“How would you guys rank these shows: Seinfeld, Always Sunny, and The Office?”
It’s a simple text, and after seeing it, most rational people would think, “That’s an interesting question. I would have to ruminate a bit but it certainly won’t be the start of a three-hour debate about the top sitcoms of all time, right?”
If you’re in my college group chat (which none of you are), this would have consumed your entire Sunday night. All plans were canceled as soon as my friend Rob sent out that seemingly innocent text that has since left two of my friends not speaking to each other. Why was this so controversial? They’re just sitcoms, right?
That’s where you’re wrong again.
You can usually tell a lot about a person based on the sitcoms they like, and how you rank what I refer to as the genre’s “Big 3” really reveals your true character. Of course, the stress of being stuck at home for the past three months means everyone is dealing with some pent-up cabin fever, frustration, and anger that can result in the most innocent argument becoming incredibly contentious, which is exactly what happen after this got sent.
I’m not going to show the entire thread because you’d have to scroll through hundreds of texts. Most of them were playful jabs, but every now and then, things got a little heated. If this had happened before the world went to hell, we probably would’ve just thrown around quotes from the shows to try to make each other laugh and any discourse that ensued would’ve been fairly civil.
However, being stuck at home has made animals out of the “BIKES!!” group chat (it’s a Tom Segura reference, because everyone knows a group chat isn’t really a group chat if it doesn’t have a name that alludes to some weird and obscure aspect of pop culture that’s only appreciated by the participants).
Television shows have been the primary topic of my group’s conversations recently, and since most of us are stuck with family, they have also taken the place of social interaction. The connection we feel to the shows and the characters on them is the strongest it’s ever been, so if you mock someone’s favorite series, you’re basically mocking their existence.
We aren’t just debating what’s the funniest show; we’re debating why someone is incorrect, and as we all know, there is no greater feeling in the world than telling someone they are wrong (especially when all you have to back it up is your own opinion). One of my friends in the chat tried to add Friends to the mix and the rest of us immediately started a new chat. Get out of here with that bullshit.
We’re not talking about Friends; we’re talking about the three sitcoms mentioned in the text that all have a reasonable claim to the title of G.O.A.T. Sure, there are others that you could make an argument for based on their legacy and cultural significance, and yes, I won’t deny that some recency bias comes into play here.
When trying to evaluate these programs, I took a number of things into consideration including overall funniness, best storylines, cultural relevance, and a few of other factors that led to me ranking them like so:
- It’s Always Sunny
- The Office
However, if we’re talking about the funniest show—one that delivers joke after joke and a constant stream of funny situations without much care for anything else (which is what a sitcom is really supposed to be)—things look a little different:
- It’s Always Sunny
- The Office
If you’ll allow me to go on a quick tangent, I need to get something off of my chest: I’m kind of over The Office. At this point, far too many people have made it a core part of their identity—including one girl I stumbled across on Hinge who went to great lengths to let people know how much she loves it.
I know I shouldn’t like a show less just because it’s been co-opted by every sorority girl on the internet over the past few years, but even if that wasn’t the case, I honestly just don’t think it’s as funny as the other two.
When I was pondering the Big 3, my mind started to wander a bit as I thought of other possible contenders for the crown. If those shows are the Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett of the sitcom world, what would a full starting five look like?
I attempted to narrow down the second-tier contenders, but as hard as I tried, I couldn’t make up my mind when it came to picking the two most worthy of taking the court with the aforementioned trio. Then, in a truly monumental moment of blogging, it hit me: what if I put together a sitcom Dream Team?
I should mention a few things before we dive into the full roster. First, I have not seen every single one of these shows in their entirety, although I’m confident I’ve watched enough episodes to understand the general vibe of all of them.
When it came to scouting the Dream Team, I compiled a list of shows that are both recognized as classics as well as ones that I personally felt deserved to have a spot on the squad. I initially tried to keep my bias out of it, but then I remembered I was in total control, which resulted in me kind of throwing impartiality out of the window.
I took a number of factors into consideration but it largely came down to overall funniness. It’s Always Sunny might be the best show all around but the ideal sitcom makes you laugh as hard and as often as possible. If you’ll allow me to briefly trade the basketball analogy for a baseball one, Mike Trout is the best player in the world but everyone is more interested in watching Bryce Harper because he’s just more entertaining.
