When people talk about the Golden Age of Television, which either just ended or is ongoing, depending on who you ask, they talk about dramas, shows lik Breaking Bad, and Men The Sopranos, an The Wire. But rarely are comedies involved in the discussion, for reasons we've never quite understood. The number of great sitcoms — and whateve Louie s — is unparalleled right now. Put another way: in our list of the year's funniest TV episodes Veep It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, an Eastbound & Down, three of our favorite shows, didn't make the cut. But I guess we should be used to anti-comedy snobbery by now; think of the funniest movie that's ever won the Best Picture Oscar, and you'll be very disappointed.
So, instead of doing a "10 Best Episodes of TV In 2012" list, we focused on comedies only. Here's how we decided on our picks: we listed 20 or so shows that we agreed deserved consideration (SORR WORK IT), held a round-robin style draft to pick the 10 best, and then whoever picked the show also chose the episode. Also, the shows are listed alphabetically, not by a 1-10 ranking. Make sense? No? Great. Let's begin.
30 Rock, "Leap Day" (season 6, episode 8)
What Happens: In the world o 30 Rock, Leap Day is a holiday on par with Christmas, featuring its own beloved figure, Leap Day William, who emerges from the Mariana Trench every four years in a blue suit and top hat to trade candy for children's tears. Getting caught up in the spirit of the day, Jack has a It's A Wonderful Life-style dream sequence involving his daughter, Tracy takes everyone to Benihana with a $50,000 gift card that expires in March, and Liz debates a $20 million offer to take the virginity of an Internet billionaire named Sad Thad the Skin Tag Lad before being foiled by "hot bitches." 30 Rock s great.
Key Line: "It's Leap Day. Real life is for March."
Here's my favorite part of this episode: Jim Carrey's cameo, on a movie-within-the-show title Leap Dave William, as a lawyer who magically becomes the real Leap Day William and presumably learns many important lessons in the process. This is classi 30 Rock. They got Jim Carrey to come in and essentially parody the whol Liar Liar, family-friendly, "aw what a sweet, happy ending" part of his career ("I saved Leap Day! And connected with my son! And I solved a big case of murder!") for a quick gag involving a fake-movie about a made-up holiday that took up like 30 seconds of screen time. How cool is that? The show never got huge ratings during its run, and there were a few notable swings-and-misses that took place during 2012 (I love you, Tina Fey and Kristen Schaal, but let us never speak of Hazel again), but when it connects — which it does way, way more often than not — it's capable of hitting the ball all the way to the damn moon.
P.S. the ending was scary and I did not like it because I am a big huge baby.
American Dad!, “Adventures in Hayleysitting” (season 8, episode 6)
What Happens: Hayley is left in charge of Steve for the night after the Smith's usual babysitter, Lindsay, breaks her leg playing soccer. Things...do not go well, which i American Dad! erms means that Jeff gets stoned, Steve, Snot, & Co. befriend a meth head, and someone gets shot in the head, all while Stan and Francine make sweet love in a barn next to some horses. It's magical.
Key Line: "I guess the only question is: what are we talking about?"
This was a tough decision. Whic American Dad! pisode to include on this list? Obviously, there's going to be one, becaus American Dad! s great and anyone who thinks that it's still terrible because of its inauspicious first season needs to know that none of Seth MacFarlane's LOOK AT ME MAKING AN OBVIOUS POLITICAL STATEMENT THAT DOUBLES AS A DUMB RACIST JOKE /CUTAWAY stink remains, but, my God, there are so many great episodes this year. "Old Stan in the Mountain" was fantastic, as was "The Unbrave One." Maybe Baby. But what about "Wheels & the Legman and the Case of Grandpa's Key" or "Ricky Spanish" Ricky Spppannniiissshhhh. But we went with "Adventures in Hayleysitting" because not only do Alison Brie, Charlie Day, and Sarah Michelle Gellar show up, but it ends oh-so-perfectly, with Lindsay's ghost booting a car and a dead meth head's lizard shouting, "GOAAAAAAALLLLLLL." I'd say it makes sense in context, but it doesn't really, and that's wh American Dad! s so great. There's nothing else quite like it.
Archer, "Bloody Ferlin" (season 3, episode 9)
What Happens: Archer and Carol head down to Ray's backwoods home town of Ferlin, West Virginia to help his brother, Randy (Jack MacBrayer), ward off an attack from the local sheriff, who is trying to kill him and take over his marijuana operation. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang hangs back at the office to try to hide the whole operation from Malory. Oh, also, it turns out that Ray has been pretending to be paralyzed. I feel like that's important.
