Favorite Television Moments

Our discussion of the MTM show’s Chuckles the Clown episode made me think about some of my favorite moments in television, and I’ve decided that it remains the looks on the faces of Mike Myers and Chris Tucker when Kanye West blurted out “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during the Hurricane Katrina relief:

I know it is wrong, but I just get in hysterics every time I watch it. You can’t script stuff like that.

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85 replies
  1. 1
    guachi says:

    Channel surfing and seeing Stephen Colbert, thinking “I don’t get Comedy Central” and then realizing it was CSPAN and the White House Correspondents Dinner.

    Second Season finale of Chuck. Most fun I’ve had watching an hour of scripted TV in years.

    And I just noticed Alton Brown is on the latest episode of Mythbusters. Too much Geek for one show?!?!?!

  2. 2
    aimai says:

    I didn’t see that the first time around. If you hadn’t told me that was the real video, frankly, I’d have thought it was a parody, a spoof, of something that in real time simply couldn’t have been that awful–the near incoherence of what Kanye says, his inability to express himself in the moments leading up to the “George Bush” comments are just sort of shattering. I mean, I agree with everything he’s saying including the infamous George Bush remark but christ on a cupcake the guy simply seems to be unable to express himself, as though he had no more exposure to public speaking than any moron on the street in private life.

    aimai

  3. 3
    Cassidy says:

    I’ve never seen that and you would never have convinced me that wasn’t an SNL bit. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Chris Tucker speechless.

  4. 4
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @guachi: The end of season 2 of Chuck was pretty fantastic. Unfortunately, that was the end of the pure, unadulterated magic that was on that show. The first two seasons were incredibly high-quality teevee…the rest, not so much (season 3 is okay, but the overarching plot starts going awry).

    I do miss that show quite a bit, not the least of which is that Yvonne Strahovski was so, so soft on the eyes. And for an Aussie, she has a ridiculously awesome/seductive American accent.

  5. 5
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Cassidy: No way! That’s the only thing I remember very specifically about the whole time around Katrina, aside from Bush making an awful speech in Jackson Square after fucking up and just flying around NOLA in Air Force One.

  6. 6
    John PM says:

    SNL a few weeks later was even better. Kanye was the musical guest and while walking to the stage he runs into Mike Meyers, who just had his US citizenship revoked.

  7. 7
    Cassidy says:

    @PsiFighter37: I never saw it. I remember the quote, but never saw the video. I had assumed he said something on twitter or in an interview.

  8. 8
    LT says:

    I have said the exact same about Myers’ face at that moment. Just thinking about it cracks me up.

  9. 9
    LT says:

    @guachi: Agreed: Colbert at the WHCD should be called one fo the great TV moments of all time.

  10. 10
    LT says:

    Not only the whole skit – but moments inside the skit – of “Needs More Cowbell” makes Top 3.

  11. 11
    guachi says:

    I’ll add a few more – the big reveal of the aliens on the original V miniseries. Scared me for years afterwards.

    A Christmas episode of The Big Bang Theory (1st or 2nd season) where Penny gives Sheldon a napkin signed by Leonard Nimoy. I laughed for several minutes straight.

  12. 12
    LT says:

    Watching the Kanye Myers thing again – it’s hard to find the humor in it now. Fuck. That was actually a very painful few minutes.

  13. 13
    MikeJ says:

    @Cassidy:

    I had assumed he said something on twitter or in an interview.

    Twitter didn’t exist.

  14. 14
    Yutsano says:

    @LT: That thought going through his brain: “Why did I leave Canada again?”

  15. 15
    Cassidy says:

    @MikeJ: Whatever way for people to say dumb shit publicly.

  16. 16
    Bunker says:

    So it’s no longer B.C. or A.D.

    It’s B.T, and A.T. Before Twitter, After Twitter, how droll.

  17. 17
    JPL says:

    That was the first time, I watched the video. Kanye was wrong in the sense, that George Bush doesn’t care about people.

