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More of My Favorite Comedies for You To Check Out

Well folks, it seems finals season is just on the horizon as we wrap up the last chapters of our textbooks and skim through assignment guidelines for end-of-semester research papers and essays. This time of year warrants much-needed study breaks, and what better way than a sitcom episode during a short lunch break or an enthralling comedy special that helps you unwind before calling it a night? Whatever your time or needs, check out the list below for a variety of recommendations of my favorite comedies that, without a doubt, will give you the quick and necessary disconnect from reality you deserve as we power through this final stretch of the semester.

“Fleabag” (stream on Amazon Prime)

I’m embarrassed that I didn’t take the time to watch this show until this past January. After this series swept award circuits in 2020, I found myself deliberately avoiding it because I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype (hot take: this was my experience with “La La Land”... after seeing the film receive awards in almost every major category at the 2017 Golden Globes, I had high expectations and was sorely disappointed when I went to see it in-theater the following weekend). Anyway, after glowing recommendations from friends, neighbors and peers, I eventually succumbed and decided to watch the show over winter break.

My initial reservations were completely obliterated. I finished the entire series over the course of two days, and let me tell you: “Fleabag” is a masterpiece.

There isn’t a great way to adequately describe the premise of this show, but it essentially follows the complex relationships and struggles of our protagonist, Fleabag, as she navigates the up and downs of life. With impeccable writing and brilliant performances from Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sian Clifford, Olivia Coleman and Andrew Scott, this series addresses heavy subjects such as loss, grief, strained familial relationships and heartbreak, but does so with effortless relatability and exquisite strokes of wit and humor. Even better, it isn’t a huge commitment either. With only two seasons totaling 12, 22-minute episodes, the series boasts short, sweet and satisfying character arcs and resolutions.

Overall, it’s an absolute delight. It’s a must-watch and definitely belongs on your list.

“Middleditch & Schwartz” (stream on Netflix)

This captured my attention when I recognized Ben Schwartz as Jean-Ralphio Sapperstein from “Parks and Recreation” in the special’s promotional trailer. It seemed intriguing, so I decided to check it out and ended up watching all three parts in one sitting.

“Middleditch & Schwartz” is a unique approach to Netflix’s traditional comedy special. Instead of a typical stand-up set, it features three totally on-the-spot, hour-long improv skits that showcase the whimsical comedic genius of Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz. Each episode has been performed in front of a live audience and always begins with a short question-and-answer between a random spectator, Middleditch and Schwartz. Usually, these are short conversations about ordinary personal developments in the spectator’s life, such as an upcoming wedding, wrapping up the first semester of law school or interviewing for an internship.

Using the information gleaned from these conversations as the basis for the episode’s improv sketch, the chaos begins as Middleditch and Schwartz spin mundane happenings from everyday life into entirely new and original rollercoasters of stories that are bound to keep you on the edge of your seat and laughing out loud. 

“Frasier” (stream on Peacock)

I have a habit of watching this show (and “The Simpsons”) on Friday nights with my parents. It’s an older show, but the humor and tropes are timeless. “Frasier” is a spin-off of “Cheers” and first premiered in 1993; it follows the life of the renowned (and pompous) psychiatrist, Dr. Frasier Crane, after he leaves Boston and returns to his hometown of Seattle to host his talk-radio show. From there, we meet his painfully pretentious, out-of-touch and fellow psychiatrist of a brother, Dr. Niles Crane; his elderly, salt-of-the-earth father, Marty Crane; and Marty’s whacky in-home caregiver, Daphne Moon.

Each episode is an adventure of its own and feels like a hilarious, slow-moving trainwreck you can’t turn away from. The predicaments Frasier finds himself tangled in are astounding and unbelievable but in the best way possible. The humor is dry, the wit is fresh and the chemistry, relationships and dynamics between this remarkable cast of characters is everything. After all, there’s a reason why this series is the recipient of 37 Emmy Awards.

“Psych” (stream on Amazon Prime)

Last, but certainly not least, is “Psych.” This show holds a special place in my heart, particularly because it was the first show I ever binged (it’s a ridiculous reason, I know). For the past eight years of my life, it has been a cherished favorite among my closest friends and me. Even today, we sometimes find ourselves streaming episodes together over virtual watch parties.

This series is the ultimate spectacle of dramatic irony as we follow the inseparable duo, Shawn and Gus. Shawn, originally a lazy and aimless bum, finds himself working for the Santa Barbara Police Department after managing to convince them that he’s a crime-solving psychic (he’s not). Meanwhile, his childhood best friend, Gus, is forced to play along as he helps Shawn weave his complex web of lies by helping him solve crimes.

It sounds a bit out there, but I urge you to give it a chance. I promise you’ll fall in love with every character, laugh yourself to the point of tears on multiple occasions and develop a newfound appreciation for pineapples.

There you have it, everyone. With a variety of options and subgenres to choose from, hopefully one of these recommendations suits your preferences. Happy streaming!

Niki is a third-year student at UMKC pursuing double majors in history and English along with a minor in film studies. Outside of writing and re-watching her favorite Tom Cruise movies, you can find her listening to audiobooks while on strolls through the park or walks around her neighborhood. She enjoys talking about travel, literature, health, wellness, and skincare and can never turn down a good cup of tea.
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