Part 2 of our 2013 Year-in-Review is also Part 2 of our television recap. Last time, we looked at our favorite performances and for this installment, we’re going with our favorite moments. We had plenty of memorable things come out of 2013, so much so that this will probably be our longest article to date. You’ll notice that we took this category to mean different things, so there isn’t any overlap, which I like and definitely speaks to the difference in how we approach our TV watching.
The greatest moments in life are the unscripted ones. Those out-of-left-field events that you talk about with your friends for years to come, and are always the first things you bring up to new friends. Television is no different, and sports are the best catalyst for these moments. Narrowing this list down was tougher than I thought it would be, as there were at least five moments in each sport. Feel free to mention your favorite moments (or trash mine) in the comments below.
Honorable Mention: Marquez Knocks Out Pacquiao
The only reason this is not on the main list is because it was a pay-per-view event, and not everyone had access to it. For years, Pacquiao was thought of as one of, if not, the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and rarely had a difficult fight in the last decade with the only exception being his previous three fights against Juan Manuel Marquez; all of which ended in controversy, including two Pacquiao victories. The fourth fight was slightly more decisive as the counter-punching specialist, Marquez, knocked out Pacquiao with one second left in the sixth round to earn his long awaited victory. I watched this at a Buffalo Wild Wings with more than 300 people, and I will never forget that punch.
Chicago Blackhawks score two goals in 17 seconds to win the Stanley Cup
I may be a little partial to this one because I am a huge hockey fan, but when you create a situation that causes shock and anger among Boston fans, it’s a great moment no matter what sport it is. The thing that elevates it into the top five though is that it was for the Stanley Cup. My favorite memory of this moment is that I started laughing as soon as Bryan Bickell scored the tying goal because I started to imagine the fans in the TD Bank Garden cursing in their adorable accents. Then, when Dave Bolland scored the winning goal before I stopped laughing, I knew this was a special moment. What the Blackhawks did was the equivalent to a baseball team hitting back-to-back home runs on back-to-back pitches to win the World Series. That is to say, it is pretty rare.
Blackout at the Super Bowl
This falls under the category of surreal moments. Anthony and I were watching the Super Bowl at the house of a good friend when the bizarre blackout occurred and couldn’t believe our eyes. Besides the fact that a sporting arena losing power during the biggest event of the year is hilarious, the blackout led to quite possibly the best 30 minutes in the history of Twitter. Even though the social media aspect of this moment was quite entertaining, my favorite aspect of this event was the conspiracy theories that popped up afterward which ranged from the NFL wanting the 49ers to win to the Illuminati. It is still amazing to me — even a year later — that this actually occurred.
Iron Bowl Miracle
For those that don’t know, the Iron Bowl is the name for the annual football game between the University of Alabama and Auburn University, whose rivalry is one of the most bitter in the country; it almost literally splits the state of Alabama in half. With one second left in the game Alabama attempted a 57-yard field goal to win the game. The kick was short and caught by Auburn’s Chris Davis eight-yards deep in the end zone, and he ran it all the way back for the game-winning touchdown. There are two factors that separate this from any normal last-second win in College Football: It was scored on a play that happens maybe once a decade and it basically decided who would play for the National Championship. The call of the play from the Auburn radio announcers is what makes College Football special.
Dunk City Captivates the Nation
March Madness, which is the nickname for College Basketball’s tournament to decide a national champion, always lives up to the hype — at least in the early rounds. No team personified that more than No. 15 seed Florida Gold Coast University in this year’s tournament. The small school from Ft. Myers shocked the basketball world by winning its first two tournament games, which marked the first time that a 15-seed had ever made it to the Sweet Sixteen. Just that alone would make them a memorable Cinderella story, but it was the way they won the games that made the nation fall in love with them. The Eagles did it with lots of dunks and alley-oops, which had helped them become dubbed, “Dunk City”. They were fun to watch, and that’s always a good thing when they are busting your brackets. Also, without them we would have never heard the song that’s posted above. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.
Mariano Rivera Walks to the Mound By Himself at the All-Star Game
The. Best. Ever. Enough said.
As you can see, television watching is something different for everyone. My friend, Mark, devoted his list to sports-only, which you will find is starkly different than my list. Predominantly scripted shows, with one token live event, a lot of this site’s inaugural year was spent on television. I wrote a few articles on Mad Men, reviewed the last eight of Breaking Bad, and even counted down my top 40 favorite episodes of The Simpsons. I gravitate towards the fiction side of things; a fact that will be apparent in this following list.
Editor’s Note: This was supposed to be a Top 5. I wrote six. Unlike Mark, who had an Honorable Mention, I can’t count. But here’s the six anyway.