  18. 18
    JPL says:

    @aimai: It was painful to watch. Chris Tucker is obviously reading the script and West is just going on raw emotion.

  19. 19
    Sly says:

    Sinead O’Connor ripping up a picture of the World’s Favorite Accessory to Child Rape, Pope John Paul II, on live TV about 20 years ago.

    It was awesome in and of itself… but the reaction from American Catholics, who practically rended their garments over the whole affair, was, in hindsight, symbolic of why the abuse persisted and why there will not be any accountability for the Church as an institution.

  20. 20
    JWL says:

    One of my favorite “look on his face” moments occurred during the 1992 presidential campaign. Bush Sr. apparatchiks had been trying to make hay out of the fact that Clinton had travelled to Moscow during the Vietnam War (during his stint as a Rhodes scholar). It was an idiotic charge, red meat fed to republican political barbarians, and certainly one best left to his apparatchik rumor mongers. But Bush decided otherwise, and mentioned it during one of the debates. In reply, and without being specific, Clinton coyly alluded to an equally idiotic charge, one that claimed Bush had abandoned his own crew mate (who perished) after being shot down during WW2. Bush looked genuinely startled. Not at the allegation itself, I think, but at the fact that Clinton was willing to go there. Suffice to say, from that point on until election day, no more mention was ever made of the Moscow trip, either by Bush or his surrogates.

  21. 21
    scottinnj says:

    WKRP In Cincinnati – “As God as my witness, I thought Turkeys could fly”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf3mgmEdfwg

  22. 22
    Redkitten says:

    Fave recent moments were definitely from “Chuck”, including the S2 finale, and “Chuck vs. The Beard”. The former was jaw-dropping and had me squealing with glee. The latter had me laughing and crying.

    Also loved the end of the premiere for the new Battlestar Galactica. Another jaw dropper.

    Fave of all time though was the dentist sketch from The Carol Burnett Show. No matter how many times I watch it, I laugh ’till I’m crying.

  23. 23
    cdmarine says:

    “Keep fucking that chicken!” has to be up there, I think.

    Karl Rove’s meltdown on Fox on election night.

    Geraldo’s famous refusal to go along with the party line Fox coverage of the immediate Katrina aftermath (he basically called them on their bullshit during a live remote).

    Shep Smith’s “We do not fucking torture” moment.

    Definitely Colbert’s WH Correspondent’s Dinner thing.

    Jon Stewart’s takedown of Crossfire ON Crossfire.

    Admiral Stockdale’s “Who am I? Why am I here?”

    As for non-news related stuff…

    The final scene of the Six Feet Under series finale, with Claire driving away to that Sia song.

    Rick blowing away that little zombie girl in the Walking Dead pilot.

    Big Bird learning about the death of Mr. Hooper on Sesame Street.

    The “All Along the Watchtower” scene in Battlestar Galactica episode “Crossroads, Pt. 2”. Maybe the most effective cover, and most effective use of music I’ve ever seen on a TV show.

  24. 24
    eric says:

    lots of great moments, but my two favorite….archie and mike getting stuck in the basement of all in the family and mike learning why archie was archie. and the assassination of George Dzundza’s character on law and order is the best of he best (not including the wire for obvious reasons)

  25. 25
    Rich2506 says:

    Now, now people, G.W. Bush doesn’t hate black PEOPLE, he just despises black VOTERS. He wanted to break up that big concentration of black Democrats in New Orleans and well, hey, it required a lot of death and misery on the part of New Orleans’ blacks. Bush’s attitude was obviously “Eh.”

  26. 26
    cdmarine says:

    Archie mourning Edith’s death in the otherwise unremarkable series, Archie Bunker’s Place.

  27. 27
    eric says:

    news that henry blake’s chopter goign down and the staff keeps going in operating room

  28. 28
    cdmarine says:

    The “I am the one who knocks” moment from Breaking Bad.

    I think that, and the moment where he chooses to let Jane die, are the biggies for me from that show.

