Stream Police: Sitcom Edition
I'll be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of sitcoms. However, there are some sitcoms that either breaks traditional tropes or just have a strong cast. That being said, let's venture down the rabbit hole of sitcoms and laugh tracks.
How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother has one of the strongest casts of any sitcom I've seen. Carried by stars like Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segel, and Cobie Smulders, the show also had some extremely smart writing. The show had a fair number of fake websites set up to things brought up in the episodes, novelty songs based off in-jokes, and a lot of running gags/callbacks. It's probably my favorite sitcom of all time the last couple seasons and the atrocious ending notwithstanding. Come for NPH, stay for Slapsgiving and Robin Sparkles.
Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23
Before Krysten Ritter was Jessica Jones, she was the sarcastic Chloe in Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. Focusing on the June Colburn, an Indiana transplant who loses everything in a Ponzi scheme, who desperately moves into an apartment with the aforementioned Chloe. The two get into all sorts of adventures joined by none other than James Van Der Beek playing himself. Van Der Beek playing an exaggerated version of himself is my favorite part of the show along with his personal assistant Luther. The interplay between the three of them is great and the show doesn't pander with its comedy rather pushing the boundaries with cable TV comedy.
Everybody Loves Raymond
Written by the always funny Phil Rosenthal, Everybody Loves Raymond set the gold standard for family-centric sitcoms. The show centers around the Barone family and the eponymous Raymond played by Ray Romano as he deals with the comical goings on with his crazy family. The highlights of the show are Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle as Ray's parents who live across the street from Ray and his wife Debra. The smart writing by Rosenthal with characters based on his and Romano's family member along with not pandering to conventional tropes makes the show one of the best of all time.
While The League may come off as a sports-centric show about fantasy football but that only exists as the setup for the shenanigans. Following a fantasy football group in Chicago, they try to outwit, outsmart, and out game each other in their yearly league. As with other FX shows, it pushes the boundary of cable television comedy with its crass comedic styling. Jon Lajoie, Mark Duplass, and Paul Scheer are the standouts of the show with some of the most inspired bits coming from their interplay. It's a great example of when a show transcends its basic setup.
30 Rock is my favorite sitcom of all time. Not only does it feature Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, one of the best TV characters of all time, but the show is also created and starred in by Tina Fey. The show chronicles The Girlie Show, a fake SNL, run by Liz Lemon (Fey) in the 30 Rockefeller Building. She has to contend with her boss Jack Donaghy, annoying Kenneth (Jack McBrayer), stuck up Jenna (Jane Krakowski), and absurd Tracy (Tracy Morgan). It's a meta look at SNL and the actors and writers who write the show along with some of the best comedic writing on cable TV. Plus it gave us such amazing gags as Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.