart, and the rest of the series which basically became a soapbox for Alan Alda and Mike Farrell. The first was very entertaining. The second, not so much.

    I'm not surprised that Frazier was listed - that was the first show I thought of when I saw the title to this post.

  6. I disagree with the inclusion of CSI; in my opinion the science is pretty dumbed down for the general audience and many elements of the show are less glamorous in real life.

  7. I'll give him Frasier, The West Wing, All In The Family, Cosmos and Jeopardy. The rest might be fine shows, but I don't think they are among the smartest.

    What about The Twilight Zone? Some of the Star Trek series? Lost? Arrested Development? The Larry Sanders Show? The Simpsons? And how do you even measure what's smart?

    Bottom line.. it's like most lists: the opinion of one (or a few) people.

  8. Jim - I absolutely agree. CSI is a lot of flash and very little substance, in my opinion. That's not to say it is not entertaining; I enjoyed it for a season or two, but got tired of it quickly.

  9. M*A*S*H can lick my nuts.

  10. The Electric Company is where I learned everything! I still have the hots for Spiderman thanks to Spidey Super Stories!

  11. aaahahahahaha...Yeah, opinions are like assholes. But you made his funny Cary, thanks!

  12. I can't believe Reno 911 wasn't on the list (watch it tonight at 10:30pm Eastern Time on Comedy Central)

  13. Did it have to be an American show to make the list? I'd have put Blackadder on there. The repartee in that show was the most sarcastic repartee, and as clever repartee among clever and/or stupid people seems to be important to the head of Mensa, I would vote Blackadder repartee as some of the best repartee far as repartee goes.
    Thanks, Confusia.

  14. Guess he wasn't watching TV in the 80s. He overlooked "Probe", Isaac Asimov's short-lived show about a genius (Parker Stevenson) inventor and intellectual who uses scientific principles to solve crimes. Brilliant stuff, too smart for the general public though, which is likely why ratings weren't enough to keep it going. It definitely was dessert food for my inner nerd.

  15. 1 - Please tell me you don't watch According to Jim.

    2 - Confusia, what was you liked about Blackadder? The repartee?

  16. Regan: No, I don't watch "According To Jim." That comment was meant to be the Mensa guy speaking. Some were supposed to be me making asides, and some were supposed to be him talking. Confusing and poorly executed, I'm afraid. I accept full responsibility for the error.

  17. He definitely forgot to put The Tyra Banks Show on there. Who's with me, people?

    But for realz, The Office deserved props, in my humble opinion (yeah, show you bitches for leaving me out for being a couple points short you short-minded smart-tards)

  18. Ooh! And I totally forgot to include The Family Guy in my last comment! Curses! Where else can baby provide you with sound homicidal, sociopathic advice?

  19. Frasier was my first thought too. I love a lot of those shows, does that make me Mensa material?

    They did leave off one good one tho...Beavis and Butthead. Well, I mean, look at all the music that show exposed kids to!

  20. What about "Get Smart" - it's right there in the title!!! :>)

  21. There's no way this should be titled "smartest tv shows ever." House isn't even remotely interesting, nor is CSI. To leave out truly brilliant shows like The Simpsons or Star Trek: TNG shows just how biased this guy's list is...

    Oh! What about Chappelle's Show???

  22. Amy.. amen sister! Bloody awful show. I think I saw one episode, and, to quote Mr. Don McLean, "my hands were clenched in fists of rage" and how annoying they both were. Something about Helen Hunt makes me want to gouge out her eyeballs with my thumbs and then plant little flower seeds in the sockets. Which is odd, because I'm not typically a violent person.

    M!ckey - amen brother. House held my interest for about three episodes. It's the same every week. CSI has some of the worst acting and dialogue on TV.

    good lord i'm on the rag tonight...

  23. yeh seriously mad about you doesn't deal with issues of the world, it merely deals with issues of being a higly lame and crap show that didn't deserve to run for 7 seasons. The (what i think are supposed to be) gags/ jokes within the the show are never humorous or effective, and often im left wondering whether they even make sense. No i don't waste my time watching the show, but unfortunately i often see the adverts for it, those of which i assume would to be the highlights of the show, to draw the non-viewers in.... making the sole funny thing about the show being that the adverts aren't funny at all whatsoever, which in my mind makes me unable to bear thinking about what the actual full episodes have to offer



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