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6 Best Sitcoms of All Time: Classics to Contemporary!

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We were on a break!“, “That’s what she said!“, and “I’m a great quitter. It’s one of the few things I do well!” What do all these lines have in common? They are some of the most iconic things said in the Best Sitcoms of all time. What defines a sitcom, you ask? Well, according to the Oxford Dictionary, sitcoms, or, situation comedies, are “a regular program on television that shows the same characters in different amusing situations.

History Tidbit: Sitcoms became really popular in the average household after the end of World War II. Some of the best sitcoms of all time during that period were “I Love Lucy” and “The Honeymooners.” Since then, sitcoms have just kept on growing and changing, becoming a staple in American Television

Schitt’s Creek

Release: January 13, 2015 – April 7, 2020
Seasons: 6 seasons
Network: CBC Television
Creators: Dan Levy, Eugene Levy, Michael Short, David West Read, Kevin White
Episodes: 80

Schitt’s Creek came in like a dark horse in the race of the best sitcoms of all time. Many thought that the show would be meh, but oh boy were they wrong. The humor, the characters, and the settings, all were top-notch! Schitt’s Creek is a gem of a comedy, mixing veterans with fresh faces. The cinematography and production design pair well with the sharp writing and quippy characters. 

At the start, some were a bit skeptical about the title, expecting something juvenile. But Schitt’s Creek was smart, it’s sophisticated humor at its finest. What sets it apart from the ton is its confidence. No laugh track here, dear readers, just genuine wit. And of course, the music score is used effectively, albeit sparingly.

But the thing that grabs the attention of the viewers is its genuine sweetness and heart. Every character is lovable, from the larger-than-life Moira to the airheaded Alexis. The sitcom prioritizes character growth over easy laughs, making it a slow burn that is addictive. The viewers should give it time, they will be hooked on its charm. 

Quotes: “I don’t skate through life, David. I walk through life in really nice shoes.” – Alexis Rose to David Rose

Friends

Release: September 22, 1994- May 6, 2004
Seasons: 10 seasons
Network: NBC
Creators: David Crane, Martha Kauffman
Episodes: 236

Friends is a classic, with flawless writing and a cast of hilariously unique characters. it offered a semi-realistic portrayal of the twentysomething life, resonating with the lost youth even after decades. As Monica once said to Rachel, “Welcome to the real world! It sucks – you’re going to love it.”

Rachel’s transition from a spoiled girl to a waitress at the Central Perk Cafe almost mirrors the harsh realities many face. Chandler, Ross, and Monica’s stable careers and substantial salaries contrast with their roommates’ financial instability, even sparking a debate in the episode “The One With Five Steaks and an Eggplant.”

If we see the entire run of the show, the audiences see that relationships in Friends offer both one-episode amusement and season-long arc which often end in heartbreak, but lead to character growth. The show tackles themes like friend zones and other complex emotions in romantic relationships.

Despite not having modern tech and exuberant club and bar scenes, Friends remains a classic by showing the timeless struggle of striving for success in a competing world while cherishing connections of meaning. It is a familiar story of ambition, hard work, and the journey to a good meal with great company.

Quotes: “Three failed marriages, two illegitimate children… The personal ad writes itself.” -Chandler Bing to Ross Geller

Modern Family

Release: September 23, 2009- April 8, 2020
Seasons: 11 seasons
Network: ABC
Creators: Christopher Lloyd, Steven Levitan
Episodes: 250 

Modern Family easily stands as one of the funniest and best sitcoms of all time. it boasts an amazing ensemble cast and up to 11 seasons of consistent comedy. Each of the characters shines, brought to life by both veterans and fresh faces of actors. This makes it even more of a joy in reruns. 

The greatest strength of the sitcom lies in its relatability. Every family can find someone to relate to in this magnificent show. From a rich old man and his young wife of color to the uptight gay couple navigating parenthood for the first time. Modern Family challenges societal norms and expectations with heartwarming scenes of acceptance and love.

Despite having deep themes, the show is funny as hell, with witty writing that keeps the audience coming back for more and more. it is a rollercoaster of emotions, blending laughter with tug-at-your-heartstrings moments seamlessly. 

Modern Family’s impact doesn’t just rest in entertainment. It goes beyond and offers solace and inspiration to those who are grappling with identity and acceptance. It is a testament to the power of storytelling. 

Quotes: “Success is 1% inspiration, 98% perspiration, and 2% attention to detail.”- Phil Dunphy to the audience

The Office U.S. 

