The most ridiculously CW moments from the old CW

The most ridiculously CW moments from the old CW

The A.V. Club toasts the end of an era at the network with this definitive list of the most outrageous, soapy, and quintessentially CW scenes

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Clockwise from left: Barry and Kara sing “Super Friends” in The Flash (Screenshot: The CW); Don Carlos is impaled by his own sex horse in Reign (Screenshot: The CW); Gorilla Grodd tries to assassinate Barrack Obama in DC: Legends Of Tomorrow (Screenshot: The CW)
Clockwise from left: Barry and Kara sing “Super Friends” in The Flash (Screenshot: The CW); Don Carlos is impaled by his own sex horse in Reign (Screenshot: The CW); Gorilla Grodd tries to assassinate Barrack Obama in DC: Legends Of Tomorrow (Screenshot: The CW)
Graphic: The A.V. Club

The CW as we know it is coming to an end. The network may continue after its acquisition by Nexstar, but it won’t look like the one we know and love. The CW’s new parent company has indicated it plans to target an older demographic and signaled as much by canceling many of the network’s existing shows and announcing that carryover of shows from the previous regime would be minimal. Nexstar also may not extend its partnership with Paramount and Warner Bros., which could render the “C” (for CBS) and “W” (for Warners) obsolete.

And so we prepare to say a slow goodbye to the soapy teen dramas, the DC superhero series, and the fun genre fare that has defined the network since its inception in 2006. The CW aired some of the most hilarious, outrageous, “did they really just do that?” moments in broadcast television history; and to celebrate the end of an era, here are a few of The A.V. Club’s favorites from the last 16 years. Say it with us: The CW is dead. Long live the CW.

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One Tree Hill: A dog eats Dan’s heart

One Tree Hill: A dog eats Dan’s heart

Dog Ate Dan’s New Heart (BEST VERSION)

Very few scenes are worthy of entering TV’s hall of fame of unforgettable moments. While dramas like The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, and The Americans have rightfully shocked and awed their way in, does any of it compare to the absurdity of One Tree Hill’s iconic season six event: a dog chomping down the heart meant for Dan Scott (Paul Johansson)? Imagine you’ve been anxiously waiting for a long time for a life-saving organ transplant. When it arrives at the hospital on surgery day, it becomes a hearty meal for a mutt, the same one you were petting mere moments ago. There’s so much tragedy to unpack here, but OTH turns it into a cringe-worthy, wild cinematic gem. [Saloni Gajjar]

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3 / 16

America’s Next Top Model: the homeless photoshoot

America’s Next Top Model: the homeless photoshoot

ANTM Homeless Photoshoot ranking Ep. 2

Let’s have a moment for the CW’s old reality roster, which included airing the bulk of America’s Next Top Model after the show began its life on UPN. ANTM has certainly had a reckoning in recent years over its problematic past. Scenes from the show range from cringeworthy to actively traumatic to certifiably iconic. (The CW years include the timeless model wisdom, “Ho, but make it fashion.”)

The cycle 10 homeless photoshoot is one of those “how did this get on TV?” moments, featuring host Tyra Banks holding a sign that said ​​“will pose for change.” Under the guise of raising awareness for the issue–and supposedly featuring actual unhoused youths as co-stars!—the show produced one of its most tactless shoots ever (though there’s stiff competition for that title.) What other network would have put something so stunningly tone deaf on air? [Mary Kate Carr]

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4 / 16

Gossip Girl: the Thanksgiving confrontation

Gossip Girl: the Thanksgiving confrontation

Gossip Girl - Thanksgiving Dinner Scene

Every time the holiday season rolls around, memories of Gossip Girl’s season three Thanksgiving episode, “The Treasure Of Serena Madre,” begin to waft into my mind. The CW series was known for its needle drops and guest-star performances, but few stuck like the use of Jason Derulo’s “Whatcha Say” over a simmering Thanksgiving meal. One by one, the assorted dinner guests angrily leave the table, spouting off one-liners before departing. It’s filled with classic digs such as, “Your sweet potatoes are bland,” as each character airs out their gripes with another at the table. It goes on for far too long, and culminates in no one having a pleasant evening. Classic Thanksgiving. Classic Gossip Girl. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

