Those who don’t watch it think of NCIS: Los Angeles as a procedural where someone usually gets brutally murdered before the opening credits. They don’t think of it as a comedy. But fans of the show know it can be silly and witty and laugh-out-loud hilarious. This week we’re taking a look at the individual scenes that have made us laugh the most. In the wake of the sad news of Miguel Ferrer’s passing, this may not feel like the most appropriate topic for the week. But let’s laugh a little through our tears and use this lighter discussion as a temporary reprieve from the sadness.
I could easily list off the top of my head many scenes that made me laugh out loud. The challenge was narrowing that lengthy list to The Top 3. As usual, I did limit myself to scenes featuring Deeks or Densi. Otherwise a camera hidden inside a garden gnome called the “Hettycam” might have made the list.
The Top 3
In order to get down to The Top 3, I rewatched these scenes so many times that I’m really no longer sure which ones deserve the top spots. I went with those that continued to make me smile on multiple viewings. In reverse order of importance, my Top 3 is…
#3. Undercover as FRA Inspectors in “The Livelong Day”
This undercover assignment, written by Joe Sachs, came close to making my Top 3 Deeks Undercover Roles, and I think it’s one of the funniest scenes ever between Deeks and Kensi. (And I’m not even counting what I consider a second scene where Kensi throws a frozen apple at Deeks’ head, a candidate for the single funniest moment of the entire series.) Deeks’ Matthew Dunkler is quite the character, and I love how he even makes Kensi laugh behind the back of the railroad employee. The highlight happens when they dive into the women’s restroom to avoid being recognized by the private detective. My favorite line is after Kensi pushes him into a stall, when he whispers, “Most ladies buy me a couple drinks first.” But the best part, which I can’t believe was scripted, is when he sits behind her on the toilet and reaches to pick something out of her ear, forcing Kensi to maintain her composure while she chats with that same railroad employee in the next stall over.
What makes this scene particularly special is that it’s the first time since the torture of “Descent”/”Ascension” where these two seem to be fully back to themselves, where they’re really having fun with one another. Before this there were some awkward torture jokes from Kensi in “Omni” and worry about his risk-taking behavior in “An Unwritten Rule.” This scene immediately calls to mind the joy we saw between them bantering in the boatshed in “Wanted,” probably the last time they had so much fun together.
#2. Completing the “partner survey” in “Wanted”
Speaking of “Wanted,” written by R. Scott Gemmill… I had a tough time deciding exactly which scene from this amazing episode to include on my Top 3. I didn’t actually love Kensi’s snide comments in the spa scene later in the episode (although Deeks is utterly hilarious). And the boatshed scene about corgis run amok was my #1 Densi Banter scene. So in the end I chose the opening scene because it really is packed with jokes and funny one-liners, and they all work. Deeks’ answers to Kensi’s questions are amazing. He’s afraid of “basically, anything in a Tarzan movie.” If he couldn’t be in law enforcement he’d be “a schoolteacher who lives a double life as a gigolo.” He has recurring nightmares of “Hetty and the burning monkey,” which he assumed everyone does.
But it’s not just the jokes. It’s about the state of their relationship, and about what Kensi is trying to work out about her feelings. It gives Deeks a chance to tease her about her biological clock and making ninja assassins. It sets up the final scene where he tells her she smells like sunshine and gunpowder. It’s a gem of a scene that’s hilarious while also being completely specific to these two characters.
#1. Wrestling in “Raven & The Swans”
Scott Gemmill also takes the top spot with what has to be the single silliest, most over the top Densi scene ever. Again, everything about this scene works, from the hilarious awkwardness of Deeks trying to pick Kensi up to carry her over the threshold (“Congratulations to us”), to competitive Kensi turning his actions against him (“You know what, sweetie, honey, this is how somebody gets hurt”), to Interrupting Nell’s expression as she witnesses the two on the bed, to what might be my favorite part, the deadpan expressions of Sam and Callen as they listen in from the hotel lobby. I have no idea what from this scene was even in Gemmill’s script. It feels 100% improvised, and like we’re seeing the first and only take. I had this episode on my DVR for the longest time, simply queued up to this scene so I could rewatch it again and again. No matter how many times I do, I enjoy the zaniness and the chemistry that’s about ready to boil over between these two.
Also in the Running
Here are some of the other hilarious scenes that I considered putting on my Top 3:
- Deeks at the spa in “Wanted” (R. Scott Gemmill): I’m pretty sure naked Viggo Mortensen is gonna jump out at any second and start pummeling me.
- Discovering the sex dungeon in “Neighborhood Watch” (Christina M. Kim): Actually I would like to know what you were thinking, I mean mostly out of professional curiosity… I can read it in the report.
- Undercover at the spa in “Anonymous” (Christina M. Kim): No I’m actually not a pervert.
- Playing with dry ice undercover in “The Livelong Day” (Joe Sachs): That anger management class was money well spent.
- Meeting Kip in “Reign Fall” (Joseph C. Wilson): You weren’t playin’ about this one- she’s bad.
- Bantering about the Queen’s corgis in “Wanted” (R. Scott Gemmill): Have you seen my corgis? They’ve run amok.
- Worrying about dead guy juice in “Inelegant Heart” (R. Scott Gemmill): You can’t wash out ghost.
- Climbing the pergola at the ex-SEAL’s house in “SEAL Hunter” (Sara Servi, Frank Military): You’re looking at my butt, aren’t you?
- Discussing Christmas traditions at the safe house in “Disorder” (Gil Grant, Dave Kalstein): Oh I’ve tried it [ice cream and beer], although it was in seventh grade, and it didn’t end pretty for anyone, unless of course you like Jackson Pollock.
- Telling stories about fathers and pet snakes in “Borderline” (R. Scott Gemmill): Snakes don’t pounce, they strike.
- Interior decorator Sven, who I considered pretty offensive, but I include here primarily for LL Cool J’s hilarious deadpan reaction, in “Allegiance” (Frank Military, Andrew Bartels): Bring on ze wonderful, ya?… You can’t be afraid of ze color!
- Deeks as an injured soccer player in “The Job” (Frank Military, Christina M. Kim): My career is over. You might as well just hand another endorsement to Beckham.
- Comparing Deeks to Malibu Ken in “Borderline” (R. Scott Gemmill): He’s not anatomically correct either.
I hope this list brought a smile to your face. I know it did to mine. Next week we’ll switch gears in a pretty big way to talk about The Top 3 Most Romantic Scenes. Another tough selection, as there are a lot of wonderful Densi scenes to choose from!
In the meantime, tell us about your Top 3 Funniest Scenes. What makes you laugh out loud the most?
Or go back to last week’s Top 3, the Top 3 Uses of Humor to Defuse Tension.