Every year television produces hits and misses, moments that we talk about around the water cooler or post about on Facebook, standout interviews, embarrassing segments, departures and returns. In other words, TV contains everything in life – marriage, children, comedy, drama, reality – what Zorba the Greek referred to as “the full catastrophe.” In many ways, a year in television is a perfect reflection of who we are as a culture and as individuals. That said, here are the 100 events from TV in 2011 that we chose to remember (or wish we could forget).
1. Oprah Winfrey Says Goodbye to Her Talk Show. More than 16 million people watched as the she quit her day job to go run a network. And considering OWN’s struggle to find anyone who can host a show viewers want to see, she might as well tell each of those finale viewers, “You get a show on my channel! And you get a show on my channel! Everyone gets a show on my channel!”
2. Walter blows up Gus on “Breaking Bad.” Watching TV’s scariest villain get half his face blasted off was a mixed blessing. It was fitting retribution for being such a badass, but at the same time, what will TV’s least sunny series do without the man who brought most of the storm clouds?
3. Piers Morgan debuts as Larry King’s replacement on CNN. Apparently America didn’t have enough talent to provide someone to take King’s place, so brash Brit Morgan got the gig. Watching him interview celebrities and world leaders is like watching Simon Cowell scold a singer: “You call that a dictatorship, Mr. Ahmadinejad? I’ve seen crazier decision-making at a Paula Abdul dinner party!”
4. “Two and a Half Men“ goes on hiatus following Charlie Sheen’s stint in rehab, starting the off-air feud that led to his firing. Say what you will about Charlie Sheen (and Lord knows just about everyone has at this point…). Sure he publicly humiliated himself with all his talk of goddesses and tiger blood. And sure he was the one guy in the news last spring who made Muammar Gaddafi look like a better option for lead speaker for Career Day at your kids’ school. Still, his ranting made him more talked about than ever, and that definitely counts as “Winning.”
5. Kim Kardashian marries Kris Humphries in an E! special, and divorces him 72 days later. Okay, now let’s see what she’s got in mind for February Sweeps. Basketball season will be underway by then so those guys will be busy, but apparently several members of the St. Louis Rams are single and available.
6. Sookie and Eric finally get together on “True Blood.” The Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis of the underworld make The Beast With Two Backs, and Team Eric fans everywhere score one for their side. There hasn’t been this much interest in the sex lives of creatures who wander the night since the most recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Watch the Full Episode.
7. Melissa McCarthy wins the Emmy and hosts “Saturday Night Live.” Nice guys may finish last, but it turns out that sometimes, nice women end up on top. McCarthy has spent so much of her career playing the supportive best friend, watching her have this success feels like seeing your college roommate finally hit it big.
8. The Packers smack around the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, which turned out to be the most watched TV program in US TV history. More than 111 million viewers tuned in on Super Bowl Sunday. But let’s be fair about this. Maybe 10 or 11 million were there for the Packers and Steelers. The other 100 million were just tuning in to see that commercial with the kid dressed like Darth Vader.
9. A sharp shooter seemingly takes out Nancy at the very end of “Weeds’” seventh season finale. It’s like “Who Shot JR?” all over again, except this time instead of a wealthy philanderer with a twisted family who made his fortune from something that makes America happy (oil), it’s a nearly-wealthy philanderer with a twisted family who made her fortune of something else that makes America happy (pot). Watch the Full Episode.
10. Meredith Vieira leaves “The Today Show.” In June, Vieira ended her five-year run as the popular morning show’s co-host. There’s apparently no truth to the rumor that NBC considered replacing her with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb but scratched the plan when they learned package liquor stores would deliver that early in the morning.
11. Regis Philbin exits “Live with Regis & Kelly.” After nearly 30 years, the perpetually prickly talk show host walked away for the series to try other opportunities. No word on whether or not the first job will be a stage production of the movie Up, with Philbin as the crabby guy.
