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Escapism, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the “habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine.” If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you know that I live and breathe television (particularly sitcoms). That’s why it should come as no surprise that I regularly turn to this beloved genre to escape the dreariness, stress and chaos of the real world. There’s just something inexplicable about the feeling of being transported to another world that has more likeable, wittier and funnier people, even if it is just for 22 minutes. So, without further ado, here are six sitcoms spanning multiple decades that will enable you to escape reality for a short period of time.

Get Smart

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CBS Productions, Get Smart via GIPHY

With its crazy gadgets (see the cones of silence in the GIF above?) and loveable characters, Get Smart aired from 1965 to 1970 and is perfect if you adore anything relating to espionage and spies. Despite being an older sitcom, the physical comedy and slapstick in this show can make even the toughest of audiences laugh. I particularly love the bumbling protagonist Maxwell Smart (aka Agent 86), played by the incomparable Don Adams. I also recommend watching the sitcom’s film version of the same name which was released in 2008, starring Steve Carrell. Both the sitcom and film are hilarious!

Night Court

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Warner Bros. Television, Night Court via GIPHY

I must confess––I have yet to watch an entire episode of this sitcom, but I have seen multiple clips on YouTube and that must count for something! Essentially, the show follows the fun Judge, Harold T. Stone (Harry Anderson), who presides over New York City’s chaotic night court with the help of his motley crew filled with quirky characters. Quick warning: As a product of its time, there is some mention of sexism and harassment in a few episodes. However, in the episodes that are not controversial, it’s easy to see how this well-written ensemble comedy managed to stay on the air for nine seasons.

Mad About You

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In Front Productions, Mad About You via GIPHY

One of my favourite sitcoms, Mad About You reminds me of a romantic comedy at times. The show focuses on a newlywed couple, Paul and Jamie Buchman, as they tackle the little, mundane things of life. You just can’t help but love the relatable pair and the stellar supporting cast in this show. Prepare yourself a nice hot cup of tea, get underneath a warm blanket, click play and you’re set! Not only is it a comfort show, but you also get to travel back in time to New York City in the 1990s. Escapism at its finest.

Full House

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Warner Bros. Television, Full House via GIPHY

First off, RIP Bob Saget, who played America’s dad—Danny Tanner. I remember my mother buying the boxed DVD set of the show back when I was in middle school; every night my family and I would enjoy watching an episode or two during dinner. As you can see, this sitcom holds a very special place in my heart. If you don’t already know, Full House revolves around the lives of the Tanner family. The widowed Danny Tanner recruits his best friend, Joey Gladstone and his brother-in-law, Jesse Katsopolis to help raise his three daughters. And who can resist the bromance between Uncle Jesse and Joey? I mean, come on.

Superstore

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Universal Television, Superstore via GIPHY

Not going to lie, I was kind of hesitant to watch this show at first. Now when I watch it, I insist that nobody bothers me. As Sayid says in the above GIF: “Because it’s my time” to watch this amazing sitcom. As a retail worker, I find myself laughing out loud at their relatable awkwardness and honest situations portrayed on screen. I especially love the episodes where the employees play some quirky group game that results in pure chaos. Oh, how I’d love to be an employee or even just a regular customer at their Cloud 9 store.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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Universal Television, Brooklyn Nine-Nine via GIPHY

I credit this show for helping me get through the first year of the pandemic as it provided temporary escapism. Having seen so many serious police dramas with the same storylines, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was a refreshing comedic change to the law enforcement genre. From Peralta’s impressions to Boyle’s unintentional sex references and Linetti’s never-ending self-confidence, every single character is a comedic genius. Nine-nine, indeed!

Are these sitcoms formulaic and cheesy? Why yes, yes they are, but that only adds to the feeling of escapism. Everyone needs to take a break from the stress and madness of the real world, right? Here’s to the joy that sitcoms bring and to a (hopefully) wonderful rest of your winter semester!

Amanda Noor

Ryerson '24

Amanda Noor is a second-year Creative Industries student at Ryerson University. She's a huge movie and TV buff as well as an American history and political junkie. When she's not writing articles for Her Campus, you can find her watching sitcoms from the 80s and 90s or daydreaming about living in New York City.
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