It is said that laughter is the best medicine and we’ve never needed it more. We are living in stressful times indeed. With a 24-hour news cycle constantly updating us on the heartbreaking numbers of those whose lives have been lost or forever changed due to COVID-19, people are turning to entertainment more than ever before to escape the reality of the world we are currently living in and comedy is a top choice.
In addition to the public health crisis, the pandemic has also caused economic concern for many and led to a mental health crisis as worries and anxiety related to its impacts have proved to be overwhelming for people all over the world. Rising unemployment rates, social distancing, mandatory stay-at-home orders and the realization that our new normal may last much longer than originally anticipated have changed countless lives. Bottom line, escapism through entertainment has never been more important.
TV and movie content tracking platform TV Time, which has a community of 15 million users who have reported more than 17 billion views of content across 230,000 titles, researched what Netflix subscribers have been bingeing since the pandemic reared its ugly head. According to the data (pulled from March 19 to September 17) there are five series viewers turned to most to get a good laugh. Three are oldies but goodies that fall into the classics category and two are newer series that quickly became fan favorites.
- Schitt’s Creek: This fan favorite created by father-son duo Eugene and Dan Levy, who also star in the series, lands in the top spot. The series has made viewers laugh since 2015 when it first aired on Pop TV and CBC. Fans immediately fell in love with the extremely wealthy Rose clan and wanted to follow their journey. It all begins when the patriarch, a video store magnate, and his family lose it all and are left with no option but to leave their pampered lives behind and attempt to start anew in a depressing small town. Catherine O’Hara, Annie Murphy, Emily Hampshire and Chris Elliott round out the cast. The first five seasons (66 episodes) have aired on Netflix and season six (14 episodes) is rumored to arrive in October.
- Community: As of April, Netflix subscribers were able to watch this hilarious comedy under the streamer’s multi-year, non-exclusive global deal with Sony Pictures TV. All six seasons are available to subscribers and they’ve been bingeing up a storm! Under the deal, Sony also extended its license with Hulu for the show’s entire 110-episode library, but the majority of viewing is on Netflix. The story revolves around Jeff Winger, who returns to college when his bogus law degree is exposed and it is there that he forms a study group of outcasts. This series was created by Dan Harmon and originally aired on NBC from 2009 to 2015. The brilliant cast includes Joel McHale, Ken Jeong, Donald Glover and Chevy Chase.
- Dead to Me: This Netflix original has been a favorite of critics and fans alike and has received a lot of awards attention in its first two seasons (20 episodes). You can’t label this one from creator Liz Feldman a comedy as it’s so layered. In an attempt to put this brilliant series into a box, it’s been called a tragicomedy, dramedy and a traumedy. Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini absolutely shine as Jen Harding and Judy Hale, two women who become the best of friends under some of life’s worst circumstances. Jen is an uptight widow who meets the seemingly free-spirited Judy at a support group for those grieving the loss of a loved one and the two women’s lives quickly become deeply entangled by lies, havoc and murder. Fans root for them despite some of the horrible decisions they make. As Emmy Award-winning creator Liz Feldman said in an interview earlier this year, nothing in life is black or white. This show represents how good people can make terrible choices and how one bad decision can become an avalanche and down comes an entire life. James Marsden, Sam McCarthy and Diana Maria Riva round out this very funny and talented cast.
- The Office: It never gets old watching employees of Dunder Mifflin’s paper-supply company attempt to survive another work week filled with ego clashes and extremely inappropriate behavior. It would be fair to say the nine season (201 episodes) series is a timeless classic that made huge stars of several of its cast members, including Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer. Created by Greg Daniels, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the series originally ran from 2005 to 2013 on NBC and is one of the most-binged shows on Netflix.
- New Girl: All seven seasons (146 episodes) of this show about a woman in her late twenties who moves in with three single guys following a painful breakup can be binged on the streamer. This series, created by Elizabeth Meriwether, first aired on FOX from 2011 to 2018. It was a fan favorite during its original run and has become a favorite to re-watch. This series launched the careers of Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris and Hannah Simone.