The definitive ranking of every episode of Gavin & Stacey
Gavin & Stacey is perfection, that is not up for discussion. Much like I do with all things that are good and pure, I'm going to ruin this show for myself by ranking every episode in order of personal preference.
As is expected with such an ambitious display of journalism, mass unrest is likely to follow the publication of this list. The authorities are aware of what is to come and promise to give the haters and trolls a very stern talking to, so you've been warned.
Anyway, here's the definitive ranking of every Gavin & Stacey episode.
20. Boys Night Out (Series 2, Episode 6)
The one is in Essex, not the one that Bryn organises in Barry, that's way down the list so don't you worry. It's still a good episode, but something had to come last. This one's a bit of a downer because Gavin and Stacey are on rocky terms. Stacey's just moved back to Barry, so Smithy tries to cheer up Gavin with a lads night out in Essex, meanwhile Stacey 'goes the bingo' with her squad.
Personal highlights of this episode include Smithy explaining to the waitress in the pub that he wants to order fish and chips and chips (two separate portions, not just a handful); also Bryn telling Stacey about 'a cracking new website called 'The YouTube' where he watched three episodes of Desperate Housewives back-to-back.
19. Nessa's Scan (Series 2, Episode 3)
Stacey's not exactly loving the Essex life and while my heart will always lie in Barry, I'd still like her to suck it up a bit and just get on with things. She's a bit moany, meanwhile poor Nessa has to deal with her shit over the phone while she's at work and Smithy's losing his reason over the news that he's going to be a Dad.
All in all, it's a tough time for Gavin, but there's still some solid moments of laughter, like when Smithy and his sister Rudy have an actual fistfight on the living room floor and also when Bryn gives Smithy a good sweaty workout in his brand new home gym.
18. Wedding Fayre (Series 1, Episode 3)
Gavin's crew head to Barry for a wedding fair with Stacey's squad, but not before Gav finds Smithy asleep on the job in an angry woman's bathtub. Personally, I find wedding stuff quite boring so it's my own perverse lack of interest that's shamefully landed this episode in at a low number.
Bryn's fascination with an average wedding magician is a solid highlight, along with Matt Lucas starring as Jammy, the owner of Stag City (whose name is actually Chris) and he begins his heroic pitch by giving Smithy a can of Kronenbourg to crack open.
17. The Families Meet (Series 1, Episode 3)
Bryn takes himself, Ness, Stacey and Gwyn to Essex in the Picasso to meet the Shipmans. Gavin tells Smithy he's engaged and he's in a huff for an annoyingly long time, which deprives us viewers of their heartwarming bromance for a while. Pam's stress results in her falsely outing herself as a vegetarian, but the highlight of the episode has to go to her and Gwen's row over the wedding being held in Wales. Pam isn't impressed with seeing her 'only son' getting married in 'some dirty fairground', nor is Gwen appeased by the idea of her daughter getting married in Essex, 'What's she going to wear, a mini skirt and white stilettos?'.
16. Pete & Dawn's Wedding Vows (Series 3, Episode 4)
I'm as obsessed with Pete and Dawn's tumultuous relationship as much as the next person and I literally yelp with laughter every time Dawn says 'Oh my Pete!', but this episode simply has to land somewhere in this godforsaken list. Pam asking Smithy to give her away was a deeply emotional moment, which reminded me of the time he called her Dawn Cheadle, a solid 10/10 play on words. Gavin's appalled with Gwen and Bryn's prying into his and Stacey's sex life and their struggle to get pregnant, but the highlight of this episode goes to the ring Pete got made for Dawn, which spurred the classic reaction of 'Oh my Christ' from Pam.
15. Gavin & Stacey's Wedding (Series 1, Episode 6)
If it wasn't for the introduction to Bryn and Jason's mysterious fishing trip, this episode would've been lower in the list. The wedding is a bit predictable once it all gets going, there's a tender moment with Bryn and Stacey in the car on the way there and only a stone would struggle to shed a tear when he gave her away at the altar.
Smithy's drunk best man speech lived up to all low expectations, but the scene stealer is Jason arriving and the giant bag of questions surrounding his and Bryns' relationship that he brought with him. What. The Fuck. Happened. Between Them.
14. Nessa Delivers (Series 2, Episode 7)
Stacey doubts if things between her and Gavin are going to work out, which puts a bit of a downer on most of the episode as they're constantly bickering. Luckily, Nessa's labour takes some of the attention off them as Bryn goes straight into nurse mode, stopwatch and Jack Johnson CD in hand.
Highlights include Bryn's exciting iPod purchase, Gwen whipping up an omelette for Nessa as she's having contractions and Smithy's sister rolling over the roof of Gavin's car so they can go and find Smithy together.
