For a while, comedy was all I watched - I never felt that I had the time or patience for hour long dramas, but I've recently gone into that full force. A good comedy, a truly good comedy, takes a hell of a lot to get to the proper place for me.
I can instantly rule out any show that has a laugh track. It doesn't really matter the content - if the shows creators feel the need to have a laugh track in it this day and age? It's unforgivable. I give some leeway to older shows.. Seinfeld and Frasier, which are excellent shows that if done today.. I feel wouldn't have a laugh track.
Besides that, I consider where the comedy comes from. The best way to explain this is Big Bang Theory and Community. I love Community and I absolutely loathe Big Bang, but both are in general.. based around meta culture references. Taking the laugh track on Big Bang out of the equation here.. BBT is a show that gets its comedy from making fun of 'nerds' or 'geeks' - they shove it straight in your face and suddenly its the next "it" thing. But Community on the other hand, is a show FOR the exact type of people that BBT thinks that it is targeting but is instead making fun of with over the top example and humor.
And something that is just personally on my list - references in the show. I like a comedy that initially, you can't just jump into and fully enjoy. That sounds bad on the surface I think, but at the same time it's this kind of thinking that causes cookie cutter TV programs. When my first watching makes callbacks.. I feel good for having watched the whole thing. And then when I can go and watch again finding new things each time, it's just about as good as things get.
Finally - the list of my favorite comedies.
- It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
- Arrested Development
- Malcolm In The Middle
- The IT Crowd (and it HAS to be as good as it is for me to get over the laugh track)
There are shows like The Office and Parks and Rec that I enjoy as well, but the whole pseduo-documentary concept throws me off a bit too.