I made sure to specify a situation comedy, simply because half-hour comedies and hour-long dramas are such different animals. Maybe I’ll do one for dramas. Who knows?
Anyway, the Question is: What’s your favorite episode? I don’t do well with specific episodes – I’m sure there are several episodes of Community or Happy Endings or even something more obscure that I laughed at as much or more than the two I’ve listed below, but I haven’t watched those shows as much as I’ve watched the two episodes below, and the ones I picked are danged funny, to be clear. I tend to remember moments, and then when I actually watch the episode, the entire thing might not be up to the standard of those moments. It could still be a favorite, but I tend to like the ones that make me laugh for a full episode. I don’t have an episode from Cheers to pick, despite Cheers being probably my favorite sitcom ever. The one where Norm pretends to be gay to get an interior decorating job is quite funny, and it’s aged … a bit better than you might expect. But I didn’t pick any of the show’s episodes (not even the Thanksgiving one, sorry). I’m just not that great at remembering episodes. If you choose to answer this Question, I’m sure I’ll write “Oh, dang, how could I have forgotten that?” or some variation thereof under many comments. That’s why I like posing Questions: It reminds me of things I might have forgotten!
I still love Friends, despite it taking a bit of a critical hit these days, and my favorite episode of Friends is the one where Monica and Rachel bet their apartment in a game with Chandler and Joey (technically, the episode is called “The One With the Embryos,” about which more below). The premise is silly but very funny, and the “game” of the boys knowing more about the girls and vice versa keeps escalating hilariously. It all comes to a head with the final question:
Meanwhile, Phoebe is trying to get pregnant. It’s a decent long-running plot, made more hilarious by the fact that she’s being a surrogate for her brother and his wife, played by Giovanni Ribisi and Debra Jo Rupp, both of whom are very funny. So that doesn’t distract from the main plot, and Ribisi gets to ask if the doctor can cram a whole shit-ton of eggs into Phoebe, because the chances of her getting pregnant aren’t great.
Seinfeld is another of my favorite sitcoms, and there are many brilliant episodes to choose from. Most people like “The Contest,” which manages to be all about masturbation without ever mentioning it, or “The Outing,” where a reporter thinks Jerry and George are gay (Seinfeld was on fire in Season 4), and of course, George’s monologue about the whale in “The Marine Biologist” makes that a favorite. But I think my favorite is “The Switch,” due to its episode-long brilliance. It’s the one where we find out Kramer’s first name – Cosmo – and it’s the one where Elaine lends her boss’s tennis racket to a woman and can’t get it back (plus, Charlotte Lewis, famous from The Golden Child, is George’s girlfriend). But the core of the episode is Jerry trying to dump one woman so he can go out with her roommate – the “switch.” The woman he’s dating doesn’t laugh, and that offends him as a comedian. Her roommate has a good laugh, and he’s attracted to her. He and George discuss the “switch” at the diner, which is funny enough, and then they try to figure it out, finally giving up before George has a revelation: Jerry should suggest a threesome with the woman and her roommate. They think this will work, until both women are into it. George can’t believe it, but Jerry says he’s not going to do it, leading to some of the funniest lines in the entire show:
“Don’t you know what it means to be an orgy guy?” This entire scene kills me every time.
So those are my somewhat boring choices. What is your favorite sitcom episode? Don’t be shy!!!!