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Firefly (and its movie) is a show known for the quality of its writing and humor. Just see for yourself.

The Big Damn Series:

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     "Serenity" (pilot episode) 

  • No less than five minutes in, we get this gem:
    Wash: Everything looks good from here.
    **Zoom out, revealing Wash is playing with plastic dinosaurs**
    [As Stegosaurus]: "Yes... Yes. This is a fertile land, and we will thrive. We shall rule over all this land, and we shall call it... 'This Land'".
    [As Allosaurus]: "I think we should call it YOUR GRAVE!"
    [Stegosaurus]: "Ah! Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"
    [Allosaurus]: "Ha ha ha! Mine is an evil laugh! Now DIE!"
    [Stegosaurus]: "OH GOD! OH DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN!"
    • Every other episode or so they show Wash flying the ship and a plastic dinosaur just happens to be in front of the camera.
  • Mal has a very good reasoning for why they won't die:
    Mal: We can't die, you know why? Because we are so very... pretty. We are just too pretty to die.
  • Mal and Zoe talking about who to sell their cargo to.
    Zoe: Sir, we don't want to be dealing with Patience.
    Mal: Why not?
    Zoe: She shot you.
    (Later, when mentioning the matter to Wash:)
    Wash: Didn't she shoot you one time?
    Mal: Everybody's making a fuss.
    (A little bit later on:)
    Mal: I do believe that woman is planning to shoot me again.
    Jayne: Here's an idea I've been working on. Why don't we shoot her first?
    Wash: It is her turn.
    • And when trying to conciliate Patience herself:
    Mal: I realize certain words were exchanged. Also, certain... bullets.
  • When Jayne makes his desire to torture Dobson clear:
    Mal: The problem is we don't know how much info got passed to your Alliance friends before we killed the signal, so we've assigned Jayne here the task of finding that out.
    Jayne: [draws a really big knife from his belt] He was non-specific as to how.
    Mal: (whispered) You know you only gotta scare him.
    Jayne: (innocently) Pain is scary.
    • Continuing that, Jayne's little tantrum about how quickly the guy he was interrogating spilled his guts. Jayne didn't even get the chance to torture him.
      Jayne: I was gonna get me an ear, too!
  • Mal had told Simon that if Kaylee died from the gunshot wound that he'd refused to treat in order to force him to get away from the Feds, he'd throw Simon out the airlock. Well, Mal tells Simon that Kaylee's dead. Dramatic violin music plays as Simon bolts to the infirmary and finds... Kaylee, who innocently smiles and waves at him.
    Simon: That man's psychotic!
    (cut to Mal, Zoe, Jayne & Wash laughing hysterically on the bridge.)
    Wash: You are psychotic!
    Mal: No, you should've seen his face. Oh, I'm a bad man.
    • This is, without a doubt, the funniest moment in the entire series. Why? Because Joss Whedon is parodying himself. According to the commentary, even the Fox executives took note: "This pilot isn't very funny — except that one time Mal was really mean to Simon!"
  • Jayne's "Lemme do the math; nothin' inta nothin', carry the nothin'..."
    • Or Mal's "Jayne, your mouth's talkin', you should look to that."
  • And what's Jayne's job? Public relations.
  • When Mal decks Simon for comparing him to the Alliance, Jayne's casual "Saw that comin'" is amusing, but the real icing is Wash in the background shaking his head at Simon's stupidity and Book's quiet "Son, you are dumb" expression.
  • Mal catches Inara and Simon talking in her shuttle. When he asks what they are doing, she coolly replies that, since Mal's essentially planning to leave Simon and River for dead, she "gave the boy a free thrust." Cue Simon leaving the room.

     "The Train Job" 

  • River and Simon's introduction. Who's the genius here?
    Simon: River? River, it's me. You know who I am?
    River: (looks at him with a 'well, duh' expression, speaking with an even more annoyed tone) Simon.
  • [Mal and Zoe walk through a wagon full of armed alliance troops]
    Zoe: You don't think this changes the situation a bit?
    Mal: I surely do. Makes it more fun.
    Zoe: Sir, I think you have a problem with your brain being missing.
  • Mal's...pragmatic approach to diplomacy:
    Mal: [to Crow] This is all the money Niska gave us in advance. You bring it back to him. Tell him the job didn't work out. We're not thieves. Well, we are thieves. The point is, we're not taking what's his. We'll stay out of his way as best we can from here on in. You explain that's best for everyone. Okay?
    [another henchman is brought to Mal]
    Mal: This is all the money Niska gave us -
    Henchman: I get it. I'm good. Best thing for everyone. I'm right there with you.
  • The famous chain of command:
    Jayne: You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with until you understand who's in ruttin' command here. Now we're finishing this deal, and then maybe, maybe we'll come back for those morons got themselves caught, and you can't change that by getting all... bendy.
    Wash: ...All what?
    Jayne: You got the light, from the console to keep you... lifting you up... they shine like... (starts grabbing at the air) little angels...
    Wash: Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?
    Simon: I told him to sit down.
    • Nobody makes so much as a move to catch Jayne or cushion his fall. They all just wordlessly watch as he topples like a felled tree.
  • Mal gets back on the ship and looks quizzically at a drugged Jayne halfway up the stairs.
    Kaylee: We tried to carry him to the infirmary. He's just...heavy.
  • A hilarious Shout-Out to Blake's 7:
    Mal: Nice shot.
    Jayne: [Drugged up and slurring] I was aimin' fer 'is head.
    • After Mal tells everyone they're returning the cargo: "Wha? Whaddya mean, back? Ah waited fer you guysh!"
  • When Book is talking about how brave Simon is while River causes a little more chaos in the infirmary, Mal replies completely deadpan "Yeah. He's my hero."


