For more than eight decades, the sitcom has both timed and provided balm against them. By Rob Petri, who stumbles upon his Ottoman song The Dick Van Dyke Show of Ilana planting face on The wide city subway car; from The newlywedsRalph Cramden could barely contain his frustration with Ed Norton AtlantaPaper’s Boi does the same with its cousin Earn; from Lucy Ricardo to get drunk from Vitameatavegamin to Fleabag, enjoying Gin in Tin with the hot priest, the most beloved characters in the genre are by our side.
To choose the 1
00 best comedies ever, we first had to decide how to define the term. Sketch comedies were out, explicitly, like Saturday Night Live and The doll show,, to the more ambiguous ones, such as The Rocky and Bickwinkle Show. Also comedy-drama hybrids that lasted about an hour – Freaks and geeksI say or Crazy ex-girlfriend. The half-hour dramas present a less clear picture; we took them on a case-by-case basis, applying our own version of Supreme Court Judge Potter Stewart’s famous definition of obscenity: “I know it when I see it.” Enlightened and The wonderful years seems to have fallen too much on the dramatic side of the line, for example, Atlanta and Better things there was enough comedy to qualify. This list is also made up entirely of English-language comedies, mostly American, with a handful of British and Canadian shows making the cut.
Most of all, however, we were looking for a consistent group of characters and settings. Then we considered not only how much these series made us laugh, but also how much they influenced the subsequent broadcasts, how well they reflected the world around us and sometimes how deeply they made us feel emotions beyond joy.