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Laugh Tracks: Top 15 Moments

Amy counts down the top 15 sitcom moments of this season.



By Amy Van Veen (The Cascade) – Email

15.  Penny dates Hitler (Happy Endings)

As a newcomer show, it’s often hard to come up with original jokes and as any good comic knows, there is some material you just don’t touch. Michael Scott knows that the Lincoln assassination was only recently funny, but Happy Endings writers felt it was about time to address the Hitler situation. The name Hitler has been dominated by one man in history, but few people realize its commonality as a surname. For Penny, she comes to learn this fact a little awkwardly, which is super uncomfortable for her, but hilarious for us.


14.  The Blitz (How I Met Your Mother)

For those who miss Lost, HIMYM felt it was only necessary to take Hurley from the island and make him The Blitz creating a chain of Blitzness that ruins many people’s Thanksgiving celebrations, but allows for others to be Blitz-free. As with many HIMYM situations and new vocab words, the question was bound to form in the fans’ minds: are you The Blitz?

13.  Will Forte loves Twilight (Parks and Recreation)

With two SNL stars teaming up for a fanatical guest starring, magic was bound to happen on Parks & Rec. Will Forte ignites a spark of community involvement when he handcuffs himself to a pipe in Leslie’s office in order to convince her to put the Twilight series in Pawnee’s Time Capsule. Not only does he convert Tom Haverford, but he also applies the sage wisdom of author Stephanie Meyers. Thank goodness this show can be watched satirically, because if that element was sincere, I would have to drop this show from the docket.

12.  Reading Rainbow (Community)

It’s difficult to find a Community moment that does not include Donald Glover as Troy Barnes. He was once just a talented writer behind the scenes of shows like 30 Rock and The Daily Show, but Glover really came to capture the hearts and belly laughs of everyone when he stepped into his NBC role. Not only are his lines delivered with an innocent sincerity that embodies the Troy Barnes mentality, but his reaction shots are what keep us coming back for more. It reminds me of John Krasinski’s Muppet face that audiences look for in every shot. Combine that with Reading Rainbow’s Levar Burton and it’s just too good to be true.

11.  Elementary School Musical (Modern Family)

It’s difficult to pin down just one Modern Family moment from this season, especially with such classics as “Slow Down Your Neighbours” and Phil’s embarrassing new ad campaign. The best moments, though, often include the entire family, and when the whole family comes together to support Manny, Luke and Cameron in the elementary school production, it’s difficult not to pass up the chance to treasure it.

10. Maw-Maw and the Mongooses (Raising Hope)

Maw-Maw’s crazy has reached new heights of danger for the Chance family and Sabrina. Any time an opinionated, racist, and self-sustaining octogenarian who has lost her marbles handles a gun, things are bound to go awry forcing those stuck in the attic with the Y2K supplies to rethink their lives, and eventually crash through the ceiling all in the name of mongooses on the TV. Cloris Leachman is among the ranks of Betty White as women who cease to be funny.

9. Drunk Jim and Pam (The Office)

Jim and Pam have been the sweetheart couple of The Office since the series started 7 years ago and it’s not often that we’ve seen them flawed. We’ve seen them adorable; we’ve seen them awkward; and we’ve seen them having a shotgun wedding that only they were able to make endearing. During the “PDA” episode, though, their champagne brunch celebration offers the audience a wonderful treat: Jam drunk in the office but trying to hide it. Now, we’ve seen these two drunk on separate occasions. Pam got wasted at the Chili’s and Jim tries to bike home drunk from Stamford, but these two are destined to do things together. Which they do. In the mysterious room at the back of the office. Is it a stairwell? Is it a closet? Who knows, but they used it. The best moment, though, has to be Jim’s reaction shots which are made even more hilarious thanks to some bubbly, pushing his Muppet face from “laughing quietly to yourself” to “laughing out loud”.

8. BWL (30 Rock)

Anyone who has read Tina Fey’s Bossypants knows that her inflated self-esteem contributes greatly to her ability to make fun of herself, which means hilarious moments for 30 Rock’s audience to look forward to every week. In the “Brooklyn Without Limits” episode, Liz Lemon faces the ultimate dilemma: looking great in jeans or selling out for a corporate brand. She thinks she can get the best of both worlds, but with LL’s fate, she has a Sophie’s Choice. Unfortunately, it means wearing her only surviving pair of back-up jeans, shorts overalls, that do the complete opposite of the BWL brand. Jack says it best: “Lesbian Mario Brothers!”

