The first Crowning Moment of Awesome on our list comes from possibly the last character you'd expect. In "The Critic", the station hires a pompous prick of a professor with impossibly high standards in everything to critique pretty much anything he feels like. He starts out by dismissing Minneapolis as a cultural wasteland filled with simpletons. This pisses off everybody except the station manager, who feels that controversy is good publicity for the station and decides to have him on tv more frequently. He doesn't let up one bit as the episode goes on, nor does he endear himself to any of his co-workers. Finally, somebody has the bright idea to have him say what he thinks of what's on television, and he starts out by tearing into the WJM crew. "Let's face it," he says, "WJM is the biggest offender in [hiring incompetents]. From the dowdy frumpery of the Happy Homemaker Show, to the bumbling, foot-in-the-mouth delivery of a certain anchorman. And backing them up right down the line are dull writing, inept staging, and high school production methods..." Needless to say, everybody is enraged, and Lou wants to kick his ass. But he smugly talks everybody in the room out of doing anything to him by saying that if they react negatively, it means that they can't handle honest criticism and that everybody knows what he said was the truth. Cue an enraged Sue Ann Nivens storming into the newsroom brandishing a pie. He isn't worried and tells Sue Ann—with the pie inches from his face—that he knows she and the rest of them are sensible, rational people and that people like that do not throw pies or punches. As he says this, Sue Ann appears to be having second thoughts, and is just holding the pie there. "Only a fool would vent his frustration in those ways," he concludes. And that's when Ted enters the room, sees the pie, and shoves it into the bastard's face.
An unexpected one occurs in the middle of Season 5's "A Girl Like Mary". When a job for a new editorial position opens up, Ted remarks that just about anyone could do it, regardless of talent. Murray, seeing another opportunity to humiliate Ted, sets a bit of exposition for another put-down, asking if Ted is sure that any half-wit could do the job. Ted agrees, apparently succumbing to his usual naivete. Murray goes in for the final insult... only for Ted to gleefully pipe up, "But don't you bother to audition for the job, Murray. Lou wants a girl!" Murray is left utterly shocked by Ted's rare comeback, and Ted ecstatically sprints away pointing and shouting "I did it! I got him! I finally got him!" repeatedly. Ted may not always be sympathetic around the office, but it sure was something to see him rise above status of The Chew Toy every once in a while.
Murray: I just lost a battle of wits to an unarmed opponent.