Monologues. Apart from speeches and conversations with imaginary friends, people rarely get 90 seconds to speak without interruption. But when we’re already watching something in a fictional world, why not get every bit of unrealistic pleasure out of it we can? A monologue—when well-written, delivered in the right scene by the right actor and backed by the right music—can do amazing things to a scene.
Some of the most iconic monologues are found in movies, but some TV writers out there can run with the best of ‘em. Here are our top eight:
8. Boardwalk Empire
Writers: Lawrence Konner & Margaret Nagle
Chalky White is a black gangster who wants respect, both for himself and his people. From where I’m sitting he’s incredibly intimidating but in the world of Boardwalk Empire, no one scares that easy. In this episode he believes a member of the KKK killed one of his men. He finds the leader of the KKK and proceeds to tell the man what begins as a nice story about his father. How it ends will leave you with chills.
7. The Newsroom
Writer: Aaron Sorkin
The series starts at a forum when newscaster Will McCallister is asked why he thinks America is the greatest country is the world. Answering all the previous questions sarcastically, the moderator holds him to an answer. In a moment of honesty, he confesses America is not the greatest country in the world. Once he starts, he can’t stop and the result is educated rant on the way America used to be and a sad realization on how far we’ve regressed.
6. Breaking Bad
Writer: Gennifer Hutchison
This scene is a clarifying moment for both Walter White and his wife, Skyler. When Skyler continues to plead with Walter about abandoning the dangerous lifestyle he has acquired, Walter gets fed up and puts things into perspective for her.
Writer: Shonda Rhimes
A few episodes into the series, we learn there is a White House aid claiming to be carrying President Fitzgerald Grant’s child. The president’s Chief of Staff, Cyrus Beene, who did more dishonorable things than we realize at this point in the series to get the president elected, is livid to say the least. When Grant asks Cyrus what the next move is, Cyrus responds with a very detailed pessimistic and depressing prediction on how the rest of Grant’s life will turn out.