I Think You Should Leave is returning for a third season on Netflix, and frankly, that’s fantastic. Writer-comedian Tim Robinson’s situational sketch comedy series has firmly established itself as one of the best series on television for its idiosyncratic characters, deadpan weirdness, and easily quotable jokes and catchphrases that have lodged themselves in the zeitgeist of the internet through countless gifs, memes, and remixes.
If you’re new to the show and want to burn through the first two seasons before the third premieres on Tuesday, you’re in luck: Every episode clocks in just shy of 20 minutes and can be leisurely dusted off in a weekend. “But Toussaint and Zosha,” you rhetorically ask, “what are the best sketches from I Think You Should Leave that I should watch first?” Good question, hypothetical Polygon reader. To answer, we’ve put on our thinking caps, crunched the numbers, plotted out a complicated and scientifically definitive ranking of each sketch from the series, and organized them into tiers.
We picked tiers for a specific reason: The truth is, there’s no such thing as a bad time with ITYSL. Robinson’s comedic stylings are always sharp, and his distinct energy that can completely explode or be fully contained in a single instant guides the show well enough that every sketch, zany or mundane, gets laughs. The list here is more interested in the deeper question of what makes an I Think You Should Leave sketch great or truly transcendent. Don’t agree with our rankings? Well, shit, dude, just write your own!
Here are the best I Think You Should Leave sketches, ranked from “best” to “most not-best.”
Sketches: Car focus group (S1, E3, sketch 2); hot dog car hit-and-run (S1, E5, sketch 1); the bones are their money (S1, E5, sketch 4); chunky eats your points (S1, E6, sketch 2); Coffin Flop (S1, E1, sketch 2); Karl Havoc (S2, E1, sketch 3); driver’s ed tables with Patti Harrison (S2, E6, sketch 2)
These sketches are the best; the crème de la crème, the jokes that are so absurdly delivered by characters so memorable with personalities so utterly batshit that they’ve lodged themselves in the minds of everyone who has watched them. The perfect I Think You Should Leave Sketch has a clearly identifiable arc: starts out weird from the jump, inexplicably escalates into ever-higher levels of insanity, and uses Tim Robinson’s distinct brand of oddball weirdness to full effect. Throw in a memorable catchphrase or two, a couple hints of horror, and one solid breakout guest performance and you’ve got an instant classic (and probably a good meme).
Sketches: Sloppy steaks (S1, E2, sketch 5); hot dog lunch meeting (S1, E3, sketch 1); funeral organist with Fred Willard (S1, E3, sketch 4); The Ghost of Christmas Way Future (S1, E4, sketch 2); calico-cut pants (S2, E4, sketch 3); I don’t know how to drive (S2, E5, sketch 1)
These sketches come just close to reaching the heights of I Think You Should Leave’s very best: instantly ridiculous and easily memorable, but not quite cooked all the way through. In any other context, these sketches would be the weirdest (and funniest) SNL pitch that would never make it to air.
Sketches: Whoopee Cushion office prank (S1, E2, sketch 4); honeymoon baby revenge (S1, E2, sketch 6); “adult” ghost tour (S2, E1, sketch 5); The Capital Room with Patti Harrison (S2, E2, sketch 1); hot dog vacuum (S2, E3, sketch 3); Little Buff Boys (S2, E1, sketch 4); gimme that burger (S1, E3, sketch 1); Brian’s hat (S2, E3, sketch 5); Rodney impersonator office prank (S2, E6, sketch 1); table-surfing office prank (S2, E6, sketch 4)
These sketches are specific and weird, far from the crème de la crème but still so unique, strange, vulgar, and funny that these hit more specifically for one particular line than they do on the whole. These are the ones that make you go, “Huh, that was weird,” and lightly chuckle to yourself before being washed away by sheer hilarity of the series’ best.
Sketches: Mitch Bryant/Turbo Time infomercial (S1, E1, sketch 2); brunch Instagram posts (S1, E1, sketch 4); Herbie Hancock loves to lie (S1, E4, sketch 1), nachos date (S1, E4, sketch 3), honk if you’re horny (S1, E4, sketch 4), choking in front of Caleb Went (S1, E5, sketch 2); Santa brought it early (S1, E5, sketch 3), baby shower bags (S1, E6, sketch 4); Dan Flashes office meeting (S2, E2, sketch 2); I love my wife/Jamie Taco (S2, E4, sketch 1), Claire’s ear piercings (S2, E6, sketch 5)
These sketches have lots of laughs, though often meanader a beat too long to arrive at the real genius of the joke. What often saves these are the guest appearances, as in the case of the “honk if you’re horny” sketch featuring comedian Conner O’Malley of How To With John Wilson and Joe Pera Talks with You fame.
Sketches: Job interview/door (S1, E1, sketch 1); Baby of the Year (S1, E1, sketch 3); happy birthday wreath receipt (S1, E1, sketch 5); beautiful motorcycles (S1, E2, sketch 1); River Mountain High (S1, E2, sketch 2); Wilson’s Hair Removal (S1, E2, sketch 3); T.C. Tuggers ad (S1, E2, sketch 5); shit-talking magician (S1, E3, sketch 1); pretentious charades with Tim Heidecker (S1, E3, sketch 5); babysitter lie (S1, E5, sketch 5); small-penis horse ranch (S1, E6, sketch 1); Bozo did the dub (S1, E6, sketch 6); Jim Davis’ Garfield house (S1, E6, sketch 7); triples is best with Bob Odenkirk (S2, E2, sketch 3); Dan Flashes mall ad (S2, E2, sketch 4); Detective Crashmore (S2, E3, sketch 2); Crashmore press interview (S2, E3, sketch 4); I’m not the Blues Brothers (S2, E4, sketch 2); I’m not gonna pay for it (S2, E5, sketch 2); Johnny Carson can hit (S2, E5, sketch 3); Space Alien restaurant with Tim Heidecker (S2, E5, sketch 5); Tammy Craps (S2, E6, sketch 3)
These are the filler sketches of I Think You Should Leave. Always good for a laugh, sometimes run longer than they should, and start to feel indiscernible from what any other sketch comedy show that isn’t ITYSL would do. That said, this series’ worst easily ranks among any other sketch series’ best.