12. Russell Armstrong commits suicide during the filming of “Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills.” The manufactured drama in one of TV’s most hyperactive documentary-style shows became very real when the ex-husband of Taylor Armstrong killed himself this summer. Bravo did go back to edit Russell out of much of the season’s episodes while insisting the exposure of reality TV had nothing to do with the death. But isn’t that like opening up a restaurant, and when a customer gets salmonella from eating the Salmon Nicoise Salald, you say it’s their fault for choosing to eat there?
13. Casey Anthony goes free. The nation followed the trial of this Florida mom accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter in the same way we’d follow a professional sport: every news show and talk show seemed to obsess non-stop about every detail of the case. And when Anthony was acquitted of the charges in July, the news was so stunning and the outrage so widespread that the impossible happened – we could finally agree with Nancy Grace about something.
14. The Situation Bangs His Head Against Concrete Wall on “Jersey Shore.” He was rushed immediately to the hospital for X-rays to examine his brain. The X-rays showed nothing.
15. Michael Scott proposes to Holly as Steve Carell prepares to exit “The Office.” This wasn’t Carell’s last appearance on the show, but it was so perfect it probably should have been. This romantic episode (“Garage Sale”) was Michael Scott exactly as we wanted to remember him: sweet, upbeat and someone who doesn’t see the problem with writing a marriage proposal in gasoline in the Dunder-Mifflin parking lot.
16. “Game of Thrones” kills off (SPOILER ALERT) Ned Stark. In hindsight, we probably shouldn’t have been quite so amazed that this critically acclaimed HBO drama beheaded its lead actor partway through its first season. This is a primetime series that features everything from dragons to medieval incest, so the fact that it tried to be different by offing a main character is one of the least unconventional things it did in its first season. Watch the Full Episode.
17. “Toddlers & Tiaras” competitor wears the hooker outfit from Pretty Woman. And the winner of this year’s Dina Lohan Parent of the Year Award goes to the mom of three-year-old Paisley, who dressed her daughter up in Julia Roberts’ infamous prostitute clothes for a tiny tot fashion show. Kind of puts all those embarrassing family photos where we were forced to wear leisure suits in perspective.
18. “Dexter‘s” Doomsday Killer sews body parts of different victims together and sends them down the street on horseback. There have been a lot of disturbing, horrifying images on TV in the past few years. The mobile corpses on The Walking Dead. The smoke monster on Lost. Gary Busey and Donald Trump together on Celebrity Apprentice. Nothing was creepier, though, than the last minute of episode three of Dexter this season, watching stitched together corpses ride onto a Miami street. The show may not be having a killer season, but that moment was to die for.
19. “30 Rock” Celebrates its 100th Episode. Who knew this snarky sitcom would make it to such a landmark achievement? It means honor, respect, glory….and, most importantly, regular syndication paychecks. Although, let’s be honest here, wouldn’t it have been more fun to see Liz Lemon’s Dealbreakers make it to 100 episodes too?
20. Amanda Knox has her conviction overturned. Just as the entire country seemed to be rooting for Casey Anthony to be convicted, everyone was doing just the opposite for this American student jailed for murder in Italy. The evidence against her seemed suspect, to say the least, and when the Italian authorities finally released her this fall, it was perhaps the happiest ending to any show on TV.
21. Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul reunite on “The X-Factor.” The Felix and Oscar of reality television finally got back together when Cowell brought his hit British musical competition show to America. Since this reconnection worked out well, what’s next? Why not let Cowell work his magic on this whole Arab-Israeili thing. And if that works, maybe move on to something even more challenging, like bringing Teresa and Caroline from Real Housewives of New Jersey together.
22. When Jackie’s husband admits he’s been cheating on her in the Nurse Jackie season finale, she throws him out despite her own history of adultery. Talk about the pot calling the kettle a no good, unfaithful loser…..Just when it seemed impossible for Jackie to complicate her life any more, she discovers the truth about her husband’s affair. In the words of a famous philosopher (was it Plato, or Pee Wee Herman…I can’t remember), “It takes one to know one.” So perhaps as a way of cleansing her own guilt, she tossed him out. Watch the Full Episode.
23. “Desperate Housewives“: The murder. In a truly killer season finale last spring, Carlos bumped off Gaby’s abusive stepfather and the ladies of the Lane helped hide the crime. Most neighbors might throw a Tupperware party or a yard sale to bring everyone together. Only Desperate Housewives would use murder to accomplish the same goal.
