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Best of 2012: Top TV Moments of the Year (20-11)
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.

20. Parks and Recreation – “Win, Lose or Draw” – Ron comforts Leslie in the city council chambers
The series brought the story arc of Leslie running for city council to a satisfying close. The show could’ve taken the typical route and just announced it on the television, but the automatic recount twist added much more tension to the show and made for an even better payoff. In the episode, her opponent is announced as the winner of the election but because the voting is so close an automatic recount was triggered. Leslie is immediately upset about this and retreats to the city council chambers to hide out. Ron finds her there and gives her a pep talk. Leslie doesn’t want all of their hard word to go to waste and she’ll be letting them all down if she doesn’t win. Ron tells her that this isn’t true and they all supported her because they love her. It’s a well-written scene and Poehler and Offerman act is beautifully. The show has done a great job of building up that relationship and that’s why every moment of that scene is truthful and honest to the history of the show.

19. So You Think You Can Dance – “Top 6” – Cole & Eliana, “Adagio for Strings” – Mia Michaels, Contemporary
Mia Michaels took a break from the show last summer. She was choreographing the movie version of Rock of Ages, but I think it was also because she was pissed that Nigel didn’t want her as a permanent judge anymore. She wasn’t a very good judge for television but she’s an excellent choreographer and he multiple Emmy awards prove that. This routine with Cole & Eliana was absolutely breathtaking and had Michaels’ signature touches. The intense subject matter, the deep emotions, the fragmented movements. She’s at least going to get another nomination this year and maybe even another trophy on her mantel.

18. The Colbert Report – “January 12” – Stephen transfers SuperPAC powers to Jon Stewart
I’ve said it multiple times, but the entire story this year with Stephen Colbert and his SuperPAC “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow” was absolutely brilliant. It all came to a hilarious peak when Colbert announced his intention to run in the Republican primary in South Carolina. Since Colbert was now going to become a candidate, he could no longer be in charge of the SuperPAC. He gave up his throne and transferred his powers over to Jon Stewart. It was a hilarious sequence and one of the highlights of the entire SuperPAC storyline.

17. Modern Family – “Tableau Vivant” – Posing for the picture
I loved the execution of this scene more than anything. The entire family gets together to pose for Alex’s living art display of Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want”. The all have to hold the pose for a limited amount of time but that doesn’t keep them from arguing the entire team. I love the way that the continue to hold the pose and their facial expressions while being frustrated with each other, with all of the conflicts from earlier in the episode coming to head and basically resolving themselves in the 90 second picture frame. It was a great moment for the entire cast to shine and the direction of the scene made it even better.

16. Girls – “Hannah’s Diary” – Hannah stands up for herself at Adam’s door
Hannah finally stands up for herself in front of Adam. She tells Adam exactly what she wants from the relationship and is prepared to move on without him. It’s a powerful moment but it’s slightly undercut by the ridiculousness of Hannah’s drawn-in eyebrows (courtesy or her new co-workers). It’s a classic Hannah moment. It’s a moment of clarity and strength and yet it’s not as powerful as it should be. Lena Dunham is absolutely perfect in this scene. I don’t think Dunham is given enough credit for her acting and I should point them to this exact moment as what she’s capable of doing. “I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time, and thinks I’m the best person in the world, and wants to have sex with only me.”

15. The Daily Show – “October 24” – Jon Stewart devotes entire show to getting veterans back to work
Jon Stewart started the show by saying that they’re getting tired of the same old election news stories, so the entire show is being devoted to veterans’ issues. He first opens up about people in Congress voting down the Hire at Home Act, where would’ve helped veterans find work at home when they finish their tours of service. He then brings out two veterans, Meg Mitchum & Daniel Hutchison, who are looking for employment outside of the army. One of the main difficulties is that their EMT training and other skills they’ve learned in the Army aren’t being transferred over into other areas of work. They have to get recertified, which is completely ridiculous. Later, Stewart’s guest for the night was Dakota Meyer, a 24 year-old Marine that received the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan. It was a powerful episode and I’m thankful that Stewart took a break from the same old election coverage to dedicate his show to something important.

14. Homeland – “New Car Smell” – Brody is arrested
This was a powerful moment and shocking for the series to pull in the middle of the season. The storyline with Carrie keeping tabs on Brody could’ve lasted the whole season. But the cover was blown wide open when Carrie can’t control herself and runs to Brody’s hotel room to spill the beans about EVERYTHING. She lets Brody know exactly what she knows about him and the C.I.A. keeping a close watch on him. Claire Danes is brilliant in this scene and it set forth a chain of events that would continue in the next episode.

13. Parks and Recreation – “Halloween Surprise” – Ben proposes to Leslie
The show made one of the smartest decisions ever when they cast Adam Scott on the show. He worked perfectly with the existing ensemble and had a different energy that the show needed. Most important is that he had undeniable chemistry with Amy Poehler. They work wonderfully together and you believe them as a couple. Their love story has been one of the strongest elements of the entire show. The proposal came at the end of “Halloween Surprise” and it was as sweet as you can imagine. My favorite moment was Leslie stopping Ben before he asks the questons. “Wait! I need to remember this. I want to remember how perfect my life is at this exact moment.” It’s one of Poehler’s best acting moments and it made the whole proposal even more memorable.

12. The Walking Dead – “Seed” – The silent opening montage
The Walking Dead wins the award for Most Improved Show of the Year. The third season took the show to a place that was exciting, bold and refreshing. The silent opening montage was one of the reasons the show started off on the right foot. It showed our ensemble of characters leaving the farm behind (bonus points for that) and finding a new place to hide out, until a new group of walkers appears. It was a great way to fill in the gaps between seasons and introduce the audience to the new season. It was well-directed and my favorite moment of the series so far.

11. So You Think You Can Dance – “Top 10” – Eliana & Alex, “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” – Stacey Tookey, Contemporary
Stacey Tookey has been nominated for Best Choreography at the Emmys for the past three years, deservedly so. The year will probably be her 4th nomination and the one that brings her the trophy, especially this routine. Tookey has always done great numbers, but this one was on a whole different level. The music of Nancy Sinatra was absolutely haunting and the accompanying dance matched the music perfectly. The lighting was gorgeous too. It also made me like Alex Wong, a returning All-Star, who annoys me most of the time. She brought a maturity and sincerity that has been missing in some of his routines in previous years. But it also shed a light on Eliana, who was really in the background as an also-ran for most of the season. But this number showed that she was a brilliant dancer and it helped her became the female champion of the season.

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