Amy Poehler, Keifer Sutherland
The best TV moments are the ones you never see coming: the left-field jokes, the twists that really twist, the beautiful things in simple packages. This week was filled with genuine surprises — not just the kind concocted by skillful writers, but the ones so moving they could only come from real life. Welcome to our Top Moments, out-of-nowhere edition.
14. Most Depressing Split: Donna reveals in Tori Spelling's 90210 appearance that she and David are now separated. We know Brian Austin Green has too much going on right now to return to 9-0, but that's no reason to punish his and Spelling's characters.
13. Best PETA-Advocated Diss: Catfights are so Season 4. The Hills' Stephanie accuses bartender Stacie of Heidi-Spencer home-wrecking, and wins the dogfight with this zinger, which is anything but cruelty-free: "You look like a dog, you're wearing fur." Ruff talk.
12. Least Surprising Surprise: The American Idol judges use their one "save" of the season to rescue Matt Giraud, which would have been more exciting if Ryan Seacrest hadn't spent the episode hinting at what was to come. When Matt sang for his life, we all knew he wasn't really singing for his life.
11. Most Blatant Politicking: Parks & Recreation's Leslie Knope, realizing her park project will go down in a public vote, filibusters her own meeting by reciting the past, present and future history of the town. Starting with a founder twisted to death by Indians, she continues with the 1969 lunar landing and predictions of a world "where we will communicate on watches and blink our feelings to each other rather than use words." Then she starts reading from a well-worn copy of The Phantom Tollbooth. We're blinking our approval.
10. Best You Can't Do That on Television Homage: 30 Rock's Jack and Jenna attend the Kids Choice Awards, where Helen Mirren (not the real one, as far as we can tell) takes the stage and gets green-slimed as she begins to speak. And she didn't even say, "I don't know."
9. Most Intriguing Layoff: After the school board ousts Eric Taylor as head coach of the Dillon Panthers on Friday Night Lights, it adds insult to injury by offering him a coaching gig at East Dillon High, which has no football program, budget or players. Instead of packing it in, he takes the job. Why do we suspect East Dillon's mascot is a phoenix about to rise?
8. Biggest Future Shock: Fans' jaws drop at the hot boy-on-'bot scene, but the highlight of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' season finale is John and Weaver time-traveling to a future where no one knows John's name. Yet. We just hope the show has a future, too.
7. Best Re-Enactment of "The Bitch Is Back": House may have to diagnose himself. Already doubting his powers of observation after Kutner's suicide, and largely stymied by Wilson's "diet," he sits down for a peaceful evening of tickling the ivories. But his solitude is quickly interrupted by the taunts of Amber, aka Cutthroat Bitch — who is dead.
6. Best Save: On his way to a hearing on whether he's fit to be a firefighter, Rescue Me's Tommy Gavin resolves the question beyond any doubt by saving a woman from her crashed car just moments before it explodes. Then he finds out he would have been allowed to stay in the department anyway. Hot.
5. Most Familiar Reveal: There's been lots of speculation about it all season, but we still enjoy the big news that Lost's Pierre Chang is Miles Straume's father. Maybe this is how the show brings its time-traveling and ghost-whispering elements together — isn't talking to the dead, in a sense, a way of traveling through time?
4. Best Comeback: After losing his once-solid lead, Argentinean golfer Angel Cabrera manages an impressive comeback to clinch his first Masters victory — and prized green jacket — in a nail-biting, three-way sudden death playoff. Who says golf is boring?
3. Acting Without Words Award: Southland's Regina King conveys her character's pain at having to hand over an abandoned baby to a caseworker with just a long, silent look. The glance she shares with another cop (Tom Everett Scott) conveys that he gets it, too. The moment eloquently sets up her joy at finally reuniting the baby with his mother, and her pain at not having a child of her own.
2. Least-Expected Triple Cross: 24's already stellar season throws viewers for another loop with the revelation that Tony is not a good guy pretending to be bad, but a bad guy pretending to be a good guy pretending to be bad. Poor Larry Moss isn't the only one left breathless.
1. Best Thing We've Seen in a Long Time: Susan Boyle's reprise of Les Miserable's "I Dreamed a Dream" on CBS's Early Show only adds to the poignancy of her story: a never-kissed, unemployed Scotswoman who until her Britain's Got Talent appearance never had the chance to share her amazing voice with the world. Is the moral of the story that we shouldn't judge others? That everyone deserves a chance to shine? That we should never give up on a dream? Yes, yes, and yes.
What were your Top Moments?