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The 15 Best TV Scenes of 2015, from ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ to ‘You’re the Worst’

The 15 Best TV Scenes of 2015, from 'Ash vs. Evil Dead' to 'You're the Worst'

“The Affair” – Thanksgiving at the Lockharts (Episode 7)

Nothing says “the holidays” like an intense confrontation with your mom over some truly dark family secrets. The backstory behind “the Lockhart curse” is interesting, but what keeps your eyes locked on the screen are the performances, especially the gripping turns from Mare Winningham and Joshua Jackson. This sort of scene is what “The Affair” does best — brutal and subtle all at once. 

“Aquarius” – David Duchovny Beats Up Hippies (Multiple Episodes)

For all intents and purposes, “Aquarius” Season 1 was a pretty good but largely forgettable period cop drama — save one element: David Duchovny — The King of Snark, Crown Prince of Cops, and Savior with a Six-Pack — beat the hell out of quite a few hippies. Whether they were threatening one of his damsels in distress, breaking the law or simply at the wrong end of one of his many witty retorts, Duchovny’s Detective Hodiak knew just what to do with his hands when it came to any long-haired, peace-loving, drug-doin’ hippies. He beat ’em up. And he looked good doing it.

READ MORE: David Duchovny on an NC-17 ‘Aquarius’ Cut and Why Mulder is a ‘Very Bad Cop’ on ‘The X-Files’

“Ash vs. Evil Dead” – Trailer Home Throwdown (Episode 1)

Even if Starz’s new half-hour horror show never came close to what it accomplished in its first half-hour, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell would have still created a worthy new chapter to the “Evil Dead” franchise. Luckily, the show’s kept up with the high bar set by the pilot, but besting the trailer home showdown between Ash and a slew of his neighbors-turned-Deadites is simply an impossible feat. Combining the nostalgia-fueled giddiness of seeing Ash once again kicking ass with Raimi’s inventive, exuberant direction, the scene is as hilarious, thrilling and disgusting as the best moments from the films. It served as a brilliant reintroduction to the character, but even more so, it’s just a damn fine piece of filmmaking — shown right there on your TV.

READ MORE: Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell on Refusing to Compromise for ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ and The State of Modern Horror

“BoJack Horseman” – Mr. Peanutbutter Gets Real with BoJack (Episode 8)

Yes, this isn’t the ending of “Escape From L.A.” — which we’ve already featured once in our end-of-year lists — but a pitch-perfect example of “BoJack’s” ability to turn on a dime from comedy to drama, BoJack’s appearance on Mr. Peanutbutter’s brand new game show went from absurdity (“Hollywoo Stars and Celebrities: What Do They Know? Do They Know Things? Let’s Find Out” has a lot of pizazz but not a lot of sense) to a true moment of honesty between two men (well, one horseman and one dog). Because “Hollywoo Stars and Celebrities” is network television, everything gets wrapped up neatly with a bow. But that doesn’t make what happens beforehand any easier to watch — except, of course, for Mr. Peanutbutter’s entrance, which always goes down smooth. 

“Difficult People” – The PBS Roast (Episode 3)

“And speaking of Charlie Rose, this isn’t a joke or anything, but he just seems like a really mean pervert to me. Like the kind of guy that only likes porn where a lady is getting it from behind and her head is in the toilet.” The “PBS Roast” that Julie (Julie Klausner) and Billy (Billy Eichner) throw together to save Arthur (James Urbanick)’s pledge drive is where this show reaches the fullest heights of its premise. Watching two cranky individuals embracing their greatest talent — being mean to celebrities — might be cruel if you’re Charlie Rose. But for the rest of us, it’s hilarious. 

READ MORE: ‘Difficult People’ Star Julie Klausner on Who She Won’t Mock and What It Means to Be Difficult

“Fargo” – Nick Offerman Ends a “Crisis at the Highest Level” (Episode 6)

We already loved Nick Offerman as a performer thanks to his iconic work on “Parks and Recreation.” Then, in Season 2 of “Fargo,” he won our hearts all over again as the lyrical, sweet-natured drunk Karl. So watching him face down a pack of gun-toting Gerhardts at the end of “Rhinoceros” had us very, very worried for the man’s fate. While things ended up going as well as could be expected, the scene was easily one of the tensest TV moments of 2015 (that wasn’t on “The Leftovers”). 

