Currently, the entire television world is focused on the late-night shake-up and the crisis in Haiti, but underneath all the hubbub, there is a promising distraction: sitcoms.
Generally known for cheesy laugh tracks and wacky bass lines, sitcoms have reinvented themselves as engaging, original works of television art that can truly make America laugh during these tough times. The situational comedy is currently experiencing its golden age, and you’d best be paying attention.
In this situation, the best is saved for first — “30 Rock” (9:30 p.m., NBC).
Even though that crazy group that calls themselves the Hollywood Foreign Press thinks “Glee” is better, it’s a safe bet to ignore its judgment. “30 Rock” is even more fantastic in its third season, and in its second half, the episodes are only getting better. If you want to stick around after for “The Office” (9 p.m. Thursdays, NBC), the laying shark that has been jumped over, feel free. It’s also new.
I suggest tuning in early and watching what is arguably television’s finest new sitcom: the freshman show “Community” (8 p.m. Thursdays, NBC). With a great cast of characters and a sharp script, the Joel McHale-led comedy is a juicy nugget of pop culture that should not be ignored, even though it’s on NBC.
If you’d rather stick with more reputable networks, ABC and CBS also have some great sitcoms of their own. ABC is making a name for itself with a slate of sitcoms, all in their first seasons.
“Modern Family” (9 p.m. Wednesdays, ABC), which had the potential to go down the path of ordinary, is instead fresh and clever. “Cougar Town” (9:30 p.m. Wednesdays, ABC) leans a little towards the cheesy side, but it’s worth giving try. “The Middle” (8:30 p.m., ABC) is building steam, with a witty cast led by Patricia Heaton. With each episode its comedic light shines brighter.
If you’re the kind who likes quirk, then “Better Off Ted” (9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, ABC) will give you everything you need. It’s something completely different, which is always pleasant to see in a primetime sitcom. “Scrubs,” in the middle of its ninth season, is still going strong and will give you an extra shot of quirk.
Over at CBS, “How I Met Your Mother” (8 p.m. Mondays, NBC) is right on the brink of revealing who the mother is, with Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) loving his suits more than ever.
“The Big Bang Theory” has maintained its nerdy greatness and is even more comical in the second half of its third season. I would suggest skipping the “Accidentally On Purpose,” (8:30 p.m. Mondays, CBS) unless you’re looking for a monotonous, run-of-the-mill sitcom.
The same goes for “Gary Unmarried,” (8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, CBS) and unfortunately, the worn-out “Two and a Half Men” (9:00 p.m. Mondays, CBS).
“The New Adventures of Old Christine” (8:00 p.m. Wednesdays, CBS) has its moments, but it’s not really meant for a young demographic.
So, if you’ve got an extra 30 minutes to spare on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday, now you know what to do with yourself.
Flip on the tube and add an extra chuckle to the infamous laugh track.
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