Yesterday's TV Club Award honoree Cookie Lyon watches the best blackout drunk/most well-earned reversal of character: Broad City's Abbi/Val (illustration by Tiffany Adams)

The A.V. Club began handing out end-of-the-TV-season superlatives yesterday, honoring the best in drama and reality TV, from Cookie Lyon’s cutting putdowns to Robert Durst’s fateful on-mic carelessness. Today, we conclude the 2014-15 TV Club Awards with picks from the season’s best comedies and animated series, gathering surprising transformations, inspired casting choices, and at least two songs that are as infectious as they are hilarious.

Most creatively named canned foods: Bagboy

The title character of Bagboy is Dr. Steve Brule (John C. Reilly) of Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Check It Out!, a damaged man-child who’s trying to catch a shoplifter so he can win a bunch of cans from the grocery store where he works. Besides figuring into the central plot of the show, the cans help establish Brule’s “failed pilot” as a not-quite-right cable-access version of the types of sitcoms you’d see on TGIF. Just look at the names: Puddlefish, White Food Medley, and Country Style Pork Cube not only poke fun of the generic products lining the cabinets on shows like Family Matters and Full House—they showcase the Abso Lutely team’s knack for world building, even if that world is awkward, unsettling, and more than a little gross. [Dan Caffrey]

Best adult-child feud: Charlie and Diane in Black-ish

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Black-ish makes a great companion for its lead-in, Modern Family, even to the point of mimicking one of its funniest plot dynamics: a vitriolic feud between a kid and an unrelated grown-up. In Black-ish, the feuding parties are the young but cunning Diane (Marsai Martin) and her father’s co-worker, Charlie (Deon Cole). Charlie is like the growling family dog in a horror movie about a demonic grandfather clock: No one understands why he’s so suspicious of such a seemingly harmless presence, yet he’s the only one who senses the danger. Diane is to Black-ish as Stewie is to Family Guy, the adorable child whose precociousness suggests she could easily grow to become your overlord. Charlie’s a simpleton, but even he can see Diane’s potential, and she knows it. Early prediction: the Black-ish series finale ends with post-apocalyptic flash-forward to Charlie being removed from his cryogenic chamber to lead the anti-Diane resistance. [Joshua Alston]

Best blackout drunk/most well-earned reversal of character: Abbi/Val, Broad City

When the “Hashtag FOMO” episode’s string of parties ends with stumbling, slurring Abbi leading Ilana down a dark hallway to a (literally) underground bar, a savvy viewer is braced for anything—but still, the emergence of Abbi’s blackout-drunk alter ego Val is stunning. Her crisp confidence, the mid-century sauciness of her leg-baring tuxedo get-up, and her throaty rendition of “Get Happy” are all in stark contrast to Abbi’s familiar qualms and timidity. It’s a beautifully executed moment of brazenness that dazes and delights Ilana as powerfully as it does the audience. [Emily L. Stephens]

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Best cool dad: Ray Holt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Everyone’s favorite stoic police captain spent the first season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine being more or less unflappable, slowly losing his edge and allowing his crew to know him better. That reluctant fondness has blossomed wonderfully in the sitcom’s second season, which makes the most of Andre Braugher’s impeccable timing to give us what we wanted to see: Holt becoming the cool dad who joins in the fun. It’s an adorable descent into the sort of ill-timed nosiness, petty revenge, gleeful grudges, bursts of temper, and deep-down squishy loyalty that make it clear the crew of the 99 are really beginning to rub off on him. (He could give some lessons to TV’s worst cool dad: The Flash’s Joe West. Sure, he’s a great confidant for goofball Barry, but the man spent a whole season making sure everybody within shouting distance was lying to his daughter about the Flash. And when she found out, he sort of blamed her for making him do it. Come on, Dad.) [Genevieve Valentine]

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Best recent cast addition: (tie) Community’s Paget Brewster and Keith David

