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Sitcoms of the Decade

Television, Year-End, Reader Lists | January 6, 2010

Top 13 Sitcoms of the Decade

Check out our list to see how it compares with our readers' list.

Today, we take a look at the best sitcoms of the 2000s as chosen by you, our readers. For the most part, this list contains many of the same classic comedies that we selected, but there are a few notable differences. You didn't agree with our picks of How I Met Your Mother, Futurama, Reno 911!, or Trailer Park Boys; instead, you preferred Flight of the Conchords, The Sarah Silverman Program, Entourage, and Parks and Recreation. You also thought we overrated Curb Your Enthusiasm and shortchanged its distant spiritual cousin, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

We already told you why we liked most of the shows on this list, so we'll show you what the critics had to say about those. But for your new picks, we'll let you know why we think you made good choices.

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Arrested Development

1

Arrested Development

2003-2006

Daily News The laughs-per-minute quotient here is insanely high . . . The Onion A.V. Club The series demands attention and repays it with bits that don't even register until the second, third, or even fourth viewing. Amazon.com Each of the episodes was in and of itself a perfect gem of comedy, strung together by sharp writing and fantastic performances.

30 Rock

2

30 Rock

2006 - present

Miami Herald 30 Rock . . . is pretty darn funny, a bitterly merry comic jihad against corporate stupidity and mendaciousness. Daily News Like the best TV comedies . . . 30 Rock sparkles not just because its central star gets to shine, but because everyone does. The Onion A.V. Club When Fey and company are on a roll, the show generates more quotable lines and memorable moments per 22 minutes than any sitcom since Arrested Development.

The Office (USA)

3

The Office (USA)

2005 - present

The New York Times The Office is all deadpan humor, as dry as Curb Your Enthusiasm, more slyly absurdist than Arrested Development. Time Magazine This remake ditched the melancholy of the BBC original in favor of a cheekier rebelliousness: a little less Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, a little more Office Space. The Onion A.V. Club [T]he U.S. version of Ricky Gervais' astounding comedy of cruelty managed to make the original's single-camera mockumentary premise its own.

South Park

4

South Park

1997 - present

Amazon.com While the show's animation is beyond primitive, with goofy construction-paper cutouts acting as characters, its writing is hilariously shocking and pushes the envelope of good taste off the table. Time Magazine Trey Parker and Matt Stone's Comedy Central cartoon has been America's best source of rapid-fire satire for a decade now, blasting hypocrites left and right and giving the final (and usually, the dirtiest) word on Elian Gonzalez, Terry Schiavo and numerous celebrity flip-outs. Entertainment Weekly Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone know the difference between earned humor and cheap humor. . . . But bless them, they also aren't afraid to push a joke too far (there's an art to it, as the Zuckers could attest).

Curb Your Enthusiasm

5

Curb Your Enthusiasm

2000 - present

The New York Times Curb is more than the sum of its jabs at political correctness. It takes absurdist routes to arrive at a classic sitcom denouement: each week, Larry schemes, offends and gets his comeuppance in a final pratfall. Entertainment Weekly This partly scripted, partly improvised comedy boasts some deeply talented players who make all the annoyance and effrontery bounce.

The Office (UK)

6

The Office (UK)

2001-2003

Amazon.com It feels both inaccurate and inadequate to describe The Office as a comedy. On a superficial level, it disdains all the conventions of television sitcoms: there are no punch lines, no jokes, no laugh tracks, and no cute happy endings. More profoundly, it's not what we're used to thinking of as funny. . . . The paradox is that its best moments are almost physically unwatchable. The Onion A.V. Club Gervais and Merchant's groundbreaking, wildly influential hit garnered huge laughs from awkward silence, tension, and the everyday humiliations and defeats of life as a wage slave.

Flight of the Conchords

7

Flight of the Conchords

2007-2009

Your favorite omission from our list, this show about Bret and Jemaine, two New Zealand ex-pat bandmates trying to make it in New York, combines hilarious songs with the decade's signature cringe-comedy. While this show ran out of gas after only two seasons, it gave us excellent songs such as "Business Time" and "Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor," and plenty of stellar jokes about both Australians and Kiwis (the people, not the fruit).

