What do the best TV road trips all have in common? They give viewers the chance to see the characters they know and love in a new light. A change in scenery can breathe new life into a long-running series. When characters leave their comfort zones and embark on new adventures, a true fan travels alongside them - whether they're visiting that college they’ve always dreamed of attending, confessing their feelings to a coworker, or picking up a friend from rehab.
Just like in the best road trip comedies, these episodes aren't just about getting from point A to point B. The best television episodes about taking a road trip give viewers a new perspective on a fictional world, or advance the plot in an interesting new direction. In some cases, they also merit a few well-deserved laughs along the way. It’s all about the journey.
So, what are the greatest fictional road trips on TV? Vote up your favorites!
Who Goes On The Trip? The Save Greendale Committee. In other words Abed, Britta, Dean Pelton, Elroy, Annie, Frankie, and Jeff.
Where Do They Go? The gang travels to deliver a giant hand that Dean Pelton bought to its new owner.
What Happens Along The Way? Elroy's RV breaks down. Abed provides meta commentary and flashbacks. They drain the secondary battery by charging their phones. The giant hand falls off the top of the RV, causing havoc.
Why Is The Episode Great? In typical Community fashion, the episode pokes fun at its own story structure, especially by having Abed trying to telepathically take everyone back to three weeks earlier for an establishing flashback. But ultimately, it's wonderfully absurd, packed with great dialogue, and reveals more about the study group and their relationships.
Actors: Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover
Number of Seasons: 3
Who Goes On The Trip? Don.
Where Do They Go? He goes on the road with no particular destination in mind.
What Happens Along The Way? Don spends a few days in Kansas, discussing his true self for once with vets at a local Legion night. He ends up at a bus stop in the middle of Oklahoma, going nowhere. Meanwhile, Betty receives some devastating news.
Why Is The Episode Great? As the penultimate episode of the series, it did a fine job with both Betty and Don’s storylines. Don’s road trip allowed him to find himself and move on, even though he has no idea what to do next. His disappearing act is nearly complete, and viewers are left eager to know what will come next.
Actors: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser
Number of Seasons: 6
Who Goes On The Trip? Tony and Meadow.
Where Do They Go? Tony takes his daughter on a trip to Maine to visit colleges.
What Happens Along The Way? Meadow asks Tony if he is "in the Mafia." Tony spots Fabian Petrulio, a former member of the DiMeo crime family who turned FBI informant. After a few obstacles, he strangles Petrulio with a wire. He continues his trip with his daughter nonetheless.
Why Is The Episode Great? This episode is considered to be one of the best of the series. It’s filled with emotional conflict, confessions big and small, and some strangely funny scenes. "College" takes its time with the hunt after Tony spots Petrulio, and balances him following the rat with him spending time with his daughter beautifully.
Actors: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco
Number of Seasons: 6
Who Goes On The Trip? Leslie and Ben. Chris accompanies them on their way back as an insanely funny third wheel.
Where Do They Go? They go to Indianapolis for a work trip.
What Happens Along The Way? Ben and Leslie do their best to keep things professional, but fail. They kiss, marking the start of one of the most adorable TV romances of all time. They spend the night at Chris's. He comes back with them and drives them crazy from the back seat.
Why Is The Episode Great? The fact that that it delivers Leslie and Ben’s first kiss should be enough. Add Rob Lowe being hilarious and you’ve got yourself a classic Parks and Recreation installment. But besides being funny, "Road Trip" is ultimately a heartwarming episode, showing that no matter how much Leslie and Ben might try, they just can’t stay away from each other.
Actors: Amy Poehler, Jim O'Heir, Nick Offerman
Number of Seasons: 4