Bickering was abundant on the CBS hitcom during January 2011 — first in “The Bus Pants Utilization,” in which the boys argued over the development of an app (and Sheldon’s self-appointed, ever-growing role in the process). Then in “The Love Car Displacement,” Howard and Bernadette hit a rough patch when at a conference they bumped into her tall, hunky ex (played by NBA star Rick Fox). Things went better for Leonard and Penny, though, who took a “time out” from their break-up to hook up during the group road trip.
Awww, ‘member journalist Hannah Burley, played by Katheryn Winnick? Alas, as 2011 got underway, Booth’s nascent romance hit a hiccup when Hannah learned about her beau’s “past” with Brennan. Booth in turn was urged by Sweets to revisit his feelings for Bones. Hodgins and Angela, meanwhile, started to talk about their future — including where they want to raise their family.
Season 3 kicked off 2011 with a very fun outing in which Laura Prepon guested as Natalie Rhodes, the actress who had been cast as the big-screen Nikki Heat — and whose determination to mirror Beckett as much as possible proved almost too hot (for Rick) to handle. The following week found Lanie and Esposito trying to conceal their hook-ups from the rest of the 12th, while Castle had to confront anew his feelings for ex-wife Gina.
The beloved spy comedy rang in the new year with Chuck struggling to pop the question to Sarah, stymied as he was by 1) her sad tale about her parents’ engagement, 2) a mission and then 3) his would-be bride’s arrest for treason! In truth, Sarah was heading deep undercover in a bid to find Chuck’s mom (played by Terminator‘s Linda Hamilton). Cue two of our favorite video Q&As ever, with Yvonne Strahovski and Zachary Levi.
Season 2 resumed with an episode in which the truth was blurted out about Chang possibly fathering Shirley’s baby during a Halloween hook-up, while Jeff tried to keep Annie’s crush from joining the study group. Then in “Celebrity Pharmacology,” Pierce used his loaning of money to Annie to leverage a bigger role in her anti-drugs play, while Jeff unwittingly sent flirty texts from Britta’s phone to… her nephew!
In Season 6’s “Corazon,” Reid began suffering hallucinations and blinding headaches, a largely unresolved plot point that birthed many an email to Ask Ausiello and Matt’s Inside Line. Then in “The Thirteenth Step,” Prentiss was surprised to get word that an old adversary, Ian Doyle, had escaped prison, eventually setting up Paget Brewster’s exit storyline.
Midway through what would be the sudser’s penultimate season, Orson returned to Bree, who was in the midst of letting boy toy Keith (Brian Austin Green) move in; Gabrielle turned to a lookalike doll to cope with “losing” her biological daughter, Grace; and an attempted murder mystery ensued when someone shot Paul Young in the middle of the cul de sac.
Having led into the holiday break with the acclaimed “Marionette” (in which Olivia adjusted to life back in our universe), the cult hit returned with “The Firefly” — its first Friday episode, which actually held steady in the Nielsens with 4.9 million viewers and a 1.9 demo rating. Christopher Lloyd guest-starred, Walter donned Dr. Jacoby’s two-tone glasses and Olivia received a gift Peter had ordered… for Fauxlivia. Oops.
The then-hot musical-drama returned from hiatus with a post-Super Bowl “Sue Sylvester Shuffle,” which featured covers of “California Gurls” and “Thriller” and drew nearly 27 million viewers. Days later, the show served up the Valentine’s Day-themed “Silly Love Songs,” in which Rachel plotted to kiss Finn (who was plotting to kiss Quinn), while Blaine pined for Kurt.
THE GOOD WIFE
In Season 2’s “Breaking Up,” Diane plotted to leave and start her own firm — inviting Alicia, but not Will, to come along. Will would then confront Diane in “Two Courts,” while Kalinda learned that Blake Calamar (Scott Porter) was now her supervisor.