  29. 29
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    No political significance, but the one time I literally thought I was going to die laughing:

    The Sunshine Cab Company has (temporarily) gone out of business, and Jim Ignatowski is (or thinks he is) selling vacuum cleaners. Woman comes to the door, and he says out loud:

    “How do you do, Mr.-or-Mrs. Fill-in-name-of-couple. I’m Your-name-here, but you can call me Nickname.”

  30. 30
    Maude says:

    @Redkitten:
    Did you see the show where Carol comes down the stairs in the drapes with the drapery rod on her shoulders?

  31. 31
    JWL says:

    @eric: That episode had one of the great lines in TV sitcom history. After the door had closed behind them, Archie said to Meathead, “I wish you was Jewish”. Startled, Meathead asked why, to which Archie replied, “Because then you would have had the brains not to let the door slam shut and lock us in”.

  32. 32
    eric says:

    When Archer says “that chick was the pele of anal” i had to pause the show until i could breathe again

  33. 33
    MikeJ says:

    Speaking of the Mary Tyler Moore show, the goodbye episode of iCarly had an homage to MTM. In the last ep of MTM, everyone is in a group hug and they all shuffle together to get a tissue. The iCarlys did the same shuffle into an elevator. I thought it was cute that they threw in a joke that nobody in the target audience would get, but the older relatives watching with them would.

  34. 34
    gogol's wife says:

    I can’t remember any specifics, but when I was a child-tween, any appearance by Jonathan Winters doing any of his characters, but especially the little boy Chester Honeyhugger, would make me weep with laughter.

    Lots of good memories in this thread. Carol Burnett provided lots of great moments, as did the Mary Tyler Moore show.

  35. 35
    MikeJ says:

    @Redkitten:

    Fave of all time though was the dentist sketch from The Carol Burnett Show. No matter how many times I watch it, I laugh ‘till I’m crying.

    There’s a Mama’s family sketch from the Carol Burnette Show in which Tim Conway goes off script and starts talking about Siamese elephants, joined at the trunk.

  36. 36
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Sly:

    Sinead O’Connor ripping up a picture of the World’s Favorite Accessory to Child Rape, Pope John Paul II, on live TV about 20 years ago.

    I saw that live, but there was no instantaneous, “Oh shit, does she know what she just started?” reaction.

    There were two instantaneous “OH FUCK!” moments from SNL in the Doumanian-produced season (’80-’81?) that I caught live. The first was when the hardcore punks went chaotic during Fear’s musical segment. The second was Charles Rocket’s audible “fuck”.

  37. 37
    Bailey says:

    Oh, agreed. Many’s the time I pull up this video clip just so I can have a deep, hearty laugh. It’s exactly the combination of poorly expressed sentiment and Mike Meyers and Chris Tucker being thrust off-script. It slays me every.single.time.

  38. 38
    MikeJ says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): The best SNL moment ever was Elvis playing Radio, Radio.

  39. 39
    YellowJournalism says:

    The Cosby show episode when they first did a lip-sync routine for the grandparents’ anniversary is a fun memory.

    The first Halloween episode of Roseanne with the great double ending was hilarious. The final episode of that series was very emotional for me a a fan.

  40. 40
    Tehanu says:

    My second favorite bit from Carol Burnett (obviously “Went With the Wind” is the first) was a Three Musketeers sketch in which Tim Conway dueled with the Musketeers (Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner, and I forget the other one) and skewered all three. He then tripped over his own feet, stabbed himself with the sword, pulled it out and looked at it, and said, “Hmmm, I’m down a quart.”

    However, the funniest thing EVER on TV was when Lieutenant George (Hugh Laurie) told Blackadder that he was engaged to General Melchett (Stephen Fry) on Blackadder Goes Forth. He turned around and batted his eyelashes over his fan with the greatest shit-eating grin I have ever seen.

  41. 41
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @MikeJ:

    Yeah, cool moment, and another one that I caught live, but not really controversial at the moment if you were sitting at home watching it. I’m not even sure if Lorne Michaels went ballistic to the point that the studio audience knew about the controversy.

