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The Nerve Awards for Love & Sex on Television
A look back at 2012's greatest DVR-bait.
by James Brady Ryan and Phil Dyess-Nugent
One category neglected by the interminable Emmys is "matters of the heart/loins." Here at Nerve, we're determined to fix that oversight.
SEXIEST SCENE OF THE YEAR
Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks flirt, Mad Men
Mad Men featured a lot of sex this year, and much of it — Joan selling herself to land a big account, little Sally being traumatized by the sight of Roger getting a blowjob, poor Lane trying his best to leer — was the TV equivalent of a cold shower. The biggest turn-on the show served up was actually a scene in which everybody kept their clothes on: Don and Joan flirting affectionately in a bar. They banter and confide like the old hands they are; he cheers her up after she's been served with divorce papers, and postpones going home to the hot young wife he can only connect with through messed-up bouts of angry carpet sex. They don't get together, but if they ever did, the screen would probably explode.
Runners-up: Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder kiss, The Vampire Diaries; Jessica Pare's half-explosive, half-deeply-uncomfortable "Zou Bisou Bisou" routine, Mad Men
UNSEXIEST SCENE OF THE YEAR
Damien Lewis makes his wife watch him masturbate, Homeland
Despite heavy competition from Mad Men (see above), we're giving this one to Homeland for Damien Lewis' use of his beautiful wife (Morena Baccarin) as a masturbation aid. If Lewis' character really wants to bring down the United States, his terrorist handlers should be working on technology to pump this image directly into our dreams; faced with such a threat to national well-being, the country would enact Sharia Law within a week.
Runners-up: Julia Ormond going down on John Slattery, Mad Men; Bryan Cranston creepily whispering to Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad; Lena Dunham being told to "play the quiet game," Girls; any scene in American Horror Story that intercut shots of Alexandra Breckenridge as the sexy young maid with shots of Frances Conroy as her older and deader self
SEXIEST NEWCOMER, FEMALE
Dreama Walker, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23
Wide-eyed, wholesome-looking Dreama Walker seems to specialize in being debased. This is decidely unfun in the movie Compliance, but it's hilarious watching her learn the ropes from Krysten Ritter in the very smart, moronically titled Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. She's delectable whenever she flirts with the idea of giving in to her own b----iest impulses, but the true mark of her talent, and hotness, is her ability to make mild-mannered goodness look like a turn-on, especially when expressed in that endearingly bubbly gurgle of a voice.
Runner-up: Alexandra Breckenridge, American Horror Story; Valentina Cervi as True Blood's Salome — she claims the Bible got her all wrong, and maybe it did, but even so, damn, girl
SEXIEST NEWCOMER, MALE
Gabriel Mann, Revenge
Out of all the characters on ABC's delicious vengeance saga, you'd probably expect the Mark Zuckerberg analog to be the least likely to commit sexual espionage. But in the capable hands of Gabriel Mann — who looks about a decade younger than his forty years — it's not hard to see how his character, Nolan Ross, manages to bed the guys and gals alike. Sure, he's as arrogant and entitled as you'd imagine a young billionaire to be, but there's a charm to his smirk that stops you from outright hating him. And that foot in the door is all he needs. Nolan could have come off as oily, maybe even flat-out gross, but Mann — who's been kicking around in small roles for a little while now — imbues him with playfulness and wit, not to mention good bone structure.
Runners-up: Andrew Rannells, Girls; Adam Driver, Girls
NEXT: Alison Brie vs. Christina Hendricks