Sitcoms, or situational comedies, are an American mainstay when it comes to television. Short, funny, witty, and bingeable. Once you start one episode it’s easy to get lost in 10, spending hours on the couch. These shows tend to focus on a group of characters getting into funny situations. The best sitcoms of all-time have been running and re-runing for decades and will continue to flourish in the TV space.
Those binge sessions in front of the tube are pretty common as people, on average, spend a large portion of the day watching television. In fact, a recent survey of 2,000 British adults finds that the average TV viewer will watch an astounding 78,705 hours of programming (movies, sports, news, etc.) in their lifetime.
These classic sitcoms sometimes feel like revisiting old friends for us. A recent poll of 2,000 adults reveals that 55 percent watch TV as a self-soothing technique for relieving anxiety or stress. That’s more than the number of respondents who relax by taking a bath (42%) or by doing yoga (33%). What better way to wind down for the night than by giggling along with Jerry and Kramer?
We’ve been treated to no shortage of spectacular shows in the modern television era, so we set out to find the consensus best sitcoms of all-time. For our list, we consulted 10 expert reviews to find the five most frequently recommended shows among them. If you’ve got your own top five suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!
The List: Best Sitcoms of All-Time, Most Recommended By Experts
1. “Seinfeld” (1989-1998)
A show that proves why sitcoms are so popular. Jerry Seinfeld and company revealed that a show about everyday people, in everyday situations, would lead to some of the best TV comedies.
Simply put, “Seinfeld is arguably the most influential TV comedy of the modern era,” says Stacker.
“The show is famous for its unsympathetic characters, and the producers made the phrase ‘No hugging, no learning’ a rule when crafting storylines, wanting to differentiate themselves from previous TV shows,” says Business Insider.
“SIMPLY THE BEST = Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld were pure genius at work, George Costanza has to be one of the best created and embodied sitcom characters ever,” says The Top Tens.
2. “The Office” (2005-2013)
Devised from a UK show of the same name, this hilarious show helmed by the masterful Steve Carrell is about an everyday office full of incredible characters. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll fall in love and you’ll do it all again when you watch for the second…or hundredth time.
“The remake’s enduring popularity is a measure of how human and universal it all felt,” says Rolling Stone.
According to Paste Magazine, Steve Carell was the highlight of the show. “Carrell brilliantly walked the fine line of being absolutely clueless about interpersonal relationships, but fairly competent as a salesman. Amid all the irony, the series brought viewers the sweet romance of Jim and Pam, the not-so-sweet romance of Dwight and Angela, and some terrific office shenanigans.”
“There’s definitely no need to do an official introduction to The Office, a show that’s so iconic that even your grandma has probably heard about it,” claims Bored Panda.
3. “Cheers” (1982-1993)
This all-time classic sitcom about a cozy bar in Boston ran for over 10 years and will go down in history as one of the best-hit television sets across the world.
“A sitcom in all of its essence, Cheers follows a group of friends that meets and spends their time together at a bar called, you guessed it, Cheers. Filmed in front of a live audience, it has that signature sitcom laugh track and is often set in the same location,” says Bored Panda.
Like most sit-coms, it was about the characters, “It showed that anybody can come into this bar and be your family…and Danson’s Sam Malone character is this perfect everyman. There’s nobody who can’t relate to him,” adds Parade.
Paste Magazine references our top pick, “Seinfeld might have recast the sitcom in its image, but Cheers perfected the form, running through 11 seasons without ever running out of charm or laughs.”
4. “Friends” (1994-2004)
It’s hard to talk about sitcoms and not bring up the group of friends from arguably the most famous apartment in all of TV. Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courtney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow… icons of the genre.
Reader’s Digest agrees and writes, “There is no denying the effect that Friends had on Hollywood, with countless shows that sought to copy its formula, the raging success of its stars, and the indelible mark of so many of its jokes, from ‘Pivot!’ to ‘We were on a break.'”
The cast is rock-solid, even today. “But in the 17 years since it went off the air, the show has not only attracted new legions of fans who weren’t even born during its first run, it somehow seems to have aged like a fine Bordeaux. Why? Well, there isn’t a weak link in the show’s cast,” adds AARP.
5. “Parks & Recreation” (2009-2015)
This NBC new classic ends our list with its lovable cast of good people trying to do good things. Starring Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, and even a pre-Star Lord Chris Pratt!
It was a show that brought in some big awards, “These characters, and others, developed into a hilarious band of comedians, and they were helped by excellent writing and direction. Notably, the show received nominations for 14 Primetime Emmy Awards. In 2013, the show received a Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy,” says Reel Rundown.
It was full of great and hilarious characters, as Indie Wire mentions, “Whether it was the crazy guy at the town hall meeting or the insane amount of binder-based preparation for each new Pawnee policy proposal, this NBC series knew how to carve out the best jokes from props, puns, and people alike.”
Or as simply as The Top Tens puts it, “Cast is brilliant and provides a fresh new adventure to each episode.”
You might also be interested in:
- Best TV Shows of All Time
- Best Netflix Shows of All Time
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- Best OLED Televisions
- Best Smart Televisions
- Best Surround Sound Systems
- Reel Rundown
- Indie Wire
- The Top Tens
- Reader’s Digest
- Bored Panda
- Paste Magazine
- Rolling Stone
- Business Insider
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.