I’ve talked about in the past how much I love Garfield & Friends, I’ve talked about how it’s much smarter than most of the animated cartoons coming out in the late 80s/early 90s and I’ve talked about how much of a great show it was…it’s a shame that Garfield has never been treated the right way after two shitty live-action movies in the 2000s and the lackluster animated series in the late 2000s too.
But let’s avoid the horrible atrocities of the 2000s and flash back to the 80s and 90s to look at the top 10 best episodes of Garfield & Friends, solely looking at the Garfield shorts. I won’t include any of the Garfield shorts that played during the episodes nor will I include the US Acres (or Orson’s Farm if you have the DVDs) episodes in the list either.
Without further ado, let’s begin our look at the 10 best episodes of Garfield & Friends:
10. Peace & Quiet
Garfield watches TV all night after Jon leaves the set on, so the tired cat tries to take a long nap while Jon and Odie go out to run errands. Unfortunately, Binky the Clown shows up at the door to deliver a special birthday greeting to “Mrs. Edna Fogerty,” and won’t leave until he completes his quest.
The first episode of the show but a very funny one, you get the predictable story of somebody trying to keep somebody else from their slumber, it’s a plot straight out of a Tex Avery cartoon, only this time it’s Garfield trying to keep Binky The Clown out of the house but at the same time, the jokes get the job done of making you laugh regardless of how predictable the outcome of the episode becomes.
9. Basket Brawl
Set as a basketball game that mice attend, Jon, Odie, and Nermal attempt to pack a picnic lunch without Garfield devouring the food.
What makes this episode such a great one is how it’s setup, I love how this episode is literally set up like you’re watching a NBA basketball game, right down to Chick Hearn, then of CBS Sports’ NBA coverage, voicing one of the mice announcing the game and there’s even a Jack Nicholson mouse in this one too.
8. The Multiple Choice Cartoon
Garfield gives the audience a unique episode where they can make choices on what happens in the cartoon.
This is when the show was at its’ best with these off the cuff unusual episodes with unique premises to them, the episode does a good job of having these different outcomes to a particular scene, all of which would’ve made for interesting outcomes, and the jokes perfectly work very well in this one. However, one downside, all of the clips they picked are the letter C, I mean, I understand this was made for kids but you could at least vary it up a bit with the choices. But other than that, a really good episode.
7. The Binky Show
When Jon’s birthday arrives, Garfield panics as he doesn’t have any money to get Jon anything. To win Jon a present, Garfield goes on a game show titled “Name That Fish”, which is hosted by Binky the Clown.
The concept is pretty simple, Garfield goes on a game show to win Jon a birthday gift. Throw in Binky The Clown and a concept that gets more and more ridiculous as the episode goes on right down to its’ obvious but still funny twist at the end and you get a really solid and entertaining episode
6. Video Airlines
Garfield, Jon and Odie try to watch a movie, but the only one on TV is “Kung Fu Creatures on the Rampage 2”, which none of them are interested in. They then seek out alternative ways to watch a movie, unaware of the prevalence of “Kung Fu Creatures on the Rampage 2”.
I love the concept that every single movie Garfield, Jon, & Odie end up getting stuck with is the same movie throughout the course of the episode, it leads to a ton of really funny bits of comedy throughout the episode and it leads to a really funny payoff at the end.
5. Mini-Mall Matters
Garfield hosts a factual and educational show about mini-malls and how they are grown, maintained, and their features.
Another reason why the show worked so well was how serious they took such ridiculous concepts, in this case, mini malls. The episode has a silly concept to it right down to showing how mini malls are just planted in the ground like a garden. Actually, that’s kind of funny satire when you think about it.
4. The Cartoon Cat Conspiracy
Garfield reveals the injustice cartoon cats must suffer. So he decides to make his own animated feature where he gets his own way.
What makes this one work is, again, the satirical element to the episode. They do a great job of lampooning the classic Hanna Barbera and Tex Avery style animation in the opening scene while also making fun of the cartoon clichés and tropes in the types of cartoons Garfield is talking about. I also love how they poke fun at the network, CBS, itself in this one and the ending itself when Garfield actually makes his cartoon and the overall reaction of everybody.
Also, if you ever wanted to hear what a million TVs turning off sounds like, then this is the episode for you.
3. The Big Talker
Garfield is furious with Joe Palaver, a loudmouth television host, who hates cats and says they are not useful whatsoever. After finding out that Palaver is superstitious, Garfield carries out revenge.
This was before Jerry Springer, before Maury Povich, before Fox News and essentially before any of these “loud mouthed trash talking” TV personalities were all over the place, this was during the time when Morton Downey Jr. was seen as the biggest trash talker on TV and Downey Jr. is essentially being parodied here.
The story itself is about as predictable as you can get but the jokes definitely carry through.
2. Heatwave Holiday
During an especially hot summer day, Garfield decides to think in cold ways. This eventually develops into a trend throughout the city of decorating for Christmas in the middle of July. Everyone is thrilled to celebrate early.
The story itself starts off very by the numbers but I liked how this one went with a really solid twist and it leads to a ton of clever funny little jokes about how one little thing can make a ton of people think it’s automatically Christmas…then again, this does take place in July so the whole Christmas In July thing, I guess it’s not that odd of a concept…in fact, maybe in Beauty & The Beast, that’s why it was snowing around the castle in June, the Beast thinks the Enchantress curses the castle so it still snows but it was probably just Lumiere or Cogsworth taking the fridge out, cranking it up to the coldest it can get and it snowing all over the place…hey, it makes about as much sense as it did in that movie.
and the #1 Garfield & Friends episode of all time is…
Mistakes Will Happen
In response letters about mistakes on the show, Garfield tries to convince viewers that his show doesn’t have any mistakes. He and Odie watch a cartoon which has a vast number of mistakes.
This is when Garfield & Friends was at its’ best. Like with The Cartoon Cat Conspiracy, this episode satirizes all different aspects of animation and in this, it pegs down how you will see so many mistakes in so many different ways. From random things popping out of nowhere to pointless cameos to wrong animation loops to lines of dialogue not matching up to what’s on screen to Jon constantly getting characters names’ wrong including his own to different voice actors playing the characters. There’s even a bit where Garfield flubs a line and they keep in the voice of the voice director in the episode.
The episode essentially parodies how some cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, many of the Filmation animations and even Warner Bros. cartoons would have these obvious animation errors and the story just goes along as scheduled with the characters not acknowledging the errors at all. Keep in mind, this aired in 1990, this was right around the time of Tiny Toon Adventures but three years before Animaniacs satirized the animated cartoon so, this episode is one of the many reasons why the show was so clever and so ahead of its’ time in terms of satirical comedy.
Mistakes Will Happen perfectly sums up what made Garfield & Friends such a great show and is the best episode of the series in my books.
Garfield Goes Hawaiian
Fat & Furry
Attack Of The Mutant Guppies
The Automated, Animated Adventure
Taste Makes Waist
Bad Neighbor Policy
Films & Felines
Happy Garfield Day
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