The Top 20 Television Moments of 2015 – Part One

tv-and-life

Posted by Kim and Sage

Another year has passed and again, Head Over Feels has spent most of it parked in front of a screen of some kind. Regrets are for wimps.

Since 2015 began, we’ve been bookmarking all the television events that have made us weep, cheer, and clutch our pearls like the innocent flowers that we are. And as we get ready to welcome all the entertainment 2016 has to offer, the time has come to pay tribute to 20 unforgettable moments from this year in TV.

1) The White Party – Empire

jamal

Empire never does anything small, so I’d figured that Jamal’s eventual coming out wouldn’t be a quiet affair. And yet, how could I have been prepared for his barrier-smashing performance at the label’s annual White Party in “The Lyon’s Roar”? Empire drew praise and jeers in its first season for its portrayal of homophobia in black culture and the unofficial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the mainstream music industry. I’m not qualified to offer comment on the show’s socio-political responsibilities in these areas, but I can tell you about the impact this storyline had on me as an individual viewer.

First of all, the scene is visually stunning, from the mansion setting to the fabulous achromatic costuming. (To Most Handsome Young Man nominee Jussie Smollett, who looks quite delicious, as per usual.) Empire has this great tradition of closing up the distance between musicians and audiences, so that every performance scene looks like a house party instead of a concert. I love that I can hear the guests singing along to the track. I love that I can read the reactions on individual faces when Jamal changes his shitty-ass dad’s lyric to “this the kind of song that makes a man love a man.” I love Jamal’s joyful defiance, and the way he turns directly to Lucious to look him in the face while he stands up and claims his own identity. And Cookie loves it too. The mother/son relationship between these two was the heart of season one to me, and she is incandescent with pride in this scene. Remember that Lucious wrote this song for CookieWith their marriage in the shitter (because Lucious is a GARBAGE PERSON), Jamal gives “You’re So Beautiful” welcome new meaning for the person who never stopped telling him it was okay to be who he was. He gave the world a show. And the world didn’t end. –Sage

2) Peggy and Stan Are in Love – Mad Men

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Never in my wildest dreams did I think that Mad Men would give us such an overtly romantic ending for my queen Peggy Olson. I had ALWAYS shipped Peggy and Stan but I had made my peace that it was never going to happen on the show. No one got to be happy on Mad Men! EVER.  So imagine my surprise and delight when Peggy and Stan finally figured their shit out in “Person to Person”.  I watched the finale in the wee hours of the morning after I came home from a two-show day and I started screaming at 3 AM when Stan confessed his love in the most perfectly Stan and Peggy way…over the phone. Their phone calls were one of the hallmarks of their relationship over the course of the series, so it was only fitting that it happened this way.

Peggy: I mean, I’m going to stay.
Stan: Good, because I didn’t want you to leave.
Peggy: Then why didn’t you just say that?
Stan: Because every time I’m face to face with you, I want to strangle you. And then I miss you when I go away. And I miss you and I call you on the phone and I get the person I want to talk to.
Peggy: That’s not true.
Stan: Yeah, well, I don’t know what it is, but when I’m standing in front of you, I bring out something terrible. I think about how you came into my life and how you drove me crazy and now I– I don’t even know what to do with myself because all I want to do is be with you.
Peggy: What? What did you just say?
Stan: I want to be with you. I’m in love with you.
Peggy: What?
Stan: I love you, Peggy.
Peggy: Oh, my God. That’s what I thought you said.

My heart dropped when it seemed that Peggy was about to reject Stan. Because of course she wasn’t in love with him, right? I mean we all knew she was in love with him, but did SHE? Watching her figure out that she was in love with him was a MARVEL. What a performance by Elisabeth Moss. She goes from disbelief to confusion to sudden realization in a matter of moments and it’s beautiful.

Peggy: I– I– I don’t know what to say. Whew. I feel like I can’t breathe almost. I mean, I don’t even think about you. Uh I mean, I do all the time, because you’re there. (touches her heart) And you’re here. And you make everything okay. You always do. No matter what. I mean, I must be. Because you’re always right. I can’t believe this. I think I’m in love with you, too. I really do. Stan? Are you there? (silence) Stan?

ME: OH NO STAN DID YOU REALLY HANG UP HOW COULD YOU MISS THIS WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME SHOW? Cue Stan appearing in Peggy’s doorway, out of breath because he SPRINTED to her office as soon as he realized where this was going. Is this Mad Men or my favorite romantic comedy?

Stan: What were you saying?
Peggy: I love you.

All my tears. –Kim

3) The Diner Fight – Agent Carter

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I love that we live in a world where Agent Carter exists. I love that it’s a show run by women and I love Peggy Carter (and Hayley Atwell) for being an icon of femininity and badassery. There are definitely more emotional Agent Carter moments we could have picked for this list. Peggy’s “I know my value” speech was instantly iconic. If you didn’t cry when Peggy laid Steve Rogers to rest by pouring out the vial of his blood on the Brooklyn Bridge, I question your humanity. But we chose the diner fight scene because it’s just so much FUN. It’s stylistically gorgeous, with the bright colors of the diner and the big band music roaring in the background. It’s hilarious with Jarvis bumbling in the background while Peggy singlehandedly takes down all the men. And it just serves as a reminder that Peggy Carter is not to be trifled with. Harrison Ford once said that Indiana Jones wasn’t the BEST fighter but he was the SMARTEST fighter because he used what was around him to serve to his advantage. That is exactly what I see here, especially in the way Peggy uses that plate as the world’s deadliest frisbee. And she does it all in a gorgeous period suit because even when she is kicking ass, Peggy Carter is a LADY above all things. –Kim

