Another year of television in the books. We’ve laughed and we’ve cried and we’ve flailed. We’ve fallen madly in love and we’ve had our hearts broken. We’ve said goodbye to beloved shows and embraced new ones. It’s the ciiiiiiiiiiiircle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife and it mooooooooooooves us allllllllll.
We’ve already posted the first half of our annual year-end celebration of all the hours we spent in front of the telly this year. What else made the list? Read on to find out! –Kim
11) Patricia Arquette wins an Oscar, demands equality for women.
Patricia Arquette ran the table during Awards Season, picking up every single award there was for her performance in Boyhood. Her speeches for most of the season were typical. She always pulled out a written speech, which drove me bananas, because GURL at this point you know you are going to win. Memorize your speech. (Says the girl who has never won a major award and had to get up and talk in front of thousands of her peers, so you do you Patricia.) However all the sub-par speeches were forgiven at The Academy Awards, when Patricia got up in her black and white gown, reading glasses, and fierce red lippy and closed out her speech with this:
“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
Cue Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lopez, and every other woman in the audience losing their shit. Does anyone have more fun at awards shows than Meryl? I think not.
Bless you, Patricia, for using entertainment’s biggest stage to stand up for your fellow women. GENDER EQUALITY? What a concept. –Kim
12) “Buddy” – Parks and Recreation
When NBC decided to burn off the final season of Parks and Recreation by airing back-to-back episodes every week, Kim offered to share my Pawnee recapping duties to lighten the workload. Tag-teaming season 7 kept me sane (and I loved getting to read what my brilliant co-blogstress wrote about Leslie and the gang), but it wasn’t easy to let my baby go. I didn’t get to recap “Leslie & Ron” for the site, and I admit: I was a little bitter about it.
Because this episode was the heart hug that Parks fans had been aching for since the show’s victory lap began. It was disconcerting and friggin’ scary to time-warp to 2017 and learn that Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope were no longer speaking. Every couple is an odd-couple on Parks, but Leslie and her former boss had been a testament to the power of putting friendship and respect over side-of-the-aisle debates. They’d overcome so many differences in all the years they’d known each other; it was their similarities that had pulled them apart. Leslie and Ron are the most stubborn characters on the series (and probably in the fictional midwest in general); and the length of their feud reflected it. Fed up, Ben and their friends lock their Ron and Leslie in the Parks office to work their out their shit. And work it out, they do. After Leslie systematically tries to wear Ron down with jeers about wood (“You guys, Ron loves plastic!”), a friendship flow chart, and her own batshit version of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” (“Peter Piper, pee-pee poopy, Daddy ate a squirrel!”), the former work proximity associates finally get down to brass tacks. Pride is everything to Ron. He swallowed it and got burned. And he closed right up for a while.
Leslie: Ron, you were going–
Ron: I was gonna ask you for a job. In the federal government. Just saying it out loud feels dirty.
Leslie: You missed your friends, and you wanted to come up to the third floor and work with us again. I can’t even imagine how hard that must have been for you. God, why didn’t I see that? Ron, I am so sorry. I should’ve been a better friend to you.
Ron: Honestly, Leslie, it’s fine. It was a punctuation mark on a sentence that had already been written. My time in government work was over. Sure, I loved shutting things down and bleeding the rotting beast from the inside.
Leslie: Your metaphors are so beautiful.
Ron: But it was time for me to leave, and I didn’t feel like explaining why to you or anyone. Everything that happened after– the fight we had, not giving you a heads-up when my company took on the Morningstar development and bulldozed the nurse’s old house– I do regret that.
Leslie: I had a good run here.
Ron: But after you and Tom and Donna and April and Terry left, when I looked around this office, nothing was the same.
Leslie: Yeah, well, there’s a way to fix that.
