The world is stressful and chaotic, and sometimes I can’t bear to even watch / read the news or listen to current events podcasts. Sometimes I just want, and need, to stay in my bubble. Sometimes it’s all too much and we need an escape. Sure people like their serial killer documentaries and their true crime podcasts, but sometimes we need pure escapism. We need the absurdities and the farcical situations of Scranton, or Pawnee, or Greendale. We need a sitcom. Sitcoms are like comfort food. Here are a few of the silly, absurd, lovely sitcoms that help me escape.
What I watch
The one thing that all of these seem to have in common? They are all about a group of lovable misfits, with strange quirks and pure hearts.
What’s it about: A group of workers at a small paper company in Pennsylvania.
I don’t know if I even need to say more. If you’ve never watched, season one is rough, maybe just skip it altogether and go back when you’ve fallen in love with the characters? For a show that started 15+ years ago, it sure has staying power and universal appeal. (streaming on Peacock)
If you know you know (IYKYK): the dundies, dinner party, pretzel day
Parks and Recreation
What’s it about: Civil servants in small town Indiana.
Again, this one takes some time. The characters can be a bit cloying in the beginning, but they finally find their groove in Season 2 and it is pure joy from there. (streaming on Peacock)
IYKYK: Lil’ Sebastian, Treat Yo’ Self, Galentine’s
What’s it about: A Spanish study group that becomes so much more.
I LOVE this show. I followed it to that random season it had on the short lived Yahoo streaming service. It is inventive, irreverent, funny and full of heart. It takes some time to get to know the characters, but once you do you fall in love. This show is one of those where each time you watch you find something new to laugh at. (Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video)
IYKYK: paintball, chicken fingers, the darkest timeline
What’s it about: Wine drinking neighbors in a Florida cul-de-sac
The name and original premise isn’t great and it does a disservice to this wonderful show about family you have and family you find. If you’ve never given it a chance, now’s the time to reconsider. There is also some really great Community crossover stuff that is just so silly. (Hulu, Prime video)
IYKYK: Big Carl, Penny Can!, what, what?
What’s it about: A group of friends in Chicago figuring out life
I recently rewatched and laughed so hard I cried. It is silly fun that never gets too serious. There are a few odd Louisiana / NOLA references too that always make me laugh. (Netflix, Hulu)
IYKYK: a-mah-zing, v-necks
The Good Place
What’s it about: A self-described “trash person” ends up in “the good place” by mistake
Get past the first three episodes before you cast judgment. Like many shows, it takes some time to get going, but it is so worth the ride. Who doesn’t love a comedy about philosophy and self-reflection? (streaming on Netflix)
IYKYK: Janet, Bortles!, the void
What’s it about: A wealthy family that’s lost everything and starts over in a small town
I don’t know if more can be said/written about Schitt’s Creek. I feel like it was a pandemic lockdown staple for so many. I finished watching and immediately wanted to watch it all again. It is so pure of heart and funny. I’ve heard many say “I couldn’t get into it.” To them I say: Then you must not like to laugh. (Netflix)
IYKYK: bébé, fold in the cheese, ew
What’s it about: A Midwesterner takes a job managing aka coaching a fledgling Premier League soccer club in England.
Do yourself a favor and watch Ted Lasso. You don’t have to know a lot about soccer to love this show. It is heartfelt and funny and fun. (not for little ears / eyes as it does have some adult language and content) (Apple TV+)
IYKYK: biscuits, believe
This is not an all-inclusive list, some of my favorites are missing, but it is a list of some of the most uplifting, least depressing, laugh inducing shows I love. If you’re looking to escape I hope you find the time and space to escape to them.