5 Sitcoms That Should Have Packed It in After the First Season

Why can’t some comedies quit while they’re ahead?
5 Sitcoms That Should Have Packed It in After the First Season

Comedy nerds love to binge season after season of sitcoms like Friends or The Office, but they’d also admit that there are a few TV comedies out there that should have quit while they were ahead. Here are five sitcoms that absolutely killed it during their first seasons — then fell off a cliff faster than Wile E. Coyote

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Arrested Development


Has a comedy ever arrived more fully formed than the story of Michael Bluth and his dysfunctional family? Every note in Season One was pitch-perfect, every character sharply defined and funny as hell. The first two dang minutes set up everything with some of the most efficient storytelling you’ll ever see. The slide began in Season Two (is it a coincidence that Henry Winkler’s Barry Zuckercorn jumped a shark that year?) before becoming something unrecognizable by Season Four. 



Season One of Community was so well done that even Chevy Chase was funny. It’s tempting to say the show went off the rails once Dan Harmon was sent into comedy exile, but even before that gas leak season, the show’s deep dives into meta-sitcom deconstruction got a little too clever for their own good. 

How I Met Your Mother


This one was going to struggle over time almost by design. The first season set up an intriguing question: How did I meet your mother? But subsequent seasons needed to find ways to not answer the question — the better the show performed in the ratings, the more convoluted plot machinations it needed to justify its unwillingness to deliver on its premise. A case of success breeding a mess. 

Big Mouth


The problem with a show about going through puberty is that it’s a relatively short process. How many times can our heroes’ voices change? How many body parts are there to learn? How many episodes can be devoted to hair growing down there? Like How I Met Your MotherBig Mouth is a victim of its own premise — the longer it goes on, the less it can deliver on its original appeal. One other note: Just because a joke is “raunchy” doesn’t necessarily make it hilarious. 

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