Mockumentary sitcoms are everywhere and the genre seems like its here to stay. You’d think that it might have gone stale and out of style by now but it’s still going strong.
What is a mockumentary? Sometimes called docucomedy, it’s basically a movie or TV series that’s shot in the style of a documentary—complete with character interviews—but all of the events are fictional.
The mockumentary format really works for TV comedies, and we have plenty of examples that prove the concept, and these examples span multiple decades.
Here are the best mockumentary TV sitcoms from the past many years that are absolutely worth watching.
Derek isn’t exactly a comedy. It does have a lot of funny moments, but the jokes aren’t the point of the show.
Derek explores the themes of kindness and empathy in a way that avoids becoming overly sentimental. Ricky Gervais plays the main character, Derek, and his performance is some of the best acting work that he’s ever done.
I wouldn’t recommend this one if you just want to have a few laughs, as it can be a little heavy. But if you’re looking for a show that’s a bit more thoughtful than the usual sitcom fare, then you should definitely give it a try.
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The UK version of The Office is a bleaker and more grounded series than its US successor. While still very funny, it focuses more on the stagnant, dead-end nature of its characters’ situations and their resulting despondency.
Ricky Gervais’ character David Brent somehow manages to be even sadder, more pathetic, and less self-aware than his American counterpart in Michael Scott. He’s painful to watch at times—but that’s the point of the show.
It’s a great series but is best described as an existential dark-comedy than a traditional sitcom. If you’re just looking for a good light laugh, then you should stick more to the US version.
Want to watch a feel-good bubbly network comedy but can’t stand the bland jokes and clichéd characters that most TV sitcoms settle for? Then give Parks and Recreation a try!
This NBC sitcom is a satire of small-town government that takes place in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. The show has a lot of the cookie-cutter elements of conventional network sitcoms, but executes in new and original ways.
The first season is a bit of a bust as it attempts to find its footing, but starting with the second season, Parks and Recreation truly outshines most others in the mockumentary sitcom genre.
In 2018, more people streamed The Office than any other show on Netflix. If you haven’t seen The Office by now, you’ve definitely at least heard about it. This show was—and still is—hugely popular, and for good reason: it’s really funny!
Most fans agree that the series ran too long, but the good seasons are REALLY good. And even the inferior latter seasons have enough redeeming qualities to make them worth the watch.
People Just Do Nothing follows a hip-hop crew that broadcasts from a pirate radio station in West London.
They have delusions of imminent fame that causes them to cling their hapless, impractical lifestyle. But their enthusiasm and devotion to their music is endearing and hilarious.
This entire series is solidly funny and deserves more recognition than it gets. Not as many people have seen this show (at least in the US), but those who have tend to love it!
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What We Do In the Shadows is based on the equally hilarious 2014 movie of the same name.
The show follows four vampire roommates living in Staten Island. A film crew documents the comical mundane realities of their day-to-day undead existence.
They prey on innocent human victims. They have supernatural strengths and abilities. They can turn into bats. But they can’t agree on who does the chores!
This show is a playground for vampire tropes. It riffs on the absurd implications of being a vampire in a modern world. The cast is stellar and every episode is solidly funny.
What We Do In the Shadows is a must-see for horror-comedy fans!
Cheeseburgers and Donairs! Bottle-kids and drunken trailer park supervisors! Greasy schemes and even greasier guts! These are just a few of the wonderful attractions that beautiful Sunnyvale Trailer Park in Nova Scotia has to offer.
Trailer Park Boys follows Julian, Ricky, and Bubbles as they botch one petty criminal scheme after another while trying to outwit Jim Lahey, the absurdly inebriated supervisor of Sunnyvale.
They wind up in jail at the end of each season, but they’re always back out with new ill-conceived plans in the next.
Some of the later seasons of Trailer Park Boys leave a lot to be desired, but the first seven seasons are fantastic. And even the lesser seasons have great moments worth watching.
1. Reno 911
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Few shows are as consistently hilarious as Reno 911.
If you like one episode you are going to like them all. There is no dip in quality at any point in this series. Even cast changes in the show’s later seasons did nothing to slow it down.
Reno 911 doesn’t have any overarching storylines between episodes, so you can jump in anywhere and not miss a beat.
If you want to dip your toes in the Reno 911 waters, check out clips of Nick Swardson’s character “Terry” on YouTube. You won’t be disappointed.