Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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TV Shows To Make You Smile

A few friends suggested that I write about Seasonal Affective Disorder today. Well sorry, friends, I don’t have SAD in the winter…I get it in the summer when everything is stupidly hot, the kids are tearing my house apart, the lawn looks horrendous, and I have to wear short sleeves and short skirts–THE WORST. Give me a cozy sweater, boots, and a snuggle, please, my alabaster skin hates the sun.

The temperatures are brutally cold right now: negative digits and no sign of letting up anytime soon.  Cheer up, campers! I propose you buck up and get some hilarious TV shows watched with your significant other; they aren’t going to watch themselves. Bonus: all these shows are available for streaming online (mostly from Netflix or Hulu.)


An off-kilter short-sketch comedy show, Portlandia sends up the hippie Northwest in a perfectly skewered style (“Portland: where young people go to retire.”) Just witness the Allergy Pride Parade, or the Dream of the 90s. Largely from the brains of SNL’s Fred Armisen, and rocker Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney), I have laughed for hours at their silly, and sometimes uncomfortably true observations.

New Girl

When I heard that Zooey Deschanel was starring in a TV show I thought it would be all about how quirky cute she was, and I was bored before I even watched. Turns out I was wrong, sort of. She’s quirky cute, but her roommates steal the show. Even my skeptical husband laughs over the exploits of Schmidt, the roommate who just can’t stop being a DB.


Friday Night Lights

Haven’t watched the now classic TV show about a small Texas town and the high school football team that it revolves around? Ladies, it’s time. The first few episodes are football-heavy, but the story quickly becomes about the characters: families, friends, marriage, first loves, tragedy, comedy, it has everything. I promise you’ll fall in love. Texas forever.


The League

This show is filthy, but so funny it hurts. It’s about a fantasy football league, and while that was enough to count my husband out at first, I eventually convinced him that it’s more about ridiculous friends than about football. You don’t have to love football, or know much about fantasy sports, to think The League is brutally funny. Perfect for watching with your significant other.


It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

I got Rachael hooked on It’s Always Sunny a couple years ago when I insisted she start watching it. She soon called me telling me how she and her husband laughed so hard he almost busted stitches. A bunch of misfit friends, terrible people, really, demonstrate how awful they truly are, while working at a bar they co-own. The language is terrible (no “F” words, but plenty of others,) but the scenarios are often pee-your-pants funny. The first few episodes are just OK, but you’ll get hooked, and fast.


How I Met Your Mother

So you’ve never bothered to watch How I Met Your Mother? It’s time to start. Go to the beginning of the 160 episodes (yes, that many,) and hit play. The story of friends who met in college, HIMYM (as we fans call it) is exceptional TV. It’s romantic, hilarious, sweet, genuine, and superbly structured. The show’s producers have created inventive story structures and jokes that build for an entire season. Take it from both of us: HIMYM is a must see.

Happy Endings

Profoundly silly, chock full of pop culture references, and totally self-aware, Happy Endings is manic 90-miles-a-minute funny. My husband likes to roll his eyes, but when the jokes hit for him, they really hit. It’s a newish show (in its third season) and a surprise underground hit. Start from the beginning and enjoy the silly.


Mr Bean

Maybe the only show the whole family can watch on this list, we set out over Christmas break to watch Mr. Bean with our kids. We laughed just as much as they did. The TV show is far better than the movies.

A few honorable mentions: 

The Mindy Project – I absolutely love this show, starring The Office veteran Mindy Kaling. I’m the first to admit that my husband doesn’t get this show at all, but every woman I know who watches it immediately recognizes how great it is. Don’t miss it.

Sports Night The short-lived Aaron Sorkin show that’s smart, snappy, and emotionally gripping. You’ll get completely invested in the characters before you even know what hit you.

Cheers – I know what you’re thinking, Cheers? Yes. It’s surprising how well this show has held up over the years. It’s still funny, and rarely goes for the cheap laugh. Start from the beginning and relive the whole thing; it’s even better now. Catch it on Netflix.


What are your favorite funny shows to watch together?


Other posts you might enjoy:

Best Friends Forever, my favorite show last year

15 Floor Plans from TV Shows (so cool!)

The Middle – an interview with Patricia Heaton


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Comments (9)

  1. rani 01/14/2013 at 1:01 pm

    Love love love Portlandia!!!!! And also Sunny in Philadelphia!!!!! Great list!!!! I’m also diggin Downton Abbey for the drama side of tv!

  2. Brooke Barker 01/08/2013 at 8:28 am

    I love HIMYM. Pretty sure Monday night is date night in at our house. We’ve also fallen into Happy Endings, New Normal and New Girl. There’s just something about a half hour show that totally changes my spirit!

  3. Barb 01/07/2013 at 3:58 pm

    I think Hot in Cleaveland is laugh-out-loud funny.

  4. Lindsey (Cafe Johnsonia) 01/07/2013 at 2:15 pm

    Have you checked out The IT Crowd? HILARIOUS. We also started watching Spy on Hulu. It took a few episodes for me to get into it, but once I did, I really loved *most* of the episodes.

  5. Ginger Kay 01/07/2013 at 1:52 pm

    We’re watching Raising Hope right now. I just saw that netflix has new episodes of Portlandia, so that’s back in our queue, too.

  6. Rachael Herrscher 01/07/2013 at 1:48 pm

    I love catching the little mini sketches of Portlandia on Hulu!

  7. BreAnne 01/07/2013 at 11:30 am

    Netflix and Hulu Plus can thank you for my continued subscriptions because they were not making the 2013 cut in my house!

  8. Amy 01/07/2013 at 11:12 am

    We introduced Mr. Bean to our kids last year and they bring up Mr Bean and the Olympic bit at least once a week. Even today at breakfast.. [Little brother] Q:What if Mr. Bean had to run around the WHOLE earth, the north pole, the south pole and then was too tired to finish right at the end?
    [Big Sister] A: That song would go on for-EVER! giggles…

    thanks for the list of new ideas!

  9. Erica 01/07/2013 at 11:05 am

    Great list! At my house we’re also into Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Modern Family, and for the kids: Mr. Rogers (it’s hidden deep in Hulu>PBS Kids).