1. The Simpsons
The longest-running scripted show in television history is a testament that one can never go wrong with a classic. Currently in its 24th season, the subversive humor and wit of each endearing character have undeniably made an imprint in American pop culture and our hearts. We’ve all wanted to embrace our inner Homer and do nothing but watch TV, eat donuts, and drink beer. Whatever it is, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie will always offer an extra chair for us to join in their ridiculous antics. D’oh!
First aired in September 2009, this half-hour NBC series follows the story of seven oddball characters in a study group attending community college. The show is a ball of pop culture references and geeky humor with distinct characters, from the sarcastic remarks of Jeff Winger (Joe McHale) to the meta-jokes of Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi).
3. Modern Family
With lovable characters and impeccable comedic timing, the hit ABC series, first aired on the fall of 2009, tells the story of three related yet entirely different families. Packed with the typical highs-and-lows of family dynamics—and family politics—in a modern setting, the series has won numerous Emmy Awards—several included the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series for the past three years. Remember the saying, “it’s funny because it’s true”? This series is exactly that. It’s everything you expect on a family comedy show and much, much more; as said by its promotional poster, Modern Family is “one big (straight, gay, multi-cultural, traditional) happy family”.
4. The Mindy Project
The Office veteran Mindy Kaling returned to television the fall of 2012 as Mindy Lahiri, the smart and sassy OB/GYN who’s trying to get her life together after a bad break-up. With a flurry of eccentric supporting characters and endless banters, the Mindy Project manages to steal the heart of viewers—though she has continually sabotaged her own relationships with the claims of good intention and pop culture references.
5. New Girl
Jessica “Jess” Day (Zooey Deschanel) of New Girl is Fox’s poster child for quirky girls around the world. The sitcom premiered on Fox on September 20, 2011 and have developed a loyal following ever since. The story follows Jess right after her messy break-up; eventually, she moved into a loft with three guys: Nick Miller the slacker, Schmidt the wannabe cool guy, and Winston Bishop the has-been basketball athlete. Following the life of the mid-20s and single, the entire show’s humor is often similar to Jess’ personality: quirky, off-beat, and over-the-top.
6. Parks & Recreation
First aired on April 9, 2009, this NBC series revolves around the deputy director of the parks and recreation department in a fictional Indiana town Leslie Knope and her team of eccentric colleagues. While this Emmy-nominated series is presented in a similar mockumentary as another comedy series The Office, Parks and Recreation has shown a more sincere, straightforward tone yet remains to be equally hilarious with its uncanny humor that revolves around the over-the-top antics of each character.
This Emmy-nominated, tongue-in-cheek series took the comedy genre by storm with its supreme casting (Fred Armisen of Saturday Night life and Carrie Brownstein) and satire. Aired in the Independent Film Channel (IFC) ON January 21, 2011, the series has shown the whole truth, only the truth, and nothing but the truth of life in Hipsterlandia—oops, I mean Portland, Oregon—from bohemian couples to avid bike riders.
8. Bob’s Burger
Awkward yet endearing, Bob’s Burger is a show whose bright humor is often overshadowed by its big-name counterparts (I’m looking at you, Seth MacFarlane) since its premiere in early 2011. Following the misadventures of a family-owned burger joint, this Sunday night Fox series is often inappropriate but overall hilarious and leave no hint of crude language. From Bob’s and Linda’s awkward sex life to the oldest Tina’s eccentric path to puberty to the youngest Louise’s sociopath tendencies, not to mention the middle-child Gene’s ridiculous antics, the Belcher family will charm you more than their mystery hamburger meat.
9. Raising Hope
Perhaps there’s a scientific explanation out there as to why dysfunctional family dynamics humor us; what else could be the reason for a series revolving around a clueless 25-year-old who impregnated a serial killer, earned custody for the daughter when the mother is sentenced to the electric chair, and attempted to raise the daughter with his eccentric, rural family? First aired on the fall of 2010, the Fox series is unexpectedly sweet and sentimental under its crude and white-trash humor.
10. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
If there’s anywhere in the world where underachievement is hilarious, it’s in Paddy’s Pub. Premiered on August 2005, the FX series follows “the Gang”, a group of five underachievers who run the pub. From blackmail to physical pain to drug abuse, the series is known for its extreme humor. As crude as the show may be, the volatile chemistry between the characters seamlessly created a dysfunctional sense of humor that somehow….works.