If you’re clocking in an out at a boring job, you might dream of a change. Well, some workplace comedies could make your grind seem a little better. Then there are others that portray a home away from home for coworkers.
Whatever the dynamics of these shows, they all come heavy with laughs. After all, whether a sitcom takes place at work on on Mars, it’s nothing without great writing.
The history of workplace comedies on TV
Sitcoms are often a humorous reflection of our daily lives. And since many of us spend so many hours at work, it makes sense that writers would use it. So since there’s been television, there’s been a desire for great workplace comedies. Though details change dramatically over time, many of them fall into one of the following categories.
- The button down office. These can appear to be sitcoms based in a prim and proper workplace. But they often have some of the most bizarre characters. You will probably find some of the strongest dialogue in this category.
- The offbeat professionals. On the other side of the scale, there are shows unlike any place you could actually work. This provides writers and actors a wide range of options. Of course, these run the risk of going off the deep end into bizarre territory.
- The true professionals. Some careers might seem more in line with dramas. “ER” and “Law & Order” are classic portrayals of medical and law enforcement life. But sometimes sitcoms tackle weighty workplaces. And it can result in greatness.
Our favorite workplace comedies of all time
There’s a long list of sitcoms that take place in part or whole at a job. When we sat down to pick our favorites, we realized we’d have to be picky. So we ruled out many classics that didn’t consistently show characters at work. That’s why some of our favorites, like “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Frasier” aren’t listed.
What we were left with was a group of workplace comedies that we’d gladly watch again. Actually, we might do that right now — we just have to make sure the boss isn’t around. But here they are, in no particular order.
Admit it — you can probably sing the theme song to this day. If you’re old enough to remember “Cheers,” you know it was the standard for workplace comedies. The steady flow of interesting bar customers kept us in stitches. Their interactions with Sam, Diane and the rest of the crew was enough to keep it going. Plus, it launched “Frasier,” one of our favorite sitcoms of all time.
2. Parks and Recreation
One of a new crop of sitcoms that eschews the live audience, this show sparked some memorable moments. The government operations of a quirky little town were ripe for hilarious situations. And it was all brought to life by some talented comedic actors. You probably don’t work for a parks and rec department. And there’s not a real town in Indiana called Pawnee. But like all good workplace comedies, you can probably recognize some traits in your own colleagues.
3. The Office
It’s arguably the greatest of all workplace comedies. The brilliant writing and the pioneering documentary style were ahead of their time. We grew to love all the characters (except the ones we hated.) But we cared about all of them. Some say the show dragged on a little long, especially after Michael Scott left. We might be sympathetic to that position, though we kept laughing through all nine seasons.
This was a cult favorite and maybe it’s not as popular as some others. But our list of workplace comedies had to include a radio based sitcom. And this one is just our favorite. There were funny jokes and many hilarious folks in their prime. Dave Foley led a cast that included some favorites including Stephen Root and Joe Rogan. And we got to see the great Phil Hartman in another stellar role before his untimely death.
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