Top 20 Workplace Sitcoms of All Time

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Top 20 Workplace Sitcoms of All Time

VOICE OVER: Samantha Clinch WRITTEN BY: Taryn Crankshaw
These sitcoms made the workplace fun. For this list, we'll be looking at the most hilarious and beloved work-centered comedy series ever created. Our countdown includes "Veep," "30 Rock," "Cheers," and more!
Transcript

Top 20 Workplace Sitcoms of All Time


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Workplace Comedies of All Time.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most hilarious and beloved work-centered comedy series ever created. However, we won’t be including animated series. We’ll leave those for another day at the office.

In the comments let us know why you think your workplace would make for a great sitcom!.

#20: “Silicon Valley” (2014-19)


They say write what you know, and in 2014, Mike Judge took that to heart. Long before the "Beavis and Butt-head" creator ended up in Hollywood, he worked in Silicon Valley. The experience inspired him to create the comedy series, which he named after the tech-hub. It centers around a group of computer programmers trying to get their start-up, Pied Piper, off the ground. Every episode was anxiety-inducing as the gang encountered unprecedented amounts of bad luck and setbacks. Timely and relevant, "Silicon Valley" was a perfect and hilarious portrait of living in the digital age.

#19: “Are You Being Served?” (1972-85)


A cornerstone of British comedy, "Are You Being Served?" focused on the wacky world of retail. Following the hijinks of the Grace Brothers department store staff and clientele, the series ran for over a decade. Full of cheeky humor and slapstick comedy, the show became an instant classic in the UK and later across the pond as well. With a parade of eccentric characters and endless gags, it produced some of the most memorable moments in the British comedy canon. It remains a national treasure to this day.

#18: “NewsRadio” (1995-99)


Cerebral and witty, "NewsRadio" was a critically acclaimed, yet arguably underrated, 90s sitcom. Taking audiences behind-the-scenes of a news radio program, the series boasted an impressive cast including Phil Hartman, Dave Foley, Stephen Root, and Maura Tierney, to name a few. Episodes often provided timely commentary relating to America's cultural zeitgeist. Some even ventured into nonsensical territory, never afraid to play with the audience's suspension of disbelief. For example, one episode took place on the Titanic. However, despite its praise, "NewsRadio" survived for 5 seasons and bid farewell to the airwaves in 1999.

#17: “Alice” (1976-85)


A widow rebuilding her life after the tragic death of her husband doesn't scream "comedy," but this was the set-up of the sitcom. Based on Martin Scorsese's film "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore'', the series follows Alice, a mother and aspiring singer, who moves to Arizona after a car accident claims her husband's life. She takes a job as a waitress in a local diner to make ends meet, which is where the comedy kicks in. The film's star Ellen Burstyn was replaced by Linda Lavin in the leading role. The series' signature expression "Kiss my grits" became one of the most quotable soundbites of the 1970s and turned "Alice" into a true classic.

#16: “Murphy Brown” (1988-98; 2018)


Starring Candice Bergen as a television journalist and recovering alcoholic, “Murphy Brown” was groundbreaking. Much of the show revolved around Brown’s professional life and her personal affairs. During season 4, the writers wrote a storyline where she becomes pregnant. The single mother development drew controversy from President George Bush’s VP Dan Quayle. The politician criticized the series for devaluing the role of fathers and celebrating single-motherhood. The show took a meta-turn when it addressed Quayle’s remarks in an episode. Candice took it a step further when she extended her gratitude to the Republican statesman in her Emmy-acceptance speech. Revived in 2018, “Murphy Brown” was always ahead of its time, paving the way for better representation of female characters on network TV.

#15: “Night Court” (1984-92)


Premiering in 1984, “Night Court” became part of NBC’s comedy lineup. The series followed the outlandish misadventures of a New York City night court. Overseen by the eccentric Judge Harry T. Stone, the show featured many equally out-there characters. After 9 seasons, “Night Court’s” gavel came down in 1992. In late 2020, NBC ordered a sequel to the zany sitcom, starring original cast member John Larroquette and “The Big Bang Theory’s” Melissa Rauch. Although an exact premiere date is yet to be announced, fans are excited that justice for “Night Court” will continue to prevail.

