There are certain shows I can watch over and over indefinitely, and certain moments within those shows that I go back to time and time again because they’re deeply great. Here are five of the best, in no particular order.
Broad City: “The Last Supper,” when Abbi carries Ilana out of the restaurant
This whole episode is a gem, but I always die laughing at the end when, in slo-mo, an EpiPen-fueled Abbi carries allergic-to-shellfish Ilana out of the restaurant where they’ve been celebrating Abbi’s 26th birthday. Abbi is basically Godzilla. There’s solemn operatic music playing while half-conscious Ilana’s braid swings wildly across a table and knocks over some poor sap’s champagne. This is one of the few scenes in TV where slo-mo is actually used correctly and effectively.
Parks and Recreation: “Practice Date,” when Leslie shows up to the cop’s house drunk
In this early episode, Leslie is nervous about her upcoming first date with Dave. To put her at ease, Ann takes her out on a “practice date,” which results in Leslie becoming thoroughly drunk and deeply confident in her ability to knock this date out of the park. She heads straight to Dave’s house, late at night, and hilarity ensues (actually it just heightens, since the entire episode up to this point has already been gold).
No one plays drunk quite as well as Amy Poehler, and no one plays bewildered and put-out quite as well as Louis CK. Together they make this scene masterful. This was the first episode of P&R I ever saw, and it’s probably the one I’ve watched over and over again the most.
The Office, when Andy punches a hole in the wall
This episode is a master class in slowly building tension onscreen. The Dunder-Mifflin staff is struggling to recover from Dwight leaving for a job at Staples. Andy, still fairly new to the Scranton branch, is trying way too hard to befriend Michael, who actually seems like a reasonable and self-aware person in comparison. Jim has been spending all day building up to an epic prank on Andy, to punish him for being so annoying. It’s cold and overcast in Scranton, and the fluorescent office lighting doesn’t help. The buildup to Andy completing losing his shit is incredible, and the payoff is so very, very sweet.
Veep, when Selina and Gary react to the news that she’s going to be president
This is an immensely satisfying scene for several reasons: one, hey, a good thing finally happened to these sad-sacks! That’s nice! Two, faithful bagman Gary loses it IMMEDIATELY, and the tables are turned while Selina roots through the bag, looking for anything that could staunch his nosebleed. Their hysterical laughter is contagious for me. This show is probably one of the best ones on TV today, and this scene is the apex of the whole glorious run so far.
30 Rock, when Liz embarrasses herself at a conference to save Jack
THIS SCENE. Jack makes Liz accompany him to some bullshit conference where he has to give a speech. He starts psyching himself up in the bathroom beforehand, not realizing that his mic is on and piping right into the ballroom (and his psych-up speech is pretty awful). Liz, in an effort to draw the ballroom’s attention away from Jack, gets onstage and insists that it was her all along, doing her classic impression of Jack Donaghy. But they know the truth, so this moment is her last-ditch effort to distract the crowd and save Jack from further humiliation. We should all be so lucky to have such a good friend.