24. “The Biggest Loser‘s” Olivia sings a new song – literally. After dropping 129 pounds from her starting weight of 261 pounds, opera singer Olivia Ward won the spring edition of The Biggest Loser. She would no longer have to play the fat person in real life nor, as she gleefully told everyone, would she have to do the same on stage.
25. Kyle Chandler wins the Best Actor Emmy for “Friday Night Lights.” Okay, so finally honoring Chandler for his five seasons of outstanding work as Coach Taylor on the little-watched but much-loved Lights was a little like calling up Wendy’s to say that “Where’s The Beef?” lady is really funny. It’s a little late in the game for the praise. Still, for fans of this outstanding series, it was as rewarding a victory as any the East Dillon Lions ever had.
26. “Entourage” signs off. The sly series that made show biz excess seem like something charming ended its HBO run after seven years, with its four main pals literally flying off into the sunset. No more hookers. No more crazy, drug and alcohol fueled parties. This could have caused a serious dent in the Hollywood economy, had Charlie Sheen not been around this year to pick up the slack. Watch the Final Episode.
27. The survivors finally find Sophia, as a zombie in the barn with the rest of the walkers on “The Walking Dead.” In a series crawling (or, more likely, stumbling) with shocking moments, this may was the most stunning yet. The little girl everyone had been searching for throughout the second season emerged almost unrecognizable from Hershel’s zombie hideaway, mortifying both the survivors and viewers. On the plus side, at least Sophia had a lot of babysitters who were keeping an eye on her during the search. Watch the Full Episode.
28. Sweet Dee trying to get out of being audited on “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” The four main friends on this FX sitcom are so mean and self-centered, they make Seinfeld’s sinful central quartet seem like lifelong members of the Peace Corps in comparison. Dee and her pals really topped themselves with this episode featuring a baby funeral and the IRS, two topics that, until now, you wouldn’t have thought had great comic potential.
29. “60 Minutes” interviews with Bernie Madoff’s wife, Ruth. In the show’s most riveting Q&A of the year, the spouse of one of the most-hated men of the past decade tried to purge some of the family guilt over his crimes. Even as she was forlornly revealing that she and her husband tried to kill themselves, though, watching her was a strangely empty experience because it was so hard to work up much sympathy.
30. Jessica gets out of the silver and almost walks in the sunlight on “True Blood.” The war between witches and vampires nearly cost poor young Jessica her undead life when she was compelled to step out into the sun without any SPF 3,000 on. After she was saved, the supernatural skirmish heated up to such an intense battle, it was like watching the Democrats and Republicans fight. Okay…maybe it wasn’t that frightening… Watch the Full Episode.
31. Barney and Robin cheat with each other on “How I Met Your Mother.” These two have had the most up-and-down relationship this side of Ashton and Demi, so it wasn’t entirely surprising to see them cheat on their significant others. It was, however, surprisingly sad to see Barney ready to settle down and Robin abandoning him for her therapist beau, Kevin. The producers have teased us all season about a Barney wedding, so something is going to have to give soon.
32. Andy tells “Office” assistant Erin to fake an important call for him to ignore while he’s with a client. Note to all receptionists out there looking to please the new boss: when he/she asks you to fake an important call which he/she will then reject in order to make the client feel more important, don’t pretend the call is from the police about the boss’ dead mom. That one is a little tricky turn down. Watch the Full Episode.
33. Andy Rooney says goodbye. The longtime 60 Minutes commentator opted to retire after 33 years with the show, staying true to cranky form with a final piece about his career and how much he hates the fame that came with it. Watching him go, you realized how these weekly spots really were his life. Which, unfortunately, proved to be too true. Barely a month later, Rooney passed away.
34. Katie Couric leaves her anchor spot on the “CBS Evening News.” Within a few hours of taking the CBS job back in the fall of 2006, there were rumors that perpetually perky Couric was in over her head and would soon be gone. This May, whether it was because of poor ratings or her desire to try something else, she finally did step away. A syndicated talk show is in the works but after the interviews she did back in the 2008 presidential campaign, it’d be more fun to see her team with Sarah Palin for a comedy about mismatched buddy cops.