7. Jazz-Kwon-Do (Happy Endings)

Every girl needs to learn how to properly defend herself in the big city of Chicago, but most every girl would prefer to do it in the most fashionable way possible. In Happy Endings, audiences get another treat in the Top 15. Penny gets a little scared of her self-defence class after Jane uses it as an excuse to fictionally murder her upwards of twenty times. The solution? Jazz-Kwon-Do, bitches! It’s absolutely amauzing, so amazing in fact, that Penny feels the need to teach it to the whole gang in one of the greatest ensemble moments of Happy Endings’ first season.

6. Benefit Disaster (30 Rock)

Every network should have a Jack Donaghy because if every network had a Jack Donaghy, every network would be prepared when disaster time came. Fictional NBC is so quick with their coverage, thanks to Jack Donaghy, that they don’t even have time to hear what the disaster is. Poor Mel Gibson and his private island along with his only guest Jon Gosselin. They never saw it coming. Thanks for your support, Robert De Niro. It’s much appreciated. As are the ratings.

5. Sardines in a Can (Cougar Town)

If the games we had as children came with giant Big Joe sized glasses of wine, I would have participated a lot more than I did. Although, in that scenario I would have been an eight year old alcoholic, but the point is that the cul-de-sac crew of Cougar Town knows how to make stupid games more fun. All you need is a small dose of passive-aggression and a larger dose of the red stuff. Then you have one person, preferably the one with the truth bomb, hide somewhere and everyone else will follow suit, eventually leading to adults laying on top of one another drinking wine and hiding from the sulking party member. To make it even more special, it would be a good idea to bring in a new girlfriend who has never met anyone and make her lay in the secret hiding spot with you all. Grab your bottles of wine, puffy trucker vests and go!

4. Creed (The Office)

Who in The Office has the most seniority? Who in The Office has the best team building? Who in The Office can make the most confusing, yet inspiring acronyms? Who in The Office has the most to hide, yet shares the most? Who in The Office is the most eligible bachelor? Who in The Office has the best matchmaking skills? The answer to all of the above is Creed. After all, he matched up Pam with Pam.

3. Leslie with the flu (Parks and Recreation)

Any P&R fan will remember drunk Leslie from the party at The Bulge after she married gay penguins, and any P&R fan will remember the epicness of that “Poker Face” moment. However, drunk Leslie needs to move aside in order for everyone to appreciate flu Leslie. Somehow Amy Poehler is able to act a character that is over the top in almost every aspect of her life, but she does not overact it. She’s able to bring a true sincerity to the sugar-filled character of Leslie Knope, and we appreciate her all the more for it. Leslie’s commitment to her job, though, is no match for the virus running through her body and bringing out an irrational side of crazy in her. When the time calls for it, she pulls herself together to make a presentation, and as soon as it’s over, she’s right back where she started. In a hospital room. With waffles. Acting crazy.

2. Joshua’s a racist (Community)

Troy makes it into the list again, but this time he and Jeff Winger talk about race, as they are prone to do. In the first season we discovered what’s racist and what’s homophobic as Jeff tried to help Troy rediscover his love of football, but this season we get to see true racism in action. Joshua had a special place free from darkness with a special tattoo that would be a maze. Again, Troy’s reaction shot makes this scene everything it needs to be. “Oh my god, Joshua was racist!”

1. Michael and Pam at the airport (The Office)

With this year being Steve Carell’s last season on The Office, it’s impossible not to make the number one moment one with him in it. The ability for Carell to turn Michael Scott from a grossly offensive regional manager with plugs to a deeply sensitive nerd in love is astounding. Only Carell could make Michael Scott a man we cheer for in the end. The best moment, though, has got to be the one between him and Pam at the airport. By keeping their moment silent, the audience gets to share their last goodbye while at the same time giving them their own moment. It was a brilliant move by those geniuses behind the scenes at The Office and a sign of good things to come for next season.

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