A Review and Recommendation of some current US Comedies…

15 03 2012

Since coming to University I’ve been watching more and more American comedies, and have actualy been pleasantly surprised with the quality of some of today’s comedies. In this post I’ll be talking about Modern Family, Happy Endings, The Office (US) and Parks & Recreation. With any luck this post will convince you to give some of these shows a try – they’re worth it!

MODERN FAMILY

Modern Family is currently in it’s 3rd season, and has such a great feel-good charm to each episode that it’s easy to get addicted. The show focuses on one large family composed of 3 smaller groups: An average husband and wife with three children; A grandfather married to a young Columbian; and a gay couple with a newly adopted baby.

A great positive point about the show is that these three different groups lead to most episodes containing three seperate storylines, and if you’re not interested in one, you never have to put up with it for long until the scene changes. You’re never stuck with a plot point long enough to get bored of it.

The star of the show is undoubtedly Phil Dunphy (Portrayed by Ty Burrell), who at times seems to serve as the ‘Homer Simpson’ of the show and creates the biggest laughs with his stupidity and illogical comments. Modern Family has a complete set of ‘cookie-cutter’ characters – the gay couple, the popular teenager, the geeky schoolgirl, the sensible wife… The list goes on, and comparisons with most of the characters can easily be drawn from other shows.

Despite this, the show still feels original in the way it handles and presents these characters. Material doesn’t feel old, the show feels like a breath of fresh air. And behind all of the laughs, most episodes end on a sweet monologue about family and friendship. The characters work so well together and have excellent chemistry – it’s definately becoming a modern classic, and is an excellent feel-good show.

HAPPY ENDINGS

Happy Endings is in it’s second season right now, and is beginning to really hit it’s stride. The show focuses on a group of six friends after two were due to be married and the bride-to-be runs out on the wedding.

I have to admit, the first season dragged a little bit for me. It didn’t feel very original and the jokes felt forced. Thankfully season two has picked up a lot, and now we know the characters better it’s getting funnier with each episode. The show does have a LOT in common with classic sit-com Friends. With six friends (three boys, and three girls), the show even has it’s very own Ross and Rachel in David and Alex, and it’s own version of Monica with clean-freak Jane.

The show is still slightly hit-and-miss, and probably won’t be for everyone. The humour can sometimes feel slightly childish. But it’s a nice show to watch to pass the time, and with each episode it’s getting better and better in my opinion, and showing a lot of promise. I’d check it out if you’re in the mood to see a more modern-day version of Friends. Watch this space!

THE OFFICE

The Office: An American Workplace is currently halfway through it’s eighth season in America, and I honestly think it’s such a shame so few people in the UK seem to watch it. A lot are quick to dismiss it as a cheap knock-off of the UK version, and don’t give it a proper chance. Huge mistake!

The show is a mockumentary following the everyday lives of a group of people who work in a paper company. The first episode was an absolute copy of the UK version, however throughout season one they slowly distanced themselves from their source material, and by season 2 The US Office had defined itself as it’s own TV show.

I honestly can’t say it enough, this programme is a must-see. After a quick build-up in Season 1, Seasons 2-5 are full of absolute comedy gold, and by Season 6 and beyond you’ve come to love the characters so much that, despite it admittedly being a little less funnier, you want to see where the storylines are going. Even at it’s ‘less funny’ stage, it’s still better than most stuff on TV right now – which says a lot.


The show has one of the greatest will-they won’t-they build ups in the duo of salesman Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and receptionist Pam Beesley (Jenna Fischer). Coupled with this is the fantastic starring performance of Steve Carel as Michael Scott, who provided amazing laughs for 7 Seasons of the show before leaving last year. There’s also Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), the gullible and hilarious salesman who takes his job a little too seriously.

These four core characters provide amazing laughs, and that’s not even talking about the many supporting characters that are just as hilarious.

There’s comedy, there’s drama, there’s romance… This really is a fantastic show and I’d urge anyone who hasn’t seen it to watch it. It will be well worth it.

PARKS & RECREATION

Parks and Recreation is in it’s fourth season right now and has quickly become one of the funniest shows on TV at the moment. The series is a mockumentary based on a group of people working in the Parks department of their local Government. I know, it sounds a lot like The Office… and the first Season was.

Season 1 was pretty awful – the first few episodes, each character just feels like they’ve been ripped straight from The Office and there’s no originality. But don’t give up! Season 1 is only 6 episodes long, and after that, Parks listened to the criticism it was given and did a complete U-turn.


Season 2 and beyond has become as funny as The Office in it’s golden days. With a cast lead by Amy Poehler, the characters have fantastic chemistry and provide excellent laughs. I’d say from about halfway through Season 2, when Andy and April’s friendship starts to blossom, that’s when the show hits it’s stride and becomes unmissable TV. There’s a mix of both obvious and subtle humour, and much like The Office, the romantic subplots are filled with charm and create characters you really care about.

Trust me, you really should pick this show up if you get a chance. If you loved The Office it’s safe to say you’ll love Parks & Recreation too. Power through the 6 mediocre episodes of Season 1 (or skip them altogether if you’re impatient) and enjoy a fantastic new comedy developing right in front of your eyes.

Have you seen any of these shows? Let me know what you think to them in the comments below! Do you have any other comedies you’re addicted to right now? I’m always looking for more to watch and would love to know what to watch next!

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4 responses

15 03 2012
chriscrk

I love “Modern Family” and “The Office”! They’re some of the best comedies I’ve watched so far.

I’ll definitely have to give “Parks and Recreation” and “Happy Endings” a go! :)

16 03 2012
Lee Willers

Great post again, Tim! I’ll definitely look out for some of these after reading this!

16 03 2012
Kirsty Cantor

Cool post Tim, keep it up. I love reading your reviews and will look out for Parks and Recreation after reading how good it sounds :-)

25 03 2012
Anonymous

I LOVE Parks And Recreation! Funniest show on tv right now without a doubt!!!

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