This is Ode To, a weekly column where we share the stuff we’re really into in hopes that you’ll be really into it, too.
Growing up in the golden age of DVDs was both a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, I wasted some serious cash building up a collection of movies and television box sets that are currently on their way to being obsolete. But whenever I watched a DVD, I always had the luxury of knowing my viewing experience would extend far beyond the movie or TV show itself. I’m talking about those beautiful bonus features — the extra nuggets of entertainment today’s world is seriously lacking.
Nowadays, binge watches come to a screeching, painfully unfulfilling halt once I’ve made it through the full series. While streaming is ideal for uninterrupted viewing, once I’ve finished a show or movie you love, that’s it – I must accept that it’s over, mourn its loss, and frantically search for the next great thing to fill the empty void in my heart.
DVDs provided a far more graceful transition period. Before saying goodbye, I could return to that sweet, sweet DVD menu and experience a treasure trove of cast commentary, deleted scenes, related trivia, games, and my personal favorite: the gag reel.
So when I’ve finished streaming a great television show, I try my best to mimic the DVD-viewing experience and head over to YouTube to bask in hilarious and under-appreciated blooper reels. If you’ve ever finished a show and found yourself feeling lost or empty, like you’ve just been ghosted by a group of friends you’d spent a straight week with, you need bloopers in your life. Trust me.
The best of the best
Throughout my own online journey I’ve discovered some pure bonus feature gold. For instance, The Office knows what’s up and features full gag reels from almost every season on its official YouTube channel.
While they’re all wonderful, there’s a special place in my heart for the Season 4 bloopers — when cast members can be seen losing their shit during takes of Episode 13, titled “Dinner Party.” The episode was SO GOOD that Rolling Stone recently published an oral history to celebrate its 10-year anniversary, in which the cast gushes over how hilarious it was to film. They clearly weren’t exaggerating.
The only thing more pure than Steve Carell laughing in character as Michael Scott is Steve Carell laughing as himself. And John Krasinski breaks so hard that he turns bright red and releases an actual squeal. The 30-second clip of Michael attempting to show off his tiny plasma TV, and the below video of Stanley making the office erupt with laughter, are two of my favorite things.
Sadly, not all shows share behind-the-scenes footage as openly as The Office. While it’s rare to find bloopers from older shows like Gilmore Girls sans DVDs, that shouldn’t discourage your search.
The few Gilmore Girls extras that are floating around online are brilliant. They fulfill your lifelong dream of hearing Lorelai drop an F-bomb, and finally let’s us in on what she and Rory gushed about after meeting in the Stars Hollow town square, post-Max proposal and Dean-reconciliation at the end of Season 1 (episode 21, if you need to know.)
And in an extra-pure blooper, fans of Lorelai and Luke can imagine an alternate reality in which the two accidentally express their true feelings for one another as early as season 1. Think how easy all of our lives could have been if this is how it all played out instead of leaving us in suspense for four whole seasons. But hey, at least this confirms what we all knew from the start.
There are wholesome bloopers like the ones featured above, and then there are shows like Parks and Recreation, with bloopers and improv so unexpected that you’ll either applaud or feel absolutely mortified.
Essentially all of Chris Pratt’s outtakes as Andy Dwyer are LOL-worthy in the sense that they’re completely gross. From farting to burping to that extremely NSFW Kim Kardashian comeback story joke, these are the bloopers to watch for more PG-13 laughs.
Bonus feature benefits
Aside from the satisfaction that comes from witnessing professional actors break character, bloopers give you a chance to savor your relationship with the show a bit longer. You get to see the actors be themselves, and get a sneak peek at all the work it took to make the seemingly flawless finished product you just watched come to life.
There are bloopers for popular modern shows like Game of Thrones, The Good Place, Modern Family, and Breaking Bad, and classic favorites like . Sometimes there are reels so long that it’ll feel like your show’s getting a mini-revival. If you’re in the mood for a lengthy laugh, we recommend this 30-minute edit of LOST mess ups, or the nearly two-and-a-half hours of Seinfeld bloopers. Yes, really.
There are hilarious news bloopers out there and outtakes from movies, all waiting to be watched. You’ve seen your favorite actors at their best, and though it’s fun to idolize talented professionals, it’s refreshing to know that even the best of the best mess up every now and then.
And if you’re still craving more of an insider’s perspective, the internet is packed with deleted scenes, on-set interviews, and tons of other behind-the-scenes goodies from the shows and films you love.
Take advantage of the often forgotten entertainment extras, and have a good hearty laugh over the fact that everyone fucks up sometimes.