I also decided to embrace the recency bias thing so apologies to all the I Love Lucy fans out there who want to write me an angry email but can’t because they don’t have a grandchild around to show them how to send one
I eventually settled on 12 shows because that’s how many people were on the 1992 Dream Team that inspired the list in the first place. In hindsight, I probably didn’t have to do this, but I also opted to try to match each sitcom with an NBA player that shares similar qualities. Do all of them make sense? Probably not, but I hope you can appreciate the effort.
Now, without further ado, here is what my Sitcom Dream Team looks like.
Seinfeld (LeBron James, PG)
This was easy. We’ve got the best sitcom of what I’m defining as the modern era so it’s a no-brainer to compare it to the man who has dominated the NBA like no one else over the past couple of decades. Seinfeld is the trendsetter; the catalyst for what is to follow.
If it wasn’t for Seinfeld, the sitcom landscape would look entirely different. Larry David obviously played a big role but Jerry is still a trailblazer who set an example and left an indelible mark on comedy in the process. Regardless of what you think about his more recent work, he’s still an authority when it comes to humor who garners an incredible amount of respect and always will.
It’s the same thing with LeBron. He controls everything around him. Where he goes, the rest of the team goes. They need him to lead the way and consistently perform at a level that routinely reminds everyone why he is arguably the best basketball talent of all time.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Kawhi Leonard, SG)
I linked Kawhi with It’s Always Sunny for a few reasons.
He’s one of the best players in the league, and while people certainly recognize how talented he is, I feel like he still manages to fly under the radar a bit. The same can be said for It’s Always Sunny, which is set to become the longest-running sitcom in the history of television but still doesn’t get the appreciation it truly deserves.
Much like Kawhi, it seems like the people behind It’s Always Sunny are fine with not being in the spotlight all of the time and are perfectly happy to let the show do most of the talking. In both cases, people appreciate what they’re doing right now but won’t truly understand just how great they are until it’s all over. They are the Van Gogh’s of their respective profession (just with more ears).
The Office (Kevin Durant, PF)
Third place goes to The Office and Kevin Durant.
Much like the show, the storyline here is huge and you can’t deny the overall level of talent. The Office is hilarious and Kevin Durant is one of the best basketball players in recent memory.
However, it’s ultimately the storylines that keep us interested. Would you continue to watch The Office without a Pam and Jim love story? I mean, probably, but it adds intrigue that makes you want to see what happens next.
KD also produces an incredible amount of drama, whether it’s bickering with his teammates, getting caught with burner accounts, or getting into fights with fans on Twitter using his actual account. You’d still care about him if it wasn’t for these side stories but they just make things a whole lot juicier.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF)
Both the show and the player are absolutely fantastic, and when you consider Curb is sort of a spiritual successor to Seinfeld, Giannis seems like a natural fit as one of the top candidates to pick up the torch when LeBron calls it quits.
I actually almost put Curb in the top three, but as the President of the Sitcoms Compared to Current Players Dream Team, I ruled it was too similar to Seinfeld and lacks a little of the originality we here at SCTCPDT, Inc. are looking for.
It’s the same for Giannis; you see a little bit of each of the best players of all time in him, and while that doesn’t mean he’s not incredible, the tie ultimately goes to the OG.
Modern Family (Nikola Jokic, C)
I originally had Modern Family on the bench, but after a little thought, I realized just how truly funny it is. They can hit every age group and get laughs. It’s a pillar of sitcoms because you could watch with your adult parents while you were in middle school and still get all of the jokes.
Also, Nikola seems like a family man. I don’t think he is married but he just gives off a dad vibe. He doesn’t have the greatest body in the world but that’s fine. He shows up looking like a scrub and proceeds to dominate in silence. This is good, family-style fun. He’s a blue collar kind of guy. He’ll get to the gym, do what he has to do, and get out knowing that sooner or later everyone will recognize just how talented he is.
Workaholics (James Harden)
James Harden is famously known for getting away with new “moves” that teeter on the line of travel and brilliance. Workaholics is the same in the sense that it shouldn’t be able to get away with some of its material, but it does, and it’s brilliant.
The best example of this is when they befriended Topher the Pedophile.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (Steph Curry)
Both of these guys had one hell of a ride.
