November sweeps cometh . . .
November sweeps begin tomorrow (November 1) and end on November 28. With the advent of DVRs and year round programming, sweeps months aren't what they used to be but there are still some things we can rely on. So I thought we would spend some time this November talking about some favorite sweeps stunts including famous guest stars, life changing events (Weddings! Deaths! Births!),cross-over episodes and over-the-top plots (see ferry crash, Grey's Anatomy). But first up, let's discuss -- in honor of Halloween -- the shocking moment.
Our jaw drops. We jolt upright and stare at the television in disbelief. Did that really just happen? Why would he have done that? Could she truly be that evil? And how did I not see this coming?
The flash forward season finale of Lost immediately comes to mind as a thoroughly shocking moment. And here are five of my all time favorite shocking moments.
1. Kimberly takes off her wig to reveal a heinous scar in "The Bitch is Back" episode of Melrose Place: In its glory days, no show topped the sheer campy delight of Melrose Place. And this iconic moment defined the series. The thought-to-be-very dead Kimberly returned to television's most famous apartment complex to find her fiancé married to another woman. She went into the bathroom, ripped off her wig and revealed the most grotesque scar ever to hit prime time.
2. Nina (Sarah Clarke, above) murders Terri in the "11:00 p.m. -- 12: 00 a.m." episode of 24: During the first season of FOX's groundbreaking drama, viewers had invested almost 24 hours in caring about Jack's beleaguered wife Teri. She had endured rape and amnesia. She had discovered she was pregnant, confronted her husband's lover, escaped death more than once, and had to deal with Kim. Finally in the protective custody of CTU, Teri was thisclose to being reunited with her family before the traitorous Nina ended her life.
3. Francie is dead/ Faux Francie lives in the "Phase One" episode of Alias: Sydney's best friend Francie had long been without a story line or a true purpose on the show. As the final seconds ticked in this heavily hyped post-Super Bowl episode, Francie was shown with a bullet in her head, while her evil doppelganger coolly spoke to the nefarious Sloane. Loyal viewers were utterly freaked out.
4. Chandler and Monica sleep together in the "The One With Ross's Wedding" episode of Friends: In its decade long run, Friends perfected the art of the cliffhanger. But the moment when Monica popped out from under the covers of Chandler's bed remains the most delightfully scandalous. Two of our Friends became more than friends and viewers were in on the secret from the beginning. Chandler and Monica were the perfect antithesis to the Ross and Rachel melodrama. They were the antidote viewers didn't even know they needed.
5. Rosalind Shays falls down the elevator shaft in the "Good to the Last Drop" episode of LA Law: Viewers despised cutthroat litigator Rosalind Shays. She had wooed Leland and almost destroyed the law firm. One minute Rosalind was talking to Leland, the next she was plummeting to her death down an empty elevator shaft. It was an over-the-top moment that gave viewers a glimpse of what would become David E. Kelley's classic story telling style.
What are your favorite shocking moments? Post them below. Next week I plan to talk about time honored tradition of the cross-over episode. Have a favorite cross-over episode? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Highlights for October 31 and November 1
Joe Mantega replaces the departed Mandy Patinkin and joins the Behavioral Analysis Unit on Criminal Minds Wednesday at 9 p.m. on CBS. Just curious, is anyone out there going to miss Patinkin?
One of my favorite cast additions from last season returns to The Office (Thursday, NBC, 9 p.m.) Maybe Karen and Roy can star in that potential Office spin-off that TV Guide announced yesterday. Karen returns in the hopes of luring Stanley to come work with her. Something tells me that she won't be too fond of seeing Jim and Pam together.
I know, I know. I said I was breaking up with ER (Thursday, NBC, 10 p.m.), but the TiVo wants what the TiVo wants. And I'm having a difficult time letting go of a show I've watched since the very first episode. So this past weekend, I checked in on my friends at County General. Things seem to be slightly back on track and I am so happy that Sam is a brunette. But I concerned that the show is revisiting Abby/drinking story line. I feel that by the time a show is recycling an plot line for the third (or is it fourth?) time, that a sign that it's time to wrap things up. Do you think this should be the last season of ER? Or would you like to see the show continue? Talk about it below.
That's all for today. I'll be back on Friday with quotes of the week. I hope you have a safe and very Happy Halloween. And if you have any extra dark chocolate lying around, feel free to send it my way. Have a question, seen a familiar face or want to nominate a quote of the week, write me at email@example.com.
Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal