Amazing TV Moments That Were Never Supposed To Happen

There usually isn't much room for improv on the set of a TV show. Schedules are tight, and actors show up and recite the lines on the page as quickly and efficiently as possible so everyone can move on to the next shot. But every once in awhile, a little bit of improv manages to squeeze into a day's work—mostly on comedies, but in dramas, too. We'll bet you had no idea these terrific TV moments didn't come from a script, but off the top of an actor's head.

Parks and Recreation: network connectivity problems

There are a lot of great reasons Chris Pratt is a star (Lord) right now, and some of them are little moments like this scene from the third-season Parks and Recreation episode "Flu Season." Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) has the flu, but she's too stubborn to admit it. After some convincing she heads to the hospital, but not before a concerned Andy Dwyer (Pratt) offers Leslie the results of his exhaustive online research into trying to figure out what ails her, with what proves to be one of the funniest bits of improv ever captured on TV. "Leslie, I typed your symptoms into the thing up here and it says you could have network connectivity problems." Pratt was a notorious on-set improviser: be sure to check out this NSFW ad-lib from a Parks and Rec deleted scene that will forever change the way you see Kim Kardashian.

Battlestar Galactica: pity frak

If you don't know, "Frak" was the rebooted Battlestar Galactica's version of the F-word. Its use is what kept the show on the air and not in constant trouble with the FCC. It was used creatively and colorfully over the show's run, but never better than in the 12th episode of the fourth season, titled "A Disquiet Follows My Soul." Felix Gaeta and Kara Thrace get into a verbal tiff. As Kara storms out, Gaeta (played by actor Alessandro Juliani) ad-libbed a beauty of a line: "So I guess a pity frak is out of the question then?" Show creator Ronald D. Moore loved it and kept it in the final cut.

The Office: Michael Scott kisses Oscar

Michael Scott would never turn down a moment where he could make himself appear to be a much better person that he actually was. Steve Carell is a master improviser, so when it came time to apologetically hug actor Oscar Nunez at the end of this scene, he decided it was a good time to see how far he could take it. He went off script and moved in for a kiss on the lips, and from that moment to the end of the clip above Carell is letting his comedic instinct guide him while everyone else rushes to keep up. What you didn't see off-screen, according to Nunez, is the rest of the cast breaking character and cracking up at all the awkwardness.

The Walking Dead: You look ridiculous

Daryl on The Walking Dead is a man of few words. He's mostly into expressing himself through action, like shooting zombies with his trusty crossbow. When he speaks, he speaks truth. He means it. That's what makes Norman Reedus' ad-lib from the fifth-season episode "Remember" such a classic line.

Daryl and Carol have a special relationship. It isn't sexual, or familial. It's one based on the deepest respect for who they are and how far they've both come. They both know exactly who the other person is, deep down. So, when the survivors find a new community to live in—one that, on the surface, looks untouched by the horrors of the outside world—Carol takes the opportunity to change her manner of dress, going from post-apocalyptic survivor chic to suburban soccer mom. When Daryl first lays eyes on her new getup, actor Reedus spit out a single line that said exactly what the audience was thinking: "You look ridiculous."

Scrubs: pretty much everything the janitor says

The Janitor from Scrubs (played by Neil Flynn) is one the all-time great sitcom characters. A supremely confident weirdo who instilled fear in everyone around him, he seemed to live in a reality all his own—and chose to make the life of Zach Braff's character, J.D., a living hell from literally day one of J.D.'s medical career. Flynn studied improv at two prestigious schools in Chicago, so when he was cast in Scrubs, he was given free rein to improvise as much as he wanted. Most of his lines throughout the entire run of the series were made up on the spot.

Sherlock: Apologies

Sherlock Holmes is an abrasive, inconsiderate, selfish person. He's also a hero and possesses one of the greatest analytical minds in all of fiction. So it's only fitting that in the BBC's modern retelling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective stories, Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock as every bit of the pain in the butt as he was in Victorian England—even when he forgets a line and just makes something up to cover. That's exactly what happened during the season three episode "The Sign of Three," when Watson falls asleep drunk while he and Sherlock work a case. We'll never know the exact line Cumberbatch was meant to recite in this scene, but all that came out after "Apologies on behalf of my...thing." The line drips with Sherlock's contempt for every living creature; in other words, it's perfect.

