Watch this, folks. I’m going to do what no one should ever endeavor to do: Rank the ten funniest American television episodes (of the last 20 years) with this caveat: Only one episode per sitcom. The great thing about this Guide is that I can not only upset people with my selection of shows, but I can piss them off again by selecting the wrong episode from that show. And just to throw grease on the fire, I’ve done the unthinkable: I’ve excluded “Seinfeld,” because while it was consistently amusing, as far as laughs go, I don’t think any of the episodes surpass the ten on this list, even my favorite, “The Bet.”
It is not only impossible to please everyone with this list, but it’s probably impossible to please just one of you. So, after ranking the ten funniest episodes of the last 20 years, I’m going to attempt a feat of self-immolation, if our readers don’t light me on fire first.
Ignite your torches.
10. News Radio — “Copy Machine”
Episode Synopsis: Ted from accounting is killed by the copy machine and Joe feels responsible. Dave has trouble dealing with his grief over the death, and Ted’s former college roommate comes to the office to talk to the staff about their memories of Ted, in preparation for his eulogy.
9. How I Met Your Mother — “The Slap Bet”
Episode Synopsis: Ted and Barney discusses their viewpoints on knowing things about women. Barney thinks that the more you know the more likely you are to find a deal breaker. Ted wants to know the deal breakers right away, as Robin refuses to go to the mall to cover her secret.
8. Friends — “The One with All the Embryos”
Episode Synopsis: Phoebe learns the result of her pregnancy test and the gang let their competitive spirit get the better of them in a battle of the sexes arising from an apparently simple challenge.
7. The Simpsons — “Rosebud”
Episode Synopsis: C. Montgomery Burns is celebrating his birthday, but while his loyal assistant, Waylon Smithers, stages a very special party, complete with international dignitaries and an appearance by the Ramones, Burns is still unhappy. Lately, Burns has been pining for the teddy bear he had as a child, Bobo, and he won’t be happy until he can recover the toy. Smithers is put on the project, but the bear soon turns up in a very unlikely place — in a bag of ice purchased by Homer Simpson.
6. Curb Your Enthusiasm — “Krazee-Eyez Killa”
Episode Synopsis: Larry is accused of betraying the confidences of Wanda’s boyfriend, a rapper he met at a party. Later, Larry alienates Jeff’s wife Susie by passing on her house-tour offer, then runs into problems trying to replace a sports jacket Cheryl threw out.
5. The Office “The Dundies”
Episode Synopsis: After the annual staff Dundies awards is redlined by corporate, Michael is uncertain if he can produce the calibre of evening his staff have come to expect. Pam meanwhile develops second thoughts about her engagement to Roy while watching video footage of old Dundies award nights. Dwight hears a rumor of malicious graffiti in the female toilets and schemes to find out more. The entire office meets at Chili’s for the Dundies awards show, and together experience a night they will never forget.
4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — “Hundred Dollar Baby”
Episode Synopsis: Frank runs into an old adversary at the gym when he begins teaching Dee to box after she was robbed. Hoping to make some extra money on the side, Mac and Dennis make preparations for Charlie to compete in an underground street fighting match.
No Video Available.(It’s the one where Sweet Dee says, “I will eat your babies, bitch.” )
3. “Scrubs — My Half-Acre”
Episode Synopsis: J.D. is introduced to quirky Julie Quinn and love is in the air. Worried that J.D. will once again screw up the budding relationship Elliot doles out effective romance advice. Meanwhile, Carla questions Dr.Cox’s tough exterior and is convinced that the sarcastic doctor is really a softy. Elsewhere, the Janitor puts together an air band to win a contest.
2. 30 Rock — “Rosemary’s Baby”
Episode Synopsis: Liz meets her longtime idol, Rosemary Howard, and invites her to be a guest writer on TGS with Tracy Jordan. However, Rosemary’s ideas turn out to be too much for the show, prompting Jack to pressure Liz into firing her. Meanwhile, Jack takes Tracy to a therapist to explain to him why he must do the opposite of what he is told, and Jenna ruins Kenneth’s page jacket—causing him to compete in a page-off to keep his job.
1. Arrested Development — “Afternoon Delight”
Episode Synopsis: Gob stages mass firings after being inadvertently roasted at the Bluth Company Christmas party. Plus, Michael is forced to rebuild the Banana Stand, and Buster plays hooky from the Army at an arcade game.