Every single year, hundreds of television moments generate conversation. They convince us to seek out others who watch the same show in order to commiserate, offer up wild theories or perhaps even angrily vow to never watch again. As the years pass, however, a funny thing happens. Many of these crazy, outlandish, have-to-talk-about-em moments sorta slowly begin slipping away until the memories belong more to the hardcore fans than the general public.
Let me give you an example. Despite happening thirty years ago, an overwhelming majority of the public could still tell you J.R. was shot in a dramatic episode of Dallas, whether they’ve actually seen the show or not. “Who Shot J.R.” is just one of those television moments that will never die---like “I take thee Rachel” from Friends or “the contest” from Seinfeld. Other moments like Boston Public's riot, Jill Taylor's emergency hysterectomy from Home Improvement and countless others just haven't remained with us, however.
Figuring out exactly which of those moments will last the test of time is extremely difficult, but luckily, that’s what we’re here for. We pulled all of the Cinema Blend writers and asked them for lists of the scenes that still have them buzzing, and we’ve compiled the results together.
So, without further ado, here are the 10 television moments from 2013 that we’ll still remember in 10 years...
Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers. If you are not caught up on the show the picture and title of each entry are referencing, do yourself a favor and skip to the next page.
The FBI Goes On A Manhunt In BostonThree days after the horrific Boston Marathon bombings, the FBI gave us two photographs of the suspects, Chechen brothers Dzhokar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. What followed was a manhunt through the streets of Boston that captivated the entire world and convinced many of us to stay up the entire night as authorities slowly narrowed the search location to a small grouping of blocks in Boston. There were shots fired. There were press conferences we’ll never forget, and in the end, there was an impromptu celebration in the streets.
Most Americans obsessively clung to the television following 9/11, but after a day or so, there really wasn’t a sense that we would catch the culprits immediately. We knew it would take time. Following the Boston Marathon bombings, there was a sense it could climax at any moment, and most of us will likely never forget that feeling.
Miley Cyrus Uses A Foam Finger At The VMAsThe Video Music Awards normally produce a double take or two. With a high percentage of teenagers tuned in, performers usually look to push the envelope a little bit which upsets parents and shocks older people, but not since Madonna rolled around in a wedding dress has the ceremony given the world anything that came close to Miley Cyrus and her foam finger. Hopping around in a revealing outfit and using the accessory as a sexual prop, the starlet reminded the whole world she’s no longer Hannah Montana and in doing so, made herself the Internet’s hottest trending topic for what felt like two weeks.
Short of having live sex on the stage or slaughtering an animal, I’m not really sure where anyone will go to try and top this in the coming years, but if history has taught us one thing, it’s people will try. Luckily for Miley, whether someone is able to succeed or not, her moment in the impromptu strip club won’t be forgotten for decades to come. In the world of music, that’s a big victory too.
Game Of Thrones Throws A Red WeddingFor all sorts of complicated reasons we have neither the time nor the energy to get into, Robb Stark gravely offended Lord Walder Frey. To make amends, he set up a wedding between his buddy Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey. On the surface, the event seemed to be going off without a hitch, but after the couple was bedded, Robb, Talisa, Lady Catelyn and a whole lot more were savagely murdered in a grisly massacre dubbed “The Red Wedding”.
Because the Game Of Thrones novels are so popular, “The Red Wedding” lost a little bit of its punch thanks to spoilers and a portion of the audience knowing what was ahead, but for many more, the callous mass execution was an absolute shock they were unprepared for. It left them speechless and saddened, and they took to social media en mass to collectively say, “WTF?” Moving forward, there will be plenty more shocking character deaths, but “The Red Wedding” will always and forever belong to Game Of Thrones and 2013.
The Big Brother Cast Gets RacistEvery so often on reality television, a contestant on a particular show will say something idiotic and get the whole world worked up a little bit. This past season on Big Brother, however, quite a few people said quite a few idiotic things, most of which involved race, and it led to very serious real world consequences. Contestants were fired from their jobs. They were confronted by host Julie Chen, and they were made to explain themselves in front of the entire viewing audience.
To be perfectly frank, it was an ugly mess. Even with good ratings, CBS was really pissed off about what happened, and one would imagine, all of the racist stories will lead CBS to revamp the way they pick contestants and perhaps even inspire the network to have a few conversations with the players before they enter the house. A little controversy here or there is a good thing. An entire house filled with a high percentage of bigots is the exact opposite for a business that requires advertising dollars to survive.
Patrick Jane Finally Meets Red JohnFor five seasons, Patrick Jane chased the man who murdered his family on The Mentalist. Sure, along the way he solved quite a few cases in procedural format, but at no point did his quest ever fully deviate from exacting revenge for the slaying of his family. Along the way, we were given various clues as to who the serial killer might be, and entering this season, the quest was narrowed down to just a few possibilities.
