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By Dan Snierson
Updated October 04, 2009 at 05:49 PM EDT
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Credit: Bergeron: Mark Ashman/ABC; Fuentes: Jim OBer/ABC; Sagat: Jerry Fitzgerald/ABC

Quick show of hands: Who’s excited for the TV season to begin tonight? What’s that, you say? It began two weeks ago? Technically you may be correct, but until I start seeing new versions of a dude kicking a soccer ball wide of the goal but straight into the head of an unsuspecting passer-by, it just doesn’t feel like fall to me. And I’m extra-pumped for the season premiere of America’s Funniest Home Videos because this is the launch of season 20. Yep, the never-say-canceled video-clip series is celebrating the big 2-0. Which means next year, it can drink legally! (C’mon! That joke was made for Tom Bergeron/Bob Saget/John Fugelsang-Daisy Fuentes!)

According to my inside sources at ABC (who forwarded me the press release that came out a few weeks ago), here’s what to expect from tonight’s episode: “A hidden camera revealing a dog stealing bread from a toaster; a dog who waits every day for the ice cream truck to arrive (and to gobble down his daily ice cream cone); an office prank with a remote controlled spider; a man cutting down a tree — which lands on his house; a salute to Florida, with clips collected from all over the Sunshine State; and a clip montage of people getting sprayed in the face by a faucet prank.” Hmmm, will I be spinning in circles like a crazed pooch over this faucet prank? We’ll have to see. But I’ll bet that Florida “salute” contains some geriatric gold. Or at least tan people tripping over oranges. Either way, I’m in.

As we approach this milestone, I find myself a smidge sentimental. Think of how much good, clean fun—and regurgitating infants—AFV fans have been privy to over the last two decades. It seems like just yesterday that a sleeping cat fell off a TV and into our hearts, but in fact that was so long ago, I wonder if Sleeping-Falling Cat is resting peacefully now in the great litter box in the sky. Next month, the series will celebrate its 20th anniversary by welcoming back original emcee Bob Saget, who’ll co-host a special with Tom Bergeron that highlights the best clips of the last 20 years. Of course, we could sit here and argue all day about which videos would make your Top 20, and maybe we should when that special airs. (Please tell me that your list includes the startled man punching the Halloween scarecrow.) In the meantime, though, let’s talk a little about which types of videos pack the biggest laughs. Sure, a good scare or a from-out-of-nowhere crotch shot never disappoint, but what else? (Please tell me that your list doesn’t include anyone just doing a goofy dance.) Sticking with the idea that a stranger’s unexpected pain equals my comedy gain, I’d posit that the knee-slap-to-meh ratio is highest with videos involving trampolines, treadmills (especially when the machine won’t release the victim), diving boards, bicycles, stairs, skiing, and slides. I’m also likely to split a side when an animal attacks a provoking human (the cat that springs out of the bushes and tackles the toddler who just scared the cat moments before is also in my Top 20). And I’m a sucker for the idiots who try to show off for the camera, only to wind up with a face full of comeuppance. (Bonus joy if I get to see them stumble in pain/shock toward the camera to turn it off; sorry, guys, there’s no OFF button for your shame.)

I could keep on blathering, but let’s get this discussion started. What are the best types of clips in your opinion? Are you psyched for the (brief) return of Saget? And who is your favorite AFV host?

Here are some classic clips to get you primed for season 20:

PHOTO CREDIT: Bergeron: Mark Ashman/ABC; Fuentes: Jim Ober/ABC; Saget: Jerry Fitzgerald/ABC

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