Community’s sixth season looked like a possibly ignoble end for the show that wouldn’t die. Donald Glover departed during season five and Jonathan Banks and Yvette Nicole Brown left after, while John Oliver got too busy for recurring appearances. Paget Brewster and Keith David were drafted as the newest members of the Greendale gang, and despite their considerable talent, it seemed too optimistic to have high hopes for yet another cast reshuffling. But Brewster and David have been the highlights of an uneven season. Brewster’s steely pragmatist Frankie and David’s eccentric coot Elroy integrated into the cast so smoothly, one could be forgiven for forgetting they haven’t always been there. The infusion of new blood gave rise to the season’s best runner: Frankie’s and Elroy’s disastrous attempts to recite the study group’s mythology. [Joshua Alston]

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Best video game tie-in: Fresh Off The Boat’s 9 To 5: The Game

In the “Fajita Man” episode of Fresh Off The Boat, Eddie (Hudson Yang) does nothing to allay his parents’ fear of losing their culture when he becomes obsessed with Shaq Fu, a video game in which Shaquille O’Neal does karate for some odd reason. All Eddie’s friends are trying to get the game, including Barefoot Dave (Evan Hannemann), who’s disappointed when his mom buys him a different tie-in cartridge: 9 To 5: The Game. But once he gets a chance to dig into the game, he comes around in a hurry: “You guys, I’ve been up all night. 9 To 5 is genius. You can play it as any character, but I prefer Doralee, because if you forge Franklin Hart’s signature, you get to open up a Daycare Consolidated.” In a hilarious tag, Barefoot Dave gets to open his 8-bit business, Fresh Off The Boat’s most unexpected tale of entrepreneurial success. [Joshua Alston]

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Achievement in unexpectedly moving love scenes: It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, “The Gang Misses The Boat”

In the episode “The Gang Misses The Boat,” Dennis punctures It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’s status quo of denial and self-delusion, realizing that the gang’s shenanigans have escalated to insanity. No one’s moment of clarity is more unexpectedly touching than Dee and Charlie’s: They spend the day ruminating on their rotating position as lowest on the totem pole. Temporarily removed from the gang’s influence, they’re free to be nice to each other. Sure, their newfound liberation sees them doing something stupid—they decide they’re natural slam poets—but it also leads to a sudden coupling that’s shocking mostly for how little it’s played for laughs. So when the normal, squalid state of affairs reasserts itself, it’s strangely sad, as if Dee and Charlie got one, brief glimpse at a life outside of their toxic circle and found a tiny escape hatch, only to realize that they can’t survive in a world that has hope in it. [Dennis Perkins]

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Achievement in voice-over vigor: Jane The Virgin’s Latin Lover Narrator

Voice-over narration is typically used as a framing device on TV, but Jane The Virgin takes a far less conventional approach, making its narrator a unique character in the story who only exists as the disembodied voice guiding the viewer along. He’s not just a standard omniscient narrator, though: The Latin Lover Narrator has his own personality—realized with immense humor and passion by Anthony Mendez—and offers his own opinions on what is happening on-screen. His primary role is to help the audience keep up with the rapidly shifting storylines of the telenovela-inspired series, but he recaps events with the relaxed enthusiasm of a person telling a friend about his favorite TV show. New viewers can jump in at any time because the narrator is there to smoothly lead them into the whirlwind of plot with his distinct blend of insight and sass, and even though he never appears on-screen, his presence is invaluable to the show’s success. [Oliver Sava]

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Achievement in resurrecting intellectual property: Key & Peele, “Family Matters”

Family Matters doesn’t seem like the kind of cultural work that should be the anchor of a comedy sketch in the 2010s. Thankfully, that didn’t stop Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele from repurposing the ’90s sitcom for their own sadistic sketch. The segment works because it doesn’t trade in empty nostalgia, but rather uses Family Matters as the jumping off point for a dark, and darkly hilarious, bit that sees a cocaine-snorting big wig kowtowing to the demands of a sinister Urkel, played with unhinged glee by Tyler James Williams of Everybody Hates Chris. It’s funny, absurd, and slightly uncomfortable. It’s Key & Peele at its best. [Kyle Fowle]

