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TV shows to binge watch if you love romantic comedy sitcoms
Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime and good ol' fashioned DVD sets are here to help if you're still having trouble accepting how "How I Met Your Mother" ended.
From the classic "Cheers" to the present-day "The Mindy Project" and "New Girl," here are some romantic comedies you should binge watch.
Get into the spirit with the show that started it all. "Cheers" ran for 11 seasons (from 1982 to 1993), but the first five are the ones that set the standard for modern romantic comedies on television with Ted Danson's Sam Malone and Shelley Long's Diane Chambers.
There's still a ton of Sam and Diane fanfic out there, even 31 years after the show's premiere (Google it!).
So what made them so special? Was it the will-they-or-won't-they dynamic, or the sexual tension between Danson and Long? Or perhaps it was just the show's sharp writing.
Keep your ears open for the now-classic Diane line in describing her feelings for Sam: "I hate you with the white-hot intensity of one thousand suns."
Cheers is available to stream on Netflix.(Credit: NBC)
Sex and the City
Although "Sex and the City" had the ability to shock when it came to sex, it was really about love deep down. Carrie and Mr. Big, of course, provided the big romance, but there were plenty of other romances to watch. Pick your favorite season, and there is a couple to root for (season four, Aiden and Carrie, or season six, Harry and Charlotte).
And we'll always have Manhattan. The drink, that is, because that can make everything seem romantic after a while.
You can watch "Sex and the City" on HBO Go, and of course, reruns are on E! and the Esquire network (yes, for real).(Credit: Craig Blankenhorn / Warner Bros. Pictures)
Mad About You
"Mad About You" was an early '90s romantic comedy about a newly-married couple, Paul and Jamie Buchman. Taking place in New York, the show revealed through flashbacks that the couple met buying an early copy of the Sunday New York Times (yes, this was something people did back then, or so we hear).
In the show's seven seasons, Paul and Jamie didn't have a a rock-solid relationship, but their love for each other won out.
Here's hoping they hung onto that Greenwich Village apartment they bought in the mid-'90s -- the amount of money that place would be worth now is a happy ending for everyone.
A day with the Buchmans requires a DVD player, since the show is not available for streaming on Netflix or Amazon Instant Viewing.(Credit: Columbia TriStar / Byron J. Cohen)
The Mindy Project
"The Mindy Project" kicked off with the protagonist, Dr. Mindy Lahiri, declaring "I'm Sandra Bullock!" -- which pretty defines the show as a romantic comedy.
The show's creator and star, Mindy Kaling, has in real life professed her love of romantic comedies, and in the show's nearly two seasons Kaling's character has been through the romantic ringer. Her pursuits range from a minister-turned-fiance, a dentist who later married someone Mindy introduced him to, the (evil) male midwife, the heartsick lawyer Cliff, and several co-workers. The show threw all its cards on the table in the second season when Mindy and her frequent foe, Danny ("The Mindy Project's" Sam and Diane) started dating, although of course, there are already problems.
"It was a lot of work to get them together, but we always knew that there had to be a complication once we got them together," producer Ike Barinholtz told BuzzFeed.
In other words, don't expect smooth sailing. (sob!)
"The Mindy Project" is available to stream on Hulu Plus.(Credit: Fox)
"New Girl" started out with the classic romantic-comedy troupe: Woman, dumped by her boyfriend, seeks a new life. By series' second episode, the show already began setting up the will-they-or-won't-they between lead character Jess and her slacker roommate Nick, as well as the sexual tension between Cece and Schmidt. In three seasons, Cece and Schmidt have dated and broken up, and Nick and Jess finally took the plunge at the end of last season (only to break up toward the end of season three).
At least at this point, they've brought back Coach, so our hearts have a little comfort.
"New Girl" is available to stream on Netflix and Hulu Plus.(Credit: FOX / Patrick McElhenney)
Despite the title, the romantic tension on "Friends" started pretty much in the first episode, when Ross nervously told Rachel they should "hang out sometime." Ross and Rachel became the yet another Sam and Diane, going through ten years of dating, break-ups, "we were on a break!", will-they-or-won't-they, and eventually, they have a baby together.
But the show's other couple, Chandler and Monica, proved to be more grounded. They kicked things off with a bang at the end of season four, secretly sleeping together for months, before moving in together and eventually marrying. How you could not love a couple whose relationship kicked off with one person drunk (Monica) and the other in pajamas (Chandler) at 9:15 pm?
"Friends" is available on DVD, or reruns are still on Nick at Nite, TBS, and WPIX.(Credit: Warner Bros. / Danny Feld )
Will & Grace
Initially conceived as a successor to "Mad About You," "Will & Grace" was not a romantic comedy between the titled stars, since Will was gay. But through the show's eight season, the romantic pursuits of the main characters (including their often-funnier friends Jack and Karen) provided some of the key storylines.
Now it seems so blase, but Will and Jack's (separate) romantic pursuits for men were pretty revolutionary at the time, as were Grace's search for a man who tolerated her, um, less-than-ladylike characteristics.
The show could almost perfectly be summed up by this scene in season six's "A-story, Bee-story." Grace's husband Leo hops into bed with Will and Grace, and comments how happy he is that she shaved her legs, only to find out that it's actually Will.
"Will & Grace" is available on DVD and reruns on Lifetime and WE.(Credit: Warner Bros. / Danny Feld )
Dharma & Greg
Ah, love at first sight. Who can resist? (Actually, don't answer that, no reason to get depressed with statistics.)
