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Look back at the highs and lows of the past year on TV

Shaun Harrison
1 of 25 The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Best Meltdown

During an appearance on Ellen, Kristen Bell discusses the very sweet surprise fiancée Dax Shepard got her for her birthday: an appearance by a sloth at her birthday party. After years of incessantly Googling images of sloths, Bell begins to have a panic attack about how excited she is to see a sloth in person. Not only does she tell DeGeneres the story about her breakdown, but she shares the home footage of her crying hysterically in bed about how excited she is. To paraphrase Saved by the Bell's Jessie Spano: "She's so excited! But we're so scared!"
2 of 25 Colleen Hayes/ABC/Getty Images

Best Fake-Out

Emily Thorne's revengenda claimed many victims during Revenge's first season, but viewers were relieved to see that her then-fiancé Daniel Grayson wouldn't be taking a trip to the morgue. After first teasing his death in the series' pilot, fans came to love the charming son of mastermind Victoria. Fortunately, it was his crazy, lying faux-friend Tyler who was revealed to be lifeless and lying face down in the sand. A few episodes later, though, we miss Tyler's unique brand of crazy.
3 of 25 Fox

Best PSA

Going to the chapel and we're gonna get… hit by a semi?! Sure, Glee has always best existed in a world where belief is somewhat suspended, but after Quinn's many struggles (her pregnancy, her rebellious stage), how could producers do this to her too? Fortunately, the former Cheerio only had to log a few months in a wheelchair before — rather suddenly, if you ask us — she regained the use of her legs and strode off into an Ivy League sunset. On the bright side, her temporarily derailment stopped Finchel from settling down too soon and proved a powerful PSA for texting and driving.
4 of 25 CNN

Best Giggle Fit

CNN viewers already knew about Anderson Cooper's penchant for infectious giggling, but when the anchor broke down discussing the Polish-American holiday Dyngus Day, in which girls strike boys they like with a "pussy willow" branch, it was just as delightful as ever.
5 of 25 NBC

Best Duet

Move over, Brian Williams! Jimmy Fallon's got a new collaborator to slow-jam with on Late Night. For his first appearance on the late-night program, President Barack Obama doesn't just sit in the chair and chat with Fallon. Instead, he duets with him for a "slow-jam the news" segment and manages to make the issue of interest rates on student loans totally sexy. Um, can anyone see if Fallon is available to help the president out for the next State of the Union?
6 of 25 ABC

Best Hookup

After four seasons of will-they-or-won't-they tension, Castle and Beckett had to happen eventually, but Castle's fourth season didn't just end with a kiss. Oh no. It ended with a rain-soaked Beckett basically beating down her partner's door to give him a passionate kiss that implied — and later confirmed — that the two were going all the way. Talk about a home run.
7 of 25 Ron Tom/ABC/Getty Images

Worst Final Blow

Thanks to the nasty lawsuit between Nicollette Sheridan and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, Mike's murder during the ABC soap's final season was one of the TV universe's worst kept secrets. Although Twitter spoiled it for many, Mike's grisly murder by a vengeful mobster right in front of his loving wife Susan was a tough pill to swallow for fans who had spent years rooting for the will-they-or-won't-they-couple; the development even drew criticism from actress Teri Hatcher. It gave new purpose to the final batch of episodes, but depriving Susan of a happy ending was cruel.
8 of 25 Craig Sjodin/ABC/Getty Images

Worst Crash

Grey's Anatomy fans know all too well that creator Shonda Rhimes loves nothing more than sending characters out with a bang, and the season-ending plane crash was no exception. The crash took the lives of Lexie and Mark, not to mention one of Arizona's legs, and proved to be an emotionally poignant refresh button for the aging medical drama.
9 of 25 Dana Edelson/NBC

Save the Last Dance Award

In a sketch led by Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, Saturday Night Live bid an emotional farewell to graduating student and soon-to-be nun Tristan, aka departing cast member Kristen Wiig. The show's longtime MVP stripped out of her graduation robe and danced one last time with all of her cast members, as well as executive producer Lorne Michaels, to the tune of the Stones' "She's a Rainbow" and "Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday." For a woman so well known for hitting our funny bone, her departure had a perfect aim at our heart.
10 of 25 Ray Mickshaw/Fox

