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Best of 2012: Top TV Moments of the Year (30-21)
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.

30. The Newsroom – “We Just Decided To” – Opening scene
I think we can all agree that Aaron Sorkin’s return to television has been a disappointment. There were probably too high of expectations put on it, but it was well below what anyone was expecting at all. It’s too bad because the opening scene of the show was absolutely gangbusters. Jeff Daniels gets too delivers a powerful Sorkin-esque speech filled with the writer’s own personal political views. I appreciate that Sorkin unabashedly puts his own views in his writing and doesn’t make any excuses for it. Daniels seems to be having a blast and sinks his teeth into every word that Sorkin has written. It’s just a shame that the rest of the series couldn’t live up to this. Not even Daniels could save some of the bad material that was to come in future episodes.

29. Saturday Night Live – “Seth MacFarlane/Frank Ocean” – Puppet class
In this sketch from the season opener, Seth MacFarlane played a nerdy guy teaching an Introduction to Puppetry class. Kenan Thompson, Vanessa Bayer & Bill Hader were the students. He was basically teaching them how to give their puppets a character. Hader’s character was an Army veteran with some major PTSD symptoms. While the others were being playful and fun with their characters, Hader was completely creepy. He had his puppet tell a story about having to kill a village of children in Grenada, his puppet had a cigarette for a prop. Hader was brilliant and proved why he got an Emmy nomination this year. He has such a clear sense of his characters and this one was no different. I’ve watched it a few times on Hulu. It never gets old.

28. Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars – “Week 3” – Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough, “Hey Pachuco” – Quickstep
I probably lose all credibility for placing a routine from DWTS so high up on the list. But I don’t care. This routine was pure entertainment and I’ve watched it multiple times on YouTube. The challenge for this particular week was recreating a famous routine from a previous routine. It was a stupid challenge because none of the couples actual recreated a dance. They just took the same song and style from a previous routine and created new choreography. This routine was spectacularly choreographed by Derek Hough (seriously, he needs an Emmy nom this year). My favorite moment of the dance comes from the beginning when the stars separate for the first time and Shawn does a backflip. I love the manic nature of it. But they never lose time or get out of sync. The whole routine is great but that moment gets me every time I see it.

27. Louie – “Daddy’s Girlfriend, Part 2” – Quick stop at ‘Russ and Daughters’
Everyone was talking about the ending scene on the rooftop in this episode. But the moment that stayed with me the most was the stop at the famous NYC deli Russ and Daughters. It was the definition of food porn. Parker Posey’s character introduces Louie to all of the specialties the store has to offer. Herring, smoked fish, whitefish, lox with caviar, some kind of pickled vegetable, glazed peaches, marble rye bread, etc. It’s gorgeously filmed. The joy between Posey & C.K. in that scene is palpable and I think the food has a lot to do with it. Some of the other parts of the episode are so manic and dark that this moment stands out because it’s so light and playful, something the show doesn’t always do but when it does it works perfectly.

26. Mad Men – “The Phantom” – Joan shows the men their new office
I don’t have a whole lot to say about this scene. The advertising firm is going to be expanding their office and Joan shows the partners the perspective office space she is considering. The shot of all five of them in front of the huge windows overlooking Manhattan was absolutely gorgeous and will go down as one of the most iconic images in the show’s history (and maybe even the history of television). It’s absolutely beautiful.

25. Bob’s Burgers – “Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks” – Tina’s first time behind the wheel
Tina is really the breakout character on the show. She’s a shy (maybe slightly Asperger’s) teen girl who is incredibly nervous but is also self-assured about her sexuality. It’s an interesting combination and I think Dan Mintz’ droll portrayal of her voice adds to the mystery and intrigue of her character. This scene from “Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks” had me in hysterics. It was the opening scene of the episode. Bob and Tina pick up some supplies from a restaurant supply store. Bob sees the parking lot is empty, except for one car that is parked much farther away, and decides to give Tina her first chance behind the wheel. Tina is incredibly nervous and she just lets out this anxious sigh the entire time as she drives the car straight for the lone parked car in the parking lot. It’s completely absurd and is only believable because it happened to Tina.

24. Veep – “Fundraiser” – Selina freaks out after Amy signs the wrong name on a get wall card
One of the great things about Veep airing on HBO is that it gives Julia Louis-Dreyfus a chance to curse on television and not get bleeped. She wasn’t able to do that on her broadcast shows and I think she absolutely relishes in the chance to do this as often as possible on here. I’m just going to post the transcript from this scene between JLD & Anna Chlumsky. Chlumsky’s character was supposed to sign the Veep’s name on a get well card, but she accidentally signed her own name instead.
[Selina: “What the fuck Amy! I am putting out two fires in there and I turn around to find out that you have set fire to the fucking firetruck! The level of incompetence in this office is STAG-GER-ING!”
Amy: “I am going to fix this. I am going to get a new card.”
Selina: “That’s right. You’re gonna get on this. You are going to shut this the fuck down. Ok? Because I am busy in there apologizing to that…fucktard. God!” [pause, composes herself and walks back into her office] “Mr. Burton, I’m so sorry. We’re having a complicated day here.”]

23. Breaking Bad – “Gliding Over All” – Hank’s discovery
*Major Spoiler Alert.* Obviously it was going to eventually happen that Hank found about what Walt was doing. But who knew it would be so darkly humorous. Hank and Marie are over the White’s house enjoying a peaceful afternoon in the backyard (also, that scene was so tense because you just had a sinking feeling that something bad was about to happen). But the big moment came as Hank was sitting take a dump and looked at a copy of Walt Whitman’s poems ‘Leaves of Grass’. Hank opens the book and finds an inscription from Gale to Walt. “To my other favorite W.W. It’s an honour working with you. Fondly, G.B.” Hank figures it out and no doubt we will see the repercussions in the final 8 episodes of the series.

22. Boardwalk Empire – “Two Imposters” – Gyp shows up outside of Chalky’s house
This was one of the most intense and nerve-wracking scenes on TV last year. Earlier in the episode, an attempt on Nucky’s life was made and his faithful butler Eddie was injured in the process. A bullet was lodged in his abdomen. Nucky goes to Chalky White’s house for some help. Chalky calls upon his daughter’s boyfriend, a surgery student, to help him out. While this is going on inside in secret, Gyp Rosetti shows up outside of Chalky’s house to see if Chalky knows the whereabouts of Nucky. It was an intense scene with just the impromptu surgery, but add in Rosetti’s looming presence outside and Nucky trying to stay hidden and keeping Eddie quiet. It was an impressive scene that was well executed on all fronts.

21. Girls – “All Adventurous Women Do” – “Dancing on My Own”
This was one of those moments from the show that tipped me from liking the show to absolutely loving it. Hannah is still reeling from her awkward encounter with ex-boyfriend Elijah and Marnie just returns from a frustrating evening where an attractive guy was hitting on her all night, someone much more exciting than her current boyfriend. Marnie comes in the door and sees Hannah dancing to Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” (props to the show for introducing me to this song too). They greet each other with “Yo girl”, which is adorable. Hannah shares her evening, Marnie takes off her coat and they dance together. It’s a beautiful moment and it makes you wish you had someone like that in your life to dance your frustrations away with.