  • From the beginning:
    Zoe: Scanners are picking something up.
    Wash: Oh my god. What could it be? We're all doomed, WHO'S FLYING THIS THING?! Oh, right, that would be me. Back to work.
  • Jayne pulling a prank on Simon just by telling him to suit up and grab a medkit. Captain's orders. Cue foreboding sequence of a suited-up Simon nervously making his way to the cockpit(?) with a flashlight and medkit, to find...Mal, Jayne, Zoe, Wash, and Kaylee, all not suited.
    Mal: [eyes cringing at flashlight in his face] ...hi?
    Mal: [as Kaylee helps Simon take his helmet off] Um...what are you doing here and what's with the suit?
    [Jayne breaks down in peals of laughter.]
    Simon: [to Jayne, with frustration] You're hilarious.
  • And how about the interrogation scene? Especially Wash musing on the all the good sides of being with a "warrior woman" and Jayne... just sitting there, looking at the officer with an expression that more or less defines "amused contempt."
  • Zoe is curt with the interrogator.
    Interrogator: You fought with Sergeant Reynolds in the war?
    Zoe: Fought with a lot of people in the war.
    Interrogator: And your husband?
    Zoe: Fight with him sometimes, too.
  • Wash is more relaxed.
    Wash: The legs! Oh, yeah! I definitely have to say it was her legs. You can put that down! Her legs, and right where her legs meet her back. That - actually that whole area. That and - and above it.
  • There's also Kaylee's rant because someone insulted Serenity:
    Kaylee: Six gerstlers crammed right under every cooling drive so that you strain your primary artery function and you end up having to recycle secondary exhaust through a bypass system just so's you don't end up pumping it through the main atmofeed and asphyxiating the entire crew. Now that's junk!
    • The sheepish look the Alliance interrogator has while Kaylee is ranting gives the impression that she's talking about Alliance ships, and that her criticisms are completely valid.
  • Just the whole interrogation scene in general. Every member of the crew is being incredibly unhelpful to the interrogator, in a completely different way. Inara is polite, Zoë is curt and belligerent, Wash is enthusiastic, Kaylee rants about Serenity's superiority compared to the real "junk", Jayne is completely silent, and Book is vague. But to the interrogator's exasperation, none of them say anything at all relevant to the investigation.
  • Zoe's reaction to Jayne freaking out about the derelict ship:
    Zoe: (deadpan) Jayne, you'll scare the women.


  • Jayne is a veritable font of these:
    Jayne: What we need is a diversion... I say Zoe gets nekkid.
    Wash: No.
    Jayne: I could get nekkid.
    Everyone: No!
    [Jayne looks put out]
    • A moment before, Simon is suggesting that they take them by surprise. Cut to Jayne grinning with newfound respect for the doctor.
  • After Mal is told to finish off his opponent at the end of the duel:
    Mal: They say mercy is the mark of a great man.
    (jabs Atherton in the stomach)
    Mal: Guess I'm just a good one.
    (jabs him again)
    Mal: Well, I'm alright.
  • Earlier, pretty much the entire scene between Mal, Jayne, and Badger.
    Badger: He won't deal with me direct. He's taken an irrational dislike to me.
    Jayne: What happened, did he see your face?
    Badger: Of course, you couldn't buy an invite with a diamond the size of a testicle, but I've got my hands on a couple. [Mal and Jayne glance at each other and start sniggering] ...of invites!
    • The funniest part of this is that Jayne's comment is a sudden shot to him, while he stuffs his face with Badger's sandwiches. He says it with his mouth full, and Badger's reaction is priceless.
    • Mal's analysis of Badger's hospitality (serving them wood alcohol), given how their last meeting went.
      Mal: Now we're honoured guests, being treated to the finest in beverages that make you blind.
  • Mal's thoroughly surprised look when Jayne correctly uses the word 'pretentious' in a sentence.
  • Mal is on the lookout for the client at the shindig. Kaylee gets distracted.
    Kaylee: (pointing) Is that him?
    Mal: (looks) That's the buffet table.
    Kaylee: How can be sure, unless we question it? (grins)
    Mal: Fine. Go make yourself sick.
  • When Mal meets the client:
    Sir Warwick: Whom do you represent? [...]
    Mal: Fella called Badger.
    Sir Warwick: I know him, and I think he's a psychotic lowlife.
    Mal: And I think calling him that is an insult to the psychotic lowlife community.
  • Kaylee gets an awesome and amusing moment to shine. After having been insulted by the society women about her store-bought dress, Kaylee proceeds to have a huge crowd of guys around her at the party. Being knowledgeable about ships made her far more attractive to them than the beauty of the vapid women they would normally see.
    • One young man attempts to interrupt to ask Kaylee to dance. The rest shush him so she can keep talking about ships.
  • The verbal slapdown that an elderly gentleman gives the woman that insults Kaylee.
    What a vision you are in your fine dress — it must have taken a dozen slaves a dozen days to get you into that getup. 'Course, your daddy tells me it takes the space of a schoolboy's wink to get you out of it again.
  • This exchange:
    Wash: [to Zoe] I can get you a slinky dress. Captain, can I have money for a slinky dress?
    Jayne: I'll chip in.
    Zoe [neither offended nor amused]: I can hurt you.
  • The whole scene where River rips Badger apart by reading his mind, mimicking his accent, and then brushing him off, especially because it just comes completely out of nowhere, and everyone's so dumbstruck that she's speaking complete sentences that they forget to take advantage of the distraction.
  • This Verbal Backspace:
    Mal: I never run away from a fight.
    Inara: Yes, you do! You run away from fights all the time.
    Mal: ...Well, yeah, but I ain't running away from this one.
  • The crew is just about to put into action their plan to break free from Badger and his men and rescue Mal from his sword duel. . . when Mal comes limping in, fresh from winning said duel.


