Sitcoms are widely popular around the world. We love to watch these shows make us burst into laughter. Everybody has their own taste in comedy. But there are some shows that make us all laugh and in this article, we have ranked the 25 best sitcoms of all time.
Here are the top 25 best sitcoms of all time.
Appearing near the tail end of the ’80s, Roseanne presented a monumental shift in the depiction of the American family. The stories of Roseanne and Dan Conner and their rambunctious kids were almost always rooted in the heart. In a landscape filled with pretty people and their petty problems, Roseanne chose to tackle the realities of a blue-collar family struggling to get by. Besides highlighting a side of America not seen since the heyday of Norman Lear, the show also used its primetime platform to discuss controversial issues of birth control, drug abuse, and homosexuality. And though the show’s much-maligned final season did not sit well with most audiences, one cannot deny that Roseanne was, like its titular character, bold and uncompromising.
24. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
It’s Always Sunny is unique in that its characters have zero redeeming qualities, but are still a delight to watch. Creating an ensemble of disgusting idiots is hard to do without completely turning off your audience. Mac, Dennis, Charlie, Dee, and Frank are all terribly offensive, but because the writing is so carefully and cleverly crafted, they are not obnoxious. It has been renewed for a fourteenth season, which is exceptional for a sitcom. You know a show has merit when it can keep an audience coming back to watch five horrible people say and do terrible things for fourteen seasons.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus gives a stellar performance as Vice President Selina Meyers in this political satire. Political humor—now more than ever—can feel undercooked if not done right. Veep manages to steer clear of obvious jokes and derivative characters while navigating the world of politics. Selina Meyers never reveals her party affiliation, which allows the show to poke fun at American politics as a whole, rather than honing in on one side. It’s a smart choice that makes for interesting commentary and accessible comedy.
The series is centered upon the interrelationships, stress and trauma involved in being a part of Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. They survive insuperable odds with the help of practical jokes and fun. The best part o MASH’s run was in the 1970s—by the time Reagan rolled into office, we’d already lost Henry Blake, Trapper McIntyre, Frank Burns, and even Radar O’Reilly. But with replacements for all but Radar firmly in place, there was still enough momentum, in the end, to make the season finale the most-watched TV episode up to that point in history with 125 million viewers. Alda, as both star and executive producer, steered the show into more serious waters with episodes like “Follies of the Living” and “Where There’s Will, There’s a War,” without ever losing the sharp wit at its heart.
A lawyer, whose law degree has been revoked, is compelled to join the Greendale Community College. Students of diverse temperaments join his study group which leads to quirky and memorable encounters. Community is a sitcom that makes fun of the fact that it’s a sitcom. It’s very self-aware, often playing off of classic television tropes and clichés. Created by Dan Harmon, Community caters to an audience that enjoys meta-humor and is a refreshing change of pace.
20. The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory is the last of the blockbuster sitcoms. It’s the last sitcom to get massive ratings, to build a huge, devoted audience who will absolutely watch the show whenever it’s on. It is about the lives of four socially awkward friends, Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj, take a wild turn when they meet the beautiful and free-spirited Penny. The actors involved are all talented, and for every dumb joke delivered, the show provides at least one sharp one.
19. Parks and Recreation
After a short, shaky first season as a too-familiar Office protege, Parks & Rec quickly adjusted into one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. When you talk about the classic sitcom casts, where every actor was perfect for the role, and every role was equally important, Parks & Rec has to be near the top of the list. With equally strong writing and the most fully developed sitcom town this side of Springfield, Parks & Rec was the ideal sitcom during its six year run.
18. That 70’s show
Eric, a high school student, and his group of teenage friends struggle to lead purposeful lives whilst going through the tumultuous phase of adolescence. Beyond highlighting the immense talent of its cast with sharp, punchy writing, the show also set itself apart by experimenting with visual structure, implementing split screens, dream sequences, drug-induced hallucinations, and the show’s patented tableside panning for when the young teens found themselves “self-medicating.” In retrospect, That ‘70s Show’s biggest sin is that—like many promising sitcoms—it simply outstayed its welcome, chugging along even after two main cast members (Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher) had departed. Still, at its peak, it was an unmistakably engaging and altogether groovy program that more than earned its place as one of Fox’s flagship shows. It is easily one of the best sitcoms of all time.
