Entertainment

9 workplace comedies you should check out that aren’t ‘The Office’

Truly the backbone of television.

words by: Alee Kwong
Oct 12, 2022

Workplace comedies are great because they feel somewhat familiar. I’m convinced that’s why a lot of them end up being our comfort shows. The controlled chaos, the zany situations that arise out of nowhere, and the quirky characters create a safe space for us.

 

Of course, Michael Schur, has created two of the most popular workplace comedies to date — and yes, I know The Office was a remake, but you know what I mean. There is so much more out there for you to explore when it comes to this niche genre, and plenty of workplaces for you to drop into and observe! Here’s 9 to put on that watchlist.

 

1. Veep (2012-2019)

 

Where to watch: HBO Max, Hulu

 

“Politics is about people,” former Senator Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is fond of saying. Unfortunately, the people Meyer — a charismatic leader and rising star in her party — meets after becoming vice president, are nothing like she expected, but everything she was warned about. Veep follows the VP as she puts out political fires, juggles her public schedule and private life, and does everything within her limited powers to improve her dysfunctional relationship with the chief executive. Meyer’s trusted — and some not-so-trusted — sidekicks include chief of staff Amy (Anna Chlumsky), one-time spokesperson Mike (Matt Walsh), and right-hand man Gary (Tony Hale).

 

2. Rutherford Falls (2021-2022)

 

Where to watch: Peacock

 

The series is a comedy about two lifelong friends, Nathan Rutherford (Ed Helms) and Reagan Wells (Jana Schmieding), whose relationship is tested when a crisis hits their fictional small town. After the mayor decides to move a statue of Nathan’s ancestor, the town founder, because drivers keep hitting it, Nathan begins a quest to keep the statue in its place. Reagan has to juggle loyalty to her friend and to her people, the (fictional) Minishonka Nation. She wants to develop a cultural center to highlight their history, and Rutherford’s ancestor has become known for attacks on her people in the colonial era.

 

3. Silicon Valley (2014-2019)

 

Where to watch: HBO Max, Hulu

 

Partially inspired by co-creator Mike Judge’s experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer in the 1980s, this comedy series follows the misadventures of introverted computer programmer Richard (Thomas Middleditch) and his brainy friends as they attempt to strike it rich in a high-tech gold rush. They live together in a Bay Area startup incubator loosely run by self-satisfied dot-com millionaire Erlich (T.J. Miller), who lets them stay in his house rent-free in exchange for a stake in the projects they invent there. But when Richard develops a powerful search algorithm at his day job, he finds himself caught in the middle of a bidding war between his boss — whose firm offers Richard an eight-figure buyout — and a deep-pocketed venture capitalist.

 

4. Abbott Elementary (2021-present)

 

Where to watch: HBO Max, Hulu, ABC

 

A group of dedicated, passionate teachers (Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti) — and a slightly tone-deaf principal (Janelle James) — find themselves thrown together in a Philadelphia public school where, despite the odds stacked against them, they are determined to help their students succeed in life. Though these incredible public servants may be outnumbered and underfunded, they love what they do — even if they don’t love the school district’s less-than-stellar attitude toward educating children.

 

5. Superstore (2015-2021)

 

Where to watch: Hulu, Peacock

 

An oddball family of employees at supersized megastore Cloud 9 tackles the day-to-day grind of rabid bargain hunters, riot-causing sales and nap-worthy training sessions. Stalwart employee Amy (America Ferrera) is just trying to hold it all together despite the best efforts of her daftly clueless manager Glen (Mark McKinney) and his iron-fisted assistant Dina (Lauren Ash). Rounding out the crew is new hire Jonah (Ben Feldman), a dreamy dreamer, sardonic Garrett (Colton Dunn), ambitious Mateo (Nico Santos), and sweet young mother-to-be Cheyenne (Nichole Sakura). From bright-eyed newbies to seen-it-all veterans, bumbling seasonal hires and in-it-for-life managers, they’re all going to get through another day — together.

 

6. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-2021)

 

Where to watch: Hulu

 

Depraved underachieving might look easy, but for the egocentric Mac (Rob McElhenney), Charlie (Charlie Day), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Frank (Danny DeVito), and Dee (Kaitlin Olsen), it’s an art form. This series follows “The Gang,” the owners of the unsuccessful Paddy’s Pub — a group of degenerates who loves nothing more than to scheme, conspire, and mostly revel in each other’s misery. Whether gaming the welfare system, exploiting dumpster babies, pretending to be crippled, impersonating officers, or faking funerals, The Gang never stoops too low in the name of making a buck.

 

7. Workaholics (2011-2017)

 

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, Hulu

 

Late nights and lazy days are a thing of the past for 3 college friends who enter the workforce together. For Blake (Blake Anderson), Adam (Adam DeVine), and Anders (Anders Holm), making the transition from slacker students to prompt professional telemarketers isn’t a smooth one, considering dress codes, deadlines and actually using an alarm clock are foreign concepts to the guys. So they spend their days avoiding doing any real work before looking for a good time at night.

 

8. Scrubs (2001-2010)

 

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu

 

Scrubs focuses on the unique point of view of its main character and narrator, Dr. John Michael “J.D.” Dorian (Zach Braff) for the first 8 seasons, with season 9 being narrated by the new main character Lucy Bennett (Kerry Bishé). Most episodes feature multiple story lines thematically linked by voice-overs done by Braff, as well as the comical daydreams of J.D. According to the show’s creator Bill Lawrence, “What we decided was, rather than have it be a monotone narration, if it’s going to be Zach’s voice, we’re going to do everything through J.D.’s eyes.”

 

9. Great News (2017-2018)

 

Where to watch: Netflix

 

Every workplace is a family. But for Katie (Briga Heelan), a producer at cable news network MMN, it goes one step further when her mom, Carol (Andrea Martin), is hired as an intern. That’s just scratching the surface of this slightly offbeat team, which includes old-school newsman Chuck (John Michael Higgins) and hip millennial Portia (Nicole Richie), the two co-anchors who only get along when the cameras are rolling. Then there’s Greg (Adam Campbell), the young, ambitious but uptight executive producer, and Justin (Horatio Sanz), the laid-back video editor and voice of reason for this oddball crew. Together, they may be a little dysfunctional, but that won’t stop them from doing what they do best: Breaking the news.

 

Workplace comedies sometimes end up making history because of their writing, direction, and strong characters. For example, after just one season, Abbott Elementary is (still) a ratings smash, and has multiple Emmys.

 

Photo via NBC