Will Smith was born and raised in West Philadelphia and spent most of his days on the playground. Steph, on the other hand, spent most of his days in North Carolina, where he presumably honed his skills on the playground and eventually landed a scholarship offer from Davidson.
It didn’t happen overnight but both of them eventually had an absurd glow up, as Curry went from playing at a mid-major to earning Most Valuable Player honors in the NBA, which is the basketball equivalent of trading a gang-filled neighborhood in Philly for a giant mansion in Bel-Air.
Arrested Development (Russell Westbrook)
Arrested Development is a show that’s as odd as it is hilarious. In the same vein, Westbrook is a weird dude but a great player. He may be a little overrated, but given his triple-double stat line the last few years, I felt he was deserving.
I like Arrested Development a lot. It’s all I watched after I had shoulder surgery because one doctor couldn’t stop talking about how funny it was as I was falling out of consciousness. Looking back, I may have been hallucinating while watching it so I’m not sure if I’m really qualified to evaluate it but I’m going to stand by my opinion regardless.
Dave (Zion Williamson)
These are both newcomers with serious potential to turn into one of the greats.
While they’re technically rookies, we all followed Zion and Lil Dicky for years as we waited for them to get their big moment. Their first seasons were incredible and left us only wanting more, but at the same time, both still have a lot to prove.
Eastbound & Down (Demarcus Cousins)
A show about a star long past his playing days trying to make a comeback? Eastbound & Down might as well have been called The Boogie Cousins Story.
Parks and Recreation (Carmelo Anthony)
Parks and Rec is an overrated carbon copy of The Office but that doesn’t mean it’s not pretty damn enjoyable. I don’t know if you can compare Carmelo to a single player who came before him but I just feel like he found his success by riding the coattails of his peers and those before him.
There is one key difference, as Melo has four Olympic gold medals while Parks and Rec was nominated for 16 Emmys and never won a single one. However, in the end, the similarities outweigh the differences.
Coach: M*A*S*H (Mike Krzyzewski)
To be completely honest, I don’t know much about M*A*S*H but it has one major thing in common with Coach K: they’re both old as hell. That’s really all I have to say about that.
Referee: Cosby Show (Tim Donaghy)
They’re both canceled.
The Isiah Thomas Award: Friends (Chris Paul)
People like it a lot, but when asked by myself to make this list, I said, “If Friends is on it, I walk,” which is what Michael Jordan said about Thomas. It turns out Mike and I have a lot more in common than people think.
What does this have to do with Chris Paul? Well, I don’t like him and I know I’m not alone.
Honorable Mention Quick Hits
How I Met Your Mother (Kevin Love)
If it wasn’t for Neil Patrick Harris and LeBron, I don’t know if we’d be talking about either the show or the player.
Reno 911 (Stephen Adams)
Psych (Damian Lillard)
He sees the court better than anyone in the game.
Everybody Hates Chris (Jayson Tatum)
A young kid and a crazy talent, but unfortunately, you have to let the big boys play right now.
Full House (Donald Sterling)
Much like Bob Saget, Donald Sterling gave the illusion that he was a nice, put together, and respectful man, but once the cameras shut off, everything that comes out of his mouth is disgusting.
Big Bang Theory (Brian Scalabrine)
I know he doesn’t play anymore, but much like the Big Bang Theory, everyone asked “Why?” whenever a team signed him for yet another year.
The Office UK– Dirk Nowitzki
He’s retired but he’s also a 7-footer from another country who is versatile and can shoot threes who spawned a better 7-footer from America who can shoot threes. There may not be a more perfect fit on this list than that.
Sex In The City (Magic Johnson and Devin Booker)
These are two guys who are known to have a lot of sex based on anecdotes that have surfaced over the years (in addition to Magic’s medical history). That’s all.
So there you have it. Was this a perfect list? No. Does it all make sense? Not really, but that’s fine. We all love sitcoms, we all love basketball, and we all love comparing things so it’s a win, win, win.
This is what staying inside for months will do to an unemployed and very bored man. I know a lot of this is a stretch and there are some shows I left out, but if nothing else, I hope this will spark conversation in your own personal group chats so that you too can weed out the crazy friend and start a better chat on the side.