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The Most Rewatchable Sitcoms Of All Time

There's something truly majestic about the sitcom (short for situational comedy). These shows often feature ordinary people in typical American careers, and plenty of housewives, salesmen, policemen, and bartenders have been at the center of many a classic American sitcom. As Looper's own Chris Hinton explains, "Sitcoms help us escape by embracing the mundane: In watching someone else's life, we take a break from our own and learn to appreciate what we have anew."

Another wonderful thing about the world of sitcoms is that they often run under half an hour, typically reaching that 21-23 minute sweet spot, making them a delightful change of pace from all of the heavy, hour-long prestige dramas that dominate the television landscape. With such an enormous amount of television available, It can be incredibly difficult to choose what to watch; to make things easier, we've put together a list of the finest sitcoms in TV history, so please enjoy reading about the most rewatchable sitcoms of all time, and may many happy hours of viewing be in your future.

I Love Lucy

One of the earliest sitcoms, "I Love Lucy" premiered on CBS October 15, 1951, and ran for six seasons and 180 episodes, quickly establishing itself as a titan of television. The show's popularity was truly unrivaled. It even earned a monumental, record-setting 67.3 Nielsen rating – which meant approximately 67% of Americans were tuning in — during its second season on the air.

Looking back, it's easy to see why "I Love Lucy" is so endlessly watchable. The show was the first to focus on an interracial relationship, between lead actress Lucille Ball's Lucy and Cuban Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), who was also Ball's real-life husband. The program took great pleasure in breaking taboos and creating a groundbreaking experience, like making Ball the first pregnant actress to play a pregnant woman on television. 

Lucy is one of TV's most enduring characters. Her constant forays into chaos are eternally watchable, and with an enormously gifted supporting cast, the show is utterly irresistible.

The Andy Griffith Show

After "I Love Lucy" dominated CBS throughout the '50s, "The Andy Griffith Show" aired from 1960 to 1968 for eight seasons, and a behemoth 249 episodes, on the same network. Andy Griffith stars as Andy Taylor, sheriff of the fictional small town Mayberry, North Carolina. One of the series' most memorable supporting characters was Barney Fife, the rather incompetent but always well-intentioned deputy, played by Don Knotts. Despite not having the titular role, Knotts' performance received almost universal acclaim, resulting in an incredible five Primetime Emmy Awards for outstanding supporting actor.

"Citizen's Arrest," which aired in 1963, is one of Knotts' best episodes. In it, Barney issues Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors, who got his own spin-off, "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.") a ticket for a traffic violation, but then commits the same infraction. Pyle attempts a citizen's arrest, causing plenty of chaos, embarrassment, and good-hearted humor, three of the things "The Andy Griffith Show" did best.

The Bob Newhart Show

"The Bob Newhart Show" ran for an estimable six seasons and 142 episodes on CBS from 1972 to 1978, often following perennial favorite "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." The show was responsible for comedian Bob Newhart developing his inimitable deadpan style, which defined the comedian over the course of the rest of his career. Newhart played psychologist Dr. Robert Hartley, whose interactions with his family, friends, and patients led to plenty of crazy situations and belly laughs.

The eclectic cast included Suzanne Pleshette as Hartley's wife Emily, Marcia Wallace (best known today for voicing Edna Krabappel on "The Simpsons") as Bob's receptionist, and Bill Daily as Howard, Bob and Emily's dear friend and next-door neighbor. The show's characters were so beloved that they showed up in a number of other series: Elliot Carlin (Jack Riley) appeared in an episode of "St. Elsewhere," "ALF," and "Newhart," while Newhart himself reprised his role on "Murphy Brown" and "Saturday Night Live."

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Another CBS stalwart, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" was created by James L. Brooks (an essential key to the birth and success of "Taxi" and "The Simpsons," among others) and Allan Burns, and ran for seven seasons and an impressive 168 episodes. Actress and comic Mary Tyler Moore broke serious ground as Mary Richards, starring as an unwed woman who's not only single but also takes great pride in it, proudly celebrating her independence while working as a television producer on the WJM news show in Minneapolis.

The cast features some of the finest comic talents ever assembled, including Ed Asner, Betty White, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Phyllis Lindstrom, Ted Knight, and Gavin MacLeod. The show is beloved for its amazing characters — they felt a lot more grounded and realistic than the typical sitcom fare of the era. For those who like a classic sitcom with a little more depth, it's easy to watch "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" on a practically endless loop.