35. OWN launches January 1, replacing the Discovery Health Network. Oprah Winfrey kicked off her latest business venture with nearly everything you’d expect her to provide, like shows with big-name celebrities including The Judds and Shania Twain and series pushing a positive, self-help seminar style agenda. OWN forgot just one thing. Shows with Oprah. Her presence was minimal on the channel bearing her name, and ratings have been a struggle since the launch.
36. Ricky Gervais heckles Hollywood. The English comic hosted the Golden Globe Awards in January, with insults directed at everyone from Bruce Willis to Johnny Depp. The actors were reportedly outraged by the performance, which made about as much sense as taking their annual ski trip to Aspen but complaining that the trip was lousy because it snowed.
37. Moira bites a visitor’s penis when he visits the Harmon family home on “American Horror Story.” This supernatural drama from Glee man Ryan Murphy tells the tale of a troubled trying to cope with a new home where strange things are afoot, whether it’s the ghost maid (who can be both young and old) biting a realtor’s penis, a haunting figure in a rubber suit snapping people’s necks or monsters appearing in the basement. All this is seriously going to hurt the resale value of this house. Watch the Full Episode.
38. Ill-fated “Good Wife” lovers Alicia and Will finally do the deed. After two seasons filled with nothing but foreplay, these two lawyers in love finally got down to business with each other in the opening of season three. Talk about a firm that’s raising the bar…..
39. Snooki flashes the crowd at an Italian club, prompting her beau Jionni to storm out. Italy has given us Chianti, pizza and Sophia Loren. We gave them the cast of Jersey Shore, whose idea of cultural exchange was having Snooki lift up her dress and show off her private parts to a club crowd. Somehow, that seems like a real trade imbalance.
40. On his fourth try, Rob Mariano finally wins “Survivor.” Okay, so you can’t really say that nice guys finally finish first. Boston Rob has been anything but nice during each of his previous three attempts to win (and two attempts at winning Amazing Race with wife Amber). Still, it was nice to see this reality show veteran take home the prize he’s been missing. And now, it’s on to America’s Top Model and after that, who knows…Top Chef?
41. ABC announces the cancellation of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” The bad news? Two of TV’s longest-running soap operas were dropped in favor of talk/reality shows, outraging fans who will miss their “stories. ” The worse news? For all you deadbeat dads out there, there are even more hours in daytime TV now for Maury Povich to do maternity testing on you.
42. “SNL” mocks Kim Kardashian’s divorce. The only sad thing about this sketch? It was probably too true to be funny. (And Kristen Wiig’s channeling of Kris Jenner proves once again why she is indeed the funniest woman on television.)
43. Comedy Central roasts Charlie Sheen. Here’s a way to improve the economy. If we had just taxed everyone a dollar for every Charlie Sheen joke they told this year, we’d have been in the black by August. And the material from this special alone (and who knew Kate Walsh was so funny?) could have paid for the defense budget. Or at least round of drinks for every person in the Defense Department.
44. “Revenge” proves to be sweet, becoming one of the fall’s hottest new shows. Cheating. Lying. Conniving. In some shows, these are the things our hero tries to stop. With this twisted tale of a woman seeking to get even with the wealthy jerks who she blames for her father’s death, though, these are the things you’re hoping to see her do.
45. The “Party Down” cast meet up again on “Children’s Hospital.” Watching the cast of one acclaimed improv comedy reunite on another acclaimed improv comedy was like getting the Justice League of America meet up with the Avengers for some karaoke – you didn’t know what to expect from two superstar teams getting together but you did know something crazy would happen. Watch the Full Episode.
46. ABC’s reboot of “Charlie’s Angels” gets canceled after less than heavenly ratings. Some iconic relics from the ’70s are just not begging to be revisited. There’s leisure suits, for example. Watergate, too. Disco. And, apparently, Charlie’s Angels. This misguided reboot made even the Shelley Hack/Tanya Roberts-era of the original look hip.
