Parks and Rec vs. Arrested Development and WKRP in Cincinnati vs. MASH

The Best Sitcom Episode Ever Tournament is pitting 32 of the greatest episodes of funny TV shows ever produced against each other in a single-elimination winner-takes-all (well, takes-nothing) competition. Every day, we’re putting up episodes for you, our loyal readers, to vote on. Today: Parks and Rec vs. Arrested Development and WKRP in Cincinnati vs. MASH.

Parks and Recreation – “The Fight,” May 12, 2011

Written by Amy Poehler, this Parks and Recreation episode is a fine example of the show firing on all cylinders and delivering everything we’ve come to expect from one of the best sitcoms of recent years. The main action concerns a rift between Leslie and Ann that forms when Leslie offers her friend a job at City Hall. While the main storyline is both funny and moving, the B-plot, in which Tom employs the Parks staff to help him by gorilla marketing his new brand of alcohol Snake Juice, is where most of the laughs are. We get visits from Nick Kroll’s shock jock DJ The Douche, as well as Andy and April’s alter ego’s Bert Macklin FBI and Janet Snakehole, but no episode of Parks and Rec can be truly deemed perfect without an appearance form the show’s most beloved tertiary character, Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz). If you don’t consider this to be the best sitcom episode of all-time, you have to admit it’s responsible for the best gif of all time, above. — Bradford Evans

Arrested Development — “Pier Pressure,” January 11, 2004

It’s next to impossible to have a favorite Arrested Development episode when they all intertwine and play off each other so well, but “Pier Pressure” is certainly a good place to start. It has so many things that make AD great – George Michael vowing “I was going to smoke the marijuana like a cigarette,” Lucille 2’s vertigo problems, the 60s hit single “The Big Yellow Joint,” the Hot Cops, and George Sr.’s final lesson to his son using his one-armed friend J. Walter Weatherman. Wrap that up with a one-upmanship double pot bust and you get the tight but ridiculously layered goodness that makes watching this show from start to finish more rewarding each time. And remember: Always leave a note. — Megh Wright

Poll closed.

WKRP in Cincinnati — “Turkeys Away,” October 30, 1978

When WKRP station manager Mr. Carlson feels out of the loop amidst his younger staff, he plans a top-secret promotion and only reveals that it involves twenty live turkeys. Long story short, the episode culminates in a live broadcast in which turkeys fall to the ground “like sacks of wet cement.” The fiasco is all the more hilarious since we don’t see it — we just get the report from befuddled newsman Les Nessman and the reactions of the rest of the station team. It’s one of television’s funniest unseen sight gags, and it’s easy to see Carlson’s influence in Michael Scott and WKRP’s influence in myriad modern shows that translate the small personal conflicts of the workplace into larger-than-life physical comedy. — Hallie Cantor

M*A*S*H, “The General Flipped at Dawn,” September 10, 1974

What happens when your commanding officer is a complete lunatic? He’s the boss, so you have to follow his orders, particularly when you’re a member of the military, even if said orders put you in grave danger. The nut-job in question is the awesomely-named Major General Bartford Hamilton Steele, played by Harry Morgan (who would later join the show as Colonel Potter) during the third season premiere of M*A*S*H. The ultra-strict general gives conflicting commands and unwisely decides that the M*A*S*H unit should be mobile — oh, and he’s REALLY racist, asking an African-American pilot (Teddy Wilson, later of That’s My Mama fame) to do a musical number, because it’s “in [his] blood.” “The General Flipped at Dawn” asks an important question, without sacrificing any of the laughs. In other words: it’s M*A*S*H. — Josh Kurp

Poll closed.

Parks and Rec vs. Arrested Development and WKRP in […]