4) “You’re a stone cold bitch.” – The Mindy Project

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I have to confess something. I’ve fallen SUPER behind on The Mindy Project.  And the things I have heard about the episodes post-Leo’s birth don’t make me want to catch up anytime soon. But this moment? This is perfection. Dramatic births in unconventional situations is a sitcom staple and Mindy plays the stereotype to the max. There is absolutely no way Danny would have ever been able to get to her on a stalled subway car but we forgive it because we don’t watch television for reality. We watch for the way our hearts swell when Danny makes it just in time for the birth of his son. We watch TV for the way Danny calms a panicked Mindy because NO ONE wants their lady parts exposed on a dirty subway car, much less push a baby out there. I love how Danny knows EXACTLY what to say to her to get her to calm down and believe in herself. He may be an ass some of the time, but he always comes through. That’s why we watch. Who knew that being called a “stone cold bitch” could be the most romantic words in the universe? –Kim

5) Stevie Wonder Carpool Karaoke – The Late Late Show

called to say
Anyone worth hanging out with knows how to properly jam in the car.

Maybe I’ve seen American Graffiti too many times, but isn’t there a beautiful sense of freedom that comes with being behind the wheel of a car? The Late Late Show‘s Carpool Karaoke series leverages the comforting familiarity of the road trip singalong, a “the stars, they’re just like us!” sense of bonding, and host James Corden’s authentic fangirling and driver’s seat chair-dancing. From the very first edition of this sketch (with a totally game Mariah Carey, thank you), it’s been a favorite of our blog and the bit with the most viral traction. Knowing us, you perhaps you expected to see One Direction’s Carpool Karaoke on this list. But even a choreographed performance of morning wood anthem “No Control” couldn’t quite steal the slot from Stevie Wonder. Because he is Stevie Wonder, as James’s wife confirmed firsthand.

A late night host has every opportunity I’ve ever dreamed of to make lasting memories with cool celebrities. But I think even James would admit that it’s going to be real hard to top sitting in a car with Stevie Wonder and listening to him sing “I just called to say James loves you…” to the woman he married. (When James cries, I cry.) The 10+ minute bit includes James and Stevie harmonizing on the artist’s ridiculous catalog (“Superstition,” “Isn’t She Lovely?” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”…you know, those hack jobs), but it’s James’s “indulgent” request and his heart-melting reaction that put this Carpool Karaoke on the top of a very entertaining heap. –Sage

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Fan Video Friday – A Tribute to Lady Antebellum

Posted by Kim and Sage

Happy Fan Video Friday!  It may be September and I may have had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season but everyone KNOWS that fall doesn’t kick off until the TV season starts.  Thus, summer rages on here at Head Over Feels, and once again we bring you a carefully curated collection of fan videos to while away the dwindling hours of your work day.  This week we celebrate videos featuring our favorite country trio, Lady Antebellum.  As their style ranges from the uber-angsty ballad “Need You Now” to the sweet and hopeful “Just A Kiss”, you can expect to see a wide array of OTPs represented in this one.  Why am I still talking?  There are feels to feel!

–Kim

Twelve and Clara – “Need You Now” 

Sage: Did you mean to search for “painfully desperate need to be together”?

Booth and Brennan – “I Run To You” 

Kim: Remember how it used to be physically painful to ship Booth and Brennan, what with all their meaningful glances and tiny smiles and lingering hugs and complete disregard for personal space?  Remember how Hart Hanson and co thought we would be okay with them being together in Booth’s coma dream?  ALLOW THIS VIDEO TO REMIND YOU OF ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

Chuck and Sarah – “Just a Kiss” 

Sage: Kim yesterday: “That Chuck and Sarah video. I didn’t even watch the show, and oh my god.” YEP, basically. The chemistry between Zac Levi and Yvonne Strahovski was OFF EVERY CHART; the spying was beside the point; and where is that Chuck movie we were promised, anyway?

Rose and The Doctor – “We Owned The Night” 

Kim: “She was the purest beauty but not the common kind. She had a way about her that made you feel alive. And for a moment we made the world stand still. Yeah, we owned the night…”

This song was an early addition to our epic Rose and the Doctor playlist, with good reason.  There is something about the combination of the lyrics and the orchestrations that conjures up the giddy abandon that SCREAMS Rose Tyler and The Doctor. And this vid HAD to start with that scene from “Christmas Invasion”, didn’t?  *throws things* “Are you looking at those same stars?” with “The Girl in the Fireplace”? NOPE.

Noah and Allie – “Dancing Away With My Heart” 

Sage: “I haven’t seen you in ages. Sometimes I find myself wondering where you are. For me you’ll always be 18, and beautiful….”

If loving The Notebook is wrong, then consider me your problematic favorite. The whole movie is just a dream, from the styling to the casting, to the locations and cinematography. This song has Noah and Allie written all over it, and I’m still feeling the pain from where the editor montaged their two memorable dances. Also, let it be known that I will never be over Rachel and Ryan as long as I live, and we’re all just going to have to deal with it. *watches MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss acceptance for the 500th time*

Flynn and Rapunzel – “Compass” 

Kim: “So let your heart, sweet heart, be your compass when you’re lost and you should follow it wherever it may go. When it’s all said and done, you can walk instead of run ’cause no matter what you’ll never be alone.”

First of all, I hope you enjoyed your birthday present, Rachel.

Second of all, why has no one ever made ME a fan video for my birthday?

Thirdly, much like “We Own The Night”, “Compass” fully captures the sense of adventure that defines Tangled.  So much of the story is about discovering things for the first time and the song truly captures that, both lyrically and instrumentally.

Fourth, I really need Tangled on DVD.  If you people aren’t going to make me a fan vid, you could at least do that.