READ MORE: Review: ‘Fargo’ Season 2 Episode 6 ‘Rhinoceros’ Adequately Teases Conflict

“Inside Amy Schumer” – Football Town Nights (Episode 

In The Year of Amy Schumer, the “Trainwreck” star and scribe broke through on the big screen while putting out some of her best work yet on its smaller sister. We’ve heaped praise on her “12 Angry Men” homage already — and the Golden Globes are taking care of “Trainwreck” — but we must pay tribute to her “Football Town Nights” sketch from “Inside Amy Schumer” as well. Schumer won us over immediately with her hand-swinging, wine-spilling take on Tami Taylor, but the sketch quickly went to a far more topical — and timely — place. The new Coach Taylor didn’t just prioritize football, but aimed at changing the culture of Texas high school football by banning… rape. The focused attack on two issues that shouldn’t be connected, let alone excused because of said connection, spoke truth to power in the best way possible: by reappropriating a beloved series and making it very, very funny. If you don’t like it, well, “don’t let the door rape you on the way out.”

READ MORE: Review: ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ Season 3 Knows What It Looks Like, Doesn’t Care What You Think

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” – The “True Detective” One-Shot (Episode 4)

Despite what many believe to be an homage to “Birdman” (Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu’s film made of only a few choice tracking shots put together to look like one long one), the fourth episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s” tenth season was actually inspired by the one shot from “True Detective” Season 1. That much can be gleaned from Dennis’ charming-turned-terrifying repetition of Matthew McConaughey’s catchphrase, but many pointed to the jazzy score accompanying the episode as being an obvious nod to “Birdman.” Not true: Cormac Bluestone wrote the score before “Birdman” debuted, making for quite the favorable coincidence when both tracking shots were unveiled together — “Charlie Work” aired in early February, just as “Birdman” was in the middle of its Oscar campaign. No matter where they drew inspiration, though, the important thing to note is how well this tracking shot works for “Sunny,” accentuating the characters’ manic qualities and building comedic tension throughout. “All right, all right” is far too light praise for this inspired scene.

READ MORE: ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Gets a Russian Remake

“The Leftovers” – Nora and Erika’s Staredown (Episode 6)

One of the truly admirable elements of “The Leftovers” Season 2 was how subtly Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta introduced foils for the Garvey clan. Ex-cop Kevin (Justin Theroux) had to face off against ex-con John (Kevin Carroll). The hate-filled Jill (Margaret Qualley) was paired with the love-filled Michael (Jovan Adepo). But the most powerful showdown of the season was between was the driving force that is Nora (Carrie Coon) and the surprisingly stalwart Erika (Regina King). The two mothers went to war over a test meant to determine whether or not a person had actually departed, but more broadly, the two did battle over the concept of belief. Nora had spent the entire episode trying to convince herself she wasn’t to blame for her entire family’s departure, while Erika was in the middle of accepting her own responsibility in her daughter’s disappearance. Each had deep conviction backing up their arguments, making for what might be the tensest conversation to ever take place in a living room.  The victor may have surprised fans, as well, but the performances were what floored us all.

READ MORE: Carrie Coon on Embracing Nora’s Moment for ‘The Leftovers’ Season 2

“Mad Men” – Peggy and Roger Bid Adieu to the Office (Episode 12)

You’re probably mad at us for picking a scene that doesn’t include Don Draper, but “Mad Men” was always more than one man’s story and always worth celebrating not just for its nuanced portrait of an era but the beautiful moments of absurdity that punctuated so many of its greatest episodes. Case in point: This beautiful farewell to Sterling Cooper’s sleek modern offices, in which Peggy and Roger say goodbye with vermouth and organ music, will linger in our minds as one of those classic moments when “Mad Men” shone, above all else, as a show about human connection. 

