Going where other shows have gone before in search of a ratings gimmick to kick off sweeps, Grey's Anatomy this month will be airing a real-time episode. Sort of like 24 or 30 Minute Meals, there won't be any jumps in time, allowing us to spend most of an hour with Meredith as she spends that time in the hospital's ER. While watching her stress out over trauma victims for a solid hour could be a fun change of pace, there are plenty of shows whose real-time episodes would be way better.
The way that time actually moves on this show has never made much sense. Killing, butchering and cleaning up is a full night's work, yet it's his kids that keep him from getting a good night's rest? The show works best when Dexter loses control of what is most important in any situation, and what could be easier to lose grip of than time itself? Watching Dexter handle his research work and catch a criminal all inside an hour would more than make up for Julia Stiles last season.
While he's deactivated bombs, stopped computer programs and found antidotes while under a vague time limit, Chuck has never had to get to his wedding on time. With only an hour until his nuptials, Chuck could be forced to stop a terrorist plot he accidentally stumbles into on his way to the chapel. Sarah, meanwhile, would be frustrated because she knows that Casey has gone on an emergency mission while she is forced to deal with Jeffster.
8. Mad Men
So often it is the smaller moments that define Don Draper and those around him. If Burt Cooper dies (and how could he not?), the partners could return to the office after his funeral to sort out what is to be done to keep the agency in gear. What ends up happening would be subtle, but sort of like "The Suitcase," as the four men examine their business relations with each other.
7. 30 Rock
We haven't ever seen more than a few minutes of an actual episode of the show-within-the-show TGS, and at this point it seems like it's the least stressful part of Liz Lemon's job, but there's no way that could actually be the case. Between getting Jenna and Tracy on stage every few minutes and dealing with whatever Jack needs to talk to her about, this is surely the most challenging time of Liz's week. So show it to us.
6. Jersey Shore
In a special real-time episode, the guys could enter into a competition to see just who can get a girl from Karma and into the hot tub as quickly as possible. The only rule: no landmines or grenades. Of course, in order to improve their chances, each guy would try to enlist the help of their female roommates. Drama and cockblocking ensue.
It's rare that anything on this show feels rushed. Most of the actual work seems be depicted in montages. By putting a timer on the case, the investigators might work with a real sense of urgency. The need for such a pace could come from an oncoming storm threatening some crime scene, a wealthy foreigner about to leave the country or a kidnapped person. While any of these things could be included, all of them should for maximum effect.
4. The Office
On a day when everyone wants to leave early, Michael would put his foot down, holding everyone until the end of the business day. It's bad enough for the characters that they have to go into work every day, but being forced to stay when they can't help but watch the clock would be downright painful for them (but entertaining for us). Besides just the employees, it would be fun to see Michael actually exercise some of his real boss authority, then spend the rest of the episode forcing himself to stay resolute.
With so much going on between the two universes, and the increasing complexity of the plans of both Walternate and the Observers, there's bound to be a need for something to happen in each universe at the same time. Ideally, the two Olivias would finally team up, recognizing that, despite their differing loyalties, they both want to save their worlds. We foresee a split-screen finish as both Olivias stop the world from ending at the same time.
While the spontaneity of the show's carefully constructed song-and-dance numbers is one of its biggest charms, it would be a lot of fun to actually spend time with the club during a rehearsal. Most of the episode's plot would be forced to play out in the hushed whispers of the students between the singing. While not exactly high-concept, these little interactions and close quarters might allow for some character interplay we don't usually get to see.
The study group should pay homage to the spy movie genre. This means breaking and entering into the school registrar's office because Troy filled out some paperwork incorrectly and is about to be kicked out of school. This is the only show on this list that could pull off having a timer on the screen and still be taken seriously, especially if Abed starts and stops it.
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