From The Dick Van Dyke Show to Cheers to Brooklyn Nine-Nine the workplace sitcom has been a television staple and the reason for that is, just like with the family sitcom, everyone can relate to them. Most of us have a job or at least have had a job where the folks at the office somehow become closer to us than our actual families. Our work place is usually filled with kooky characters and weird and hilarious situations that are ripe for situation comedies.
Here are ten workplace sitcoms that I feel best represent the hilarious happenings and family nature of the workplace, and instead of putting in Cheers which would normally be on the list no question, I decided to throw in a few that were just as funny and just as great but often go overlooked instead. These aren’t all my own personal favorites, though there are quite a few, (And if you know me you can tell which ones are) but even with a few of them that I’ve seen only a little of there’s no denying their greatness at portraying real life work dynamics and just being plain ol’ funny.
10. 30 Rock.
This modern day version of The Mary Tyler Moore Show was never a giant ratings hit for NBC but it became a cult classic workplace sitcom that explored the day to day lives of Liz Lemon and her dysfunctional work family at 30 Rock that made viewers laugh for all seven seasons. Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin were the show’s biggest breakouts.
9. Just Shoot Me.
Just Shoot Me focuses on the staff at Blush Magazine owned by Jack Gallo who hires his daughter Maya to be the new editor for Blush and the sensible and sarcastic Maya has to put up with the antics of her three co-workers: The sensitive and Lothario Photographer Elliot DiMauro, the sex crazed, alcoholic and politically incorrect diva Fashion Editor Nina Van Horn and Jack’s personal assistant the snarky, conniving and perennial suck up Dennis Finch. Snarky comments, crazy situations and plenty of laughs were had at Blush with this wacky crew that were definitely family more than mere co-workers.
The staff at WJNYX Newsradio got into a lot of bizzare, absurd and straight up hilarious mischief for five seasons. Long suffering News Director Dave Nelson had his hands full with a staff and boss of wacky and annoying weirdoes, none more wacky or annoying than Bill McNeal played to perfection by the late Phil Hartman. The show broke many sitcom boundaries by being as weird and as outrageous as it could while also still building that workplace family that gave the show that tiny bit of heart.
7. Spin City.
This highly underrated gem of a show was at one time one of the ABC network’s most popular comedies in the 90’s. And it’s well deserved being the legendary Michael J. Fox’s second sitcom hit and boasted a killer ensemble of both stage and screen actors. Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty and his fateful City Hall Staff do their best to run the hectic city of New York and keep the absent minded Mayor from digging himself into a hole every week. The show had some truly epic scenes that could cause serious stomach pains from laughing.
6. Night Court.
This classic 80’s sitcom was apart of the iconic NBC Must See Tv Thursday night line up along with The Cosby Show, Family Ties (Later A Different World would take their spot) Cheers and Hill Street Blues and later LA Law. But unlike the rest of the shows, the show didn’t get as much credit by most of the industry but all the really cool people checked out that Thursday night line up for Night Court more than any of the others. It was a follow up to the inspired lunacy and absurdity of Green Acres, bringing misfit comedy back to network television. The cast were a perfect ensemble where every actor contributed so beautifully to show’s epic madness, especially the masterful John Larroquette as the slimy, womanizing, and endlessly sarcastic Prosecutor Dan Fielding, who also won a whopping four Emmys for the role, which had only been beaten by Don Knotts as Barney Fife years earlier. The show also boasted many fine character actors as some of the most insane, quirky and hilarious criminals or New York citizens in television history.
5. The Office.
The show that made Netflix what it is today. This NBC classic workplace comedy is far more popular now than it ever was when it aired. It also made huge stars out of Steve Carrell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Rashida Jones, Mindy Kaling and more. The show was famous for depicting a very realistic but slightly comically exaggerated picture of the every day life of office workers with an egotistical and incompetent boss like Michael Scott.
4. The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
The iconic and groundbreaking 1970’s sitcom started out with Mary’s home life blending with her work life, but soon enough after Rhoda and Phyllis left for their own shows the show became a full fledged workplace sitcom focusing mostly on the crew at WJM and the show was all the better for it because we got some of the funniest moments in tv history. As Mary said in the series finale: “What is a family anyway? They’re just people that make you feel less alone and really loved and that’s what you’ve done for me.”
Sitcoms workplace and other kinds owe a great deal to Taxi. The show’s complex, character driven and reality based approach was new for the genre and gave us an incredible group of characters that became iconic and an ensemble that became legendary. Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Christopher Lloyd, Tony Danza, Carol Kane, Jeff Conaway and Andy Kaufman all became household names after Taxi. Their chemistry together was something special and this group of ambitious dreamers were the very definition of a workplace family that shared in each other’s joy and supported each other through each other’s failures.
2. Barney Miller.
The iconic cop sitcom followed these lovable bunch of working stiffs at the 12th precinct who were all very different from each other but always saw past those differences and worked together as a unit and were the best of buds. With all the craziness Captain Barney Miller had to deal with from the nut cases that stopped by, his loyal group of men both added to his agitation and made it easier because of their loyalty and ability to lighten the mood when necessary. Every actor in the cast shined on Barney Miller and their chemistry was so magical that no matter whichever two or more people you put in a scene together magic struck.
- WKRP In Cincinnati.
The staff at WKRP were one big crazy family that drove each other up the wall due to their differences but also in a weird way it was all of their unique foilbles and quirks that banded them together and made them a family. One of the truly most hilarious and iconic sitcoms of all time only last four seasons due to a blunder by CBS but the huge syndication boom they were rewarded with more than made up for that. There’s not one character in this series you won’t come to love and want to get to know. It’s like your workplace only with a much funnier group of characters.
Hope you folks enjoyed this list as we celebrate the classic workplace sitcoms that we all can relate to and laugh alongside with or even at. Til’ next time, folks!