Accidents will happen. But once in a while, they’re blessings in disguise that end up making things work out for the best. Take, for example, TV show bloopers: sure, it’s an accident when something unscripted goes down during a shoot, but sometimes they make the show funnier, more compelling, or just more all-around interesting. These bloopers from popular TV shows were just so perfect for the plot and characters, they had to stay in the final cut.
The Brady Bunch
In his 1992 memoir Growing Up Brady, and in many subsequent meet-and-greets, Barry "Greg Brady" Williams has revealed that he taped a scene for his ultra-innocent family sitcom while completely stoned. To be fair, he was a young dude in California in the early 1970s, and he thought he had the day off, so he got a little high with some friends. And then he got a phone call—producers needed him on set that day after all. Williams shot a scene where he was filling up a bike tire in the driveway when Mr. Brady arrived with a boat. Somehow nobody associated with The Brady Bunch thought it was weird that Greg/Williams tripped over his bike pump, awkwardly waved, slurred his words, or looked the wrong way when his onscreen little sister arrived, all with a literally dopey grin on his face.
The best Seinfeld episodes featured the cast’s fabulous foursome struggling with some kind of existential nightmare of modern existence, and the best example is the 1991 episode "The Parking Garage," in which the gang spends the entire story wandering around a parking complex, unable to find their car until the very end. As scripted, the episode was supposed to finish with some small talk and the group driving off, their struggle complete. But when Michael Richards (Kramer) put the key in the ignition, the car wouldn’t start. It’s a more fitting and funnier ending, however accidental. (Look closely through the darkened car windows: the actors are clearly laughing.)
While shooting a POV scene for the Twin Peaks pilot episode, during which the mother of missing and murdered Laura Palmer looks into her daughter’s bedroom, show co-creator and director David Lynch noticed set dresser Frank Silva adding in some final touches, and Lynch realized that if he were to shoot the scene at that moment, Silva would be visible. As Silva recalled, Lynch said, "Wait a minute! Frank, get down to the base of the bed, crouch down, look through those wrought iron bars, and act scared!" And that’s how Lynch shot the scene. Silva’s spontaneous addition to Twin Peaks influenced the entire trajectory of the series: Laura Palmer’s killer turned out to be under the influence of an evil being named BOB…portrayed in his non-possessive moments by Frank Silva.
"Son of a b****" is a commonly uttered profanity, as well as an occasional catchphrase for paranormal investigator Dean Winchester on Supernatural. Jensen Ackles has played the character for more than a decade, and he uttered the line as an off-script addition while making the 2007 episode "Bad Day at Black Rock." His boisterous, hilariously frustrated, over-the-top delivery, combined with the utter surprise of the line itself, made costar Jared Padelicki laugh, and then turn away from the camera. The whole thing made it into the episode.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
This cult classic follows the interstellar travails of a poor sap imprisoned on a spaceship with two robots, all three of whom mock the low-budget movies of the ’50s and ’60s they’re forced to watch. Many of the films viewed over the course of the series are riddled with mistakes—either because the filmmakers didn’t have the money for reshoots, or they were too inept to notice. It’s ironic, then, that MST3K had its own spectacular blooper make it into the finished product. Inspired by a death ray in a terrible movie called Danger!! Death Ray, robot Tom Servo (the one that looks like a gumball machine) made his own death ray and fired it at Crow (the gold robot). That was all supposed to happen. The Crow puppet, however, wasn’t supposed to catch fire as a result of the special effects. It was just the sort of anarchic silliness that made Mystery Science Theater 3000 so special…so the take was used.
Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) doesn’t always understand why other, lesser humans do the things they do. But in the 2014 episode "The Sign of Three," he does understand the ritual of getting rip-roaring drunk with one’s best friend (John Watson, portrayed by Martin Freeman) before their wedding. The revelry is interrupted when a case opens up, meaning Holmes and Watson have to get their sleuth on immediately after getting their drink on. At one point, Holmes’s drunk brain fails him and he spaces out, apologizing for "my…you know…thing." According to Sherlock honcho and the episode’s writer, Steven Moffat, it was actually Cumberbatch who forgot the line, and the goof was so perfect that he had to keep it in the show.
Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) was always a man of unique pursuits—like playing experimental keyboard music and owning a monkey, for example. In the seventh-season Friends episode "The One With Joey’s New Brain," Ross desperately wants to play the bagpipes at Chandler and Monica’s upcoming wedding…even though they aren’t interested, and despite his complete inability to actually play the instrument. At the end of the episode, Ross assembles the friends of Friends to show off his ridiculously bad bagpiping skills. Jennifer Aniston clearly can’t handle it, and does everything in her power to not break. She covers her mouth and places a finger under her nose, but sorry, Rachel—everyone can see you.
How I Met Your Mother
Wayne Brady’s first big claim to fame was as a gifted improvisational comic on ABC’s Whose Line is It Anyway? He’s since gone on to host a talk show, a game show, and act in sitcoms, notably as Barney’s (Neil Patrick Harris) brother on How I Met Your Mother. In the DVD commentary for Brady’s first episode on the sitcom, "Single Stamina" (2006), Harris said the cast was on "alert" that Brady might go off-script, and gave him "free reign to ad-lib." Harris followed his lead…and made it his mission to get Brady to crack. In a bar scene, Harris said he improvised different lines until he could make Brady laugh during a staged standoff to get a woman’s attention. The one that worked: saying "Popozao!" in a silly voice. Brady actually had to duck away to keep the cameras from seeing his loss of composure. ("Popozao," by the way, refers to the first, widely maligned song released by Britney Spears’ backup dancer-turned-husband, Kevin Federline.)