Which New Sitcom Delivered the Best 'In Joke'?

Something was in the water for Wednesday night’s two newest comedies, as Fox’s Breaking In and ABC’s Happy Endings each made reference to a cast member’s most memorable previous TV gig.

Having watched all of last night’s comedies from the 9 and 10 o’clock hours, I’m going to give the slight edge in this “contest” to the 10:00 pm installment of Happy Endings, which in a bar scene between Alex and Penny made a very direct allusion to Elisha Cuthbert’s ferociously notorious 24 storyline. Press PLAY here for that wonderful wink-wink moment:

Breaking In, meanwhile, was slightly more subtle, having Dutch (played by Smallville‘s erstwhile Lex Luthor) trumpet NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson’s arrival by calling him the S-word; press PLAY for that scene:

From in jokes to outrageous humor, this Wednesday — across the board — served up a particularly strong night of comedy. From Modern Family‘s Gloria being a bit too excited about one day laying claim to Lily, to Cougar Town‘s Laurie relishing her “Walk of Awesome,” to Happy Endings remarkably mining humor from the least funny of historical surnames.


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  1. Nichole says:

    I really didn’t think I was going to like “Happy Endings” but it is really funny and I like it. It is a good compliment to the strong shows it followed that night.

    • DL says:

      Agreed. In fact, I thought the second episode of the evening was even funnier than that night’s Modern Family, which was, of course, hilarious as always. Favorite joke of the episode? “…Schecter is Jewish?” “Only in the face.” Funny ’cause it’s true. xD

  2. Jenny says:

    Happy Endings really enjoyed it last night. Breaking In doesn’t look like something I’d watch on a weekly basis.

  3. andrea says:

    The Breaking In pilot didn’t sell me 100%, but each new episode after I have liked more and more!!!

  4. Sam says:

    As long as they have more ‘lex luthor’ I’ll keep watching. He was awesomeast night. Still smiling from the episode. Hilarious

  5. Amanda says:

    I like both of these shows. Also of note, both of these episodes were directed by Fred Savage!

  6. Kate says:

    I Laughed out loud so many times during the Happy Endings double bill, and Cougar Town always has me going! Modern Family isnt as funny as last year still get some giggles but not as much as the other two!

  7. Laura says:

    I’m a little behind and just caught last week’s Breaking In which had a Christian Slater nod to Heathers.

    • Jen says:

      Yes, loved that Christian Slater’s character answered the phone with “greetings and salutations” in Breaking In last week, any nod to Heathers they want to throw in is fine by me!

  8. M says:

    What Dutch says on Breaking In right before they walk out of the office was so funny I had to rewind it a couple of times! Love Christian Slater too, glad he is back and hope he stays awhile!!

  9. Sarah says:

    Breaking In also had some great references to some classic sci fi. The printer wanting to kill all humans; references to Terminator and Skynet which I thought was brilliant given this is the week Skynet goes live (according to the show). And then not 10 seconds later Oz coming from a secret room hidden by a Tron acarde game!

  10. Jon88 says:

    Yes, we caught the in-joke on “Happy Endings.” How could we not? They beat the poor thing into the ground. Honest, guys, I got it the first time.

  11. Garnet_and_Gold47 says:

    Both are very good, but I have to say Monday’s “How I Met Your Mother” takes the cake. John Lithgow makes a reference to his role in “Footloose.” It made the episode one of my favorites of the season.

  12. Jeremy says:

    Happy Endings and Modern Family. Srsly, people should watch Happy Endings more. Its getting killed in the ratings.

  13. bevis says:

    Breaking In makes in-jokes every week. This week it was another Superman reference with Dutch, and Oz (played by Christian Slater) said “We’ve got a broken arrow”, referencing one of his own lesser-acclaimed films.

  14. Scott says:

    I don’t like when sitcoms do these “wink wink” inside jokes. It gives me the creeps.