Top 10 American Sitcoms

A while a ago I wrote a post on my top 10 British sitcoms, so it only seems fair that I do one on my favourite American sitcoms. I think it’s safe to say that Americans are a funny lot (I’m referring to their humour here). I even know a few and they’ve made me laugh more than once. Sure, they’re not as funny as us hilarious Brits, but they certainly can crack a joke or two. So, it’s of no surprise that they know how to create a sitcom with admirable skill. I’ve always loved an American sitcom. As a child, I remember watching Taxi and then as I got older, as a family we all sat down together and watched the Cosby Show and Rosanne every week (ummmm, can I mention the Cosby Show?). My Dad was obsessed with both Cheers and Frasier, so much so that when I had to write an essay on a TV programme for my GCSE English project, he literally sat me down and forced me to write it about Cheers. Then, when I left home my taste in American sitcoms developed further. So much so, that some of my favourite TV programmes of all time are in fact American sitcoms. And I whole heartedly thank all those clever Americans for providing me with such joy over the years.

Disclaimer before we start: there’ll be plenty of sitcoms (yes that includes Seinfeld) that you’ll be surprised aren’t here in my personal top 10, but in all likelihood they’d probably all feature in my top 15, if that helps. So, here goes and just like my top 10 British sitcoms list, I found this so tough to do.

10. Rick and Morty

So let’s get this straight. Rick and Morty is disturbing, disgusting, confusing, ridiculous, completely over the top, surreal, harrowing and I absolutely love it. It may be all those things, but it is also intensely clever and not to mention- fucking funny.

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9. Cheers

Cheers was a master class in how to create and build up characters in a sitcom. We have seen the character of Woody repeated in so many other sitcoms ever since, it’s quite the tribute to the genius of Cheers.

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8. 30 Rock

Ok so from about halfway through season 4 and onwards 30 Rock went downhill slightly. However, Tina Fey’s multi-award-winning sitcom never failed to constantly make me laugh out loud before that. I adore the character of goofy, but lovable Liz Lemon, partly because I can relate to her obsession with food of course. However, it’s Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of the conceited Jack Donaghy and his unlikely friendship with Liz that really steals the show.

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7. Arrested Development

Like many of my favourite sitcoms, Arrested Development is just silly. Whilst, I wasn’t so keen on the fourth “return” season. The first three seasons are sitcom perfection. Picking a favourite character on this would be pretty tricky as like all good sitcoms each character is so strong. Poor old George Michael (the name alone is hilarious), Tobias Funke, Buster and my life role model Lucille are probably up there. Although, obviously I have to give a shoutout to Annyong Bluth and the characters played by Liza Minelli (Lucille’s vertigo suffering chief social rival) and Henry Winkler (their terrible family lawyer). And let us not forget that the whole thing is narrated by Ron Howard.

arrested-development

6. Brooklyn 99

From one wonderfully silly sitcom to another. Brooklyn 99 follows the misadventures and blundering antics of a Brooklyn detective department. Jake Peralta is our whimsical protagonist and despite all of his and his colleague’s questionable approaches to solving crime, they always get the job done. Brooklyn 99 is laugh out loud stupidity and watching an episode of it cheers my day up endlessly. P.S. I am #teamCaptainRayHolt

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5. Parks and Recreation

There is something about Parks and Recreation that makes me so happy. I mean, apart from the fact that it’s absolutely hilarious that is. It just always leaves me with a nice, warm glowing feeling after watching an episode. I think it’s mainly down to our protagonist, Leslie Knope. Leslie is one of the best female TV characters ever written. She is a hero. Her optimism, vibrant energy, hard working ethics, caring nature and warmth leap out at you from the TV screen without ever being saccharine. If we all made the effort to be a little more Leslie Knope then the world would be a better place. Seriously. We might all have a worrying waffle addiction, but there’d undoubtedly be a lot less war and internet trolls. But it’s not just Leslie that blesses us with her presence in this gem of a TV programme. There’s the adorable, but beautifully simple Andy, super cool April, idiotic and lovable Tom, poor, stupid Jerry, another TV role model of mine- Donna (treat yo self!) and then there’s Ron Swanson. Oh Ron with your hefty dose of testosterone, your love of meat and carving wood and your sexy moustache. I won’t lie to you, he is my ideal man. Just writing about this programme makes me realise how much I miss it and Leslie.