Best Final Ride

House limped along, literally and figuratively, to its finale, but the final moments of the medical drama were a nice shot in the arm for the departing doc. Just when it appeared the show would end with House's death, Wilson – and viewers – were shocked to learn that he had faked his demise so he could spend time with his BFF before Wilson succumbed to cancer. House and Wilson jumped on their motorcycles and rode off into the sunset in one last blaze of glory, much like the show itself.
11 of 25 Ron Jaffe/AMC

Most Shocking Exit

Few could have guessed that when Don discovered that Lane had been embezzling money from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and forced the Brit to resign that his next discovery would be a lifeless Lane hanging from the back of his door with his resignation letter in his pocket. The loss of such a beloved character combined with Don's guilt over his drastic actions against a supposed friend made a powerful impact in an otherwise uneven season.
12 of 25 NBC

Saddest Goodbye

Sure, Katie Couric's and Meredith Vieira's Today show exits were plenty emotional, but Ann Curry's tearful final moments as co-anchor were difficult to watch for a very different reason. After rumors of her basically imminent firing from the top spot had swirled for weeks, Curry tearfully choked up as she announced her "fancy new title" and apologized for not getting "the ball over the finish line, but man, I did try." The Today show has been trying, and mostly failing, to beat GMA in the ratings ever since.
13 of 25 NBC

Best Burn

Just weeks after Ann Curry's tearful, awkward exit from Today, weatherman Al Roker lets co-anchor Matt Lauer, and the rest of America, know how he really feels about the situation during an interview with the U.S. women's Olympic champion rowing team. When Lauer brings up the ladies' tradition of tossing one member into the water after winning gold, Roker quips, "Which is different than our tradition, which is you throw one of us under the bus, but that's another story." Cue major awkward laughter since, according to multiple reports, Lauer was behind Curry's dismissal. Score 1 for Team Curry!
14 of 25 Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Weirdest Use of Furniture

At first glance, booking acclaimed actor and filmmaker Clint Eastwood to open for candidate Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention seemed like a great get. Unfortunately, Eastwood stole a lot (read: all) of Romney's thunder in the worst possible way when he brings out an empty chair — a supposed seat for President Barack Obama — and talks to it. "So, Mr. President, how do you handle the promises you made while you were running for election?" he asks the empty chair, before awkwardly pretending to get a response. "What do you mean 'Shut up'?" Now we know why Eastwood spends most of his time behind the camera these days. Let's keep it that way.
15 of 25 Danny Feld/NBC

No Words Required

Parenthood's boisterous Braverman clan has always been a family of many words, but for Kristina's shocking breast cancer diagnosis at the end of the fourth season's second episode, the truly heartbreaking look on actors Monica Potter and Peter Krause's faces more than proved true the old adage that "a picture is worth a thousand words."
16 of 25 Showtime

Most Killer Reveal

When Debra stumbled upon her brother murdering "Doomsday Killer" Travis Marshall, Dexter's namesake was able to lie his way out of the situation. However, when Debra then went to Dexter's apartment and found his slides and his tools, the poor guy had no other choice but to admit to his sister that he is a serial killer. After a lackluster Season 6, the reveal proved a truly game-changing moment that breathed new life into the deadly proceedings.
17 of 25 Justin Sullivan/Getty Images; PBS

Worst Public Display of Affection

Taxes. Unemployment. Foreign Policy. All of these were expected topics in the first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. One name viewers didn't expect to hear? Big Bird. Romney name-dropped the Sesame Street star when asked about the future of PBS and proudly declared "I love Big Bird," before going into just how he'd cut funding for the channel. The lovefest was quoted by pundits and viewers alike for days after and also spawned a Big Bird Twitter account.
18 of 25 The CBS

Worst Dessert

The Good Wife may be on CBS, but the legal drama has had its fair share of steamy sex scenes over the years. However, the series' attempt to push the sexual envelope with Kalinda and her estranged husband put a bad taste in viewers' mouths when Nick put his fingers in Kalinda's special spot and then forcibly put them in her ice cream. Her response? She licked it up. Literally. Can we cancel our dessert order, please?
19 of 25 Prashant Gupta/FX

