2012 Departs With Some Indelible TV Moments
With forgettable television proliferating like rabbits (think Here Comes Honey Boo Boo or Killer Karaoke), there's an avalanche of TV content out there. We took out the shovel, went through the pile, and dug up a few of the moments we wanted to remember.
Spoiler alert: we discuss a few plot threads from Mad Men and Homeland, oh, and Breaking Bad, so if you're not up to speed on those shows, skip the fifth and sixth paragraphs. Oh, and if you have some favorite TV moments we haven't mentioned here, feel free to add them to the comments section below...
2012 was an election year, so, naturally, politics was front and center. Ironically, one of the best-known political clips to emerge during the most expensive election in history wasn't a splashy, professionally produced piece — it was a surreptitiously snatched moment secretly captured on a smart phone during a Romney fundraiser in Florida. In it, the Republican candidate dismissed 47 percent of the electorate as entitled government dependents who, he said, would never vote for him. The "gotcha" video undercut the Romney campaign so badly, some believe it may have been the deciding moment in the election.
But maybe the most memorable political scene came out of the summer Republican National Convention, when Clint Eastwood (top) spoke just before Romney on the final night of the convention. The iconic actor/director did a squirmy, sometimes funny mock interview with an invisible President Obama, directing his words to an empty chair. The chair went on to immediate national fame.
In drama, the Mad Men season finale left us with the unforgettable image of Don Draper (Jon Hamm, left) walking away from young wife Megan. She had finally arrived on the set at her dream job as an actress, dressed up as a princess for a commercial. While Don marched away, expressionless, Megan shrank in view, and was left in her make-believe world. We have to believe that was the closing chapter in that marriage.
We also got, to some surprise, the seemingly hasty unmasking of Brody on Homeland. And we saw Walt and Skyler in front of their mountain of ill-gotten cash in the mid-season finale of Breaking Bad.
AMC's The Killing wrapped up the Rosie Larson murder mystery after two years and 26 episodes, and was cancelled a few weeks later. The cancellation proved (shocker) that a two-year murder mystery with umpteen red herrings is frustrating and infuriating for shrinking audiences. And speaking of cancellations, there were the disappointing dismissals of NBC's Awake and HBO's Luck — which wasn't so lucky after all.
Oh, and let's not forget the surprise charm of the PBS/BBC series, Call The Midwife.
In comedy, there were the double-shot departure of Saturday Night Live heavyweights Kristin Wiig and Andy Samberg. Liz Lemon (Tina Fey, with James Marsden right) showed up for her wedding on 30 Rock decked out as Princess Leia from Star Wars. Louis C.K. brought director David Lynch in for creepy cameo appearances on Louie. And Lena Dunham showed that a young writer/director/actor could carry the weight of her own HBO series, Girls. (And, I mean, she showed everything.)
In sports, there was the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, with Michael Phelps returning in swimming events to get the all-time record for gold medals. The Olympics opening ceremonies were broadcast worldwide, with an ambitious and perhaps top-heavy program including, of all things, a re-enactment of the Industrial Revolution and an army of Mary Poppins lofting down from the sky under their umbrellas.
The NFL bounty scandal and the suicide of linebacker Junior Seau did not have the effect on the game (and profits) that some writers thought it would. But the league instituted new penalties for 2012 that curbed merciless concussion-causing hits to protect players.
And in music, there was Adele's live, riveting Grammy performance last February (left) of "Rolling in the Deep." It was a captivating moment when she seemed to have the entire Grammy audience in the palm of her hand.
But that performance, as good as it was, paled in comparison to a video that had monumentally more traction. Korean rapper Psy's "Gangnam Style" video made history this year by crossing the billion-hit mark this month on YouTube.
That's billion, with a capital B.
The internet video demonstrated, perhaps better than no other example (along with faster and larger download capabilities for TV and film), that broadcast, cable and internet will eventually morph into one interconnected world-wide media.
It also showed that a chubby guy in a tux doing a horsey-dance can become an international sensation. Apparently, new media can launch virtually anything.