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October 13, 2015

Ten awkward TV moments

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 15th 2008 11:01AM
The Office Last week's episode of The Office now ranks high on my list of Awkward TV Moments. It got me thinking about other all-time great awkward TV moments. Sure, we've all seen the episode where a disheveled Mary Richards shows up at the awards banquet wearing one fuzzy pink slipper. And the one where Frasier and Roz nearly do it on a cruise ship. But let's take a look at a few recent 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.

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I was just reminded of this by a radio DJ during my commute-the telethon for the Katrina victims, when Kanye West blurted out "George Bush does not care about black people." Mike Myer's reaction was hilariously awkward. That had to have been one of the most awkward moments on TV.

April 16 2008 at 9:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nothing from Curb Your Enthusiasm?! Can we just say "the whole series" and leave it at that?

April 16 2008 at 8:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MadMup's comment

Agreed... how did the entire series of CYE miss this list?

The bathroom scene that hinted of pedophilia? Larry's punishment for stealing a fork for the limo driver? My lord, that show alone could easily populate this list. Please make a top 10 CYE awkward moment list!

April 16 2008 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

An even more awkward DH moment from season 1.

Let's set the scene, Bree has invited her friends and neighbors to one of her famous dinner parties. She's keeping up perfect appearances, so of course her friends have no idea that she and Rex are going to marriage counseling. It would kill her if they knew. So NATURALLY Rex tells them. This sets Bree's mind on revenge which leads us to one of the most awkward moments in dinner party history as Bree announces to the whole table...

Bree: Rex cries when he ejaculates.

April 15 2008 at 3:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby O\'B

My favorite awkward moment comes from 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' when Mary had to audition the song "It's A Quarter To Three" for Lou. No prep, no accompaniment, just a grueling three minutes watching her squirm her way through the song in his office.

I usually have to leave the room when it's playing!

April 15 2008 at 2:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pahles - Thank you! I'll rest easy tonight. Although, I think you mean the killer "shoes," as Ingrid Goude kept saying in the movie. That was one of the lamer MST3K offerings. The entire movie took place in one room, and you barely even saw the "shoes."

April 15 2008 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love that Tobias/George-Michael scene!

Tobias: When a man... needs to prove to a woman that he's actual... When a man loves a woman, and he actually wants to make love, uh, to her, something very, very special happens, and uh, with deep, deep concentration and-and great focus, he's often able to achieve an erec...

George Michael: I'm sorry, I'm going to stop you. I know what you mean. I-I didn't mean babies in general.

Tobias: Oh, well that's good. Because it was about to get a little, eh, gross.

April 15 2008 at 1:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ironic--The guy that Rico catches his cousin having sex with is played by the same actor who is now Carlos on Desperate Housewives.

April 15 2008 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I looked through some MST3K episode guides. Crow gets his dress slacks in the opening segment of 407 - The Killer Shrews.

April 15 2008 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think 2 better Sopranos awkward moments were A.J.'s botched suicide attempt in the pool with him clinging onto the diving board with the block tied to his leg and the Pine Barrens episode where they lost the Russian in the woods. I'm still pissed they didn't bring the Russian back the last year for revenge. My favorite all-time awkward moment was on Nip/Tuck this year when Matt found out he was banging his sister! Then Christian said : "I can't believe I have to say this to you - Matt, stop banging your sister!" And who said there are no good family programs on anymore?

April 15 2008 at 12:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think any of the moments listed here compare to the Michael/Jan fight from last week. Maybe it's because The Office comes off as more realistic some times. Or maybe it's because you know there are couples really like that in real life.

If you enjoy really awkward moments I recommend the UK version of The Office, the original Tom Green show, or Da Ali G Show.


April 15 2008 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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