Cheers

Who wouldn't want to go "where everybody knows your name?" That place is Cheers, which shares the name of the iconic NBC sitcom and serves as the program's primary location. For 11 seasons and 275 episodes on NBC from 1982 until 1993, "Cheers" chronicled the lives of the bar's ownership, staff, and regulars.

Ted Danson stars as Sam Malone, a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox who now owns Cheers and works as the venue's bartender. A number of seasons focused on the relationship between Sam and his love interest Diane (Shelley Long), who left the show in the fifth season. Other memorable characters introduced over the years include waitress Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman), customers Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger) and Norm Peterson (George Wendt), and manager Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley), among many others.

The show earned a breathtaking 117 Primetime Emmy nominations — it was nominated for outstanding comedy series for every one of its season – and won 28. Its series finale, "One For the Road," which promised the long-awaited return of Diane, brought in an astounding 84.4 million viewers, making it the second-highest watched finale ever, behind "M*A*S*H."

Happy Days

The ABC sitcom "Happy Days," created by Garry Marshall (director of films such as "Pretty Woman," "Runaway Bride," and "Beaches") ran for 11 seasons and a whopping 255 episodes. These days, the show is best remembered for introducing the world to Arthur Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler), better known as Fonzie. Initially, he was a minor recurring character, but when ratings fell during the second season, the show underwent retooling; The Fonz, a high-school dropout and irresistibly cool guy, became a major part of the show. Winkler shined as the bad boy with a heart, helped revitalize the show's success, and played a huge role in the show's lengthy run.

As the show was set in the mid-1950s, plenty of fantastic music permeated "Happy Days" episodes. The series' impact was enormous, and helped create no less than five spin-off series, including "Blansky's Beauties," "Out of the Blue," "Joanie Loves Chachi," "Laverne & Shirley," and the Robin Williams-led "Mork & Mindy."

All in the Family

When it comes to truly groundbreaking sitcoms, look no further than CBS' "All in the Family." Airing for nine seasons between 1971 and 1979, the show's 205 episodes tackled an enormous range of difficult subjects, including but not limited to infidelity, the Vietnam War, impotence, cancer, women's liberation, and racism. Carroll O'Connor plays Archie Bunker, who was regularly referred to as a "lovable bigot." Archie's prejudices were made loud and clear, and the blue-collar World War II vet held a damning mirror up to society, but, impressively, "All in the Family" tackled difficult issues in a truly effective way: with humor.

The rest of the tremendous cast included Jean Stapleton as Edith, Archie's ditzy and effortlessly charming wife, Sally Struthers as Gloria, their daughter, and Rob Reiner as Michael, Gloria's husband, who clashes with Archie on just about everything. Few shows have dealt with troubling topics head-on like "All in the Family," and watching the show deal with hot-button issues while inspiring endless laughter is simply fantastic to see time and time again.

Sanford and Son

The beloved NBC sitcom "Sanford and Son" was seen by some as a sort of response to CBS' "All in the Family," and when comparing the two, it's easy to see. Fred G. Sanford (Redd Foxx) is an irascible schemer who has a seemingly endless list of get-rich-quick schemes he's ready to implement, even though everyone around him knows they're going to backfire. As Fred, Foxx is also a fairly relentless bigot, and endlessly grumpy, and his son, Lamont Sanford, is always trying to make up for his father's attitude as the show's eternal peacemaker.

"Sanford and Son" was a groundbreaking show, and one of the very first sitcoms to feature a primarily Black cast. The show's race-based humor was always delightfully edgy, and the program features loads of enduring running gags and catchphrases. "Sanford and Son" isn't just groundbreaking television — it's also hilarious, and effortlessly rewatchable.

The Jeffersons

They're moving on up, to the east side. The upbeat theme song to "The Jeffersons" is beautifully reflective of the joy the show brought to audiences over its 11 seasons and 253 episodes. The CBS sitcom ran for a decade between 1975 to 1985, following George Jefferson (Sherman Hensley) and his wife Louise (Isabel Sanford), who move out of Queens into a luxurious Manhattan apartment. George owns and operates a dry-cleaning chain, the very successful Jefferson Cleaners. The Jeffersons had been neighbors of the Bunker family in "All in the Family," and sitcom legend Norman Lear developed "The Jeffersons" as a spin-off of that lauded program.

While discussing the legacy of "The Jeffersons," Danielle Cadet for HuffPost explains that the show's "use of confrontational humor and candid commentary ... helped ease the discussion of topics like race and class on American television (and beyond) is the cornerstone of the show's legacy ... its success proved that African American sitcoms did, in fact, resonate with general audiences."

