The perception among television viewers concerning the sitcom genre is an interesting paradox in the landscape of entertainment. When confronted, most people will say that they hate sitcoms. They will point out that the genre is boring, too stereotypical, and is ruining entertainment. Yet, sitcoms are still the most watched genre in all of television. Mad Men and Breaking Bad may get all of the accolades and awards but a terrible show like Two and A Half Men far surpasses them when it comes to ratings. Let's not forget that Friends and Seinfeld have far surpassed the popularity of all of these shows even though people like to pretend that they don't exist anymore when they're out in public. Modern Family, one of the most popular sitcoms out right now, may be shot like a documentary but that's just a smokescreen to get audiences to forget that it's really another sitcom.
Here are the top ten underrated sitcoms that people should watch. They're well-written, funny, and gives the viewer a sense of hope for the future of the human race. Okay, maybe that's a little strong but you get the idea.
10 Everybody Hates Chris
It's a shame that the studio decided to market this show by constantly reminding people that it was inspired by Chris Rock's childhood. Mainstream audiences tend to brush off the experiences of celebrities because they feel that it's arrogant even though this show was hilarious. The cinematography was fantastic, the actors who played Chris's character along with his family had great chemistry, and Rock's voice-overs gave it the slight edge that it needed to stay interesting. Some say that the show was so good that it was a spiritual successor to The Cosby Show but I feel that comparison is an injustice to Everybody Hates Chris. This show stands on its own.
I'm still amazed that a live-action sitcom whose main characters are animatronic dinosaurs was produced at all. I suppose that these are the perks of being Jim Henson during his prime. Luckily, this show was written well enough to still be funny today and gives enough parallels to the problems of human society while still being entertaining and not too preachy. Best of all, the series creators had guts of steel for the depressing end of the series. Almost everyone agrees that dinosaurs became extinct due to the impact of an asteroid but to end the series that way was a triumph.
8 Life's Too Short
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant hit another home run when they created this show along with Warwick Davis. The unique situations that Davis has to deal with being a Hollywood actor with dwarfism leads to hilariously uncomfortable situations that made me cry with laughter on numerous occasions. Some viewers felt uncomfortable with putting characters with disabilities in these situations but I believe that their perception in incorrect. The things people with disabilities, such as myself, have to put up with are hilarious when you think about them and it doesn't stop them from having serious character flaws. That's because we're human.
7 Party Down
Party Down was a sleeper hit that Starz didn't know what to with. The cast was loaded with television stars like Adam Scott (Parks and Rec), Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks), Lizzie Caplan (Masters of Sex) and Jane Lynch (Glee). Also, the realistic look at people struggling to go for their dreams makes it more enjoyable than most shows out there. The creators of the show say that they may end up making a feature film based on Party Down and I hope that it's successful. Maybe then we can finally watch new episodes of this great show.
6 Eastbound and Down
5 The League
My first instinct was to not put this amazing show on here because I thought that everyone was watching it. However a quick poll of everyone I know showed that I was horribly wrong. It baffles me because The League is a great comedy about a bunch of guys (and a few gals) who are too into fantasy football. Perhaps the football angle is what holds people back but it shouldn't. Viewers don't need to know anything about the game in order to enjoy the show. In fact, Taco's character (played by Jon Lajoie) famously has no clue about football and is still an integral part of the group.
This show constantly chants the mantra "Gotta be fresh!" and has followed through on that premise for four seasons. Luckily, Workaholics is able to succeed on a low-budget which is why it has lasted this long on Comedy Central. However, it's 0.7 rating among the 18-49 age demographic is still criminal. Following a group of college graduates who are struggling to find themselves while working a dead-end telemarketing job is compelling stuff for many people who watch television. Add the fact that they frequently get black out drunk and find themselves in crazy situations makes this essential television.
Another brilliant show that was cancelled because FOX decided to air it out of order. Undeclared is Judd Apatow's spiritual successor to Freaks and Geeks and may have one of the greatest casts in comedy history. How many shows have Seth Rogen, Charlie Hunnam, Jay Baruchel and Jason Segel together on a regular basis? Also, the trials and tribulations that college freshman go through while on campus are both silly and poignant at the same time. This series showed everyone in Hollywood that these actors could do well in more than one series and I'm convinced that it helped them earn the careers that they have now. Too bad this show died after seventeen episodes. The possibilities were endless.
2 Bored to Death
HBO may be known for its dramas but their marketing team needs to seriously rethink how they market their comedies. Bored to Death effortlessly shows us the ridiculously of the film noir genre we love by having a writer named Jonathan (Jason Schwartzman) who has lots of free time be an unlicensed detective as a way to earn some cash. Ted Danson also stars as an editor for a fictional magazine and gives the best work of his entire career. Zach Galifianakis also stars as a comic book artist and I'd like to say he steals the show, but all 3 main actors can claim that. The conversation between him and Ted Danson's character about helping lesbians conceive a child while smoking pot is one of the best scenes on television.
Take about two steps away from the Internet and you'll quickly realize that virtually no one watches this show. It's filled with meta humor, cultural references and has a great cast. The show's terrible ratings have certainly caused a bit of a roller coaster over everyone's heads. Chevy Chase's manner caused him to get kicked out of the show, the show's creator (Dan Harmon) was even kicked out for a season before being brought back in by NBC. Even with these obstacles, Community has been hilarious throughout its entire run and almost every episode feels like an essential event instead of filler. The fans may be so rabid that they're off-putting but don't let that stop you. Watch this show yesterday!