#14: “The Larry Sanders Show” (1992-98)


Led by the late great Garry Shandling, "The Larry Sanders Show" took a satirical look at show business. Set within the world of a fictional late-night talk show, each episode featured Shandling and a slew of his famous pals. Guest stars included entertainment giants like Robin Williams and Carol Burnett. During its short but sweet 6 season run, the series was awarded three Emmy Awards and two Peabodys. Praised by critics for its intelligent and cerebral sense of humor, the show helped boost HBO's reputation for producing high-quality content.

#13: “Taxi” (1978-83)


If you count the number of stars who came out of “Taxi,” you might run out of fingers. Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Andy Kaufman, Tony Danza, and Marilu Henner are just some of the names who got their start on this hilarious ensemble comedy. The sitcom followed the lives of a ragtag group of taxi drivers in Manhattan. It won 18 Emmy Awards during its five-season run. At its core, the show’s about dreamers attempting to make their way in the world while managing the challenges of their day jobs.

#12: “The IT Crowd” (2006-13)


Thanks to its relatability and small but strong ensemble, this British sitcom amassed a substantial following. "The IT Crowd" took fans into the tedious reality of working in an information technology department of a big corporation. The series turned Chris O'Dowd and Richard Ayoade into bonafide comedy stars. Its popularity resulted in an American adaptation starring Joel McHale and Ayoade playing Moss once again. However, the show ran into some technical difficulties, and the project was ultimately canned. As the age-old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

#11: “Superstore” (2015-21)


A standout of NBC's “Must-See TV” line-up, "Superstore" became one the strongest comedies in recent years. Situated in a St. Louis big box store known as Cloud 9, the series was equal parts hilarious and heartfelt. The ensemble comedy led by America Ferrera and Ben Feldman also served a blunt look at American labor. Each episode explored challenging topics relating to working in retail such as unions, health care, harassment, and workers' rights. The final season even explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. After 6 seasons, the show remains a poignant exploration of an experience often neglected in mainstream media.

#10: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (2013-21)


After Andy Samberg's "Saturday Night Live" run, the actor headed from Studio 8H to New York's 99th Precinct. Led by Samberg, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" follows the ongoings of detectives who serve and protect the streets of the Big Apple borough. The series manages to balance the lighthearted and often silly humor with the dark nature of its setting. One of the reasons the show has become so successful is due to its representation of the LGBTQ+ community. In 2020, the show addressed the subject of police behavior in response to the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed. Always striving to do better, the series is an example of how comedy should evolve with the times.

#9: “Veep” (2012-19)


HBO's "Veep" took viewers into the most famous office in the world. Following the misadventures of the Senator turned Vice President, and later President, Selina Meyer as she navigates Washington's ruthless political landscape. Led by comedy icon Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the series never shied away from unmasking the ugly side of its characters. Forgoing likeability for authenticity, the show became a much-beloved staple of the 2010s. In fact, Dreyfus has won an astonishing six Emmy Awards for her role. "Veep's" term ended in 2019, but its subject matter remains vital and relevant.

#8: “Scrubs” (2001-10)


While there’s no shortage of medical dramas, medical comedies are a bit rarer. In 2001, “Scrubs” debuted on NBC and took a funny approach to the otherwise dramatic hospital setting. The series was fun, silly, and innovative. It followed the lives of the “Sacred Heart” staff, usually told from the perspective of its protagonist John "J.D." Dorian. The show often broke the fourth wall poking fun at television tropes and, even occasionally, itself. Despite its lighthearted tone, the show also ventured into some dark territory. Death played a significant role in some of the show’s more sensitive storylines and was usually handled with immense care and respect.

#7: “Fawlty Towers” (1975-79)


Regarded as one of the best British comedies of all time, "Fawlty Towers" has a winning formula that makes it hard to resist. Starring Monty Python's John Cleese as a misguided and hard-bitten hotel manager, the show became known for its signature brand of physical comedy. Its popularity made its way stateside, and the American market became interested in replicating its success. "Golden Girls"’ Bea Arthur was even touted to play a gender-bent version of Cleese's Basil Fawlty. However, things didn't quite pan out, and several other attempts made over the decades were also scrapped. That being said, Cleese has reprised his iconic role for ads and other notable appearances, proving that nearly 50 years later, he still hasn't checked out of the iconic "Towers."

