We recognize a good actor by his ability to improvise brilliantly without it being noticed in the final production. There are plenty of improvised cult scenes in the cinema but also in the series and very often, we do not know until well after the broadcast of the episodes that gags, reactions or entire scenes were improvised.
1. The best scenes in Sex Education weren’t in the script, they were improvised by the actors and actresses
Several very funny scenes such as the moment when Adam plays with the labeller or Aimee’s cult reaction “Maeve, it’s Steve! were actually completely improvised by the actors. True pros of humor.
2. Abed imitates Nicolas Cage in Community
Originally, the class was to prepare a lesson on Nicolas Cage and his way of playing. The fact that Danny Pudi, who plays Abed, walks into the room impersonating Nicolas Cage was totally improvised.
3. The kiss between Michael and Oscar in The Office
This horribly awkward kiss wasn’t originally in the script at all, which makes Pam and Ryan’s reactions even funnier.
4. Holly says “mom” in a heartbreaking scene from Breaking Bad
In one of Breaking Bad’s final episodes, Walter returns home to kidnap Holly and take her with him away from Skyler. While in a public restroom, the baby says “Mommy” pleadingly. The child had actually seen his mother on the film set, but Bryan Cranston improvised a touching reaction following his baby’s first word.
5. Tormund’s gaze of love towards Brienne
It was planned in the Breaking Bad script that Tormund had a big crush on Torth, but this look, as charming as it was heavy, was not planned at all at this time of filming.
6. The last line of Friends was completely improvised.
In the latest episode of Friends, Monica and Chandler move to the suburbs. The group of friends are gathered in the empty apartment and when Rachel asks if they have some time before they have to go to their new house, Monica replies that they have time, why not go for a coffee. Chandler replies, “Sure…where?” and this line was completely improvised. For Friends newbies, it’s funny because they’ve been going to the same cafe every day for 10 years.
7. Marshall’s reaction when he learns of his father’s death
Actor Jason Segel who plays Marshall had been warned that he was going to have to play sadness in a scene of crying. To get the most spontaneous reaction possible, he asked not to know Lily’s drama announcement in advance. Successful challenge.
8. Schmidt describes the perfect girl in New Girl.
In a flashback to New Girl, Schmidt describes the “perfect girl” to his friend Nick. Originally, he was just going to tell her that he wanted to meet a nice girl and have a child, but he preferred to improvise by describing “a girl who wears a hat and a hoodie, maybe orange”. Exactly what Nick was wearing in that scene. It made the actors laugh a lot and the scene was kept in the edit.
9. Chandler takes the furniture drawer in Friends
As Chandler has a complicated relationship with Rachel’s boss, he finds himself stuck in his office hanging from a drawer in handcuffs. The funniest moment of this scene, when Chandler takes the drawer, was not planned at all and the actor had to hurt himself a little a lot.
10. The argument between Rue and her mother in season 1 of Euphoria
In the very first episode of season 1 of Euphoria, Zendaya and Nika King, who plays Rue’s mother, were asked to act out an argument scene but no details were written in advance. The two actresses therefore improvised the whole scene and it worked more than well.