Neil Patrick Harris as Barney is "How I Met Your Mother"

Neil Patrick Harris as Barney is "How I Met Your Mother."

Finals week is approaching fast, and for some students binge-watching TV is the best way to cope with the stress that accompanies large papers and exams. At this time of year the internet becomes my best friend because it has all my favorite sitcoms that now serve as a huge source of comfort.

Here, I list America’s best sitcoms: the ones that’ll never get old and will possibly help you feel better about your own life and future during these next few stressful weeks. Warning: I exclude “Friends” because at this point, you’ve either have or haven’t watched it in its entirety. 

5. “The Office" (2005), 9 Seasons “The Office” is based on Ricky Gervais’ show of the same name that originally aired on BBC in 2001. Many would remember this show as the life of Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell). He was the regional manager of a paper company, Dunder Mifflin, who tried to be both the best boss and best friend of his co-workers, all of whom created a special place in any fan’s heart like. Alongside Carell was Rainn Wilson, Ed Helms, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and many more. Carell left the show after seven seasons, but the “The Office” ended strong because of its cultural impact. Where today, Scranton, Pennsylvania, is known to be the home of the fake Dunder Mifflin and a new tour stop for those fans traveling through the U.S. 

Suggested Episode: “The Dundies” (Season 2, Episode 1)

4. “Seinfeld" (1989), 9 Seasons In my opinion, it is one of the best sitcoms to come out of the '90s even though it is another NYC-based show. The interesting thing about this show is that it was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, who actually plays himself in the series. The show focuses on Seinfeld’s and his three quirky friends. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander all starred alongside Seinfeld, which allowed them to create their own name in American comedy. “Seinfeld” received great viewership when on air, ranging from just under 20 million for the first season and ending with almost 40 million at the final season. Its most watched episode, “The Finale,” had more than 70 million people watching live on television. The fame “Seinfeld”reached has now made it one of the classic sitcoms in America, which is why it never gets old no matter how many times your dad might make you sit through it. 

Suggested Episode: “The Pothole” (Season 8, Episode 16)

3. “The Big Bang Theory" (2007), 10 Seasons This show focuses on the lives of four scientists who live in Pasadena, California. Since 2009, it has been nominated for 39 Primetime Emmy awards and won eight with Jim Parsons — who plays Sheldon Cooper in the series — taking three for his outstanding role as a lead actor in a comedy series. Other names such as Simon Helberg, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki and Kunal Nayyar play Cooper’s companions. Critics have given “The Big Bang Theory” consistently mixed reviews, but the show has proved to be incredibly popular because of its 2011 syndication to Fox, which began to show reruns weekly on TBS. “The Big Bang Theory” has also had many scientist cameos that would leave any fan teeming with excitement. Some of the biggest are Stephen Hawking, George Smoot and Bill Nye who all eventually became friends of the main characters. The show is speculated to be coming to a close soon as CBS will be saying goodbye to another one of its big hits.

Suggested Episode: “The Gothowitz Deviation” (Season 3, Episode 3)

2. “That '70s Show" (1998), 8 Seasons It takes place in the the fictional small town of Point Place, Wisconsin, during the late 1970s. It’s centered on Eric Foreman (played by Topher Grace) and his gang of friends as they deal with teenage issues that are still relatable today, while hanging out in the family basement. The show received positive reviews during its airtime, but dipped in its last few seasons as actors began to leave the cast to follow their own career paths. Some of the biggest names today came from “That '70s Show,” such as Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Laura Prepon. Not only was the entire cast good at accurately placing the show in its decade, but the sets and costumes are what really brought it all together. Fun fact: Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis played high school sweethearts in the first four seasons, but never ended up together in the show. Today, Kutcher and Kunis are married and expecting their second child.

Suggested Episode: “Streaking” (Season 1, Episode 3)

1. “How I Met Your Mother" (2005), 9 Seasons This show takes place in New York City and follows the lives of five best friends who enjoy hanging out in the bar below their apartment. What makes this show a hit is that every episode works in a way that allows them to stand out on their own, but also come together to tell the series plot in a new fashion because it’s told through the memories of the main character, Ted (played by Josh Radnor). The show also has one of the strongest lead casts, which includes Jason Segel, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders, have all made a name for themselves. This created one of the largest fan-cult followings of all time as the show rarely dropped in viewer ratings despite the constant criticism it received. In the end, creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas stood by their controversial ending, but released an alternate ending for those fans who were disappointed in the original series finale, which is something unique to “HIMYM” and its fanbase.

Suggested Episode: “The Sweet Taste of Liberty” (Season 1, Episode 3)

Comedy shows, whether they’re from the past or present, serve as some of the best ways to unwind from a busy lifestyle, which is why investing time into these series just might be the best solution for when you need to de-stress.

Maddelynne Parker is a sophomore media arts and design major. Contact Maddelynne at parkermn@dukes.jmu.edu.

Maddelynne Parker is a senior writer in her third year working for The Breeze. She loves to write album reviews, artist features and really anything that involves music. Her goal in life is to be published by NME and Spin magazine.