The Great Comedy Drought of 2010

In the Dust Bowl TV comedy landspace, 2008-2009 will be remembered as a plentiful season for network sitcoms. It was the season when laugh rustlers could turn on the TV and harvest a bellyload of chuckles thanks to two strong new entrants in the genre: Modern Family and Community. Heck, they could even round up laughs from Better off Ted, Cougar Town, and The Middle. (We're leaving Glee out of this as it's not really a sitcom.)

It's stars-aligned rare that two comedies as delicious as Community and Modern Family are birthed in the same season in this Era of the Dead Comedy. But their success gave us hope that the grand old days of the hilarious '80s--when you could flip on the tube and be treated to Cheers, The Cosby Show, and, uhhh, Night Court?--were back.

Looking out on the 2010 crop of shows, all I see is tumbleweeds. A year ago, I wrote a piece asking what the best new comedy of the season was: Modern Family or Community? It was a rare instance to have two to choose from. I thought about writing a 2010 version of the same article, but couldn't come up with one, let alone two.

So far there seem to be three potential candidates (based on ratings and full-season orders) for this year's best new comedy. CBS has Mike & Molly, Fox has Raising Hope, and NBC has Outsourced. Only Mike & Molly hasn't been given a full-season order, but that's coming up really soon (UPDATE: CBS has given Mike & Molly a full season).

Sadly, none of those shows even comes close to the guaranteed laughs of Modern Family or Community. Last season was obviously an aberration. Even with newfound interest from networks looking to tap that comedy vein this season, all we've got this season is a mediocre crop at best.

So I ask you, dear reader. What do you think is the season's best new network comedy, or do you think there is even one worthy of wearing the crown at all?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Modern Family isn't for me. Not funny. I get bored watching it, maybe it's for the older crowd? Mike and Molly for the fat American crowd, I watched the show knowing it will end with a heart attack. Raising Hope bored me too. It's also amazing, TV.com mentioned Outsourced without throwing their full hatred of the show into the article. Are you guys letting off on your hate of Outsourced now?
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Modern Family = laughs? Sorry, but that show is an enormous failure. It doesn't suck, but it just fails.
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It doesn't matter which is the best this season. When you look at the big picture TV just sucks these days. Maybe three shows I like to watch the rest is to fill up the time. When I find something else to do the TV goes off with a smile on my face. The days when TV was worth watching are gone and most likely will not come back.
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That's a matter of opnion, i think that there is a lot of great comedies this year. Even though i can't say anything bad about Community and Modern Family, i think that they are as good as Mike & Molly, Outsourced and Bleep My Dad Says, which are my top 3 of new sitcom's. But as i started by saying "It's a matter of opnion".
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As long as there are Ipods, the sitcom genre is here to stay.
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Modern Family cracks me up. Especially Phill and Gloria.
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Raising Hope ! Will did Earl disapear ?
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I like **** My Dad says.
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I agree with @harpier. Now it's hard to classify shows in one category as comedy or drama and the good example is Glee because there are some episode which are more comedy and some episode which are more like a drama. I think that now there are too many shows of all sorts that is hard to classify them as comedy or drama. and I think that shows with are a mix between all the type with well-constructed dialogs are way better than pure comedy. But for this season I really enjoy Raising Hope and Better with you (which is a bit girlish according to me) but I've stopped watching Running Wilde which I found quite boring. But nothing is as good as Modern family or the big bang theory!
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The last time I watched a comedy that I really liked,was when Cheers was on. No other so called comedy has interested me since. I have stuck with Dramas ever since Cheers went off the air.
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Maybe some mid-season show will make a difference this year?
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I think a larger threat to the standard half-hour sitcom is the appropriation of comedy-styled dialogue into hour-long dramas. The most obvious example is clearly "Glee," but other dramas--including "Castle," "Chuck" (which could be categorized as comedy, but is definitely NOT a sitcom), "The Mentalist", "True Blood" and even "House"--have been co-opting laughs from more traditional comedy formats. I don't think it's such a bad thing, since I enjoy sharp, witty dialogue but find most comedies too forced.
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"Raising Hope" isn't awful, though it needs to be more consistent. The best new comedies of late seem to be on basic cable, courtesy of "Todd Margaret" and "Childrens' Hospital."
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I Agree i think 2004 to 2007 seasons were the best ever in comedy (how i met your mother - the big bang theory - Chuck ) great comedies great memories.
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TOP FIVE new sitcoms in order: 1) Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret; 2) Raising Hope; 3) Mike & Molly; 4) Outsourced; 5) Steven Seagal: Lawman***

