5 More American Sitcoms You Need To Watch (But Have Probably Never Heard Of)

Bored of the lack of interesting sit-coms on television? Can't bare to see Miranda fall over again? Then have no fear, because these great American sitcoms will have you bursting at the sides...
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Bored of the lack of interesting sit-coms on television? Can't bare to see Miranda fall over again? Then have no fear, because these great American sitcoms will have you bursting at the sides...

It's a pretty dire time for the British sitcom, right now. What with Peep Show being off the air for a seemingly inordinate amount of time and the return of the ailing Red Dwarf turning out to be a bit of a damp squib, you'd be forgiven for settling into your little home, cherishing what's left of The Thick of It and crying into your Spaced boxset... Well, almost.

Whilst the Britcom might be in a bit of a hole, those Americans have conjured up a few crackers. None of that Two and a Half Men guff but shows of genuinely quality; ranging from the hilarious to the poignant (but still hilarious), the American sitcom is continuing its recent resurgence in-spite of the country's infamous network interference.

Here are just a few shows that you should be watching...

1. The League

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What is it?

Shows don't come more low-concept than this. Based around the loose concept of a fantasy (American) football league, this ensemble comedy (boasting the same semi-improv'd quipping about social foibles as Curb Your Enthusiasm, thanks, in part, to ex-Seinfeld-writer-turned-Curb-helmer Jeff Schaffer). Starring mostly comedy character-actors, you'll recognise Paul Scheer aka Dr. Andre Nowzick from pretty much any current US sitcom and Jon Lajoie aka savant idiot Taco from his viral YouTube rap career (whatever that means). Season four started October 2012.

Why should I watch it?

Watch this for genius lampooning of guy-stuff and genuinely enjoyable, believable banter between the extremely game cast. Andre is regularly chastised for his bad taste in everything and his physical similarities to either Nosferatu and/or a paedophile; Ruxin boasts an extremely hot wife and Jeff Goldblum (in an inspired bit of casting) as his Dad, not to mention the fact that he is the world's biggest d-bag. Plenty of laughs, cameos from US alt-comedy heroes (Sarah Silverman, Rob Heubel) and perfect for switching off the old braineroo for a bit of easy watching.

How many episodes are there for me to watch?

33 - which is also the highest degree in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

Where can I watch it?

Seasons one to three are available on Netflix UK right now.

2. Up All Night

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What is it?

Only the most relatable sitcom around right now. Boasting Anchorman's Christina Applegate and Arrested Development's Will Arnett, Up All Night is about two professionals totally out of their fucking depth when Applegate's Reagan has a baby. Based on the real life happenings of creator Emily Spivey (ex-writer of SNL and Parks & Recreation - not a bad CV), the show starts promisingly then completely swells during the back end of season one, reaching top form come the start of season two (which started in the States in October 2012).

Why should I watch it?

Look no further for aching relatability, understated comedy (apart from Maya Rudolph's crazy TV presenter Ava - a part beefed up after her co-lead role in last year's hit Bridesmaids - who seems to be part of a different show entirely at times) and a hip turn on what could have, in other hands, been a stead, tired conceit.

How many episodes are there for me to watch?

29 - exactly the same number as the amount of attributes that exist according to The Strokes' "You Only Live Once".

Where can I watch it?

The imported season one DVD is available on Amazon (but be careful not to accidentally buy One Direction's homonym new album).

3. Don't Trust The Bitch In Apartment 23

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What is it?

A left-field choice, perhaps, but this is a sitcom which has won over a lot of notable publications who initially dismissed it as a shitcom with a shitty name. The brain child of ex-American Dad writer Nahnatchka Khan, it began as your average fish-out-of-water Odd Couple-style sitcom with an oddly off-key pilot but grew into a hilarious hang-out show featuring everyone's favourite Breaking Bad's heroin heroine Krysten Ritter as the eponymous bitch and good-girl-gone-slightly-less-good Dreama Walker as the girl next door.

Why should I watch it?

Well, there are hilariously near-the-mark jokes for a mainstream, major network sitcom, Ritter playing the bitch-with-a-heart-of-a-bitch who you can't help but be endeared towards, what with her model good looks and a laissez faire attitude to pretty much everything and James van deer Beek playing himself in a rare, funny example of the Larry Sanders model. It's fast-paced and wickedly funny with little time for speed-bumps such as "plot" or "major character development".

How many episodes are there for me to watch?

7 (due to a truncated initial season) - roughly the amount of times (per episode) that I think about a Krysten/Dreama/me sandwich.

Where can I watch it?

Season one was shown on E4 though you probably missed it due to it's admittedly TERRIBLE title.

4. Girls

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What is it?

Stretching the concept of a sitcom to its zenith, this divisive hipster dramedy based in New York follows four young white girls in what has equally been called "hilarious", "genius" and "racist". Created by mumblecore auteur and poster-child for new-Nu-Hipsterdom Lena Dunham, the HBO show won plaudits and discreditors at every turn.

Why should I watch?

Billed, no doubt, as the "Sex in the City for the Twitter generation" (a tagline I just made up that made me want to cut myself, a little), it is actually a genuinely funny, genuinely poignant and genuinely quite genuine portrayal of a generation unsure of where they should be heading and of art-versus-commerce-verus-making-your-parents-happy. It's like Fight Club but with bad tattoos and art fairs (it also features the best abortion scene ever conceived), but what it's really aiming for is something like the number one on this list…

How many episodes are there for me to watch?

10 - roughly the price, in pounds, for a tankard of artisan ale from a wanky Shoreditch pub.

5. Louie

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What is it?

Where to begin? The most influential comedy of the last ten years. Possibly the best, too. After complete creative control was given by comedy-punk-rock network FX (they of Archer, It's Always Sunny… and The League) to king of modern comedy Louis CK, he went on to create a sitcom that reinvented the format in much the same way as M*A*S*H, Seinfeld or The Mary Tyler Moore Show had done before him.

Why should I watch it?

With each episode bookended by excerpts from his in-character stand-up sets at various clubs around NY (a la Seinfeld), the show is already funnier than three-quarters of its competitors - but that's far from all. Wildly inventive in tone and delivery (veering from episodes resembling one-shot plays to those which split into two separate short films based around a resolving theme), the show plays fast and loose with any conventions that decides to stand in its way: the direction is sharp and natural, the acting naturalistic, the situations veering from surreal (a bad date ends when a girl gets into a helicopter to escape Louie) to heartbreaking at another (the episode based around Louie's stint entertaining the troops in Iraq tells you all you need to know).

Touching on depression, masturbation (both mental and physical), self-loathing, mental illness, suicide, the show is also hilarious (Joan Rivers positively KILLS in a season two cameo), not to mention well-acted; not an actor by trade, CK has come on leaps and bounds since the early episodes, reaching a moment which would be worthy of any Oscar-bait with a by-turns hilarious and moving monologue to would-be beau Pamela in another great season two episode. The show has to be seen to be believed.

How many episodes are there for me to watch?

39 - and everyone one of them is fucking brilliant.

Where can I watch it?

Not even a sniff of a UK broadcast as of yet, your best bet is to purchase those trusty imported box-sets. You will definitely not regret it.

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5 American Sitcoms You Need To Watch (But Have Probably Never Heard Of)

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