For a self-styled “Show About Nothing,” Seinfeld rode everything from Soup Nazis to Second Spitters to “The Summer of George” all the way to the top, becoming the defining sitcom of the 90s. The writing of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David along with the iconic performances of the core quartet and countless guest stars continue to make this one of the most meme-ably quotable pop culture forces of all time.
By far the most famous and successful spinoff of all time, Frasier far surpassed the already-popular Cheers to become one of the smartest, funniest, and most beloved comedies ever, blending high-brow cultural references with slapstick and smart-aleck-ry to perfection. From Kelsey Grammer’s nearly 20 years as Frasier Crane to the era-defining will-they-won’t-they that is Niles/Daphne to the late-great John Mahoney and his beloved dog Eddie, there’s plenty to raise a glass of sherry to here.
- The Office (Both Versions)
The BBC series ran for 14 episodes while the NBC series topped 200, underscoring a massive difference in how shows are considered and produced on both sides of the Pond. Still, whether you like Ricky Gervais’s UK version or Steve Carrell in the States, The Office is a quotable office classic.
- The Simpsons
Remember when “eat my shorts” was considered taboo? The show attracted ire from the George H.W. Bush administration – which openly preferred The Waltons – and competition from The Cosby Show, ultimately outlasting them all. While the current iteration of the show is sometimes referred to as “Zombie Simpsons” for having run well past its prime, Springfield’s longest-running sitcom and animated show ever has certainly transformed the face of TV forever.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
It’s the show that gave us Will Smith, “The Carlton” Dance, and memes galore. Just as importantly, the show depicted Black people from different walks of life. For as fantastically kitsch as it can seem now, its incorporation of rap elements (incredibly light though they were) was actually considered “risky” by networks when it first debuted.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
Larry David strikes again. From his typical band of bitterly cynical humor to the quasi-Seinfeld reunion which aired as part of the show, there’s a lot to be enthusiastic about this taboo-targeting sitcom.
“At Least It Was Here” for a little while – can they make the show’s self-referential promise of “Six Seasons and a Movie come true? This Little Series That Could withstand cancellation time and again to become the definition of a contemporary cult classic, overflowing with reference humor, paintball, and musical episodes, and a willingness to try everything and anything.