TV: The best sitcom episodes ever?
Much as we enjoy attempting to comprehend exactly what the heck Professor Brian Cox is talking about (while also swooning just a little bit), or getting angry at politicians playing for applause on Question Time/Q&A, we gain equal pleasure from switching over and guffawing at some comedy.
There’s nothing like a bit of chewing gum for the eyes and a cheeky little tickle of the funnybone. Anyone who says they don’t get the occasional belly laugh from situational comedy is either lying or has had a sense of humour bypass, right? So, here are ten of the best sitcom episodes ever, in no particular order.
FATHER TED – KICKING BISHOP BRENNAN UP THE ARSE
Ted has to pay a forfeit after cheating in the All-Priests Over-75’s Five-a-Side Football Championship. The punishment, giving Len a big old wallop up the bum. All the while, Brennan’s assistant Father Jessup, “the most sarcastic priest in Ireland” is locked in Father Jack’s underpants hamper. Down with this sort of thing. Careful now. Other episodes to check out: Speed, Tentacles of Doom.
THE SIMPSONS – MARGE VS THE MONORAIL
But Main Street’s still all cracked and broken! Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken. Monorail! Monorail! Monorail! When it was announced that Sydney’s monorail was to be pulled down, the number of Simpsons references online and in newspapers was insane, which shows just how ingrained this episode is in people’s consciousness. Other episodes to check out: Duffless, Hurricane Neddy.
SEINFELD – THE CONTEST
George tells Jerry, Elaine and Kramer that his mother caught him unaware while he was having a crafty wank. The conversation results in the four of them entering into a contest to determine who can go for the longest period of time without rubbing one out. Fun fact: the word “masturbation” is never used in the episode. Other episodes to check out: The Puffy Shirt, The Pony Remark.
I’M ALAN PARTRIDGE – TO KILL A MOCKING ALAN
Alan hosts an Afternoon With… session (it’s like Kilroy, but with tea, Wagon Wheels and Sue Cook) at his Travel Tavern, hoping to win a contract from two visiting Irish television executives (“Dere’s more to Ireland dan dis”). Also present is Jed Maxwell, Alan’s biggest fan. Meanwhile, Sue Cook pulls out and Alan’s got gassy breath. Other episodes to check out: Alan Attraction, A Room with an Alan.
THE OFFICE – TRAINING DAY
It was this episode, the fourth in series one, where The Office first proved itself to be one of the all-time greats. Oh, and while we’re on a Ricky Gervais/singing tip, Bowie’s ‘Little Fat Man’ song in Extras was amazing too. Other episodes to check out: The Christmas Special Eps 1 and 2.
BLACKADDER GOES FORTH – GOODBYEEE
Not put in our list for its comedy moments (although it is funny), but for its final sequence. Showing the WWI soldiers going “over the top”, using slow motion, it had an incredibly emotional impact and has often been voted one of the greatest moments in television. Other episodes to check out: Bells (series 2), Nob And Nobility (series 3).
BOTTOM – GAS MAN
After nearly killing the Gas Man, Richie and Eddie must remove an illegal gas connection from next door without disturbing their violent neighbour. “No problem with the meter in this flat. Don’t check for another 300 years.” Rik Mayall will be sadly missed. Other episodes to check out: Accident, Smells.
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT – PIER PRESSURE
Michael Bluth is disappointed with George Michael’s latest test grade, in which he scored a terrible A-minus. Meanwhile, Lindsay is pretty chuffed with Maeby’s C-minus… considering she didn’t even study. Rumours are currently abound that there is another new series on the table. Other episodes to check out: Motherboy xxx, Bringing Up Buster.
THE IT CROWD – THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
Like Father Ted, this sitcom from the same creators has so many standout moments that it’s hard to pick a single episode. However, any one in which Moss is at the forefront is always a winner. Here, he appears on Countdown and becomes something of a celebrity in certain circles. Other episodes to check out: The Work Outing, The Internet.
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM – BELOVED AUNT
The above clip is NSFW, by the way. When Cheryl’s aunt dies, the family ask Larry to write the obituary. But, Larry being Larry, things go wrong and when it gets printed in the newspaper, there’s an unfortunate typo. Other episodes to check out: The Special Section, The N Word.
Obviously this list is in no way exhaustive and there are a million that we forgot/didn’t have room for. Already we’re thinking, hmm, shoulda tried to squeeze in Fawlty Towers, Marion & Geoff, Only Fools & Horses, Green Wing, Friends…
We’d love to hear what your favourites are, so tell us in the comments section below….
Words by Bobby Townsend