During the pandemic, I had a lot of extra free time. So I ended up watching a lot of TV, and through some of the darker moments of the pandemic, these five sitcoms brightened up my day. The stressful times of millions sick and dying of COVID-19, a presidential election, protests for human rights, virtual school, and so much more was too much sometimes, so the idea that these series could make me laugh meant a lot to me. I grew connected to the characters, and their stories gave me a way to connect with other people during a time of isolation. Please enjoy my recommendations, and I hope they make you laugh as much as they did for me.
Schitt’s Creek (2015-2020):
Schitt’s Creek follows the story of the Rose family as they are uprooted from their fancy lives of the rich into small-town living. When most of the Rose family’s assets are seized, all they have left is the town of Schitt’s Creek, which they had bought as a joke. When the show starts, you watch as they all hate living out of a motel in this town, but as the show progresses, the characters change and transform because of the impact of this place. Though it may take a little bit to find its stride, once it does, this sitcom is full of hilarious moments that will have you wheezing. Schitt’s Creek deserved all the awards it received, including a whopping nine Emmys. Schitt’s Creek provides the audience with examples of healthy and positive relationships, with the love in the Rose family and their romantic relationships. Though they may fight a lot, the Rose family bonds and grows closer through this experience, realizing past mistakes and improving upon them. The show also provides accurate LGBTQ+ representation in a safe space of the town of Schitt’s Creek, shown in David Rose’s (Dan Levy) famous wine metaphor of pansexuality and his happy and healthy relationship with Patrick Brewer (Noah Reid), who, in turn, comes to terms with his own sexuality. Just hearing Moira Rose’s (Catherine O’Hara) ridiculous made-up accent is enough to make you laugh, but if you need more, just listen to Alexis Rose’s (Annie Murphy) childhood stories of traveling around the world, her performance of her “hit single” A Little Bit Alexis, David living on an Amish farm, or when David and Moira tried to cook. Along with the funny moments, this show is heartwarming as well, as you watch the Rose siblings, David and Alexis engage in adorable romantic relationships, Moira and Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy) demonstrate true love, and the whole Rose family make connections with the people of Schitt’s Creek, and their big moments and milestones being celebrated.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-2021):
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a workplace comedy that shows the story of New York detectives at the 99th precinct. The show begins when Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) takes the position as the commanding officer of the precinct, immediately clashing with carefree detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg). Other characters are Jake’s odd best friend, Detective Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), ultra-competitive Detective Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), civilian office manager Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti), whose humor is great while her work skills are not, and family man Sergeant Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews), and mysterious and cool Detective Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz). The 99th precinct always finds a way to make solving each case funny and enjoyable while also having ridiculous workplace antics such as the famous Halloween Heists. As the show progresses, the audience watches as these characters grow and become better and more authentic versions of themselves. The characters are also diverse in gender, race, and sexuality, which provide strong members of varying identities in the police force. In light of recent police brutality and corruption current events, later seasons of the show aim to represent how this affects the world and citizens’ views of the police. The main characters do remain true to the real purpose of police in society. Some of the most amusing moments include navigating witness protection, workplace bets, fun criminals, and my favorite of the yearly Halloween Heists, the object to steal an item and the effort to increase extra each year.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-2019):
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a Netflix comedy that tells the story of Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) moving to New York City after being in a doomsday cult for 15 years. With optimism and a positive attitude that survived her captivity, watch Kimmy experience the everyday workings of the world. Kimmy lives with funny and crazy Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) and becomes friends with their kooky and street-smart landlady Lilian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane) as well. She finds work as a nanny for trophy wife socialite Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski). Some of the best moments in the show include Titus Lemondading (performing a rendition of Beyoncé’s "Hold Up"), Jaqueline losing her tooth and trying to replace it, Titus joining the cast of the musical Cats, the alternate reality episode (titled Sliding Van Doors), Kimmy learning about the internet and technology such as streaming services, and Titus’s dramatic music videos.
Happy Endings (2011-2013):
Happy Endings follows the adventures of a group of six friends. The show begins with one of the friends, Alex (Elisha Cuthbert), leaving Dave (Zachary Knighton) at the altar of their wedding and how the friend group will now navigate this new dynamic. Though this show only has three seasons (it deserves many more), it is packed with hilarious moments as you watch Alex, Dave, Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.), Jane (Eliza Coupe), Penny (Casey Wilson), and Max (Adam Pally) go through the silly moments of their lives. The premise of the show is similar to other series like Friends or How I Met Your Mother, though I find this show to be more modern and funny than those series. Watch as these friends have prank wars, spiraling out of control lies, scavenger hunts, and entertaining group divides.
The Good Place (2016-2020):
The Good Place is an afterlife comedy following Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) as she ends up in the Good Place, a utopia similar to Heaven after she dies. The Good Place is extremely selective, only for the people who lived highly good and moral lives on Earth as dictated by a score that’s a tally of all your actions on Earth. Eleanor is welcomed here by the architect, creator, and director of the Good Place, Michael (Ted Danson). Eleanor quickly realizes that she was put here by mistake, leading her to try to hide her immoral behavior and habits on Earth and instead try to become a better person. Each person gets assigned a soulmate in the Good Place, and Eleanor’s soulmate is Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), a moral philosopher. Eleanor connects with Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto) and Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil), two other residents in the Good Place who are also soulmates. Eleanor also interacts with the artificial being Janet (D’Arcy Carden), a hilarious AI meant to assist residents and the architect of this Good Place neighborhood. This show is full of laughs and funny moments, yet also contains plot twists and lessons on morality and ethics. Each character grows and becomes a better person as the series goes on, learning from situations that guide them to be more ethical in their actions. Some of the ridiculous moments include Chidi’s existential crisis, the introduction of Judge Gen, the explanation of how time works in the afterlife, and Jason’s time in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.
—Written by Gabriel Friedman
Gabriel Friedman is a teen volunteer at the Palms-Rancho Park Library. He is a 9th-grade student at the Geffen Academy.
—Emily Meehan, YA Librarian, Palms-Rancho Park Branch