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4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

And on the opposite end of the spectrum from the lovely and fluffy Parks & Rec, we have It’s Always Sunny. A TV show with the most hatable TV characters possible. Similar to Rick & Morty, this is not a pleasant sitcom. It is grotesque, is borderline offensive and it is outrageous. Right up my street, in other words. The characters are idiots. Not even in a sort of likeable way. You have absolutely no sympathy for them, but thank God they exist. However you’re feeling or whatever you’ve done in your life, you can just reassure yourself and thank your lucky stars that you are neither Dennis, Dee, Charlie, Mac or Frank. Those guys are the worst (I love them obvs).

Side note: they were going to originally make Dee the “straight character”, but thankfully they thought better of it and made her just as despicable and hopeless as the rest of the cast. Could you imagine a straight Dee? What a waste of a brilliant comedic actor that would’ve been.

always-sunny-in-philadelphia

3. Friends

Of course Friends is in this list. Of COURSE it is. The influence that Friends had on our culture is phenomenal. I mean, could it BE anymore influential? I don’t need to tell you much about Friends because you know it all anyway. Such is the legacy of Friends. Which Friend are you anyway? I’m a perfect combination of Phoebe, Monica and Joey (I don’t share food). PIVOT!

2. The Simpsons

You probably haven’t heard of this animated sitcom before, so let me summarise it for you. It’s based around a family of yellow people who only have four digits on each hand. The Dad is a lazy beer and doughnut addict, the Mum has blue hair almost the same height as herself, the son is a little shit that the Dad regularly strangles, the sister is clearly full of existential angst and the baby sister hasn’t uttered a word (or has she?)* for the whole 31 years that this cartoon has been running. Trust me on this one, it is absolutely brilliant and you will love each and every one of these characters as if they are your own family members. Especially the Dad. You will love him and all his relatable failings the most. He is all of us.

[Please note my daughter’s favourite TV programs is the Simpsons and she helped me choose this clip. She also wants me to tell you all that her name is Bessie]

 

So here it is , my all time favourite American sitcom ever….

 

And it is….

 

1. The Office (or as it’s known over here in the UK The American Office)

God I love this programme, so very much. It’s not just my number one American sitcom, but it is one of my all time favourite TV programmes ever. A warmer, more sentimental version of it’s British cousin, watching this programme is the comedy equivalent of wrapping a cosy blanket around yourself and putting your feet up, but you know, in a funny way. Steve Carrell as Michael Scott was comedy mastery. Pam and Jim were perfect and yes adorable. Dwight was a fabulous twat. The supporting cast had to be the best collection of supporting actors ever. Stanley, Kevin, Angela, Phyllis, Meredith, Oscar, Creed, Andy, poor, poor Toby, Daryl, Erin, Gabe, the brilliant Jan and my favourite couple ever Ryan & Kelly were just sublime. All of them were such strong characters. You loved them like you would your own work colleagues- fully aware of all their flaws, yet you have a strange affection for them all anyway. Unless you’re Toby and your boss is Michael, then he’ll just irrationally hate you despite the fact you’re the nicest person in existence. I could actually write a whole blog solely on my love for this multi-award-winning sitcom. It’s incredibly worthy of my number one slot….that’s what she said.

The one that almost made it: Broad City. These girls are basically me and my best friend 20 years ago in a different city.

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You know what I’m going to ask next, which is your favourite American sitcom? It will be interesting seeing the varying answers between Americans and non-Americans too.

*she actually has and was voiced by both Elizabeth Taylor and Jodie Foster. However, these are brief moments and the running gag is that she never speaks.