13. The First Date (Series 1, Episode 1)
Yes I know this is pivotal to the entire lifespan of Gavin & Stacey, but I had to put it somewhere and the top 10 was already full. I am a monster, I know. The main fault of this episode is that we don't really know either of them yet so everything feels new and scary, as a viewer.
We were blind, we didn't know what was to come. It's a great introduction to the series and all the characters and the revelation that Smithy and Nessa had relations is easily the highlight of the show, especially when you know how the entire show wraps up in series 3 (spoiler alert).
12. Smithy Goes Awol (Series 2, Episode 2)
After learning out at the end of the previous episode that Nessa is pregnant and he's the father, Smithy goes awol, leaving Mick, Gavin and Bryn to eventually find his sorry self at the driving range. An undeniable highlight of the episode is when both sides of the family are having breakfast to the tune of the bed bumping upstairs from G&S's canoodling, at which point Gavin's Mum puts on the radio for a distraction, only to hear the lyrics 'Come, come, come into my arms' by Take That. Another solid laugh comes courtesy of Bryn nailing every single note in James Blunt's 'Wiseman' on the drive home. Literally. Every. Note.
11. The Proposal (Series 1, Episode 2)
After a misunderstanding on the phone, Gavin travels to see Stacey in Barry and they decide to drive back to Essex together. A solid standout moment is when Bryn gets Gavin 'on the broadband' to find directions for driving back to the place he's literally just come from. He also advises him that 'a golden rule is that you have to start everything with a www.'
When they get back, Stacey wakes up to see she's been graced with the mother of all pimples, so wears sunglasses to breakfast, at which point Pam deduces that Gavin must've given her two black eyes because she saw a similar storyline on Holby City. Also, in a truly iconic TV moment, Gavin is suspected of terrorism when he jumps the gate to propose to Stacey before she heads home on the train.
10. Smithy Finds Out (Series 2, Episode 1)
Gavin and Stacey return home from their honeymoon and Stacey's crowd drive to Essex to meet them. They all head out to Capriccio's restaurant, where they bump into Pete and Dawn on a date with another man. Nessa still hasn't told Smithy that he's the father of her unborn baby, so there's a gathering in the bathroom to discuss that, at which point Dawn bursts in, distraught that their date has left, despite months of emailing and planning to introduce a third party (called Seb) to her and Pete's bedroom to spice things up. At the end of the episode, Nessa tells Smithy that he's the father.
9. Gavin's New Job (Series 3, Episode 1)
Two words. Owain Hughes. "And before you ask, I don't". The purity of this joke is that it will never make sense and I firmly believe that it's not supposed to. In this episode, Gavin's starting his new job in Cardiff, meanwhile Smithy mourns the loss of his best friend to Wales. Despite being harassed over the phone within minutes of starting his new job, Gavin's embarrassment continues as Bryn arrives at the window with a packed lunch for him.
It's also Neil (the baby)'s Christening, so the Shipmans drive to Barry with Smithy's family, where they arrive at a beautiful ceremony complete with Bryn's stunning rendition of 'Something Inside So Strong', accompanied by Doris on drums.
8. The Stag and Hen Dos (Series 1, Episode 5)
'Someone order a Chinese?' is the most memorable line from this episode and I am fully prepared to fight anyone that dares to disagree. Gavin and Stacey have their respective stag and hen nights, complete with matching t-shirts and schoolgirl outfits, as is the only way to do things in both Essex and Barry.
We're also introduced to Jason and his mysterious storyline with uncle Bryn and naively unaware of the longevity that it brings with it. Gavin finds out that Stacey has been engaged five times previously and things get a bit heated between the pair of them, potentially putting the wedding on jeopardy, but the most important takeaway is the Chinese and Jason and Bryn's burgeoning awkward relationship.
7. Nessa & Dave's Wedding (Series 3, Episode 6)
AKA the last episode of Gavin & Stacey (for now). Stacey, Nessa and Bryn have a girly night bleaching and waxing, while Smithy remains homicidally calm about the events that are about to unfold. He gives Nessa a framed photograph of her and Neil (the baby) and you're legally a sociopath if you didn't shed a tear at that point.
It genuinely seems like Ness and Dave are going to actually get married until *SPOILER ALERT* Smithy turns up to the church to stop them. It's a beautiful moment and everything the viewer wanted and needed to happen. Stacey reveals that she's pregnant and everything begins to feel right and wholesome in the world. Flash forward six months later and Gavin & Stacey, along with Nessa & Smithy, are beside the sea living love's young dream, leaving the playing field wide open for twelve more series. Sigh, we can only wait in hope.
6. Trip To The Beach (Series 3, Episode 5)
The Essex crew surprise the Welsh contingent by driving to Barry to spend a day on the beach together. Given that Gavin and Stacey are having fertility problems at this point, it's a much needed release from the slightly heavier previous episodes. It reminds us viewers that the entire show centres around lunatic families and their ability to help each other through everything.