47. Meat Loaf melts down on “Celebrity Apprentice.” It takes an awful lot of effort to make Gary Busey look like the sane one in any conversation, but Meat Loaf’s expletive-filled rant over a missing bag of paint did exactly that.
48. Bob Costas interviews former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky via phone on NBC’s “Rock Center.” It’s tough to decide which was stranger during this memorable conversation. Was it accused child abuser Sandusky taking 17 seconds to say ‘no’ when asked if he was sexually attracted to young boys? Or was it the creepy way Sandusky’s lawyer sat silently, staring into space throughout the whole thing as if he was planning what his next career would be? Because clearly, giving legal advice is not his thing.
49. Just as Cathy learns her cancer treatment may be working on “The Big C,” Paul collapses with a heart attack and may be dead. The upside? This Showtime dramaedy was finally offering it’s lead character a ray of hope. The downside? This is a Showtime dramaedy so every bit of good news for that lead character means three episodes of crappy stuff to balance it out. So for Cathy’s sake, it might be best if she never get cured. The comedy karmic comeback might be worse. Watch the Full Episode.
50. “New Girl‘s” Zooey Deschanel adds indie film quirkiness to primetime. Sexiest. Primetime actress. Ever. Primetime comedy needed something quirky, cool and comely to liven things up and Deschanel arrived this fall with the complete package.
51. Rick Perry saves late-night comedians a lot of work with his performances on the campaign trail. From his tipsy appearance at a stop in New Hampshire or the CNBC debate “oops!” moment where he forgot the third agency he’d cut, Perry was a gift from the comedy gods throughout the fall. When he finally gives up his presidential bid, the networks would be crazy not to find some sort of sitcom where he could be paired up with Herman Cain.
52. Vicci Martinez wows the mentors when she performs “Dog Days Are Over” on “The Voice.” She may not have won this talent competition, but with this powerful performance, Martinez proved she may well be the Clay Aiken of The Voice. No, not because young girls and older women can insist she’s straight for years to come but because soon she’ll be so popular people won’t even remember she didn’t take home first prize.
53. Mary Hart says goodbye to “Entertainment Tonight” viewers. After nearly 30 years of keeping up with the Kardashians and every other significant celebrity, Hart stepped away from ET. She may not have been that entranced by the famous people she interviewed and reported on, but her constant smile and sunny attitude made it seem like she did. Which was enough to get us to be entranced, too.
54. Ashley lets Ben get down on one knee and propose before she rejects him on “The Bachelorette.” On the plus side, considering the shelf-life of Bachelor/Bachelorette romances, they would have split before the next commercial break anyway. So Ashley was just saving him some time and money.
55. “Rescue Me” comes full-circle with its final episode. Tommy Gavin finally came to terms with his post-9/11 pain in the finale of one of TV’s best series, and realized it was time to give up his drinking for good. Upon the release of this news, alcohol sales in the greater New York area plummeted 67 percent.
56. Anderson Cooper has a giggle fit while reporting on Gerard Depardieu. While telling the story of the French actor being accused of relieving himself on a plane during his CNN show, Cooper channeled his inner Beavis (or was it Butt-head?) by using every pee-related pun in the book. He did, however, forget to point out that you know you’re in trouble when a passenger says he likes to play Wii games. Get it? Urine? Wee? Anderson, are you reading these?
57. Rosie O’Donnell and Larry David fight over the same woman on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” The fight was funny. The idea that somebody would be attracted to these two at the same time…that’s completely laughable. Watch the Full Episode.
58. “The Killing” finale disappoints many of its fans. For weeks, critics and viewers were gripped with the search for the killer of young Rosie Larsen. Then came the finale for season one and the biggest crime wasn’t the murder. It was the fact that not only did it turn out the prime suspect was probably set up and (perhaps) shot, there was no indication at all of who the real killer was.
59. Jake Gyllenhaal battles the elements on “Man vs. Wild.” The last time Jake Gyllenhaal was alone in the wilderness with another man, it was Brokeback Mountain and his work got him lots of Oscar night invites. This time around, he traversed ropes across canyons and hiked over snow packs in Iceland with Bear Grylls. All of which was still probably less nerve-wracking than Hollywood on Oscar night.