As the sun comes up in Pawnee, Leslie and Ron bury the hatchet in the office where their hard-won friendship was forged, over a bottle of Lagavulin with Willie Nelson’s “Buddy” (Ron’s contribution to the Parks Department BBQ Mix) scoring the montage. There’s a distinct sense of making up for lost time as they give in to their silliest impulses. Parks always takes care of its audience’s emotional needs, and those brilliant fuckers knew that they couldn’t end the Leslie and Ron reunion on an apology and a handshake. Instead, we get to see them having stupid, ridiculous fun together, and we know that their relationship is now even stronger for what it’s been through. –Sage
13) Amber’s baby shower – Parenthood
God, the women of Parenthood were amazing. They were all vastly different but all incredibly strong and their advice reflects their characters so perfectly. “Drink wine.” “Embrace and own life’s curveballs.” “Do right by yourself. Don’t ever give up on your dreams.” “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it all. You can.” “Don’t be too proud to ask for help.” The best part about this is that it’s not just MOM advice, it’s life advice. These words can apply to anyone and what was so beautiful about the women of this show is they all refused to be seen as only mothers. They have so much love for each other and their bond is unbreakable. (Sarah: “No matter what, I’ll always have your back.” Amber: “I know.”) Then Camille, lovely, strong, elegant Camille, who has presided over all these amazing women as the family matriarch brings it home. “Amber I would say to you that life is short. You cannot know how impossibly fast it goes by. So just enjoy this baby. Cherish this time. Cherish every minute of it.” I’m not crying, it’s just raining on my face. –Kim
14) Lily shows her cards – Penny Dreadful
Ah, Penny Dreadful. The feminist literary horror masterpiece of my dreams.
The creatives behind the Showtime drama were smart enough to cast Doctor Who alum and my future wife Billie Piper, but she didn’t have much to do in season 1 besides cough up blood, be Irish, and look sad. When Brona Croft succumbed to TB and Piper was still on the call sheet for season 2, her future as a “bride of Frankenstein” figure seemed set. HERE’S WHERE IT GETS GOOD.
John Clare aka Caliban aka Mr. Nice Creature forces Victor to make him a mate. Lily, as Brona is known in her second life, is the fantasy of both men: a malleable, amiable flower – innocent and eager to please. They’re both too busy projecting onto her to see her as she really is. They make it so easy to play them, don’t they? Men always do.
In an X-Files episodes about some suburban Satanists under siege by a demon, Mulder asks, “Did you really think you could call up the devil and ask him to behave?” Lily has literally been to hell and back, but Victor and his creature don’t give a thought to the side effects of man-made resurrection. (Though they’ve both lived those consequences.) The audience knows that something’s up though. Lily’s simplicity and purity are too absolute to be genuine. Her motives become clear when she seduces a man and snaps his neck mid-tryst. Lily/Brona has been used by men in life and in death, and she. Has. HAD IT. There’s coldness in this diatribe, but there’s life too. It’s a seering performance, and I believe I stood up and clapped when it was done.
Lily: How can you imagine that I could care for you? Does that face belong alongside this? Doesn’t the world smile on us? Don’t we make a beautiful couple, “thee and me”? Shall we wander the pastures and recite your fucking poetry to the fucking cows? You are blind. Like all other men.
Clare: And you are unlike all other women.
Lily: You tell me how. We flatter our men with our pain. We bow before them. We make ourselves dolls for their amusement. We lose our dignity in corsets and high shoes and gossip and the slavery of marriage! And our reward for this service? The back of the hand. The face turned to the pillow. The bloody, aching cunt as you force us onto your beds to take your fat, heaving bodies! You drag us into the alleys, my lad, and cram yourselves into our mouths for two bob when you’re not beating us senseless! When we’re not bloody from the eyes, and the mouth, and the ass and the cunt! Never again will I kneel to any man. Now they shall kneel to me.
Billie Piper growling at men to kneel is 100% my aesthetic.
Later, Lily asks the same prostration from Dorian Gray. (Is “kneel, boy” her catchphrase? I think sooooo…) But him, she has use for. Dorian has no more illusions about his humanity. He lives to take, but at least he’s up front about it. Lily is so done with men who simper to her face, but want only to possess her body (those grody old men she takes to bed) or her soul too (her creators). Dorian can be her partner in honest depravity – a soulmate who also sees the vice and malevolence simmering just under the surface of polite society. What WILL they get up to next season? I can’t wait to find out. –Sage
15) Team SharNick dances to “Backstreet’s Back” – Dancing With the Stars
Everyone knows that I am Backstreet Boys Trash for LIFE, so needless to say I was ecstatic when Dancing With The Stars FINALLY booked one of the boys. Nick Carter proved to be the perfect type of DWTS contestant. He was naturally talented but still struggled learning some of the specific styles. He was a showman but was not afraid to make himself vulnerable as he opened up about his marriage and their struggles with fertility. But the best part about Nick was that he was completely willing to milk his status as a Backstreet Boy. He knew EXACTLY why people were voting for him and he gave the people what they wanted. Week 4 of the competition was the ALWAYS great theme week of “My Most Memorable Year” (I famously made all my friends watch this night after the HIMYM finale and we all ended up weeping over Amy Purdy). Naturally, Nick chose the year he joined the Backstreet Boys and he opened up about just how much the boys saved him. All of his boys were part of the interview package, with AJ even showing up for rehearsal. Nick danced to “Backstreet’s Back” recreating the iconic choreography and basically being just hot as hell with his partner Sharna Burgess (a goddess in her own right).