17. 30 Rock
After working as the head writer at SNL, Tina Fey brought her talents and firsthand experience to her own series, 30 Rock. Based on her time at SNL, 30 Rock is a show within a show. Fey’s writing is spot on, and her offbeat humor shines in this sitcom made for broadcast. 30 Rock has an exquisite cast, sharp joke writing, fast-paced energy, and the perfect amount of absurdity all come together in this unforgettable, very quotable comedy.
J.D. and the gang gave a completely absurd look into the world of hospitals. Each episode didn’t center around some outlandish disease that everyone thought was lupus, only to find out it was something else in the last five minutes of the show. Instead Scrubs was character-driven. It was consistently overlooked by the Emmy Awards, and viewership dwindled throughout the seasons. Still, the witty writing and off-beat characters deserved more. When NBC canceled the show, ABC was confident enough to pick it up for two more (not so good) seasons. But in its prime, it was one of the best sitcoms on TV.
15. How I Met Your Mother
A father recounts to his children, through a series of flashbacks, the journey he and his four best friends took leading up to him meeting their mother. The series follows the main character, Ted Mosby, and his group of friends in New York City’s Manhattan. As a framing device, Ted, in the year 2030, recounts to his son and daughter the events that led him to meet their mother. The show was nominated for 30 Emmy Awards, winning ten.
14. The Golden Girls
The Golden Girls proves to audiences that sassy grandmas are the heroes we never knew we wanted. On paper, a show about four elderly women doesn’t sound all that exciting. But when they are played by Betty White, Beatrice Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty, that all changes. There’s something undeniably amusing about watching old women talk about taboo topics. The Golden Girls is another classic, and I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who can watch an episode without cracking a smile. It remains one of the best sitcoms of all time.
13. Will & Grace
One of the classics, Will & Grace is also notably groundbreaking. It premiered in 1998, and was one of the first mainstream shows to have a gay character star. Will & Grace remains a pivotal show for gay culture and the presentation of gay characters on a sitcom, the most successful show of its time to feature gay lead characters in anything but the “wacky best friend” role. Not only is Will gay, but his character also doesn’t fall into predictable, gay stereotypes. The two supporting characters, Jack and Karen, are incredibly strong and bring most of the shows infamous biting comedic relief.
12. The Office UK
A lot of people debate over which is funnier: the UK version of The Office or the US version of The Office. Our opinion is that both are funny in their own ways. The British version is great because it’s so…British. The humor is as dry and bleak as you could ever hope. It’s only one season long, as the British are better at accepting when a show has run its course. It’s easy to binge in a short amount of time and well worth the watch.
11. The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show gave the nation a more relatable glimpse of the growing middle-class among African Americans, dealing with race, but much more often, dealing with the trials that we all faced. Inspired by Cosby’s own family experiences which had been a staple of his stand-up routine, the show dominated the second half of the ’80s, topping the Neilsen ratings from 1985-90 and averaging more than 30 million viewers in the ’86-87 season.
Frasier was the odd show that made cultural elites and eggheads somehow seem like lovable characters to a mass audience. Both Frasier and his brother Niles can be infuriatingly snobbish, but audiences soon found that when their petty jealousies were directed at each other, they could also be hilarious. The show soon became an off-hand representation of the idea of “smart comedy” on TV, but it was also still a sitcom full of relationship humor. Viewers waited a hell of a long time in particular for the long-teased relationship between Niles and Daphne to finally come to fruition (seven full seasons). Frazier, on the other hand, is never really lucky in love, but he was always better as a semi-depressed single, turning his probing mind on himself
9. Curb Your Enthusiasm
Larry David pulled off the rare successful second act in television comedy—Curb Your Enthusiasm was almost as hilarious as Seinfeld. Curb Your Enthusiasm picked up where Seinfeld left off- it was like Seinfeld Uncut: The life and times of George Costanza. The things that Larry David got himself in and out of were consistently hilarious, and the mere fact that there’s no script makes Curb even more of a masterpiece. A lot of cringe comedy forgets to actually be funny, but that was never a problem for Curb, which remained as funny (and cringeworthy) as ever.