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5 / 16

The Flash: “Duet” musical crossover

The Flash: “Duet” musical crossover

Barry And Kara Sing “Super Friends” The Flash S03E17 HD

When you’ve got a universe full of Broadway stars on a network known for taking big swings, why not just go for it? That had to be the thinking behind the truly wild standalone crossover extravaganza “Duet” from the third season of The Flash. It brings together Barry Allen and Kara Danvers (Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist, both of whom previously appeared on Glee) in a musical dream sequence created by a villain-ish guy called Music Meister (played by another Glee alum, guest star Darren Criss).

A spiritual successor to Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s “Once More With Feeling,” the episode showcases Flash regulars Jesse Martin and Carlos Valdes in ambitious musical numbers alongside cast members from other Arrowverse shows, including Supergirl’s Jeremy Jordan, Legends Of Tomorrow’s Victor Garber, and Arrow’s John Barrowman. There’s another CW connection here, too—the original song “Super Friends,” a duet performed by Gustin and Benoist, was written by Rachel Bloom, creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. [Cindy White]

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Supernatural: the meta-musical episode “Fan Fiction”

Supernatural: the meta-musical episode “Fan Fiction”

Supernatural The Musical - 200th episode “Fan Fiction”

Speaking of musical episodes, here’s another one from the network that cultivated perhaps the deepest catalog of musical episodes in television history. (Yes, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend gives the CW an unfair advantage, but Riverdale more than pulls its weight.) Supernatural unleashed some showtunes for its 200th episode, “Fan Fiction,” in which Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean’s (Jensen Ackles) demon hunting brings them to a high school musical dramatization of their own lives put on by a group of teenage girls. The result is a meta commentary on fandom with a lot of winking and nodding at the robust fan culture around the long-running show, including the ever-present ’ship wars (even hinting at … ahem … Wincest). It was a celebration of the show’s unique relationship with its audience, one that made the show a juggernaut on the niche network. [Mary Kate Carr]

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7 / 16

The Vampire Diaries: Caroline’s “magical” pregnancy

The Vampire Diaries: Caroline’s “magical” pregnancy

The Vampire Diaries 7x06 Caroline finds out she is pregnant with Alaric’s twins Josie and Lizzie

For a show like The Vampire Diaries, which is crowded with all types of supernatural creatures, it’s surprising that the weirdest twist came all the way in season seven. Now stay with me here: Jo, a witch, is stabbed to death at her own wedding (while she’s on the altar!) by her lunatic twin brother. As she’s dying, her coven magically transfers her unborn twins from Jo’s womb to … Caroline’s for some reason. Caroline’s a vampire, so technically, she could never get pregnant, but this was TVD’s absurd way of including actor Candice Accola’s real-life pregnancy on the show.

While I applaud the creativity, it led to a grosser development: The twins’ father, Alaric, eventually develops feelings for Caroline as they raise the kids together. Reminder: Alaric and Caroline were teacher-and-student while she was in high school. Anyway, TVD delivered all sorts of wild storylines in its nine-season run: Heretics, dead moms coming back to life, original vampires, sirens, “the other side,” you name it. Caroline’s bizarre way of becoming a mom will remain kinda creepy. As my colleague Mary Kate aptly put it when I described this plot to her: “Genre shows love to do something crazy with a woman’s pregnancy.” [Saloni Gajjar]

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8 / 16

Reign: Don Carlos is impaled by his own sex horse

Reign: Don Carlos is impaled by his own sex horse

Don Carlos gets whipped - *Reign*

Those who believe fact is stranger than fiction never saw the fiction that Reign came up with in its soapy dramatization of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots (played by Adelaide Kane). The series featured a lot of wild (and totally made up) sex, murder, and scandal, but the scene that stands out the most features a combination of all three. Feeling skittish about forming a marriage alliance with Spain, Mary enlists the help of Queen Catherine (Megan Follows) to indulge Prince Don Carlos (Mark Ghanimé) in his S&M fantasy.