#6: “WKRP in Cincinnati” (1978-82)


Despite only lasting 4 seasons, "WKRP in Cincinnati" definitely left its mark. The 70s sitcom about a radio station in the Queen City was inspired by creator Hugh Wilson's time working the airwaves. Despite its talented ensemble and fun premise, the series fell victim to its ever-changing time slot. In 1982, CBS turned the dial off on "WKRP," but it managed to find success in syndication. The show was reprised for a short time in the 90s with a fresh title: "The New WKRP in Cincinnati". Its dedicated fanbase tuned in with intrigue but unfortunately, it was canceled after two seasons.

#5: “30 Rock” (2006-13)


Following her iconic run on “Saturday Night Live,” Tina Fey returned to NBC with her series “30 Rock”. Inspired by her time on the legendary sketch series, Fey developed the sitcom to give a behind-the-scenes look into the mechanics of a fictionalized sketch show. Playing the lead, Liz Lemon, Tina crafted one of the funniest and most relatable characters of the 2000s. Backed by co-stars Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, and Jane Krakowski, the show received public and critical acclaim. Eventually, it became a revolving door of big-name guest stars and a highlight of NBC’s “Comedy Night Done Right”.

#4: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1970-77)


She’s “gonna make it after all!” With a catchy theme song and loveable protagonist, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” had a sure-fire formula. Moore starred as the whip-smart and kind Mary Richards, a television news producer. Working for a floundering station, Richards and her wacky colleagues, including America’s sweetheart, Betty White, always rose to the occasion. More than a television show, the series stood out during a time when working women were rarely represented in mainstream media. “Moore” inspired female viewers across the country, including Oprah Winfrey, who lists the series and its leading lady as a major influence.

#3: “Parks and Recreation” (2009-15)


Initially intended as a spinoff of “The Office,” NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” debuted in 2009 and quickly proved it could stand on its own. The mockumentary centered around a government parks department in the fictional city of Pawnee, Indiana. Created by “The Office’s” showrunner Greg Daniels, the series was led by “SNL” alumna Amy Poehler as the cheerfully determined Deputy Director, Leslie Knope. The show featured a stand-out cast including Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt, who became household names thanks to the program. Ending its run in 2015, “Parks & Rec” remains a must-watch not only for its laughs but also for its heart.

#2: “Cheers” (1982-93)


One of the biggest comedies of the 80s and early 90s, “Cheers,” has gone down in history as one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time. Based on a real Boston, Massachusetts bar, the series starred Ted Danson as Sam Malone, a former playboy athlete turned bartender. Each episode featured Malone and his devoted patrons as they gathered around the bar to muse about life and love. Featuring a prominent “will-they-or-won’t-they” romance between Sam and Shelley Long’s Diane Chambers, the show knew how to draw in viewers. After 11 impressive seasons, “Cheers” bellowed its last call. The show lived on with alumni Kelsey Grammer’s spinoff, “Frasier,” an international adaptation, and it even a play. When it comes to “Cheers,” fans are “always glad” to watch the series in any medium.

#1: “The Office” (2005-13)


As the quintessential workplace comedy, “The Office” knew how to find “beauty in ordinary things”. The mockumentary followed the employees of the paper supply company, Dunder Mifflin. At the center is Michael Scott, an extroverted attention-seeking oddball regional manager, played by comedy genius Steve Carell. Adapted from the UK series of the same name, the series joined NBC’s primetime lineup in 2005. But struggling to gain an audience, the series was at risk of cancellation. Fortunately, it picked up steam thanks to its strong writing, talented cast, and devoted fanbase. It went on to receive 42 Primetime Emmy nominations, winning five overall. Known for its realistic, cringe-inducing, and heartfelt humor, the series has become one of the most beloved pop culture phenomenons of its time.
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