Happy sad show recommendations?
April 4, 2013 3:51 AM   Subscribe

I recently discovered the TV show Go On and liked it. I am wondering if you guys know of any other show (or movie) that has the same feel?

I would love it if the characters are going through a hard time and are experiencing grief but trying to deal with it in different ways (denial, projection, etc). Then some comedy is mixed in because, hey, that's life, yes? Then you laugh and then you realise that you're crying, then you're laughing again.

Bonus if it's a group of people that are forced to be together, like a bunch of misfits, a la Community.

posted by pleasebekind to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
How about Green Wing (all episodes available on Hulu)? This is a UK hospital comedy with large helpings of surrealism. The (mad but intensely likable) characters have serious problems, but it is dealt with in a comedic way. I love this show, but it's not for everyone, being occasionally rather dark. I definitely laugh-cried during the finale.

Scrubs is also hospital-set, and has a lot of sad moments mixed in with the comedy. I personally find it a little schmaltzy. But it does fit your requirements: happy/sad/bunch of misfits.
posted by Ziggy500 at 4:08 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

This sounds almost exactly like the pitch for Dead Like Me, although it had a bit of a supernatural element (it's about how dead people become Grim Reapers). It takes an episode or two to come together, but many episodes are about grief and how the living and...not-so-living deal with it.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:19 AM on April 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

Came to suggest Scrubs but Ziggy500 beat me to it. It's certainly not for everyone but is one of my favorite shows. It can get ridiculously silly, then hit you with some sad like a punch to the gut.
posted by Roommate at 4:19 AM on April 4, 2013

Dead Like Me is a great suggestion.

Most folks have seen it by now, but if you haven't, I think little miss Sunshine fits this pretty well.
posted by phunniemee at 4:36 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might like Julia Sweeney's one woman show on Netflix, God Said Ha! Funny and very moving.
posted by onlyconnect at 5:24 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Happy Go Lucky is a film with that kind of feel. The main character is very optimistic and easy-going, but the events of the film put her in a series of stressful situations that she has to contend with.
posted by burnmp3s at 5:31 AM on April 4, 2013

If you're even remotely into stand-up, you have to grab Tig Notaro's Live in Largo, during which she addresses learning that she had cancer. It's only audio, but it's absolutely genius.
posted by General Malaise at 5:44 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Better Off Ted felt like that to me, even though its a bit more absurdist.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:54 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Parenthood" might fit the bill -- it's really a sort of evening soap, but the people are very human and do a lot of failing and floundering before finding their ways to the more adult ways of dealing with crises that we maybe all wish we could adopt. I often feel a cringe at some mis-step, but end up respecting the writers for finding a novel and compelling way to resolve the situation. Check it out.
posted by acm at 6:09 AM on April 4, 2013

Six Feet Under!
posted by yawper at 7:05 AM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies might work for you.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 7:16 AM on April 4, 2013

The Big C. Lols and tears. Added bonus in season 1: Idris Elba.
posted by Ness at 7:27 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ricky Gervais's new show Derek. A collection of misfits working (or in one case just hanging around) in an underfunded old age home. It may not be quite what you're looking for but I'm recommending it anyway. It had me alternately laughing and crying so hard I couldn't breathe.
posted by Devoidoid at 7:47 AM on April 4, 2013

Give Enlightened a try.
posted by trunk muffins at 7:47 AM on April 4, 2013

United States of Tara seems like it might work for you. Focuses on a mom with Disassociative Identity Disorder and how her family deals with it. One of her identities is a cigarette-smoking, whiskey-swilling Vietnam vet named Buck. Hilarity and tragedy ensue.
posted by frizzle at 8:30 AM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Being Erica
posted by tenaciousmoon at 9:04 AM on April 4, 2013

Nurse Jackie is about an ER nurse trying to battle (and hide) a painkiller addiction while experiencing the slow demise of her marriage. It's sort of a dark comedy with a cast of supporting characters of varying degrees of wackiness.
posted by fuse theorem at 10:49 AM on April 4, 2013

You would probably like Fresh Meat. It's a British show available on Hulu about 6 university students living in a shared house, dealing with early-20s angst and problems. It's really well done, and has that comedy mixed with reality (not reality TV!) feel with a bunch of misfits.
posted by apricot at 12:37 PM on April 4, 2013

Oh wow- pretty much seasons 5-7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Also Firefly, but only if you watch the first season in proper order, and then watch Serenity without knowing what's going to happen.

China Beach was also sort of excellent for this.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:09 PM on April 4, 2013

Mr. Sunshine definitely fits the bill. It was a short-lived Matthew Perry project (he created, wrote, and starred) that, as I remember it, very much plays into the same themes as Go On, to the extent that Perry is pretty much playing the same character in both. The show had flaws, to be sure, and was ultimately cancelled, but I think you'd enjoy it given how closely it deals with the same moods you're looking for.

Available for purchase from the usual suspects or streaming from various dodgy sources.
posted by zachlipton at 2:04 PM on April 4, 2013

Definitely The Big C. It's about a mom/teacher who has cancer. It's a little more sad than happy at certain points and a little more happy than sad in other episodes, but really heartwarming and funny.
posted by bigasthesky at 5:27 PM on April 4, 2013

Louie. It's more about the awkward shittiness of life in general (and Louis CK's fictionalized life in particular) than any central tragedy, but it does an excellent job of mixing authentic grief and pain with comedy in an artful way.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:23 PM on April 4, 2013

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