The Golden Girls

While sitcoms often feature young families, "The Golden Girls" revolutionized television by delving into the lives of four roommates who happen to be older women. The show follows Rose Nylund (Betty White), Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan), Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur), and Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty), as they navigate love, sex, and one another during their, uh, golden years in Miami, Florida.

The show received great acclaim over its seven-season tenure, encompassing 180 episodes from 1985 to 1992 and winning 11 Primetime Emmy Awards, including clinching the outstanding comedy series trophy on two occasions. The show was never afraid to tackle tough subjects like aging and death but always made audiences laugh, and even featured plenty of jokes about killing people by having sex with them. The show's outstanding cast all had fruitful careers, and the show's warm, inviting atmosphere makes it easy to watch over and over again.

The Simpsons

Few shows on Earth have endured quite like "The Simpsons," which premiered in 1989, and is still on the air, in its 33rd (!) season, with even more on the way. The unstoppable yellow family living in Springfield has captured the hearts of people all over the world, and while its early seasons are some of the best in television history, its latest episodes still have great moments. Few shows have dominated culture like Matt Groening's show, with lines like "D'oh!," and "Eat my shorts!" becoming a part of everyday speech.

There's simply no stopping "The Simpsons," and while the show has well over 600 episodes, it remains eminently rewatchable, thanks to the outstanding brilliance of the show's early seasons. Incredible episodes like "Bart Sells His Soul," "King-Size Homer," "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield" and "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington" are among the series' finest, featuring fascinating plotlines, heartwarming family moments, and utterly brilliant jokes.

Seinfeld

Created by Larry David (who also created "Curb Your Enthusiasm," another wonderful sitcom) and comedian Jerry Seinfeld, "Seinfeld" aired for nine seasons between 1989 and 1998 on NBC. Seinfeld stars as a fictionalized version of himself, a neurotic stand-up comic living in New York City who spends his free time with his every-bit-as-neurotic friends. The show was no stranger to acclaim, and earned a massive 68 Primetime Emmy nominations, winning 10 times, including once for outstanding comedy series.

The fantastic cast included Jerry's closest friends — George Costanza (Jason Alexander), hilarious ex-girlfriend Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and eccentric neighbor Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards). "Seinfeld" was always willing to mine laughs from uncomfortable situations, which makes perfect sense when you consider the four friends were all kind of awful, yet somehow lovable, people. The show went out with a bang; an absolutely astonishing 76.3 million people tuned in for the ultimate episode, making it the third-most watched finale ever.

Frasier

When it comes to complete and utter awards dominance, few shows have ever been as successful as "Frasier." The show, which started as a spin-off of "Cheers" before coming into its own as a completely unstoppable beast for NBC, won a staggering 37 Primetime Emmy Awards, making it the most-awarded sitcom. The only comedy that has more is "Saturday Night Live," but considering that show has been airing for nearly 50 seasons, it's fair to say "SNL" has an unfair advantage.

"Frasier" stars Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane, the psychiatrist, and former regular at Cheers, as he moves to Seattle and begins a new career as a radio host, imparting wisdom and advice to his listeners. Frasier re-establishes relationships with his family, including his younger brother and fellow psychiatrist Niles (David Hyde Pierce) and his father Martin (John Mahoney). "Frasier" charmed the world with its highbrow, sophisticated humor, and dominated airwaves over its 11 seasons from 1993 to 2004.

Living Single

While many of these sitcoms dominated screens when they aired, some, like "Living Single," flew a bit more under the radar. Over its five seasons and 110 episodes, "Living Single" provided tons of laughs and plenty of charm as it looked at the lives of a group of single young people chasing love, success, and their wildest dreams in Brooklyn. The show starred Queen Latifah as Khadijah James, a successful magazine publisher and editor; Kim Coles as Synclaire James-Jones, Kadijah's cousin and receptionist and an aspiring actress; and Erica Alexander as Max Shaw, Khadijah's best friend and a powerful attorney.

It's a pleasure to watch "Living Single," a sitcom essential for its rich and complex portraits of Black characters, one that provided a game-changer for the world of primetime TV. Despite never reaching the heights of "Friends," which aired at the same time, the show is every bit as excellent, and rewatching this hysterical show yields many pleasures.

Friends

Running an amazing 10 seasons, few shows dominated American culture like "Friends." Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, the show follows a group of six friends through their 20s and 30s as they look for love and success in Manhattan. The incredible group — Rachel Green (Jennifer Anniston), Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow), Monica Gellar (Courteney Cox), Joey Tribiani (Matt LeBlanc), Ross Gellar (David Schwimmer), and Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) — have all become iconic characters in the world of television.

