Bill Clinton and Mindy Kaling, The Today Show
Our top moments of the week:
10. Best Silent Killer: When it came time for the jury to have at the final three Survivor: South Pacific contestants, the most vicious commentary of all comes from an unexpected source —Whitney — the sweet Southern belle. "Albert, you're sleazy," she says. "Coach, you used Christianity to manipulate your whole tribe. And Sophie? You're the most condescending person I've ever met." Are you sure about that, Whitney? Because that condescending person managed to snare enough votes to win.
9. Most Biting Remark: Top Chef delivers a Christmas miracle, or perhaps just a case of good triumphing over evil, when designated villain Heather gets eliminated while Beverly, her season-long nemesis and victim of her harsh verbal volleys, lands at the top of the Quickfire and Elimination challenges. And leave it to Tom Colicchio to rub it in even more. Aghast that Heather opted not to use a pressure cooker for her dish, the head judge snarks: "Beverly used the pressure cooker and she's not here [in the bottom three]." Now that's what you call a burn.
8. The Out of Time (No, Really) Award: When Terra Nova's Commander Taylor and the rest of the original settlers are faced with losing their colony to the destructive Phoenix Army, he makes the ultimate sacrifice by destroying Hope Plaza. That will prevent the army from traveling back in time to attack, but also will cut off the settlers from any and all contact with 2149 and modern-day technology. Have fun in the Dark Ages, kids!
7. Best Moment of Silence: She got kicked out of the competition by Simon Cowell after the bootcamp round (and was then reinstated), and now Melanie Amaro is the first winner of The X Factor and the recipient of the $5 million grand prize. Will-he-or-won't-he-return host Steve Jones tries to get a word from the winner, but she can barely sing the first verse of her final performance for "Listen," before tearily telling America, "Thank you so much" and "I'm just so happy — I don't know what to say." Let's just hope she can get it together in time for the tour?
6. Most Dramatic Party Pooper: When Taylor's husband, Russell, threatens her former BFF Camille with a lawsuit for speaking negatively about their marriage, the rest of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills get scared (understandable since none of them ever know when to shut up) and encourage Kyle to disinvite Taylor and Russell from her party for fear they'll all get sued too. Unfortunately, Taylor doesn't get the message and shows up at the party in her 90210 best only to be turned away. Kyle tries to make everything better by sitting in the back of Taylor's limo crying as the Armstrongs are about to drive away. But apparently with this crowd, even the most dramatic waterworks do not equal an invitation.
5. Worst Holiday Tradition: Conan O'Brien is not Jewish (obviously), but he wants to celebrate Hanukkah too... while paying homage to one of the grossest movies ever, that is. To mark the first night of the festival of lights on his talk show, O'Brien debuts the Human Centipede menorah. Out trot nine bodysuit-clad people who are attached mouth-to-butt with a giant candle on each of their backs (here's hoping they were all paid very handsomely.) "Yes, I'm going to hell," Coco acknowledges. And we're all going to have nightmares for more than eight nights.
4. Sweetest Death: On the season finale of American Horror Story, everybody dies! No, really! With a poetic grace note on Ryan Murphy's let's-kill-'em-all strategy, Ben (Dylan McDermott) is strung up by the chandelier by his scorned mistress, who stages it to look like a suicide. Thus the Harmon family — including the thought-to-be-stillborn twin who is apparently Ben's child, not dead and not the Antichrist -- is reunited... and finally at peace. Sure, they're trapped in the house that led to their undoing for an eternity, but they seem to be OK with that, if their final scene is any indication. After scaring off the new owners with some Beetlejuice-style trickery, the family gathers with Moira, the (as it turns out) friendly ghost maid and decorates their Christmas tree together.
3. Strangest Bedfellows: Looking for a totally to-die-for Rachel Roy jumpsuit and/or thoughts on the future of post-Kim Jong Il North Korea? Then check out Bill Clinton and Mindy Kaling's awkward but awesome joint Today show appearance! The odd couple's segment about gift book picks becomes a political one-on-one when Ann Curry clumsily asks Clinton for his take on Kim's death. (Why don't you want Mindy's opinion, Ann?!) When Curry finally gets to books, Clinton reveals that he is a huge Tina Fey fan (Fey's Bossypants is one of Kaling's picks), while the Office star is chagrined by the former president's highbrow selections. "I didn't know his list when I made my list," she jokes. "I would have made it more Ph.D.-friendly, because, Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor, is one of your favorite authors?" Don't worry, Mindy. We love both lists and would totally join a Clinton-Kaling Book Club. Oprah who?
2. It's About Time Award: After realizing that she is indeed in love with her brother on Dexter, Deb decides to tell him. But before she can, she walks in on her dear bro/beloved killing a Saran-wrapped Travis. "Oh God," Dex says after he spots Deb, punctuating the religious-themed season. Guys, we're thrilled you finally played the "Deb finds out" card, but please know that this incest-fueled reveal does not salvage a lackluster season.
1. Best (Non-Explosive) Finale: Homeland's first season finale has our stomach in knots as we breathlessly wait to see if Brody will carry out his suicide bombing against the vice president and his advisers. The tension reaches a fever pitch when Brody, trapped in a small space with his targets, braces himself and flips the switch — but nothing happens. Sure, the show is having its cake and eating it too, but we're psyched to see what Sen. Brody will have up in sleeve in Season 2 — especially now that Carrie knows (or knew, before submitting herself to electroconvulsive therapy) that Brody still has nightmares about Abu Nazir's son, Issa.
What were your top moments?