My favorite thing is how Nick just soaks it all in when it’s done. This man has been through hell and back and it warms my heart to see him in such a good place. I DIE over AJ in the audience screaming for his little bro. I die over Joey Fatone cheering him on because boy banders support other boy banders (HEY GUYS CAN YOU ADOPT ONE DIRECTION TOO, IT’S ALL I WANT). Nick ended up finishing in second place (I blame them returning to the BSB well for their freestyle) but he was always first in my heart. –Kim
16) Rogelio and Britney Spears Feud – Jane The Virgin
I still ADORE Britney Spears, y’all. She’s my pop princess for life, and I just want her to be happy and safe and making consistently funny cameos on my favorite TV comedies. (Abby on How I Met Your Mother, anyone?)
Brit-Brit fits seamlessly into the fantasy land of Jane The Virgin and could have been integrated into an episode in any number of ways. But with a priceless pairing like de la Vega/Spears on the table, how could the writers have considered any other scene partner for this particular guest star?
Jaime Camil is our reigning Feelies champion for a reason. In every episode, he finds what’s lovable about Rogelio’s extreme vanity and his detachment from the reality of the not-famous. (I die over his fury at Britney pretending to forget his name.) OF COURSE Rogelio would have nurtured a one-sided beef with the “Oops! I Did It Again…” singer that originated at the 2009 Latin Pop Music Awards. Of course he won’t rest until his family and his fans (encouraged by his anonymous Twitter account, @iamnotrogelio) acknowledge that he and he alone is in the right. A running JTV joke is Rogelio’s relentless name-dropping ($10 we’ll see Charo on the show by season 4) and we’re meant to assume that he’s overstating his friendships with fellow celebs. But Britney’s cameo proves that there’s more truth than not to Rogelio’s tall tales. And now that he and Brit-Brit have made peace over the teleprompter incident (and the Mexico City paparazzi incident before it), the door is open for the pop star to return as a friendly acquaintance.
Jane the Virgin is never, ever mean-spirited, and it’s nice to see a person who’s been the butt of many jokes be in on one. It’s like the show itself is geeking out over having Britney Spears on, from the narrator’s punny introduction to Jane’s frantic elevator selfie. Her synchronized minions punctuate every joke, and my girl looks ah-mazing. And with all the Michael/Rafael/Jane love triangle heating up, a starry, tongue-in-cheek subplot is just what Jane needed to even out the delicious drama. –Sage
17) Dan Logan beats Bill Masters at Chess – Masters of Sex
Season Three of Masters of Sex was HELL for Bill and Virginia shippers. Not only was Dan Logan a handsome son of a bitch (Josh Charles wasn’t a Handsome Young Man nominee for nothing) who absolutely seemed right for Virginia, but Bill Masters reached new levels of asshole behavior as he desperately tried to hold on to Gini with all his might. We were hit over the head with how out of his mind Bill was without Virginia this season and everything came to a boil in “Party of Four”. Bill intentionally arranged a dinner with Dan and his wife to essentially rub it in Virginia’s face that she was having an affair with yet another married man. And this is AFTER he steamrolled her in a book meeting regarding the surrogate program.
My favorite thing about the whole episode is just how Dan coolly sits and watches Bill dig himself deeper and deeper into a hole. Virginia (rightfully) storms off, essentially telling Bill to go to hell. Dan’s wife Alice recovers from overindulging in the Ladies (while dropping some truth bombs about Dan to Virginia) and the two men are left alone. Bill smugly asserts that he knows that Gini is done with Dan and he spills all about her history with men. (SUCH A DICK MOVE.) Dan, to his credit, doesn’t squirm. in fact, he only becomes more self-assured because he sees right through Bill. And knows he’s already won.
