Sitcom Clash: A definitive rating of the best sitcoms

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A tournament consisting of eight sitcoms, with a question mark where the winner will be.

Madelyn Woodard, Opinion Writer

8. Seinfeld
You are going to hate me for this but “Seinfeld” just isn’t that funny. It only makes the list because it is such a classic, a title that it doesn’t fully deserve. It has one of the best endings of all time when the gang are all thrown in jail for the havoc they have wreaked over the years. I tried so hard to enjoy this show, I wanted to like it, but it was just so disappointing. That being said, some episodes have good story lines and the jokes hit home for some generations. At the height of “Seinfeld”s career, this group of not-quite-grown-up adults and their wacky adventures had audiences rolling, but now it just feels stiff and awkward.
7. The Office
“The Office” could be considered a revival of the sitcom genre and has truly memorable moments. It captured its audience and held on tight. Its mockumentary style quickly became a staple of the industry and added comedic and plot value. “The Office” struck a chord with people and has been made into so many memes; it is a huge part of popular culture. Everyone has had a boss they couldn’t stand and Steve Carrel playing a caricature of that boss is impressive. He manages to seem completely unaware of his inappropriate and childish behavior and his employees just have to roll with it at their mid-level, regional paper company jobs.
6. Parks and Recreation
Parks and Rec. was heavily inspired by the success that was “The Office”, but to be honest it just does it better. The characters are more likable and they accepted earlier on that the show needed to come to an end. They don’t drag it out for as long when the original cast leaves, and the people who do leave get a proper goodbye. The premise is largely the same with a frustrating boss, Leslie Knope, who is overzealous about her government job with employees who clearly couldn’t care less. “Parks and Recreation” brings excitement and irony to pure bureaucracy and apathy with characters who are often just shy of normal and unnecessarily high stakes situations.
5. New Girl
“New Girl” is the show I just keep coming back to. Sometimes the drama can take away from the plot but overall it is a great show. The characters are memorable and the absurd situations keep things interesting. One crazy person living in a loft with three roommates is funny enough but four crazy people living together is pure comedy. This group creates insanity wherever they go as they conquer the dating world and make mountains out of every mole hill in their daily lives. “New Girl” does an excellent job of introducing characters that aren’t going to stay forever and then letting them go to keep the plot moving.
4. Brooklyn 99
Every season is full of fun, new situations. Granted some seasons are better than others but there aren’t any serious dry spells or spots that are flat out painful to watch. It might not be the most revolutionary of shows, but it is funny. The A, B, and C plots always work well together, it is super upbeat and a show that gets funnier with every rewatch. It perfectly embodies what a sitcom should be, which is a reflection of the time it was made in, it is lighthearted but includes current events. It stars Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta, a detective in the NYPD and his quirky co-workers/friends. “Brooklyn 99” is a great twist on the procedural cop show and worth watching at least once.
3. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
There’s nothing that really needs to be said about this show. “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” is a true classic and one of the only older sitcoms that continues to be relevant and funny. Because of its age it doesn’t make me laugh quite as hard as some other shows but it is still a gem of the genre. Will Smith is placed in a completely foreign environment and decides to ignore all of the confining rules that his family abides by, setting up a relatable character who is exciting and carefree. The opening theme song is a masterpiece, perfectly explaining the premise in a catchy tune. The show perfectly balances comedy with heartwarming moments and is something of a memorial to the 90s.
2. Community
Similarly to the number one pick, “Community” has great running jokes. The cast is creative and talented; Dani Pudi and Donald Glover combined are a recipe for success. Dean Pelton, played by Jim Rash, is extravagant and a little insane in his quest to have the best school in the area. It ranks lower only because it goes downhill a bit earlier than the best show, in season four, which is known for being one the biggest letdowns in recent TV history. The plot gets out of control but the comedy remains solid. Every character has their own flaws and gets time to improve themselves. The study group is a mix of every person who could end up at an insane community college to restart their lives.
1. Arrested Development
The best sitcom of all time. There are so many long term jokes that just keep coming back and get funnier every time. Like many shows, it gets rough in the last two seasons, because the show was revived, but the rest of the seasons are perfect. Every character, including very minor supporting ones, is well thought out and has great subplots. The way the family interacts with each other and the outside world is absolutely hilarious and you never know where the episode will take you. The show revolves around a family so ridiculous and dysfunctional it will make you appreciate your crazy family a little bit more.
The pandemic has given us all lots of time to binge watch every show from the last three decades. If we go into lockdown again, give this list a try, and if we don’t, watch them anyway.