Worst Sitcom Episodes of All Time

Whilst sitcoms act as a great comfort for a lot of us, there’s no denying that some plotlines and episodes are incredibly cringe-inducing. Some I struggle to watch because of second-hand embarrassment while others are just horrendously dull. Others, I actively hate-watch because I have so much to say about why I dislike them. For me, this usually happens when characters are written in a way which is out of character for them, something I find to be even more frustrating than plot-holes. Or I may hate an episode if the writing is clearly trying to make me sympathise with a character I find insufferable. What follows is a subjective selection of my favourite hate-watches; my least favourite episodes from the shows I love the most. The list is not exhaustive; things I have missed out may either be because I have not watched certain shows, or because I do not think certain shows, such as Derry Girls, are capable of ‘bad’ episodes.



‘The One Without the Ski Trip’:

For the most part, the show carefully tries to balance the fallout from Ross and Rachel’s breakup. However, I sometimes find this difficult to stomach because it feels almost too balanced, in that it tries too hard to defend Ross (on a break or not, he still hurt her and refused to accept responsibility). Although the writers do have an obligation to make their main characters sympathetic, it still made little sense for Rachel’s best friends to secretly side against her.

‘The One With the Tiny T-Shirt’:

After the whole issue of Ross not trusting Mark, it feels disingenuous that the show would vindicate Ross by revealing that Mark apparently did like Rachel. Not only did this episode feel unfair to Rachel’s character, but it seems to completely forget that her and Mark’s friendship was completely platonic, and that Mark even had a girlfriend.

‘The One That Could Have Been’:

Any episode that bullies Monica for once being fat is problematic, but this is the worst example. I think it is harmful to assume that Monica would be a virgin if she had not lost weight and the show implies that her weight loss equates to maturing. I also do not think this needed to be two episodes of an alternate universe. It was boring.

‘The Last One’:

Rachel should have gone to Paris. It made perfect sense for her character. Ross only holds her back and should not have meddled, and his meddling should not have been condoned.


Brooklyn 99:

‘The Set Up’:

As a reckless detective, Jake’s comeuppance was well deserved. My issue lies in the fact that it took almost the entire run of the show before he was adequately punished. His behaviour throughout the show borders on abhorrence, and while he is usually called out on his behaviour, the show almost always validates him by having his hunch work out in the end. His behaviour in this episode is an accumulation of the rest of his previous actions not being checked.


Evaluating the episode on a surface level, I think it was unfair that Jake’s concerns were dismissed and that he was essentially cornered into agreeing to kids. It also infantilises Jake, a pattern that by this episode I was fed up with. Additionally, when evaluating the episode within the context of the rest of the show, it makes no sense. Firstly, I cannot buy that they did not discuss kids before marriage. Secondly, if one of them was hesitant about kids, I would have thought that it would be Amy. Thirdly, the way the central tension is set up, in the form of a debate, is completely inappropriate for the content of the episode.


The Good Place:

‘Everything is bonzer!’:

It pains me to include this show. I love this show with every fibre of my being. That unfortunately does not detract from the difficulty of watching the third season’s opening episode. Forty minutes of Michael interfering when he should not be is inexplicably painful to watch. This may be the only episode on this list to not fall into the ‘bad’ category and instead fall into ‘cringe’. I started rewatching this episode the other week and halfway through put it on pause. I am yet to finish the episode.


New girl:


This episode where Jess tries to get Schmidt to relax is easily one of the worst instances of Jess’ self-righteousness. Usually, I love to defend Jess because I think she gets hated on too much, however I found her infuriating in this episode. The show usually frames Jess as being well-intentioned when she meddles, however I find it infuriating when she meddles for selfish reasons, as she clearly does here.

Cece Crashes:

This episode where Cece is the one who gets blamed for her interactions with Schmidt was unfair. Schmidt keeps harassing her when she doesn’t want his attention. He continuously demonstrates in the first series that he is not a good person. I find it appalling that Jess treats Cece as the problem. Jess is regularly a bad friend, for example when she finds out about Cece and Schmidt. Yet the shoe always tries to frame it as Cece being illusive, and it is at its worst here.


Ultimately, these episodes may not be objectively bad, and much of my hatred for them likely stems from my attachment to or dislike of certain characters. There are plenty of plotlines and episodes that are wildly hated (such as Rachel and Joey getting together in Friends) that I am either neutral about or could actually defend (my condemnation of Ross in this article tells you all you need to know about my attitude towards Rachel and Joey). I don’t suggesting avoiding the episodes I have discussed, but I would advise proceeding with caution. Or have someone whom you can complain to in the room with you when you watch these episodes. Then at least their bearable.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.