Willow and Xander – “Just a Kiss” 

Sage: No shade to Willow/Oz or Willow/Tara, but when Buffy hit the airwaves, I was a timid, high school weirdo and thus put all my hopes into Willow and her fellow geek Xander. I remember that blessed prom episode like it was yesterday. May I never not be a sucker for best friend love.

Larry Stylinson – “Just a Kiss” 

Kim: Leave me here to burn in the fiery pits of HELL, for I am such Larry Stylinson trash. Sorry Liam 1D management, no matter what your party line is, I will ALWAYS be trash for them and believe that they are mad for each other.  Look at them.  They are LIVING HEART EYES EMOJIS.  Yes, this a lot of footage from the early days, when they were allowed to interact.  But they STILL do it, they are just sneakier about it.  It’s horrible.  Just let them love each other, GEEZ. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to listening to “18” on repeat and reading my fanfic WHERE EVERYTHING IS HAPPY AND GOOD.

I seem to have lost my chill.

Sage: I cannot resist jumping in and I WILL SHIP WHATEVER I DAMN WELL PLEASE UNTIL THE DAY I DIE.

rainbows

Rayna and Deacon – “As You Turn Away” 

Sage: Ya’ll just can’t spell country angst without Deacon Claybourne and Rayna James. Damn if these two didn’t fight like hell to get where they are. And though I’m 10000% sure that Deacon is going to survive his liver transplant, I’m also certain that Callie Khouri is absolutely not going to LET THEM LIVE. Nashville will always be a soap, meaning that no character’s happiness will last for long. But so long as Deacon and Rayna stay hot for each other (that elevator kiss, ayyyyeeee), it’s all good.

Clarke and Bellamy – “I Run To You” 

Kim: “This world keeps spinning faster into a new disaster so I run to you. I run to you, baby. And when it all starts coming undone, Baby you’re the only one I run to. I run to you.” 

Is it a little on the nose to use a song with lyrics about the world spinning into disaster for The 100?  Yes, of course it is. But what makes “I Run To You” such a great song for Bellarke is the fact that it’s a song about partnership.  It’s not a song where you’re pining for someone or missing them or wondering why things just didn’t work out.  It’s a song about running towards someone knowing they will catch you.  If that’s not Clarke and Bellamy (be it romantic OR platonic), then I’m watching the show wrong.

Peter and Olivia – “Need You Now” 

Sage: Fringe got too convoluted for even me and we had to break up, but the aspect of the show I was most loathe to lose was the Peter and Olivia ship. And even if you didn’t watch the series at all, this video features enough rakish Joshua Jackson smiles to make clicking that play button WELL worth it.

Cristina and Owen – “Just A Kiss” 

Kim: Naturally, there were a myriad of MerDer videos set to “Need You Now” but I’m still not over Derek dying, so all of those were out.  There were just as many videos for Calzona, but Arizona is my LEAST favorite character on that show, so pass.  Thus, I shall happily spotlight Owen and Cristina, who were really an unsung OTP of Grey’s Anatomy.  I had a hard time letting go of Cristina and Burke, so I was thankful they had Cristina alone for a season.  Once Owen Hunt arrived on the scene, I was like YES.  Sandra Oh and Kevin McKidd’s chemistry is off the charts and they kiss like it’s going out of style.  “Just a Kiss” fits their early relationship SO WELL.  The relationship did get a little too fraught with issues by the end (how many times are they gonna fight about kids?) but the early days?  Their slow burn was delicious.

Also, Grey’s Anatomy, can we get back to sex scenes like this one? Damn.

That’s it for this week!  With the TV season fast approaching, Fan Video Friday will be going on hiatus after next week as all of our recaps will be returning (YAY YAY YAY).  But never fear…it will never leave you for good!

Fan Video Friday – One Direction + OTPs

Posted by Kim and Sage

You already know that we’re boy band trash here at HOF, and One Direction has not escaped our semi-creepy attentions. We’re seeing them live for the first time in August, and could not be more amped. Preparations have included: meticulous concert outfit planning, a This Is Us/Where We Are marathon and recommended fics that have me texting manic, caps-locked reactions to the stupid friends who got me in this deep in the first place. It seemed only natural to extend this obsession into our summer series of Fan Video Fridays.

With a mix of bouncy jams and impassioned ballads, One Direction has the ideal canon to soundtrack a wide range of fandom flails.  So, to provide you ample end-of-the-week distraction, here are our 12 favorite 1D fan videos. They (and you) make us strong.

–Sage

Jeff and Annie – “One Thing” 

Kim: Is there a more perfect One Direction song for my beloved Jeff and Annie than “One Thing”?  I don’t think so.  The thing that was amazing (and maddening) about these two is that Annie clearly got under Jeff’s skin in a way that he was unable to fully comprehend. He doesn’t know, doesn’t know what it is…but she’s got that one thing.  “Shot me out of the sky, You’re my kryptonite. You keep making me weak. Yeah, frozen and can’t breathe.” = “Disappointing you is like choking the Little Mermaid with a bike chain.” Well, and basically every other interaction these two ever had.

Sage: Oh, STAWP. I’m not even that much of a Jeff and Annie shipper (Blasphemy, I know. I’m going to Communie Hell.) and this still got me. The song absolutely works, because as much as Jeff is so verbose about every other part of his life, he’s never been able to fully articulate why he keeps coming back to Annie. Boom: “One Thing.”

The Doctor and His Companions – “Through the Dark” 

Kim: “Oh I would carry you over fire and water for your love. And I will hold you closer, hope your heart is strong enough. When the night is coming down on you, We will find a way through the dark.” Okay, who else thinks that Liam, Louis, and their co-writers are Whovians? Cause this IS the relationship between the Doctor and His Companions. On a related note, I am ready for some Doctor Who montage vids that incorporate Twelve with Nine, Ten, and Eleven. Get on that post-haste, internet.

