Six Shocking Moments From Mainstream TV

Incest and child-tossing on Game of Thrones

I did my best to leave off the shows that are on Showtime and HBO, seeing as to how they can get away with SO much more, so to actually shock someone is difficult. Also, many people saw this moment coming because they had read the books, but for those of us who had no idea, it was WOWZA.

I would be remised not to add the scene to this list in which it is revealed the Lannisters like to have sex with each other. More concisely, brother to sister doggie-style. And then how they react when they get caught by Ned Stark’s Spidermanning son, Bran.


Jamie Lannister grabs Bran off the ledge he was on outside the room as if to be pulling him to safety, and then Jamie tosses Bran out the window like a sack full of homeless kittens. He then looks at his sister and says “The things I do for love.”

I was so torn at that moment between everything I was feeling. I was in awe, I was disgusted, and I was shocked. I was also pretty convinced I had just found the greatest show ever of all time, infinity plus a million.

As the show went on, and I was met with more and more amazing WTF moments, I knew I was right. This Game of Thrones stuff  is pure magic.

Shown: The complete OPPOSITE of honor.

I could just as easily fill a list with all the jaw dropping moments from the first season of Game of Thrones alone. I literally have had a two week erection about season 2 since the trailer dropped,and it is not that weird because I know a lot of you do, too.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Mom dies of an aneurism

This one was emotionally devastating. Things were placid, which in itself should have told us something was up, but this was the first indication that Joss Whedon was going to make a career out of killing innocent people without warning. He must be from the George RR Martin school of writers, also populated by Robert Kirkman.

Mommy…MOMMY!!!! and cue audience weeping like children.

So Buffy comes home from an uncharacteristically uneventful evening, and she is prancing around her house, calling out to her Mom. And then she finds her. Dead.  Her eyes wide open, on the couch, skin sickly and gray. And what really shook people was the way the scene was played. We find out it is not a vampire who was seeking revenge nor is it some curse that has followed Buffy. Her Mom had an aneurism. Life happened, and there was nothing Buffy could do about it.


A super heroine suddenly rendered powerless when it comes to most important things. She can save the world, but she can’t save her “mommy.” It was sad and stark and realistic, with an even mix of displacement and shock on display. It was a sad moment that happened out of left field and left a lot of people confused and down trodden, as the best WTF moments often will.

Breaking Bad: Walter White lets Jane choke on her own vomit

Oh, Walt. Yours is a wickedly complex web, and I cannot imagine being spun  up in its fibers and reacting any differently in these situations than you do, but honestly, it does not make any of this any easier to witness. What would any of you have done?

At least wipe her mouth, man. Have you no soul?

Basically, Walt is standing over Jesse’s girlfriend, Jane, as she is overdosing and choking on her own vomit. For a moment, you can see he wants to help her, then he is torn because he knows her death may be the best thing for Jesse, plus he has no way of explaining why he was there if paramedics or cops came, so he lets her die. Just like that, he lets her die.

And then leaves her corpse for Jesse to discover when he wakes with it in the morning. Excuse me for a second while a part of my soul dies. This happens frequently when I write pieces like this.


Ok, I am back and I am now half-a-soul lighter.

The other part that made this whole scenario that much harder to grasp is the reaction Jesse has when he wakes up with her corpse. Though it happens in the next episode, I had to put this as one cohesive scene just based on how powerful it is. Can you fathom waking up to your dead love lying next to you? Well, this scene forces you to relate to that for a moment, and huge props to Aaron Paul for his performance in these scenes. He leaves you breathless as you feel him trying to grasp this loss, and for a moment, you feel it, too.

Honorable Mentions:

Naked man ass being shown on LAPD Blue

The pedophile episode of Diff’rent Strokes

Helicopter falls on asshole doctor from ER

Cop gets face raped by gang member on The Shield

Every single thing that happened on OZ

Oz is the kind of show that, if you are unprepared, pops out your eyes and hatef***s your skull while you cry for your Mother.






