's Top 100 Everything of 2011, Vol. 9: Items 20-11

By Staff

Dec 29, 2011

At this point, you can make the argument that any of the items in the Top 20 were contenders for the final spot on our Top 100 Everything list. But the ten items we have for you today have unselfishly allowed the final ten to claim spots at the Top 10 table. It's the holiday spirit shining through! Basically, no matter how you slice it, you're looking at the cream of the crop.

We'll be posting 10 items each weekday through December 30, so check back often to see what made the cut!

20. How I Met Your Mother loses a dad

Every once in a while, a comedy delivers one of the most emotional moments of the television season, and this year it was CBS's long-running comedy. The show had no business making us cry like babies, and no business doing it so well. But we're glad it did.

19. Jessica Lange's performance as Constance on American Horror Story

The story goes that in the early 1990s, Ryan Murphy saw a broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire in which Jessica Lange chewed up the scenery (and curtains, and entire theater, and much of the street outside) as Blanche Dubois, the slightly dramatic southern belle at the center of Tennessee Williams' classic play. So when it came time to cast American Horror Story's supporting role of the Harmon family's nosy neighbor, Murphy made the audacious decision to not only cast Lange, but to ask her to essentially reprise her earlier performance. Although American Horror Story has proven divisive both in concept and execution (we find it incredible), few can dispute the magnetic, can't-look-away spectacle of Lange's weekly tour-de-force performance. Add to that a truly well-realized backstory and character arc, and Constance has proven to be not only one of 2011's greatest characters, but a shining highlight on an esteemed actress's already stellar resumé.

18. Boardwalk Empire's patricide and incest

Those who call HBO's Prohibition-era gangster drama slow obviously aren't watching all the episodes. Where else will you see a main character killing his father, having sex with his mom, and being killed off himself, all in the span of about 62 minutes?

17. Curb Your Enthusiasm makes fun of disease just right

When a terrible disease can be laughed at in a delicate light and without mean spirits, it's magical and actually draws positive attention. It may be a bit much to call it the triumph of the human spirit, but when Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's, made an appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm, it was a rare case of turning something that could be considered tragic into something that made us laugh. Absolutely beautiful.

16. Fringe's universal appeal

Fox's sci-fi series has woven just as much philosophy into its storytelling as it has both science and fiction, playing with the ideas of perspective, existence, and destiny as they affect romance, family, and friendship. The show is able to realistically breach these concepts thanks to its incorporation of multiple universes and "mythalone" episodes that transfer thematic ideas through cases of the week. Also, it's, like, really cool.

15. Once Upon a Time's fairytale romance

After weeks of sharing flirty glances and donuts, Sheriff Graham's ultimately fatal crush on Emma burst into blossom as he chased her down the street and kissed her passionately after a smoldering confrontation. As unabashedly romantic as Once Upon at Time is, this moment stood out as a swooner.

14. Smallville takes flight

After nearly a decade of teasing Superman fans, it finally happened for real in the series finale. Clark flew, and learned to embrace his destiny as the Man of Steel. He can fly! He can fly!

13. True Blood finally scratches that itch

Ericookies and Snoorics had been waiting forever for the two to really––no dreams!––do some fang-banging. Beautiful people getting naked is always welcome on our television screen.

12. Emmy underdogs get their due

We try not to get too excited about awards shows, but dammit, we were just so proud of some of the winners at this year's Emmys that we couldn't help but throw our underwear at the television. Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Margo Martindale (Justified), and Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly) were names we'd hoped, but never expected, to hear.

11. South Park's Stan gets old

When was the last time an episode of South Park made you cry? We're not talking laughing-so-hard-because-this-weed-is-so-good cry, we're talking manly, rock-you-to-the-core tears. Seeing Stan outgrow his friends and suffer the throes of jaded adolescence in such a moving way was something we never expected from a show that once brought to life a pot-addicted towel that knew how to play "Funkytown" on a touch-tone keypad. One of the year's best episodes of television. (Watch the full episode right here.)