The show was anchored by the will-they-or-won't-they relationship between Ross and Rachel, a mystery that wasn't truly resolved until the show's series finale, which, by the way, was the fifth most-watched of all time, bringing in a monumental 52.5 million viewers in 2004. Since then, millions more have rediscovered the show thanks to streaming services, and its brilliant characters, fascinating relationships, and wall-to-wall jokes make it one of the most rewatchable sitcoms you can get your hands on.

The Office

Based on the U.K. series of the same name, few sitcoms have proven as successful as "The Office." Created by Greg Daniels, the American version of the show documents the lives of employees at a paper company called Dunder Mifflin in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Their manager is Michael Scott (Steve Carell), the cringeworthy man with a heart of gold. The program ran an impressive nine seasons from 2005 to 2013, spanning 200 episodes and encompassing tons of compelling stories, including the will-they-or-won't-they relationship between co-workers Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer).

The legendary cast includes Rainn Wilson, Angela Kinsey, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Ed Helms, and Ellie Kemper, as well as a series of fantastic guest actors throughout its nine seasons. The show delivered "cringe comedy" that goes so far it can be difficult to watch at times, but also has an undeniably beating heart that makes "The Office" perfect for multiple rewatches.

30 Rock

A behind-the-scenes satire set in the world of television, "30 Rock" follows Liz Lemon (show creator Tina Fey), a writer whose progressive sketch-comedy program, "The Girlie Show," changes forever with the arrivals of corporate executive Jack Donaghy and comic actor Tracy Jordan. Liz finds herself in difficult situations practically every day, while she deals with the difficult yet charming executive Donaghy (Alec Baldwin, who won two Primetime Emmys for his performance) and unhinged Jordan (Tracy Morgan), along with friend and former TGS star Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski).

This hilarious show was never afraid to test the boundaries of appropriate behavior, and its characters regularly did some truly shocking things. All the madness helped "30 Rock" stand out as a clever show about the difficulties of working in the entertainment industry, and has a well-earned reputation for being one of the funniest sitcoms you can watch. The show has earned loads of acclaim, and has taken home a very impressive 16 Primetime Emmy Awards.

Parks and Recreation

After the success of "The Office," creator Greg Daniels and writer Michael Schur created "Parks and Recreation." The show has a similar structure to "The Office," moving from a private company to a public office — specifically the Parks Department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. The show follows Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), a relentlessly optimistic employee who loves her hometown more than anything in the world, and faces endless bureaucratic difficulties in her quest to make Pawnee spectacular. The hilarious cast includes Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Retta, and Rob Lowe, as well as action superstar Chris Pratt and indie darling Aubrey Plaza.

The delightful and charming show aired for seven seasons from 2009 to 2015. Despite a rocky start in its first season, the show got better with each passing season, as characters developed, Leslie met Ben Wyatt (Scott), and their amazing relationship began to bloom.

Bob's Burgers

"Bob's Burgers" follows the lovable Belcher clan as they run the family burger joint and live in an apartment above the restaurant. Father Bob (H. John Benjamin) and wife Linda (John Roberts) run the restaurant, as their kids, eldest daughter Tina (Dan Mintz), middle son Gene (Eugene Mirman), and youngest daughter Louise (Kristen Schaal), work alongside them while attending middle school.

One of the most joyful and authentic portraits of family you can find on television, "Bob's Burgers" is an animated delight. The show has run for an impressive 12 seasons, and a 13th has already been confirmed. The show is full of great references, and plenty of puns, as each episode has at least one "Burger of the Day" special that shows off Bob's witty wordplay. If you love sitcoms full of charm and family-friendly laughs, you can't get much better than "Bob's Burgers."

Kim's Convenience

Developed by Ins Choi and Kevin White from Choi's play of the same name, "Kim's Convenience" delivered a wonderful portrait of a Korean-Canadian family and their convenience store in Toronto. The show aired for five seasons from 2016 to 2021, when fans were devastated to learn the show's fifth season would be its last. Still, five seasons is no small feat, and the engaging sitcom has more than proven its worth.

The titular family includes patriarch Mr. Kim (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), matriarch Mrs. Kim (Jean Yoon), and their children, daughter Janet (Andrea Bang) and son Jung (Simu Liu, who has gone on to become an MCU hero). The stubborn Mr. Kim regularly butts heads with his kids, especially Janet, which always leads to hilarious yet heartwarming dysfunction. The show has won acclaim for its diversity, and its willingness to tackle challenging subjects with a great sense of humor.