Release: March 24, 2005- May 16, 2013
Seasons: 9 seasons
Network: NBC
Creators: Greg Daniels 
Episodes: 201

The Office” US version was initially dismissed as a bastardized version of the UK version, but it surprised fans with its own unique spin and charm with depth over its whopping 9 seasons run. The first season very closely mirrored the UK series but also managed to carve out its own niche to make the viewers continue watching.

From season 2 onwards, the show was on a ride, blending clever humor and emotional depth. The heart of the series lies in the Jim-Pam storyline. It is wonderfully anchored by the remarkable chemistry of John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer. Steve Careel shines as the dimwitted Michael Scott, while Rainn Wilson’s Dwight Schrute is a fan favorite. Every supporting cast gets their moment to shine. 

While Steve Carell’s departure left a huge void in the show’s brilliance temporarily, the addition of James Spader and Ed Helms helped maintain some of its quality. But, by the final season, it was evident that the show had reached its peak. Nonetheless, the series finale delivered a satisfying and poignant conclusion. It wrapped up the character’s journey with nostalgia and emotion.

Quotes: “Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”- Michael Scott to viewers

Seinfeld

Release: July 5, 1989- May 14, 1998
Seasons: 9 seasons
Network: NBC
Creators: Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld
Episodes: 180

Seinfeld stands as one of the best Sitcoms of all time, pioneering a formula of humor that centered around absolutely nothing but everyday life. Its memorable characters, high-level sense of humor, and witty writing make it unparalleled in the genre of Sitcom. 

Before the arrival of Seinfeld, audiences had never seen anything like it. The show’s endless laughs and chaotic hilarity have set stands that only a few have been able to match since. The thing that makes Seinfeld one of the best sitcoms of all time is this ability to find comedy in the mundane.

It refused to succumb to sentimentality or moralizing. From narcissistic Jerry to hyper-aggressive Elaine and schlub-loser George, each of the characters navigates trivialities with amazing zeal. They create classic moments of comedy.

Brilliance in Seinfeld lies in its ability to create comedy from mundane, with pointlessly smug and nihilistic banter that more often than not escalates into unforgettable scenes. What is it, if not the testament to the comedic genius of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David? So if you are still on the fence, don’t hesitate. Just give it a few episodes and get to know the characters, and soon you will understand why it is considered to be one of the best sitcoms of all time.

Quotes: “Listening to you. I listen to this for fifteen minutes and I’m on top of the world. Your misery is my pleasure.”- Jerry to George Costanza

The Good Place

Release: September 19, 2016- January 30, 2020
Seasons: 4 seasons
Network: NBC
Creators: Michael Schur
Episodes: 53

The Good Place is a sitcom like no other, taking us the audience on a rollercoaster ride through the afterlife with the protagonist Eleanor Shellstrop. Despite being stuck-up and rude in her life, Eleanor finds herself in The Good Place after dying. At first, everything seems perfect, but there is a catch, she is not supposed to be there.

The reason for the show being so special is how it tackles the big questions about morality, ethics, and life while still keeping the humor fresh. The characters, from rude Eleanor to the various quirky residents of the afterlife, are amazingly well-developed and fun to watch. 

As the story unravels, we get the exploration of what exactly it means to be Good or Bad, and how people can change for the better. The clever writing of the show and witty dialogue keeps the viewers hooked episode after episode.

While the visual effects are not always top-notch, the heart of the sitcom lies in its characters and their relationship. From touching scenes to hilarious moments, there is never a boring lull in The Good Place.

Season 1 sets the stage with various unexpected twists and turns, while the seasons that come afterward continue to give surprises. Lastly, the series finale is the perfect ending that will leave you feeling satisfied and maybe even teary-eyed. 

Quotes: “I am a trash bag from Arizona, which is saying something. Our biggest exports are racist sheriffs and HPV.”- Eleanor Shellstrop to Chidi Anagonye

Frequently Asked Questions of the Best Sitcoms of all time:

How has the format of sitcoms evolved?
Sitcoms have changed so much over time. Early sitcoms used to have simple sets and live audiences who made laugh tracks. Today, they explore diverse topics and have complex and 3D characters. Modern sitcoms use single-camera setups without laugh tracks.
What impact did the COVID-19 pandemic have on sitcom production and storytelling?
The pandemic forced many Sitcom productions to adapt, with some shows incorporating social distancing measures, remote filming, and Covid-19-related storylines in their episodes. 

Conclusion

So there you have it folk! You have laughed until you cried, snorted milk from your nose, and maybe even related to the over-the-top characters on the screen in these best sitcoms of all time. The journey that they take us is of no wrong turn. From complex family dynamics to awkward exploits of misfits, these sitcoms have left an indelible mark on pop culture.

Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments and until then Bazinga!

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