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The 11 most memorable TV moments of 2011

Dec. 27, 2011 at 7:55 PM ET

TLC /
Madison dressed as Dolly Parton on TLC's "Toddlers & Tiaras."

It's been a year of celebrations, frustrations and shockers on the small screen, as familiar TV faces said their farewells, reality stars swapped "I dos" (with varying degrees of success) and more than one feud found its way to the spotlight. But as always, between the very-special-episodes of this and the shocking finales of that, it's easy to lose track of some of television's must-see moments.

So for those who might have missed some of the biggies, or for those who just want to relive the action before saying "so long" to 2011, here's a rundown of the most memorable moments of the year.

RIP, Charlie

After Charlie Sheen went into a full-blown meltdown off-screen, the powers-that-be behind "Two and a Half Men" ensured the actor's on-screen alter ego, Charlie Harper, wouldn't suffer from any similar unpredictable behavior.

To that end, Sheen got the ax. And as fans learned when they tuned into the season premiere of "Men," Harper got the train — head on.

Cooper can't hold it in

When noted French actor Gerard Depardieu stood accused of taking a tinkle in the aisle of an Air France jet, Anderson Cooper decided to deliver the news to his "AC 360" viewers in a pun-filled edition of The RidicuList.

There was just one problem. While the strange story was meant to focus on Depardieu's alleged lack of control, it was a giggling Cooper who couldn't keep it together.

Bye, O

After a 25-year run in which she established herself as television's talk titan, Oprah Winfrey packed up her favorite things and bid her daily talk show goodbye in May.

While "The Oprah Winfrey Show" is no more, O didn't leave her legions of viewers without a TV offering to turn to. Instead, she launched her own network, fittingly called OWN, in 2011.

Anger mismanagement

Meat Loaf may be best known as a rocker, but don't underestimate him. The musical man is just as passionate about his arts and crafts. That's a lesson actor Gary Busey learned when Meat Loaf mistakenly accused him of pilfering his stash of paint supplies on "The Celebrity Apprentice."  

“OK! (Bleep)! Mother-(bleeper),” Meat Loaf raged at Busey. “I bought those (bleep bleeping) sponges. Part of that paint is mine. (Bleep!) I’m sick and tired of (bleep), you mother-(bleeper).”

Saving face

"Breaking Bad's" fourth season finale was far from the first to end in a jaw-dropping face-off, but it was definitely the first to end in a literal face off.

So long, Gustavo Fring!

A bad Situation

Long before the fourth season of "Jersey Shore" premiered stateside, reports from Italy revealed that Mike "The Situation" Sorentino sustained a neck injury following a fight with housemate Ronnie Ortiz-Magro. That, naturally, led "Shore" fans to believe the big guy flew into one of his typical rages and made short work of Sitch.

But, as everyone learned when the relevant episode aired, Ortiz-Magro didn't deal the all-important blow. It was The Situation, caught up in a manic fit of bravado, who knocked himself out when he launched head-first into a wall.

Beg your Parton?

Whether or not child pageants are appropriate for the little girls who compete in the glitz events may be up for debate, but few would argue the appropriateness of girls dressing up in strictly adult ensembles — well, that is except for Madison's mom who decided to dress her daughter up as Dolly Parton, complete with padded boobs and booty, on "Toddlers & Tiaras."

(Dis-)Honorable mention: Madison's mom wasn't the only one who gave her girl a grown-up look. On another episode of "T&T," Paisley's mother decked out her little one as the call-girl lead in "Pretty Woman." No, really!

And the award for the Best Awards Show Host goes to …

Hollywood bigwigs used to kid-glove handling when it comes to awards-show ribs weren't prepared for the gloves-off treatment they got from funnyman Ricky Gervais at the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Those offended by Gervais' big-night barbs -- which included potshots at Charlie Sheen, Bruce Willis and "some famous Scientologists" -- will have yet another opportunity to clutch their pearls when the actor-comedian takes the stage for the awards on Jan. 15.

Mad Maks

Ballroom bad boy Maksim Chmerkovskiy is no stranger to stirring things up on "Dancing With the Stars," but even by his own standards, he really kicked off a feud-fest last season when he entered into a war of words with head judge Len Goodman. After Goodman nitpicked Chmerkovskiy's pro partner, Hope Solo, one too many times, the pro hoofer took the panelist to task and ranted about how it was "(his) show."

The back-and-forth with Goodman sparked a later spat for Chmerkovskiy with Carrie Ann Inaba and even rumored bad blood behind the scenes.

Honorable mention: While Maks vs. Anyone easily stole the show, Nancy Grace — or at least one memorable part of the former prosecutor — also overshadowed the usual ballroom business too.

I do

Sure, he dragged his feet for 28 years, but KISS rocker Gene Simmons finally popped the question to partner Shannon Tweed on "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" this year.

After one long midseason cliffhanger, Tweed said "yes" and Simmons said "I do."

I do too — for now

Of course, Simmons and Tweed weren't the only reality stars to step up to the altar in 2011. While the whole union didn't last as long as Simmons' engagement, Kim Kardashian's wedding to Kris Humphries was a far bigger boob-tube event.

In the four-hour primetime special "Kim Kardashian's Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event," viewers watched Kardashian's (first) special day play out just before the not-so-special divorce talk took over.

Which TV moment 2011 was your favorite? Tell us on our Facebook page.

 

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