  • At the beginning:
    Jayne: Hee-ya! (whips a cow)
    Mal: You know, they walk just as easy if you lead 'em.
    Jayne: I like smackin' 'em!
  • Don't forget about River's rant from the same episode.
  • Mal's reaction to River's explanation about the cows.
    River: They weren't cows inside. They were waiting to be, but they forgot. Now they see sky and they remember what they are.
    Mal: (To Jayne, slightly freaked out) Is it bad that what she just said made perfect sense to me?
  • Mal complaining about River potentially spooking the cattle and stampeding them in hold where they have nowhere to go:
    Simon: River hasn't gone near the cows.
    Mal: You may not have noticed, but her voice kinda carries. We're two miles from atmo and they can probably hear her down there. Now, once we've offloaded, she can scream until our ears bleed. (to River) Though I'd take it as a kindness if she didn't.
    River: The human body can be drained of blood in 8.6 seconds given adequate vacuuming systems.
    Mal: ...See, morbid and creepifying, I got no problem with. As long as she does it quiet like.
  • Mal "suggesting" to Simon that he and River take a walk.
    Mal: See, when a man engages in clandestine dealings, he has his preference for things to go smooth. Your sister makes things not be smooth.
    Simon: I'm sorry if she tipped anyone off to your cunningly-concealed herd of cows.
  • Jayne goes through Simon's things:
    Jayne: (flipping through Simon's diary and mimicking Simon) Dear Diary, Today I was pompous and my sister was crazy. Today we were kidnapped by hillfolk, never to be seen again. It was the best day ever!"
    • Later when Simon and River get back, Jayne is seen rapidly dumping everything he stole out of his duffel bag and nervously talking about how glad he is Simon is back.
  • River convincing Simon she'd just poisoned him.
  • Mal insists on getting the Tams back, and he's told that he should not thwart 'God's will.' Mal takes a break in the middle of threatening the village to explain that Jayne doesn't really want the Tams back.
    Mal: ...It was kinda out of our way and he didn't want to come in the first place. Man's lookin' to kill some folk. So really, it's his will y'all should be worryin' about thwartin'!

     "Our Mrs. Reynolds" 

