The Entertainment and Pop Culture Region is admittedly a bit of a mixed bag, combining actual TV and movies with flat-out celebrity gawking. Fans will notice that Mob Movies, the top seed in TV and Movies Region last year, did not make the list. We didn't, ahem, fuggedaboudit; it was more an issue of freshening up the tournament with different options that are more topical right now.
Consider this a time capsule, in bracket (bracket) form.
No. 1 Seed: Superhero Movies vs. No. 16 Seed: Network Shows With Lower Ratings Than The Talking Dead
There is nothing on the planet more popular right now than superhero movies, but which is the best? Is The Avengers better than the movies about each character that makes up the super group? Where would the Batman movies rank? Does Superman still hold up after all these years?
Would I get slammed for making The Phantom a top seed in the "Heroes More People Should Love" Region? Why was Spawn such a horrible movie? That upsets me still to this day.
As for the 16th seed, it's a bit of a running joke in television that The Walking Dead is devouring (pun) all network competition on Sunday nights, and a show where people sit around and talk about the show, The Talking Dead, gets better ratings than actual network programs in key demographics.
I used an image from The Good Wife here to point out that despite winning its time slot on Sunday nights for all network shows, the CBS legal drama gets lower 18-49 ratings than a show where people talk about fake zombies.
No. 8 Seed: Excuses to Google Kate Upton vs. No. 9 Seed: Reasons to Mock Taylor Swift
The eighth seed in this region is this low because let's face it, most of you aren't looking for excuses to Google Kate Upton. You just do it. Alas, those of us in committed relationships can only get away with so much. Consider this bracket idea a public service.
For the ninth seed, well, that could be an entire bracket dedicated to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Not even our significant others should complain about that.
No. 5 Seed: Most Talented Reality TV Contestant vs. No. 12 Seed: Least Famous Celebrity on A Celebrity Reality TV Show
This is how backwards our society has become. We have dozens of television programs dedicated to finding the next great American star, but too many people who think of themselves as stars who can't find work and have to get by participating on shows about...platform diving.
Seriously, there are multiple shows about platform diving and we are still in search of more stars? Still, some of those people have talent, so the competition shows aren't a total loss. The celebrity looky-loo shows can jump off a high dive into a pit of fire.
No. 4 Seed: Award Show Hosts vs. No. 13 Seed: Red Carpet Hosts
I have no idea why the bracket lists the 5-12 before the 4-13, but please just be OK with that and move on.
We mentioned Tina Fey and Amy Poehler already, but they deserve another mention, as they were fantastic award show hosts who swear they won't do it again. Seth MacFarlane, who did a less-than-fantastic job (but better than most pundits gave him credit for) hosting the Oscars, also said he was a one-time host.
So who would make the next best one-time host? Who would make the best lifetime host? It's Timberlake, isn't it? Let the bracket decide!
Those celebrity and news people who host the runway shows may be annoying, but there certainly are enough of them to fill out a bracket field as well. And with the vitriol thrown toward Kristin Chenoweth, there would certainly be some hot debate as to who is the best and worst.
No. 6 Seed: Potential Breaking Bad Endings vs. No. 11 Seed: Archer Literary References
There have been a lot of cult classic shows in the history of television, but perhaps none have told one linear story as well as AMC's Breaking Bad has told the story of Walter White's conversion from cancer-riddled chemistry teacher to a Southwest United States drug kingpin named Heisenberg.
With the final few episodes running this summer, rumors, suggestions and flat-out guesses about the ending have begun to spread. I could come up with 68 plausible reasons why award-winning actor Bryan Cranston's alter ego would need a gigantic gun right just off the top of my head, and none of them would be even close to what creator Vince Gilligan and his writing team have undoubtedly prepared for us.
FX has as many great shows as AMC these days (we should make a bracket just about that), but if we're talking bracketology, the one show that seems perfect for this format is Archer. The spy-driven cartoon is beyond smart or witty, creating a whole new level of insight called, "holy crap, another thing I have to look up while watching a cartoon about secret agents."
On any given episode, there are at least three or four random yet perfect-in-the-moment literary references that a bracket of the best could make itself. After we look them all up, of course.
No. 3 Seed: Ron Swanson Life Lessons vs. No. 14 Seed: Failed NBC Prime-time Shows
Parks and Recreation is a great comedy, and while we should applaud NBC for taking a chance on the show and continuing to air it, we must also remember that it's also NBC's fault more people aren't watching it and why it's constantly a threat to be canceled.
NBC's prime-time programming is still a wreck, as evidenced by Do No Harm's short run (seriously, who thought that show wasn't going to be terrible?) and the fact that Smash has been a complete and utter flop, moved to Saturdays until it dies. People have been conditioned to assume NBC shows are bad, and sometimes the good ones get overlooked in the process.
Frankly, if there is one man at NBC who can save the network, it's Ron Swanson.
Not only has he proven to be a fantastic talk-show host, he has the basic American sensibilities that people would love to see on television. Tell me, who would not watch a show about meat products, woodworking or hating the government?
No. 7 Seed: Actors We Didn't Know Were British vs. No. 10 Seed: Worst TV Spokesperson
Did you know the American soldier turned terrorist turned Congressman Nicholas Brody on the award-winning Showtime drama Homeland isn't even American?!?! While the character is American, the actor, Damian Lewis, is not. He's just one of many British actors to grace American television playing an American character.
Stringer Bell? English. Eli Gold, the nitty-gritty campaign manager on The Good Wife? Scottish.
The guy who plays masked gunman Richard Harrow on Boardwalk Empire? English.
The interesting thing about Jack Huston is that he plays a damaged (in many ways) American soldier in Boardwalk and does Guinness beer commercials with an American accent even though his character on the show makes him nearly unrecognizable to the beer crowd. Maybe his British accent is the fake one at this point.
Speaking of spokesmen for products, it amazes me that advertising agencies are able to convince companies to use utter douchebags to sell their products. The Five Hour Energy guy is just one in a long line of summarily unlikeable characters that grace current TV commercials.
I mean, the guy who tells a woman he'd fold her underwear anytime? How is that selling deodorant?
A pig selling insurance? People are getting paid for thinking of these things.
No. 2 Seed: Period Pieces vs. No. 15 Harlem Shake Videos and Gangnam Style Videos (Play-in)
Throw Boardwalk Empire onto the list of period pieces that have taken over television. From Downton Abbey to FX's new hit The Americans, to The Bible and Vikings on History, people are able to enjoy the past in many different ways on today's television networks. (Who knew the past would look so good in HD?) How could I forget Mad Men, which is the period piece of all period pieces.
Why do we love the past so much? Because things like the Harlem Shake and Gangnam Style exist today. Just think how terrible a period piece on that will be in 30 years.