Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

And the Best Sitcom Episode of All Time Is…

The votes have been tallied, and 32 sitcom episodes have been whittled down to one. And the resulting episode is…Community's "Remedial Chaos Theory." I know, I'm surprised, too! And it didn't just squeak by "Marge vs. the Monorail," it demolished it, 72.7% to 27.3%. So that's that, definitively. Sorry mom, the mob has spoken.

And really, isn't it kind of fitting? We were never going to determine the real-deal single best episode ever. There is no such thing! The entire point of this whole tournament was to revisit some truly amazing episodes of TV, talk about them/argue about them in a good-natured way, and end up crowning whichever episode could pull in the most votes. And of course an episode of Community won. It's got the most rabid fanbase of any sitcom on TV, a fanbase that feels extra motivated to give the show some good PR whenever it can due to its precarious state in the NBC lineup. Its stars, writers and creators are all on Twitter, tweetin' links to things just like this, which helps get those votes in. The Simpsons has far fewer boosters online because A) this particular episode is 20 years old and B) it just doesn't need them. It's the longest-running sitcom ever! It doesn't need this stupid title. It's also the obvious choice. How much more fun is it to seriously claim that an episode of a terribly-rated-yet-very-beloved sitcom in constant danger of cancellation that aired in October is the absolute pinnacle of the form? So much more fun.

So congrats, Community! You've earned the title fair and square. I look forward to seeing it used in upcoming advertisements on NBC. Thanks to everybody for voting and arguing for your favorites. It's been fun!

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  • http://www.invertedsoapbox.com Tim Donnelly

    Wait, this isn't even the best Community episode. Marge Vs. the Monorail forever changed the way we feel about monorails.
    This is truly the darkest timeline.

  • Joshua Kurp


    • http://splitsider.com Adam Frucci

      @Joshua Kurp Pack up your desk, Kurp.

  • Frank Chad Muniz@twitter

    this was fun. The most unconventional episode of a truly unconventional show won. In 20 years I hope pierces Norwegian troll doll will hold the same reverence as the Escalator to Nowhere.

  • B Westof@twitter

    I hate us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Mischnick/699648889 Michael Mischnick

    "And the Best Sitcom Episode of All Time Is…" not being selected by this contest.

  • http://twitter.com/joshung Joshua Ungerleider

    What surprises me, isn't that a recent episode beat out an older episode, what surprises me is that if this Community episode could win it all, how did the other Community episode not go further?

    And crushed it??? Wow.

  • I'm Gary@twitter

    You lousy kids stay off my lawn!

  • Thomas Sullivan@twitter

    Both were amazing episodes. Glad Community won for this very reason, people need to watch and keep that great show on the air.

  • http://www.twitter.com/pablogoldstein Pablo Goldstein

    Community is a pretender to the throne because there was no King of the Hill in this competition.

    "That tournament ain't right."

  • http://anthonycomedy.wordpress.com Anthony Scibelli

    I'm still surprised that "The Honeymooners" didn't win.

  • Dr. Hoffman

    With all due respect to Community, a show that I like and that I hope gets renewed, how can something that first aired a few months ago even be in consideration for "Best Sitcom Episode of All Time?" Seriously? If the tournament was "Best Sitcom Episode of the Last Decade" I could see it, but there is no "time" component here. Maybe in 20 years, people will still be talking about Remedial Chaos Theory, but the fact is, we don't honestly know. It hasn't had the chance to prove itself as being "all time" since you actually need, you know, TIME to do that.

  • akivaddict
  • dwinn

    Fuck 72.7 percent of you.

  • Connor Ratliff

    Interesting. Almost infuriating, but then again that is the point of fun contests like this one.

    I find it hard to believe that Community beat Arrested Development, let alone The Simpsons in its prime.

    Hopefully this kind of fan energy and enthusiasm will help convince NBC to keep Community on the air for several more seasons.

  • grinning

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply doesnt work.

    The problem is that people have no sense of perspective. Community seems big and important, especially with its future in limbo. In 20 years it'll seem very, very 2011.

    The Simpsons has aired in over 100 nations. It's caused more laughter, inspired more comedians, and literally changed the way essentially all of us see the world.

    We all think in Simpsons.

    I feel bad insulting a good show like Community, but its got nothing on a great, foundational show like the Simpsons.

    • theBULL

      @grinning This contest wasn't "Most Influential Comedy Show Ever"

  • grinning

    Also, is anybody happy about this?

    I'd love to hear a Community fan make their case, not in an argumentative way, but in a 'heres why Community deserved this' kind of way.


    • We are Greendale.@twitter

      @grinning Of course, Community fans are ecstatic! However, I think I can speak for most of us when I say that we aren't the type of fandom to gloat…or trash talk others. I wish contests like this didn't bring out the worst in people :/

  • Jason Merrin@facebook

    I don't disagree with anything said in the above article – yes, Community won because it has a rabid fanbase that is nervous it might get cancelled. Yes, we won't actually know how well it stacks up until another twenty years from now. And yes, this was never going to actually pick the best episode of any sitcom ever.

    But come on! The tone of this article is much too bitter. I feel like this post should have been celebrating Community and Remedial Chaos Theory (which, if not the best episode, is certainly one of the best) instead of spending the ENTIRE ARTICLE bemoaning the fact that the author's choice didn't win. Yes, you were rooting for Marge vs. the Monorail (you even called it objectively the best sitcom episode ever in THIS ARTICLE, which really isn't fair). But you've turned the end of this little game from a moment of triumph to a moment of mourning. Simpsons fans are already disappointed, and thanks to the tone of this article, Community fans (hi, nice to meet you) don't even get their own moment of satisfaction to revel in their show's victory.

