One of the primary uses of TV is marking time. Popular shows that capture the public’s attention are often topical. They can also define eras more meaningfully by staying in the public consciousness long enough to evolve with, respond to, and even influence the world around them.
In the previous decade, TV sitcoms have increased, with some becoming huge successes and others failing to get much interest. It’s also worth saying that many of the sitcoms that had the most significant influence in the 2010s started in the early-to-late 2000s.
Despite the change in decades, they nonetheless kept making excellent television. Starting in the early rise of the decade, some more great shows appeared, and they contributed a more contemporary approach to the comedy sitcom genre.
But Wait, What’s A Sitcom?
A sitcom, or situation comedy, is a genre of comedy that revolves around a core group of recurring characters from episode to episode. Sitcoms differ from sketch comedy and stand-up comedy as they include a series of episodes where the actors can play a wide variety of roles, and the audiences watch as each character does their thing.
Sitcoms first appeared on the radio, but now TV and streaming services have become their main outlets. As an additional option, this type of play can use mockumentaries.
Depending on the production format, a sitcom television program may be recorded in front of a studio audience. Laugh tracks can simulate or amplify the impact of an audience who is present in the studio.
It is now time to explore the five best sitcoms of the 2010s.
1. Parks and Recreation
The show is a mockumentary-style sitcom that, in addition to being a parody of The Office, has a political satire element and was first released in 2009 and ended in 2015 after running for 125 episodes and seven seasons. Pawnee, Indiana, is the setting for Parks and Recreation, which centers on the journey of the Parks and Recreation Department as they ascend the political ladder.
Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson, characters played by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, are two of the most recognizable in the decade, a testament to Parks & Rec’s influence on pop culture. Like The Office before it, the show created humor from office interactions, but it also depicted the various struggles people in politics endure to do the right thing.
2. Brooklyn Nine-nine
Despite the expectation that the Andy Samberg-led police sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine would be short-lived, Comedy Central’s Roast of James Franco can confirm that no one expected the show to be a success. However, the show has managed to become one of the decade’s most popular sitcoms, thanks to a lovable ensemble.
The show revolves around a squad of inept cops who are super cops in certain respects but are complete idiots in others. Jake Peralta, played by Samberg, leads the team, comically contrasted with the stunningly deadpan delivery of Andre Braugher as Captain Holt. Meanwhile, Terry Crews, Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio, and Chelsea Peretti are part of the all-star supporting cast.
3. Modern Family
Modern Family is a hit mockumentary comedy from the 2010s, just like How I Met Your Mother. The series’ premise centers on Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neil) and his enormous immediate family – his wife and stepson, his daughter, son, and their growing families. Modern Family started in 2009 and had a ten-year run, with 242 episodes, for 11 seasons.
Early seasons of the show received lots of positive praise, but the show’s reception was somewhat muted over time. While the viewers may not be able to relate to the lives of the Pritchett family, Modern Family remains a believable and heartfelt picture of modern families. During the extended course of the show, the fans grew older together with the family, and they expanded with it. Modern Family breaks the fourth wall, addresses the viewer, and allows fans to see more personal and intimate moments between the characters; such is the show’s charm.
4. The Good Place
Broadcast networks have suffered from an audience that has been displaced by cable, streaming, social media, and an increasingly pervasive video-game culture. After a short time, major shows began to freefall in ratings.
It felt like a wonder that The Good Place could air on NBC primetime, with its smart and strange comedy thanks to creator Michael Schur (The Office, Parks and Recreation). Like with Parks, Schur smuggled in a varied, fresh ensemble by casting big-name talents like Kristen Bell and Ted Danson.
This 2016 sitcom had a quirky setup: it follows a group of strangers in the show’s bizarre afterlife who attempt to find out what it means to be good. The characters embark on a mission that serves as a study in moral philosophy to preserve their souls.
In the wake of the recent massacres and Donald Trump’s presidency, Schur’s primary question about whether people can change for the better gained more relevance. Unfortunately, the question of whether network TV will ever make a show of this magnitude again is still up in the air.
5. The Big Bang Theory
Big Bang Theory focuses on Leonard Hofstadter, Sheldon Cooper, Howard Wolowitz, and Raj Koothrappali, all friends and Caltech colleagues who live next to Penny. The characters all reside in or around Pasadena, California. As the series develops, each character’s connections grow, and most of them end up with their spouse among their pals.
The show ran for 12 seasons with a total of 279 episodes, airing from September 2007 to May 2019. The Big Bang Theory was a remarkable show – one of the few to last the whole decade. The program is one of the most lightheartedly funny sitcoms that will leave you feeling a kinship with the characters as you see them grow as individuals, and it is also one of the important sitcoms of the 2010s.
The 2010s were fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on your view), with the rise of “Peak TV” and the dawn of some of the best shows. Since then, audiences have had more options than ever: from three to hundreds of primetime slots and from a few shows to a veritable plethora of sitcoms. While streaming services have become popular, these shows from the 2010s demonstrate that the sitcom genre and the people who act in them continue to thrive.