Tag Archives: sitcom

Friendships, Fun, and Funny Situations: MY FAVORITE SITCOMS

By Matthew Kim

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3.5 minute read]

When I need a good laugh or a moment to escape the hardships of reality, I always rely on sitcoms to cheer me up. A sitcom is a comedic TV show that typically focuses on the funny day-to-day interactions of a group of characters. With most episodes being around 20 minutes in length, it’s very easy to mindlessly continue watching your favorite characters and enter their universe. Sitcoms are usually packed with ensemble casts with diverse personalities that create relatable content. With good chemistry, a sitcom show can gain popularity for their loveable characters or for just being straight-out funny. For a non-native speaker, watching sitcoms is also a great way to improve your English as they typically contain jokes with references to American culture or customs. Over the years, I’ve seen a countless number of sitcoms and wanted to share two of my favorites with you all!

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

New Girl

The premise of New Girl begins when Jessica Day, played by Zooey Deschanel, goes through a bad breakup with her ex-boyfriend, Spencer. In the pilot episode, she moves out of her shared home with Spencer and moves in with new roommates Nick, Schmidt, and Coach. Thus, she is the “new girl” in the apartment. Jess, is a quirky, offbeat teacher who is seen as a dork by most. The show mainly follows her life adventure of relationships and work. Nick Miller is one of Jess’ roommates who dropped out of law school so he could work as a bartender but he has aspirations to be a writer. He’s apathetic, socially awkward at times, very sarcastic, and struggles to share his emotions. I consider him to be the rock of the group because he provides stability for the craziness around him. Schmidt is another roommate who lived with Nick in college. He’s a funny character and in my opinion has amazing character development throughout the show. The third roommate is Ernie but he is better known by his nickname: Coach. He leaves after the pilot for undisclosed reasons but makes recurring appearances throughout the show. Due to this, his character lacks a bit of depth but he’s generally a force of good in the show. Following the pilot, Coach is replaced by Winston Bishop who is Nick’s childhood friend from Chicago. His facial expressions and love for his cat are some of the most entertaining moments on the show. In my opinion, the on-screen chemistry between Nick, Schmidt, and Winston is one of the key factors to the funniness of the show. The last member of the core gang is Cece: Jess’ best friend from childhood. Her character seems a bit stuck-up in the beginning but as the show progresses, she becomes more and more loveable. All in all, this hilarious, feel-good show features a cast of characters that’ll show you what real friends look like.

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How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother is one of my favorite shows ever and actually the first sitcom I finished from beginning to end. It is packed with comedic content but is a deeper show than most initially anticipate. The show follows Ted Mosby as he tells his children the story of how he met their mother. Ted Mosby is an architect who believes that he will eventually find “the one”. He is a romantic and constantly entangled in all sorts of drama in his love life. His best friend is Marshall, who he roomed with in college. Ted and Marshall’s friendship is something that I really admire in the show because they are always there for each other. Marshall’s wife, Lily, is a kindergarten teacher who can be the most loveable in the gang but also the most aggravating at times. The last character in the group is Barney Stinson, who is a wealthy serial playboy. He is another one of Ted’s best friends and has numerous catchphrases. Initially, he’s the most “immature” out of the gang but he transforms into a character that is loving and caring. He is my personal favorite out of all of them. This is a another great show to watch if you like shows focusing on groups of friends. It is packed with a lot of relatable content: first cars, relationship problems, financial hardships, childhood traumas, embarrassing situations, etc. All of these components make me feel more connected to the show.

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Modern Family: Rewatching 2009 in 2021

By Jack Schwartz

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3.5 minute read]

It’s no secret that when the pandemic forced us to spend more time indoors, many people quickly turned to streaming TV shows and movies to keep themselves entertained. Unsurprisingly, streaming giants like Netflix boasted huge increases in usage in 2020. Increasing screen time is an experience that I would say is nearly universal at this time. Shows that were released on Netflix last March, such as Tiger King, quickly became trending topics. Suddenly, Joe Exotic was everywhere, and everyone was talking about his zoo full of big cats. As I thought about how to carry out my first session as a Conversation Partner, I reflected on how television has given people of all different backgrounds common topics and themes to discuss, especially over the past year. Of course, students in the United States have rather different streaming options than students studying in China. If you take the time to compare streaming platforms, however, identifying pieces of media that are accessible to people in multiple countries is definitely a possibility.

Of the American TV shows accessible to both me (in Los Angeles) and one of the students participating in the Conversation Partner program (in Beijing), Modern Family stands out as a great choice. The ABC sitcom, set in a Los Angeles suburb documents three very different couples and their families. Many of the relationships between these families were rather tense in the pilot episode, and the show revolves around their growth and increasing connectedness. Rewatching the 2009 pilot episode of the show in 2021 was quite interesting, as the qualities that once made the families stand out have since become great topics of conversation.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash


 Take, for instance, husbands Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), who in the pilot episode are nervous to reveal their adopted daughter to the rest of the family. This representation in a broadcast network was quite groundbreaking in 2009. Rewatching the pilot episode in 2021 provides an opportunity for having an open conversation about the shifting cultural attitudes towards adoption by same-sex couples and the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights in general. 


 Another relationship that sparks conversations is the one between Gloria (Sofía Vergara) and Jay (Ed O’Neill). Gloria is an immigrant from Colombia and is over 20 years younger than her 63-year-old husband. The pair are far from the average relationship one might have expected to see on-screen in 2009. Gloria’s relationship with the rest of Jay’s family is layered with jokes at her expense about her accent and language barrier in the pilot. In later episodes, she has more open and honest conversations with members of the family about her experience as an immigrant and the challenges posed by not being a native English speaker. Seeing the rest of the family’s growth, compassion, and understanding is a heartwarming component of the show’s trajectory.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Overall, Modern Family is a great television show choice because it succinctly captures shifting American norms and values throughout the 2010s. On a wider level, rewatching the first season has revealed to me how valuable American media can be in sparking conversations with other students. Although students participating in the program might be located all throughout the world due to online learning and COVID-19, identifying which shows are licensed for streaming in their respective countries proves immensely beneficial. If you have a chance, try streaming Modern Family or another TV show and ask Conversation Leaders if they’ve seen these shows!

Featured Image by Jose Rago on Unsplash

Jack is a senior earning an M.S. in Applied Economics and Econometrics through the progressive degree program. Born and raised in Washington, DC, he’s loved getting to spend the last few years in Los Angeles and has driven across the United States five times. From scuba diving to writing movie reviews for the school newspaper, he tries to take advantage of everything Southern California has to offer. He studied abroad in Madrid last spring and is always looking to improve his Spanish.