11 seasons, 275 episodes | IMDb: 7.8/10
Mike Schur, the creator of Parks and Recreation, is an avowed disciple of Cheers, citing the NBC sitcom as his favorite show and driving influence. It’s not hard to see why: Cheers is a classic for a reason, a sitcom populated with colorful characters (Norm!), complicated relationships (Sam and Diane), and reliably hilarious hijinks (that legendary Thanksgiving food fight) that easily sustain its 11 seasons. Schur has often said that he modeled the protagonists of Parks on the characters of Cheers, people who genuinely liked each other in spite of their differences. Sure, Cheers frequently features caustic one-liners (particularly those delivered by Carla) and grating personalities (why anyone hung out with Cliff is a bit of a head-scratcher). But despite the occasional unpleasantness, Cheers isn’t just a place where everybody knows your name – it’s where everybody’s family, misfit barflies and all.
10 seasons, 236 episodes | IMDb: 8.9/10
There are some who argue that Friends was an overrated sitcom, with protagonists as unrealistic as they were lily-white. But like a big bowl of mac ‘n cheese, Friends is TV comfort food: not exactly great for you, but sometimes exactly what’s needed. From classic episodes like “The One With the Embryos” and “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” to its sprawling cast of eccentric supporting characters, the enduringly funny Friends will be there for you when you need to kick back and forget about the real world for a while.
3 seasons, 18 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
Plenty of comedies focus on those awkward teenage years, but few are as painfully funny as The Inbetweeners, a Britcom about four pals struggling to make it through high school, and all the bullying, underage drinking, and thwarted sexual encounters – so, so many thwarted sexual encounters – that go with it. The lads can sometimes revert too easily to their archetypes (Will is the impossibly nerdy protagonist who can’t seem to ever do or say the right thing; Jay, the crude skirt-chaser whose intact virginity is the bane of his existence), but you’ll be laughing too hard at their boneheaded antics and horrendous luck to care.
Jane the Virgin
4 seasons, 81 episodes | IMDb: 7.8/10
This genre-defying telenovela send-up has one of the weirdest premises of any show, ever: Jane Villanueva, a devout Catholic who’s vowed to remain a virgin until marriage, is accidentally artificially inseminated during a routine gynecological visit, and becomes pregnant. It sounds more soap operatic than comedic, but that’s where Jane proves naysayers wrong, infusing the title character’s unlikely journey with countless laugh-out-loud funny moments that shock and delight viewers at every turn. While Gina Rodriguez’s radiant performance as Jane is the heart of the show, its comedic success is largely thanks to two characters: Her long-lost father, telenovela superstar Rogelio de la Vega (Jaime Camil); and the Narrator (brilliantly voiced by Anthony Mendez), whose helpful explanations and perfectly timed interjections make him as integral to the proceedings as Jane herself. The Narrator is both an audience stand-in (regularly exclaiming “OMG!” at surprising developments) and the ultimate insider (showrunners have teased that his connection to the characters runs deeper than just an omniscient voiceover presence). The preening Rogelio steals the show; the Narrator keeps you coming back for more.
4 seasons, 52 episodes | IMDb: 8/10
Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara star in this Canadian sitcom about a wealthy family forced to scale down their extravagant lifestyle with hilarious results. Levy plays Johnny Rose, a rich video-store magnate who loses his fortune when his business manager fails to pay his taxes. O’Hara plays his wife, Moira, a former soap opera star who, along with her husband and their two pampered children, must move to a town called Schitt’s Creek. Johnny bought the town as a joke when the family had more money than they could spend, but now, the town and its residents serve as a comedic wake-up call for a guy who has problems rooting himself in reality. Levy is brilliant in this thing and it’s a damn shame the show is so overlooked by American audiences. Let’s change that.