  • At the very start of the episode:
    Thug: You gonna give us what due us, and every damn thing else on that boat. And I think maybe you gonna give me a little one on one time with the missus.
    Jayne: I think you might wanna reconsider that last part, see I married me a powerful ugly creature.
    Mal (in drag): How can you say that? How can you shame me in front of new people?
    Jayne: If I could make you prettier I would!
    Mal: You are not the man I met a year ago!
  • The Cold Open ends with Mal gaping at the woman who's introduced herself as his wife - cue opening credits. When they're over, Mal's still gaping, implying he just stood there all that time. When he finally does respond, he turns to Jayne:
    Mal: How drunk was I last night?
    Jayne: I don't know, I was passed out!
  • Also:
    Jayne: There's times I think you don't take me seriously. I think that oughta change.
    Mal: Do you think that's likely to?
    Jayne: You got something you don't deserve.
    Mal: And it's brought me a galaxy of fun, I'm here to tell ya.
    Jayne: Six men came to kill me one time. The best of 'em carried this. It's a Callahan full-bore auto-lock. Customized trigger. Double cartridge thorough gauge. It is my very favorite gun.
    (He proffers it to Mal.)
    Mal: Da-shiong bao-jah-shr duh la doo-tze...translation  Are you offering me a trade?
    Jayne: A trade? Hell, it's a theft! This is the best damn gun made by man. It has extreme sentimental value! It's miles more worthy'n what you got.
    Mal: 'What' I got? She has a name!
    Jayne: So does this! (smiles at the gun) I Call It "Vera".
    Mal: Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly comin' to a middle.
    • Even better is the flubbed take of Jayne's response from the blooper reel:
    Jayne: Dammit Mal... (beat) I forgot my line!
    • The end of that conversation?
  • And how can we forget:
    Shepherd Book: If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of Hell. A level they reserve for child molesters... and people who talk at the theater.
    Mal: *walks away*
    Shepherd Book: *leans out the door* The special hell.
    • "Ohh, I'm going to go to the special hell..."
    • Later when it's revealed that Mal did fall for Saffron's seduction, Book's comment? "Isn't that... special."
  • Another gem:
    Mal: But she was naked! And all...articulate!
    Wash: OKAY! Everybody not talking about sex, in here. Everybody else, elsewhere.
  • "Maybe she likes shuttles. (Beat. Everyone stares at Wash.) Some people juggle geese!"
  • Not to mention the deleted scene where River pulls a Mind Screw on Simon:
    River: [motioning to Book] Tell him.
    Simon: Tell him what?
    River: We want you to marry us.
    Simon: What? We-- no! What?
    River: Two by two. Everyone has a mate, a match, a dopple. I love you.
    Simon: No, River, mei-meinote . Of course I love you too, but we can't be married. She's... really crazy.
    River: [kicks him in the shin]
    Simon: OW! I don't mean crazy — that's just not something brothers and sisters do. I mean, on some planets, but only pretty bad ones!
    River: The captain took a wife.
    Book: Well, that's also complicated.
    Simon: I don't know where this is coming from.
    River: We'll take care of each other. I'll knit! You don't love me.
    River: Now we have to be married. [holds a pillow under her shirt, as if they're already expecting a baby] I'm in the family way.
    Simon: [can't think of anything to say to that]
  • Jayne's take on the paralyzing lipstick and everyone's speechless reaction:
    Jayne: That's why I never kiss 'em on the mouth.
    • The funniest thing about it is that everyone else looks shocked, but Kaylee just closes her eyes and looks really exasperated.
  • Jayne is on top of his game in this one.
    Jayne: All I got was that dumb-ass stick sounds like it's raining, how come you got a wife?
  • The way Zoe reacts to the presence of Saffron. Zoe's usually stoic, so her summoning of the entire crew seems like an Out-of-Character Moment... until you notice that, in the background of the rest of the scene, she's stifling giggles into Wash's shoulder.
    Zoe: Sir, everyone should congratulate you on your day of bliss!
  • Post-dinner scene:
    Saffron: If you're done eating, would you like me to wash your feet?
    Mal: (Several seconds of deadpan silence as he looks to Zoe and Wash, then does an about-face and leaves without saying a word.)
    • It's the look on his face that sells it.
      • Then later on when Inara cooly mentions that washing her clients' feet is her specialty.
      • It's even funnier for biblical scholars. "Wash your feet" is sometimes an Unusual Euphemism for oral sex. Which sends the joke straight into Parental Bonus territory.
  • The end of the episode, where Inara is about to resolve the unresolved sexual tension between Mal and her by admitting she kissed him while he was knocked out, which knocked her out as a consequence. Mal instead takes it as an admission that she kissed Saffron and giddily, smugly walks out. The look on Inara's face is priceless.
    Mal: Well, isn't that something. (beat as Inara braces for him to figure it out) I knew you let her kiss you.
    • Before Inara got knocked out herself, her realizing that Mal's lips are still drugged. Note that she goes from completely worried sick and crying to...
    "Oh, you stupid sonofabi-"
    • When Inara is trying to prevent the crew from figuring out that she kissed Mal, while still buzzed from the lipstick. Her delivery is so perfectly unconvincing and slurred.
    "And tthhennn I fell... My head got hurt, like Wash... I only fell is all!"
  • Mal's conversation with Saffron when she first runs off is also pretty hilarious.
    Saffron: Are you going to kill me?
    Mal: Kill you?! What kind of crazy planet is that? Kill you?
    Saffron: I heard, when men weren't satisfied with their wives, they...
    Mal: Well I ain't them! And don't you ever stand for that - someone tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back! *sits down* You're your own person. You've the right same as everyone else to live and... try to kill people. I mean, people who are, uh... That, that's a dumb planet!


  • "The Hero of Canton, the man they call Jaaaaaaayne!"
    • The setup makes it funnier. The crew meets their contact in a bar, and he cautions they should keep a low profile. The moment he walks away, a musician who'd been warming up in the background starts loudly singing Jayne's name.
  • The entire scene in which Mal "promotes" Simon to boss so they can enter the town incognito, and Simon's hilarious attempts to conduct a false business deal with the local foreman.
  • The reactions to the statue in the center of the mudder community.
    Simon: (Having discussed with Kaylee that he rarely swears "unless it's appropriate") Son of a bitch.
    Wash: I think they captured him, y'know? Captured his essence.
    Kaylee: He looks sorta angry.
    Wash: Kinda what I meant.
    • "Everywhere I go, his eyes keep following me."
    • "This must be what going mad feels like."
    • Extra funnier when Simon, after hearing "The Hero of Canton", says: "No, THIS must be what going mad feels like".
  • Drunk Simon and Kaylee. The whole sequence, topped off with drunk Jayne is gold.
    • Especially:
    Simon: To Jayne! The box-dropping, man-ape-gone-wrong-thing!
  • River's reaction to the monstrosity that is Book's unbound hair.
    River: They say the snow on the roof is too heavy, and that the ceiling will cave in. His brains are in terrible danger.
    Zoe: River, please, why don't you come on out?
    River: No! Can't. Too much hair.
    Book: Is - is that it?
    Zoe: Hell yes, preacher! If I didn't have stuff to do, I'd be in there with her.
    Book: River, it's the rules of my order. Like the book. It symbolizes -
    Zoe: Uh-huh. River, honey, he's putting the hair away now. (looks at Book significantly)
    River: It doesn't matter. It'll still be there. Waiting.
  • Near the beginning, when Book insists that he should have no trouble looking after River, you see a quick shot of River standing off to the side, hands clasped innocently behind her back, giving him a surprisingly mischievous smile.
  • This scene.
    Book: What are we up to, sweetheart?
    River: Fixing your Bible.
    • The casual way she says it makes it absolutely brilliant.
    • Her process of fixing it:
      River: So we'll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God's creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah's Ark is a problem.
      Book: (drily) Really?
      River: We'll have to call it early quantum state phenomenon. Only way to fit five thousand species of mammal on the same boat.
    • River and Book subsequently fighting over the "edited" Bible, and then the pages being ripped out. River's surprised, then sheepish expression, followed by Book saying "You can hang on to those" sells it.
  • Jayne talking about his hero status:
    Jayne: They had a riot on account of me! Me, Jayne Cobb!
    Mal: I know your name, jackass!
  • Inara hearing about the "Hero Of Canton," and thinking it's Mal, starting off into a UST-fueled monologue about him, and then hearing it's Jayne. The look on her face as her brain tries to reboot is absolutely priceless.
    Inara: Jayne? Janye Cobb? You're talking about Jayne Cobb?!?
  • Wash's classic line, "We gotta go to the crappy town where I'm a hero."
  • Jayne's toast at the bar:
    Mudder: To Jayne!
    (the crowd cheers)
    Jayne: ...To MEEEE!!!
    (the crowd cheers again)
    • Later on, a drunken Jayne starts singing a snippet of his own theme song, in first person:
      My love for me ain't hard to explain
      The hero of Canton, the man they call me!
  • There's one last beat in the little River/Book subplot: "Just keep walkin', preacher man."

