5 Binge-Worthy Sitcoms You Might Not Have Seen Yet

Well, folks, we’re officially in the thick of fall semester, which means that schoolwork is piling up, but that it’s of the utmost importance that we relax, take time for ourselves, and engage in acts of self-care. For me, that more often and not means holing up in my bed and binge-watching sitcoms for hours on end. There's something about a 20-minute, humor-filled story arc that's just so soothing, and I'm not the only one who thinks so -- watching Friends has proven to relieve anxiety. Sitcoms provide just the right amout of low-stakes escapism, and while re-watching 'the classics' -- think Parks and Recreation, Friends, and The Office -- over and over again might be the perfect way to relax and re-charge, branching out and trying a new show can provide just as much comfort. 

As someone who watches perhaps too much TV, and almost exlusively sitcoms, here are my top picks:

  1. 1. One Day at a Time (2017)

    One Day at a Time is Netflix’s remake of a sitcom of the same name that aired in the 70s and 80s. The show details the daily life of a Cuban American family; Penelope, a single mom and war veteran, her mother, played by none other than the illustrious Rita Moreno, and her two kids, Alex and Elena. While One Day at a Time is reminiscent of sitcoms of the nineties and early 2000s with its simplistic soundstage sets and laugh track, its themes are anything but regressive. With representation of mental illness, racism and colorism against latinos in America, gender and sexuality, consent, and single parenthood, One Day at a Time is perhaps one of the most progressive TV shows I’ve ever watched. While the jokes might be cheesy, this show has a lot of heart, tackles difficult issues with nuance and depth, and develops characters that you will truly fall in love with. The show was unfairly cancelled after three seasons, but has gained a cult following of dedicated fans. 

    Seasons: 3

    Where to watch: Netflix

  2. 2. Special (2019)

    Special is semi-autobiographical sitcom written by, executive produced by, and starring screenwriter and author Ryan O’Connell. Ryan, who has cerebral palsy, stars as a fictionalized version of himself who is a twentysomething learning to adult and gain independence from his mother. At his new job, he lies that his limp was due to a car accident, hiding his cerebral palsy from his coworkers. Much of the show revolves around Ryan’s realization of the positive and negative consequences that his white lie has caused and exploration of his own identity. Featuring messages of body positivity, representation of characters with disabilities, LGBTQ+ representation, and just generally more unique storylines than what is normally featured on mainstream TV, Special is a boundary-smashing must-watch. The humor is witty, dry, and rags on millennial culture. Episodes typically run from 15-17 minutes, so they’re dense in a good way, and every minute is entertaining and pertinent to the storyline. Plus, it makes for easy binging! I think I finished the entirety of season one in a single day. 

    Seasons: 1

    Where to Watch: Netflix

  3. 3. Freaks and Geeks (2001)

    Another show that was unfairly cancelled, and while I hate how the TV and movie industry seems to be stuck on churning out remakes as of late, if they do decide to remake Freaks and Geeks, I will throw all of my money at it. It’s such a raw, honest look at American teenagers, portrayed through Lindsay Weir, former math nerd who decides to hang out with the stoners or “freaks”, and her nerdy, unpopular younger brother, Sam, as they struggle to navigate high school and are continuously treated unfairly by the authority figures in their lives. While set in the 80s, the show is timeless and depicts familial relationships, the difficulties of high school, and trying to fit in, in a way that modern high school and college-aged audiences will be able to relate to. While not laugh-out-loud funny, Freaks and Geeks is still speckled with subtly humorous moments, making it that security blanket type of show that you can turn to on a rough day. 

    Seasons: 1

    Where to watch: Netflix

  4. 4. Schitt's Creek (2015)

    Think Arrested Development meets Parks and Recreation; namely, what would happen if the Bluths moved to Pawnee. Are you sold yet?! Schitt’s Creek documents the lives of the Rose family: businessman patriarch Johnny, former soap opera star Moira, and their two spoiled, materialistic children, David and Alexis. The Roses lose their wealth and have no choice but to move into a tumbledown motel in middle-of-nowhere Schitt’s Creek. While Schitt’s Creek certainly isn’t the first ‘riches to rags’ story, one thing that this show does especially well is that, while the Roses are dysfunctional, shallow, and melodramatic, they’re not immoral people. The Roses are actually likeable, sympathetic characters who feel like real humans, making the show easy to binge and giving it a lot of heart. And, the one-liners are iconic. 

    Seasons: 5 (4 are available for streaming, season 6 will premiere in January 2020)

    Where to watch: Netflix

  5. 5. Superstore (2015)

    Superstore is a classic workplace sitcom that takes place at a big-box store, and, if I’m going to be describing sitcoms in relation to other sitcoms, I’d say that Superstore is The Office meets Parks and Rec. Like The Office, much of the humor comes from the ridiculous characters, their dynamics with each other, and their non-sequitur throwaway lines. While the main characters are floor workers Jonah and Amy, they are accompanied by a large ensemble cast. Glenn, the dorky and incompetent manager, is in some ways Michael Scott-esque, with his no-nonsense second in command, Dina, giving off some BDE - Big Dwight Energy. Like Parks and Recreation, Superstore offers insightful commentary on America, presented in a goofy, satirical way. Taking place at a Walmart-type store, Superstore has a lot to say about the American working class, inequality, and consumerism. Admittedly, the writing and pacing of season one is shoddy, but the show only gets better as the seasons go on, so stick it out! 

    Seasons: 4 (season 5 is now airing)

    Where to watch: Hulu

Happy watching!