Sage: Ughhhhh, Kim. You’re so right. Let’s get some Twelve in here. “You will see it’s easy to be loved. I know you wanna be loved.” The implication that the subject of this song doesn’t know whether or not they’re worthy of all this is so Twelve and Clara, and very Doctor Who in general. Also, here’s confirmation that Niall at least is a Whovian.

Mindy and Danny – “Kiss You” 

Kim:  Another PITCH PERFECT combination of song and OTP.  “Kiss You” has the peppy beat of a romantic comedy and Mindy and Danny ARE that will-they-wont-they-we-hate-each-other-but-love-each-other couple.  Fantastic use of their banter in this video as well.  Also, I will NEVER be over the way Danny goes STRAIGHT for Mindy’s ass when they kiss on the airplane.

Sage: No easy feat to match the actual video for “Kiss You,” one of the most pleasingly homoerotic clips of all time. (They dress up like SAILORS. There’s nipple play.) But I’ll allow it for Danny and Mindy, who made will-they-won’t-they fun again. Hulu has my undying affection for keeping them alive, and I can’t wait to see what shenanigans they get up to this season. Maybe Danny will let Mindy listen to Four in the bedroom. OR CHOREOGRAPH A DANCE TO IT.

Henry and Eliza – “The Story of My Life” 

Kim: RIP Selfie, you were too beautiful to live.  Luckily we are left with soul-crushing videos like this one. “Written on these walls are the colors that I can’t change. Leave my heart open but it stays right here in its cage. I know that in the morning now I see us in the light upon a hill. Although I am broken, my heart is untamed, still.” HELLO. This song is about Henry Higgs. Don’t worry. Next time, he’ll be ready.

Sage: I saved this video to watch last, because it’s still too painful. Henry will be ready next time, but we won’t be there to see it. DAMN YOU, NETWORK TV.

Annnnyway, this song is so incredibly sad, and this ship was too. For as fun and light as Selfie was, its core couple was so flawed. They had a long way to go (evidenced most clearly with the karaoke episode), so the melancholy tone of “Story of My Life” just works.

How I Met Your Mother – “Forever Young” 

Kim: It’s videos like this that make me forget for a hot second that How I Met Your Mother is dead to me.  Bonus points for using a lesser known 1D song.

Sage: Love a good ensemble video, me. They capture the best of shows like HIMYM, which were defined more by one giant, messy friendship than any individual relationships combined. That finale can still DIAF though.

Castle and Beckett – “One Way or Another” 

Kim: I don’t even watch Castle, but I want to after this because they are just SO HOT for each other.

Sage: I DO. And I adore this song choice for Caskett, because it’s so sassy and flirty, just like them. Bonus points for this editor’s incredible use of dialogue.

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10 Scenes That Were Hotter Than Olicity’s First Time

cher christian clueless
Posted by Kim and Sage

Sage: After nearly three seasons of build-up, Oliver and Felicity finally did it on Arrow this week. And it was…underwhelming.

I mean, I assume that they did it, since they acted like they did the next morning. (Before Felicity drugged Oliver to try to drag him back to Starling City so he wouldn’t become the heir to the demon, like you do.) But you wouldn’t know it from watching the love scene alone. The CW really talked this consummation up, going as far as to describe it as “explicit.” Now, I know we’re on network TV here, but unless all the sex-panicked teachers from my Catholic grade-school were serving as the censors, I don’t have a blessed clue why pants-on neck-kissing deserves that distinction. When I was a kid, I honestly thought that people fell asleep during sex, so many times did I see a show or an edited-for-TV movie cut from tame kissing to waking up in the morning under an L-shaped sheet. That’s what this scene reminded me of.

In the end, it is not about what we saw or didn’t see. Olicity was once a steamy ship – every interaction from about midway through season one on was loaded with tension. But blame the Atom or Oliver’s talent for self-flagellation – they just…deflated a little this year. I’m sticking with Arrow despite its recent missteps, but Jesus, I expected a little more from something that was this long coming. (Or not, as it were.)

Kim: Where is the heat? The urgency? The desperation? The spontaneity? The freaking CONNECTION?

After the episode aired, I sat and pondered why the long-awaited consummation of Oliver and Felicity’s relationship left me cold.  Was it because it was so blatantly spoiled by the promos?  Because my reaction when Felicity came into the room was merely “Oh it’s sex time”.  Was it because of the slightly icky scene with R’as where it was basically like “You need to do this now before he’s lost forever”?  I think that had SOMETHING to do with it, but honestly I feel like it was because everything about the scene was like a sanitized version of a teenage fantasy of what sex should be like.  The only thing missing was rose petals scattered on the bed. HOW was this explicit?  Because she was on top for some of it (god FORBID a lady take pleasure in sex and being in control)? Because she took her bra off and sat in his lap and showed her bare back?  For heavens sake, they didn’t show any kissing below the neck.  No passionate reactions.  I mean come on…at least give me an O-face before calling it explicit.

Don’t get me wrong.  There is a place for candles and rose petals and the like, but this wasn’t it. This was about needing to be the closest you can get to someone.  About needing that CONNECTION that only sex can bring. And I didn’t get that from this.  It felt so blatantly choreographed and like they were going through the motions without actually FEELING them.  It was soulless.  It didn’t have the deep meaning that it needed to…especially in the aftermath.  Really?  You’re going to have Felicity say “Well that happened?”  As if it was not completely calculated?  I don’t care how socially awkward she is, NONE of that rang true.  Not if Oliver is the man she loves with every fiber of her being.  I don’t buy it.  This should have been EVERYTHING…and it wasn’t.

