Looking for my next group of "Friends"
November 14, 2014 11:16 AM   Subscribe

I recently binged season 5 of Go Girls, and it occurred to me that there's a lot of TV I'm missing out on, simply because many countries don't export their pop culture to the extent that the UK and and the US do.

I thought Go Girls was incredibly cheesy, but I enjoyed it anyway (although what on earth does that title mean? And why is a show that's called Go Girls have a guy as the main character/narrator?). I think the things I liked about it were the comedy and the dynamic of a group of young adult friends, and also a glimpse into living in a country that I've never even been to. I tried Googling for similar shows from Australasia, and tried Hounds, and while I "get" it, it's not really my type of humor. I'm now watching Agent Anna, which I find simultaneously funny and cringe-worthy (or funny because it's cringe-worthy?)

I'm sort of in the mood for more friendship oriented comedy-dramas, but other shows I like(d) include:

Pushing Daisies
Misfits (the UK version, I heard that there was a US version which I assume was a disaster)
The In-Betweeners (UK version, ditto)
Some Girls
The Syndicate
HIMYM (Season 1-5 and then it jumped the shark and they would not let it go)
Scrubs (Season 1-5, ditto)
Boy Meets World
Orange is the New Black
Criminal Minds
The Graham Norton Show
Happy Endings
Gakeppuchi no Eri
The Daily Show
Last Week Tonight
Dr. Who (altho this is probably the cheesiest I can handle)
The 4400

Alternatively, I couldn't stand stand Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, The Office, Arrested Development, The New Girl, Whitney, House of Cards (I seriously despise this show), CSI, One Tree Hill, and The OC.

I tend to default to looking for shows that are from the US or the UK, but I'm definitely open to non-English suggestions.

Please throw your TV suggestions at me!
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh and I loved 30 Rock! How could I forget 30 Rock??
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 11:18 AM on November 14, 2014

Have you heard of "Him & Her", or "Gavin & Stacy"?
Him & Her is hilarious.
Gavin and Stacy made me realize that Wales is like the Alabama of the UK.
15 Stories High, The Thick of It, Getting On.

cheese and crackers. I need to get out of the commonwealth.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:20 AM on November 14, 2014

Oh. And how could I forget "Outrageous Fortune".
posted by hal_c_on at 11:21 AM on November 14, 2014

Workaholics (US) is really very funny and captures that young adult friends dynamic.
posted by troika at 11:22 AM on November 14, 2014

Well, if you're looking for "Friends," the obvious suggestion is "Coupling," but make sure it's the UK version, because the US version sucked.

Some other quick suggestions based on the parameters: Psych, Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23, Workaholics, Raising Hope, Parks and Recreation.

Other shows you may like, based on the list: Castle, Monk, Nathan for You.
posted by General Malaise at 11:25 AM on November 14, 2014

Another huge vote for Parks and Recreation. Season one isn't great (and I hear that about many shows) but the rest of the series is totally worth it. No show has made me laugh or cry tears of joy more than that in years.

Also, it's old, but NewsRadio is still gold.
posted by futureisunwritten at 11:33 AM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Being Human (I'm referring to the UK version - I've never seen the US version)

Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes

Seconding Him and Her- it captures a lifestyle very common among people I know but which is hardly ever on TV
posted by threetwentytwo at 11:37 AM on November 14, 2014

Dance Academy!
posted by something something at 11:38 AM on November 14, 2014

Have you seen Reaper? It's freaking hilarious and has a great group of lovable loser type friends. US based but not typical. Sadly only two seasons.
posted by fshgrl at 11:42 AM on November 14, 2014

You might like Six Feet Under. It's sort of dark comedy, and the core cast is a family with children in their 20s and 30s and their various lovers/friends/bosses etc.

I really really missed the characters and their interactions when the series was over.

On a totally different note, you should watch Top of the Lake. It's not a comedy or about a group of friends, but it's an amazingly gorgeous mini-series and it's really worth watching.
posted by barnone at 11:43 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Fresh Meat.
posted by Sonny Jim at 11:56 AM on November 14, 2014

The Mindy Project. It's a little bit more about romance but it's romance founded on a core base of friendship that has a fantastic build over many seasons, with a cast that really finds its footing in the second season but is still really funny in the first.

