Every year has its share of deliciously awkward moments in television, with 2009 kicking off in fine form back in February on The Late Show. It is an understatement to say that Letterman’s attempt to interview the bearded, sunglass-wearing Joaquin Phoenix led to hilarious (and somewhat irritating) consequences.

More recent TV surprises have included Miley Cyrus’s pole dance, Paula Deen getting hit in the face by a Thanksgiving ham, and, of course, the Kanye West/Taylor Swift debacle. A few weeks ago, Oprah cheerfully questioned a flustered Kate Hudson about her relationship with Alex Rodriguez – it was later revealed that Hudson and Rodriguez were probably in the process of breaking up around the time that interview was held. Saturday Night Live is still receiving criticism for its Tiger Woods sketch, which made light of domestic violence while abuse victim Rihanna was on set for her own performance.

Two separate incidents ended the year in discomfiting style just this week. Appearing on The Late Show was actor Jude Law, who may simply be a victim of unfortunate semantics. When asked how many kids he takes with him during his holiday “adventures,” Law responded, “Three.” He has since been called out by many people who consider his answer unforgiveable, as Law actually has four children – his fourth was born this fall, surrounded by controversy over Law leaving the baby’s mother after a one-week tryst and not emotionally supporting her during her subsequent pregnancy.

Personally, I tend to think the whole thing is unfair. The question was not, after all, “How many kids do you have?” It seems reasonable for Law to say that he only takes his three older children with him during the holidays – his newest daughter is an infant, and has yet to even live through her first holiday season. Still, Law is getting a lot of heat.

On The View, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck truly crowned herself the queen of uncomfortable moments during an interview with actor Stanley Tucci. In response to a question about whether he’d read The Lovely Bones, the book off of which his new film is based, Tucci noted that his wife had read the book. Hasselbeck proceeded to ask Tucci whether his wife “has seen any parts” of the film, receiving a hasty “no, no, no” in response. Unfortunately, Hasselbeck failed to do her homework before the interview, as she didn’t seem to realize that Tucci’s wife died this past May after a battle with cancer. An honest mistake, but definitely cringeworthy. Hasselbeck has since apologized to the actor, according to her Twitter: “He forgave me (such grace) – if only I could forgive myself.”

2009 still has a few days to go. Judging by its track record, it may yet be able to top itself. In the meantime, here’s hoping that Jude Law’s newborn daughter gets to join in on some of the holiday fun.

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