After an exhaustive hunt, we finally got the big man’s identity, Sheriff Thomas McAllister, and Jane finally got the confrontation he’s been looking for. Amidst arguments and gunshots, Jane chased him out of a church, hunched over his injured body, yelled at him for the pain he caused and choked the life out of him. Strangulation is the most personal way to kill someone, and after so many years of searching, it was exactly what both Jane and the rest of us watching needed.
The Super Bowl Goes DarkThere is no event in the United States more consumed than The Super Bowl. It demands the highest advertising rates. It inspires the top musicians in the world to perform for free. It’s the glitziest, most extravagant, most well-planned event on the yearly schedule, and 2013’s version was a complete nightmare---because the power went out.
For thirty-four minutes, we went to town on our snacks, conversed with our party guests and wondered what in the hell was happening. Now and again, we were given updates about how much longer the game would be delayed, but these moments were so comical and poorly put together, they later inspired Saturday Night Live sketches involving confused anchors repeatedly hyping the sitcom 2 Broke Girls. In the time since, a host of wild theories as to why it happened have emerged, and regardless of what the science says, people will continue espousing them for years to come. On the bright side, the blackout will at least distinguish this Super Bowl in a way simply reciting the teams and scores to the average person never would.
Will Discovers What Alicia's Been Up ToIt’s definitely not a stretch to call The Good Wife the best procedural on network television. The show has the nominations and the critical acclaim to at least be in the conversation, but earlier this year, the show broke away from its typical format to offer fans a brilliant, terrifying, nerve-wracking, depressing and mesmerizing story arc in which main character Alicia and her fellow fourth year Carrie decided to break off from Lockhart/ Gardner to start their own firm. For weeks, the show toyed with us, pushing the big moment further and further back until it was suddenly thrust into our laps via a ten minute opening sequence that starts with two heartbreaking conversations and ends with the conspirators being fired one at a time and escorted out of the building.
This is the moment where everything paid off. Where months and months of frustration and heartbreak and simmering internal conflicts finally came to a head, and even though it was obviously brewing, the knowledge that it was coming didn’t make it any less sad. Maybe The Good Wife will be a better show from this point forward. Maybe it will be a worse show. Regardless, it will never be the same show.
Homeland Gets Hung UpAfter a rocky-at-best second season, Showtime's Homeland had to make a big splash in season three to win its audience back over. And what better way to do that than make the polarizing decision to kill off one of the series main characters? After three years of running through Sergeant Nicholas Brody's labyrinthine machinations for becoming a soldier-turned-terrorist-turned-CIA operative, Brody finally got his just desserts: namely, a very public hanging in Iran.
Because of the intimacy of Homeland's emotional stagings, fans were decidedly polarized on the decision to kill off Brody. Especially in such brutal fashion. After all, he'd just learned that Carrie was carrying his child, and the paramours only just-reunited following a seriously harrowing season for all parties involved. But the love story of a bipolar and seriously addled CIA agent and a ginger terrorist had run its course, and Brody's death set up a much-needed reengineering of the series' focus moving into its fourth season. Still, the on-screen hanging of Brody undoubtedly left its mark as one of the crazier happenings in 2013's TV history.
Doctor Who’s New Who2013 was a truly epic and historic year for BBC's iconic series, Doctor Who. First, it saw the departure of the Doctor's long-time companions, Amy and Rory. It introduced a new actress into the role, Impossible Girl Clara Oswald. And then it celebrated the fiftieth anniversary (November 23, 1963) of its debut by changing history. And if that wasn't enough, the series then saw its current and highly beloved Doctor, Matt Smith, take off the fez and bowtie for the last time, ushering in the arrival of newest Doctor, Peter Capaldi in a regeneration (a fancy way for alien Time Lords to flaunt the laws of death) that required finding a loophole within the series' highly prized canonical information. On Christmas! All of this on the heels of the series' biggest-year-ever, where it reached full-on phenomenon status in the United States (at long last) thanks to social media and the advent of micro-blogging platform, Tumblr. Wow: talk about rebuilding with a bang.
Regardless of how the ramifications of such epic actions play out, 2013 will go down as the year that Who changed everything — literally and figuratively — and still managed to stay on top of the science fiction game. Showrunner Steven Moffat brought the alien Time Lord into the 21st century with a sweeping, epic vision that kept the series' two hearts intact.
Breaking Bad Loses Its Emotional CenterBreaking Bad may have been first and foremost the story of Walter White and his plunge into the meth-fueled darkness, but deep down, the show’s emotional center was always embodied by DEA Agent Hank Schrader. Despite his frequently racist comments and his occasionally bumbling nature, the bald-headed badass had his own moral outlook he was completely unwilling to compromise. Unlike most of his peers on the show, he was a really good guy, and he kept Breaking Bad grounded.
But there are consequences to dealing meth. Walt got quite a few signs of that along the way, but it wasn’t until Hank was mercilessly executed during the final season that he and the audience realized there would never, ever be a light at the end of the tunnel. There were sins that needed payment for, and all involved were more interested in realism and consequences than they were dishing out undeserved happy endings.