Dan: I bet you’re damn good at chess, Bill. And if we played, you’d probably have the whole game figured out before I even made my opening gambit.
Bill: It’s quite possible.
Dan: Mm. All this strategizing, it’s exhausting. You must be really tired. Plotting every move, anticipating every counter-move so far into the future that you completely lose sight that there’s a far easier way to get what you want.
Bill: Which is what?
Dan: Tell her how you feel about her. But I bet that never occurred to you, did it, Bill? Well, guess what. It occurred to me. So, I guess that’s checkmate?
Indeed it is. –Kim
18) Everything goes to hell in the Sin Bin – Jessica Jones
I’m impressed. I never realized you were such a bitch.
Yeah, well. This bitch is in control of you now, asshole.
I’d say that episode nine of the first season of Jessica Jones, “AKA Sin Bin” begins the build to season finale, but the Marvel Netflix series puts the pedal to the floor in the premiere and never eases off. Still, this is the episode that David Tennant told us to look out for at his AOL Build Series interview, and for a damn good reason. The climax of “AKA Sin Bin” puts the last nail in the coffin of Kilgrave’s capacity to be redeemed by even a sliver of empathy. (SO MANY NAILS IN THAT COFFIN.) He’s a rapist, a murderer, and a sadistic creep of the highest order, terrible parents or no. Worse yet, Kilgrave truly believes that he’s doing what anyone in his position would do and wouldn’t recognize remorse if it danced in front of him in a purple cocktail dress. And maybe he’s right.
Jessica and her Kilgrave hunting party lock the man up in a cell that Will (who’s got his own problems, being a roided out super soldier and all) jerry-rigged specifically for him. Kilgrave stands in a few inches of water that conduct the electricity Jessica controls. Any false moves – any efforts to exert his control, and he gets zapped. The whole set-up is orchestrated to force a confession that will clear Hope of her parents’ murder. When Clemons stops by, a gun-wielding Trish and a set of handcuffs invite him to stay and watch the show. Jessica sends Kilgrave’s scientists parents in to appeal to him. And that’s when it all goes to hell.
All of this happens in a few breathless minutes: Kilgrave’s mother pulls a pair of scissors from her pocket while she embraces her son and stabs him in the shoulder. (“You are our responsibility. We’ve got to stop you.”) Kilgrave calmly instructs her to pick up the scissors she dropped and tells his father to pay attention. Jessica holds her shock, needing Clemons to see that Kilgrave’s mother is susceptible to his suggestion. “For every year that you left me alone,” he intones calmly, “stab yourself.” She turns the blade towards her body; Jessica slams the button. Nothing happens. Kilgrave’s mother plunges the scissors into her stomach, over and over again, with a sickening wet sound. When he turns his attentions towards his dad, Trish shoots through the glass, catching Kilgrave in the shoulder. “Cut your heart out, Dad,” he growls, and Jessica makes her way into the chamber just in time to catch his father’s hands. Kilgrave lunges out of the shattered door, instructing Trish to put a bullet into her skull. (And he calls her “Patsy,” because he is the most despicable shit.) She puts the barrel of the gun against her neck and pulls the trigger, but the cylinder only clicks. She keeps trying, because she has to. Clemons is told to follow Kilgrave, so he has no choice but to break his wrist to wrench it out of the handcuffs. Jessica knocks dad out so he won’t impale himself while she goes after her prisoner. She gets a hand on him, and he whips around to scream, “LET GO OF ME, JESSICA.” But she doesn’t, and they lock eyes, both reeling over her ability to resist him. Clemons has no such power, and quickly complies when Kilgrave tells him to get Jessica off of him. Kilgrave escapes into the city, wounded, angry, and with new doubts about his ability to control and possess the “love of his life.” He’s never been more dangerous. I’ve never been quicker to hit the “Next Episode” button. –Sage
19) Tattoo Roulette – The Late Late Show
2015 will forever be known as the year we fell in love with Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, and Liam Payne. Loving One Direction is often not easy. We get shit from people, especially dudes, about it all the time. (Don’t be a Dick, okay?) We deal with the constant rumors and publicity stunts. (#EndBabygateAlready) We see our boys trashed in the tabloids. (Fire Dan Wootton, please.) But then something as simple as an appearance on The Late Late Show serves as reminder as to just why we put up with all of it. Because these boys are precious…and they are even more precious when they are in James Corden’s hands. (He loves them SO MUCH it physically hurts me.)
