Everyone loves a good sitcom. They have a cast of memorable and interesting characters, can make you laugh, and the best of them can even become culturally impactful phenomenons. I’m here to share my top 10 favorite sitcoms because I love to watch them. To make my decisions, I considered a few things. Humor, characters, general “feel,” and cultural impact. I’m just letting everyone know now that this isn’t a list of the most popular sitcoms, but of the ones I enjoy most. Let’s start with the honorable mentions.
The most popular sitcom ever created doesn’t crack my top 10. The characters aren’t anything too special, the comedy is lacking in comparison to other sitcoms, and it just doesn’t sit too well with me. Kramer and Elaine are usually the most funny characters, but the chemistry just isn’t there for me. It’s enjoyable, but it’s not anything super special. It makes it here for sheer cultural impact alone, being the highest rated sitcom ever created.
I usually enjoy this show a lot. The problem for me is there’s not many episodes so it always feels like I’m watching the same episodes, and it’s sort of repetitive. George is an unorthodox father with a mother who can’t take care of him, and that’s what the entire show is about. It is very funny though, with Benny and George having the most interesting and hilarious insults. The other problem I have with this show is, even though it’s called George Lopez, it’s only about him. His wife, his mother, his kids, and every other character on the show takes a supporting role so it doesn’t really tell Angie’s story or the kids story outside of George.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
This show is really funny and has everything a good sitcom needs. Humor, a good feel, a nice premise, unique and relateable characters, and some cultural impact. So why is it only an honorable mention? Quite frankly it’s because there’s only 1 season of it and it can’t be judged solely on one season. I want to see how it holds up as it gets more and more attention and more seasons. If the first season is anything to judge it by, then it will be very successful. Already it’s racked up Emmy nominations. But it’s still in its infancy, so I can’t fairly put it above other shows who’ve finished their run and/or established their place among sitcom royalty. This is one I look forward to seeing more of though. Tina Fey is a hilarious comedic genius.
The Golden Girls
I always feel weird about admitting to people I like The Golden Girls because it’s a show about a bunch of elderly women. It seems like it is suited for an older audience, and being set in the 80s makes it a bit before my time. That being said, I don’t care. This show is funny and entertaining. It is one of the more well known sitcoms and it features Betty White, who is a household name nowadays for being one of the oldest and most entertaining comedians around. Regardless, this show is iconic and I find all the characters to be delightful, particularly the extremely sarcastic Sofia. A very underrated show by today’s standards.
The Cosby Show
Bill Cosby, before he was being accused of sexually assaulting dozens of women, became known for playing Dr. Huxtable. He became a household name and his signature clean humor, or at least lack of swearing, set him apart from the crowd. This show redefined what black America could be and offered a new and encouraging viewpoint. They’re just like any other family, and 30 years ago this was a powerful message, and a needed one. Aside from cultural impact, Bill Cosby and Co. create a highly memorable and hilarious show that is family friendly and entertaining to people of all ages.
10. That ’70s Show
To begin the actual top 10 list, we have That ’70s Show. I had a hard time making this list because I have so many sitcoms I like. I, of course, was not around in the 1970s, so this show kind of shows me what it was like, or at least a dramatized version of it. It features great jokes, teen angst, iconic characters and lines, and has a cast of many popular faces. Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Laura Prepon, and even Debra Jo Rupp who appears in Friends as Frank Jr. Jr.’s wife. This one is a show I always forget about, but when I see it I know I love it. Every character can make me laugh, and they’re all unique. This show definitely “kicks my ass” with humor, if you know what I mean.
9. Family Matters
Urkel. ‘Nuff said. In all seriousness, this show doesn’t even center on Steve Urkel, but this is kinda known as “the show with Urkel.” He’s one of the most iconic characters in sitcom history, and for good reason. Always pining after Laura, getting on Carl’s nerves, waltzing in when he’s not wanted, and his trademark phrase, “Did I do that?” combine to make this show very fun. I want to say this show would be as good without Urkel, but in all honesty it probably wouldn’t. Each of the characters are alright on their own, but nothing really special. Urkel carries this show on his frail little shoulders. Laura would be proud.
