Improvised scenes in TV shows are common, but that doesn't always mean they make it into our collective memory or even the final cut. That said, there are some unscripted TV moments that are just too good to forget. There's nothing new about improvisation, and it's not limited to television.
There are a ton of actors with an improv background, both in comedy and drama. It's a technique used more and more today because it offers such range, allowing actors with the skill to be part of the writing process as well.
You might be surprised just how many ad-libbed TV lines there are – it's pretty much standard practice these days. Sometimes entire scenes are unscripted, and in rarer cases, a particular character might never have scripted lines, given the actor's penchant for on-the-spot comedy.
Here are some of the most famous improvised TV scenes and lines that you probably had no idea were ad-libbed.
In "Gay Witch Hunt," Michael Scott does his best to prove to his employees just how not homophobic he is, and the best way to do that (in his mind) is to kiss Oscar. While the script did have Michael kissing Oscar, it was supposed to be on the cheek, and that is, of course, not how it played out on camera.
In "Flu Season," an episode filled with no shortage of memorable lines (think Rob Lowe forcefully telling himself in a mirror to "STOP. POOPING!"), Chris Pratt gets credit for the funniest line and delivers it perfectly as Andy Dwyer.
When Leslie is showing signs of the flu at work, Andy tries to help from his desk in Dwyer-like fashion: "Leslie, I typed your symptoms into the thing up here and it says you could have network connectivity problems."
Neil Flynn, who played the unforgettable janitor on Scrubs, had an insane line pretty much every time he was on screen. According to Buzzfeed, the writers didn't even need to write lines for him.
Dean Winchester drops his catchphrase – “Son of a bitch!” – quite often on Supernatural, but perhaps the best example was when actor Jensen Ackles improvised the line, forcing his costar to turn away from the camera to hide his laughter.
Jared Padalecki confessed during a panel that he was, indeed, caught off guard by the ad-lib.