In need of a good laugh? Here are 5 TV shows to brighten your day.
The Canadian series Schitt's Creek could best be described as a more cynical version of Arrested Development. Despite the huge amounts of caustic satire aimed at both the rich and the poor, the series has remained funny and relevant from season to season. It follows the once-wealthy Rose family, who get defrauded of all their money overnight. The only property they have left is the small rural town of Schitt's Creek, which was acquired as a joke birthday gift in 1991 and is inhabited by a rather backward bunch of people. The Roses have to find some common ground with the locals and learn to look at the world in a whole different way.
The show's strengths include zinging one-liners written by lead actors Eugene and Daniel Levy and the terrific performance by Catherine O'Hara, who played Kevin McCallister's mother in a previous life.
The Office is to the early 2000s what Friends was to the 1990s: the cult sitcom of the era.
The show had humble beginnings as a rather mediocre remake of the original British mockumentary penned by Ricky Gervais, but by season two, it got into its stride as it began to break new ground creatively, letting go of its British roots, de-emphasising mockumentarism and doubling down on comedy.
Soon more and more people started watching the daily routine of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. What made the show click with so many people was how relatable the characters were. And that includes the branch manager Michael Scott. The manager in the original British series was a total cunt, but his American counterpart, played to perfection by Steve Carell, is far more relatable; he's a deeply flawed but nonetheless loveable individual. Jim and Pam were the two normies that the audiences were expected to identify with the most, but in the end, it was when Steve Carell left and his character, Michael Scott, had to be replaced that the show's rankings fell off a cliff.
Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation is another show that jumped on the mockumentary bandwagon. In a way, it's a variation on the office, except it's got Star-Lord in it. It never took off in the US because the first season is so boring it can put you to sleep even if you’re flying on coke.
But in season two, the dull bureaucratic office squabbles finally give way to relatable and funny human interest stories that make audiences fall in love with the characters. Far and away, the show's biggest draw is not Star-Lord but Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler, who can not only restore your faith in humanity but also help you get out of your comfort zone.
Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist
The comedy-drama series Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist is a lesson in how to appreciate music.
The protagonist is the ambitious programmer Zoe Clark who gets a rather absurd superpower: she can hear people's thoughts and feelings as popular songs. Naturally, this turns the show into a chaotic marathon of dance and oddball performances whose choreography, at times, looks quite impressive, too. On a deeper level, though, it's a show about family and love.
Never Have I Ever
This teen series is the creation of acclaimed Hollywood actor/screenwriter Mindy Kaling (The Office) and is largely based on her life. The plot follows high schooler Devi who has been living at the intersection of Indian and American cultures since early childhood.
But like most teenagers, Devi rebels against her heritage on account of it not being modern or relevant enough. As the story progresses, the protagonist goes through a series of typical teen problems like unrequited crushes, problems with self-identification and raging hormones.
Notably, the series features voiceover narration by famous tennis player John McEnroe.