  42. 42
    eric says:

    @MikeJ: it was the Clarence Thomas Hearings bar none.

  43. 43
    Svensker says:

    @aimai:

    but christ on a cupcake the guy simply seems to be unable to express himself,

    To me, he seems just overwhelmed with emotion and looks like he’s about to burst into tears. Not very smooth and not very politic, but in the context of how AWFUL what was happening was, it comes across, to me, as a total gut check and completely real.

  44. 44
    Vodkamuppet says:

    The last scene on Sopranos. When it cut to black I could hear people all over the apartment complex screaming WTF in unison. Everyone thought the cable went out.

  45. 45
    eric says:

    One word: Omar.

  46. 46
    Joel says:

    @LT: Yep. Also loved Ali G interviewing Andy Rooney.

  47. 47
    Vodkamuppet says:

    Also too, Jon Stewart nearly making Jim Cramer cry in 2008. I was practically drooling over the schadenfreude during that interview.

  48. 48
    Beth in VA says:

    @aimai: I saw that Kanye West/Mike Meyers bit live. Was flabbergasted. Couldn’t believe the raw honesty.

  49. 49
    Joel says:

    also..

    Joe Namath’s “I wanna kiss you” to Suzy Kolbert.

  50. 50
    JordanRules says:

    @Svensker: This. I was certainly still completely traumatized and shocked from afar at that point.

    But now, I can’t help but find the video heeelarious. And still I’m traumatized by Katrina.

  51. 51
    JordanRules says:

    One of my favorites is when Colbert briefly breaks down, tearing up, removing his glasses right after calling the election for Obama in ’08.

    Oh and Jackie popping out in the bathtub lit up during the weed episode on Roseanne. Kills me!

  52. 52
    nitpicker says:

    That moment made me flash back instantly to this classic Mike Myers skit from SNL.

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Kayne West was, at least from my perspective, so overwhelmed with emotion that he had problems getting the words out.

    No one has yet mentioned the series finale of Newhart in which we discover that the entire run was a dream.

  54. 54
    Chris says:

    Fuck yeah, Colbert at WH.

    Of all the impotent blog rage I fruitlessly expended in those years, finally one person said it all perfectly, without breaking character, to the guy’s face, in the form of a supposed compliment.

    I used to make my friends watch the downloaded clip on my computer at parties, that’s how fun I was in the Naughts.

    Of course, a minor grace note was Jon Stewart blaming Tucker Carlson on CNN for ruining America.

    I’m pretty sure Crispin Glover freaking out Letterman was something that made an impression too.

  55. 55
    efgoldman says:

    @Redkitten: @Maude:

    Fave of all time though was the dentist sketch from The Carol Burnett Show. No matter how many times I watch it, I laugh ‘till I’m crying.

    Did you see the show where Carol comes down the stairs in the drapes with the drapery rod on her shoulders?

    @MikeJ:

    There’s a Mama’s family sketch from the Carol Burnette Show in which Tim Conway goes off script and starts talking about Siamese elephants, joined at the trunk.

    That is the funniest ever, but it was never broadcast on the show. It was (for obvious reasons) an outtake that showed up on one of those “blooper” compilation shows in the late 70s-early 80s. No YouTube then, of course.

  56. 56
    efgoldman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    No one has yet mentioned the series finale of Newhart in which we discover that the entire run was a dream.

    Except that’s become an awful cliche. Not only Newhart, but Dallas and St. Elsewhere, and for all I know other series as well.

  57. 57
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @efgoldman:

    Yes, but this came AFTER Dallas and St. Elsewhere, and was a satire on the entire “it was a dream” thing.

    Especially the way they executed it.

  58. 58
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    Of course, you have to be as old as I am to have been watching The Dick Cavett Show when John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara, and Peter Falk came on all three stoned out of their gourds….

  59. 59
    realbtl says:

    One word.

    Snausage.

