Ten awkward TV moments
1. Jan heaves a Dundee at Michael's flat-screen TV. Okay, we'll start with last week's episode of The Office, in which Michael coerces Jim and Pam into attending a couples-only dinner party at his and Jan's condo. The entire episode is one long awkward moment, from Dwight showing up with his former babysitter as his date to Pam realizing she'll be held hostage for three hours, thanks to Jan's poor culinary planning. But the topper is when Michael and Jan's love spat escalates into a huge fight, ending with her heaving one of his treasured Dundee awards at his new (and tiny) flat-screen TV. The cops show up after the neighbors report a disturbance, and Michael ends up going home with Dwight.
2. Nico has it out with Wendy. Poor Nico. The Lipstick Jungle girl has a steamy affair going with ultra-hot photographer Kirby, but her best friend, Wendy, is against it. Things get really awkward when all three show up at the same place together. "Thank God you're not a mother," Wendy tells Nico later. "What kind of morals would those poor kids be growing up with?" Ouch. Who appointed you Moral Compass of the World, Wendy?
3. A.J. sneaks a knife into Uncle Junior's psych hospital. I just can't leave The Sopranos behind, which is why I'm including it in this list. Well, that and the fact that A.J. had some really awkward moments during the series' eight-year run. Hoping to get revenge on Uncle Junior for shooting Tony, the younger Soprano sneaks a knife into Uncle Joo's hospital. But before he can do the deed, the knife clatters to the floor and he's tackled by orderlies. Talk about embarrassing. And after living around a mobster his whole life, you'd think he'd have a better plan than to stab someone in broad daylight.
4. Lindsay rifles through Tom and Heather's wedding presents. The first season of Women's Murder Club is filled with awkward moments, including one where Lindsay and ex-hubby Tom take a drive to question a suspect. She ends up waiting in his car and takes a cellphone call from his fiance Heather, who asks her to look for a menu amidst the wedding presents in the back seat of the car. Lindsay still has a little Jones for her ex, which they make good on shortly before the wedding. I'm so glad this show was renewed.
5. George-Michael asks Tobias about Maeby's lineage. Blending incest, marriage problems, and weird uncle-nephew talks, this scene tops the many awkward moments of Arrested Development. Struggling with romantic feelings for his cousin Maeby, George-Michael tries to pin Uncle Tobias down on whether she is, in fact, his biological daughter. But things get even more awkward when Tobias thinks George-Michael is asking about the birds and bees, and the two sit down on his bed to talk it out. The conversation is interrupted when budding actor Tobias, looking at a script, realizes his role as "Frightened Inmate #2" requires him to be nude. He doesn't do nudity. I think we can all thank the writers for that little quirk.
6. Bree spills the beans to Katherine about Adam. The Desperate Housewives girls find themselves in a real pickle when a tornado rips through Wisteria Lane in season four. Especially Katherine, who learns about her husband's infidelities from anal-retentive Bree while a group of them are hunkered down in a storage room. Nowhere to run, they're forced to wait out the storm in awkward silence.
7. Rico discovers his cousin having sex with a guy. Ah, those cozy family moments on Six Feet Under. When body-reconstruction maestro Rico hires his cousin, Ramone, to remove the mold from his house, he comes home one day to find him having sex with another guy in his living room. The news gets back to Ramone's wife, who has no idea her husband is gay. Just another day in the life -- or would that be death? -- of these funeral folks.
8. Jack Bauer shoots his best friend. In the "awkward tragedy" department, Jack Bauer is forced to shoot his former partner and best friend, Curtis, during season six of 24. Okay, so it's his only option when Curtis threatens to thwart Jack's efforts to stop a nuclear threat involving several suitcase bombs. Still, why would you have to shoot him in the neck, Jack? Couldn't you have popped Curtis in the leg or shoulder -- just enough to make him drop his hostage so you could get on with saving the world?
9. The Chief interrupts Derek and Meredith. As if the Chief on Grey's Anatomy doesn't have enough problems -- what with being ousted from his own love nest by a disgruntled wife. But things only get worse when he moves into Derek's trailer park space (do these people have no money to get their own apartments?) and walks in on the newly requited couple mid-coitus. Yipes.
10. Laura tells Paul all about her relationship with Alex. It's one therapy session after another on HBO's breakout hit, In Treatment. But things get horribly awkward for therapist Paul when his patient Laura divulges intimate details about her relationship with boyfriend Alex. The only problem? Paul is in love with Laura.
Bonus Awkward Moments:
Gary Busey mauls Jennifer Garner on the red carpet. He's always been a little creepy, but Busey really pushed it over the edge when he practically attacked Jennifer Garner on the Red Carpet at the 2008 Academy Awards. You could tell that host Ryan Seacrest was doing his best to diffuse the situation, but really, what could he do, other than call security? The whole thing was totally awkward. Thank goodness the lovely Laura Linney was on hand to rescue Jennifer. Both women should have hauled off and smacked Busey. It's not like Garner hasn't had plenty of practice, playing Sydney Bristow on Alias.
Joel gives Crow trousers for Christmas. One of the funniest robot reaction shots occurred during a host segment on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Joel was passing out presents to the 'bots -- a Barbie Dreamhouse for Gypsy, as I recall, and a sleek sports car for Tom Servo. And for Crow? A nice pair of trousers. Crow is not amused. I'm thinking this segment aired during Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, but I didn't see it while skimming through my DVD. Help me out, MST3K'ers.
So what are your favorite awkward TV moments in recent history? Spill.