Modern Family, The Ellen Show
Our favorite moments of the TV week:
12. Hardest-to-Root-For Good Guy: On Boardwalk Empire, agent Van Alden's creepy crush on Margaret Schroeder takes on a quasi-religious bent this week. As the pious prohibitionist looks longingly at a file photo of Margaret, he flogs himself with a leather belt. A topography of scars on his back reveals that this isn't the first time he's had to punish himself for impure thoughts.
11. Most Recycled Storyline: Kevin and Scotty, Brothers & Sisters' most beloved and functional couple, are dealt a blow when Scotty — almost out of nowhere — admits to his husband that he cheated on him a few months ago. This is, like, the 17th time infidelity has struck the Walker clan. Combined with Sarah's paranoia that Luc is cheating on her, it's time to come up with something new, writers.
10. Best Shout-Out: While discussing potential baby names with Marshall on How I Met Your Mother, Lily offers "Tara" as her first choice — a wink-wink to Alyson Hannigan's Buffy the Vampire Slayer lover/fellow witch Tara Maclay. Too bad Marshall rejects it.
9. Best Subject-Changer: Last week on The Big C, Paul learned that Cathy was cheating on him, which led him to ask for a divorce. This week, Paul cheats on Cathy with "the rugby slut" out of spite, but instead of making her angry, it makes her realize that it's finally time for her to tell him that she has terminal cancer — which she does, just before the episode fades to black.
8. Proudest Papa: Cougar Town shows its true heart when Ken Jenkins (Scrubs) guest-stars as Jules' dad. After he masters the fine art of Penny Can, Jenkins brings out the softer side of the Cul-de-Sac Crew, particularly Jules, when he bonds with his daughter over the death of his wife. Aw, more wine? In Big Joe, please.
7. Most Head-Scratching Cliff-Hanger: On The Event, Sophia and Thomas attempt to shake her CIA escort by escaping through a service tunnel beneath an abandoned building in Washington. They beg Simon to join them, but he refuses. Before Simon can warn his colleagues to evacuate, a localized tremor, apparently willed into existence by Thomas, implodes the building, leaving just a crater — and no sign of Sophia, Thomas or Simon. Who are these people?
6. Best Challenge: Joy Behar proves that she's not to be messed with ... again. Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle offends Behar with what the ladies of The View agree is a "racist," anti-immigration campaign ad. Behar challenges Angle to air the spot in the South Bronx, before calling her a b---- and saying she is "going to hell." Angle still sent her flowers the next day.
5. Most Erratic Censorship: When McKinley High (and Glee's producers) deem a performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to be too risqué for a younger audience, adjustments have to be made. Dr. Frank-N-Furter, the gender-bending role made famous by Tim Curry in the cult-classic film, is played by Mercedes, who wears a slightly less revealing leather corset and fishnet stockings, and of course blows the roof off with her solo. But it raises a question: If she's already singing a song titled "Sweet Transvestite," why won't the Fox censors let her say "transsexual"?
4. Best Match-Up: Desperate Housewives' Gaby and Renee are "both extremely beautiful," according to Renee, so it makes sense that Wisteria Lane's scheming divas would be frenemies. But when Renee reveals that Gaby had a nose job, the opera gloves come off and the ladies wrestle each other to the ground in the best-dressed grudge match since the Broadway production of West Side Story. Gaby's paid-for schnoz is broken, but a brilliant partnership/rivalry is forged.
3. Best Comeback: Jon Stewart puts President Obama on the hot seat during a Daily Show interview. Obama plays along, reeling off a list of his administration's accomplishments — both seen and unseen. "We have done things that some folks don't even know about," he says. In response, Stewart quips: "Are you planning a surprise party for us, filled with jobs and health care?"
2. Best Misunderstanding: Gloria's heavy Colombian accent has done a lot of the heavy lifting, comedy-wise, on Modern Family. Still, when she tells Jay's secretary to order him a box of the "baby cheeses" he likes so much, it's fun waiting for his reaction shot when he inevitably unwraps a package of tiny Jesus figurines. Even more fun: Sofia Vergara's version of a typical American accent.
1. Best Prank Pullers: Who hasn't wanted to get their hands on David Beckham? Ellen DeGeneres' in-house masseuse got the chance, but probably not in the way she expected. Pulling a hidden-camera prank on her, the soccer stud repeats bizarre and hilarious requests fed to him via earpiece by DeGeneres. "You can call me Ricky," he says, before revealing himself to be thumb-phobic and forcing her to hum "Happy Birthday" during the massage.
What were your top TV moments of the week?