78 comments

  1. AB Guy writes · March 26

    Some classics in here… I love your #1, 2 & 3 rankings 👌🏽

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As an American, I am thrilled with your choices! I’m a little disappointed that Seinfeld didn’t make your list – I would put that at number 2 or 3 and make this a list of 11. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • thebeasley · March 26

      Yes Seinfield wasn’t as popular over here as it was in America. When I travelled around America, I did get to watch a few episodes and really liked it, but just haven’t seen enough episodes to rank it in my top 10. Shame it’s not on Netflix as would love to see more.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Phil Taylor · March 26

      You’re right! Seinfeld needs to be on any list of best sitcoms

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Phil Taylor · March 26

    I had to stop what I was doing to immediately read this. All great choices. In fact just yesterday I watched some old Cheers on Netflix. I’ve never heard of Broad City. I’ll have to look it up

    Liked by 2 people

    • thebeasley · March 26

      Oh I wish we had Cheers on Netflix over here. Could do with rewatching it. Broad City is very silly, but wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. a mindful traveler · March 26

    I agree, Seinfield was a great sitcom, here in Australia too. But Cheers and Friends are great classics as well Haley. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. April Munday · March 26

    I haven’t even seen some of those, but you missed out my favourite – Frasier. 30 Rock is a close second. I enjoyed Friends, but I just wanted to tell them to grow up. Of course, when they did it wasn’t funny anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thebeasley · March 26

      Haha so true. Frasier would make my top 15, April. And I’m so glad to hear you love 30 Rock. I think so many people missed it over here.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. fancypaperblog · March 26

    The British office is one of my fave sitcoms of all time. I have yet to see the American one…i know! I also heard there is an American version of The IT Crowd on the way which I find terribly exciting 🤗🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    • thebeasley · March 26

      Oh I think you’d love the American version too, if you loved the British one. I love the IT Crowd, I wonder what an American version would be like…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great list. I love The Office and the Simpsons. I would add Seinfeld to the top of my list, loved that show.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · March 26

      Yes imagine if I’d seen more of Seinfeld it would be in here somewhere too. It can’t be found anywhere on British TV, which is very disappointing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep. I think you would love it. It is still as relevant today as when it came out. Love it. Of course, I can’t watch it anymore since I too live in Europe.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. awkwardwhale · March 26

    Great list, much prefer the american version of the office to british, pam and jim are adorable. Also love friends, who doesnt? But modern family would have to be on my list! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · March 26

      Thank you. Oh I love Modern Family (though do think it’s seen better days). It would be in my top 15 for sure.

      Liked by 2 people

      • awkwardwhale · March 26

        I’ve not seen the lastest 2 series tbh but I’m amazed it’s still going!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. josypheen · March 26

    Bwahaha ” The Simpsons. You probably haven’t heard of this animated sitcom before”
    Nope, no one really knows anything about it.

    There are quite a few here that I’ve never seen(!) I think I reeeeally need to watch some parks and recreation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · March 26

      Oh it’s so lovely Josy. The first season is a bit weak, but the rest is just brilliant. Haha yeah it’s a good job I’m here to let the world know about the Simpsons.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Traci York · March 26

    Okay, my brain kinda imploded trying to come up with some faves, so I cheated a teeny bit, and looked at a list on Wikipedia. In my quick parsing, these are the names that jumped out at me –

    Get Smart
    Last Man Standing
    Mad About You
    Night Court
    Soap
    WKRP in Cincinnati episodes

    Special mention for, The Good Place – apparently, it’s FANTASY comedy, not situational, but I LOVE IT!!!!!

    And awesome list, as always, ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · March 26

      I’ve literally not heard of any of those! Apart from the Good Place which as you know is on “my list”. Thanks so much. Will try & see if I can check them out.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The Lockwood Echo · March 26

    TAXI! I loved Taxi so much I searched down the complete box set just a couple of years ago. I haven’t watched many of these, but the ones I know I completely agree on; Cheers, Brooklyn & Friends. Comedy full of heart 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. mydangblog · March 26

    Brooklyn 99 is at the top of my list–my other two favourites are The Good Place and Modern Family. Another really interesting and funny show is Speechless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · March 26

      Oh yes I really want to see Speechless and the Good Place is on my list to watch. Modern Family is great too. I love Gloria!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. My Mashed Up Life · March 26