The women blindfold Don Carlos, and Catherine whips him while Mary attempts dirty talk—but he catches onto their scheme and flies into a rage, causing him to accidentally impale himself on his sex horse. Really! What’s even more delightfully CW about it is that Don Carlos doesn’t die and instead gets a brain-damage storyline that continues through several episodes and ends with a thwarted wedding. [Mary Kate Carr]

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9 / 16

DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow: Gorilla Grodd tries to assassinate Barack Obama

DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow: Gorilla Grodd tries to assassinate Barack Obama

Gorilla Grodd VS Barack Obama

Another show that played fast and loose with history is DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, a team whose adventures through time were both ridiculous and ridiculously fun. There are lots of wild and wacky romps through the timestream that could be on this list, but here’s one that could only exist at the intersection of DC and the CW: the attempted assassination of Barack Obama by Gorilla Grodd. When the clip went viral on Twitter, it was the first contact that some users had ever had with the show—and people were understandably baffled. But the hilarity of “Make America Grodd again,” like the Legends themselves, is absolutely timeless. [Mary Kate Carr]

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10 / 16

The 100: “The Last War” finale

The 100: “The Last War” finale

The 100 7x16 “The Last War” The Finale Scene Of The 100

There was a time when I confidently called The 100 one of the best shows on television; for my hubris, I was rewarded with one of the most mind boggling finales I’ve ever seen. It’s not entirely The 100’s fault that the stakes had escalated beyond believability. Forever uncertain of getting a renewal from the network, each season ended in spectacular fashion, leading to what is surely the highest rate of genocides and/or apocalypse-level events in a show in broadcast history.

As such, the only place to go by the time The 100 reached its true conclusion was rapturing the entire human race into an alien hive mind, of course. In a jaw-dropping series of events, one of the main characters was unceremoniously killed off; our protagonist’s daughter was lobotomized; and said protagonist murdered the culprit, nearly compromising the human race’s chance at the rapture. The triumph of the human spirit eventually saved the day, but Clarke (Eliza Taylor) was left as the last person left in the universe to pay the price of humanity’s sins. Luckily, the alien hive mind returned in the guise of Clarke’s dead lover (Alycia Debnam-Carey) to bring Clarke’s friends back to Earth, sans the ability to procreate or join the rest of humanity in the hive mind afterlife. Cue the uplifting U2 song, and … curtains? Seriously? Only a CW genre show could craft an ending like that. [Mary Kate Carr]

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11 / 16

Jane The Virgin: Susanna is actually Sin Rostro

Jane The Virgin: Susanna is actually Sin Rostro

Jane the Virgin Eileen Unmasked

Jane The Virgin’s soapy nature meant there were numerous WTF scenes during its five-season run, including how Jane gets pregnant. Yes, at its core, this is a heart-rending and sweet drama full of love triangles and genius narrations. But every time the telenovela side of its personality crept up, Jane elevated into a show more entertaining than expected. Petra’s got a twin and a triplet? Michael is dead ... Michael is alive? It’s all gold.

However, nothing beats the season-two finale reveal that Susanna is actually the show’s overarching villain, Sin Rostro. Once again: Rose, a.k.a. Sin Rostro, changed her face completely to fool Michael and get intel on his investigation. (He wasn’t as good a cop as he imagined, huh?) Does it make sense? No, not really, but Jane pulls it off spectacularly anyhow. And it won’t be the first time Rose uses a “mask” to hide her true self either (as you can see above). [Saloni Gajjar]

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12 / 16

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Rebecca moves to West Covina

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Rebecca moves to West Covina

West Covina - “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

We can debate about Rebecca’s most bonkers moment from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, of which there are many. The series was predicated on its protagonist’s poor decisions and outrageous behavior. (If anyone embodies the “gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss” mentality, it’s Rebecca Bunch [Rachel Bloom].) Though perhaps the “craziest” part of the series is how deftly it handled its mental-health storyline, evolving Rebecca from a true villain to someone who was flawed but relatable.

