2012 is close — really close, so what better time to reflect on the past year and the momentous television events that occurred in the past 12 months? Exactly. This year saw new couples form, the seemingly end of a longtime war, and plenty of other shocking, oh-my-god scenes! But there are only 15 moments the NoWhiteNoise staff will truly remember.

Here they are, in no specific order:

1. Cougar Town and Community crossovers

Abed on Cougar Town? Laurie and Travis on Community? Yep, that happened this year. Even though they were merely background cameos, it was awesome. Did you watch the Community season premiere? Did you see Abed’s reaction when he heard Cougar Town was pushed to midseason? It was so epic because it’s exactly what we felt! I’m sure he freaked out like we did when we learned that Cougar Town‘s benched! The love affair between those two shows is so adorable because they’re few of the best comedies on TV today. And they should last forever. #sixseasonsandamovie

2. Clark Kent’s Superman costume on Smallville

The end of Smallville was the end of an era. The series finale was the best for a show that lasted ten amazing years. Best part? Clark in his Superman costume! A moment ten years in the making. The scene only lasted a few seconds, but it was the perfect closure for a show that some of us grew up watching.

3. Homeland‘s Carrie telling off CIA agents

If Claire Danes doesn’t win an Emmy for her performance in episode 11 of Homeland, I think I’ll kill someone (metaphorically, of course). We knew she was sick, but we had never seen her in a manic state until this episode. She was impeccable. When the CIA agents came to her home to tell her she’s fired and that she can’t work on the case anymore, she freaked out. She screamed and she shouted, and it was perfect. I doubt any actress could pull off such a performance.

4. The Royal Wedding

Ah the pure sweetness of the wedding of Kate Middleton to Prince William. Classy and elegant (they are royals after all), the wedding captured the attention of not only the UK, but the entire world. Amidst Kate’s beautiful dress, Prince William’s red Irish guards and the adorable second balcony kiss they shared with the world, oddly enough the true star born from the event was Kate’s sister Pippa. The outbreak of Pippa fever, the worldwide ratings and massive media coverage of the event were proof that people still love themselves a Royal Wedding!

5. Kim and Kris’ wedding… and divorce

What made this a top TV moment was not the huge ratings the actual extravaganza garnered for E!, but rather the aftermath that followed. The ill-fated marriage lasted a measly 72 days. The debacle did not end there, as jokes would soon form with monikers such as “Things that lasted longer than Kim’s marriage” or cracks about how she made 18 million dollars in profit (which the Kardashians deny). Ironically enough, the embarrasment led Kardashian to seek a temporary camera-less lifestyle. Unfortunately for her, since her entire persona is built on her looks and reality show, the media was not keen to respect these wishes. Hey Kim, next time think twice before taking the plunge on a nationally televised broadcast.

6. The Casey Anthony trial

The case against Casey Anthony that was years in the making, finally came to a controversial conclusion. While the verdict would leave people hollering about OJ 2.0, the case was not as high profile and revolutionary in terms of court cases shown to the public as the Simpson case. However, the case gained momentum and publicity largely because Nancy Grace, host of her own show on HLN, spent the better part of the years leading up to the verdict covering the case of the Anthony’s missing toddler daily on her show. Grace, a former prosecutor, spent most of her show’s airtime shouting about the guilt of Casey Anthony, to which most American’s seemed to agree. However, when it came down to the court of law, the mother was found not guilty of all charges: child abuse and manslaughter of her daughter Caylee. This left many Americans outraged, and Nancy Grace left to grumble about the devil dancing in response to the verdict. Despite the fact that Anthony was exonerated, she remains incapable of leading a normal life (a Casey Anthony lookalike was even physically attacked).

7. Gossip Girl‘s Dan and Blair kiss

Whether you consider it four years in the making or a travesty of biblical proportions, the kiss between former enemies turned friends Dan Humphrey and Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl, sparked much-needed critical buzz and ignited a perhaps less-desired, fandom war. We saw the budding friendship arc between the two come to a head in “Empire of the Son,” when they began considering the possibility of there being more between them than just friendship. They decided, in a classic television move, that the best way to decide was a kiss. “Just one kiss and that’s that.” In one of the show’s rare moments of subtlety and emotional honesty, we witnessed the pair struggling against what they may or may not be feeling, before Blair gives into the the tension and tugs Dan forward and… FREEZE FRAME! That’s right, a freeze frame kiss. The culmination of weeks (or years, depending on who you ask) of build-up ended with a freeze frame that led into a seven week hiatus. The writers achieved what they have failed to do many times, create a climatic OMG! Moment that left many a viewer, wanting to know what would happen next.

8. South Park‘s “You’re Getting Old”

For a show that is basic premise is to offend everyone, this midseason finale was quite the change of pace. Of course it was full of the usual bathroom humor, it is South Park afterall, but the tone of the episode was much more mature than than previously seen. Stan, one of the precocious main characters, turns ten years old and suddenly everything he used to love sounds like sh*t, literally. This leads his father, Randy, to try recapture his youth causing a rift between he and his wife. At the end of the episode, we see Stan’s parents deciding to separate, and as Stan leaves his childhood home with his mother, we also have a scene pseudo-friends Cartman and Kyle, sharing a unique moment of understanding and true friendship-things were changing. The episode touched on losing that spark of childhood, when everything was new and fresh. As we get older, we change, for better or for worse, and the things that used to be so special to us, friendships and interests, no longer hold the same appeal, and what was initially repulsive, can grow to be desirable. Trey Parker and Matt Stone definitely hit a nerve with its viewers, many of who had been watching the show since the beginning, and had been noticing the recent decline in quality, which is arguable to begin with. It was definitely a fitting midseason finale for the show’s more than lackluster first half, and it was also one of the most critically successful episodes of the series — an impressive feat for a fifteen year old show. It was a great episode that had people paying attention, and for once, not because of the offensive content.