60. Eric kills Sookie’s fairy godmother on “True Blood.” Okay, so it shouldn’t be funny when anyone has the life literally sucked out of them by a vampire. But c’mon! Hearing Sookie scream, “You killed my fairy godmother!” and Eric shrug a “Sorry!” that sounded an awful lot like Rick Perry’s “Oops!”….well, that was the comic highlight of the True Blood season. Watch the Full Episode.
61. Evan Rachel Wood goes full frontal in “Mildred Pierce.” The young actress bared all for the HBO mini-series, and earned an Emmy nomination for her acting. Strangely enough, the epic also won an Emmy for Best Costumes.
62. Bradley Cooper does an interview on French TV entirely in French. So he speaks fluent French, the language of love, during a promotional tour of France. Then he ends up as the Sexiest Man Alive. There has to be a connection there. What if he’d done the interview speaking only Klingon? How sexy would he be considered then?
63. President Obama announces the death of Osama Bin Laden, interrupting everything from a Phillies-Mets game to “Celebrity Apprentice.” The news that Americans had long waited to hear was like a satisfying end to a long-running reality series. Whether it was hearing Phillies fans spontaneously start a “USA” cheer or enjoying the break from Gary Busey and his co-apprentices, this was one of those moments where real life meets television, and you’ll always remember where you were and what you were watching.
64. Jimmy Fallon sings “Reading Rainbow” as Jim Morrison. Nobody’s better at musical impersonations that Fallon, and his dead-on mimicking of the Doors doing this PBS children’s show theme song should become a series. How about Jimi Hendrix and “The Electric Company” next time?
65. Nancy Grace has a wardrobe malfunction on “Dancing With the Stars.” There are many horrifying experiences you should never have in your lifetime. Being torn apart by crazed wildebeests, for instance. Or accidentally dropping your winning Powerball ticket in the garbage disposal. And seeing Nancy Grace’s exposed breast on national television. The first two may be pretty unlikely but unfortunately, a nipple slip during Grace’s run on DWTS made the third a viable option.
66. Fabio becomes the new Old Spice Guy. Sure it’s always fun to see America’s once favorite himbo resurface. But for Old Spice, ask yourself this one question. When have you ever said, “Life is pretty great the way it is, except that I don’t smell enough like Fabio”?
67. Leslie and Ben break up and then reunite on “Parks and Recreation.” TV comedy these days seems to specialize in cynicism. Snarky is apparently sexy. That’s what makes the Leslie/Ben relationship one of TV’s most endearing. It may not be perfect but it is real, touching and funny. Too bad they’ll never be able to ride of into the sunset together on their trusty steed, Li’l Sebastian. Watch the Reunion Episode.
68. NeNe freaks out at Janet Jackson, Dionne Warwick and Star Jones during “Celebrity Apprentice.” Once upon a time it was politics that was supposed to make for strange bedfellows. Now, it’s Celebrity Apprentice. Seriously, in what other universe would these four women ever be encouraged to work together on anything?
69. James Franco appears high while hosting the Oscars. Having Anne Hathaway and Franco host the Academy Awards was a lot like New Coke. It might have been a nice thought to hip up one of America’s favorite things, but within a few weeks of trying it out, nobody would admit to dreaming the idea up.
70. Dr. Phil interviews Casey Anthony’s parents. If Casey Anthony was public enemy number one during the summer, her parents had to rank as 1A and 1B. And while it’s seldom fun to see Dr. Phil bully the people on his show, this was that rare time when America rooted for him to bully away.
71. Mariah Carey makes no sense on HSN. Her ramblings about giving birth to twins, the weather in New York, camera directions and more were pretty incomprehensible. It was almost enough to make you forget her previous best TV appearance: doing the treadmill while wearing heels on Cribs.
72. Casey Abrams is saved by the judges on “American Idol.” With his bushy beard, stand-up bass and quirky song selections, Abrams was perhaps the least likely Idol contender ever. You knew that eventually the pre-teen girls who do most of the voting would eventually dump him because he looked more like their crazy uncle than Justin Bieber, but it was nice that at least for one night, the judges decided to keep him around.
