The 10 Best Sitcoms on TV Right Now
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The 10 Best Sitcoms on TV? I can’t believe I’m even typing that. It’s been years since you could even point to five funny sitcoms on TV at the same time. With occasional exceptions over the last decade—Arrested Development, Sports Night, The Office, Scrubs—the post Seinfeld landscape was mostly dotted with unfunny, unoriginal, brainless, multi-camera, laugh-tracked half-hour blocks of misery.
Then came Tina Fey. And then premium cable channels started to build on the success of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Now, all of the sudden, TV is funny again. We created a list of our 10 favorite current sitcoms because we realized that we could, without reservation, recommend 10 sitcoms. And we’re talking live-action, half-hour TV comedies, not hour-long dramedies, animated hilarity, or biting fake news shows. And that’s with Curb taking the year off. Crazy, huh?
Here are the 10 funniest sitcoms currently on TV:
10. Bored to Death
Writer Jonathan Ames’ new series features Jason Schwartzman as a writer named Jonathan Ames who decides to advertise his private investigative services on Craigslist. Our favorite comedian Zach Galifianakis plays Ames’ best friend, Ted Danson quickly makes us forget he was ever in Becker, and the guest stars have included Kristen Wiig, Jim Jarmusch and Patton Oswalt. But its Schwartzman’s absurd mix of self-obsession and sincerity that makes the show so fun to watch. Schwartzman told Paste last fall that he loves that the real Ames is “not ever winking at the camera, making fun of the genre of mystery. He has no ability as a human being to detect irony. He doesn’t write his books from a place of mean or sarcastic humor. What I love is that his characters are always trying to do the right thing. They just keep fucking it up and end up hurting people, but it’s never intended.” — Josh Jackson
9. Nurse Jackie
Edie Falco plays Showtime’s latest morally ambiguous protagonist, a cranky ER nurse who’s snorting painkillers and having sex with the hospital pharmacist (how convenient) while the World’s Best Husband waits for her to come home to him and their two girls. Jackie Peyton is a maddening, two-faced character, kind and empathetic with her patients and stoically hurtful to the people closest to her. Her moral code is erratic, but intriguing—she flushes a patient’s ear down the toilet because he stabbed a woman, and then promptly returns to her day-to-day routine of getting high and committing adultery. The supporting cast brings out the worst in her and the best moments in the show: Eager nursing student Zoey worships the ground Jackie walks on; narcissistic doctor Fitch Cooper has an inexplicable crush on her, and fashionista doctor friend Eleanor O’Hara knows about all her transgressions and refuses to judge her, creating a twisted friendship and an unusual dynamic for two female characters. — Kate Kiefer
8. Parks & Recreation
Maybe I’m just tired of sitcoms set in New York City. But I’m ready to say it: I like this season’s Parks & Recreation better than 30 Rock. Love me some Tina Fey but Parks wins out overall due to the sympathetic and charming cast of characters. The only Parks character that approaches the overweening narcissism of the average 30 Rock character is Aziz Ansari’s well-intentioned Tom Haverford. The half-hour each week I devote to Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope, Nick Offerman’s uproarious Ron Swanson and the rest of the city officials in Pawnee, Ind., is tops for pure relaxation and sitcom bliss. — Nick Purdy
7. How I Met Your Mother
A replacement for anyone who misses Friends, CBS’ only great sitcom has given us Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), one of the most egocentric, hilarious TV characters this decade. Once you get past the laugh track, the show is truly, as Barney would say, “legend—wait for it—ary.” — Kate Kiefer
6. The Office
NBC’s remake of Ricky Gervais’ masterpiece has certainly seen better days. It’s been a while (since Michael Scott’s last dinner party, to be precise) since the show really made us squirm with delicious discomfort in a way that only Scott’s lack of self-awareness ever could. Still, the characters we got to know back in 2005 were so wonderfully crafted that they show little wear and tear after six seasons, even when the show’s central romantic tension is long gone. Long live Dunder-Mifflin. — Josh Jackson