We’ve reached the end of the journey. I have been naming the best sitcom ensemble of every decade going back to the 1960s. Now, we have arrived at the 2010s. I will not be tackling the 2020s, what with this only being 2020 and it only being April. I’m feeling wistful, mostly because now I will need to think of another gimmick to use for writing articles. Let’s not lose sight of what’s truly important.
I know two shows that won’t be winning for the 2010s, even though they are, ratings wise, perhaps the two biggest sitcoms of the decade. One of those shows is Modern Family. I’ve admittedly not seen more than a handful of minutes of the show, even though it won a ton of Emmys, but I have literally never seen a joke on the show. I’m not saying I’ve only seen bad jokes or lame jokes. Genuinely, I have never seen a single joke or bit. I’ve seen things I think I’m supposed to think is funny, but I don’t know why that is.
The other juggernaut is, of course, The Big Bang Theory. Again, I have never seen a full episode of this show, but I have seen probably, in total, one or two hours worth of the show here and there. It has jokes. Most of them are bad, though. However, not all of them are terrible. The performances are so broad though I could never in a million years tip my hat to this ensemble.
I want to give a quick shout out to two Tina Fey shows, 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Both are great. Both have great casts. I love Ellie Kemper. However, in the end, this had to be a battle between two shows to me. One, a gentle, kind network sitcom, the other a vicious, misanthropic HBO comedy. It’s Parks and Recreation versus Veep!
These are both great shows, and they are both actually about government in certain ways. They also have very different approaches to viewing government. Man, what amazing casts though. Parks and Recreation made some stars. I didn’t really know Chris Pratt or Nick Offerman before Parks and Rec. I had seen Aubrey Plaza in like one or two internet comedy shorts. Rob Lowe and Adam Scott weren’t even on the show when it began. What a cast, though. Nick Offerman was perfect as Ron Swanson. Rob Lowe has never been funnier. Also, Amy Poehler has always been a comedy genius. I haven’t even mentioned Jim O’Heir, which is perfect given the nature of Jerry Gergich.
Veep was less of a star maker and more a collector of genius character actors. Oh, but they were all led by the queen of comedy Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She is so good on Veep she could be the best ensemble by herself, even though that doesn’t make sense. Tony Hale, of Arrested Development fame, won Emmys. Anna Chlumsky and Matt Walsh were nominated for them. Kevin Dunn and Gary Cole are fantastic character actors. Then, there’s Timothy Simons as Jonah. The only downside of this ensemble is that some of the characters were a little too odious. Like, I don’t even remember what Dan Bakkedahl’s character’s name was. I just know I hated him.
Ugh. This is the hardest decision yet. However, then I start thinking about some of the tertiary characters from Parks and Rec. Perd Hapley. Joan Callamezzo. Tammy 2. Jean-Ralphio. Jean-Ralphio! I’m sure Selina Meyer would excoriate me over this, but I have to give the nod to Parks and Recreation over Veep.