Game of Thrones: Jorah Mormont improvs some Dothraki

When you're dealing with George R.R. Martin's sacred text and intricate plots and characterization, every word in the script is essential to maintaining the narrative thrust of the series. So when Iain Glen, who plays Ser Jorah Mormont, made up a line in the second-season finale, "Valar Morghulis," he got clever with it: he just made up some Dothraki gibberish. Dothraki is a fake language made real by linguist David J. Peterson, who acts as a consultant on the show, helping the actors nail every last syllable of their fictional languages. He wasn't on set when the cast and crew were filming and an English-to-Dothraki translation was needed, so Glen strung together some Dothraki-sounding words, and Peterson later retrofitted the sentence into the language. You can read about the process of how Peterson made Glen's gibberish fit into the Dothraki, but warning: it's so complicated we think he wrote it in another language.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Science, b----!

Does it count as improv when a famous line borrowed from one show is appropriately ad-libbed into another show? Let's just say yes. S.H.I.E.L.D.'s resident super-nerd Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) doesn't get to do as much field work as the rest of the team, so when he's out there mixing it up with bad guys with crazy powers and he's armed only with his smarts and inventions, he can get a little excited. Such as in this scene from the season two episode "S.O.S.", in which Fitz and the team are trying to lure a teleporting bad guy into a trap. The villain is toying the with agents, vaporizing into nothing and reappearing every time they take a swing at him. No one can catch him...until Fitz switches on his tech that stops the teleporter from dematerializing. Recalling a meme inspired by Breaking Bad, De Caestecker confidently ad-libbed the drug drama's famous catchphrase like it was his own: "Science, b—-!"

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Hey, man. Where are my pants?

Willow and Oz—Buffy the Vampire Slayer's story of a love that just wasn't meant to be. They were perfect for each other, as seen during a scene from the second-season episode "What's My Line, Part 2." They meet as Willow (Alyson Hannigan) runs into Oz (Seth Green) by a school vending machine. What follows is a funny (and scripted) bit of dialogue about animal crackers. But the whole scene takes a sudden shift into improv once Oz, in the middle of a rambling rant about the monkey animal cracker being the only animal cracker with pants, compliments Willow's eyes. From there on out, every word of silliness is adorably improvised.

Parks and Recreation: Patton Oswalt's eight-minute Star Wars speech

Shows like The Office and Parks and Rec don't feature much improv, even if this list seems to suggest otherwise. With a season's worth of episodes to shoot every year, actors stuck to the script more often than not; they simply didn't have the time to shoot a scene 10 different ways. That's what makes Patton Oswalt's incredible marathon of improvisation in the season 5 episode "Article Two" so special. To prevent city council members from voting on a subject near and dear to him, Oswalt's character rambles off his idea of an insane crossover movie between the Star Wars and Marvel universes. Not a single bit of it was written. Amazing? Yeah, but the truly amazing part is that, as nuts at the crossover idea is, it doesn't feel entirely implausible in today's Hollywood.

Game of Thrones: Ellaria and Yara kiss

Game of Thrones is a very serialized show, so it makes sense to assume that every moment must be scripted to a T. However, as it turns out, there's some room for flexibility on the series, as was shown in the season 7 episode "Stormborn" when Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) happens upon Ellaria Sand (indira Varma) and the two quickly kiss before being interrupted by Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek). Whelan revealed after the episode was aired that the kiss wasn't scripted, saying that it "just seemed like something we should do."

While Whelan and Varma were both happy to go with the kiss, Whelan's stunt double, who had to fill in during the portions when Euron was attacking the ship, was less gung ho, with Varma saying that she didn't think she had "ever been put in that situation before." Still, in the end, the moment ended up working out, earning approval from fans—and the two actresses involved.

Arrow: Moira protects Thea from her deathbed

Many fans were left heartbroken when Oliver's (Stephen Amell) mother Moira (Susanna Thompson) bit the dust on The CW's Arrow. Despite her occasional deadly lapses in judgement, Moira would do anything for her children, and she proved that once again in her dying moments as she tried to protect her daughter Thea (Willa Holland) from her deathbed. Thompson revealed that part of Moira's speech to her daughter was actually improvised, with the actress coming up with the "close your eyes" comment as a way to bridge the gap between Moira telling Slade (Manu Bennett) to let her children live and her actual death.

"The last thing I wanted was for Thea to see that," Thompson said, adding that she threw in the line without telling anyone. "She had to connect mother to daughter there." Executive producer Marc Guggenheim ended up loving the line and requesting for it to be kept in the final product.

Bob's Burgers: Your favorite songs

Bob's Burgers has a cast full of comedians, so it makes sense that there would be a lot of improvisation behind the scenes. As it turns out, some of the show's most memorable musical moments have come from the minds of actors in the moment, with the writers saying that season three's "Buckle It Up (Or You'll Die)" and season two's "The Thanksgiving Song" were both the results of improvisation.

