Glee, Brad Paisley
There were a lot of surprises on TV this week. We learned that The Chief is a secret drinker who has fallen off the wagon on Grey's Anatomy. Dexter killed an innocent man. On 90210, Jackie threw Silver the birthday party of a lifetime — and then gave her a surprise of a different sort. And Glee's Sue Sylvester made us see something deeper about the emotional terrorist in a track suit. Welcome to Top Moments: Surprise Party Edition.
12. Worst Walkout: During a Larry King Live interview, former Miss California USA Carrie Prejean told King he was being inappropriate when he asked why, if religious freedom is so important to her, did she settle her lawsuit against the pageant? When King moved on to a take a call from a gay viewer who asked about her stance on same-sex marriage, Prejean took off her mic and said she was going to walk off. But she had a new book to plug (Google it), so she wasn't going anywhere. Way to take a stance, Carrie!
11. Most Sobering Moment: Grey's Anatomy finally gets to the bottom of what's been eating at the Chief. At the end of an episode in which he botches a routine surgery and Adele accuses him of being unfaithful again, we learn that the Chief's mistress actually comes in a bottle. Someone alert Joe the bartender, the Chief is off the wagon.
10. Best Lie: On House, the cranky doc wants to prove to Cuddy that he's reliable by offering to babysit. Cuddy lies and says she brought the baby to day care, but as House leaves, he hears baby noises coming from the other room. Busted! House enters to find Lucas — his former P.I. — watching the baby.
9. Best Way to Get Fired: After learning that the Brits are planning to sell Sterling Cooper, Don begs Lane Pryce to fire him, Roger and Bert so they can break their contracts and go out on their own. In exchange, they make Lane a partner in their new firm. This sets into motion a caper-like plot that re-energizes Mad Men, as Don & Co. recruit a skeleton crew to steal and move their client files over to the new headquarters of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Very good; happy Christmas!
8. Biggest Tear Jerk: At Khloe Kardashian and L.A. Laker Lamar Odom's rehearsal dinner, which was broadcast on E!'s Keeping Up with the Karsdashians: The Wedding, Bruce Jenner, Khloe's stepfather, gave a surprisingly sincere, moving speech that honored Robert Kardashian, Khloe's late father.
7. Best Mistake: On Dexter, our favorite serial killer offs a man who he believes murdered a model. But he second-guesses himself when police arrest the man's assistant for the same crime. For the first time, Dexter has broken his code and killed an innocent man. He's just like any other murderer now.
6. F for Effort Award: Is Heroes even trying anymore? In a Fight Club-like twist, Matt Parkman throws himself in front of a hail of gunfire, making the ultimate sacrifice to rid the world of Sylar. It's a sad moment, as the episode ends with Parkman in pretty rough shape. It would be quite a cliff-hanger... if the previews for next week didn't then show Peter healing Matt. Add "suspense" to the list of things the show has given up on. (See also: credibility, continuity, excitement, ratings.)
5. Best Metaphor: What is it with Brits and cheeky descriptions of panna cotta? After testing Robin's ultra-blah attempt at the Italian dessert on Top Chef, guest judge Nigella Lawson informs us that a perfect panna cotta should have the "quiver of a 17th-century courtesan's inner thigh." This vivid description is reminiscent of Jay Rayner's similar analogy on Top Chef Masters, during which he said the ideal panna cotta should "wobble like a woman's breast." It's just custard, people. Settle down!
4. Best Birthday: On 90210, Silver's mom, Jackie, surprises her daughter with an impressive half-birthday celebration, in which she restages all the birthdays she missed over the years because she was too drunk or stoned to remember them — including the ones when Silver wanted to be an astronaut and when she wanted to go camping. The sweetness of Jackie's tender apology is short-lived, as just hours later, Silver finds Jackie, who is now undergoing cancer treatment, unconscious in their tent and calls for an ambulance.
3. Best Dead Horse: Kanye-gate jokes are so five minutes ago. Even Taylor Swift mostly avoided them on her recent SNL appearance. But the CMAs send the bit out with a bang. As Carrie Underwood tells co-host Brad Paisley that he had the best video of the year, 88-year-old country legend Little Jimmy Dickens bum-rushes the stage to voice his support for — you guessed it — Swift. "I'll let you finish later," Dickens tells Paisley with a twang. "I know you had a nice video and all, but Taylor Swift made the best video of all time. Of all time! You go, girl!" (OK, let's make it official: Kanye-gate jokes are over.)
2. Worst Metaphor: As winners of Dancing with the Stars' Design-A-Dance, ex-partners in dance (and love) Mark Ballas and Sabrina Bryan leave little to the imagination with an overtly sexual paso doble that makes us oddly uncomfortable. We want these three images Cloroxed from our brains: a mouth-agape-at-the-crotch maneuver, a Kama Sutra-inspired straddle-somersault combo and a classic face-in-the-bosom.
1. Squishiest Reveal: Glee showed us a softer side of Sue Sylvester this week. When forced to hold open auditions for the Cheerios, Sue selects Becky, a student with Down Syndrome, for the squad — much to the befuddlement of everyone. The principal tells Will that Sue has paid to install wheelchair-access ramps at the school. And at the episode's close, we meet Sue's mentally disabled sister, and for the first time, we see compassion flow like honey from McKinley High's torturer-in-chief.
See more in our Top Moments video: