The 10 Best Co-Star Reunions in Sitcom History

As former ‘Community’ colleagues Ken Jeong and Joel McHale re-team on ‘Animal Control,’ we bring you a bunch more instances of old pals getting together on screen again
The 10 Best Co-Star Reunions in Sitcom History

Animal Control, as its name suggests, frequently features guest-starring roles by various winged or furry creatures, and last night’s was no exception. But the chicken who escapes from a medical treatment Patel (Ravi Patel) and Shred (Michael Rowland) are trying to administer and ends up beak-to-face with Frank (Joel McHale) and his fried chicken lunch is only one of the episode’s noteworthy guest performers: There’s also Ken Jeong.

Credit: Bettina Strauss / FOX

Jeong plays Roman Park, a dog training expert hired by Animal Control director Emily (Vella Lovell) following a noise complaint from Amy (Elizabeth Bowen), a resident of the neighboring condo building who can’t take the barking of the dogs on site. Viewers who’ve (somehow) never seen him before will enjoy Jeong’s extremely convincing portrayal of grandiosity belying his short stature, and his overweening need to make himself the alpha of the A.C. Northwest precinct’s pack. Viewers who have seen Jeong before will enjoy the episode on another level, since it reunites him with McHale, his co-star on Community, the cult favorite sitcom that was a breakout vehicle for both of them.

In honor of this instance of sitcom intertextuality, we’ve assembled a list of other notable sitcoms that re-teamed past co-stars who couldn’t get enough of each other, and proposed what their next collaborations could be.

30 Rock: Tracy Morgan and Chris Parnell

Previously Worked Together In: Saturday Night Live; their time on the show crossed over from 1998 through 2003.

Re-Team Relationship: Morgan was a series regular on 30 Rock playing Tracy Jordan, a stand-up and sketch comic known for his erratic behavior and unusual hobbies; Parnell recurred as Leo Spaceman (pronounced spa-CHEH-min), Tracy’s doctor despite his extremely dubious credentials.

What They Could Do Next: Morgan has yet to appear on Parnell’s current gig, Rick and Morty, and that feels like a mistake.

The Bernie Mac Show: Bernie Mac and Don Cheadle

Previously Worked Together In: Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean movies, as members of an ever-expanding heist team.

Re-Team Relationship: In the two-part Bernie Mac episode “Sweet Home Chicago,” Bernie brings his family back to his native Chicago for the funeral of his favorite uncle. Once he arrives, Cousin D (Cheadle) interferes with Bernie’s attempts to grieve his uncle and reconnect with the other mourners.

What They Could Do Next: Mac died in 2008, so… this probably isn’t in the cards.

black-ish: Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Jill Marie Jones and Persia White

Previously Worked Together In: Girlfriends, where they played the eponymous girlfriends: Ross as Joan, Brooks as Maya, Jones as Toni and Persia as Lynn.

Re-Team Relationship: Ross brings her Girlfriends co-stars back for the 2019 black-ish episode “Feminisn’t,” in which her character Bow tries to educate her daughter Diane (Marsai Martin) about feminism by bringing her to her feminist discussion group, and also to broaden the group’s perspectives by inviting three of her Black friends (White, Jones and Brooks).

What They Could Do Next: There shouldn’t be a second season of The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy, but if it happens, Ross’ former co-stars could join her there voicing alien characters are overwrought as hers.

Mad About You: Paul Reiser and Kevin Bacon

Previously Worked Together In: Diner, playing friends who apparently spend all their free time shooting the shit in the titular location.

Re-Team Relationship: In Outbreak,” Mad About You’s Season Five Thanksgiving episode, Paul (Reiser) and Jamie (Helen Hunt) have passed the point in her pregnancy when it’s okay to tell people, and are gearing up to inform their closest loved ones. Excitedly blurting it out to one stranger sets in motion a course of events that ends in Kevin Bacon — as himself — getting involved. No spoilers, but the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” concept happens with people who haven’t co-starred with him in movies, too.

What They Could Do Next: Reiser will reprise his role as Dr. Sam Owens in the final season of Stranger Things; surely even Eleven could find out she’s connected to Kevin Bacon, the most connected man in show business.

NewsRadio: Andy Dick and Bob Odenkirk

Previously Worked Together In: The Ben Stiller Show, a tragically short-lived sketch show in the early days of the Fox network.

