Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best Scenes of 2011


10. The Parks And Rec Staff Tell Leslie They Are Going To Help With Her Campaign
Perhaps the obvious choice this year from Parks And Recreation would be April and Andy's wedding.  And that was really great.  But my pick from the show is actually the last scene to air this year.  After Leslie's campaign team backed out following her "scandal" by dating Ben, it looked like she would have to give up her dream of running for office.  Instead, she walked into the offices with the entire department ready and committed to helping her win the race.  They each had a different job (Tom- Swagger coach, Andy- Security, sweeps, body man and javelin if need be, Donna-Transpo "aka rides in my Benz") and when Leslie remarked "I can't ask you to put your lives on hold" Ron rebutted with "Find one person here who you haven't helped by putting your life on hold".  As Leslie got choked up by the love and support of her friends, I found myself shedding a tear too.  What makes Parks and Recreation different is that it does funny with a ton of heart, and this moment was the epitome of what makes the show so special.

9. Adele Mash Up/Santana Slaps Finn
Ugh.  Yes, I know that I'm putting Glee on this list.  But I honestly couldn't stop thinking about this scene for days after it aired.  First, the Adele mash up was good.  Really freaking good.  I've hated pretty much every song that season three has had to offer, so this was a major standout.  In addition to sounding fantastic, it also was full of emotion and fittingly became a climactic point of the episode.  When the song ended and Santana slapped Finn, I cheered a little bit.  Because A) It was something I had wanted to do since season one and B) It was an actual complicated issue (Finn yanking Santana out of the closet after years of her torment) where Glee fell into a shade of gray for once.  I loved it, and damn it I'm done apologizing for it.

8. The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
The first of the many moments on this list involving ghosts, The Vampire Diaries was the first to start the trend of major moments involving the undead.  When poor forlorn Jeremy, who had just lost another person that he cared about, was brought back to life by girlfriend Bonnie it seemed as though he was destined to continue living a sad and unexciting life.  That night however, he wandered down the stairs and was greeted by not one, but both of his dead ex-girlfriends.  It was a great way to end the season with a bang and kept viewers guessing all summer long.

7. Carrie and Brody Come Face To Face
There are a lot of intense high pressure moments in Homeland and this...isn't one of them.  But I just love this scene outside of the vets support group where the two see each other for the first time since his briefing in the pilot.  There was a visible spark and undeniable chemistry between the two that on any other show would have been seen as a cute flirtatious moment.  But on Homeland?  You had to figure out who was playing who and just how much.  The cat and mouse game between Carrie and Brody took a different and exciting turn with this scene, and made the show an enjoyable mindfuck for a few episodes.  I love a scene with layers, and this one was practically an onion.

6. Everyone Shows Up For Kathy, Including The Dead And The Almost Dead
It seems that the best way to end a season this year was by throwing some old dead friends into the mix and you know what?  It always seems to work.  On the Big C, Cathy decided to run the New Years race in freezing weather to honor her dead friend.  Upon reaching the finish line, she sees her son, brother and doctor all cheering for her.  Then dead friends Lee and Marlene appear next to them.  Finally her husband Paul shows up and stands in the middle.  Cathy is psyched that "everybody came" but when her son points out that his dad isn't there she (and we) realize that Paul is actually standing on the side with the dead and not the living.  It was a lovely moment that ended with a brilliant way to introduce the potential death of Cathy's husband.

5. Good Wife No More
Alicia Florrick spent the first two seasons of The Good Wife being the dutiful, well, good wife.  She stood by her husband when he was found to have cheated with prostitutes, through his imprisonment and trial and finally through his campaign to get back his old seat.  But after he won, and she learned that he had slept with the woman who became her best friend, Alicia finally had enough.  In this amazing scene, she brought him to a brand new apartment and announced that it was where he would be living from now on.  She told him what she knew and refused to listen to his arguments.  When he asked what he could do to make it better, she told him "nothing".  After years of being the put upon wife, Alicia finally took a stand and proved that she was her own woman, and a force to be reckoned with.

4. Christina And Crosby's Fight 
I love a good argument and this one from Parenthood was the best of the year.  Christina and her brother in law Crosby had been building up a resentment towards each other for episodes for various reasons, without ever actually interacting.  When he showed up at her home, their pleasantries turned into a nasty fight.  When they finally finished screaming at each other he marched off, only to have her have to call him back...her water had broken.  It was great to watch these two have an evenly matched fight (in which both were right and wrong about various issues) and to watch them to have to so quickly drop all of their hatred to come together as a family.

3. Go Away Tate
I've already talked a bit about my love for this scene in my review of the episode, but as time goes on I find that I love it more and more.  What was great about this scene is that it is one that we had known had to happen eventually (Violet confronting Tate about all of his crimes) and yet it managed to live up to expectations.  First the timing of it, after Violet's mother had died, gave it more emotional weight than it would have carried as just a simple list of his sins.  Second, Tate's inability to still confess all, hoping in the moment that he could downplay his actions, was true to character and kept us all still guessing as well.  Third, her acknowledging that she still loved and forgave him but still adamant that he needed to be punished, made the whole thing much more complex and gut wrenching to watch.  Fourth, the reveal of Vivien, looking better in life than she ever had in death was a lovely button to the scene that gave Violet and us a little comfort.  And finally?  The actors knocked the thing out of the park.  American Horror Story did bloody and campy fun well, but this scene proved that it could kill at the dramatic as well.

2. Will You Take Me To Philadelphia With You Please?
It's hard to find a scene in the Friday Night Lights finale that wasn't amazing but this one stood out.  Throughout the years, Eric and Tami's relationship was the one solid unchanging part of the series.  In the finale, they both got job opportunities out of Dillion and it seemed that they were at an impasse, as she felt that it should finally be her turn.  When typically stubborn Eric broke and tracked her and Grace down at the mall and told her that he turned down his contract and asked if she would take him to Philly with her, my heart melted.  It was sweet, it was beautiful and it is exactly why people loved this show.  Full hearts indeed.

1. Jesse Pulls A Gun On Walt
Breaking Bad had A LOT of good scenes this year, and it is tough to ignore Jesse's speech to his NA group or Walt declaring "I am the one who knocks".  But truly, this scene was the climactic point to a very intense season.  After episodes of Gus turning Jesse against Walt, the two had finally parted ways.  When Jesse discovered that his ricin cigarette was missing and that the son of his girlfriend was ill, he was certain that Walt was responsible.  Jesse shows up at Walt's place and pulls a gun on him, but the tales turn and Walt managed to convince him that Gus was to blame.  There was so much to love about this.  First, the turn of them being against each other at the start to on the same team again at the end showed what a gifted team of writers this show has.  Second, the performances that each actor had to put in shows why these guys take home the big prizes.  And finally the fact that we later learned that Jesse was right and Walk managed to play him anyway, makes it even more fun to see on a repeat viewing.  That is the mark of a great scene and I'd gladly watch this one over and over again.

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