What to Watch: The TV Comedies We Find Comforting in Coronavirus Times

TV can provide distraction and comfort—and that's exactly what these comedies are doing for us.

By Chris Harnick May 13, 2020 1:00 PMTags
Watch: Our Favorite Moments From "Schitt's Creek"

Television is there for you, now more than ever. It's a news source, it's a distraction, TV is an undeniable comfort for most. While most of the country practices social distancing measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, TV has been there, especially TV comedies.

Parks and Recreation co-creator and creator of The Good Place Mike Schur explained why audiences are reveling in shows of the past during a recent call with reporters to promote the Parks and Recreation special.

"Part of it is that the past is available to people in a way it has never been before. The last five years have basically made it so that nothing ever goes away. You can watch whatever you want," Schur said. Noting The Office's wild popularity, a show Schur worked on, said it was "designed to sort of be timeless."

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TV Shows Helping Battle Coronavirus

"It's a very boring cubicle farm set with florescent lighting. It looks like every office look in 2004 when we started shooting it. It's still looks like what a lot of offices look like today," he said. "I think part of it is the new world that we're in, shows make six or eight episodes or four episodes…The Office made 200 and Parks and Rec made 125 and Friends made 200 and Cheers made 300…TV has always functioned—especially comedy—as a sort of sustaining comfort food where you can visit the people in the world over and over and over and over again…So I think it's probably just a combination of availability and then familiarity during a time of extreme upheaval and anxiety. And then those old shows have more to offer. They literally have more individual episodes to offer."

"TV is extremely good at providing comfort for people in a very small and kind of distracting way. So, I would imagine it's all of these things and then probably about 15 others that only a doctorate in sociology can explain," Schur added.

At E!, we're doing our fair share of comfort TV viewing too. Check out which comedies we're finding some peace with below.

Parks and Recreation

The world needs Leslie Knope—and they got her in the scripted reunion special that aired in April. Revisiting the world of Pawnee for the umpteenth time brings an air of cheeriness, optimism and faith in government that goes the extra mile in the time of coronavirus. —Chris Harnick

Schitt's Creek

For those who still haven't seen Schitt's Creek, welcome to your new TV home. You'll adore Moira's wigs and one-liners, root for Alexis' journey, and fall head over heels with David and Patrick's love story. The episodes are short, sweet and full of moments that will make you laugh and make you cry. It's the ultimate feel-good show, and it's "simply the best." — Elyse Dupre

30 Rock

30 Rock is timeless and Liz Lemon will also be one of the most relatable characters to ever grace TV. Rewatching, I cannot help but wonder how the show would be dealing with the happenings of 2020. While that's not happening, it's still nice to revisit the gang at studio 6H. —Chris Harnick

PS: I still standby my pitch for Queen of Jordan spinoff.

Scrubs

It's the perfect mix of silly comedy and a little bit of realistic drama. Even though the medical aspect hits a little close to home right now, there's something comforting about watching everyday life in a hospital through good times and bad, with a little absurdist fantasy thrown in. —Lauren Piester

The Office

It's a basic choice, but every time I hear those intro piano keys play, I'm instantly in a better mood. — Kelsey Klemme

Superstore

First off I want to say justice for Superstore, it's a show that's so funny that it should be this era's The Office and it's been my mission to get people to watch, and now is the perfect time! Anyone whose worked retail can relate and it's lighthearted humor takes my mind off the craziness going on for 30 minutes. — Kelsey Klemme

New Girl

It's easy to forget just how funny New Girl is until you're watching it again, and suddenly you've watched 17 episodes in one day and for those 17 episodes, you were able to distract yourself from the rest of the world thanks to Nick and Schmidt and their arguments over towels and cookies and unorthodox home repair. Nothing makes sense in that loft and it's perfect. —Lauren Piester

King of the Hill

Fox's animated family sitcom gave us one of TV's best moms, Peggy Hill (hoo-yeah!), and some of the best slice of life comedy that holds up more than 20 years later. Like other animated shows, the characters don't really age, providing a sense of stability and normalcy along with humor that I've long enjoyed (and rewatched half a dozen times). — Chris Harnick

Everybody Loves Raymond

If you need a good laugh, spend just a few minutes admiring Marie (Doris Roberts) and Frank's (Peter Boyle) relationship on the long-running CBS comedy. Sure, Marie may have no boundaries. And some of Frank's jokes are TMI. But during times like these, it's nice to be reminded you aren't the only one with a dysfunctional family — Mike Vulpo

The Golden Girls

Nearly every night, I take a trip to Miami for a slice of cheesecake on the lanai with the girls in NBC's classic sitcom. I always know I can find comfort in one of Rose's St. Olaf stories or Sophia making me picture Siciliy in 1917 or Blanche's unrepentant flirting or Dorothy's withering sarcasm regardless of how many times I've seen the episode. (And, at this point, chances are I've seen it a lot.) Between weeknights on Hallmark, Sunday morning marathons on TV Land and the entire series on Hulu, I'm never too far from my girls and that's how I like it. — Billy Nilles

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

You want comfort, look no further than Brooklyn Nine-Nine, home of a police squad that is both totally ridiculous and also full of people you just want to hug (minus Hitchcock and Scully). No matter what happens, Captain Holt always ends up back as captain and Jake and Amy always end up together, so there's always a happy ending. — Lauren Piester

Ted Lasso

Believe us, Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso is the show to watch right now. The infectious optimism of Coach Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) is exactly the thing we need as the coronavirus pandemic continues on. Not only is Sudeikis' character sincerely sweet, but his constant dad puns and uplifting speeches will put a smile on your face. —Alyssa Ray

Schitt's Creek

(NOTE: Schitt's Creek is on here twice because it's THAT good).

While practicing social distancing, I've found myself queuing up old episodes of Schitt's Creek when I need a good laugh or just want to unwind before bed. There's just something so comforting about watching the Rose family's day-to-day lives play out. Between Moira showing off her impressive but insane vocabulary, hearing Alexis say, "Ew, David," and the heartwarming nature of the show, it never fails to put me in a good mood. —Emily Belfiore