Re-Team Relationship: WNYX News Director Dave (Dave Foley) has previously revealed nerdy affectations, like a deep commitment to the Boy Scouts and a passion for tap dance. In the fourth-season episode “Chock,” his 32nd birthday occasions a visit from Brian (Brian Posehn), David (David Cross) and Bob (Odenkirk): The three of them were in an a cappella group — called Chock Full o’ Notes — with Dave in college, and had pledged back then to reunite when they were all 32 to pursue a music career full-time. Odenkirk’s Bob is, by far, the most determined to make this work. Dick’s Matthew doesn’t have much to do with this plot line beyond distant amusement that yet another of Dave’s dorky hobbies has come to light.

What They Could Do Next: Dick’s career isn’t quite as dead as Mac’s, but it’s close.

Parks and Recreation: Amy Poehler and Andy Samberg

Previously Worked Together In: It’s another pair of ex-SNL co-stars: Poehler and Samberg overlapped from 2005 through 2008.

Re-Team Relationship: Following SNL, Poehler’s next live-action TV project was Parks and Recreation, in which she played Leslie Knope, a preternaturally optimistic employee of the Parks department in (fictional) Pawnee, Indiana. Samberg pops up in the Season Two episode Park Safety” as Carl Lorthner, a park ranger with an extremely loud speaking voice whom Leslie contacts after a report about a park mugging.

What They Could Do Next: Like all comedy performers, they both have podcasts now, so they might as well do each other’s.

Scrubs: Donald Faison and Keri Russell

Previously Worked Together In: Felicity, where she played Felicity and he played Tracy, love interest to her roommate Elena (Tangi Miller).

Re-Team Relationship: Russell’s scenes as Melody in My Turf War” and “My Cold Shower” are primarily with her former sorority sister Elliot (Sarah Chalke) and with J.D. (Zach Braff), Elliot’s colleague and ex. Melody’s move is to make out with guys for fun, and J.D. is the beneficiary during her visit to see Elliot. Turk (Faison) is… also around! (Russell was not the only Felicity alum to join Faison on Scrubs: Scott Foley, Felicity’s Noel, appeared as Elliot love interest Sean, while Amy Smart — formerly a Noel girlfriend on Felicity — hooked up with J.D. as “Tasty Coma Wife.”)

What They Could Do Next: Since the future of Faison’s latest sitcom, Extended Family, is still unknown as of this writing, let’s see if Russell can find something for Faison to do in her Netflix drama The Diplomat. Do ambassadors travel with personal surgeons?

Superstore: America Ferrera and Tony Plana

Previously Worked Together In: Ugly Betty: she played Betty, and he played her doting father Ignacio. 

Re-Team Relationship: Why mess with perfection? Plana returned for three episodes of Ferrera’s sitcom Superstore to play Ron, father to Ferrera’s big box store staffer Amy.

What They Could Do Next: The monologue Ferrera delivered in Barbie was one of the most-discussed moments in film last year and probably most of the reason she got nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. So she can probably do whatever she wants next, and bring him with her.

Veep: Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Rick Overton

Previously Worked Together In: Seinfeld: she played Elaine, and he played The Drake, a beloved friend turned foe.

Re-Team Relationship: Louis-Dreyfus played the titular Veep on HBO’s sitcom; Overton recurred as Congressman Spencer, one of the idiot toadies who cluster around Jonah (Timothy Simons) following his shock election to the House.

What They Could Do Next: At this late stage, I hesitate to wish a role in the MCU on anyone, but as a journeyman comic actor, Overton might not mind if his old pal used her role as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine to help him add to his retirement fund.

The Wonder Years (2021): Dulé Hill and Bradley Whitford

Previously Worked Together In: The West Wing: Whitford played White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman; Hill played Charlie Young, body man to U.S. President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen). 

Re-Team Relationship: When, in “Bill’s New Friend,” Dean (Elisha Williams) gets an A in music, his father Bill (Hill) — a musician, songwriter and college music professor — is shocked and horrified, knowing Dean hasn’t earned it. Bill heads to the school to complain to Alan (Whitford), to find out he’s a fan of Bill’s, and a friendship is formed — though not one that’s meant to last, as Bill and his wife Lillian (Saycon Sengbloh) find out when they attend a party at Alan’s and find out what he and his friends are into. 

What They Could Do Next: I will accept that Hill join Whitford in the final season of The Handmaid’s Tale, but only if he gets to kill a lot of Commanders, Whitford’s Lawrence included.

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