Explainer: Most shocking TV moments of 2010
Sometimes television informs, sometimes it entertains and every now and again it leaves viewers slack-jawed and uncertain of what they just witnessed.
Good or bad, those what-the-what? moments are memorable. And given that the small screen boasted a bounty of surprises over the past several months, it’s safe to say few TV fans will forget the shocking highlights of 2010.
But, just in case, here’s a rundown of the unexpected action:
Unlucky 'Race' contestant gets a fruit punch
The single most shocking television moment of the year came courtesy of “The Amazing Race” and one particularly violent watermelon.
Contestant Claire Champlin attempted to fire ripe watermelons at a suit of armor to fulfill the first Roadblock challenge of the race, but soon found out the fruit had other plans. Rather than knocking out a knight, one hefty melon backfired and collided with Claire’s face at a frightening speed.
While the resulting fruit punch left Claire dazed and confused, and millions of viral-video watchers thrilled, the hard-headed racer suffered no permanent damage.
Russell delivers breaking news on 'True Blood'
Even on his best days, “True Blood’s” Russell Edgington, also known as the vampire king of Mississippi, isn’t a fan of humans. Well, at least not beyond our yummy drinkability. On his worst days, such as the one in which he lost his longtime lover, Talbot, he really lets his hatred for humans shine.
In one out-of-nowhere scene of pure evil, the ancient vamp interrupted the nightly news on TBBN by ripping out the spine of the nearest talking head and delivering his own late-breaking warning for humanity.
“We will eat you — after we eat your children,” Russell said before throwing to the next segment. “Now time for the weather. Tiffany?”
("True Blood" is definitely a very adult show, so watch the clip at home!)
Bristol Palin goes 'Dancing' to the finals
The fact that Bristol Palin joined the cast of the 11th season of “Dancing With the Stars” wasn’t a surprise. Although one could argue that she didn’t qualify due to her lack of “star” status, the same debate could be had about many of the ballroom wannabes.
No, the shock of Bristol’s “Dancing” days is simply that they lasted so long. No amount of flubbed footwork or dance-floor disconnect could sway her voting base from keeping her in the ballroom battle.
Missed steps? No biggie. Lack of musicality? Whatever. Ape suit? Stick around for the finals!
The series finale of 'Lost'
Remember the first season of “Lost”? There were the core characters whose stories were slowly revealed, the frightening monster that went bump (and crush and kill) in the night, the endless string on turns and twists and the feeling that television finally found its perfect sci-fi mystery.
Now remember the series finale? Talk about shocking.
After six seasons and more unexplained misdirects than even die-hard fans could keep track of, the story went straight to the great beyond. Never mind about the long unanswered bits or any last-minute, plausible (in a sci-fi sort of way) wrap-ups. In the end the focus wasn’t so much on the island drama the gang left behind. Instead, it was on the pan-spiritual afterlife that only Exposition Man, erm, Christian Shephard could explain.
'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' reunite to fight
As if their usual brand of backbiting and betrayal wasn’t entertaining enough, the women of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” decided to put their previous efforts to shame during their last reunion special.
The best part about the season-ending ruckus was that it came out of nowhere and still mostly remains a mystery. A cryptic exchange about family secrets, Teresa Giudice’s nephew and Danielle Staub’s interfering ways went from a tense and awkward talk to a curse-filled, host-endangering epic tirade in minutes.
The women of 'The View' take a walk
Television host and political commentator Bill O’Reilly paid a memorable visit to “The View” this year. While the professional pot-stirrer was up to his usual ways with politically provocative chitchat, this time declaring that “Muslims killed us on 9/11,” two of the five women on the talk-show panel decided it would be better to walk off their own set than stay and risk what they might say to him on the air.
Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar exited stage right much to the disapproval of Barbara Walters, who announced, “We should be able to have discussions without washing our hands and screaming and walking off stage.”
Lois lops off Hollis Green’s arm on 'Big Love'
“Big Love” viewers know to expect the unexpected when “Sincerely Yours” Hollis Green and his mini Mormon mafia are on the scene, but the unexpected usually comes from Team Green.
