(by Steve Hopkins)
Table tennis is everywhere. Whether it’s in movies, television, commercials, or print ads, our sport is part of a quintessential American experience. Placing our game as a part of the backdrop draws viewers, connecting them to their own memories of participating in matches in garages and basements as they connected with friends and family. For decades, table tennis has appeared on TV – often as a part of the plot of some of the most popular shows.
As much of the American public finds itself trapped at home, flipping channels and scrolling through their streaming services – we’re here to help you combine two of the things that you love most (PONG and FLICKS).
Below you’ll find 10 times that table tennis appeared in popular TV shows. Stay safe and stay home.
M*A*S*H (Season 5, Episode 16, Ping Pong): One of the most popular television shows of all time featured table tennis in their fifth season. The 4077th hosts a traditional Korean wedding, Colonel Potter runs into an old friend, and Potter and Radar show off their table tennis skills in the mess tent. (*See the photo above)
In Last Man Standing (Season 5, Episode 3, Ping-Pong), Ed reveals to Mike that he hasn’t been in touch with his daughter for years, prompting Mike and Mandy to search for common ground (with a ping pong match on their patio).
In Friends (Season 9, Episode 24, The One in Barbados), there is a lengthy ping pong grudge match. Chandler steps in for Monica when she is injured and closes the match with pretty nice forehand form.
Lena Dunham’s character in HBO’s “Girls” managed to play a little ping pong (in Season 2, Episode 9) before proceeding into a scene that wouldn’t be approved for network TV.
In The Office (Season 4, Episode 12, The Deposition), the sport comes up a few times throughout the episode with Jim, Darryl, and others playing matches. Jim seeks Dwight’s assistance in beating Darryl after finding that Dwight has skills at the table. Dwight tosses out references to Primorac, Waldner, Grubba and others before the episode ends with an all-Schrute grudge match between Dwight and his cousin Mose.
In this episode of The Garry Shandling Show (Season 3, Episode 5, The Natural), Garry attempts to make a comeback at ping pong despite an incident that derailed his ping pong days 18 years ago.
In The Big Bang Theory (Season 8, Episode 19, Ping Pong and Tardis), the gang find a table while cleaning out a garage for a garage sale.
On King of Queens (Season 6, Episode 3, King Pong), Arthur teaches Doug using multi-ball in their garage and at one point has Doug practice with a wooden spoon.
On Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 3, Episode 14, Ping Pong), Ray finds out Frank used to let him win when he was a kid, so he seeks a ping pong rematch.
In Entourage (Season 7, Episode 4), Drama falls to John Stamos in a grudge match in front of fans. Leading up to the match, there is a lot of smack talk and coaching (including Soo Yeon Lee and Elmira Zainabudinova).
As a Bonus (the 11th in this list of 10 Episodes): Obviously there will be table tennis in the future, as shown clearly in the background of the photo below. This is Star Trek Discovery (Season 1, Episode 7). Just before the opening credits in the first view of the party in the crew’s lounge, panning cameras show two tables next two each other (though in this case, they are being used for some intergalactic beer pong).
ButterflyOnline looks forward to seeing everyone back at the tables when it is safe.