The next morning, I was thrilled to hear that Sage and several of my other lady friends felt the same way about it.  So we set out to find other scenes from network shows that HAD the element of heat and that pushed the envelope when it comes to sex on TV.  For clarification, we stuck to shows that air “The Big Five” (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, The CW/WB/UPN) because they are held to different broadcast standards that your cable and premium cable shows.  In no particular order, here they are.

1) “It’s not too late” – Oliver and Laurel, Arrow

See? Arrow CAN do passion.  We’re by NO means Laurel and Ollie shippers here, but if this scene doesn’t leave you fanning yourself, something may be wrong with you.  There are parallels to the Olicity love scene here (picking the women up is surely Ollie’s signature move) but this scene has a desperation that is lacking in the Olicity one.  It’s in the way Laurel lunges toward him and wraps her legs around him.  It’s the way they cling to each other and it is in the way it seems like they can’t get close to each other fast enough. It has an element of PASSION and carnal desire that is completely lacking in the Olicity scene.

And this is coming from someone who finds that Katie Cassidy and Stephen Amell have very little chemistry otherwise.

— Kim

2) Chuck and Sarah’s Morning Make-Out – Chuck

One of the many instances in which a Chuck and Sarah hook-up was foiled, this scene from the season two episode, “Chuck versus the Colonel” is definitely the hottest. They don’t even get all the way down to business, but it’s clear that they would have – if only someone thought well enough ahead to hide his condom stash from Morgan. Anyway, the ol’ “oh no, we have to share a bed!” trope is a classic for a reason. Chuck and Sarah’s journey to finally getting together for good was drawn out somewhat laboriously over the years, but their passion in this scene feels very real and cosmically inevitable.

–Sage

3) Olivia and Fitz in the electrical closet – Scandal

Anyone who has read one of our Scandal gif-caps knows that we are 100% anti-Olitz.  But there is one thing you can’t deny about that relationship and that’s the UNBELIEVABLE heat Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn have between them.  This scene is not about love.  It’s about pure unadulterated LUST and need and the “I must have you RIGHT NOW” kind of sex.  And it’s undeniably HOT and sexy, even if Fitz is the worst.  Shonda Rhimes is the modern master of the envelope pushing television sex scene.  AKA the “how did she get the belt unbuckling and the pushing the panties down and the turning Olivia around so he could take her from behind” scene by ABC’s standards and practices division? There’s a reason her shows are on this list three times.

— Kim

4) Danny strips for Mindy – The Mindy Project

“Shut up about Diamond Dan, Sage.” I REFUSE.

I refuse, because this scene changed me and network comedy forever and I don’t care if you think I’m exaggerating.

I’ve already written at length (hey-ooo) about Danny’s striptease, and Kim has too. But allow me to briefly remind you that this is one of the far too few instances in mass market entertainment where the male gaze takes the backseat. Diamond Dan was all about Mindy. And us. And everyone who takes pleasure in watching Chris Messina take body rolling to a new level. Also, we all agree that this little display transitioned into some seriously worshipful sex, yes?

–Sage

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The Top 20 Television Moments of 2014 – Part Two

Posted by Kim and Sage

When we posted our first ten moments of the year at the end of last week, one of our favorite commenters (you know who you are) said that she expected to see the How I Met Your Mother finale on the second half of the list.  “Absolutely not,” I countered.  Sure, the HIMYM finale has made a lot of other end-of-the-year lists, but for us, memorable does NOT equal best.  The HIMYM finale is memorable for all the wrong reasons.  It’s memorable for the rage it unleashes (I can’t begin to count the number of extremely heated debates I’ve had about that episode this year) and that rage does not have a place on our year-end countdown.  Am I still sad about the major death on The Good Wife?  Obviously.  Do I still talk about that death in all sorts of passionate “THAT WAS AMAZING TELEVISION” kind of terms?  YES.

That right there is the Head Over Feels definition of “Top Moment”, folks.

Looking at our 20 picks, I’m extremely proud at the breadth of television we’ve covered this year and our choices for the best of the best.  We’ve got comedies, dramas (both soapy and Comic Booky), reality shows, awards shows, and “news/talk” shows represented.  We MAY have a television problem.  It’s a problem we love to have.

— Kim

11) “Why is your penis on a dead girl’s phone?” – How To Get Away With Murder

Must See TV is but a distant, childhood memory. (Maybe because NBC doesn’t know how to treasure its comedies anymore, hmmm?) Thursday nights now belong to Shondaland.

One of the buzziest new series of the season, How to Get Away with Murder has a showrunner in Peter Nowalk and is overseen by drama queen Shonda Rhimes. Not a carbon copy of Grey’s or Scandal, HTGAWM quickly established itself as its own thing: a gothic mash-up of ’90s procedurals, primetime soaps and dark comedy, with the incomparable Viola Davis leading a cast of young unknowns.

Annalise Keating is fascinating. We’re a full half-season into the life of the show and still no closer to figuring out the law professor’s motivations than we were in the first minutes of the pilot. Viola plays Keating’s deep vulnerability to perfection, but any show of emotion is eventually revealed as another tool of manipulation. Does she feel anything? Or is she smart enough to know not to?

The focus of this pilot season has been the apparent murder of Keating’s husband Sam. Ever the doting spouse at university cocktail parties, Sam – like Annalise – isn’t what he seems. He was mixed up with a student, whose body ended up bloated and floating in a water tower. Already revealed as a cheater, could Sam be a murderer too? I honestly doubt that Annalise didn’t a) already know her husband was messing around, or b) cared one bit that he did. When would she have time? Between desk sex sessions with her giant cop boyfriend? No. This is a shakedown, my friends. Annalise always gets her man.