8. My Wife and Kids
This isn’t a really popular show, which just baffles me. Even though it doesn’t have any huge names, didn’t really launch any careers, and didn’t cause a cultural shift, this show is still one of the funniest I’ve ever watched. Michael Kyle is like George Lopez but funnier and more relateable and without all the repetitiveness, unless you consider the “Michael v. Family” feud to be repetitive. Truly, this show is hilarious and each character brings a unique feel to the show. It has some of the same problems as George Lopez, but it does everything “GL” does well, only better. If you haven’t tried this show out before, it’s one I rarely see on TV, but when I do, I’ll almost always switch the channel to it.
7. Full House
Another iconic show. This is one of the first really family friendly sitcoms out there, and it’s probably the most popular and widely known. It’s especially known for launching the Olsen twins into super-stardom, and now it’s getting a reboot on Netflix. It’s not the most funny show out there, but I still find myself laughing out loud at certain points. Every character is iconic with their own quirks and catch phrases like, “You got it, Dude!” or “Have mercy,” or “How rude!” What sets this apart from every other show on my list is, apart from The Cosby Show, this is the only real family show, suitable for all ages. Every episode teaches a good lesson, and every character deals with situations that could really happen in real life. It has strong moral values, and every character is I care for. I’m excited to see Fuller House on Netflix.
6. The New Adventure of Old Christine
I’ll bet nobody here has seen or heard of this show, but the leading lady is iconic. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, known for playing Elaine on Seinfeld, stars as a single mother, Old Christine, who has a weird relationship with her ex-husband trying to navigate her life in the dating world while raising a kid. Supposedly she’s this “old” and “unattractive” and “foul smelling” woman, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus is freaking beautiful, so that’s one thing that doesn’t sit right with me. However, this show is drop dead hilarious. Old Christine (who is called Old Christine because her ex-husband is dating a younger woman named (New) Christine) is kind of just like everyone. I swear she’s a teenager. She’s lazy and moderately self absorbed and kind and not really someone you would normally care about, but you do. She’s a weird and hilarious contradiction. I don’t really know how to describe the show, but it’s really hilarious and makes it this far up the list purely because of its ability to make me laugh out loud. Give it a shot!
5. How I Met Your Mother
These next five are really hard to place, but in particular I have difficulty with this spot and the next one. This show is kind of like the new version of Friends. I really enjoy this show, but I’m not done watching it yet so that might influence my decision to include it at #5. I really don’t find this show that funny, but that doesn’t make it not entertaining. I can’t stop watching it, and it is good for a few laughs, but it’s outshined by the next four shows in the humor category. What makes this show special are two things: the story and the characters. The one leg this show has up on Friends is a driving force behind the show. It’s a subtle and not completely unifying goal, but it’s there, and that’s the finding the mother. You know that every one of these stories has little to do with each other, but they combine to lead Ted to finding his future wife, which gives the stories and the show a backbone. The characters are the other truly special point in this show. At least so far, I genuinely care for each character (maybe except for Barney, but he’s usually the funniest one). Lily and Marshal are adorable, I want Ted to find his wife, and I really like Robin. I can’t really pick one character over the rest because they’re all great, but if I had to, I’d pick Lily, but that might have something to do with the fact that Alyson Hannigan is a goddess and can do anything, and she plays Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (not a sitcom, but actually my all time favorite show). So yeah, HIMYM is an awesome show and I can’t wait to get to the end, which I hear is awful but we’ll see. I’m expecting it to be legen-wait for it-dary! P.S. I will not read any comments about the ending of the show, so don’t bother. I’ll delete them too.