Things got interesting in “The Kids Are Not All Right,” where Serena sought one more chance with Dan, who at episode’s end was off to the movies with Blair. Things between the latter twosome then intensified with they found themselves both interning at W Magazine.
A mass shooting at a nearby school prompted the staff of Seattle Grace-Mercy West to confront their feelings about gunman Gary Clark’s months-ago assault on the hospital, Alex hooked up with med student Laurel (played by Amber Stevens), Teddy had to make some tough calls about “husband” Henry’s care, and Callie derailed Arizona’s attempt at reconciliation by revealing she is pregnant with Mark’s child.
Dr. House opened the year by unexpectedly meeting Cuddy’s mother (played by Candace Bergen) — and then proceeding to slip her a mickey during a very awkward dinner. In the subsequent Season 7 episode, House “trained” Cuddy’s daughter on how to play with toys, to get her into a prestigious preschool
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
Just days after New Year’s Eve, the CBS comedy did a “countdown” of its own, hiding the descending numbers 50 through 1 throughout an episode that closed with the reveal that Marshall’s father had died. The subsequent, moving half-hour revolved around the funeral and Marshall’s discovery that he had a final voice message from his father to listen to.
LAW & ORDER: SVU
In a back-to-back outing, Stabler uncovered a ring of gamblers who bet on brawling teenagers, while Benson investigated an elderly author who abused children; Taryn Manning guest-starred. That was followed up by Jeremy Irons’ turn as a sex therapist who steadfastly refused to help SVU determine which of his patients raped an OB/GYN (played by Criminal Minds‘ A.J. Cook).
In a trio of January episodes, Gloria and Manny learned how to ride bikes, Mitchell suspected he fathered a kid via guest star Mary Lyn Rajskub (but was so wrong), and the Dunphy kids famously walked in on, um, “Dad winning.”
Season 8 resumed with “Ships in the Night,” which reunited Gibbs & Co. with CGIS agent Abigail Borin (played by Diane Neal in her second appearance). Then in “Recruited,” Ducky’s mentor and predecessor, Dr. Walter Magnus (played by Bob Newhart), paid NCIS an unexpected visit.
Michael over-prepared to hear the outcome of Holly’s ultimatum to boyfriend A.J., who was under the gun to propose, while Dwight roamed town to “meet loose women” as part of his New Year’s resolution. The following episode, “The Seminar,” featured UK Office boss Ricky Gervais’ brief cameo, opposite Steve Carell, as David Brent.
ONE TREE HILL
One-and-a-half years after The Hangover hit theaters, Brooke, Alex, Millie, Quinn and Sylvia found themselves struggling to account for the wild happenings at Brooke’s bachelorette party the night before — and hopefully find her ring! — in “The Drinks We Drank Last Night.”
The Fox’ toon flipped the script in Season 22 when Moe turned his tavern into an ultra-hip gay bar, eventually forcing Smithers to out him… as straight.
Still on its holiday hiatus, the superhero series would resume its final season in a few weeks with “Collateral,” in which Chloe saved Clark, Oliver & Co. from a virtual lab experiment, and then “Beacon,” where Martha got shot at a pro-heroes rally and which introduced both Tess and us to Earth-Two’s Lionel Luthor.
In Season 6’s first episode of 2011, “Like a Virgin,” Sam awoke after getting his soul back, while Dean and Bobby (sniff, sniff) discovered that dragons are responsible for kidnapping virgins. Never stop being weird, show — and you haven’t, thank goodness.
In the ABC revival’s Season 2 opener, Anna lied to Earth about what the Red Rain really was (that is, a means of turning humans into vessels for alien breeding). At episode’s end, the V leader journeyed to her spaceship’s cellar, where her mother Diana (Jane Badler) was being held.
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES
Rose's death in Season 2’s "The Descent" was a major turning point. Not only did it show us just how nasty werewolf bites can be, but it also afford Elena another opportunity to witness Damon's human side, throwing even more fuel on the "Delena" fire.