This time at the end of every year, critics put together our lists: best episodes, best shows, worst shows. But when the year is done, it’s the little moments that stick with you: the small scenes, and the perfect lines.
After the jump, here are a few of my favorite quotes from the last year of TV. Because there’s so much out there—and because I really did this off the top of my head—it’s in no order, and it’s far from complete. So go ahead and complete the list yourself in the comments. My list:
“Well, I ain’t building no bookcase.” —Chalky White (Boardwalk Empire), explaining his plans to a captured Klansman, after showing him his carpenter father’s tools and telling the story of his lynching
“That’s what the money’s for!” —Don Draper, explaining his principle of gratitude on Mad Men (Too many to choose from on this show, by the way, including “I’d have my secretary do it, but she’s dead,” and Peggy’s “I feel like Margaret Mead,” watching the men in the office struggle with the vending machine)
“Why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?” “People are idiots, Leslie.” —Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation
“Kids, you can do anything you want in life. Unless Jay Leno wants to do it too.” —Conan O’Brien, delivering the joke that, in Bill Carter’s telling of the story in The War for Late Night, convinced NBC there would be no keeping both Conan and Jay
“Would that this hoodie were a time hoodie.” —a despondent Dean Pelton, on Community
“You’re the most angry man I know.” —Winona, characterizing her ex Raylan, at the end of Justified’s pilot
“Getting divorced is like stepping out of a time machine that traveled you 14 years. But it’s a really shitty time machine. It’s the kind of time machine where it takes the real amount of time to take you to the future.” —Louis C.K., in Louie
“I feel like, inside me, there’s an even fatter person waiting to get out!” —Will, rebelling against fat camp, on Huge
“I was at home watching TV. Some nature program about elephants. And Skyler and Holly were in another room. I can hear them on the baby monitor. She was singing a lullaby. Oh, if I had just lived right up to that moment and not one second more. That would have been perfect.” —Walter White, on having lived too long, Breaking Bad
“She tricked my son with her carnal manipulations and he fell right into her vagenda!” —Walter Bishop, coining the neologism of the year on Fringe
“And they do it. Concession by concession. You go. Then I’ll go. You go. Then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go. Oh my God, is that an NRA sticker on your car? Is that an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s okay — you go and then I’ll go.” —Jon Stewart at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, using the Holland Tunnel, of all things, as a metaphor for cooperation
“I know that I can’t. Just like I know that cricket that reads to me at night is totally stealing my jewelry.” —Brittany, describing her lack of stage confidence, on Glee
And I’ll stop here. What were your favorite quotes of 2010?