Staff Writer: Emily Werner
The combination of winter temperatures and COVID make it incredibly difficult to go out and do things. For the past two years, we’ve been confined to our homes, many of us having nothing else to do but schoolwork or watch TV.
Before NBC took it to their own streaming service last year, The Office was a favorite show to many people, including Wingate students. Yes, I am acknowledging the guys who walk around in Dunder Mifflin shirts and have “Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.” in their social media bios. I feel your pain. NBC also snagged Parks and Recreation, which is my personal favorite. Like you, I need something to fill the void that NBC created.
I know that Netflix and Hulu are hard to search through, there are just so many bad options (ahem, Emily In Paris) that the good options are far and few between. This article will save you all the trouble and provide you with six of the best comedy series, three from Netflix, three from Hulu.
If workplace comedies are your thing, Abbott Elementary and 30 Rock are great choices. Both shows are on Hulu, but 30 Rock is also on Netflix. Abbott Elementary follows a group of teachers who work in an underprivileged public elementary school. Creator Quinta Brunson (most commonly known for her work in Buzzfeed Violet’s youtube videos) plays Janine, a bright-eyed new teacher who only wants to make things better for the kids. The lack of school funding, disheartened attitudes of her fellow teachers, and her “never give up” personality gets her into some funny situations.
30 Rock is a show within a show – centered around the inner workings of a live sketch comedy show (based on Saturday Night Live) called “The Girly Show”, which quickly changes to “TGS with Tracy Jordan”. 30 Rock was created by SNL alumna, Tina Fey, who plays the lead role of “TGS” showrunner, Liz Lemon. 30 Rock follows Liz as she deals with the buffoonery of the writers, the new NBC executive, and the actors on her show. This show is full of satire, constantly making fun of the absurdity of life.
Within the comedy genre is a subgenre, dark comedy (sometimes known as traumedy). Traumedies take life’s hardest experiences and find a way to make them laughable. The absolute best traumedies are Dead to Me (Netflix) and Killing Eve (Hulu). Dead to Me is about a woman named Jen Harding (played by Christina Applegate from the Anchorman movies, and, upsettingly, played Brittany in an Alvin and the Chipmunks movie), whose husband dies as a result of a hit and run. There is no real evidence as to who the culprit is, but Jen is determined to find her husband’s murderer.
Jen joins a grief support group and meets Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini, Velma in the Scooby-Doo movies from the early 2000’s), a free spirit who is Jen’s complete opposite. They become unlikely friends, even going as far as being roommates. Then the secrets start to come out. This show will make you laugh, cry, scream – the three main emotions.
Killing Eve stars Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) and Jodie Comer (The Last Duel) as Eve and Villanelle respectively. Eve is an MI6 (basically the UK’s FBI) agent trying to catch a serial killer. Villanelle is a highly skilled Russian assassin for hire. You see where this is going. Their obsession with each other makes for some great moments. Both of these shows are not only funny but incredibly suspenseful and easy to binge-watch.
These last two series… I’m not even sure what subgenre to categorize them as. Maybe cringe comedy? These shows are hilarious but have some awkward moments that’ll give you secondhand embarrassment. First, Schitt’s Creek (Netflix) is a Canadian show about a rich family who lost everything except the worthless town they previously bought their son as a joke – Schitt’s Creek.
The family is made up of four members, Eugene Levy plays the patriarch, Johnny Rose. Catherine O’Hara plays the wacky mom, Moira. Dan Levy and Annie Murphy play their adult children David and Alexis. When they move into the only motel in town, they are greeted by the mayor, Roland Schitt (Chris Elliott from the Scary Movie franchise), who severely lacks boundaries. Watching the family adjust to their new life and neighbors is sure to give you a good laugh. Schitt’s Creek is so good, it won 9 Emmys in one year, the most any television comedy has ever won in a single year.
The last show is Pen15. We all know the middle school joke, and that’s exactly the essence of this series. The show’s creators Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine are in their 30’s in real life, but on screen, they are playing their seventh-grade selves. All of the other students on the show are actually middle school-aged (minus the body doubles… you’ll see why I mention this). This show explores what it was like to be a seventh-grader in the early 2000’s, most of the foolery was still relevant to the early 2010’s when most of us were in middle school. Pen15 is embarrassing, it’s funny, but most importantly, it is relatable. It’ll make you reflect on your middle school years… and make you thankful you’ll never have to do them again.
Because humor is subjective, I know it’s hard to take recommendations from someone whose sense of humor you don’t know, but all of these shows are highly rated by critics on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB. Who knows, maybe one of these will become your new favorite. If not, they are still guaranteed to fill that The Office or Parks and Recreation sized hole in your heart.