Even Nessa and Smithy get along really well in this one, which later reveals itself to be a precursor for what's to come in the finale. A solid highlight is when Bryn insists on applying Mick's suncream despite his insistence that Pam would do it, also when Doris unexpectedly nails 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' on the guitar during their family BBQ.
5. Gwen's Birthday (Series 2, Episode 5)
Stacey discovers that Pam isn't actually a vegetarian after she walks in on her gorging herself on a slice of ham. Bryn's under a lot of stress as he organises a surprise birthday party for Gwen which proves hard work after a lot of people can't make it, so he's forced to invite people that she doesn't particularly like.
It all culminates in a line dancing party extravaganza complete with Bryn looking exactly like Woody from Toy Story. Hands down, the biggest highlight of this episode is Bryn and Nessa's flawless rendition of 'Islands In The Stream', which is interrupted by Jason's unexpected appearance and another reminder of the mysterious fishing trip.
4. The Indian (Series 3, Episode 2)
Stacey's going for a job interview so Bryn and Gwen give her a mock trial, where Bryn goes to town on her for having been engaged five times previously. A solid highlight is Smithy and Ruby performing a duet of 'American Boy' down the phone to Gavin, but the most iconic part of this episode goes to the Indian takeaway saga (loo).
The circular hand movement to signify sharing each others' dishes is still used by myself and roughly ten billion other people worldwide today. Honourable mention to Smithy's shit fit over their decision to share food, see video above, proving that *stands on top of tallest building* James Corden is an exceptional physical actor and can add that to his long and envious list of talents.
3. Christmas Special (Series 2, Episode 8)
In a bumper hour-long special, the Barry clan head to Billericay to spend Christmas together. Gavin gets a promotion in Cardiff and the news burns a hole in his little brain for most of the episode. When they eventually tell their families that they're moving to Barry, Pam's reaction attacking Stacey, Gwen and Nessa and calling them 'the bitches of Eastwick' and 'Taffs' is everything, along with Pete punching Dave Coaches, causing Dawn to swoon saying 'Oh my Pete'.
Like a true Christmas miracle, we get a small bit more information about Jason and Bryn's mysterious fishing trip as they bond over a shared love of flavoured milk. Although we don't get an outright explanation, we get enough information to keep us interested. Dave Coaches proposes to Nessa, meaning all hopes of her and Smithy ending up together appear to be gone, until Smithy delivers the most romantic gesture of the series by telling her not to marry Dave, but also not necessarily telling her to marry him instead. The episode ends like a Disney movie with a heartwarming singsong and all is as it should be.
2. Mick's On Telly (Series 2, Episode 4)
Word spread faster than that time David Cameron fucked a pig, MICK'S GONNA BE ON TELLY! 6pm, don't miss it. Dawn arrived over with two bottles of champagne for the occasion and the excitement was palpable, dampened only by Dawn and Pete's utter disdain for each other. After quite a build-up, Mick's telly appearance transpires to be roughly three seconds long and in relation to a murderer who dismembered a body and left it in a carpark in Billericay.
All that fuss just to hear "Well, it's the last thing you expect to find when you come into work in the morning" is the essence of what Gavin & Stacey is all about. Other noteworthy occurrences include Gavin and Stacey going house hunting and viewing a series of shitholes, Ness and Smithy joining them for bowling and something untoward happening between Nessa, Smithy and a KFC corn on the cob. This episode is perfection.
1. Bryn's Boys Night (Series 3, Episode 3)
This episode of television perfection starts with a classic simultaneous phone conversation between the iconic foursome of Gavin, Stacey, Nessa and Smithy, discussing a particularly spicy text that Ness sent Smithy saying 'Hope you're ok'. Smithy's been given the go-ahead to carry out Pam and Mick's conservatory with his weird accomplice Deano (who likes cup of toffee - half tea, half coffee). Meanwhile, Stacey thinks she might be pregnant and the excitement is close to overwhelming.
Bryn's positively giddy at the prospect of Gavin's friends staying at his house overnight and has an organisational notebook in his hand for a large portion of the episode. His house is a lads' paradise complete with Subbuteo, mini burgers, beer, video games, lads magazines and a foot spa. It doesn't take much persuasion for Bryn to join them on their night out, despite protesting he'd "much rather wait in for you young men to come home all boozed-up and disorientated, not knowing what's what or who's who".
Although the episode ends on a bit of a downer with Stacey telling Gavin she's not pregnant and hasn't been taking birth control for over a year, it's still my favourite episode because Bryn gets to live out his lifelong dream of having a night out with the boys and his excitement and subsequent satisfaction is contagious. 10/10 feel good television.
All images via BBC