There are lots of ways to handle awkward situations. Ignore them, which makes them worse. (See: this week's episodes ofBreaking Badand Glee.) Force them into the open, which can get emotional (Losing it with Jillian). Or just hit someone (Royal Pains). This week's episode of The Bachelorette reminded us that the one thing you should never do is change the subject to the weather. What's the best way to deal with an uncomfortable moment? See No. 1 on our list. Welcome to Top Moments, elephant-in-the-room edition.
10. Least-Necessary Entourage: The Real Housewives of New Jersey's Danielle brings her parolee friend Danny as her escort to a fundraising event. So far, so good. But then he arranges for a few friends to join them — including a Hell's Angel and a guy who looks straight out ofGoodfellas. Why all the muscle? It's an event for sick kids. Is she worried about someone flipping a table on her?
9. Worst Meeting: Don't you hate it when your worlds converge? Like when your wife meets the sleazy attorney who helps launder your drug money? That never happens to you? Then consider yourself luckier than Breaking Bad's Walter White, who squirms through a miserable meeting between lawyer Saul Goodman and Walt's not-quite ex, Skyler. Goodman, played by a masterful Bob Odenkirk, can barely restrain his condescension as he explains his money-management schemes. Then Skyler discloses that she's a bookkeeper. It sets up a dramatic change in the dynamic of Breaking Bad, as Skyler joins Walt in hiding his ill-gotten gains. This should go smoothly.
8. Best Goal: Can a documentary be a good luck charm? In sudden-death OT in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, the Philadelphia Flyers' Claude Giroux scores to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks, avoiding a 3-0 deficit. Of course, the Flyers might have been fine with lagging behind the Blackhawks, since they came back to win four straight after being down 3-0 against the Boston Bruins. The Flyers' hot streak coincides with HBO's recurring broadcasts of the Liev Schreiber-narrated Broad Street Bullies, about the Flyers' mid-'70s back-to-back championships.
7. Best Character Development: In Plain Sight's Mary keeps to herself. But when a witness played by Laura San Giacomo enters her life, the rough-around-the-edges women forge a quick friendship — one that ends too soon because Mary's new friend has a fatal brain tumor. The loss causes Mary to seek the comfort of her mother, and exposes a vulnerability in her character that we've never seen before.
6. Biggest Loss: Tears flow like sweat on The Biggest Loser, and Jillian Michaels brings a long overdue outpouring of them to her new spin-off, Losing It With Jillian. In the premiere episode she visits a family with weight issues, and learns that they spring in part from the death of their 1-month-old baby several years ago. It's something the father can't bear to discuss, until he finally breaks down — allowing the family to grieve together for the first time.
5. Best Upset: A year and a day after handing four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal his first defeat at the French Open, giant killer Robin Soderling strikes again, eliminating 2009 champ Roger Federer in this year's quarterfinals. The upset — the Swede's first win over the No. 1-ranked Swiss in 13 matches — snaps Federer's nearly six-year run of 23 straight Grand Slam semifinals, one of the greatest streaks in sports history.
4. Worst Welcome Back: After taking his sons' money and leaving their medical practice broke, bad dad Eddie R. Lawson surfaces in the Hamptons in the final moments of Royal Pains' Season 2 premiere with a check in hand. The sudden cash infusion isn't enough for Hank, who welcomes his father (played by none-other-than Henry Winkler) with a punch. Aaaay! The Fonz would have done the same thing.
3. Most Disappointing Dispute: Like everyone else, we watch the The Bachelorette to enjoy the spirit of cooperation and collegiality between the 25 contestants as they try to resolve, through gentlemanly discourse, who most deserves to end up on Dancing with the Stars to date Ali. Unfortunately, she seems determined to turn everything into some kind of contest. Hence this week's episode, in which she forces the men to pose nearly nude for a calendar, and Craig M. relentlessly taunts Jonathan for being not only short, but a weatherman. Their dispute culminates in Craig M.'s poor impersonation of Jonathan (which elicits memories of this), and Jonathan's limp retort: "I mean, who knows what disease he has?" Jonathan: How can you go for the old you-got-cooties-on-my-jacket standby when you've got Craig M's shampoo-ad hair, begging to be mocked? Forecast calls for looking like a weenie.
2. Ickiest Song and Dance: "Tell Me Something Good," by Rufus and Chaka Khan, has always made us kind of uncomfortable. There's that plinking '70s bass, the part where it sounds like the dude's hyperventilating, the way the chorus seems to have been written for a future burger commercial. Glee's Will gives it the old goofy-white-guy treatment on this week's episode in a performance that melds excessive bouncing, googley eyes, and getting a little too face-to-face. Asked if the routine was too dirty, Sue delivers a classic Sue-ism: "I didn't notice. I was bored."
Best Sportsmanship: Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Gallaraga nearly pitches a perfect game, but umpire Jim Joyce wrongly calls a runner safe in a bang-bang play at first base. He admits his mistake in a confession for the ages: "I just cost that kid a perfect game." Gallaraga is forgiving — leading to a touching tableau before the next game, as the still-remorseful umpire accepts the lineup card from the pitcher. The story provides a perfect primer on how grown-ups deal with mistakes: admit them, forgive them, move on.
What were your Top Moments?