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

8

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

2005 - present

Philadelphia Inquirer Comics have been doing this sort of thing on TV since I Love Lucy and The Jackie Gleason Show in the '50s, but never with the hilarious depravity of Sunny. Salon Somehow, this ridiculous show manages to entertain us without any semblance of character development or the remotest whiff of a familiar, relatable scenario. The farce wins out through the sheer courage of conviction.

Undeclared

9

Undeclared

2001

Amazon.com "Only the good die young," a certain piano man once sang. He could've been talking about Undeclared, the hilarious, yet heartfelt college comedy from Judd Apatow. Salon Undeclared is a crucial step in Apatow's apparent mission to string together a series of projects that will eventually form a time-lapse image of every conceivable stage of arrested emotional development.

Scrubs

10

Scrubs

2001 - present

TV Guide Scrubs has lost none of its endearing ability to mix earnest sentiment with sardonic gag-centric humor. Newark Star-Ledger Scrubs was equal parts Arrested Development and Grey's Anatomy, to name just two of the shows that came after it and got more attention for doing some - but never all - of the same things that made [it] so special.

The Sarah Silverman Program

11

The Sarah Silverman Program

2007 - present

Like Flight of the Conchords, this show barely missed our original list. While we admit that most of the appeal of this show comes from the edgy, absurd mind of Sarah Silverman, it features a solid supporting cast including Sarah's sister, Laura Silverman, along with Brian Posehn, Steve Agee, Jay Johnston (who, like Sarah, is a Mr. Show alumnus). Always unpredictable, this show was picked up for a third season set to air in February 2010 on Comedy Central.

Entourage

12

Entourage

2004 - present

Simply put, Entourage is Sex and the City for straight guys - a reliable fluff-fest of gratuitous toys, sex, and buddy humor. While ostensibly starring Adrian Grenier as Hollywood superstar Vincent Chase, the true standouts of this show are found in the supporting cast, most notably Jeremy Piven as mega-agent Ari Gold and Rex Lee as his assistant, Lloyd.

Parks and Recreation

13

Parks and Recreation

2009 - present

A stylistic spin-off of NBC's The Office, this show about the parks and recreation department of the fictional Pawnee, Indiana came into its own in this, its second season. Featuring a talented cast led by SNL alum Amy Poehler, hysterical stand-up comic Aziz Ansari, former The Office supporting player Rashida Jones, and talented up-and-comer Aubrey Plaza, this show is gradually establishing the same comedic depth in its supporting cast that has allowed The Office to remain fresh.

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Comments Leave a comment

Travelin_Jack 

Curb is tops. The original list had it right.

8:21 AM   Jan 06, 2010

blix 

you're tops.

I can't argue with the top 5, and I'm not really a sitcom guy so I haven's seen most of 6-13.

10:40 AM   Jan 06, 2010

ajay ★★

I've never watched Entourage, but I was not under the impression that it was a sitcom.

11:24 AM   Jan 06, 2010

jason ★★

It fits the criteria - 30 minute show driven by plot-based situational comedy (and it's definitely more comedy than drama).

Also, no laugh tracks on this list - not a coincidence, I'm sure.

12:17 PM   Jan 06, 2010

Buddah 

I really need to start watching Curb.

10:53 PM   Jan 08, 2010

holmessss 

The Sarah Silverman Program is terrible. I love her standup but find the show painfully unfunny. I'm surprised there is so much reader love for it. To each his own I guess...

11:11 AM   Jan 11, 2010

dudezer47 

Trailer Park Boys belongs on this list.

11:06 AM   Jan 12, 2010

admiremyclone 

Scrubs, Entourage, The USA Office, Flight of the Concords, and 30 Rock are on here, but NO FUCKING SOPRANOS, shit is WHACK

12:56 PM   Jan 21, 2010

bdouble 

6,7,8,9,10,11 have no place in a top 50. Two and a half men, how i met your mother, and the big bang theory would definatly be on my list.

2:21 PM   Jan 11, 2012

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