That wasn’t the case when the Henricksons had their last run-in with the polite-but-deadly bunch south of the border. Sure, the baddie threatened to kill just about everyone before bargaining down to just Bill, but it was mad mom Lois who stunned everyone by taking a machete to Hollis’ right arm and saving the day.
'Teen Mom' airs abuse
MTV’s “Teen Mom” gave viewers an up-close glimpse of domestic violence when one of the show’s single-mom stars attacked her then-fiancé during the second season.
While it was Amber Portwood’s most recent bad behavior — which aired in September — that earned her a spot in the headlines, faithful “Teen Mom” viewers were already accustomed to Amber’s angry ways. After all, they recalled her abusive moves from the show’s first season.Interactive: 'Teen Mom' Amber reportedly in jail
Kurt's first kiss on 'Glee'
It was only a matter of time before McKinley High’s Kurt received his first same-sex kiss, but the who, when and where weren’t exactly a given on “Glee.”
So the big reveal (i.e., the bully), while bullying in the gym, turned out to be quite the jaw-dropper.
Kate Gosselin’s ballroom embarrassment
Before Bristol Palin put on her dancing shoes, reality TV mom Kate Gosselin left her “Plus 8” at home and gave the 10th season of “Dancing With the Stars” her best ballroom effort.
Well, OK. She gave it an effort of some kind.
Over the course of her five-week stay, Kate wrecked a waltz, ruined a foxtrot and the less said about what she did to the paso doble, the better.
A 'Shore' smackdown
Angelina left “Jersey Shore” due to “trust issues,” but before she left, she and everyone’s favorite hair-bumped fist-pumper, Snooki, had one unforgettable and totally avoidable fight.
Apparently, Angelina’s kind-of-sort-of boyfriend dared to hold Snooki’s hand, and that’s all it took. Hair was pulled and more important, according to certain GTL-enthusiasts, furniture was put in harm’s way.
“I had to move the table ‘cause it was getting serious and I didn’t want anything to happen to the table,” The Situation explained.
OMG, 'South Park' killed Justin Bieber! (You bastards!)
In the final act of “South Park’s” three-part Coon and Friends story, Cartman and his pal, the great Cthulhu, set out to destroy the world. They killed the hippies at Burning Man, destroyed the denizens of Whole Foods and then they did the unthinkable: They took out the “most challenging and most evil opponent” of them all, tween-to-teen heartthrob Justin Bieber.
The “Baby” singer didn’t stand a chance when Cthulhu plucked him from the stage and popped his head like a pimple.
'Runway' ends with a questionable win
Long before the eighth season on “Project Runway” aired, workroom mentor Tim Gunn tried to prepare fans for what was to come. He talked about “crack-smoking judges” and warned that he’d never “felt so disabled by what the judges have decided.”
Still, no one could have imagined he meant that the most talented designer of the season, Mondo Guerra, would lose to the all-important Fashion Week challenge to the least likable designer of the season, Gretchen Jones.
And yet … sigh.
'Mad Men's' Mrs. Blankenship sleeps on the job
There’s nothing shocking about the fact that Don Draper can’t keep a secretary, but the way he lost one of his right-hand women came as one heck of a bombshell.
Put simply, the “Queen of Perversions” and office wise-cracker Ida Blankenship dropped dead at her desk. Sniff.
In addition to making the office a better place for those who appreciated of her particular brand of bristly humor, Mrs. Blankenship also inspired the best one-line eulogy in the show’s history.
“She died like she lived — surrounded by the people she answered phones for,” Roger Sterling said.
Michael Grimm wins 'America's Got Talent'
It’s been three long months since finale night, but frankly, the results of the last season of “America’s Got Talent” still haven’t sunk in for some of us.
The first cut came early in the night, removing modern dandy Prince Poppycock from the competition. (There is no justice.) Then it was just a matter of finding out whether or not America voted for child opera phenom and long-presumed winner Jackie Evancho or the generic vocal stylings of some guy named Michael Grimm.
The vote revealed that Grimm’s got talent, as well as a surprising number of phone-in fans.
Ree Hines admits she was also shocked by the mere existence of “Bridalplasty.” Follow @ReeHines on Twitter and share which TV moments shocked you.
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