Some of the best television moments come in the form of speeches. Used sparingly and effectively, a good monologue can really alter the landscape of a show. With Lisa Kudrow's epic "Scandal" diatribe in mind, we took a look back at the best speeches in recent TV history -- prepare for goosebumps.
"Mad Men": Don Draper on love, nostalgia and the Kodak Carousel
For the Don Draper that we knew in this episode, at the end of Season 1, the Carousel pitch was so beautiful and touching, that it seemed to inform everything that was missing in his Grinch-like shriveled heart. Nostalgia, he tells the Kodak reps, "let's us travel the way a child travels -- around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved."
"Friday Night Lights": Coach Taylor on failure
Eric Taylor churned out a few inspirational speeches across Friday Night Light's five year run. (I mean, "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.") But his discussion of vulnerability and the fact that everyone will, at some point, experience failure, is perhaps the most powerful of the bunch.
"Scrubs": Dr. Cox on relationships
Any kind of emotional genuineness from Dr. Cox felt inspirational on "Scrubs." Of course, he was also a man of many, many words. The thing that makes this speech in particular so special is its brutal honesty in breaking down the reality that true love requires hard work.
"Scandal": Congresswoman Marcus on sexism in politics
Lisa Kudrow's extended "Scandal" cameo was brilliant for a number of reasons (including but not limited to its provision of a powerful female foil for Olivia's
white increasingly grey knight), but of all the moments in Congresswoman Marcus' brief campaign for national office, this speech was the absolute greatest. Now it's time for someone other than a fictional character to get seriously pissed off at "people speaking in code about gender."
"The Wire": Major Colvin on the true importance of police work and civic compromise
Major Colvin's understanding of "civic compromise" is what makes "The Wire" such a powerful show. What police work matters ... and when is it gratuitous? Of course, the entire speech is about the metaphorical "paper bag for drugs," but the point emphasizes human discretion in favor of the gratuitous (and often violent) enforcement of the law.
"The Newsroom": Will McAvoy on why America is not the greatest country in the world
OK, even if you went on to hate "The Newsroom" and all of its soapy plot lines and problematic grandstanding, the fact is this speech made for three very excellent and invigorating minutes of television. The belief that America is still the greatest country in the world is something that can only be seriously perpetuated by Colbert's character. You're welcome to thank Aaron Sorkin for this reality check.
"West Wing": President Bartlet on respecting people, regardless of sexuality
Many variations of this speech have been used as a defense against bible-thumping gay bashers and necessarily so. Even if this isn't the original iteration of the obvious response to such religious ridiculousness, it is perhaps the most concise (not to mention especially powerful at the time which it was delivered).