9. President Obama announces Osama bin Laden’s death

May 1st, 2011: the announcement heard ’round the word — and most importantly, ’round the United States. President Obama’s announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death on the Sunday evening marked the end of an almost-decade long hunt for the Al-Qaeda leader after he set up a series of attacks against American soil, known as 9/11. Operation Neptune Spear, which ended in bin Laden’s death, was ordered by Obama and carried out by CIA and Navy SEAL operatives, whose names will never be known, and launched a series of conspiracy theories. Regardless, the operation — arguable — will earn Obama a reelection come 2012.

10. Homeland‘s Brody pulls the trigger

Just how if Claire Danes doesn’t win the Emmy for telling off the CIA agents, if Damien Lewis does not win the Emmy for this scene in Homeland‘s season finale: he will have been robbed. Truth be told, the season one finale of the show was perhaps one of the best executed 90 minutes of the year — and nothing compares to the scene in which Brody decides to pull the trigger, igniting a bomb and killing the vice president (along with several other higher ups). Brody’s struggle to die for a cause he believes in, ultimately murdering the vice president for ordering a bombing that killed a terrorist’s child whom he grew close to when he was held over seas during war, and killing himself comes down to this intensely suspenseful scene. And more so, that he was willing to do so, to only find out the bomb was not wired correctly was nerve-wracking. Thanks to a call from his daughter, he decides not to. Thankfully for us, the Homeland show runners didn’t decide to deceive its audience (or think we’re too dumb). Overall, a great achievement for everyone involved.

11. Chuck‘s Chuck and Sarah get engaged

A moment 4 and a half seasons in the making: Chuck and Sarah finally get engaged. The actual proposal had happened two episodes prior, but thanks to General Beckman, it was cut short and before Sarah could say “yes!” she was cuffed and jailed for treason. And in the season 4 midseason finale, that was written to work as a series finale (as has happened about twenty times for this show), the show runners decided to go full force: Chuck beats Volkoff, he retrieves his mom, Ellie and Awesome have their baby girl Clara, and before the credits roll Chuck kneels on one knee and pops the question — from afar, of course. The audience wasn’t let in on hearing how exactly Chuck popped the question for the second time, but everything had already been said more than enough times. “Every morning I wake up and I look at you… every time I look at you, it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.”

12. Vicki and Anna return on The Vampire Diaries

Some might call the finale of The Vampire Diaries‘ second season anticlimactic — certainly the penultimate episode was much more action-filled and suspenseful — but the “History Lesson” of the finale allowed for the last moment of the episode to shine: fan favorites Vicki and Anna returned! In ghost form, we presumed! And the show made us wait four months for any followup… and technically, even longer to explain anything else. Needless to say, the cliffhanger was one of the slowest burning moments in The Vampire Diaries history, and it certainly paid off. Jeremy couldn’t deny his feelings for Anna, Vicki decided to try to kill Elena, and the fight from “the other side,” courtesy of dead witches, has official commenced. What will come of it all? Thankfully there are another 11 episodes this season to find out!

13. Charlie Sheen’s “Winning”

Charlie Sheen’s battle with addiction turned into a sprawl with his former boss, Chuck Lorre, show runner for Two and a Half Men, that ended in his firing and another season for the incredibly huge sitcom (ratings-wise) with Ashton Kutcher as the lead. Sheen’s (and Lorre’s) antics may have been arguably juvenile, but as one NoWhiteNoise writer puts it: “Without it, we would never have had the overused — and when you get right down to it, insufferable — ‘Tiger blood’ and ‘Winning!’ memes. It launched a thousand Twitter trends and made drunk Charlie one of the most popular adult Halloween costumes of the year. In our celebrity culture, his nonsensical interview caught on with a vengeance. Love it or hate, people were talking about it and talking about it… and talking about it.”

14. Castle‘s Montgomery dies

During Castle‘s season finale, the show decided to explore the murder of Beckett’s mom (yet again). The price? Captain Montgomery’s life. In a scene where he tries to protect Beckett, and even right his wrongs from the past, Montgomery takes a bullet after Castle drags her out of the room. The result is his funeral, where Beckett demands he die a hero, but where she too takes a sniper’s bullet… and where Castle finally declares his love for her.

15. The New Girl sex scene

New Girl has always seemed overrated to NoWhiteNoise (well, at least one writer in particular); the show was always a bit too cartoonish or even incoherent. The way Jess figures her new boyfriend might be into S&M is because she watches porn on her roommates’ computer. Okay? But regardless of how the writers got to this scene, we’re just glad they did. New Girl pushed its cartoonish side into overdrive with its sex scene which worked: complete with ’50s newscaster voices, an outfit that’s more like “netting,” and caboose-spanking, this may be one of the most awkward and hilarious moments of 2011.

NoWhiteNoise Team

Posts with the byline as “NoWhiteNoise Team” are articles written in collaboration by the entire staff here at NoWhiteNoise.