READ MORE: Review: ‘Mad Men’ Season 7 Episode 12 ‘Lost Horizon’ Gets ‘On the Road’

“Mr. Robot” – Elliot’s Bad Trip (Episode 4)

“Mr. Robot” was captivating from beginning to end, but there were particular moments that really stood out for their visual ingenuity, none so more prominently than Elliot’s epically bad trip from Episode 4. From Kubrick-ian touches to sets redressed for ultimate surreality to a surprise cameo by Keith David as the voice of Elliot’s fish, this found countless new angles on what a drug delusion can look like from the inside. 

READ MORE: ‘Mr. Robot’ Star Rami Malek on Making an ‘Indie Film’ on USA Network and Its ‘Iconic’ Potential

“Sense8” – The Orgy Scene (Episode Orgy 6)

Well in advance of its premiere, we had it on good authority that “Sense8” would push some boundaries in terms of nudity and sexuality. But it was “Demons,” the sixth installment, where everything we ever anticipated seeing in a Netflix sci-fi drama exploded. Using nearly the entire seven minutes of Fatboy Slim and Macy Grey’s song of the same name, “Demons” brought together over half the regular cast for a celebration of sensuality that crossed every possible line, from race to sexual preference to gender. Was a seven-minute orgy sequence really, truly necessary? Shut up. It was awesome. 

READ MORE: Review: Why ‘Sense8’ Season 1 Is Netflix’s Most Baffling Series Yet

“Togetherness” – Brett & Michelle’s Hotel Room Confessional (Episode 4)

“Togetherness” found deep truths in marriage, friendship and general co-habitation. While some were light and fun — like coming together for family beach day, no matter what — others were of the darker, more hidden variety. Never was the latter more pointed than when Brett (Mark Duplass) and Michelle (Melanie Lynskey) snuck away for a romantic night out. Brett surprised his wife with a hotel room, but the real shockers came out when the isolation forced the couple to deal with feelings many spouses might keep buried for years, decades or even a lifetime. Prior to this scene, Mark and Jay Duplass’ HBO comedy was largely that — funny. It was based in reality and shared a few telling insights, but that was when viewers got to see just how honest this comedy would become. And it’s only got more to say in Season 2.

READ MORE: Jay & Mark Duplass on Selling TV at Sundance and a ‘Transparent’ / ‘Togetherness’ Crossover

“Veep” – Amy Drops the Mic (Episode 5

Hot damn, Amy, and hot damn, Anna Chlumsky! A perfect pairing of character and performer coming together as one, Amy unleashing a tirade against her boss was made all too entertaining by Chlumsky’s spot-on raging. Anyone can quit a job, but everyone dreams of doing it in as grand a fashion as this. Amy left her mark on the administration, and she still has us laughing with lines like, “You are the worst thing to happen to this country since food in buckets — and maybe slavery!” “Maybe slavery,” you guys. President Meyer is probably worse than slavery. What a cherry on top of this verbal sundae. 

READ MORE: Review: ‘Veep’ Season 4 Episode 5, ‘Convention,’ Adds Hugh Laurie as Amy Drops the Mic

“You’re the Worst” – Gretchen Tells It Like It Is (Episode 7)

We knew things weren’t great for Gretchen (Aya Cash) by this point in “You’re The Worst’s” stellar second season, but it wasn’t until her breakdown in “There Is Not Currently a Problem” that it became clear how deep her pain went. It’s tempting to call this scene “ugly,” but the truth is that she’s so heartbroken that there’s a beauty in what happens — even when she lashes out at the people closest to her with some of the cruelest jabs imaginable. It’s an iconic scene for the show and a powerhouse moment for Cash. If there’s any justice in this world, we’ll see it featured at the Emmys right before she wins a trophy. 

Indiewire’s Year-End TV Coverage:
The Top 10 TV Shows of 2015
The 10 Best New TV Shows of 2015
The 25 Best TV Episodes of 2015
The 15 Biggest Dick Moves of the Year, or What Enraged TV Fans in 2015
The Most Shocking TV Moments of 2015, Ranked

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