Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Sea Was Angry That Day My Friends... an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

Callaghan over at Creatively Progressing threw down the challenge: 'What's Your All-time Favourite Scene from a TV Show'? Against better judgement, as in work beckons, I succumbed.

Man, what a hard question! There are so many...the scene when Angel goes evil and breaks Ms. Calendar's neck midway through Season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer - I sat up in my bed in shock..."He didn't just...did he? Shit!"
Only that scene was topped by the Season 2 finale scene when Angel becomes good again at the exact time Buffy has to choose between letting him live or killing him to save the world. And she says she's sorry, and kills him! Holy shit!!

Or in 'Judging Amy' when Tyne Daly has to attend an anger management class, and after hearing people's petty complaints about being cut off in traffic or losing their keys - she launches into a riff about what makes her angry is seeing children being hurt or abused or abandoned by their own sue me! One of the funniest yet most heart-wrenching scenes I've ever watched...

Or in 'The Cosby Show' when the Huxtable family lip syncs to Ray Charles 'Night Time Is The Right Time'...

Or in the 'X Files' at the end of season 2 when Mulder finds a train car buried in the desert filled with alien skeletons, and then the men in black appear and seal him inside (or so we think)...WTF? :0

I could go on and on...

But I'm going to go with a scene from 'The Contest' - yes, Seinfeld...probably because I've thought about it, referenced it, marveled at it more than any other tv moment. After George is caught 'pleasuring himself', a competition is devised to see who can go the longest without...well, you know. And then...

KRAMER: Hey, look at this, c'mere. There's a naked woman across the street.
George and Jerry quickly join him at the window.
JERRY: Where?
KRAMER: Second floor from the top. (Pointing) See the window on the left?
GEORGE: (In awe) Wow!
JERRY: (Also amazed) Who walks around the house like that?!
GEORGE: (Suggesting) Maybe she's a nudist. You know, those nudist colony people..
KRAMER: ..Yeah.. (Pause) yeah..
Kramer slowly stands up, and walks out of Jerry's apartment.
JERRY: Hey George, let me ask you a question. In these nudist colonies, do they eat naked in the dining room?
GEORGE: I would imagine it's all naked.
JERRY: What about the chamber maids? Are they naked, too?
GEORGE: (Still focused on the nudist) They're naked, the gardeners naked.. the bellhops. One big nude-a-rama.
Elaine enters.
ELAINE: Well, Where's my money? Who caved?
JERRY: Not me.
GEORGE: Not me.
ELAINE: What're you looking at?
JERRY: There's a naked woman across the street.
ELAINE: (Chuckling) This is gonna be the easiest money I've ever made in my life. (beat) So, my friend, Joyce, is teaching an aerobics class. I'm gonna go tonight.
JERRY: (distracted) Yeah.. the - the waitress should've taken it back.
ELAINE: (Realizes Jerry and George aren't paying attention) So then, I got a call this morning. You know, I was, uh, chosen to go on the space shuttle. We're goin' to Mars.
JERRY: (Still staring at the woman) Uh-huh.
GEORGE: Have a good time.
Kramer casually enters, takes a few step toward the kitchen, and slaps a wad of bills onto the counter.
KRAMER: I'm out!
Everyone stares at him shock.
ELAINE: What?!
KRAMER: Yeah, I'm out - I'm out of the contest.
GEORGE: You're out?!
KRAMER: Yeah, yeah.. (off their reactions) what?
ELAINE: Well, that was fast!
JERRY: Well, it was that woman across the street. (To Jerry) You know, you better be careful, buddy. She's gonna get you next.
He walks out, shutting the door behind him. Jerry, Elaine, and George all look at each other, reflecting.
ELAINE: ..And then there were three.

"I'm out!" Wow. The fact that Kramer went back to his apartment and off camera, essentially rubbed one out, and then admitted as much on national TV --- I am still amazed today they pulled it off. And don't know if I've ever laughed so hard. The genius of the episode and the scene is that the restrictions of network television forced them to write a story/scene about 'jacking it'...without ever saying the words.

My all-time fav...what's yours? Better yet, tell Callaghan.


Unknown Screenwriter said...

Have you noticed more and more screenwriting bloggers are cussing?

I love it.


Callaghan said...

Great choices! That moment when Angel broke Jenny Calendar's neck was unforgetable. In fact, I think I need to go watch that episode on DVD.

Chopped Nuts said...

Also from Buffy - Willow and Tara finally get back together, and then BAM! Tara catches a stray bullet.

I think that was the big writing lesson that Buffy's writing gang taught me - drama isn't obstacle obstacle obstacle, hero gets their goal; it's obstacle obstacle obstacle, hero gets their goal, then you tear it away as painfully as possible.

Willow and Tara break up, get back together, destroyed.

Angel becomes evil, the gang works to resurrect him to good, they succeed, Buffy has to off him.

Jenny Calendar is revealed, hated by the group, finally gets back together with Giles, and crack!

wcdixon said...

Hey Chopped!

All great examples. Buffy rocked.

Good Dog said...

Well, if cussing is a bad thing, I sure as heck can't mention one of my my favourite scenes:

The fourth episode of season one of The Wire has McNulty and Bunk reinvestigate the shooting of a woman in her ground floor apartment.

About five minutes long, the dialogue consists of the two muttering "f**k" and "motherf**k" as they work out the angle of the bullet, where the victim stood, etc, using crime scene photos, marker pens and tape measures.

Just superb.

And then there's the family reaction to the 'Beloved Aunt' obit in Curb Your Enthusiasm. (Amongst many excellent scenes in the series).

The opening scene of Battlestar Galactica's first season episode Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down. Baltar complains about how long testing the blood samples will take. Six offers some light relief. Starbuck arrives with her sample and catches him 'exercising'.

In Seinfeld, the scenes where George has to visit his mother in the hospital. First in The Contest and then repeated, with a twist, six episodes later in The Outing. Time for my spongebath!

Jedburgh on the platform at Gleneagles in the final episode of Edge of Darkness. Before he gets up to speak, the scene cuts to Hardcourt announcing "Jedburgh's at Gleneagles, and he's not playing golf!"

The crew of the U-boat singing along to "It's a long way to Tipperary" in Das Boot. (Talking about the original six-part TV series, not the cut down movie version).

Scenes from the Homicide: Life of the Streets episode The Documentary, where the detectives, in The Box, talking directly to camera, lift dialogue straight from David Simon's book.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are a heck of a lot more.