Entertainment
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The Best TV Shows That Use Improvisation

August 19, 2020 303 votes 46 voters17 items

List RulesVote up the shows that prove you don't need a script to get laughs.

Improvised sitcoms aren't completely made up on the fly, but they do have uniquely flexible scripts that allow them to find the funny in a more naturalistic way. Many improvised series are presented as documentary-style shows, which creates the narrative room for the often less polished results of improvisation.

Curb Your Enthusiasm might be the most well-known improvised situation comedy, and the most improvised. Using simple outlines with a single paragraph summarizing each scene the show relies on the actors' ability to improvise and play off of each other. The outline-as-script method is how most improvised sitcoms maintain their structure over a season while keeping things loose within each episode. Even the animated Home Movies initially worked from scene outlines, with the animation created to match the resulting voice work. Reno 911! - both the original and the Quibi reboot - are also famously improvised. More traditional sitcoms such as Parks & Recreation or The Office were not completely improvised but did leave copious wiggle-room in the scripts for their talented casts to shine.

Vote up the improvised sitcoms that may have been made up on the fly but still are the best at delivering the laughs.

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