     "Out Of Gas" 

  • Wash's cheesy, out-of-place mustache.
  • This exchange:
    Mal: And if you can't do it from here, then get a suit on and go outside on the side of the boat...
    Wash: And do what? Wave my arms around?
    Mal: Wave your arms around. Jump up and down. Divert the nav sats to the transmitter.
    Wash: Divert the - Right! Because teenage pranks are fun when you're about to die!
    Mal: It'd give the beacon a boost, wouldn't it?
    Wash: Yes, Mal, it would boost the signal. But even if some passer-by did happen to receive, all it would do is muck up their navigation.
    Mal: Could be that's true.
    Wash: Damn right, it's true. They'd be forced to stop and dig out our signal before they could even go any place. *Beat* Well maybe I should do that, then!
    Mal: Maybe you should!
    Wash: Okay!
    Mal: Good!
    Wash: Fine!
    • And then, Jayne of all people comes along, acting like the voice of reason trying to make everything right between the two of them, but then....
    Jayne: What the hell are you two doin', fightin' at a time like this! (beat) You'll use up all the air.
  • "I saw the problem plain as day when I was down there on my back before."
    • To clarify, Kaylee saw and figured out how to fix a supposedly unfixable engine part while on her back in the middle of sex.
  • Kaylee explains the problem to Mal with Techno Babble and he asks her to repeat that in "Dummy captain-speak."
  • Another:
    Zoe: (on meeting Wash) I don't like him.
    Mal: What?
    Zoe: Just somethin' about him bothers me.
    Mal: What? What about him bothers you?
    Zoe: I'm not sure. It's...somethin'.
    Mal: Well your 'somethin' comes up against a list of recommendations as long as my leg. Tanaka raves about this guy! You know, Renshaw's been trying to get him on his crew for a month. And we need us a pilot.
    Zoe: I understand. He bothers me.
    Mal: Look, we finally got ourselves a genius mechanic. It's about time we hired someone to fly this damn thing!
    Bester: (being said mechanic) Genius? No one's ever called me that before. Shiny!
    Zoe: He just bothers me.
    • Funniest part about that scene? Wash is sporting a big, dorky porn mustache. Which, as we all know, he got rid of for the remainder of the show, much to Zoe's approval.
  • And another, towards the beginning, when the crew discovers it's Simon's birthday and throws a surprise party:
    Simon: This is, uh... how - how did you know? River - ?
    River: Day is a vestigial mode of time measurement based on solar cycles. It's not applicable. (beat) I didn't get you anything.
  • A bit of dark humor on how the crew knew it was Simon's birthday: the Alliance posted a new wanted notice of Simon and River, which included their birth dates.
  • Jayne first met Mal and Zoe by tracking them down for his previous boss, who then proceed to make Jayne turn on his partners there and then.
    Jayne: Not as deceivin' as a low-down, dirty... deceiver.
    Mal: Well said. Wasn't that well-said, Zoe?
    Zoe (deadpan while staring down the barrel of Jayne's gun): Had a kind of poetry to it, sir.
    • Mal provokes a Heel–Face Turn in the simplest possible manner: money. And a room of his own.
      Mal: How much are they paying you?
      Jayne: (stymied) Huh?
      Mal: I mean, let's say you did kill us. Or didn't. There could be torture, whatever. But somehow you found the goods. What would your cut be?
      Jayne: Seven percent, straight off the top!
      Mal: Seven? Huh.
      Jayne: What?
      Mal: Hmm? Nothing. It's just- (to Zoe) Does that seem low to you?
      Zoe: It does, sir
      Jayne: It ain't low!
      Marco: Stop it!
      Jayne: Seven percent's standard.
      Mal: Who told you that, him? Zoe, I'm paying you too much.
      Jayne: Why, what does she get?
      Marco: Stop it!
      Mal: Look, forget I said anything. I'm sure you're treated very well. You get the perks. Private room. (Jayne starts) No? You share a bunk?!
      Jayne (gesturing to a fellow goon and speaking with clear disgust): With that one.
      Mal (amused) Really?
    • Jayne's first question on turning and joing Mal:
      Jayne: How big a room?
  • River reassuring a frightened, praying Book that they won't die gasping for air.
    River: ...We'll freeze to death first.
  • Zoe's reaction when she sees Serenity for the first time:
    Zoe: You paid money for this, sir? On purpose?