It all started from the premise of a woman who runs into her camp boyfriend on the street and decides to up and move to West Covina, which just so happens to be where Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) lives. Turning that seed into a musical comedy with one or more elaborate songs in every episode is an idea so wild that only the CW would go for it. But revisiting “West Covina,” it’s clear to see how that risk paid off in one of the network’s most critically acclaimed series ever, while at the same time being hilarious, out there, and catchy as hell. [Mary Kate Carr]

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13 / 16

Arrowverse: Crisis On Infinite Earths event

Arrowverse: Crisis On Infinite Earths event

DCTV Crisis on Infinite Earths Crossover - Introduction Cameos (HD)

The Arrowverse truly seemed unstoppable when it was running at full strength, and its 2019 Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover episodes were the clearest illustration of just how stunningly ambitious the whole thing had become. Not only did every CW superhero show join in, even ones that hadn’t explicitly connected to the Arrowverse before, but—through cameos and Easter eggs—the series brought in virtually every DC show ever made and a few live-action movies for good measure. Plus, it’s canon in the Snyderverse movies that Ezra Miller’s Flash got that name by traveling through the multiverse and meeting Grant Gustin’s Flash during Crisis On Infinite Earths. The MCU wishes it could have tie-ins that bizarre. [Sam Barsanti]

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14 / 16

Supernatural: Castiel tells Dean “I love you”

Supernatural: Castiel tells Dean “I love you”

Supernatural 15x18 - Castiel to Dean : “I LOVE YOU”, Castiel sacrifices himself to save Dean!

One character’s confession of love to another wouldn’t normally make a list of wild television scenes, but this one is so tied up in CW history, Supernatural baggage, and fandom lore that it indeed ranks among the network’s most jaw-dropping moments. For years, passionate fans ’shipped “Destiel” and accused the series of queerbaiting with the theretofore platonic relationship.

The show decided to throw the fans a bone in one of the final episodes of the 15-season-long series, “Despair,” in which Castiel (Misha Collins) finally declares his love for Dean (Jensen Ackles) before sacrificing himself to eternal slumber in “The Empty.” This conveniently frees Dean from having to respond to Castiel’s somewhat ambiguous confession (though Collins has since gone on the record that it was indeed “a homosexual declaration of love”). The episode was such a seismic event in fandom history it has its own Know Your Meme page and frankly overshadowed the series finale just a few episodes later. [Mary Kate Carr]

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15 / 16

Riverdale: Cheryl destroys the magical comet

Riverdale: Cheryl destroys the magical comet

Riverdale 6x22 Cheryl saves riverdale

Riverdale is the old CW’s last great teen soap and a culmination of all the outrageousness that had come before. This show is perhaps the most CW show of all time: Plots included multiple serial killers, incestuous romance, an organ-harvesting cult, a drug called “jingle jangle,” a Secret History riff, and an entire alternate universe where Archie gets Midsommar’d, among other wonderfully bananas storylines.

In the penultimate season, the Riverdale kids all developed actual superpowers and geared up to fight the Final Battle for good and evil at Pop’s Chok’lit Shop. While they came out victorious, their foe Percival Pickens (Chris O’Shea) magically alters the course of a comet to destroy the town as a final act of revenge. The only way to stop it is to funnel all their powers into Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), who goes full Elphaba to destroy the approaching comet (after she and the whole town perform a musical number, natch). Cheryl succeeds (and slays), but—spoiler alert—the magical energy knocks Riverdale and its residents back into high school in the 1950s. It’s an appropriately wild setup for the final season, which will be a last hurrah for the CW as we know it. [Mary Kate Carr]

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