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Best way to finally chase “Zou Bisou Bisou” out of your head: Kroll Show, “Pleep Ploop”

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Now that Mad Men is over, maybe the Francophone earworm the show introduced at the start of its fifth season will finally vacate its semipermanent residence in your temporal lobe. Failing that: You can always give it a roommate like “Pleep Ploop,” the song that takes former “Get Out!” kid/recovering junkie Angela MacKenzie-Ng straight to the top of Show Us Your Songs Commonwealth. Like any tune worth its stickiness, “Pleep Ploop” doesn’t know when to stop, the long pauses between verses synthesized into comic dynamite by a spectacularly game Katie Crown. On a series packed with meticulously crafted pop parodies, the one with the most staying power is little more than two nonsense syllables. Baby, it’s “Pleep Ploop”—forever. [Erik Adams]

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Most refreshing candor in late-night: The Late Late Show With Adam Pally

“I just literally heard a camera guy do this: [Exaggerated sigh.]” So it goes in the one (and only) episode of The Late Late Show With Adam Pally, the standout installment from CBS’ latest round of Late Late Show fill-ins. It’s a standout in spite of (and due to) its flaws, like the lack of a live audience or the interminable satellite delay during an interview with Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett. Fighting back against the dead air, Pally and co-host Ben Schwartz become each other’s audience, their collegial one-upping taken to the next level by sympathetically minded comic Eric Andre. “Isn’t it weird that we’re on TV?” Andre asks during his interview, shortly after spinning in his chair for 20 seconds. “Isn’t it weird that this won’t even make TV?” Schwartz responds. Oh, but it did—and now it lives forever, online. [Erik Adams]

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Achievement in quiet consistency: New Girl

Everything seemed doomed after New Girl’s second season finale. Nick and Jess were finally together, removing a lot of the relationship drama that made the show one of the most refreshing and honest sitcoms on television. Thankfully, New Girl had a few tricks up its sleeve and the show has only grown in the two seasons since then, using the depth of its cast to explore new and old relationships while keeping storylines fresh. After its fourth and maybe best season, which included a finale full of surprises and tears—Schmidt and Cece!—New Girl has cemented itself as one of the most consistently rewarding, funny, and moving sitcoms on television, and one that often doesn’t receive the critical accolades it deserves. [Kyle Fowle]

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Most successful out-classing of the news media: The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore, “April 30, 2015”

During the Freddie Gray demonstrations in Baltimore, traditional news outlets repeatedly failed their viewers—but Larry Wilmore was there to make up for it. Wilmore and The Nightly Show found their comic voice (and their sense of righteous purpose) in a series of episodes touching on the demonstrations in Maryland, culminating in Wilmore’s own trip to Charm City. Seeking a firsthand account of the protests, the host sat down at a diner with members of Baltimore gangs, discussing the truce that united rival factions in an effort to protect their communities. In the segment, Wilmore flexes the moderating muscle he’s honed across the first few months of Nightly Shows, directing verbal traffic but still pausing for the occasional avuncular riff. More importantly, he listens to his guests, giving Baltimore residents a platform cable reporters and anchors couldn’t (or refused to) provide themselves. [Erik Adams]

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Most welcome fan service: The MST3K nods on Other Space

Even if Mystery Science Theater 3000 alums Joel Hodgson and Trace Beaulieu weren’t members of the Other Space ensemble, Paul Feig’s Yahoo sitcom would still have to acknowledge its debts to the classic movie-mocking series. Like MST3K, Other Space is a sci-fi comedy with a handmade aesthetic, one whose jumpsuited protagonists are stranded among the stars. But the show’s winks toward the not-too-distant future always reach beyond simple pandering: Take the name of Beaulieu’s wise-cracking robot, A.R.T., which evokes a fan-bestowed nickname for the wise-cracking robot Beaulieu played on MST3K. The sensibilities of the two programs mesh so well that by the time Hodgson and Beaulieu are talking over footage of their castmates in episode four, it’s easy to forget they’re aboard the UMP Cruiser and not the Satellite Of Love. [Erik Adams]