  • As usual, Jayne:
    Jayne: Hell, if I wanted schooling, I'd have gone to school!
  • Jayne, of all people, reciting a long description of their patients' "symptoms" at the hospital, which he memorized just for that specific reason... precisely after they discover they needn't have bothered. 'Cause Jayne'd memorized them words, gorramit, and he weren't lettin' 'em go to waste.
    • Even better is that he still managed to screw up his lines (he was supposed to say "response", not "reaction". It was the part he struggled most on).
  • Jayne attempting to open the door by shooting it with the Alliance pulse rifle.
  • Kaylee in the junkyard:
    Kaylee: Figures. First time on a Core and what do I get to do? Look through trash. Couldn't he send me shopping at the Triplex, or [bright enthusiasm] Oooh! Synchronizers!
  • During that same scene, in the background you can see Wash pick up the exact part they needed in "Out of Gas" and chuck it away.

     "War Stories" 

  • Most of the episode, but especially, "This is something he's got to do himself." "No! No, it's not!" "Oh."
    • Zoe's half-deadpan, half-surprised delivery of the "Oh" right before they open fire sells it perfectly. And the shooting script describes the action as Zoe et al "filling him with as many holes as Standards and Practices will allow."
  • Wash to Mal after they have been kidnapped:
    Wash: I am the one that [Zoe] swore to love, honor and obey!
    Mal: Listen... (completely losing his train of thought) ...she swore to obey?
    Wash: Well no, but - she obeys you! There's obeying going on, right under my nose!
  • And while we're discussing Jayne, we also have the classic line:
    Jayne: I'll be in my bunk.
    • Which is later referenced by another Crowning Moment Of Funny by Wash:
      Wash: We'll be in our bunk!
    • Related to that, Jayne's face whenever he sees Inara with her client.
    • How about the second time Jayne says the line, immediately followed by:
    • The look Book gives afterward makes it ever funnier.
  • Later on, there's Zoe picking Wash to be saved before Niska has even finished outlining his Sadistic Choice.
    Zoe: I'm sorry. You were going to ask me to choose, right? Did you want to finish?
  • "Take me sir, take me hard." Gina Torres' deadpan delivery has never been so hysterical.
  • "Hey, free soup!"
  • Don't forget: "I am a large, semi-muscular man!"
  • It felt wrong, "War Stories" having a somewhat realistic torture scene and making it funny.
    • And then there's the look on Niska's face as Wash and Mal are arguing. He all but says, "This isn't what's supposed to happen. They should be begging for mercy right about now."
    • Niska's expression is perfect. He looks like he can't decide whether he should be laughing or growling.
  • When Wash gets uppity:
    Wash: Well here's a funny twist: No.
    Mal: No, what?
    Wash: No, sir.
    • After which, Mal communicates his feelings.
    Mal: I'm confused, I'm angry, and I'm armed.
  • Kaylee and River are playing together, fighting over an apple. Lots of laughter and whoops. Very sweet and heartwarming (partly because it's one of the most lucid and happiest scenes River has). And our captain?
    Mal: Ah, the pitter-patter of tiny feet in huge combat boots... SHUT UP!
  • One or two lines later he cements his role as Team Dad in the most hilarious way possible:
    Mal: One of you is gonna fall and die and I'm not cleaning it up!
  • The Misfit Mobilization Moment with the crew arming up to awesomely rescue their captain is followed by a bit of black comedy and a quick cut to the torturer, now prodding Mal's inanimate form: "Yup, he's dead."


  • The cold open. Mal sitting naked and alone in a vast desert, and yet he feels the day's gone pretty much according to plan. For once.
    • And the rest of "Trash," particularly this exchange, especially Wash's delivery:
      Mal: Saffron has a notion we can walk right in there, take the Lassiter right off his shelf.
      Wash: I'm confused.
      Saffron: You're asking yourself if I've got the security codes, why don't I go in, grab it for myself?
      Wash: No. Actually, I was wondering... what is she doing on this ship?! ... We're in space! How'd she get here? note 
      Mal: She hitched.
      Wash: I don't recall pulling over!
    • Then Jayne tries to steer it back:
      Jayne: I got a question. If you've got the security codes, why don't you go in and grab it for yourself?
      Saffron: (beat) Good point.
  • When Wash sees Mal's junk. he's Jewish?
  • Also more towards the beginning of the episode, when Inara is complaining to Mal that she can't get any work because of how "under the radar" the crew needs to be:
    Inara: What was the last cargo we snuck by the Alliance to transport?
    Mal: ...That was a —
    Inara: What was the cargo?!
    Mal: ...They were dolls.
    Inara: They were little geisha dolls with big heads that wobbled!
    Mal: Hey! People love those!
  • The beginning... chronologically.
    Monty: Ah shaved mah beard fer you, devil woman!
  • Monty spends most of the time with Mal telling him about the great woman he got married to, and keeps calling for her to come and meet his friend. Mal and "Bridget" (who is actually Saffron) immediately pull guns on each other when they come face to face.
  • When the mark in Trash catches Mal with his priceless gun in his hands, with Saffron holding Mal at gunpoint.
    Saffron: Durran, this isn't what it looks like.
    Mal: Unless it looks like we're stealing your priceless Lassiter, 'cause, that's what we're doin'. Don't ask me 'bout the gun, though, 'cause that's new.
    Durran Haymer: Well, I appreciate your honesty. Not, you know, a lot, but...
  • Jayne and River have a fun little exchange:
    Jayne: As a rule, I say girlfolk ain't to be trusted.
    River: Jayne is a girl's name.
    Jayne: Well, Jayne ain't a girl! (to Simon) If she starts on that girl's name stuff, I'll show her good and all, I got man parts.
    Simon: I'm trying to find a way you could be cruder. It's's not coming.
  • Then the part where Jayne leaves. He reaches into his pocket one more time and reveals...a deck of cards. That he takes a perverse pleasure in telling them he was going to leave the cards, but is now taking them. Just because.