Best Cameo

We're in the spoiler business here at TVGuide.com, but even we thanked our lucky, albeit perverted stars that this Sons of Anarchy twist wasn't ruined beforehand. In an attempt to blackmail the mayor by implicating a councilman in a sex scandal, SAMCRO hires Venus Van Damme, a sassy, spunky transgendered escort — played by Walton Goggins. Yes, that Goggins from The Shield and Justified. Goggins gamely sports ass-less leather chaps, stilettos and some very large — and realistic — breasts to portray the goddess Venus, who has her way with the drugged-up council member. It's weird, hilarious, over-the-top and all-around awesome. If only real-life political sex scandals were this entertaining. Oh, wait!
20 of 25 Kent Smith/Showtime

Best Turn

Homeland's second season was chock-full of truly jaw-dropping moments, but none more so than the game-changing fifth episode, in which Marine-turned-terrorist Nick Brody finally confesses all his misdeeds. During an interrogation with his on-again, off-again lover Carrie, who turns off the cameras and calmly talks to the Brody she met last year — the Brody who is reasonable and who let his fatherly instinct dissuade him from blowing up the vice president. Or, as Carrie so eloquently puts it, the Brody with whom she wants to run away. Wait, what? Either way, Brody officially becomes a double agent for the CIA after the session. Who would have thought last season that the CIA would wind up benefiting from Carrie's issues?
21 of 25 Gene Page/AMC

Most in Need of Therapy Award

The Grim Reaper frequently visits The Walking Dead, but Lori's death, after months of enduring the brunt of fan hatred, ended on a sympathetic note when she gave her own life during an impromptu C-section to save her baby. Unfortunately, her son Carl then shot her to make sure she didn't turn into a zombie. As if he wasn't going to resent his new half-sibling enough already! Get this kid on a couch, stat!
22 of 25 Donna Svennevik/ABC/Getty Images

Life Imitates Art Award

A few short months after The Newsroom's fictional anchor Will McAvoy was shown reporting the death of Osama bin Laden while under the influence of marijuana, ABC News' Diane Sawyer appeared to take a page from Aaron Sorkin's script. On Election Night, Sawyer slurred her words and giggled inappropriately throughout the night, causing many to ask if she was drunk. Afterwards, Sawyer only responded to accusations by acknowledging the "good, bad, and the funny" tweets about her performance, but we're sure that McAvoy would have been proud.
23 of 25 Fox News

Best Case of Denial

Whatever Diane Sawyer was sipping on over at ABC News, it's a real shame she couldn't have shared any of it with Fox News analyst Karl Rove, who refused to accept a loss for his party's presidential candidate, Gov. Mitt Romney, on Election Night. After the other networks, and even Fox News, declared Obama the winner, Rove wasted 20 minutes arguing with anchors and telling them it was "premature." Fellow anchor Megyn Kelly acknowledged the situation out loud as "awkward" and made the situation better worse by bringing out the head of the Decision Desk to argue with Rove face-to-face. Shockingly, Rove has since been benched by the channel.
24 of 25 Ali Goldstein/NBC

Best Princess Bride

As much as she tried to resist it, ultimately Liz Lemon's 30 Rock wedding bowed to tradition... sort of. TGS' head writer sealed her vows with a ring (fiancé Criss gave her a knuckle ring that spelled out "Tito") and the bride wore white: a Princess Leia-style robe complete with signature side buns. It was the out-of-this-world ceremony that our favorite space cadet deserved.
25 of 25 Bob Mahoney/The CW

It's About Time Award

After more than three seasons — and one shocking vampire transformation — The Vampire Diaries' Damon and Elena finally get it on! Following her break-up with Damon's brother Stefan, an intimate conversation leads to dancing, which then leads to a hot-and-heavy sex scene that ends before we could pick our jaws off the floor. Let's just hope they used some protection because as Twilight's final two films taught us, vampire pregnancies are really scary!