On the 1st day of Festivus, TV gave to me... - VIDEO
by Joel Keller, posted Dec 23rd 2008 11:02AM
... one great TV moment.
2008 was filled with great TV moments, more than most years. So when I asked the TV Squad crew what they thought the greatest moment this year was, I got a lot of responses: the Fey / Palin "summit" on SNL, Letterman going off an an absent John McCain, any of Michael Phelps' Olympic victories, the spectacular opening ceremonies in Beijing, the finale of The Shield, any of the Presidential / VP debates, the Giants' upset of the Pats in the Super Bowl, and probably more that I can't even think of right now.
But they all seemed small in comparison to what happened in the late-night hours of Election Day, when Barack Obama got up in front of a crowd in Chicago's Grant Park and gave his acceptance speech. No matter what you think of Obama or his politics, it was a historic moment, and not just because Obama had just been elected the first African-American president. But the reason why it's the best TV moment of 2008 is because... well, moments like this don't happen that much anymore, do they?
You know the kind of moments I'm talking about: the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, the moon landing, John Lennon being shot, the Challenger explosion, O.J.'s Bronco chase. They're the types of moments where people ask "Where were you when you saw it?" around the watercooler for years to come. They were moments when everyone in the country could discuss how they felt about it, because everyone saw it, whether that moment was uplifting or tragic.
When was the last time we had a moment like that? 9/11? It's nice to know that despite everything that's gone on since that horrible day -- wars, terrorist attacks, economic nightmares, environmental disasters, red/blue state backbiting, American Idol -- that this nation can still have a collective moment that inspires positive feelings rather than negative ones. What the election of Obama proved is that the American people can judge a candidate on the issues and his or her platform, no matter what the candidate's ethnicity is. And the good vibes that were generated at this rally in Grant Park are one of the big reasons that -- as of right now -- even people who didn't vote for him are optimistic about his ability to turn the country around.
Oh, and who can forget Oprah, crying on the shoulder of Sam Perry? That was enough to bring us back to our jaded selves, even during a moment that made many Americans smile with pride. According to Jon Stewart, Oprah "actually purchased this white man to lean on during the speech," which was one of the best lines of the post-Election Night coverage. Thanks Oprah! You ensured that the best TV moment of the year wasn't completely saccharine and patriotic, which just made the moment even better.
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