Some of the most memorable television episodes from the past year are dramas dressed in comedy clothing or feature twists and turns no one could see coming.
Here are my 10 favorite TV episodes of 2015:
10. “12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer” Inside Amy Schumer
While this particular episode was a little derivative of the focus group sketch from 2014, it drove its point home about sexism by featuring typically “unattractive” character actors like Paul Giamatti, John Hawkes, and Jeff Goldblum, and taking its classic premise beyond the sketch format.
9. “The Truth” Wayward Pines
The episode where the reality behind the town of Wayward Pines is revealed and everyone’s minds both on and off screen get blown. I feel like I’ve said too much already.
8. “The End” Parks & Recreation
We see the futures of every life Leslie Knope touches, from April and Andy’s domestic bliss to Jerry’s long and happy life. Plus, the show coyly hints at Knope’s fruitful political career. It was a happy ending for everyone, and you couldn’t have imagined it concluding any other way.
7. “Parents” Master of None
Master of None is an uneven 10 episodes, but when it’s on, it’s on. While “Indians on TV” is the episode everyone talks about, “Parents” is a heartfelt and heartbreaking look at family that spans cultures, generations, and highlights Aziz Ansari’s dad as a breakout star.
6. “Person to Person” Mad Men
There were many theories about how AMC’s juggernaut would end, and as it turned out, Don Draper was one of the brains behind one of the most iconic commercials in history. “Person to Person” refers to the phone calls Don makes in the episode, including that to his daughter, to Betty, and to Peggy. But it also describes how quickly this finale spread into a viral phenomenon.
5. “Happiness, Pillow Fight, Imaginary Friend” Review
While I won’t soon forget Forrest MacNeil having Mile High sex in front of his son or starting a cult in his father’s backyard, the one episode I always go back to in season 2 of Review is this one, which introduces us to Forrest’s best (imaginary) friend Clovers, who meets an untimely and violent demise.
4. “eps1.5br4ve-trave1er.asf” Mr. Robot
In “eps1.5br4ve-trave1er.asf,” Elliot (Rami Malek) spends most of this episode trying to free Fernando Vera from prison, in order to save Shayla’s life. While many people might remember the Sound and Color scene from the final episode as the quintessential moment of the series, the final scene in this episode is the one where I knew I was hooked on finding out how Mr. Robot would turn out.
3. “The Word” Black-ish
This episode came along when we truly needed a laugh in a racially charged year. Jack (Miles Brown), the youngest member of the Johnson clan, drops the N bomb during his talent show rendition of Kanye West’s “Golddigger,” and it opens up a whole can of worms about the use of the word. Not only was this episode hilarious, but it also encouraged a thoughtful discussion.
2. “Knockoffs” Broad City
Just as Black-ish yielded thoughtful discussion of the N word, Comedy Central’s Broad City penetrated cable with commentary on “pegging.” Abbi (Abbi Jacobson) finally lands a dream date with Jeremy (Stephen Schneider). . .and he wants her to wear a strap-on. Plus, this episode features Susie Essman and an epic underground twerk sequence from Ilana Glazer. It may have been called “Knockoffs,” but this episode is legit.
1. “LCD Soundsystem” You’re the Worst
I typically don’t look to comedies for my favorite dramatic moments of the season, but Gretchen’s (Aya Cash) face at the end of this episode is one of the best emotional sequences of the year. The title of this episode refers to the band that family-man Justin Kirk’s character references while hitting on Gretchen with his wife Lexi (Tara Summers) in the next room. Gretchen loves the idea of seeing a perfect family, and when Rob makes a pass at her, this crushes her belief and her already dwindling spirit.