     "The Message" 

  • After Mal and Zoe open the crate containing Tracy's corpse:
    Jayne: (wearing his new hat) What'd y'all order a dead guy for?
  • One of the lighter moments of "The Message" featured the recently awakened Tracy, disoriented and flailing around. Mal subdues him in an (ahem) ambiguous position, then this exchange occurs:
    Tracy: Sarge?
    Mal: What?
    Tracy: I think I'm nekkid.
  • You can't talk about "The Message" without mentioning the hat.
    Wash: Man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything.
    • That whole scene, as Jayne painstakingly read the whole letter aloud, then pulled the hat out and excitedly plopped it on his head like a little kid, not even bothering to set it straight or pull the packing straw off of it.
    Jayne: (Reading slowly)" 'I have sent you the enclosed'- Ooh, enclosed!"
  • River and The Ice Planet.
    River: My food is problematic.
  • River's statement about Simon's (yet another) failure to woo Kaylee.
    River: You are such a boob.
  • Also, for some reason, this exchange while Jayne is ripping apart the coffin box:
    Mal: You find anything?
    Jayne: Not unless it's made of magical wish-granting planks.
  • Or the scene where River takes a nap on Tracy's coffin, much to Book and Jayne's confusion.
    River: I'm very comfortable.
  • Or:
    Mal: Using corpses for smuggling is a time-honored repulsive tradition.
    Jayne: Maybe it's gold.
    Zoe: And maybe he was a friend of ours and you need to show a little respect.
    Jayne: I got respect. I'm just saying...(points at body) gold!
  • Wash enters a room containing Simon and an "alien":
  • And still more: In a deleted scene on the DVD extras from that episode, the revolving shot as the recorded message is playing. With Nathan Fillion (Mal) running counter to the camera rotation to be every second person in the rotating shot. Smiles, grins, chuckles, and outright laughter ensues among the cast. The two best parts: Nathan is completely straight faced and solemn the whole time, and the last bit is him snuggling with Tracy in the coffin. Found here.
    • Which also counts as a personal Moment of Awesome for Nathan Fillion. See Reality Subtext in the main page. It's basically the "War Stories" torture scene, done for real and cranked Up to Eleven.
      • And look at Alan Tudyk's expression when the camera pans to Nathan Fillion next to him... he is clearly in character and wondering how the hell Mal just got there! That is commitment to the scene.
      • Ron Glass likewise also stays in character as Book, and gives a stern look towards Nathan's antics, as does Gina Torres (barely) who looks like she wants to just reprimand him with a stern "Captain..." but can't out of concern of Corpsing. Adam Baldwin also respectfully takes off his hat (even though at this point, the scene is toast). Jonathan Woodward (Tracy's actor) has stopped acting as a dead corpse, and instead is holding Nathan like a teddy bear, and like he's giving off a sleepy response. Everyone else, however, has long lost it by the time the camera pans around to them, cracking up.

     "Heart Of Gold" 

  • The episode has the following exchange, when Jayne's refusing to help the crew with the Job Of The Week:
    Jayne: Don't know these people, don't care to.
    Mal: They're whores.
    Jayne: I'm in.
    • And then when they first enter the whorehouse:
      Jayne: Can I start getting sexed already?
    • And then this:
      Kaylee: They've got boy-whores, too. That's considerate.
    • And, finally, this:
      Jayne: [over radio] Well now girl, that is just plain dirty.
      Mal: Jayne, you are aware that your radio's transmittin'? Because I don't feel particularly girlish or dirty at the moment.
  • Book has a nice one when they're going to board up the house:
    Shepard Book: I'm fair-handed with a hammer, captain.
    Mal: That so?
    Book: I've been following the footsteps of a carpenter for quite some time now.
  • The exchange between Kaylee and Wash in the whorehouse:
    Kaylee: (sigh) Everyone's got somebody... Wash, tell me I'm pretty.
    Wash: (deadpan) Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion.
    Kaylee: 'Cause I'm pretty?
    Wash: 'Cause you're pretty.

     "Objects In Space" 