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Best reconciliation: Parks And Recreation, “Leslie And Ron”

On the other end of Parks And Recreation’s three-year time jump, Pawnee, Indiana, is a bustling tech hub, Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) is a local-TV superhero, and Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) isn’t speaking to Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman). For once, their feud cannot be overcome by breakfast food alone, the result of perceived slights and unspoken hurt that’s all divulged during one wild night in a locked-down parks office. Through flashbacks and confessions, Michael Schur’s script salutes one of TV’s unlikeliest (and most delightful) friendships, which Poehler and Offerman drag back from the brink in a tour de force of comic catharsis, outrageous yoga clothes, and ripping tenor sax solos. (Also: The mutual respect that served as the heart of Parks And Recreation for seven seasons.) [Erik Adams]

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Best course correction following a weak pilot: Selfie

Those who judged Selfie based solely on its pilot might have assumed it was a series about a man paternalistically “fixing” a vapid, social-media obsessed woman, complete with vomit jokes and slut-shaming. But after getting off on the wrong foot, the My Fair Lady update quickly pivoted to become a sweet, quirky sitcom about two weirdos realizing they are better together than they are apart. Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) helps her mentor Henry Higgs (John Cho) break out of his regimented, boring life just as he encourages her to confront the insecurities she masks with online popularity. In addition to proving their comedy chops, Cho and Gillan imbued their characters with real pathos and a sizzling sexual chemistry. Selfie was smart, eccentric, occasionally moving, and far better than its pilot. It’s just too bad the show only got one season to prove it. [Caroline Siede]

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Achievement in scathing superhero commentary: Teen Titans Go!, “Let’s Get Serious”

Ever since writers like Alan Moore and Frank Miller found immense success by taking a darker approach to superhero material in the ’80s, creators have been inclined to embrace more mature subject matter in their superhero stories. The Cartoon Network series Young Justice explored serious ideas about adolescence and growing up through the adventures of a team of teen superheroes, and its fans were not happy when it was canceled and replaced by the juvenile comedy Teen Titans Go! Writers Michael Jelenic and Aaron Horvath directly address those viewers with “Let’s Get Serious,” an episode that sees the Teen Titans meeting Young Justice cast members that condescend to them because they don’t act serious enough. What follows is a razor-sharp attack on grim-and-gritty superhero storytelling that maintains the show’s signature madcap comedy by contrasting it with the ridiculousness of humorless superheroes, ultimately celebrating the kid-friendly silliness this series offers. [Oliver Sava]

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Most ’shippable couple: Alex and Tina, Togetherness

HBO’s Togetherness is never surprising because of what it does—its plot is made out of rom-com tropes—but because of its execution, which succeeds through the simple magic of observant writing and adroit performances. From the moment Alex (Steve Zissis) and Tina (Amanda Peet) appear on-screen together, they are obviously headed toward an interminable will-they/won’t-they limbo love. But Zissis and Peet inject so much heart and pathos into their characters, it’s hard not to pull for them despite the too-familiar premise. Yes, their amorphous, quasi-platonic relationship is formulaic, but it’s a reminder of how the formula came to be in the first place. [Joshua Alston]

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Best original song: “Peeno Noir,” Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

The key to Tina Fey’s comic sensibility is density: The more punchlines crammed in, the higher the odds that some of them will work. The rapid-fire approach makes a fool’s errand of trying to guess which jokes will make the most impact, and when one lands, the writers and the audience get to be equally surprised. Such is the case with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s “Peeno Noir,” the dance-pop sensation by Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) that delighted a nation. It’s a classic Fey-universe musical gag that unexpectedly strike a chord, not unlike 30 Rock’s “Muffin Top.” (Fun fact: “Peeno” is set to a chintzy beat composed for a 30 Rock cutaway.) It’s the best musical tribute to black penises since… since… just wait, we’re thinking about it. [Joshua Alston]

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