    30 Rock is great, the episodes of Brooklyn 99 that I’ve seen have been brilliant, Friends is a classic… for some reason I’m just not a fan of The Office (UK or US versions) but I get that a lot of people love it (*please don’t hate me!) A new classic American sitcom, for me at least, is The Good Place, on Netflix. Check it out if you have time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · March 26

      Ha of course I don’t hate you. We all have different tastes. Plus you love 30 Rock, so how could I hate you. I need to watch the Good Place. It’s on my list to watch.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. rachaelstray · March 26

    Seen most of these but gutted you’re not a fab of Scrubs? One of the funniest sitcoms and most accurate medical tv shows there is!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · March 26

      Oh I absolutely am a fan! I love it! Hey there’s like 30 American sitcoms I love, but I had to be ruthless and narrow it down somehow. It’s my own fault for taking on such a difficult task ha. They’re repeating Scrubs again on TV, aren’t they? I must try and catch a few episodes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rachaelstray · March 26

        I think so. Ah it’s sooo good. No I know it is a difficult thing to whittle down to 10!! Xx

        Liked by 1 person

  15. willowdot21 · March 26

    I always loved Rosanne, 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  16. noellekelly · March 26

    Great list! I need to watch the US office and Broad City! So my favourites are That 70’s Show, Full House, The Golden Girls and How I Met Your Mother 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · March 26

      Weirdly, I’ve never watched any of those apart from the odd Golden Girls. I definitely need to watch How I Met Your Mother as I have a strange thing for Jason Segel! God there’s so many great American sitcoms, isn’t there ?

      Like

      • noellekelly · March 27

        Yep, so many

        Liked by 1 person

  17. angelanoelauthor · March 26

    I’m with Phil, I had to stop what I was doing to read this! You’ve captured my very favorites here. My husband and I loved every minute of The Office ( so much so that he watched the whole thing over with me as I hadn’t seen it until binge-watching on Netflix became a thing.) Couldn’t agree with you more on the Perfect Parks and Rec. And my husband still teases our son every time the question of “bees” or “beads” comes up a la Arrested Development. (Scott Baio as Bob Loblaw!!!)
    I do miss Liz Lemon.
    Friends—such a formidable part of my twenties. I haven’t rewatched the series yet, but I feel the nastalgia coming on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · March 26

      So glad we have so many favourites in common. I’ve rewatched Friends so many times it’s ridiculous. I could probably say the lines along with the actors now ha. They’ve taken The Office off of Netflix over here, which is a tragedy. Luckily, I’ve seen them all, but it’s everyone else I feel sorry for.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. fattymccupcakes · March 28

    YES, YES, YES, YES!!!!! OMG. YES! You’ve NAILED IT! There are a couple I actually haven’t seen (Brooklyn 99 and Arrested Development), but the rest is spot on! I LOVE that your number one is The Office!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · March 28

      I think you’d love BB9 and AD- especially BB9. So glad you like the list! So much good comedy in the good ole US of A. And naturally the Office is no.1. I could bore anyone talking about how much I love that programme.

      Liked by 1 person

      • fattymccupcakes · March 28

        They are totally on my to-watch list!! I totally bore my mom talking about it! Wayne, my brother and I are always referencing The Office and Parks & Rec and she just rolls her eyes! Some people never get it!!

        Like

  19. shelleywilson72 · March 28

    I’ve only watched Friends and Simpsons!! It appears my favourite American shows all have werewolves, vampires, or demons in them haha 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Of course, Friends is on the list 😅. I don’t know some of them, but I am glad Brooklyn99 made the list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · April 8

      Brooklyn 99 is so good. I think it’s quite the hidden gem as I’m so surprised when some people haven’t heard of it.

      Like

  21. hotmessmemoir · April 8

    Do you know Rosanne is back on again? All the original cast. The first one almost made me cry with laughter! It does not disappoint. What are your thoughts on Will and Grace? That was my other favorite and it’s been brought back too. I love it! Soooo funny! I agree with Office. OMG, too too funny. If you have Amazon Prime, please check out The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s about a stand-up comedian in 1950’s New York and it’s HILARIOUS! I’ve watched the entire first season twice. It’s received amazing reviews and awards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · April 8

      Ooh I haven’t heard of that & I do have Amazon Prime, so I’ll check it out thank you. Yes I’d heard about the new Rosanne- I need to see if I can watch that anywhere. I used to like Will & Grace too. Karen was great, but I haven’t watched the new ones yet. So much TV to watch ha!