    What a hollow note to end on.

    • Nick S

      @Jason Merrin@facebook Ugh, Community fans are becoming the worst.

    • Jason Merrin@facebook

      @Nick S I don't see what the problem is. I addressed the fact that Remedial Chaos Theory isn't the best sitcom episode of all time (at most I said that it's probably the best episode of Community) and that the author of the article made a lot of good points about why it probably won.

      What I'm saying is that it won the contest, and yet this article is about why it shouldn't have won. That doesn't seem fair to the people who voted for it to win – who, incidentally, are as much entitled to their opinions as you are.

  • J.R.

    This kind of reminds me when they're doing some rock and roll special, and the lineup includes:

    Jerry Lee Lewis, Keith Richards, Paul McCartney, and KID ROCK!

    Something tells me that we're incorrectly lauding something just because it's newer. That said, love the episode, and this contest was truly fun!

  • LoriA

    I love how seriously upset everyone is about this.

    Truth be told I voted for Community because I was sure it would lose. OH WELL/ HAHA U MAD

  • theBULL

    I voted Community because I found to like the episode more than Marge vs the Monorail. Deal with it. It's my opinion. Some of you state it like a fact that "Well Simpsons is clearly more important and it changed society." That's not what this contest was about, and who cares?
    To be honest, I feel Marge vs the Monorail is famous because Conan wrote it. "Oh Conan wrote that episode! Wow!" I don't even think it's the best Simpsons episode. I found Deep Space Homer to be better, but that's just my opinion. Your view is an opinion too.

  • Sebastian de Fraac@twitter

    Wow! Bitter much? What is this idiotic idea that we need the perspective of time and the weight of consensus to know if something is good? Remedial Chaos Theory isn't my favourite Community episode but we're talking about a show that makes me happier than television has ever done – and I'm a Buffy fan! The Simpsons was a great show but the best Community episodes can easily match it. A smart person doesn't need to wait for history to tell them that.

  • Grendal

    Citizen Kane was a foundational movie, but that doesn't make it better than, say, The Godfather. You old people need to get some perspective, in my opinion.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ben-Worcester/818292220 Ben Worcester

      @Grendal In my opinion, you're talking as if The Godfather isn't a 40-year old movie.

  • andymac

    maybe if this poll was on a website people visited the results would have been more accurate.

  • Shereen@twitter

    Just a thought… if you're not going to be happy with the results, why include the episode in the contest? Another thought… If you already had a winner in mind, why have a contest at all? Write an opinion post. I didn't vote in this contest, or even know it was going on at all, but I am very disappointed in the way this writer chose to ruin the results for all parties involved. Not only are Simpson fans upset at the loss, but Community fans are being belittled in the process.

  • We are Greendale.@twitter

    Has anyone ever watched Remedial Chaos Theory? I may be biased, but the episode is brilliant and takes viewers to a place that most sitcoms are afraid to create. Regardless of ratings, this is an episode that will be examined and analyzed by countless sitcom writers for many years to come.

    And speaking of ratings – Community has the potential to be a well-known and well-loved show, if the word actually got out and people took the time to watch it.

    Some flies are too awesome for the wall. #sixseasonsandamovie

  • Brian Gunn@twitter

    I find it amusing that of all the extraneous factors the post mentions it neglects to mention the Simpsons being terrible for the last 10 years or so. Might have a slight impact in how passionate fans are.

  • Catherine Boyd@twitter

    As a rabid Community (and Dan Harmon, whose twitter feed sent me here) fan, I'd like to say that I also love many other shows on TV, including the Simpsons. Because our show is in a precarious position, I'd like to take a moment to ask the writer of the article to consider the rabid fanbase. We're known as being nice, right? Anyone who sets up a poll instantly gains site hits. YOU get some PR from this, not just us. I follow most of the bloggers and TV critics who run polls and articles on NBC Community, and I have a loving regard for them. What's the big deal? You're going to give us a prize, then take away our little glory? And, not to be snippy here, but why am I going to follow you around now and give you loyalty like a little puppy dog when you just kicked me in the snout? It's YOU I'm worried about; your motives. Can we start over? Hi, my name is Catherine. I love Community with all my heart and will vote for anything it does online to earn some PR, buy all their merch, and brainstorm like crazy to get us 3 more years. What's your name, and what are you doing online?

  • Zach Thiessen@facebook

    Bitter much, much?

  • 1-2 hrs: ¥10k/hr@twitter

    Guess what? This won. This is now splitsider's best sitcom episode *forever*! Proud of yourselves?

  • Catherine Boyd@twitter

    You call me bitter and mock me. I'm not bitter. I'm tired. I fight so hard. Nielsen, reality shows, highschoolers in fandoms who don't understand our Nielsen woes, polls with limited IP addresses, the actual knife like heartache of the hiatus…TIRED. As the underdog, don't kick me anymore. Please give me what I slave over, sometimes for hours and hours at a time. My network once left my show like a baby on a mountainside to die. Is it too much to ask? That someone running a poll be gracious to us, and enable us to link to it for PR if we won something? Like, I can't do that now. TIRED. If I seem like an easy target to you, ask yourself why you can't put down the spear and give me one lousy break here. Thank you.

    • DavidWizard

      @Catherine Boyd@twitter I think Zach was responding to the person earlier who said "Bitter much?", not insulting you. He was making the Community reference with the recursive "Bitter much, much?", which is how you know he's on our side. :)

  • D.j. West

    Nothing's better than the Contest; Community's horribly overrated like it's predecessor Friends…