14 of the Funniest (and Dumbest) Running Gags in Sitcom History

14 of the Funniest (and Dumbest) Running Gags in Sitcom History

Much like every marathon starts with a single step, every running gag starts with a single gag. The question is… Will they finish the race? The hilarious ones run right through the finish line and — like Forrest Gump — they just keep running. You read that in his voice, didn’t you? Michael Scott delivered his last “That’s what she said” in The Office finale on May 16, 2013. All these years later, we’re still on our knees, begging for more. Don’t worry, we won’t waste your time by adding that to the list. We know you’re all aware of “That’s what she said.” Uncontacted tribesmen in the Amazon are aware of “That’s what she said.” 

Even eye-roll inducing running gags must have been funny at some point, or no one would have thought to make more. So what happened? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it stumbled, or even veered off the path into full blown annoyance. All we know is that at some point in time, we had enough, and sadly had no way of helping their sitcoms get it back on track. In the name of balance, here are 7 of the funniest and 7 of the dumbest running gags in sitcom history. 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s running gag hands us the baton.

GRACKED BEST: TITLE OF YOUR SEX TAPE. BROOKLYN NINE-NINE Much like, That's what she said, it keeps us on our toes, ready to strike after someone says something like, This better not come back to bite me on the ass.

YouTube / IMDB 

One of the best sitcom friendships of all time.

GRACKED BEST: LESLIE'S ANN PERKINS COMPLIMENTS. PARKS & REC The first ever was sweet and innocent and pretty, but it quickly snowballed into beautiful unicorn nurse, and cunning, pliable, chestnut-haired sunfish. They made her love for Ann funny, and that's just nice.

Vulture / Screenrant 

Points for anyone who remembers a single Magna Doodle gag.

CRACKED WORST: CHANDLER & JOEY'S MAGNA DOODLE BOARD. FRIENDS Joey This had the potential to be great, but they were just random, forgettable doodles or notes. It could've been up there with Bart's chalkboard or Bob's Burgers' Burger of the Day. You know... Jokes!

YouTube / Scoopwhoop 

The Fresh Prince got a lot of use out of that one shot.

GRACKED BEST: JAZZ GETTING THROWN OUT OF THE HOUSE. THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR Visually, it's the perfect set-up/punchline. Jazz upsets someone, then he's cartoonishly tossed. They used the same footage each time, so when Jazz wore that outfit, we had this giddy anticipation.

YouTube / Reddit 

We get it Cox, you don’t like women.

CRACKED WORST: COX CALLS JD GIRLS' NAMES. SCRUBS Taken from every recess across the nation, Cox calls JD every girl's name from A-Z (literally Abby to Zsa Zsa). Не used Carol quite often, and he once even called him girl's name.

YouTube / Fandom  

Wait a minute… What if he was trying to tell us the whole time!

CRACKED WORST: NO ONE KNOWS WHAT BARNEY STINSON DOES FOR WORK. HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER About his job, Barney always responds, Please. In the end, they reveal that it really was P.L.E.A.S.E. (Provide Legal Exculpation And Sign Everything). So a lame version of Chandler's mystery job on Friends meets the money in the banana stand reveal of Arrested Development.

YouTube / Pink Villa 

Oh, just one of your chair-moisteners from Sector 7-G.

GRACKED BEST: MR.BURNS NEVER REMEMBERS HOMER. THE SIMPSONS When Burns asks if Homer is new, Smithers replies, That's Homer Simpson, sir. Не thwarted your campaign for governor, you ran over his son, he saved the plant from meltdown, and his wife painted you in the nude. Mr. Burns: Doesn't ring a bell.

YouTube / CBR 

The last paintball episodes felt like the 4th and 5th installment of a movie franchise.

WORST: CRACKED THE PAINTBALL EPISODES. COMMUNITY gra There's no denying that the first few were amazing, but they comment on how played out paintball is in Season 3 before ending Season 4 with paintball (and the much worse Modern Espionage episode in Season 6).

Collider / Film School Rejects 

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