It’s the most striking scene in a show designed to fuel water cooler conversation. Annalise sits at her vanity and peels away the day. She wipes off all vestiges of the beauty standards imposed on women – on black women – and it’s not a dainty business. She uses pressure, rubbing the make-up away like she’s angry at herself for putting it on in the first place. She’s taking turpentine to a masterpiece she just finished painting. But when she confronts her suspect – a man she’s shared a bed with for years – she’s not going to do it as star defense attorney Annalise or molder of young minds Annalise. She’s going to do it as the bare canvas onto which she paints those identities.

And that LINE. Funny, shocking, emasculating. This is HTGAWM in nine simple words. And may the series bring us several more moments as indelible as this.

–Sage

12) Don and Peggy have a dance – Mad Men

Reminder to all the awards bodies out there: Mad Men did indeed air episodes in 2014 and they were EXQUISITE so SHAME ON YOU for completely ignoring them in awards season.  Did the division of the 14 episode season into 2 “mini seasons” probably mess with the notorious slow-burn pace of a typical Mad Men season?  Absolutely.  Just when it felt like it was getting started the “season” was over!  Does that mean that the episodes are any less in quality?  Absolutely not.  “The Strategy” will surely stand in the pantheon of fantastic Mad Men episodes alongside “The Suitcase” and “The Other Woman”.  It was a beautiful episode, from Joanie turning down Bob Benson’s marriage of convenience (“I want love.  And I’d rather die hoping that happens than make some arrangement.”) to the way Pete longs for the family that he so carelessly threw away to the way Peggy and Don are at each other’s throats over the pitch to Burger Chef.  What transitions the episode from good to GREAT is the scene with Peggy and Don in her office as Peggy finally cracks the pitch.  Just like Don knew she would.

Peggy: Does this family exist anymore? Are there people who eat dinner and smile at each other instead of watching TV? Did you ever do that with your family?
Don: I don’t remember.
Peggy: What the hell do I know about being a mom? I just turned 30, Don.
Don: Shit. When?
Peggy: A couple of weeks ago.
Don: It doesn’t matter.
Peggy: I kept it a secret as long as I could. Now I’m one of those women lying about her age. I hate them.
Don: I worry about a lot of things, but I don’t worry about you.
Peggy: What do you have to worry about?
Don: That I never did anything, and that I don’t have anyone.
Peggy: I was in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania. I looked in the window of so many station wagons. What did I do wrong?
Don: You’re doing great.

PEGGY OLSON.  I have always loved her but I related to her SO much in this moment.  It was a rough season for Peggy.  She is still a woman trying to make her way in a man’s world (remember Pete thinks saying “She’s as good as any woman in the field” is a compliment) and she’s a woman wrestling with the life choices she’s made that have led her down an “untraditional” path.  Should she have gone another way?  Would she have been happy going the married and kids route?  She knows that she would not have…but she also knows that she is alone and that’s a daily struggle for her.

The Don and Peggy relationship has always been the core of Mad Men.  They are so alike, those two.  It’s why Don is so hard on her.  He sees her potential for greatness and her potential to surpass him, which both excites and terrifies him.  It’s often WHY he struggles to praise her because she’s making the same choices he has made (identity theft aside) and he knows how it’s turned out for him.  He wants more for his Peggy.  He sees her self-doubt and he offers her comfort in the only way he knows how…with a smile of pride and a dance.

And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way…

The song choice may have been a bit on the nose, but in reality, there is no better song for these two lost souls to share a fleeting moment of connection and comfort over.  The next day will be back to business as usual.  Another pitch.  Another meeting.  They’ll probably be back at each other’s throats soon enough.  But for that moment…in that dance…they know that they can do it their own way and not have to be alone.  It’s beautiful.

— Kim

13) Amy Poehler wins The Pudding

The worst part of being nominated for any award is that despite your best efforts, you start to want the pudding. You spend weeks thinking about how it doesn’t matter and it’s all just an honor and then seconds before the name of the winner is announced everything inside you screams…”GIMME THAT PUDDING!!”

In Yes Please, Amy P. details the backstage machinations of all the plans she and her fellow nominees have concocted to get their minds off what she calls “the pudding.” And they’re all wonderful – the faux beauty pageant, Dog President, play-swapping speeches with JLD. But in 2014, the pudding finally went where it had needed to go for a long, long time. Amy Poehler won the Golden Globe.

It’s not special because anyone should give a shit about awards or that anyone is under the illusion that they always go to the right people. What was special about Amy’s win is that is that it was FOR Parks. I don’t mean that the nomination was for her work on Parks, I mean that this was an award for the entire show. One of the finest comedic ensembles on television in this decade or any other has been snubbed left and right for reasons that I can’t begin to understand. Amy, often the show’s sole nomination, has gone home empty-handed year after year. (Even the announcer sounds bewildered when he points out that this is her “first win.”)

So. When Amy’s name was FINALLY called and the Parks crew went ballistic, anyone could see that she was taking this one for the team. They stood and applauded and pointed at their girl. “Whoaaaa, Parks!” she shouted out to them, as I cried like a child. “The best cast in comedy and drama, as far as I’m concerned.” And the pudding was spread around, as it should be.

–Sage

14) Cristina and Meredith dance it out one last time – Grey’s Anatomy

Cristina: Wait, we’ll call each other at least twice a month and we’ll text each other all the time.
Meredith: I hate texting.
Cristina: TEXT ME! Don’t let Owen get all dark and twisty. Take care of him. And Alex, take care of Alex. He needs to be mocked at least once a day or he’ll be insufferable. Don’t get on any tiny little planes that can crash or stick your hand in a body cavity that has a bomb in it or offer your life to a gunman. Don’t do that. Don’t be a hero. You’re my person. I need you alive. You make me brave. Okay, now we dance it out.