"Dharma & Greg" told the story of a free-spirited yoga instructor and an uptight, WASP stereotype--who got married the day they met (also, don't tell "Frozen's" Kristoff that it is possible to marry someone after one date.)
Through five seasons, "Dharma & Greg" mainly featured the melding of their two worlds--and they're vastly funnier parents.
Like "How I Met Your Mother," the show was heavy on romance and "meant to be"--not that that's a bad thing. We can (probably) assume their marriage is still going strong, since the actors appeared on "Two and a Half Men" as a married couple (although they were never referred to by name).
"Dharma & Greg" is available on DVD only.(Credit: Jerry Fitzgerald)
Mike and Molly
If you ever need your Melissa McCarthy fix, then Monday nights at 9 p.m. are just the time for you.
Before her star turn in "Bridesmaids," McCarthy signed on for "Mike and Molly," a sitcom about two people who meet at Overeaters Anonymous and fall in love.
Now in its fifth season, the show has undergone a drastic reboot and is barely recognizable from the sweet romantic comedy it represented in its early years. Still, it's nice to know a show that one withered mean-spirited attacks about featuring plus-size actors can survive (If you missed the controversy, this Marie Claire article is enough to disgust you), even if it's currently on the bubble.
"Mike and Molly" is available on DVD and for purchase on Amazon Instant.(Credit: Robert Voets / Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
Rules of Engagement"Rules of Engagement," which ran from 2007 to 2013, covered the lives of a long-married couple, an engaged couple, and their thoughtful, caring, in-search-of-relationship friend played by David Spade.
Psych! He actually was shallow, crass, and pretty much the stereotype of a horrible single person. Although the show never was a critical darling, it lasted seven (!) seasons and 100 episodes on CBS. Maybe the show didn't exactly put the romance in romantic comedy, but it did follow relationship issues from the point of view of some horrible people, so that's something, right?
"Rules of Engagement" is available on Netflix and for purchase on Amazon Instant.(Credit: Cliff Lipson / CBS )
"The Office" isn't technically a romantic comedy, no matter how much Michael Scott probably would have liked it to be one. But at the show's heart (besides Michael, that is), was Jim and Pam, who became so rock-solid in later seasons it's easy to forget that they didn't even start dating until the end of season three.
Jim and Pam weren't the only romance in the office, despite whatever HR (well, Toby) would have to say about it. Dunder-Mifflin's Scranton office also had Michael and Jan Levenson-Gould (the dinner party is as seared in horror in our brains), Kelly and Ryan, and in the later seasons, Andy and Erin.
As Michael Scott once said, love is "supposed to break all the rules."
"The Office" is available on Netflix, for purchase on Amazon Instant, and on DVD.(Credit: NBC )
Sometimes confused as the British "Friends," the BBC's "Coupling" had a big difference: All the characters were having sex with each other, or at least had sex with each other at one point (except maybe for "Scary Jeff").
The first episode kicked off with Steve and Susan's first date, and Susan described their friends this way "Your ex, my ex. Your best friend, my best friend. Every new relationship has baggage, so why not invite it all out for dinner."
Of course, that was the same dinner where Susan shows her friends her breast "satirically," so it pretty much perfectly sets the stage for whole series.
Despite all the raunchy jokes, Steve and Susan's love for each other (usually) won out in the end, and there was the added bonus of Patrick and Sally in the later seasons.
"Coupling" is available to stream on Netflix, Amazon Instant, and on DVD.(Credit: YouTube / BBC )
BONUS! COMING SOON: The Wonder Years
Is there anything more romantic than first love?
While "The Wonder Years" is usually classified as a coming-of-age comedy-drama, the romance between Kevin and Winnie was always a factor, even if it was unintentional at first (Danica McKellar initially only signed on for the first two episodes).
The romance dated back to the pilot, when the pair share an emotionally-charged kiss. Winnie's brother Brian was killed in Vietnam and then ... you know what? Just watch it for yourself to be reminded of the emotional romance of your youth.
For six seasons, Kevin and Winnie navigated junior high and then high school, dating on-and-off.
In the finale, Kevin tells us that he and Winnie never did end up together. First love may not be forever, but at least we will always have the memories of Kevin and Winnie.
The show has not yet been released on DVD, although StarVista Entertainment/Time Life announced in February that it will be out on DVD sometime in 2014.(Credit: ABC / Danny Field)
BONUS! YOU'LL HAVE TO WORK FOR IT: Moonlighting
They never did solve the Anselmo case, but that didn't make us love them any less.
In the late '80s, Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis reinvented television with "Moonlighting," an hour-long, romantic not-quite comedy and not quite-drama. The show was groundbreaking in so many ways: The fast-paced dialogue (it wasn't Aaron Sorkin who started that trend); the noir mysteries ("Veronica Mars" fans can thank "Moonlighting"); the postmodern breaking of the fourth wall (ever used the expression meta?); and the love-hate relationship between the main characters. Shepherd played Maddie Hayes, a washed-up, broke model forced to partner with wise-cracking private detective David Addison.
One of the biggest water-cooler shows of all time, the show eventually was canceled (and there was plenty of real-life drama to go along with it).
The show isn't available on DVD or streaming, so binge watching involves some real detective work, but it's worth it in the spirit of David and Maddie.(Credit: ABC Television Network)