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  1. Oh man, out of all of these, Buffy’s mom dying affected me the most. I just sat there completely stunned. Then as soon as Giles came in the house I burst into tears. They did that scene so well, you could literally feel the anguish and disbelief in the room.

  2. “The body” was my favorite episode of Buffy. From her reaction to seeing her mom dead (fixing her skirt so the EMT couldn’t see her legs, cleaning up the vomit on the carpet) to Anya not understanding death and feeling so helpless, it was a great episode.

  3. Buffy was the king of these kinds of moments. I’ve watched The Body a dozen times and still tear up. It’s easily the most heart-wrenching hour of TV you’ll ever see.

  4. Howsabout the scene from the second season of The Wire where pansy little brother grows a pair and slings lead at the electronics store? Just thinking about that I can’t not drop my jaw.

  5. Quick side note: I honestly regret leaving off THE MISFITS, because that show had SO many moments that truly shocked me, but I know so few people have seen it that I feared ruining it for people so I went with scenes on shows I thought would be mostly spoiler-free for people.

  6. Definitely a great list. “The body” Buffy episode was definitely a shocking moment for me though. I had no idea what to say when her mom passed, it was definitely shocking and sad.

  7. Yeah, “Game of Thrones” is shocking… unless you’ve, y’know, read the books.

    News flash: George R.R. Martin exemplifies the TV Trope “Anyone Can (and will) Die.” Putting anything from the show here as being a particularly unexpected or surprising event will fast become like being amazed that in a Harry Potter movie they used those wand things AGAIN…

  8. Add the whole first episode from season 5 of 24 and Michael shooting Ana Lucia and Libby on Lost, but other than that good list.
    (there are quite a few shockers in Lost but that one gets me every time)

  9. @ Someguy WHAT????!!!! GAME OF THRONES IS A BOOK? SERIOUSLY???OMFG!!! You are definitely NOT the first person to use that condescending line to an internet writer, so thank you. I will now go rush out and buy the whole set so as to appease souls like you. Jeez, next thing you’ll tell me Walking Dead is a ongoing comic book or something, and my tender mind would not be able to fathom that.

  10. I guess this list is things that were shocking in a messed up way. But I think the most shocking scene in TV was the end of season 4 of Dexter when Rita was dead. How could anyone see that coming besides 10 seconds before you actually see it. I probably stared at my TV for 5 min after the credits rolled cause I couldn’t believe that actually happened.

  11. What about the whole ending of the Sherlock BBC episode “The Reichenbach Fall.” Anyone familiar with Sherlock Holmes knew what would happen, but I certainly wasn’t expecting the writers to change it up or handle it like they did. The actors were fantastic, and I really thought they had killed him off for real. The whole thing left me feeling depressed for days afterwards.

  12. I’m not going to quibble with your choices, they are all good, though I must admit when I watched that Punky Brewster episode with my then-9 year old daughter, as soon as Punky learned CPR my daughter said, “Uh oh someone’s going to be needing CPR in this show.” The second that little girl hid in the refrigerator my daughter shot me the funniest, “I told you so” look that I burst out laughing. So yeah, I remember laughing at a moment that gave you the heebie jeebies.

    I might add, that since you included Game of Thrones you really should have, in all fairness, included the The Sopranos. Hell, that show made a “Fade to Black” script direction shocking.

  13. ..Pumped up kicks fits the scene….because Mark Foster explained the song’s meaning to Spinner UK: “‘Pumped Up Kicks’ is about a kid that basically is losing his mind and is plotting revenge. He’s an outcast. I feel like the youth in our culture are becoming more and more isolated. It’s kind of an epidemic. Instead of writing about victims and some tragedy, I wanted to get into the killer’s mind, like Truman Capote did in In Cold Blood. I love to write about characters. That’s my style. I really like to get inside the heads of other people and try to walk in their shoes.”

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