CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

In assembling my picks for the best TV episodes of the past decade, I noticed that I was leaning heavily on the comedy side. This was unsurprising, as I tend to watch more sitcoms than dramas. But the difference was even more pronounced than usual. I think that makes sense, because on average, comedies tend to be specifically designed on an episodic basis moreso than dramas.

I should also note that I did not limit shows to any prescribed maximum. You’ll notice that certain programs keep popping up, like Community and Nathan for You. They deserve it, as they’re the types of shows that revolutionized themselves on the regular.

So here are the television morsels from the 2010s that shine within the context of their full works and also stand brilliantly on their own.

25. 30 Rock, “Leap Day” (Originally Aired 2/23/12 on NBC) – The festive traditions of February 29 are in full bloom.
24. Black Mirror, “San Junipero” (Originally Aired 10/21/16 on Netflix) – Two souls in love find each other virtually, and genuinely.
23. The Last Man on Earth, “Alive in Tucson” (Originally Aired 3/1/15 on FOX) – A man spends an inordinate amount of time alone.
22. Nathan for You, “Dumb Starbucks” (Originally Aired 7/29/14 on Comedy Central) – When is a restaurant not a restaurant?
21. American Dad!, “Rabbit Ears” (Originally Aired 5/6/19 on TBS) – A surprising object offers a strange gateway into the past.
20. Nathan for You, “Souvenir Shop/E.L.A.I.F.F.” (Originally Aired 7/18/14 on Comedy Central) – Nathan really commits to the bit. What a maverick spirit.
19. BoJack Horseman, “Let’s Find Out” (Originally Aired 7/17/15 on Netflix) – What do celebrities know? I think we found out, if only just a little bit.
18. Community, “Critical Film Studies” (Originally Aired 3/24/11 on NBC) – A birthday is celebrated, a conversation is had.
17. Community, “Paradigms of Human Memory” (Originally Aired 4/21/11 on NBC) – Stories are told, memories are shared.
16. Community, “Cooperative Calligraphy” (Originally Aired 10/11/10 on NBC) – A pen is stolen from someone who really cares about it…
15. Rick and Morty, “Meeseeks and Destroy” (Originally Aired 1/20/14 on Adult Swim) – Be careful what you wish for. Or rather, be careful what is wished of you.
14. Community, “Virtual Systems Analysis” (Originally Aired 4/19/12 on NBC) – The mediums we create in our own lives can be quite therapizing.
13. Nathan for You, “Finding Frances” (Originally Aired 11/9/17 on Comedy Central) – A unique story of profound human connection.
12. Rick and Morty, “Total Rickall” (Originally Aired 8/16/15 on Adult Swim) – Memory manipulation becomes awfully animated.
11. The Eric Andre Show, “Bird Up!” (Originally Aired 1/23/15 on Adult Swim) – “The worst show on television” folds in on itself.
10. Nathan for You, “The Anecdote” (Originally Aired 10/19/17 on Comedy Central) – The ultimate in reverse engineering.
9. Atlanta, “Teddy Perkins” (Originally Aired 4/5/18 on FX) – If you enter an unfamiliar house, you might be confronted with quite a backstory.
8. The Chris Gethard Show, “One Man’s Trash” (Originally Aired 5/25/16 on Fusion) – People try to guess what’s in a dumpster. The surprise just might be worth the buildup.
7. Rick and Morty, “Rixty Minutes” (Originally Aired 3/14/14 on Adult Swim) – Watching a multiverse of TV.
6. Community, “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television” (Originally Aired 6/2/15 on Yahoo! Screen) – An end is approaching; possible futures are discussed.
5. Inside Amy Schumer, “12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer” (Originally Aired 5/5/15 on Comedy Central) – A contentious topic is hotly debated by a passionate jury.
4. Twin Peaks: The Return, “Part 8” (Originally Aired 6/25/17 on Showtime) – Is this episode anything less than the entire history of evil?
3. Community, “Remedial Chaos Theory” (Originally Aired 10/13/11 on NBC) – In which we discover the truth that which friend answers the door can make a MASSIVE difference.
2. Review, “Pancakes; Divorce; Pancakes” (Originally Aired 3/20/14 on Comedy Central) – A man eats a lot of breakfast food and ends his marriage – you’ll never guess what else happens.
1. Too Many Cooks (Originally Aired 10/28/14 on Adult Swim) – The ultimate distillation of surreal sitcom trope parody.