24, Modern Family
This week of television included lots of moving and shaking: The Oscars proved that an awards show about movies is no place for dancing. House's Wilson frolicked as a woodland nympho, er, nymph. The winds of change came to Big Love. A suicide bomber went splat on 24. And the gifted players of Modern Family mimed their way to the funny. Welcome to Top Moments: Bodies in Motion Edition.
10. Worst Place for Dancing: Interpretive dancing has never been a good idea at the Oscars. As producer Adam Shankman's talented hoofers hot-foot it across the stage, are we really supposed to be thinking about a bomb squad, an animated fox, a floating house, a snarky sleuth and blue-skinned aliens — all at once? You don't see scenes from The Hurt Locker on dancing awards shows. Enough.
9. Best Confrontation: On The Real Housewives of Orange County's reunion show, Bravo's Andy Cohen forces Slade to own up to some of his less-than-ethical behavior. First, he goads him into admitting his relationship with Tamera. When Slade says he chose not to be on Housewives after he and Jo split up, Andy sucker-punches him by telling him that there'd be no point for him to be on the show without Jo. Cut to awkward silence.
8. Best Nostalgia Trip: New episodes of 90210 and happy memories of Beverly Hills, 90210 return to TV this week. Ian Ziering pops up on CSI: NY as Gabrielle Carteris guest-stars on Criminal Minds for a clever nudge-nudge exchange with her on-screen daughter: "You know, I did go to high school at one time," Carteris says. "Yeah, like 50 years ago," her daughter snaps.
7. Biggest Loophole: Forget the loophole Lost's Man in Black found; we found a bigger one. When sideways-reality Ben blackmails Principal Reynolds by threatening to expose his interoffice affair, Reynolds counter-threatens to write a bad recommendation for Alex if he does. Ben backs down, but... why? Why not just add a positive recommendation for his star student to his list of demands? The Ben we know — and hate to love — would never let this go. This sideways reality can't be true.
6. Best Backstory: On House, the cranky doc finds a "porn" video starring a college-aged Wilson dressed as a frolicking, antlered forest nymph. His kooky catchphrase: "Be not afraid." Unfortunately, what could have been a real a-ha! moment of insight into Wilson's character turns out to be an elaborate prank: A college buddy spliced together innocent footage of his performance in a play with somebody else's X-rated antics.
5. Luckiest Wedding Ever: After only 13 seasons, we finally have our first Bachelor wedding! One problem: The skies open up in torrential downpours as Jason and Molly exchange vows. (It's the heavens weeping for the death of regular-style dating.) Not even former American Idol contestant Jason Castro's happy-go-lucky ministrations can quite sop up the damp spirits.
4. Most Literal Winds of Change: After Big Love's Bill improbably wins a state Senate seat, he makes good on his promise to go public with his polygamy in his victory speech. There's stunned silence in the auditorium as his wives join him on stage, their hair twisting in the wind just as they are. It's a nice breathing-room moment for this frenetically paced series, as it prepares to become something else entirely.
3. Biggest Bomb: Jack Bauer spends much of the latest 24 trying to convince Marcos, a suicide bomber, to give up his mission. He's successful, of course, but it's too late. The bomb has been armed remotely, and with only seconds until detonation, Jack is unable to free Marcos from the explosives. Rami Malek's convincing portrayal ends in a macabre slick of blood dripping down the wall.
2. Most Impassioned Speech: Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) gets particularly animated — even a little shrieky — during a televised tirade about the lack of news media coverage of the war in Afghanistan. He accuses the "despicable" press corps of focusing on the salacious resignation of Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) instead of what he calls "the most significant issue of national importance."
1. Best Promo: Sometimes the highlight of a show... is its promo. Modern Family's Oscar-inspired charades game during the Academy Awards still has us howling at Gloria's pronunciation of "meatballs," Phil's spastic seizing, and the tuxedoed Cam and Mitchell's effortless domination of the game. If you're disappointed by the lack of a Casablanca callback, watch the extended cut.