Older, but classic is Frasier, which still holds up magnificently.
posted by Mizu at 11:58 AM on November 14, 2014

Edgar Wright's Spaced, with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost among other talents
posted by ringu0 at 12:07 PM on November 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you are looking for an underexported friendship oriented comedy-drama from another country about a group of young people, I really really recommend Please Like Me, an Australian show that is all those things. It's funny and sad and great and should get more attention than it does.
posted by ManInSuit at 12:09 PM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I never thought I would like Gilmore Girls but I love it. I'm watching it marathon style on Netflix.
posted by Fairchild at 12:47 PM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Agree on Parks and Rec, Coupling, Don't Trust the B in Apt 23, Gavin and Stacey, Spaced, and Psych.

Of this season's crop of new shows, I have enjoyed Jane the Virgin the most. The premise is ridiculous, but the cast is oh-so-charming and it's just fun. Ugly Betty would also be one to try along similar lines, though I never finished watching all of the seasons.

If you like Pushing Daisies, have you seen Wonderfalls? Less than a full season, but I adore it.

Freaks and Geeks leans more toward drama than comedy, but I think it's one of the best single seasons of television ever made. Undeclared comes from the same creators, but it's definitely a comedy. Much more Apatow-y than Freaks and Geeks.

Kath and Kim (the Australian version, not US). I've only seen a couple episodes, but enjoyed them.

If you don't mind some cheesiness, Greek is surprisingly good for what it is. Similarly, I also really enjoyed the Carrie Diaries.
posted by wsquared at 12:57 PM on November 14, 2014

Skins (the UK version, and only seasons 1-5) runs more drama than comedy, but it's fantastic at capturing the variants of high school friend groups.
posted by jeudi at 1:35 PM on November 14, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions so far, these shows sound great.

I actually just tried to watch Skins this week but couldn't get into it. I watched two full seasons of The Mindy Project, but it just made me cringe without the laughs that Agent Anna gives me, if that gives any insight to my viewing preferences. I also like Degrassi: The Next Generation (although in an ironic way) and Go On. (It occurs to me that there may be no rhyme or reason to the shows I like and dislike.)

Please keep them coming!
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 1:41 PM on November 14, 2014

I would recommend Lost Girl. Not really comedy, more like Firefly or Dr Who. Features a delightful female friendship.

Also Srugim about a group of young modern orthodox Jews in Israel sounds like exactly what you want, but I haven't seen it myself.
posted by carolr at 2:15 PM on November 14, 2014

Give Broad City a try! Definitely cringe-worthy, but very funny and weirdly sweet and very, very friendship-oriented. Party Down might also hit the spot.
posted by mskyle at 3:37 PM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

British sit coms based loosely around groups of friends:
The IT Crowd
Black Books
(And of course if I'm mentioning them I also have to mention Graham Linehan's other two-blokes-and-a-bird sit com, Father Ted, though it's set in an Irish priests' house, rather than among a group of friends).
Not Going Out

Also, a couple of British friend-based ensemble dramas that were massive in the 90s, though I've no idea how they've stood the test of time as I've not watched them since:
This Life
Cold Feet

There's also, more recently, Shameless, which may or may not fit the bill.
posted by penguin pie at 4:15 PM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Bluestone 42
The Job Lot
Plebs (warning: cheesy and less historically accurate than Doctor Who)

Seconding IT Crowd.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 4:26 PM on November 14, 2014

Not sure if it counts as a "friend" comedy, but Slings and Arrows is a fantastic, but little known, show.
posted by Poldo at 7:09 PM on November 14, 2014

Offspring, from Australia
Nothing Trivial, from NZ
posted by superfish at 10:53 PM on November 14, 2014

Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. Very gentle and funny, and sometimes serious while being gentle and funny.
posted by emilyw at 5:19 AM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Gilmore Girls, maybe?

Also, I watch Pretty Little Liars as a comedy, but your mileage may vary.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 5:58 AM on November 15, 2014

If you liked Pushing Daisies, try Dead Like Me from the same creator. He also did Wonderfalls, as wsquared suggested.

If you take the Gilmore Girls plunge and enjoy it, you'll also want to watch Bunheads.

Finally, any time somebody is casting about for shows to watch, I always recommend Better Off Ted, a hilarious sitcom that fell victim to the writers' strike a few years ago.
posted by Scienxe at 11:28 AM on November 15, 2014

Definitely Two Pints of Lager. The last season or so it goes off the rails a bit but damn if that wasn't a funny show.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 2:49 PM on November 16, 2014

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