Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Favorite Scenes on TV This Year

I thought about writing about all the great TV I watched this year (the spring was heavy, the fall light) but instead I thought I'd write about a few of my favorite scenes. I feel like I've already written in a lot of detail about most of the shows I loved at one point or another so I'll point you to those posts for further reading if you care! The Americans, Bates Motel, Rectify, The Good Wife, and The Walking Dead And this post contains a lot about my love for Alison Hendrix of Orphan Black.

There are five scenes that stood out to me, the kind that I'd write big long tags for on tumblr if I was the type to do that, but I'm not, so I'm going to put it all in blog form. One of them has no gifs made of it so you'll just have to imagine with me!

The Fosters--Brandon tells his dad he can't move in with him.

Pretty sure I've probably already written about this scene but it's important because it represents so beautifully something about life that I find so bittersweet and...hard to capture? Ana recently said it best when she said, "Even a good choice usually means giving up something is what I’m saying, and there are times when that’s easier to deal with than others." Yes, exactly. We don't get to have everything in life and as obvious as that may seem, it is actually a hard thing to come to terms with? It's easier to think there is a right and a wrong choice and if you make the right choice than everything will be peachy, and you won't still hurt over the loss associated with it. And sometimes other people pay those kinds of consequences for our choices as is demonstrated in this scene-- Brandon only has to make this choice because of his parents divorce.

So basically what happened is that Brandon lives with his family and it's wild and crazy there and he thinks he'd like more time by himself. So his dad offers to let him move in and at first he's going to do that but then decides he can't. So when he tells his dad, it's obviously hard, but there's this moment when he realizes that his dad rented a piano for him and this thoughtful gesture and the life it represents that he can't have causes him to just break down. It's like he's grieving the reality that he can't have both. And there's no bad guy in this situation, it's just such a truly human moment that exposes our limitations, the loss that is present in every choice we make. I loved this scene so much--it made me cry and it sold me on the show completely. I feel like The Fosters continued to have such moments throughout its first run of episodes. It's such a warm hearted show without ever downplaying the difficulty or reality of life. What can I say to get you to watch it?

Bates Motel--Norma Loses it on the Street

Aw, Norma how I love you. This scene really just struck me as such an excellent character moment. And I haven't really seen a lot of people talk about it apart from laughing at it, but I love what it reveals about Norma and how much I identify with it! (which is actually not a good thing, but whatever)

In the post I linked to above that I wrote, I talk a lot about how Norma tries to control her life. And one of the biggest things she does is to act pleasant and try to get along with everyone. She acts this way, of course, because of how out of control she feels. Throughout the course of the season, and her life, she is always trying to manage things--big huge awful things--by generally being pleasant and working hard. But no matter what she does, she just cannot get ahead. Earlier in the season, she tells Norman, "all my life I've had to put with things" and this scene just bears that burden in so many ways. She's just been at Norman's therapist who tried to get her to confess to what she would perceive as weakness (Norma would never!) and she's feeling under threat for her very life. Basically, she's carrying a lot of psychological burden at that moment. So when she bumps into this guy, her reaction is of course her normal Norma reaction--she's apologetic and pleasant. But when his response is to brush her off, to treat her as less than fully human in that second--she just snaps. She just cannot take another minute of being trampled on--especially for something that was a simple mistake on her part and for which she apologized. So she screams at him. And it's glorious and zany and it MAKES SO MUCH SENSE.


The Walking Dead--Michonne holds Judith

Part of me wanted to write about one of my favorite Rick/Michonne moments just because ugh this ship I have the misfortune of loving it a lot but because it's not canon (yet!) the fanbase is small and inactive. Basically there needs to be more Rick/Michonne everything. But...I don't know it's really hard to top how powerful this scene was when Michonne held Judith. I'm only going to link to the gifset in this case because it's too many pictures. But click through to see what I mean.

Danai just did a really wonderful job in this scene on two levels. She acted beautifully, first holding Judith at a distance and then you can see the different expressions flash across her face as she draws her closer and ends up crying. And while the writing set up the scene for us to understand that maybe Michonne lost a child, the acting in this scene alone sells us that idea. It's just really fantastic. But it's also representative, I think, of the audience's journey with Michonne. While I have loved her from day one, there was a lot of dissatisfaction over her portrayal. I think the way she first held Judith skeptically away at arms length is how the audience felt about her, but then she draws her in and has one of her most vulnerable moments.

Borgen--Katrine talks to Birgitte about Kasper

There are so many great moments in this show, but I loved this scene when Katrine asks Birgitte about Kasper. She's hurt and confused because she doesn't quite understand what happened between them and she thinks that perhaps Birgitte can shed some insight. She thinks that they are getting back on track but then Kasper will do something that surprises and hurts her. So she asks Birgitte who wisely tells her that when Kasper was a spin doctor, one of his gifts was being so inscrutable that people could project their own desire for his meaning onto him. I looooved this scene. I loved it because YES we do that, we make room for the interpretation we want to be true, but also it was a really kind way for Birgitte to give Katrine advice about what might be happening. Loved. Sadly, no gifs.

Rectify--Because I Know You

Everytime I think of this scene, I tear up. It's one of the most powerful things I saw on TV this year. This is a huge important moment in the finale of Rectify, so read no further if you don't wish to be spoiled.

Throughout the show, we watch Daniel both adjusting to life on the outside and see flashbacks to his time in prison. And the show explores ideas of reality and truth and never answers the central question of whether or not Daniel actually committed the crime. Daniel doesn't really know if he did or not and that constant uncertainty and uneasiness is part of what makes this show so successful. When we see Daniel's life in prison, we see his relationship with a fellow inmate who is also on Death Row. And their relationship is really one of the only positive things they both have. In fact, on the outside, when Daniel talks about what he knows to be real, he mentions his friend.

Anyway, as his friend, Kerwin, is taken to his death, he stops and says he needs to say something to Daniel. And he tells him he knows he didn't do it and when Daniel asks how he knows, he responds three times, "because I know you"

This is all Daniel could want--that someone that truly knows him would know he didn't commit a crime he himself is plagued with doubt over. But not only that, it's such a beautiful goodbye because even if Daniel did commit the crime what Kerwin is essentially telling him is that, "I know you and the you I know is not capable of that" What better last message could you really give someone whose entire life is being lived in the same four walls? You can tell them that the time you spent getting to know them convinced you they were a person of worth. ugh, so beautiful. One gif below, but see it all here.

So those are my top five scenes I had something to say about! There were of course many more GREAT scenes, I just have less to say about them.

And just to kind of wrap up the year in TV--

My favorite shows from the year:
The Walking Dead
The Americans
The Fosters
Switched at Birth
Orphan Black
Bates Motel
The Killing
The Good Wife

Other Shows I enjoyed:
The Originals
Major Crimes
The Carrie Diaries
Orange is the New Black
Breaking Bad
Call the Midwife
Parks and Recreation


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