****Technically, this is its second season; but its it's first season as a comedy
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I agree, this year's new network comedies have sucked! I wouldn't pick any for best new comedy.
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Are you including The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret? Because that's the best new comedy of the year, hands down.
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outsource, deff!.
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I agree. There's Mike & Molly, Shat My Dad Says, Better With You, Fox's 2 shows and Outsourced. Fox is the only network to produce the better of the new shows, I'd say it's because they're the only ones sans laugh tracks but then what's outsource's excuse? Not that I'm crazy about Running Wilde either.
So it's down to Raising Hope.
I think back to last season where I considered The Middle one of the worst of the new sitcoms.. and if that was the worst of last season, it's clear that this season is a real bomb for sitcoms.
But judging by these comments, everyone has their own opinion. Some people can deal with quirky shows, others need comforting shows with laugh tracks to tell them when to laugh at very safe, traditional shows.
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For me Mike & Molly is the best network comedy now. Very funny!
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Just watched episode 6 of S' My Dad Says. It was gawd awful. Never again.
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Raising Hope is without a doubt the best comedy this season. I also kind of like Running Wilde, but I have low expectations for that getting a full season. Last year wasn't too good either, Better of Ted had me just looking at my screen unamused for the two episodes I bothered with, Cougar Town did manage to get me to stay with it for one episode more, but it still wasn't enough, haven't given The Middle a chance, but it doesn't sound very good, and while I see what people like about Modern Family, I still find it lacking in potential, guess I'll get to watch that again soon enough, but eh. Shows like Community doesn't come around often.
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Raising Hope is easily the best new comedy of the season. In fact, for me it's the only watchable new comedy of the season.



As of now, "30 Rock", "Cougar Town", "Raising Hope" and "The Big Bang Theory" are the best comedies on TV.



"Modern Family" has been very hit-or-miss this season and "Community" seems to have run out of gas (and gags) so early in its run. It's become tedious to sit through.
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I think Raising Hope is better than Modern Family, and it's definitely better than Community this season, but not last. What have the Community writers been smoking? Why is it so weird this season? And not good weird, bad weird. As in, not the weird Community we've grown to love.
But I love Raising Hope and I think it's definitely the best comedy of the season. Not that I've watched the others, they sound terrible and from reviews, I'm guessing they are.
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$#*! My Dad Says,the big bang theory , modern family.......... just those three, without forgetting Blue Mountain State.
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i like outsorced, people were afraid of stereotypes etc, but if anything australian women are the ones who should complain, community is among the best but the title has to go to big bang theory
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I would quibble with whether the Cosby Show was funny...I'd put it in the same category as Cougar Town, Outsourced, S@(* My Dad Says, etc....a happy, amusing way to pass the time; but nothing to write home about. Totally agree that Community is in a higher league.
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EXCUSE ME??? ure funn Tim, as usual ofcourse. Neither Community or Modern Family was funny. I tried both and they both failed. They are not even worth to stand in the shade of great comedies like TBBT. As looking at your picture, Yes Raising Hope, is way better then the two u named. Even Mike and Molly AND Outsourced i enjoy, and are both better then the two ure naming.



Ure missing something Tim, its called Taste.
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is anyone watching an idiot abroad? Karl Pilkington is the funniest person on television.
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I like Better With You. It's got a nice vibe and is pretty funny
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#1: The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (although not on a major network)
#2 (tie): Outsourced & Running Wilde
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Mike & Molly takes the lead, i mean the show is hilarious,seriously
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I actually like 'Better With You' ... granted, the acting is not the best, I think it does have some nice moments ... hope it gets a few more episodes
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Raising hope is great but in my humble opinion the best new sitcom is Outsourced...

Cheers from Portugal...
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Raising Hope. Started out great, and just gets better.
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Mike & Molly has lots of laughs... but if you have reservations about watchin big folks on camera make you laugh...then i guess u wouldn't find it to funny...but its definitely worthy of your new comedy leader for this season.
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Let me see, you leave out Glee coz its not a sitcom, but listed as a comedy, yet Nurse jackie is so not funny but it is listed as a comedy.
What is up with all this? On Glees worst day it is more funny than jackie, but this is not a defense of Glee, just a rant about how they try to pidgeon hole shows that aren't. And Sh@@ my dads says is the most unfunny show arounds, And dad never says any weird sh@@!
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I am as shocked as you are going to be when I say among the new comedies, Outsourced has the most appeal. While I do like Raising Hope and Running Wilde, they definitely do not have wide appeal. Mike and Molly, $#*! My Dad Says, Better With You, I tried watching for a few episodes, were very forced and pretty much the reason why many people have switched over to watching British comedies.
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Nothing will beat Community! That is the funniest show I have seen in a long time!
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I know i'm completely alone in this but I like running wilde :(
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You are forgetting about Parks and Rec last year. I know it started the year before but in my heart I consider it's second season to be the first. I just try and forgt season one ever happened. Still, nothing beats Modern Family. It's the only sitcom on right now besides The Office that I think will actually be considered a television classic in twenty years.
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I enjoy both Outsourced and Mike & Molly.
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Raising Hope gets my vote. It has the laughs and has heart also. I am surprised that it got picked up because it is rare for Fox to make a good decision.
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There hasn't been a good new comedy in years...this year continues the trend.
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Is awkward silence the new cue for americans to know when to laugh? The Office, Modern Family, any of those mockumentary style shows. They're just not funny. What happened to good punchlines?
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i feel Outsourced is the best new comedy of the 2010 Fall season.
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Loving Mike & Molly; Raising Hope; S#*! My Dad Says; and The Defenders!
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No new comedy this season is even in the same league as Modern Family or Community.
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Sadly, there's none.
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Mike & Molly.
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