There was really no other way for Sandra Oh’s Cristina Yang to leave Grey’s Anatomy.  I sat through a good portion of the season ten finale, “Fear (of the unknown)” waiting for something absolutely horrible to happen to my beloved Cristina.  Shonda Rhimes DOES love to kill her characters, after all, especially on Grey’s Anatomy.  Thankfully, she had other plans for Cristina Yang.  Cristina Yang was going to ride off into the sunset…erm…Switzerland.  She was going to take her favorite student Smash Williams (honestly, I never learned his ACTUAL character name) to Switzerland with her so she could continue to teach him and extend her legacy.  She was going to change the face of cardiothoracic surgery and win all the awards now that she was free from GSMH.  She was going to do all of that…after dancing it out with her person one last time.

Cue me sobbing, especially since Cristina and Meredith danced to Tegan and Sara’s “Where Does the Good Go?” which was used prominently in the fourth episode of the series.  Grey’s has ALWAYS been good with the musical callbacks and the Twisted Sisters’ jubilant dancing was a perfect way to reflect on EVERYTHING they had been through together.  Ectopic Pregnancies and Dirty Mistressing.  Bombs in body cavities.  Near drownings.  Mass shoot-outs.  Plane crashes.  Marriages.  Divorces.  Births.  Career jealousy and competition.  Meredith and Cristina have been through it all together, and while their bond has been TESTED, it’s never been broken.  When someone is your person, they are your person for life.  OTP of the show.

Cristina’s absence has left a gaping hole on Grey’s Anatomy this season and I miss her terribly.  Yet, her influence is still felt in Meredith’s life, as every single action she’s taken this season goes back to this truth bomb her best friend dropped right before she left.

Cristina: I gotta go. You stay here. You are a gifted surgeon with an extraordinary mind. Don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need. He’s very dreamy, but he’s not the sun. You are.

You can’t GET more OTP than that.  (And if Sandra Oh doesn’t come back for the eventual series finale, I will cry SO MUCH.)

— Kim

15) John Oliver Breaks the FCC – Last Week Tonight

We were predisposed to love Last Week Tonight, because John Oliver brought us such joy as a Daily Show correspondent, and also because he’s “got a real big penis and drinks lots of tea.”

But we couldn’t have predicted the impact the show would have, pretty much from the moment it hit HBO. With Colbert on his way out, surely there’d be room for more comedy news on our TVs. But what could have weekly report have over a daily one?

Simply this: because LWT doesn’t have the responsibility to recap a full day (or seven days) of the news cycle, it’s expertly developed its signature, long-form style. John and the writers hit on a piece of information, usually something that they can’t believe no one has forced us to fully understand before, and they report the daylights out of it. The result is sharp, hilarious, fully fleshed-out segments that have been known to end in a call to action. And John’s fans are ready to go to work.

The cable companies have figured out the great truth of America: If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring.

The first time we saw the true power of LWT‘s ready-for-viral reports was when they shined a light on the proposed de-democratization of the interwebs. Net Neutrality is a terrifying prospect – essentially making the internet a pay-to-play situation and enabling hateful cable providers to hold companies seeking hosting hostage. No one seemed sufficiently freaked out by this, possibly because the language used to describe it was drier than an English sense of humor. LWT spend ten minutes laying it all out for us (we have an attention span when there are Taco Bell jokes), and then dropped the challenge. The FCC had opened its site for feedback on the proposition. Knowing that this was the job web trolls didn’t realize they had been training for all along, John called on the underworld network of internet commentors to rise up and fight. (“Good evening, monsters.”)

And fight they did. Viewers were driven to the site and responded in such a massive way that FCC.gov actually crashed. And Last Week Tonight moved on to further crusade for truth, justice, and sex-crazed space geckos everywhere.

–Sage

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Fan Video Friday – “All This Time”

Posted by Kim

Welcome to another installment of Fan Video Friday, where we seek to fulfill all your procrastination needs on a lazy Summer day at the office.  This week we’re celebrating One Republic’s “All This Time”.  The theme song for all ships that took the long way around to find each other, I dare you not to come down with a strong case of the feels…especially with the way the song builds.  The bridge is the stuff montages are meant for.

Danny and Mindy – The Mindy Project

The way Danny gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazes at her though.  You’re not fooling ANYONE, Castellano.

Ron and Hermione – Harry Potter

First of all, this gives me all the feels because you watch Emma and Rupert grow up in this video and it’s amazing.  You know where we stand on the Ron and Hermione ship.  Consider this video our closing statement.

Josh and Donna – The West Wing

The slowest of every slow burning OTP in all existence.  This video wins for starting with Josh and Donna meeting and tracking their love story allllllllllllllllllllll the way to the end.

Sawyer and Juliet – Lost

The couple on Lost that we never saw coming until it happened and then we were like “OF COURSE THEY BELONG TOGETHER.”

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Fan Video Friday – “Fix You”

Posted by Kim

Welcome to our new series: Fan Video Friday!  Because what fangirl hasn’t spent hours upon hours falling down the YouTube Rabbit Hole of Fandom Videos?  Plus…it’s Friday and you don’t feel like working today, do you?

This week we spotlight David Tennant’s second favorite song (after “(I’m Gonna Be) 500 Miles” that is), “Fix You” by Coldplay.  “Fix You” is the anthem for every angsty OTP .  Video requirements include longing looks, tears, running montages, grabby and desperate kisses, and hospital bed vigils.  These are typically the couples of your hour long dramas.  The couples that have seasons upon seasons of UST before FINALLY getting together.  The couples that give you ALL the feels.  I’ve pulled a sampling of the best “Fix You” videos for your pleasure and tears.   Watch them all or watch the ones specific to your interests.  Enjoy!

