Teri Hatcher, Jason Mesnick, Leighton Meester
As one life ends, another begins. Except on TV, where no one ever really dies and the number of surprise babies corresponds directly with the stunted creativity of a show's writing staff. (Looking at you, 90210.) what we're saying is this week's Top Moments include plenty of doom — but also glimmers of hope.
12. Harshest Embrace: "I'm Chuck Bass!" yells the Gossip Girl bad boy, as he thinks about jumping from a ledge. "And no one cares." No one, that is, except Blair, who coaxes him into her arms. But what other Bass have they held? Chuck's uncle (who we childishly call Jack Ass, because it rhymes with "Bass,") later reminds Blair that Chuck must never learn what happened between them. X-O X-Eww! Watch full episodes of Gossip Girl on our Online Video Guide.
11. Littlest Scandal: Oh snap — One Tree Hill returns from winter break to shockingly reveal that Peyton and Luke are... having a baby! And that they're... totally cool with it. Oh. Well good for them, then. Moving right along.
10. Best Hook-Up That Wasn't: It's an age-old twist — two friends drink way too much and wake in bed together — but Desperate Housewives offered a gay old twist to the formula by having Susan wonder if she and Lee (of "Bob and Lee") had done it. As usual, it was just a misunderstanding. As Lee put it, "Hello? Listening to opera in a kimono? What more do you need to know?"
9. Biggest Downer: How to choose from among the many terrifying disclosures on History's Armageddon Week? We'll go with this one from Nostradamus 2012: The Mayans and Nostradamus both seemed to believe humankind would be destroyed about four years from now. "How did they all have the same idea," asks Jay Weidner, one of the show's experts on the end of days, "and why, now that we're approaching this time period, is the world seemingly going to hell?" We don't know: Global warming? Pollution? The existence of a movie called Hotel for Dogs?
8. Coolest "I See Dead People" Moment: Zeljko Ivanek's Ray Fiske was one of our favorite characters from the first season of Damages, so we were more excited than scared when his post-suicide ghost popped up to haunt Patty in her office. Rumor has it that Fiske will pop up a few times this season (yay!), so Patty might want to have the Ghost Hunters take a trip through her hallways.
7. Best Wedding: What should a pregnant 15-year-old girl do when things won't work out with the teenage father? Marry some other teenage dude. In it's midseason return, Secret Life of the American Teenager continues to mix more sex and salvation than a Prince album.
6. Fakest Controversy: In her latest bid for publicity, a person we refuse to name because it would only aid her bid for publicity is supposedly banned from NBC. This person we refuse to name appears on Today two days later, which suggests there was no ban, or that NBC was caught red-handed, or something. We're tired of this person we refuse to name, not because of the supposedly incendiary things this person is always saying in bids for publicity, but because this person is so boring, and her bids for publicity so transparent. And so we deny this person any search engine results today, unless people have started typing in "fakest controversy" when they look for stories about her, which is totally possible.
5. Biggest Gossip: Rupert Murdoch's biographer goes on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to reveal that the gazillionaire media mogul is obsessed with rumors and gossip. "He's a 14-year-old girl?" Stewart asks. "He is the biggest gossip I've ever met," author Michael Wolff responds. "Absolutely. That's what he lives for." Hey, us too!
4. Worst Undercover Investigation: Having sniffed out every other news story in the world, from famine to loose nuclear weapons, ABC's Primetime turns its attention to the international plague of bad manners. By placing two actors in the heart of Paris, the new Primetime: What Would You Do? is able to conclude that French people get huffy when loud Americans wearing T-shirts, shorts and clogs order steak tartare well-done. Okay, Primetime. Can you do something about people who talk too loud on their cell phones?
3. Rockingest Musical Tribue: Waylaid by a music rights dispute in her bid to portray Janis Joplin on the big screen, 30 Rock's Jenna channels one "Janet Jopler" as she croons, "Take a big ol' chunk of my lung now, baby...." Maybe the best lyrical mangling since "'Scuse me, while I kiss this guy."
2. Rosiest Twist: The catty competitors of The Bachelor get a chance to vote on which of their sisterhood they most want to leave — then learn that by trying to eliminate single-mom Megan, they've actually guaranteed her a rose BUTFORGETALLTHAT because the real twist is in the season preview where it turns out DeAnna Pappas, who broke The Bachelor's heart on The Bachelorette, is coming back, maybe hoping for a second chance. Whoa. Watch our interview with Mesnick here.
1. Biggest New Year's Wish: Patrick Swayze talks to Barbara Walters about the onset of his cancer, at the very beginning of 2008: "I tried to have champagne and it would be like pouring acid on an open wound. And then my indigestion issues got gigantic and constant, and then I started thinking, I'm getting skinny... I dropped about 20 pounds in the blink of an eye." Here's hoping 2009 is significantly better. For excerpts of the interview, visit our Online Video Guide.