  60. 60
    redshirt says:

    @Chris: Crispin Glover on Letterman for the obscure reference win! I remember it vividly. “I’ve got BOOTS! And I CAN KICK!”

    “Real Life” – Karl Rove for the double win. In 2008 when it seemed clear Big O was gonna win, I switched on over to Fox to enjoy the fail parade, right on time to watch Karl opine how McCain was going to win Ohio and with Ohio he could…. oh wait! Interrupted! Ohio goes for Obama! Karl haz a sad.

    And then a replay in 2012, somehow, even better. Didn’t get to see it live, though.

    Fictional: The end of “Angel”. I challenge anyone to name a show that ended more forcefully than “Not Fade Away”.

  61. 61
    cdmarine says:

    And, of course, you can just pick any one of these moments from Arrested Development:
    http://youtu.be/v7oBAnEmklk

    I know it’s become tiresome to those who never got into the show hearing people go on and on about how great it was, but really… I’ve never had to hit the pause button to laugh more times than I had to with this show.

  62. 62
    redshirt says:

    What’s happened with Mike Meyers by the way? I’ve heard nothing about him since that Love Guru movie.

  63. 63
    Yutsano says:

    @redshirt: I think he’s doing a lot of production work and such.

  64. 64
    efgoldman says:

    Speaking of TV, but not necessarily great moments, I just saw a promo for Jimmy Kimmel Live moving to 1135 in January. That means either the demise, or the pushing back to 100am, of Nightline. After 33 years (the first couple as America Held Hostage Day nnn.) I don’t put any cosmic meaning on that, just…. ‘Dunno.

  65. 65
    gogol's wife says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Yes, it was beautifully done.

    I didn’t see it when it happened, but the Stephen Colbert routine at the correspondents’ dinner is the most courageous comedy act in history.

  66. 66

    Say what you want about his delivery, but due to what Kanye West said, the media started really going after Bush. He did us a service.

  67. 67
    AxelFoley says:

    LOLOLOLOLOLOL

    Only Kanye. LOL

    His heart was in the right place, and I agreed with him about how black and white Katrina survivors were portrayed by the media, but that wasn’t the time nor place for that.

    But Mike Myers face was priceless. And I forgot about Chris Tucker’s reaction.

    Gold. Pure gold.

  68. 68
    RedKitten says:

    @Maude: But of course! “I saw it in the window and just couldn’t resist it.”

    My favourite bit is this outtake, though. I don’t remember seeing it on the show itself, but have a “Best Of” DVD with this on it, and again…I laughed until I was just weeping.

  69. 69
    RedKitten says:

    @MikeJ: Heh — I should read before posting. That’s the sketch I just posted…the one about the Siamese elephants. It gets me every damn time.

    My gosh, that show was just a treasure.

  70. 70
    Glidwrith says:

    Richard Simmons on Whose Line is it Anyway? wiping my eyes everytime.

  71. 71
    handy says:

    I know it is wrong, but I just get in hysterics every time I watch it. You can’t script stuff like that.

    I’m sure you do, John.

  72. 72
    YellowJournalism says:

    I forgot to add how much I loved the original “Go Fuck Yourself” chorus on The Daily Show.

  73. 73
    opie jeanne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: And it was brilliant the way they did it.

  74. 74
    opie jeanne says:

    @handy: Wow. This was a different place a few short years ago.

  75. 75
    John says:

    In terms of real moments on live TV, I’m still partial to Brian Williams cockblocking Luke Russert on election night 2008.

    Pay attention to the girl next to Russert as Williams executes his move.

  76. 76
    Yutsano says:

    @John: Aww poor Little Luke Fauntleroy. Well not really.

  77. 77
    Gravenstone says:

    A favorite Carol Burnett moment that means nothing to anyone here; the cast was singing “Why Oh Why Oh Why Oh Did I Ever Leave Ohio?” (which the Google now shows me she recently reprised on Glee). After singing the chorus, Carol made some off hand remark about life in “Kunkle”, and my family and I just fell off the couch laughing. Our farm was about three miles from Kunkle, and my sister and I attended school there.