73. MSNBC analyst Mark Halperin calls President Obama a “dick” during a live broadcast of “Morning Joe.” You have to wonder if the world has slipped of its axis when a reporter for the supposedly liberal MSNBC makes news with an uncensored insult directed at the president. Halperin was suspended for his remark, but you were left wondering what might be next. Fox News saying Newt Gingrich should maybe smile more?
74. Carl experiences a rare moment of beauty on “The Walking Dead” when he approaches a grazing deer…and then gets shot. This show had happy moments about as frequently as Simon Cowell wears a tie, which made Carl’s time with Bambi so shocking and so moving. (Although to be honest, didn’t we all know it only meant something really bad was about to happen?)
75. Kim and Kyle share a sisterly breakdown on “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Watching these two spoiled siblings spend an entire season tearing into each other, you couldn’t help but have one inescapable thought…finally, a family that makes the Kardashians look like a model of decorum!
76. Herman Cain stumbles when asked a question about his stance on Libya. You know you know your child hasn’t done his or her math homework because, when you ask about it, he or she just keeps repeating the phrase “math homework” to stall for time while thinking of a good excuse? That’s what it was like watching Cain try to come up with his Libya answer.
77. PBS airs the documentary, “Pearl Jam Twenty.” Once you get over the shocking realization that the band that represented your rock and roll youth is now 20 years old, this film from director Cameron Crowe about one of the founding godfathers of grunge was totally fascinating. And reason enough to drag that flannel shirt out of that box in the attic.
78. In August, Christine O’Donnell walks out on Piers Morgan after he asks her about same sex marriage. Considering that she once talked about being a witch, you’d think she could have just come up with a spell to disappear rather than endure the embarrassment of walking off.
79. Kim Kardashian gets her butt x-rayed…really. Once upon a time, Edward R. Murrow used television to bring down a power-crazy Joe McCarthy. Years later, intense television coverage of the Vietnam War helped bring about its end. And now…a Kardashian gets a butt x-ray on TV to prove she doesn’t have derriere implants. Who said investigative broadcast journalism was dead?
80. Bill Buckner saves a baby on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” It takes a lot for Red Sox fans to smile when they see Buckner but this episode wherein the man whose infamous error cost the Sox the 1986 World Series catches a falling baby did exactly that. And to show there’s no hard feelings, it was a New York baby, too. Watch the Full Episode.
81. Vienna and Kasey have sex on “Bachelor Pad.” The couple insisted in interviews that they were unhappy with their private moment being shared with millions of viewers. But that seems kind of like taking your new Corvette out for a spin and blaming Chevy for your speeding tickets.
82. Herman Cain chief of staff Mark Block blows smoke – literally – in a campaign ad. Cain positioned himself as the candidate for real America. Judging by this bizarre commercial, he apparently believes real Americans like to chain smoke and grin creepily when a camera is put in their face.
83. Rosie O’Donnell gets her own talk show…again. Somewhere out there, somebody was asking for Rosie to return to TV. Oprah complied with that wish and, considering the poor ratings for the show, that one person who asked for it may soon be the only one watching.
84. “Community” features seven different timelines in an episode. This critical darling tweaked the sitcom format with the unaware characters keep trying the same things over and over again, whether they should or not, so viewers can see if there will be a different outcome. The episode was called “Chaos Theory” or, as it’s known in the sports world, “The Brett Favre Story.”
85. Richard Blais wins “Top Chef: All Stars.” The chef took home first prize with a meal that included ice creams made of foie gras and lemon horseradish, short ribs with red cabbage marmalade, hamachi with fried veal sweetbreads and pickled radish and Brussels sprouts. But who wants to eat that weird food? Seriously…Brussels sprouts? C’mon!
86. Keith Olbermann blows up on MSNBC and returns on Current TV. The Countdown host’s relationship with MSNBC made Charlie Sheen’s with Warner Brothers look like a cuddle-fest. So it wasn’t exactly surprising that he left the network that made him famous, or that his move would be to a small place like Current TV. Fewer viewers, but fewer rules.