Walt Goes Out on His Terms (Breaking Bad)
While “Ozymandias” may have been the better episode (and the best episode of the series), “Felina” had the unenviable task of closing the book on one of the best shows of all time. The fan base went into the last hour with a lot of anticipation and where other finales failed, Breaking Bad paid off in spades.
Walt was always the smartest guy in the room (echoed by Hank’s last words) and how he executes his final plan proves that he was, is, and always would be the one who knocks. From his unscheduled visit to Grey Matter to slipping by the cops to visit Holly and Skyler one last time to avenging his stolen meth business, Walt got to go out exactly the way he wanted.
The Agency Tweaks Out (Mad Men)
This was a dark season for Mad Men. Don Draper, at this point, can’t help his self-destructive ways and by the end of it all, is left with just about nothing but a loose handle on his kids and a rundown old whorehouse. The highlight of the season, though, happened to be one of the more comical storylines the show has ever featured.
The subject of a “WTF” article on this site, the whole agency (more or less) decides to take some “vitamins” in prep for a long weekend at the office. What happens is what you would expect to happen when about a dozen people lock themselves in an office as they feel the effects of amphetamines. The crowning jewel of the whole episode happens to be when Ken Cosgrove shows off his secret tap-dancing talent. In an absolutely insane episode, it just caps everything off perfectly.
Hannah Plays House With an Older Man (Girls)
My girlfriend put it best when she said she had a love-hate relationship with Lena Dunham’s Girls. It is a show that can be hard to like at times, easy to scoff at the petty so-called problems these over-privileged young girls have. Sometimes, it’s easier to find common ground with the men on the show, as the closest thing to a real person on the show may be Shoshanna’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Ray. The second season was hit or miss but the best-written episode was one in which the usual structure was thrown out in favor of a more focused one.
Through some meet-cute machinations involving a trashcan and Hannah’s nonsensical logic, she meets up with a handsome older man (Patrick Wilson). On top of being handsome, he also happens to be a successful doctor going through a divorce. No sooner does Hannah enter his life does he enter Hannah (Yes, I am proud of that one.) The two spend the rest of the day having sex, playing naked ping-pong, eating breakfast and lunch together, and essentially pretending to be a couple with nothing better to do than have sex and eat food.
For Hannah, it’s a glimpse into a life that her own hang-ups probably would never allow her to have. It’s easy to be happy with a person she expects nothing more from than that afternoon. She’s essentially living this life on borrowed time and like she always does, even manages to screw up a good day for herself.
Miley and Robin Thicke Dance Like No One’s Watching (2013 Video Music Awards)
I don’t watch the VMAs. MTV hasn’t had anything to offer me since they canceled 3 South and this year, the VMAs aired during an episode of Breaking Bad so obviously, I wasn’t going to partake. Those with unrefined taste, such as myself, were left to watch Miley and her pancake butt grind up on Mike Seaver wearing a zoot suit made of zebra carcasses. Or it was Robin Thicke in a stupid striped suit, whatever. But remember Growing Pains?
Anyway, people gave Miley a lot of flack for the stunt while Robin Thicke got off (possibly literally) without much mention. Sure Miley looked like what Gizmo would look like if he got a hold of some PCP. And yes, when she wasn’t rubbing herself with a foam finger, she stuck her face in the various crevices of a backup dancer, but chalk it up to the outrageousness of being a pop star. Madonna humped the stage in a wedding dress, Lady Gaga wore some meat, and Kelly Clarkson bit the head off a chicken. In comparison, this is pretty tame.
StePhest Colbchella (The Colbert Report)
There were some definitive moments on late night talk shows this year. Jimmy Kimmel had a feud with Kanye West and made one of the most popular viral videos of the year. Jimmy Fallon solidified himself as one of the better hosts and locked down the Tonight Show gig. To me, however, the best moment of late night happened on The Colbert Report.
As Daft Punk was in New York to perform at the 2013 Video Music Awards, Colbert thought it a good idea to bring the band on to perform their hit “Get Lucky”. It proved to be a quixotic task to bring the duo on because they had some odd stipulations (They would neither perform their song nor talk) until they eventually had to back out. In a moment that proves you can make lemonade out of lemons, Colbert went on with his original plan to make a video with his guests during the week. What the viewers got was one of the most viral videos of the year that included Jeff Bridges, Bryan Cranston, and Henry Kissinger.
The Lannisters Send Their Regards (Game of Thrones)
The world screamed out “What the fuck?” in unison during the most buzzed about moment in season three of Game of Thrones. Anyone that read the books knew what was coming and probably took sadistic glee in watching their friends’ reaction.
As if fans needed a reminder, George RR Martin decided to take the opportunity to tell us that none of our favorite characters are safe, even the Golden Boy Robb Stark. He seemed untouchable and felt like he could be the hero we needed to see Joffrey’s reign of dickishness come to an end. But alas, we got the Red Wedding.