Meredith and Derek – Grey’s Anatomy

For many many seasons, these two were the DEFINITION of angst.  They may be happily married NOW (but according to last night’s finale, we’ve got some rocky waters ahead)…but there will always be natural disasters and rogue gunmen to cause these two some drama.  Bonus points for the PERFECT use of the house of candles at the end of this video.

The Tenth Doctor – Doctor Who

Sure we could have used a Ten and Rose video, but when David Tennant’s Doctor is the KING of angst, why not do a tribute to his entire era? Bonus points to the RUDE use of TenToo on “Get what you want but not what you need”.

Booth and Brennan – Bones

Hart Hanson kept these soulmates apart for SIX SEASONS you guys.  Angsty McAngesterson.  Yes, it took longer for Mulder and Scully to get together, but these two were professing their feelings openly long before they did, so really it was just torture/fear of ruining the show dynamic that kept them apart.  And that bitch Hannah.

Mulder and Scully – The X-Files

Ultimate angsty UST-y OTP is ultimate.  Quoth Kelly, who is about to start the series, when I showed her this video: “I see I am in for a LOT of Hospital Bedsides.”

Sydney and Vaughn – Alias

These two though.

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“She’s My Person.” – A Tribute to Cristina Yang

Posted by Kim

“I think you’re either born simple or you’re not. I want to be the person who gets happy over finding the perfect dress. I want to be simple because no one holds a gun to the head of a simple girl.”

It’s been a tough season viewers when it comes to beloved characters on long running TV shows.  This season alone we said goodbye to Pierce Hawthorne and Troy Barnes on Community, as well as Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger on Parks and Recreation (though knowing Parks, we’ll probably see them again in the final season).  I will never get over how The Good Wife was able to pull off what it did with one of its principals (LOOK AT ME NOT SPOILING IT).  And tonight, after ten seasons of brilliant work by Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy bids farewell to the one and only Cristina Yang.

Sandra Oh’s exit from the show was announced at the end of last summer.  On hearing the news, I instantly thought “Well this must be the last year of Grey’s then.”  Of course then it was announced that most of the principal cast had re-upped their contracts.  Grey’s Anatomy remains one of ABC’s ratings behemoths.  It’s not going anywhere.  But my sentiment applies…I don’t know how Grey’s Anatomy is going to be Grey’s Anatomy without Cristina Yang.  I suspect that Shonda is maneuvering to have Caterina Scorsone’s Amelia Shepherd join the cast full-time next season but it won’t be the same.  We’re losing one half of the Twisted Sisters and there will be a gaping hole in the SGMH staff.

I do appreciate the way she is being written off though (unless Shonda is planning on literally throwing her under a bus tonight, as she did with George O’Malley).  Cristina Yang has outgrown Sloan-Grey Memorial Hospital.  One could argue, given the whole Harper Avery debacle, that SGMH is holding her back.  It’s time for her to go so she can flourish in her field.  She’s going to take over the world when she moves to Zürich.

So instead of being sad about her leaving (though my television will be sadder without Oh’s acting on it every week), let’s celebrate just what makes Cristina Yang so awesome, shall we?

1) Her Competitiveness

If there is one thing that I have in common with Cristina, it’s her competitive fire.  Cristina Yang doesn’t play to participate, she plays to WIN, be it a competitive eating contest with her fellow interns or the race for the sparkle pager.   She’s not afraid to berate INSPIRE her teammates if her team is losing.  She’s not afraid to play dirty in the name of winning.  She is a sore loser and an even sorer winner.

I am Cristina and Cristina is me.

2) Her Confidence

Part of what fuels Cristina’s competitiveness is the fact that she is the best and she is fully confident in her knowledge of that.  She knows that while many people are threatened by her confidence and call her arrogant, that arrogance is what she needs to be a great surgeon.  All great surgeons, she learns from her mentors, are arrogant.  And it’s a lesson she passes on to HER students as her career progresses.  The gift that keeps on giving.

Cristina: You’re a shark.

Shane: I’m not, I swear.

Cristina: Ross, it’s a good thing. All great surgeons are sharks. You see what you want. Do whatever it takes to get it…like me. Don’t ever apologize. Sharks never apologize.

3) Her Appreciation of Food

Cristina is never afraid to express her basest desires, and for that we should all respect her.

4) She Remains True to Herself

Cristina has always known who she is and what she wants.  She is a slob who goes and buys new underwear rather than do laundry.  She is a surgeon and she is going to be the best in her field and she refuses to let anything stand in the way of reaching her goals.  She came close to a complete compromise when she nearly married Burke and his mother took her eyebrows.  She was very much compromising herself to make him happy and to maintain the relationship, which is why her wept “I’m free” after he leaves is so powerful.  After that, she never compromises herself again, often at great personal cost.  Her steadfastness in not wanting children (down to her having an abortion after getting pregnant by her HUSBAND) ultimately wrecked her relationship with Owen.  She has often been criticized for holding firm to her desire to not have a family…but I find it admirable.  It takes an abundance of strength to stay true to yourself and Cristina Yang has that in spades.

5) Her Dancing Skills

I really should utilize Meredith and Cristina’s “Dance it out” philosophy more often.  I bet I would be a lot healthier emotionally.  The best part of this way of coping with emotional crises is the way that Cristina dances with total abandon.  It’s the embodiment of “dancing like no one is watching” (did I make you just vomit from cheesiness?  Sorry!).

The moment when Burke walks in on Cristina having her own dance party while brushing her teeth is one of my favorite moments of their relationship.  Burke walks in on Cristina working it like she is practicing for her So You Think You Can Dance audition and stands looking at her in bewilderment.  She pauses as if to say “What?  I’ve got skills!”.  And then uptight, always by the book Preston Burke joins her dance party.  His dance moves are so hilariously goofy you can’t help but grin at your television.

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