"Buckle It Up (Or You'll Die)" was apparently only initially set to be a humming from the family patriarch Bob. However, the actors ended up messing around and came up with the fun song. "The Thanksgiving Song," meanwhile, came from the mind of John Roberts, who voices Linda and apparently likes bursting into song just as much as his character does.

Happy Endings: the Mary Poppins reference

If you're one of the (unfortunately) small number of people who tuned into ABC's Happy Endings, you'll know that the Friends-esque comedy was a joke machine, constantly pulling out reference after reference for some quick-paced and hilarious laughs. With a hilarious cast, it makes sense that some of the jokes would be improvised—including a small but fun moment featuring a Mary Poppins reference from Eliza Coupe's Jane.

Coupe threw in the line referencing the "Feed the Birds" song from the classic film during a fake fight with her husband Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.), referring to him as "tuppence a bag" as she talked about his ability to attract pigeons, something Coupe thought would either be forgotten about or removed. However, she was surprised to see that people on Twitter noticed and appreciated the joke. "I think we have enough broad jokes," she argued. "And if some get the obscure ones, it's like a little gem."

Justified: Boyd puts the ring on the wrong hand

Many fans weren't expecting Boyd (Walton Goggins) to show off his soft side on Justified, but he did when he proposed to his girlfriend Ava (Joelle Carter) in season four. According to Carter, one of the sweeter moments of the proposal, when Boyd tries to put the ring on the wrong hand, was actually a mistake that Goggins made in the moment that was eventually kept in the final product.

Carter couldn't remember if it happened in rehearsal or in the first take, but the second Goggins went for the wrong hand, she knew she wanted to keep it in the final product. "I don't know if it happened because Boyd was nervous," she said. "To me, I feel like Boyd's never asked anyone to marry him before, so that's why it happened. I don't know why it happened with Walton."

Saturday Night Live: Bill Hader covers his mouth as Stefon

Bill Hader's Stefon has been one of the breakout characters of Saturday Night Live's recent years, and, on a show known for its improv talent, it comes as no surprise that one of the key pieces of the character's persona would have been made up on the spot. According to Hader, the reason he always covered his mouth when playing Stefon is because of Seth Meyers.

Meyers was the Weekend Update host for most of Stefon's appearances, and apparently, him being the straight man against Stefon's "insane person" was just too much for the actor to keep a straight face. As Hader explained years later during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, "You were being so patient with this maniac who had the simplest job in the world."

Merlin: Arthur puts his foot in Merlin's face

Arthur (Bradley James) was never the best friend to Merlin (Colin Morgan) while starring on the character's titular BBC One series, but the two did have fun messing with each other on the show—just as the actors did behind the scenes. According to James, the scene in which Arthur rubs his foot on Merlin's face in season one after a sweet bonding conversation was actually just him messing with Morgan, but it ended up making it into the final cut.

James revealed on the DVD commentary that that was his "favorite bit" of the episode, but that he didn't do it in rehearsals. He said he instead waited until it was Morgan's take and then just did it, much to the chagrin of Morgan, who said it was supposed to be a "special moment." In the end, the director decided that a foot in the face was the perfect way to cap off the special moment and it was kept in.

Breaking Bad: Baby Holly calls for her mother

There were a lot of heartbreaking moments in Breaking Bad over the years, but one of the biggest tearjerkers came when Walt's (Bryan Cranston) baby daughter Holly started calling out for her mother after her father abducted her. As it turns out, Holly wasn't actually scripted to be saying anything in that moment.

According to co-executive producer Moira Walley-Beckett, the two actresses playing Holly were both only on set for about 20 minutes at a time as they worked through the emotional scene. During the bathroom scene, baby Holly saw her real mother just a few feet away, and ended up calling out to her. Credit goes to Cranston for rolling with it, because the moment ended up being an instant classic.

Psych- Shawn picks up a pineapple

If you watched Psych, you know how important pineapples were to the show. In fact, one of the tropical fruits appeared in almost every episode of the series, in addition to featuring prominently in its marketing over the years. As it turns out, the whole thing started thanks to an improvisation from Psych star James Roday.

Show creator Steve Franks said Roday picked up a prop pineapple on set while they were filming the pilot, joking, "You want me to cut this up for the road?" He was so enthusiastic about the joke that Franks felt like he just had to keep it, and it spiraled out from there. "It was little things like that and getting happy when we thought that we solved the case," Roday's co-star Dule Hill said. "They stayed throughout the show and we were able to grow from there."