Dungeons & Dragons is a huge part of a lot of our lives, from watching Critical Role every Thursday to playing it ourselves. While most D&D players have no problem making fun of themselves, it can get a bit old constantly watching TV shows and movies that only depict RPGs as the butt of a joke. It’s always exciting when we get to see D&D show up in our favorite TV shows in a way that doesn’t simply make fun of it. It’s even more exciting when its represented well, and these five episodes definitely nailed their portrayal of an RPG.
Freaks and Geeks – “Discos and Dragons”
This episode was the show’s series finale, which automatically makes it a special episode. However, what made it even cooler is that this episode used a game to signal the “freaks” and “geeks” coming together over a hearty round of D&D by having James Franco’s character join in and ask to come back again. It’s sweet and quirky, and the perfect ending to such a cult classic.
That 70’s Show – “Radio Daze”
This episode only had a quick scene with D&D as the ending credits, but it’ still fantastic. The scene shows us an RPG led by GM Jerry Thunder, WFPP’s most famous DJ (before Hot Donna, that is), and a gaming group that shows RPGs are for all sorts of people. Who’s in the group? For starters, Jerry Thunder is played by the amazing Curtis Armstrong, but he’s joined by his station manager who’s played by Howard Hessman, who’s known in the real world as Alice freakin’ Cooper. Most fun gaming group ever, right? If you need me, I’ll be starting up a petition to get Alice Cooper on Critical Role.
Community – “Advanced Dungeons and Dragons”
Community was always really great at those special, themed episodes, and the D&D episode was no exception. With Abed as the DM and Pierce entering the game uninvited as a weaponless, naked, blank slate of a character who ended up making the game crazy, this episode is one of the most fun depictions of D&D out there. But what makes it even better is the game is used as a storytelling device that brings the group together rather than just being a punchline. The episode absolutely makes you happy like a dragon.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Chosen”
“Chosen” is a cool episode because not only does it feature the gang coming to play D&D right at the end of days, it’s also the show’s final episode. I can’t think of a better way to signal the end of such a well-loved show in the geek community (and beyond) by tipping a hat to D&D. Plus, playing an RPG as you face the end of the world is a great way to pass the time. Certainly not like playing Monopoly in the middle of the zombie apocalypse…
The IT Crowd – “Jen the Fredo”
This has got to be one of the best depictions of an RPG on television. Matt Mercer himself even said so in one of the first Q&As the cast did for Critical Role. “Jen the Fredo” centers around Jen trying unsuccessfully to impress crude out-of-town business partners while Moss tries rather unsuccessfully to help Roy get over a tough breakup. They all come together to play D&D in one of the most hilarious onscreen gaming sessions ever, with the businessmen having a blast and Roy beginning to move on. I mean seriously, watching Moss finally figure out how to help Roy move on from his ex by portraying the NPC version of her is nothing short of genius.
What are some of your favorite TV episodes that incorporate Dungeons & Dragons or your favorite RPG? Tell us in the comments!