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Best of 2012: Top TV Moments of the Year (40-31)
Continuing with the end of the year countdown. I usually do a list of my Top 100 Episodes of the year, which I already posted. But that gets a little bit boring to right about so I decided to expand my horizons and do a list of my favorite TV moments. I tried to include a wide variety of programs, people, reality, variety, etc. I didn’t want everything to be scripted dramas and comedies. I also tried to limit the overuse of some shows. There were some other moments from Girls and Mad Men for that reason. Let’s continue with the countdown.

40. Night of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together for Autism Programs – Katy Perry & Jodi DiPiazza sing “Firework”
Jon Stewart and Comedy Central present this special every two years to try to raise more money for Autism programs across the country. The whole special was actually pretty great and had a lot of funny and moving moments. But this moment with Katy Perry and Jodi DiPiazza was the tops. Jodi is a young girl with Autism that loves to play the piano, especially Katy Perry songs. So she got a chance to play the piano and sing “Firework” with Katy Perry. It was an incredibly moving moment. Afterwards, Jon Stewart had trouble composing himself and said that this was the type of moment they were hoping for when they started doing these specials.

39. Modern Family – “Leap Day” – The walk to the boat
The ensemble moments really work for this show and this was one of those moments. Mitchell has to start from scratch with his birthday party plans for Cameron. He arranges everybody to take a boat cruise around somewhere while drinking and eating. Mitchell leads everybody with a big Birthday flag. Mitchell: “Everybody follow the birthday flag.” Cameron: “What did you just call me?” Mitchell: “Flag. I said flag.” But my favorite moment came from the confrontation with the boat captain where Mitchell and then Gloria become upset with him, causing Jay to step in and help. Captain: “This lady needs to calm down.” Jay: “First of all, that lady is my son.” The captain was obviously talking about Gloria, but I loved that. Then the Captain calls him Grandpa and Gloria steps in for him. Gloria: “Nobody calls him Grandpa!” Luke: “I do!”. I should just write a transcript of the scene, but you get the idea of how hilarious and well executed it was.

38. Raising Hope – “Jimmy’s Fake Girlfriend” – The improv group puts on a show for Sabrina
The show has been building up to an eventual relationship between Jimmy and Sabrina, and this was a turning point in the show that actually got them together. Jimmy was pretending to date Ashley Tisdale (I can’t remember her character name) to make Sabrina jealous. He ends up taking Sabrina to see Tisdale perform in her improv group. And it turns out they are performing a play that Jimmy wrote detailing his history with Sabrina and how he wants to be with her. It was a sweet moment for the show and a high point for the entire series. It brought together the two main characters in a creative and believable way and elevated the show as a whole.

37. The Colbert Report – “January 24 & 25” – Stephen’s two-part interview with Maurice Sendak
I love the way Stephen Colbert does interviews. He takes points of contention for the interviewee and tries to agitate them with those points. Sendak has said that children’s books aren’t as good as they used to be, so Stephen spent a lot of the interview trying to annoy him with the opposite viewpoint. It was a great interview itself and probably would’ve ended up on this list, but Sendak based away a few months later in May and it made it even more special in hindsight. It was probably his final major interview and it was a fitting way to go out. Some great quotes from the interview from Sendak: “I don’t write for children. I write. And someone says, ‘That’s for children.'” and “I didn’t set out to make children happy. Or make life better for them. Or easier for them…. I like them as few and for between as I do adults. Maybe a bit more because I really don’t like adults.”

36. Louie – “Telling Jokes/Set Up” – Encounter in the truck
Louie is great at depicting awkward and cringing scenes and this might’ve been the most of those two evils. Louie is set up on a blind date with Melissa Leo’s character. They sit through a painfully dull dinner with a mutual couple, but they end up connecting more after they leave the house and go to a bar. They leave the bar and Leo parks her truck in a dark alley. She goes down on Louie and then expects him to do the same to her. He’s not as willing. What follows is a hilarious but tense conversation where Louie ends up being forced to perform oral sex. The clincher at the end: Leo asks if he wants to get together again and Louie sincerely agrees. It was bizarre yet hilarious and shockingly entertaining. Leo should be up for a Guest Emmy next year.

35. Mad Men – “Commissions and Fees” – The discovery
*Major spoiler alert.* “Commissions and Fees” was a great episode of Mad Men and that moment that stays with me from that episode was the discovery of Lane hanging. Joan tries to get into Lane’s office but something is blocking the door. She goes into Pete’s office where most of the other men are talking. They look over the partition through the window into Lane’s office. It’s obvious what has happened and it was a much more powerful way of revealing that to the audience than someone just finding the body. Christina Hendrick’s face and reaction absolutely kills me every time.

34. Parenthood – “There’s Something I Need to Tell You…” – Kristina tells the family
Sometimes when shows do cancer storylines it can be forced and feel manipulative, or just a storyline because the writers had nothing else to do. But the storyline about Kristina’s breast cancer has elevated this show and raised the stakes on the lives of the Braverman family. The moment where Kristina actually shares the information with the rest of the family was a powerful moment. We know how close these family members are and we absolutely believe their concerned reactions. The moment was earned and the show executed it brilliantly.

33. Modern Family – “Baby on Board” – Mitchell & Cam’s breakdown in the desert
The finale is one of the best episodes of the entire show and was filled with a lot of hilarious moments. But the moment that stood out for me was Mitchell’s breakdown in the desert near the gas station. After the ridiculousness of the hospital scenes with Gloria, they had a completely honest emotional moment where they are able to reflect on not getting the baby. It was an incredibly well acted moment by Ferguson & Stonestreet. Usually they are a source of comedy, but it was nice to see them as genuine people getting through a tough time.

32. South Park – “A Scause for Applause” – The explanation of scauses, Dr. Seuss style
The episode basically took on the whole controversy about Lance Armstrong and people getting rid of their LiveStrong bracelets. But those bracelets are actually called scauses, according the owner of the P.F. Pityef Bracelet Factory. Stan asks the owner to explain scauses and what follows is one of the greatest sequences in South Park history. It was an extended sequence done in a Dr. Seuss style. The words rhymed and the images from the factory were so colorful and vibrant, different from anything the show had ever done. It was an absolute blast to watch and it was perfectly executed in writing and directing. I could watch a whole spin-off about that character and that factory.

31. The Daily Show – “November 7” – Jon Stewart dissects the FOX News coverage after Obama is re-elected
The election was one of the most entertaining programs of the year. A presidential election should not be entertaining and should be taken more seriously, but it’s hard with a 24-hour news cycle and when one of the candidates is completely ridiculous. The Daily Show had a lot of election material to work with this year. But my favorite moment came the day after the election when Jon Stewart dissected the FOX News coverage after networks were calling the election for Obama. Karl Rove went nuts, Megyn Kelly stomped her way through the halls of FOX News to talk to some executives. The moment itself could’ve been on this list, but Jon Stewart’s accurate description and evaluation of the moment summed it up better than anybody else could.

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