My Year of Sitcoms

It’s Easy to Be Seduced by the Rosy Glow of These Syndicated Fictions—But They Channel a Reality That Never Really Existed

It didn’t start out intentionally. A little 30 Rock to help me get out of bed in the morning. Some New Girl with dinner. A nightcap of Frasier (as others have written, it is the best show to go to sleep to).

It spiraled from there, an easy escape from what was becoming an increasingly rough year.

Ever since the sitcom emerged in the late 1940s, the format has offered a bulwark against reality.

The first sitcom, short for “situation comedy,” featured real-life married couple Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns. The domestic comedy, …