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

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: TV.com's Top 100 Everything of 2011, Vol. 1 (100-91)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments (49)
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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)

And..Emmy!
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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.
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Love the inclusion of South Park. That episode deserves an award.
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Very true about the Emmy winners, those were some amazing moments!!!
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Jessica Lange in American Horror Story should be much higher. The show was highly inconsistent (though fun nonetheless), but she never failed to disappoint.
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I think the death of Gus should be in the top ten for Breaking Bad.
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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.
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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!
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Snookie?!? Lol, you got one really wrong... hahahahaha
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Snookie is wrong, but Eric did refer to Sookie as Snookie once.



"I know I'm a vampire Snookie!"
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Thanks Nick. : ) I'm behind in True Blood but I'm still in the loop in general.
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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.

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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.
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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!
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Go Fringe!
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trueblood sex scenes rock fangs
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It was a consumation worth the wait for both viking & fairy IMO.
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FRINGE, BABY!! Great mention!
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Absolutely earned!
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Love that you included Smallville on the list. Kinda insulted that you ranked it after South Park.
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Top five should be, 1. Game Of Thrones 2. Breaking Bad 3. Boardwalk Empire 4. Homeland 5. New Girl
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The death of Marshals father was way overdue. His family has always been the most embarrassing part of the show, and Marshal the lamest character of the five leads.
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Tad harsh.
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loved that part on Once Upon a Time! It answered (or appeared to answer) a question I'd had from the beginning: is the evil queen/mayor Regina aware of the spell she cast and know who everyone really is or is she in a fog like everyone else? With the crushing of Graham's heart (literally) I believe that she is aware of what's going on. I also think she can't be acting alone, that's a lot of magic for a vengeful step-mother/evil queen to cast by herself...
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I wondered that myself about the queen/mayor. But someone else must know, or knew enough to give that book to Mary Margret. Emma does seem to be trigger at "awakening" the memories.
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I don't watch Curb much anymore, but that scene with Michael J. Fox was hilarious. I love Fox.



The whole episode with Marshall and his dad dying was really well done, and great. Unfortunately, I consider that a possible starting point of HIMYM becoming less of a funny sitcom and more of a sad drama.



It's a good list overall, but I consider that final scene in Breaking Bad's Crawl Space to be much better than maybe half of these.
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Why is The Vampire Diaries not in this list yet? It has more a lot of good moments.
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Community better be in the Top 10 at least twice.
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Ohhhhhhhhhh Sookie & Eric! To bad it diind't last! (I still hope for those two to get back together though)



And HIMYM, God that was such a sad episode.
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loved that moment from Smallville. It was totally worth the 10-year wait!
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The top 10 should pretty much be an even split between Breaking Bad and GoT.
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Don't forget Southland. That death was not expected at all.
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And Homeland :)
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Great, so Breaking Bad "Crawl Space" hasnt been mentioned yet, right ? So it might come up in the final five ?

Also I loved Southpark , Boardwalk , Fringe and Constance ...
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Personally, I want the whopper of an ending that episode 10 'Salud' gave us in the top ten. That was phenomenal.
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crawl space was mentioned in the top 30. which until now still p!sses me off. it should be at least top 5! in any list!
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They're not done yet!

There's a special place for Breaking Bad in the top ten. I can feel it!
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It deserve at least 2-3 spots there in the top 10.
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19. Jessica Lange in AHS, she's so creepy and so awesome in this role! 16. Fringe has been really exciting to watch this past year, I really love the idea of the 2 universes. I'm a bit confused about 15... I mean I love the show, but watching Snow White fall in love with Prince Charming made me swoon. The Sheriff/Huntsman should never make anyone swoon, he was a two-timing hussy. Yuck... 13. I must admit watching Sookie & Eric was quit enjoyable, even though I got tired of the good Eric real fast. 12. OMG I was sooo happy to see Melissa McCarthy & Kyle Chandler win the Emmys! They so were not expecting it, which made it so adorable!
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big thumbs up for putting HIMYM on this list, especially cause they did that scene in one take and he didnt know what she was going to say.
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Definitely the best list so far. That South Park episode was incredible, and woot woot for Kyle Chandler. I rewatched his win (and the writing Emmy win--can't remember the guy's name; Jeff something) on YouTube a few times.



And, duh, Fringe.
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My favourite section of the list so far, Jessica Lange was amazing, Fringe is the most underrated TV show running, Eric is an awesome character and deserved some Sookie action, Kyle Chandler was absolutely amazing on Friday Night Lights and I still can't quite believe that he actually won the Emmy, and the ending of Smallville was historic, because who would have thought that a television show about a young Superman on the worst network would go for ten seasons, and essentially end of it's own volition?
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Considering these were the cream of the crop i'll take Smallville at 14 although its mine and alot of others top choice personally and would definitely be in the top 20 of the Top 100 TV Moments of All Time
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How the hell did a kiss on Once Upon A Time get so far up the list? Seriously, that kiss was better than Jessica Lange? Bollocks.



Anyway, Glad to see South Park on there, that was probably the best episode for about 4 years. Also, glad to see HIMYM getting a nod, it was well deserved. Smallville & True Blood are both well deserved mentions, they are both good shows.



A little disappointed that Fringe wasn't higher. I thnk Fringe has been one of the standout shows this year, particularly in terms of writing and the truely brilliant acting.



Let me just clarify something before I go - I do watch Once Upon A Time, I do like the show, particularly the way they balance the two realities, but I just don't think it's up there with anything else on this list, particularly singling out a kiss that I feel was a bit forced. I haven't noted any chemistry between the two throughout the season and was quite disappointed when the writers made the obvious move to put them together. If you had mentioned the concept of the show as it's reasoning for it's position I might have agreed with you, but I just feel you chose the wrong aspect of this show for inclusion among the other greats featured here today.



Still, I'm really looking forward to the top 10 - roll on Game Of Thrones and Community!
More+
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Totally agree. Once Upon a Time is good but it isn't great like a few things that should have beat it - the Breaking Bad scene and Jessica Lange for sure.
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OK, I've always loved Michael J. Fox, but that scene ROCKED!!!!!! Only he could get away with that. Also loved that OUaT made Top 20.
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How I Met Your Mother, South Park and Michael J. Fox :)

I'm hoping for Breaking Bad's Victor and Gus scenes in the top 10!
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looking forward to your top 10 ;)
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- Fringe at no.16? I can live with that.

- I have got to catch up on Curb Your Enthusiasm! That scene was awesome.

- I was rooting for Peter Dinklage and Margo Martindale at the Emmies. Let's hope Jessica Lange wins next year!

- Once Upon A Time is above Walter White's Heisenbergification?? Wtf??

- Breaking Bad (Gus 'Two Face' Fring) & Game Of Thrones (Baelor) both deserve to be in the top ten.
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