      Liked by 1 person

      • hotmessmemoir · April 8

        Please, please, please check out Mrs. Maisel! It’s like no other plost and it’s smart. Sometimes you get sitcoms where the jokes are just so contrived and cliche. You do have a TON of tv to watch my friend!

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Brooklyn 99 and Parks and Rec are two of my favourite shows of all time- no matter what is happening in my life, I can put them on and get lost for an hour or two! I thought Parks and Rec development and growth throughout the seasons is some of the best I’ve seen anywhere!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · April 8

      They are both so good and both equally so cheering. Doctors should prescribe them to patients.

      Like

  23. Lisa Orchard · April 8

    OMG! I love The Office! My family has been binge watching it on Netflix over spring break because it snowed and we didn’t feel like going up north when it was so cold! I love Jim. I love all the jokes he plays on Dwight and don’t we all know a Dwight in real life? LOL! I love your top choice! I haven’t seen some of the other shows on your list, but I’m sure going to check them out! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · April 8

      Yes do they’re all so good. Like your post quite rightly said, the Office is fantastic for such good characters. If you don’t have strong characters, you don’t have a strong show.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Judy E Martin · April 8

    I think for me, it has to be the Simpsons! I love all the different characters, each has something to make me laugh, Flanders with his ‘okely dokely,’ Mrs Krabapple smoking a fag and Marje’s twin sisters with their gruff voices. Great list, Hayley. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · April 8

      The characters are so fantastic in, aren’t they? It’s what makes the programme. Oh I love Marge’s twin sisters too.

      Like

  25. Midlife Smarts · April 8

    Some crackers. Love The Simpsons. I’d also add Curb Your Enthusiasm. Gets me every time x

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · April 8

      Oh yes. I only saw a couple of those. I think it was on TV during a time that I never really watched TV. I will one day try to watch all of those as I’ve heard so many good things about it.

      Like

  26. Denzil · April 8

    Unfortunately I haven’t heard of most of them! And I’ll show my age by saying MASH is one of my favourites!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Janice Wald · April 8

    Hi Hayley,
    I liked Cheers and Friends. Off to share.
    Janice

    Liked by 1 person

  28. jeremy@thirstydaddy · April 8

    Nice to see Cheers make the list. An often overlooked classic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · April 8

      It was absolutely brilliant and is a shame it sometimes gets overlooked.

      Like

  29. Unbound Roots · April 8

    Okay, so I’ve only watched The Simpsons (when I was young) and Friends. Living in the U.S., you’d think I would have watched more. I guess I’m not a great sitcom watcher. 🙂 I know Cheers was VERY popular when I was young, but I was too young to enjoy it. Many of my aunts and uncles watched Cheers religiously. I need to sit down and check out some of these other sitcoms. Thanks for the list, Hayley!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Bani💞 · April 13

    In this list, I think friends is the most amazing . I mean “Could it be more amazing” . It’s just an epic tv show and I love it. Great list though ! Amazing job🙌
    Ps- do read my poems🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Pingback: The Representation of Brits in American Culture | Just Another Blog From a Woman
  32. music2commute2 · May 18

    It’s amazing how many US sitcoms I used to watch when I was younger. I have caught some of the newer ones you mentioned lol me Brooklyn 99 but only the odd episode. Can’t bring myself to seriously watch the American Office I’m afraid. The original is unbeatable. I have to pick Cheers as my fave though. I think I have watch d every episode.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · May 18

      I know what you mean about the Office. I felt like that too. Refused to watch it for years. Then somehow found myself watching it (and deeply loving it). I think despite basis of the sitcoms being the same they are actually quite different programmes. I think this helped me compartmentalise the two programmes. They’re both marvellous in their own way. Cheers is an absolute classic.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Drew · June 21
  34. Pingback: Top 10 American Sitcoms – Bacon Squad

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