TV Guide and TV Land did a comprehensive series that focused on the 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments. Once again, whenever I see one of these lists I, like I’m sure many others played Monday morning quarterback and noticed what didn’t make the list.Again I suggest for future lists that there should be a distinction between entertainment produced for television and events that were captured on television. I also don't think the entire series run of Hogan's Heroes (#100) and The Flying Nun (92) should count as a moment. Here is my list of Unexpected TV Moments that I think should have made the Top 100. Please note that some entries also appeared in My Honorable Mention additions to "TV Guide and TV Land presents The 100 Most Memorable TV Moments".
Murphy Brown’s baby (May 18, 1992) Murphy Brown. Never before or since has a TV show influenced presidential politics. What was unexpected was the country’s reaction to Vice President Dan Quayle’s comments about the episode.
Jack Paar walks off the Tonight Show (February 11, 1960). The previous night, Paar had told a joke during his monologue with the word "water closets" in it. The joke offended the NBC censors, who cut it out of the show. How times have changed.
Maude has an abortion (November 14,1972) from Maude. Some CBS affiliates did not air the episode. Note: This episode aired a year prior to the Supreme Court's Row vs. Wade decision.
Fonzie cries in an episode of Happy Days (January 31, 1978). Richie is involved in an accident with his new motorcycle and is in a coma at the hospital. Fonzie enters the room and breaks down while talking to him. This episode was written when Gary Marshall received a letter from a woman who worked with abused children telling him how the children connected with Fonzie. As part of their therapy the kids needed to cry but didn’t because the Fonz didn’t cry. Fonzie showed us all that it is okay to cry.
David Letterman’s post 9/11 show (September 17, 2001) from The Late Show with David Letterman. Dave let America know that it was okay to laugh again. This episode should make the list since no one knew what to expect.
Footage of a woman giving birth (November 1967) on Donahue.
The "F" word on Saturday Night Live.
(February 21, 1981) The Guest host was Charlene Tilton (Dallas) and there was a running "who shot J.R. Ewing" gag with Charles Rocket called "who shot C.R.". At the end of the show Tilton was on stage with Rocket. She asked how he felt. Rocket said, "Oh man, it's the first time I've been shot in my life. I'd like to know who the f**k did it."
(March 15, 1980) Paul Shaffer accidentally mumbled "f**kin'" instead of "floggin'" during a sketch. Paul’s reaction to what came out of his mouth was priceless.
Tonight Show host Johnny Carson crashes the set of the series C.P.O. Sharkey after he discovers that that the shows star Don Rickles smashed his cigarette box, while guest hosting for Johnny.
Archie Bunker changes baby Joey’s diaper (January 12, 1976) from All in the Family. The show had (baby) frontal nudity. To commemorate the birth of baby Joey a doll was manufactured by Ideal Toys Corp. The Joey doll was the first anatomically correct male doll to be made and sold in America.
Rosalind Shays (Diana Muldaur) steps in elevator falls down the open shaft on L.A.LAW (March 21, 1991).
This weeks quote could also count as an Unexpected TV Moment.
William Shatner on SNL, "I'd just like to say... GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it's just a TV show!"