4. The Big Bang Theory
This is interchangeable with HIMYM, but I decided to put this above it because it’s far funnier. Sheldon is an iconic character that never fails to make me laugh out loud. The show frequently gets criticism for “inaccurately portraying nerd culture,” but I think that’s pretty dumb. There are people out there like these characters, and it’s not making any statement about all nerds. They’re just four individual nerds who happen to be super nerds. Anyway, this show is gaining momentum season after season, Emmy after Emmy. After season seven, Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, and Kaley Kuoco (Sheldon, Leonard, and Penny) signed on for three more seasons, with a salary of a million dollars per episode. That’s the equivalent to the stars of Friends. It’s a show that tosses around things nobody understands, but makes that idea into the joke, usually though Penny, but also through Sheldon’s superiority complex. It lacks the same kind of charm of HIMYM, but it also brings insanely funny characters and jokes that HIMYM doesn’t.
3. Parks and Recreation
These next three are really super hard for me to choose between. Really they’re all tied for first, but this is the order I’ve come up with. Parks and Recreation is insanely funny, and what makes it even funnier is the fact that it doesn’t feel like a sitcom. It feels like a bunch of people who work in the parks department together. Every character has their own personality that is very distinct from the other. Leslie is confident, optimistic, very thoughtful, and meticulous. April is dark, deadpan, witty, and sarcastic. Andy is dumb, playful, childish, and caring. I could go on, but you get the idea. It’s true of every character. I’m definitely most like Leslie, who is my second favorite character after April, who I just connect with on a comedic level. Everything she says and does can make me burst out laughing, especially as the seasons go on and the writers make better use of her character. Amy Poehler is hilarious, and I really love every character in the show. It’s got a ridiculous number of one liners and the characters are so distinct and developed that they feel like real people. It has a bunch of running jokes, from Leslie’s love of waffles, to Chris Traeger’s health obsession, to Tom’s vanity, and best of all, poor Jerry/Larry/Gary. Treat yo’ self to one of the best sitcoms of all time and watch Parks and Rec. I just love this show soooooo much.
This show has everything a good sitcom needs. Everything. I really can’t think of anything this show doesn’t do excellent. The cast has excellent chemistry, every character is unique and well developed, it’s one of the funniest shows in history, every character is lovable, it’s spawned some of the most iconic characters and lines ever (“We were on a break!” “I got off the plane…” “How you doin?” “Smelly cat, smelly cat…” “Could I BE _______…”), and the cultural impact this show had was incredible. It’s the second highest rated sitcom in history, it impacted fashion, speech, and it has one of the largest followings ever. Pretty much everybody, excluding some of the younger generations (though even many of them have seen or heard of it), has watched an episode or heard of the show. This show has it all. I have nothing to complain about. Phoebe makes me die from laughter, but they’re all hilarious. It’s just a fantastic show, and it was really hard for me not to put this at #1 because the #1 sitcom has one thing that Friends doesn’t have.
1. The Nanny
Many people might have a problem with this, especially since a lot of people probably haven’t heard of it. It’s the one with the woman with the really nasally voice. This show isn’t as popular as friends, has next to no cultural impact, and the cast isn’t nearly as memorable as the other two shows behind it. But this show occupies a special place in my heart because it’s memorable to me. This show shaped and molded me more than any other sitcom I’ve watched. I would watch this show every night from 8-9. Comedy wise, I think this show is on equal footing with Friends and Parks and Recreation. I think this show is so hysterical, and Niles’ one liners are the highlight of the show. This show impacted my life more than any other because it affected how I spent my time and it basically inspired my sense of humor. I made it my goal to be like Niles. I love insulting humor, I love deadpan, and I love sarcasm, which is his signature style. But outside of Niles, this show is still incredibly funny. It makes a lot of references I don’t understand (probably because of my age), but the delivery is so well done that I laugh anyway. I haven’t seen this one on TV in a while and I miss it so much because it was such a tremendous part of my life for so long. I think I’ve seen every episode multiple times, and it’s still just as funny. For me, this show had to be at #1.
So there you have it. My top 10 favorite sitcoms and five honorable mentions. Let me know what you think about my list. Did I miss a show? Want to share your own thoughts? I love talking about these shows with other people, so if you want to discuss any of them, particularly HIMYM or Parks and Rec, let me know. I look forward to hearing from anyone who wants to share.