It’s hard to say what this year in television was “about.” To paraphrase The Simpsons, maybe there is no overarching moral. Maybe it was a just a bunch of stuff that happened. Here, then, is some of my favorite stuff that happened.
The final image of Breaking Bad’s second-to-last season
All great revelations happen on the toilet — even in the best TV drama of its generation. I won’t spoil the moment for those still playing catch-up, except to say that it made AMC’s decision to split the show’s final 16 episodes into two mini-seasons airing a year apart all the more cruel.
Louis C.K. hosts Saturday Night Live
Outside of his opening monologue and the absurdly brilliant Lincoln
sketch, which transposed the Great Emancipator into the lead role of the comedian’s groundbreaking FX sitcom, C.K.’s SNL
stint was just as bad as any other (including a couple of sketches that seemed like 30 Rock-style parodies of terrible sketch comedy), but for those of us who’ve rooted for him since Pootie Tang
, it was another heartening moment in his rise from comic’s comic to household name.
Lori and T-Dog killed off in the same episode of The Walking Dead
Full disclosure: I’m including this mostly because I can’t help but feel I made it happen. A week or two before the episode aired, I wrote a column about the zombie-apocalypse drama’s vastly improved third season, and ended it by saying that if the show could find a way to kill off its two worst characters, it’d be on its way to greatness. Then what happens? T-Dog — not annoying so much as a waste of space — gets himself eaten up, and then the ever-insufferable Lori dies after a makeshift caesarian section. Sometimes, it can feel as if I’m writing into a void. It’s just good to know someone is reading.
Karl Rove’s election night breakdown on FOX News
Years from now, we’ll all remember how nervous we were about the prospect of a Romney administration and laugh. Then we’ll remember the moment, in the minutes after the election was called, when the shock of staring four more years of secret Muslim socialism in the face caused the Republican Party to cannibalize itself on live television, and double over in a fit of uncontrolled hysteria. After FOX News conceded the presidency to Obama, Rove — former G.O.P. strategist and sentient mound of McDonald’s-brand pink slime — launched a civil war against the network, doing some dubious fuzzy math to convince the producers that Mitt still had a chance, to the point that even Frankenstein-ish ghoul Charles Krauthammer had to tell him to chill the fuck out. It was, by far, the single funniest thing TV produced all year.
Admittedly, I’m seeing this for the first time as I write this piece, but a dude is having his horse and buggy repossessed by a group of Amish “fixers.” Clearly, this is one of the best TV moments of 2012, and beyond.I Need Media is a biweekly media column. Matthew Singer watches everything from
PBS documentaries to
Community and Showtime’s
Gigolos. Follow him on Twitter@mpsinger.