A good comedy series needs to have quality jokes and entertaining storylines throughout, but there’s no better way to get an audience hooked on a show and in it for the long haul than a great cold open.
Some television writers use cold opens to launch right into a storyline with the intent of making whoever is watching go, “oh well I just gotta know how this plays out,” and others treat it as almost a mini sketch, separate from the actual events and that may or may not follow the general theme of that episode, which allows for different jokes and a different way to get to know the characters. No matter the approach, the most important thing is that it’s funny. Those first few minutes before the title sequence and opening credits are what will make or break a viewer’s interest in any show, and if done well, often that will become the fan-favorite moment of the whole episode.
Here are five of the best cold opens that are guaranteed to make you laugh as well as want to start bingeing these shows right now.
Schitt’s Creek S3E11 — STOP SAYING LICE
IS ANYBODY ELSE ITCHY NOW
Parks and Recreation S3E9 — Ron Swanson pulls out a tooth
The ultimate power move
Letterkenny S2E3 — Squirrely Dan gets a little too candid about his relationship
Well it’s impolite to kiss-and-tell
The Office S5E13 — Dwight’s insane fire drill
“WE’RE TRAPPED, EVERYONE FOR HIMSELF”
Brooklyn Nine-Nine S5E17 — Peralta makes the lineup sing ‘I Want It That Way’
Probably the most jarring end to a Backstreet Boys song ever