87. Maksim Chmerkovskiy angers his “Dancing With the Stars” mates by claiming it’s “my show.” First, Maks annoyed his co-workers by insisting he was the star of the show. Then, he griped about the scores he and partner Hope Solo were receiving. Finally, he groused when the couple was bounced from the competition. Thus giving new meaning to the term “Dancing Fool”…
88. Jon Stewart says goodbye to Glenn Beck…as Glenn Beck. The Daily Show host didn’t come to bury his nemesis when Beck announced he was leaving Fox. He came to mock him, complete with glasses, chalkboard and condescending attitude.
89. In August, MTV turns 30 years old. Which, ironically, means that even it was now too old to watch itself.
90. In October, “Beavis and Butt-head” returned to TV after a 14-year break. It didn’t take a fancy poll to realize America wanted its two favorite Idiot Boys from the ‘90s back. (“Heh heh….he said ‘pole.’”)
91. Mitchell participates in a flash mob on “Modern Family.” Tired of always being the uptight and unhip half of the couple, Mitchell decided to surprise Cam by jumping in with a group performing En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind.” This was much better than his original plan for being crazy and spontaneous: scheduling a round of badminton from 3:47 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
92. Alec Baldwin makes “SNL” hosting history. In September, Baldwin broke Steve Martin’s record by hosting the show for a 16th time. Next up for Alec, the Baldwin family record for most appearances on any show anywhere, currently held by brother Stephen and Fox News.
93. Jimmy Kimmel introduces “The Hottie Body Hump Club” to America. The late-night host rounded up starlets like Minka Kelly, Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel to be in his workout video. It may have been the funniest exercise video since “Sweating To the Oldies.”
94. The St. Louis Cardinals stage a dramatic comeback – twice – to win Game Six of the World Series. The team was down to its last strike in both the ninth and 10th innings but rallied each time to take down the Texas Rangers in one of the best World Series games ever. Let’s see….the NFL had a lockout that kept guys from playing for awhile. The NBA did too. So who says baseball is the most boring sport?
95. “Mad Men”’s return gets pushed back nearly a year. Thanks to contract negotiations that took too long, AMC decided to delay the return of one of the TV’s most honored shows from Summer 2011 to early 2012. Lucky they settled when they did. If it’d taken much longer, Don Draper would have been calling into the office from his iPhone while on the way to his AA meeting after signing divorce papers with his fourth ex-wife.
96. MTV begins airing “Awkward,” one of the best teen drama-dys in years. This series may be about an insecure teen girl trying to deal with the horror that is high school, but the title seems more indicative of how MTV must have felt after the crash-and-burn of another new teen show, the raunchy-for-the-sake of-being raunchy Skins.
97. LeBron James and the Miami Heat lose to the Mavericks in the NBA Finals. Watching James travel around the NBA last season was like watching the head of Citibank go for a stroll in a park filled with Occupy Wall Street-ers. After moving to South Beach and building his dream team, he was the most hated man in the league. Which made his team’s loss to the Mavericks a major celebration for plenty of NBA fans.
98. Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon sing their own version of Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” You know how by itself, tofu is a pretty bland, boring food? But if you throw in some spicy garlic sauce and shitake mushrooms and suddenly, it’s something unique and tasty? Well…that’s the best way to describe what happened when perhaps the lamest song of the year was like after ending up in the hands of two of TV’s hottest talents.
99. Michael Bolton revives his career with the “SNL” digital short, “Jack Sparrow.” There was a time when Bolton was the object of comedy on SNL. This year, he became the purveyor of comedy instead with this segment with Adam Sandler and Lonely Island. That’s all well and good, but if we next see Celine Dion singing the praises of Jason in a new “Friday the 13th” sequel, that might be going too far. “My heart will go on…and on and on and on, because that guy in a hockey is running down the street with it.”
100. Megs Bennett drinks a fatal glass of Apple Pie rather than go to jail in the “Justified” season finale. There was no cooler show this year than Justified, and no more fascinating villain than Megs Bennett. She was kind of like your grandmother. If your grandmother sold illegal drugs for a living, smashes her own son’s hand with a hammer for disobeying her and poisons a guy just so she can adopt his daughter.