An overly long Packers game (very fitting for Harry) pushed the airtime of One Direction’s second 2015 Late Late Show appearance until after 1:30 in the morning. Sage and I stayed up for it because with the word that the Boys had taped Carpool Karaoke spreading like wildfire, there was no way we weren’t going to be watching live. While Carpool Karaoke was delayed for another broadcast (So they could edit out Louis and Harry sharing a milkshake. WHOOPS DID I JUST TYPE THAT.), we were rewarded with Louis sitting on James lap like the evil kitten that he is (“Well, well, well.”) and Niall continuing his assault to be our favorite by dazzling us with his accent skills. (Brooklyn Niall forever changed me.)
The crown jewel of the episode, however, was Tattoo Roulette. The name of the game is just as it sounds. Five boxes, four with the word “Safe” and the other with the word “Tattoo”. Whoever picks the box with “Tattoo” has to get a tattoo live on the air. Surely this must have been rigged, you say. Please observe Niall (famously the only member without any ink) and his GENIUNE panic before the game even starts. Niall has no poker face and he’s not a good actor. He’s not putting it on. He’s freaking out. Everything about this is gold. Louis speaks to his box (“Come on, then.”) and then mischievously changes his mind at the last second (prompting a guffaw from Harry that surely gave an Angel wings). James is sweating just as much as Niall because he doesn’t want to tell his wife he got a One Direction tattoo. (Harry: “James.” James: “Yes, Harold?” Harry: “Reveal the box.”) Niall drops curse words when he realizes it’s down to him and Harry for the tattoo, prompting Harry to calmly embrace him because, like I said in the Harry Appreciation Post, Harry knows who will be getting a tattoo that day, no matter who gets the box. “I meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeean…,” Harry grins and drawls as he opens his box, revealing “Tattoo”. Niall’s delayed elation is everything. Oh hell, JUST WATCH IT IN ITS FULL GLORY. If this doesn’t endear you to One Direction, nothing will.
Totally worth staying up until 2:30 in the morning for. Our precious sons. –Kim
20) Alison and Donnie are in the Money – Orphan Black
If you’re not watching Orphan Black yet, I’m going to need a 10-page report on what you’re doing with your life on my desk by tomorrow. (Chop chop.) The BBC America original continued to deliver on its insane premise in season three. It remains winningly impossible to categorize, melding hard sci-fi, family drama, and masterful dark comedy. Oh, and Tatiana Maslany is giving the greatest performance(s) probably ever seen in genre television.
Orphan Black doesn’t hold back. Every week, I tune in to see how the creators, cast, directors, and writers will go for it this time, and it’s like watching a high-wire act without a net. The commitment is there in every moment, from the sweetly sad (like Felix holding Crystal’s hand and telling her that she is indeed one-of-a-kind, no matter who shares her face) to the creepy (the Castor clones looking for another conquest) to the balls-the-the-wall ridiculous. That’s right, I’m here to talk about soccer-mom-turned-drug-dealing-school-board-trustee-candidate Alison, her faithful husband and partner-in-crime Donnie, and their rap video twerk session. It. Is. Gold.
Take it all in: the tasteful paisley duvet cover, the sunlight streaming through the windows, their sensible cotton briefs. All the little tokens of their suburban lifestyle contrast magnificently with both of their huge personalities (they weren’t entirely themselves until they were inducted into Clone Club, were they?) and their surprisingly proficient ass-shaking. (Also, Tatiana: who is your trainer, because ABS.) I love that we just drop into this scene with no precursor, though I can head canon Alison’s calmly phrased suggestion that they take ten minutes to take off their clothes and writhe around in their cash. (Donnie: “Sure, honey.”) Most of all, this scene is meaningful to me because Donnie and Alison make such a solid, fun pair. I hated being unsure of his motives in season one, because Donnie Hendrix (strong like baby ox) should be on the side of Clone Club, always. An eternity until April. –Sage
What were YOUR favorite moments from the 2015 year in TV? The Broad City pegging episode? Don Draper’s hippie retreat on Mad Men? Jeff taking a tumble off a building in Nashville? The Former Detectives Club Thelma & Louise road trip on Broadchurch? Mellie Grant’s heroic filibuster on Scandal? Let us know in the comments!