TV & CULTURE

Need a laugh? 7 Sitcom Episodes That Will Cure Your Iso Blues

April 28, 2020

Keely Tzoukos

It’s easy to feel lonely in times like these. But have no fear!

Whether you’re missing family and friends, juggling anxiety over uni grades and an impending global recession (it’s weird how the mind of a student can easily equate these two things), or just having a bad day, I’ve got you covered.

Find below a list of episodes from popular sitcoms that are scientifically proven* to lift your spirits. If music’s more your thing, I suggest you check out Radio Fodder’s expertly crafted isolation playlist.

*Look, I’m just going to assume that the imaginary data backs up my analysis.

Parks and Recreation – Campaign Ad, Season 4, Episode 12 (2012)
TV Diary | Parks And Recreation: “Campaign Ad” | Jeremy Likes TV

I actually encourage you to watch this entire season of Parks and Rec, as it has the greatest narrative arc: high-octane local politics, will-they-or-won’t-they romance, Paul Rudd. It’s brilliantly funny and also doesn’t shy away from more meaty topics, such as sexism in politics. Additionally, the writing is eerily prescient; a spoilt, totally incompetent rich man running for office…where have I seen that recently? Anyway, this episode is an amalgam of all the good things season 4 has to offer.

Watch it for: Paul Rudd, Leslie’s AFL-worthy tackle, Andy’s many ailments, Paul Rudd.

Best line: “Barack Obama said, ‘Yes we can,’ and now he’s President. Ben said, ‘No we shouldn’t,’ and now he’s working for his girlfriend.”

Brooklyn Nine Nine – Any Halloween episode from seasons 1-5 (2013-2017)
Every Brooklyn Nine-Nine Halloween Heist Episode, Ranked

This is the most elaborate running gag in sitcom history. The characters’ childish hijinks and hyper-competitiveness will make you chuckle with amused vindication – especially if you’re a sore loser like me (I don’t cry whenever I lose Monopoly, what a ridiculous accusation!)

Watch it for: Silliness and general calamity, killer costumes, championship cummerbunds, creepy doppelgängers.

Best line: “I will slit you both from mouth to anus and wear you like jackets.” (Season 4)

Friends – The One with the Football, Season 3, Episode 9 (1996)
Friends: The One With The Football was actually one big drama ...

So, I’ve previously made my love of Friends (iffy gender politics aside) abundantly clear. Obviously, the best episodes of Friends are the ones where everyone is together from start to end, bouncing jokes (well, insults) off each other. This episode has that in spades, yet it doesn’t meander about – it has a solid, engaging plot, which is often lacking in other sitcom episodes.

Watch it for: Trolls, sibling rivalry, ham-fisted touchdowns.

Best line: “You know I had swollen glands!”

Modern Family – Australia, Season 5, Episode 20 (2014)
Modern Family: “Australia”

Another show that’s infinitely funnier when everyone’s together. This episode brings the American juggernaut down under and infuses it with an over-the-top sense of Australianness on par with any given episode of Neighbours

Watch it for: Family love, local attractions, absurd things that would never happen in real life (getting stung by a jellyfish and punched in the face by a kangaroo in the same week? That’s clearly more of a monthly occurrence for us Aussies).

Best line: “This country’s number one export is hot surfers.”

The Office – Fun Run Pt. 1, Season 4, Episode 1 (2007)
Fun Run | Dunderpedia: The Office Wiki | Fandom

If I’m being honest, I don’t really like The Office (please forgive me, Billie Eilish). I struggle to watch the awkward and, at times, borderline offensive humour. That being said, this episode never fails to make me laugh. Perhaps it’s Meredith’s lifeless body rolling up onto Michael’s windshield, or maybe it’s… no, Meredith’s lifeless body is the thing that cracks me up every damn time.

Watch it for: The cold open feat. Meredith’s lifeless body.

Best line: “Occasionally I’ll hit somebody with my car.”

Veep – Running, Season 2, Episode 9 (2013)
Veep – "Running" (S02E09) Review | The MacGuffin

As I’m writing this list, I’m becoming acutely aware of what my brand of comedy is: slapstick. So, sticking with the whole people-being-clumsy-and-getting-hurt theme (I’m really not a sadist, I promise), this episode features everyone’s favourite VP (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) running into/through a glass door. It’s a bizarre scene that hysterically juxtaposes the formal, dignified backdrop of The White House, and even earned Louis-Dreyfus an Emmy nom.

Watch it for: Swearing, protagonist’s emotional instability, giant bananas.

Best line: “I’m not going to get beaten by a banana!”

The Goldbergs – Dinner with the Goldbergs, Season 5, Episode 12 (2018) 
The Goldbergs" Dinner With The Goldbergs (TV Episode 2018) - IMDb

This episode is perfect for anyone who misses cringey family dinners. It harkens back to a simpler time – not the 80s, but a time when you could go to a restaurant and congregate in small groups without breaking the law. Ah, the good ol’ days!

Watch it for: 80s nostalgia, amazing fashion that will never go out of style, all-too-relatable annoying family members.

Best line: “The hanger steak, Pittsburgh-style, but instead of the béarnaise sauce, I would like crab cakes.”

Now, go! Relax and binge watch some TV – you’ve earned it.