  • This gem from Jayne: "If wishes were horses, we'd all be eating steak!"
  • While Simon and Early are struggling, Jayne finally wakes up. He looks up at the noise, scowls, reaches up to pull the blanket off his Wall of Weapons, and rousing heroic battle music begins to play... and then Jayne rolls over, pulls the blanket over himself, and goes back to sleep.
  • An understated classic, where Jayne complains that he was attacked by River.
    Jayne: Anyone else remember that time she came at me with a butcher's knife?
    Zoe: (to Mal) Sir, I know she's unpredictable, but I don't think she'd hurt anyone.
    Jayne: Butcher's knife!
  • Almost all of the dialogue in this episode is a CMoF. To wit:
    Jayne: ...Are you sayin' she's a witch?
    Wash: Yes, Jayne. She is a witch. She has had congress with the Beast.
    Jayne: ...She's in Congress?
    Wash: How did your brain even learn human speech?
  • When River says she's melded with Serenity:
    Early: You folks are all insane.
    Simon: Well, my sister's a ship. We had a complicated childhood.
  • Mal after getting knocked out: "There was a man. He was very blurry."
  • And then there's the exchange between River and Mal, after he wakes up:
    River: You've got questions.
    Mal: That's why I just asked them.
    • Moments later:
      Mal: Am I dreamin'?
      River: We all are.
      Mal: (rolls his eyes)
      River (who isn't even on the same ship, let alone in the same room, but somehow KNOWS): Don't make faces.
      Mal: (looks around suspiciously)
  • The legendary exchange between Early and Simon:
    Early: You know, with the exception of one deadly and unpredictable midget, this girl is the smallest cargo I've ever had to transport yet by far the most troublesome. That seem right to you?
    Simon: ...What did he do?
    Early: Who?
    Simon: The midget.
    Early: Arson. Little man loooooved fire.
  • The infamous 'Am I a Lion?' scene.
    • Really, just watch Simon's face whenever Early is talking. It's this hilarious expression of, 'What the fuck?'
  • Let's not forget:
    Early: Where is she?
    Simon: I can't keep track of her when she's not incorporeally possessing a spaceship - don't look at me.
    • And when River creeps out Early by giggling, Simon just has a proud smile on his face.
  • When Early gets tired of playing games and tries to force River to come out of hiding:
    Early: You show yourself, and we finish this exchange, or your brother's brains'll be flying every which way. (turning to Simon, he adds, very apologetically:) You understand, I'm sort of on a clock here, it's frustrating.
  • And at the very end when Early was pushed out into space.
    Early: Well, here I am.


The Big Damn Movie:

Big Damn Comics

  • From Those Left Behind, when Wash and Zoe make love on the bridge and then suddenly have to call all the crew up to the cockpit. They're calmly and unobtrusively buttoning up their clothes, and everyone is pointedly not looking their way, when...
    River: It stinks like sex in here.
  • In the Better Days comic, the crew are describing what they'd do with all the money they've made. Jayne's fantasy future is an impossibly awesome starship captain with Amazonian Bridge Bunnies who call him "Your Manliness." Book's "fantasy" shows him as a crime kingpin with two scantily-clad hookers hanging off him which is him just kidding. River's is...odd. It apparently involves a really nice dress, a giant fish in a tuxedo, imps flying around on balloons, a Chinese-style dragon, a llama, and a rainbow castle.
    • Somebody better remind her that imps doing weird shit is Yahtzee's thing. Actually, don't, that would be too epic a battle to miss.
  • Jayne trying to get a lesson in Companion etiquette... from Simon.
    Jayne: [repeatedly] And then I stick it in?
    Simon: [Facepalm]
  • Though Float Out is about people remembering Wash, there's still this gem from Leland's story:
    Leland: (narrating) Yeah, I met Wash when he and I were runners for PonyMacro. "System to system, pole to pole, PonyMacro's how you roll."
    Wash: ...just saying they should change their slogan. They discontinued ground transport before I was born, so the "rolling" thing makes no sense. And all the money's in system to system, so even the "pole to pole" thing doesn't really apply.
    Leland: (in flashback) People remember things that rhyme.
    Wash: All the time?
    (Later, when they're being chased and shot at:)
    Leland: Can you make a rhyme now...?
    (Their ship speeds clear of the blasts)
    Wash: Wow! That was close! And how!
  • From Better Days when Jayne hands some cash to a monk:
    Jayne: Buy some shoes.
    Monk: The Hero of Canton... He's real!
  • In The Warrior and the Wind, River tells a story to Baby Emma about her father with some artistic license: Zoe as "the Warrior", Wash as "the Wind", Mal as "the Pirate Captain" (who wasn't really much of a pirate), Book as "the Monk", Inara as "the Archer", Jayne as "the Giant", Kaylee as "the Flower Girl", Simon as "the Doctor", and River herself as "the Tiny Dancer in a box".
    • The Warrior first meets the Wind when he's caught in some vines. She agrees to cut him down on one condition: he shave the mustache.
    • When the Monk first appears, his hair is uncompressed in the way that it horrified River and Zoe all those years ago.
    • River describes the Archer as the only one who could "soothe the Captain's troubled soul". That's an... interesting definition of "soothe" that River has.
    • The Archer trying to stop a fight between the Captain and the Giant:
      Archer: He didn't mean nothing by it, Captain.
      Giant: The heck I didn't!
    • The Reavers are riding dinosaurs.
    • At the end of the story, Zoe thanks River for telling Emma about her father, not minding the license she used. Also:
      Zoe: I really did hate that mustache.
  • How Saffron is dispatched in The Sting: She's hijacked the Mule and Kaylee pressed a hidden button that set off the Ejector Seat.
  • From the "Unification War" comics:
    • The way a religious pilgrim antagonizes Jayne without cursing: "Pardon me, sir, but I have heard tell you smell offensively. Body odor, you know. At least, that is what your mother informed me this morning. In bed, shortly after we..." KRAKK! Then it's revealed he was testing Jayne to see if the crew would be a suitable bodyguard for his band of pilgrims. They get the job.
    • While working as the Pilgrims of Moriah's bodyguards, Mal and Zoe are exposed as war criminals with bounties on their heads. The pilgrims are gleeful to have a pair of badass war criminals protecting them and fighting their enemies.
    • The pilgrims turn on the crew and plan to sacrifice Inara, Wash, Book, and Jayne in the order of smallest to largest sinner. This leads to the crew trying to buy time by debating who is the biggest sinner.

Firefly is pretty much made of Awesome, Funny, and Aww. Sometimes simultaneously. We'd better stop before we quote the entire script.

  • Too late.


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