Key Line: "For one thing, it’s eerily similar to the plot o White Lightning..."
As with mos Archer pisodes, there are too many good quotes from "Bloody Ferlin" to select just one, so let's go with the one that gets us to the heart of the matter: Archer's long-standing obsession with the films of Burt Reynolds. That was the reason he agreed to go along with the whole thing in the first place. Not his concern for his coworker, not a need to see justice done — because it reminded him of a Burt Reynolds movie. That should tell you most of what you need to know about Sterling Malory Archer.
The episode itself is jam-packed. Ray is pretending to be straight and Carol is pretending to be his wife, Archer is drinking moonshine, everyone is shooting at everyone else, Pam agrees to do "bum shock fights" and is spray-painting bathroom stalls, and Krieger is, well, being Krieger. Even fo Archer mdash; one of the quickest-moving and most insane shows on television — there's a hell of a lot going on. I don't know if it's the best episode to jump into the show fresh, but for regular viewers it paid off a lot of gags that had been set up throughout the season, and did so in a way onl Archer an. By chugging moonshine and shooting at people.
Bob's Burgers, "Burgerboss" (season 2, episode 4)
What Happens: Bob installs a classic video game, Burgerboss, in his restaurant, and instantly becomes obsessed with it, to the extent that when Jimmy Pesto gets the high score, he stays all up night and develops carpal tunnel syndrome trying to top his arch-enemy. Eventually, Linda sells the game to a local arcade, but Bob tracks it down and befriends local nerd legend, Darryl, in order to beat Pesto's score. Meanwhile, Linda is convinced that her family is taking sailing lessons to surprise her. They are not.
Key Line: “I got a bully, too. Name’s Tyler. Picks on me every day.” “Oh, that’s cool, so will you help me?”
Bob's Burgers as good during season one, occasionally very good ("Art Crawl," for instance). When the show returned for season two earlier this year, it was even better, but for the first few episodes, it felt like it was on the verge but couldn' quite ake the next step towards greatness. Then "Burgerboss" happened, and so did the comparisons to golden-er Simpsons pisodes, the highest compliment a comedy can receive. Everything great about the series came together in one episode: H. Jon Benjamin and guest star Aziz Ansari shout and act like children (Aziz actually plays a kid), which, as anyone who's see Archer n Parks nows, is when they're at their best; Louise screams some of her best lines ("He had sex and then we happened. DEAL WITH IT!"); Gene dances; Tina ponders the location of the "mergina"; and Linda gets to say "peeing race" loudly.
Basically, there's a lot of yelling, which is a good thing fo Bob's Burgers. The more manic the episode, the better.
Community, "Basic Lupine Urology" (season 3, episode 17)
What Happens: In an elaborat Law & Order arody, Greendale Community College is the unlikely setting of a brutal crime involving a yam. The study group splits into different factions: Troy and Abed are the hardworking detectives, Shirley is the tough-as-nails sergeant, Jeff and Annie put their district attorney peacoats on, Professor Kane is the fed-up judge, and Britta, well, she's the worst (and the best at old west photo filters). As for Pierce, he's the crooked informant running a poker game, which is just perfect. It's a classic whodunit, with Todd, Leonard, Quendra, Garrett, Fat Neil, and Starburns along for the ride. Until Starburns dies. R.I.P.
Key Line: "OBJECTION. I hate the both of you."
Is it weird that I've never seen an entire episode o Law & Order? It's weird, but I know enough about the show to be aware of how it functions. In the Criminal Justice System, the people are represented, etc. etc. etc. But even if you're someone like me, who thinks of Angie Harmon as Jason Sehorn's wife, not Abbie Carmichael, you can appreciate the brilliance of "Basic Lupine Urology," written and directed byCommunity's A-team of Megan Ganz and Rob Schrab. Nearly every one of the show's many recurring characters is involved, it's intensely focused on a singular vision (it's whe Community oesn't know what it's trying to do or say that it can occasionally falter), and, for the purposes of this being the FUNNIEST episodes list, there's absolutely no character development, just the Dean singing lullabies and Annie celebrating a job well done with a dance.1. 30 Rock 'Leap Day'
2. American Dad 'Adventures in Hayleysitting'
3. Archer 'Bloody Ferlin'
4. Bob's Burgers 'Burgerboss'
5. Community 'Basic Lupine Urology'
6. Cougar Town 'A One Story Town'
7. Happy Endings 'No Ho-Ho'
8. Louie 'Barney/Never'
9. New Girl 'Menzies'
10. Parks and Recreation 'Halloween Surprise'
Yay, I've seen six of these, how many have you seen, ONTD? What was your favourite comedy episode this year?