Published December 18, 2013
Boob tube, you High Def, flat-screened devil you. With reality weddings, emotional tributes, death-defying stunts, tearful apologies, and a former Disney star celebrating vulgarity, you put the highs and lows of pop culture on a national stage. Here then, we present the most talked-about television moments of 2013.
13. LaToya Jackson vs. Omorosa
Longtime reality villainess Omorosa went head to head with LaToya Jackson on the umpteenth season of “The Apprentice,” and things quickly got personal–and ugly. “Omarosa's fiancé passed away not long ago,” the normally soft-spoken Jackson explained. “He had a heart attack–I’m sure she gave it to him.” Omarosa, who lost husband Michael Clarke Duncan in 2012, threatened to sue Jackson over the remarks, but the lawsuit never materialized (as far as we know).
12. Mama June Gets Hitched
“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” matriarch Mama June finally made it legal with her baby daddy Sugar Bear–well, sort of. On the season finale, blushing bride Mama June walked down the isle in a full-length gown made from hunting camo, attended by daughters Honey Boo Boo, Pumpkin, Chickadee, and Chubbs. Mama June opted for a commitment ceremony instead of a legal wedding, explaining to Ryan Seacrest on his radio show that “there’s no difference between the two.”
11. Lights Out at the Super Bowl
Not long after Beyonce gave a dazzling performance at the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, the lights at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans went out and the game was suspended for an agonizingly long 34 minutes. As officials scrambled to get the lights back on, fans took to Twitter to cast blame–with many faulting Beyonce. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell quickly came to the superstar’s defense. "There’s no indication at all that this was caused by the halftime show," he said. “Absolutely not.”
10. The Robertsons Renew Their Vows
Almost 12 million viewers tuned in to watch Kay and Phil Robertson renew their vows on the “Duck Dynasty” season premiere–a record for viewership on a cable reality show. “I guess dreams really do come true,” said Miss Kay of her beautiful, DIY outdoor vow renewal on the Robertson compound in Lousiana–almost 50 years after her original modest wedding ceremony. “I feel like I’m living a fairy tale.”
9. Amy’s Bakery
Gordon Ramsey’s hit “Kitchen Nightmares” usually follows a predictable formula–he finds a terribly run restaurant and whips it into shape over the course of a one-hour episode–but there was no helping the proprietors of Amy’s Bakery in Scottsdale, Arizona. Former Las Vegas glamour girl Amy Bouzaglo complained about her “haters” on Yelp!, spoke cat, and verbally abused her servers while her husband Samy swiped their tips. For the first time in “Kitchen Nightmares” history, Ramsey threw up his hands and left the restaurant, declaring Amy’s Bakery as “too far gone.”
8. Carrie Underwood Live in “The Sound of Music”
After receiving mixed reviews of her interpretation of Guns ’n’ Roses “Paradise City” at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, Carrie Underwood was raked over the coals for her performance as Maria in the reimagining of “The Sound of Music Live!” This time, Carrie had an answer for her critics on Twitter, “Plain and simple: Mean people need Jesus. They will be in my prayers tonight... 1 Peter 2:1-25” Carrie also had the last laugh–the three hour episode was a monster hit for NBC, with 18.5 million viewers tuning in.
7. “Glee” Says Farewell to Cory Monteith
When heartthrob Cory Monteith died from a drug and alcohol overdose in July, the writers of “Glee” were burdened with the task of explaining the sudden departure Moneith’s character, high school quarterback Finn Hudson, on the show. The reason of Finn’s sudden death was never explained, but the grief of his classmates–and real-life colleagues–was palpable. Corey’s on and off-screen girlfriend, Lea Michele, paid tribute by singing a heartfelt rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.”
6. Jennifer Lawrence Flirts with Jack Nicholson
“Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence had already endeared herself to fans with her refreshingly unpretentious personality–including a face-first tumble on the Oscar stage–but the rising star revealed a surprising presence of mind when confronted backstage by notorious Hollywood wolf Jack Nicholson. “You look like an old girlfriend,” he leered. “Oh, really?” Jennifer replied with feigned flippancy. “Do I look like a new girlfriend?”
5. Tightrope Walker Crosses the Grand Canyon
Hailing from a long line of tightrope walkers, Nik Wallenda tempted fate–and the possibility of having the Discovery Channel broadcast a live snuff film–when he crossed a 1,500 ft. gorge near the Grand Canyon–without a safety net. Viewers couldn’t look away as Wallenda inched his way across the 2” wide cable, praying to God as 30 mph winds whipped against his body. “It took every bit of me to stay focused that entire time,” Wallenda said after completing his stunt. “I’m carrying on a legacy–this is in my blood.”
4. Paula Deen’s Tearful Apology on the “Today” Show
After the National Enquirer broke the news that Paula Deen swore in a deposition that she “of course” had used an offensive racial epithet against African-Americans, many of her business partners quickly dropped her. Deen then posted a not-so-great video on her web site asking for forgiveness, which was quickly taken down. After the video was removed from her site, Deen scheduled an interview with Matt Lauer on the “Today” show, but failed to show. Finally, Deen sat down with Lauer for a tearful interview where she insisted that she was not a racist.
3. Miley Cyrus Twerks it Out at the VMAs
It may have been the most over-analyzed and universally condemned performance in the history of the MTV Music Video Awards. As you most certainly already know, Cyrus–dressed in a furry unitard embroidered with a stoned rat–emerged from a giant teddy bear, her tongue wagging. After she finished singing a few lines of “We Can’t Stop,” she discarded her unitard to reveal a flesh-colored, latex bikini and wandering foam finger. Then, the former “Hannah Montana” star bent over and wiggled her barely-covered fanny into Robin Thicke’s crotch as he sang his summer smash, “Blurred Lines.” "I doubt they're ever gonna ask me back,” Cyrus said of the likelihood of MTV brass inviting her to perform once again at the VMAs. “But just kidding...I don't know."
2. Season Finale of “Breaking Bad”
More than 10 million people tuned in to watch the series finale of “Breaking Bad,” to see what happened to Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher-turned-drug lord. A "thousand different alternate versions” were considered on how to end the series, but series creator Vince Gilligan insisted on thing was for sure, "It's implicit to me in the promise of that first episode of 'Breaking Bad' is that he's not going to survive 'Breaking Bad.’ It just felt right that we saw his demise."
A hurricane hit Los Angeles, pulling killer sharks out of the ocean to terrorize Tara Reid and Ian Ziering–and becomes one of the biggest Twitter trends of 2013. The SyFy disaster movie inspired dozens of celebs–including Elizabeth Banks, Wil Wheaton and Horatio Sanz–to tweet their excitement and fascination. Olivia Wilde spoke for many when she tweeted this message to her followers, ”I just recorded it based on this review: '@MiaFarrow: Omg omg OMG #sharknado’." So congratulations "Sharknado" - you are our TV event of 2013! Can't wait for the sequel.