Audiences tend to stick around with sitcoms for the laughs. However, there are some exceptionally hilarious moments that aren’t talked about as much as they should be. For every iconic scene, there’s a great prank, farce, or comedic performance that goes relatively unnoticed by most audiences.
And so, from the most beloved shows to the cult classics, these are the seven hysterical sitcom moments that are sorely underrated.
‘Those are balls.’ (Arrested Development)
When the prosecution hacks the Bluth Company’s emails, they find a photo they believe to be an Iraqi landscape where Bluth-made bunkers holding weapons of mass destruction are hidden. Though Michael refuses to give up his father’s location for the alleged crime, Barry saves him by revealing the photo is actually a close-up pic of Tobias’s testicles that he accidentally took with Gob’s phone.
Between the look on Barry’s face upon this discovery, the photo getting passed around the Pentagon, and Tobias seeing his junk all over the news, this scene is the perfect blend of bawdy humor and government buffoonery that this show is known for. Turns out Barry isn’t such a bad lawyer after all.
Here’s what goes down in Apartment 4D. When the cast erupts into an angry brawl, Winston lashes out at everyone for ruining his Saturday morning and kicks Nick’s dates out. But when one of these dates asks his name, Winston does a total 180 and claims to be Theodore K. Mullins, Nick’s “lover on the down low” (and not the guy from Schitt’s Creek). He then goes off on a semi-improvised rant with the voice of a dramatic preacher, as if possessed by the ghost of Mullins himself, and nearly breaks the cast with his bizarre outburst. This is one of the most hysterically weird moments from New Girl that made it a modern masterpiece and completed Winston’s transition from an awkward straight man to a hilarious oddball.
Jim’s fake murder (The Office)
This is probably Jim’s biggest and most expensive prank to date. While he’s working in Florida away from his family, Jim decides to pass the time by making Dwight think he got murdered. With a broken TV, a rope fashioned out of bedsheets, a bloodied shirt, messages on the wall, and a briefcase full of money, Jim turns his hotel room into a full-on crime scene that freaks Dwight and Erin out.
Jim never ceases to amaze viewers with the lengths he goes to for a laugh, and the way he frames Dwight for such an elaborately staged crime before scaring the wits out of him makes this one of the best cold openings in The Office.
When Michael begrudgingly hosts Trevor and his evil entourage in the Good Place, he lets his guests have a rager of biblical proportions at Tahani’s house. Michael clearly loses control of the situation as he lets his visitors engage in some cartoonishly evil antics.
From snorting the concept of time like cocaine to dancing to a karaoke version of the Nixon White House Tapes, this scene captures the ridiculously hilarious possibilities of what a demonic house party could be like. It’s also funny to see an uncomfortable Michael being forced to dance to the former U.S. president’s anti-Semitic rant (if you call that dancing).
Everyone knows how fun it is to slide on a clean floor with a nice pair of socks, and Jake Peralta takes this childish joy to a whole new level by attempting to go across the precinct bullpen. With his helmet strapped on, Jake gloriously glides across the floor as his friends cheer him on in slow-motion. But the excitement quickly fades as Captain Holt appears from the elevator with Jake speeding toward him. Though it seems like Jake will be punished for his childish stunt, Holt blows everyone away by raising Jake’s arm and rejoicing in his achievement.
The way everyone marvels at Jake’s childish journey across the bullpen and their subsequent horror at seeing Holt arrive captures the lovably chaotic energy of this wacky police sitcom. The scene’s unexpected ending shows how much Holt has learned to loosen up and be friends with his squad at this point in the series.
In an effort to fool Japanese investors, Gob and Buster build a model town like in the Godzilla films to look like the finished Sudden Valley property. At the same time, Tobias is tricked into acting as a mole for the CIA, thinking it’s an acting audition, and George Michael builds a jetpack ordered by his grandpa to escape house arrest. There are a lot of different machines at work in this episode, but they all come together in a hilariously clever climax.
Though Tiny Town seems to fool the investors at first, Tobias suddenly appears dressed as an actual mole and starts destroying the model buildings like a kaiju. But when all hope seems lost, George Michael flies in on his jetpack and battles Tobias while looking like a giant robot. The way this episode’s plotlines come together in such an incredible farce is one of many reasons why Arrested Development remains an underrated classic.
When George gets a hand-modeling gig, his mitts are compared to those of another fabled model with a tragic story. A client, played to perfection by David Brisbin, tells George that this model fell in love with his own beautiful hands and that he was not, as Jerry would say, “master of his domain.” And after he gave himself too much “self-love,” his hands froze from the strain, and he was forced to have Cub Scouts feed him.
As an example of Seinfeld’s revolutionary style of writing, this scene excels at subtly referencing a taboo topic to create ridiculous comedy gold. Also, the fact the studio audience dies from laughter before the punch line makes this scene SO much better. And the cherry on top is George saying he has a lot more self-control with four simple words: “I won a contest.”