The Archive:

12/19/2011:'s Top 100 Everything of 2011, Vol. 1 (100-91)

12/20/2011:'s Top 100 Everything of 2011, Vol. 2 (90-81)

12/21/2011:'s Top 100 Everything of 2011, Vol. 3 (80-71)

12/22/2011:'s Top 100 Everything of 2011, Vol. 4 (70-61)

12/23/2011:'s Top 100 Everything of 2011, Vol. 5 (60-51)

12/26/2011:'s Top 100 Everything of 2011, Vol. 6 (50-41)

12/27/2011:'s Top 100 Everything of 2011, Vol. 7 (40-31)

12/28/2011:'s Top 100 Everything of 2011, Vol. 8 (30-21)

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  • romasticblossom Jan 03, 2012

    AHHH this list was perfect!

    HIMYM... seriously, not only Marshall's dad death but several episodes that made me tear up like a little girl LOlL

    Fringe awesomness

    Once Upon a Time Graham & Emma's romance! (It was/is awesome)


  • Spoontown Jan 01, 2012

    Maybe I'm alone in not appreciating the ep of HIMYM when his father died, maybe it's the ridiculous bit of retconning that the writers did by trying to claim that Marshall and his dad were really close when in fact it was never mentioned before. And it was basically done to ramp up the emotion when he died, that tainted it for me.

  • MooncalfReviews Dec 31, 2011

    Love the inclusion of South Park. That episode deserves an award.

  • i5star Dec 31, 2011

    Very true about the Emmy winners, those were some amazing moments!!!

  • Gold_Ruby Dec 30, 2011

    Jessica Lange in American Horror Story should be much higher. The show was highly inconsistent (though fun nonetheless), but she never failed to disappoint.

  • skaters182 Dec 30, 2011

    I think the death of Gus should be in the top ten for Breaking Bad.

  • bluemystique Dec 30, 2011

    Ummm still in Once Upon a Time denial. Inhalers are being put into use. I will say I liked the twisted irony of the Gremma kiss. It was heart renching.

    I'll have to catch up with True Blood if only to see Eric and Snookie.

  • ionee24 Dec 30, 2011

    I've got to admit, if I'd have to pick between Sheriff Northman & Sookie or Sheriff Graham & Emma, I'll chose the original True Blood couple any day of the week!

  • TwoClouds Dec 30, 2011

    Snookie?!? Lol, you got one really wrong... hahahahaha

  • NickLopez2 Dec 30, 2011

    Snookie is wrong, but Eric did refer to Sookie as Snookie once.

    "I know I'm a vampire Snookie!"

  • bluemystique Jan 05, 2012

    Thanks Nick. : ) I'm behind in True Blood but I'm still in the loop in general.

  • TrueTvWatcher Dec 30, 2011

    Jessica Lange's performance as Constance on American Horror Story was easily a Top 5 of the year if not #1 for me. She made the series feel like an American Classic!

    Fringe is great and fun to watch!

    Once Upon a Time really surprised me and I love how the story unfolded. Their methods really worked and have me hooked!

    Smallville was awesome and Clark flying and fulfilling his destiny was fun to watch! I only wish there was more!

    True Blood's Sookie and Eric getting it on was great and about time! I look forward to the shows return!

    Need to watch that south park episode.

  • Akyriel Dec 30, 2011

    I gave up on Once Upon a Time. The show is too flawed for me. The sheriff was not a very good actor and I didn't believe there was any real romance there - probably not enough episodes for it to build up and be so.

    Fringe is a good show, but apart from being on Fridays now, a lot of what you mentioned is probably what turned off many viewers beforehand. If it were "universal", ratings would be better, but it is only for a fringe audience.

  • bothcats Dec 30, 2011

    Two best things on this part of the list: FRINGE- last year and into this year, the storytelling has been phenomenal, and am very glad to see it was ranked high.

    2nd- the Emmy wins of our underdogs..... FINALLY!

  • ionee24 Dec 30, 2011

    Go Fringe!

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