8. Arrested Development
Arrested Development is the most finely written comedic show of our time. It’s a show that MUST be watched from the pilot, as there are so many in-jokes, quick cutaways and callbacks that sometimes you felt like you needed a scorecard. The show maintains numerous running gags and catchphrases throughout each season, and the series as a whole. Ron Howard serves as both an executive producer and the series’ uncredited omniscient narrator. Set in Newport Beach, California, Arrested Development was filmed primarily in Culver City and Marina del Rey.
7. The Fresh Prince of Bel- Air
The Fresh Prince of Bel- Air is usually referenced for its catchy theme song, but the show itself was simply brilliant. Will Smith starred as a fictionalized version of himself, charm and all. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was one of the few popular sitcoms at the time to star an African-American family, and it managed to do so without leaning too much on racial stereotypes. It’s a staple of the ’90s, and a perfect show to watch a marathon of on a lazy Sunday. It is definitely, one of the best sitcoms of all time.
Like many long-running sitcoms, the Cheers of the 90s was really a fundamentally different show than it was in the 80s, less about the dating life of Ted Danson’s Sam and much more of an ensemble device, full of characters who were by this point beloved by all. The final years of Cheers were when all these characters got to shine, especially Rhea Perlman as Carla and Kelsey Grammer, who joined the cast full-time before spinning off into Frasier. The finale episode received mixed reactions at the time, but nostalgia has pushed it into favorable territory, especially given the happy endings that most characters receive. The fact that Sam decides not to get married and stays with the bar is the right decision—it is of course his “one true love.”
5. I Love Lucy
Lucille Ball was a comedic genius and this show served as her stage. She was a master of physical comedy, and her performance as an overly ambitious woman trying to make it in show business was flawless. One of the first sitcoms ever made, it remains one of the best sitcoms of all time, too.
4. The Office
One of the first popular shows to utilize the mockumentary style, The Office has gone down in history as one of the most clever sitcoms of all time. The employees of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company were led by their oblivious leader Michael (Steve Carell). He was the best boss in the world, and had the mug to prove it. It has a large cast, and yet each character is fleshed out and hilariously distinct. Admittedly, the show starts to fall apart a bit once Steve Carell leaves in season seven, but the seasons with him as the lead are strong enough to make this show one of the best sitcoms of all time.
3. The Simpsons
The series is a satirical depiction of working-class life, epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture and society, television, and the human condition.
The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a solicitation for a series of animated shorts with producer James L. Brooks. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after his own family members, substituting Bart for his own name.
It is the longest-running American sitcom, and the longest-running American scripted primetime television series in terms of seasons and number of episodes.
Friends is the ultimate feel-good, easy-to-watch sitcom. Who doesn’t love watching a group of friends go through ups and downs, date and break up and then date again? This show is infinitely re-watchable, perfect for a rainy day when you’re looking to feel nostalgic. Friends will always be there for you.
Friends aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004, lasting ten seasons. With an ensemble cast starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, the show revolves around six friends in their 20s and 30s who live in Manhattan, New York City.
All ten seasons of Friends ranked within the top ten of the final television season ratings; it ultimately reached the number-one spot in its eighth season. The series finale aired on May 6, 2004, and was watched by around 52.5 million American viewers, making it the fifth most-watched series finale in television history.
Seinfeld ran for nine seasons on NBC, from 1989 to 1998. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, with the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself. Considered to be the most influential and one of the best sitcoms of all time. Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer are four of the funniest sitcom characters ever, and their exploits still linger in our memories today.
On any given weekday, the likelihood is high that I watch a Seinfeld rerun that I’ve seen at least 20 times before, and I’m not alone in that habit. The fact that the show has been in continual reruns and syndication since its 76-million viewer finale proves how beloved it remains to this day: Seinfeld is still making money for networks 16 years after it ended.