    Secondary amusing anecdote, Kunkle, Ohio (along with Montpelier) is also mentioned in a chapter of The Stand. I always wondered how that tiny burg came to Steven King’s attention.

  78. 78
    bad dad says:

    The greatest boxing match I ever saw wasn’t Hearns-Hagler, it was this heavyweight match between George Foreman and Ron Lyle. It aired on a Saturday afternoon Wide World of Sports and impressed the hell out of the 12 year old me. I just re-watched it. Still fun.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96KfeAFakak

  79. 79
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    Best unscripted scene, for me, will always be “keep fucking those chickens.” Nothing about West or Myers can spell comic relief for me, considering that Katrina was America’s worst trial since 9-11.

    @eric:

    news that henry blake’s chopter goign down and the staff keeps going in operating room

    Apparently, the rawness of the scene was so very effective because of all the cast members in that scene, only Gary Burghoff knew what he was about to say.

    @cdmarine:

    The “I am the one who knocks” moment from Breaking Bad.

    An effective scene, yes, but if you think about it, it’s Walt puffing himself up. In reality, it was Jesse that did the knocking on the door that Walt was referring to.

    For me, THE effective scene from that show is Walt telling Skyler, “I won.” Anna Gunn’s amazing look of relief combined with horror delivered the kind of Whomp! that will be a big part of why the show will be referenced for many years to come. (Albeit, the scene at the end of the train-heist, causing that ep go from thriller to tragic horror on a dime’s turn, is a very close second, for me.)

    @efgoldman:

    Except that’s become an awful cliche. Not only Newhart, but Dallas and St. Elsewhere, and for all I know other series as well.

    You kiddin’ me? As pointed out by others, that was satire on that genre of ending — AND it had Suzanne Pleshette reprising her role as Emily Hartley. What was there not to love about that moment?

    For the record, as a die-hard fan of the show, I actually found the ending of St. Elsewhere – where the show was portrayed as the amazing, rich & complex inner-world of the unreachable, autistic child of Dr. Westfall – a real gut punch. But yeah, that sort of ending is best used sparingly or in jest.

    Funny thing about the “it was all a dream” shower scene on Dallas was that it caused continuity problems for at least one spinoff [can’t recall if there was a second] that had written Bobby’s death into its storyline.)

  80. 80
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    @Me

    You kiddin’ me? As pointed out by others, that was satire on that genre of ending—AND it had Suzanne Pleshette reprising her role as Emily Hartley. What was there not to love about that moment?

    Also, too, that scene had an inside joke goin’ on, being that both Newhart and St. Elsewhere were produced by MTM (mrow!).

  81. 81
    Cmm says:

    Scripted – Diana Muldaur’s character’s sudden abrupt exit fromLA Law, falling down an elevator shaft. The show went to commercial and my phone started ringing with friends who,we’re also watching. “Holy shit! Did you see that? Did that just really happen?”

    Live – definitely Colbert at the correspondents dinner. So very great.

  82. 82
    Tim in SF says:

    I think the scene in Taxi where Jim Ignatowski takes a driving test and is asking them “What Does a Yellow Light Mean?” repeatedly is pretty funny. But Teh Tim Conway Elephant Story is got to be the funniest. I just wanted again earlier today and it never fails to make me laugh and laugh.

    http://youtu.be/3qqE_WmagjY

  83. 83
    double nickel says:

    “Barney, Barney, Barney, is your mother from Killarney”

  84. 84
    Jebediah says:

    Thread seems to be kaput, sadly, but one relatively recent TV moment has stuck with me: John Turturro’s appearance on Monk as Tony Shaloub’s brother. The two are entering the house and, walking a step behind, he tentatively reaches out to touch his brother but doesn’t quite.
    There’s a big emotional wallop in that little gesture.

  85. 85
    redshirt says:

    @handy: Thanks for this link. Refreshing to see how everything can change.

    Also, fuck you Darrell.

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