We couldn’t be more excited that Rachel Green herself, Jennifer Aniston, is returning to the small screen. In her new series with Apple TV, Anniston will co-star with Reese Witherspoon (who Friends fans will know guest-starred on that sitcom as Rachel’s sister). Which got us thinking about some of our other favourite funny ladies… here’s our round-up of the best sitcoms created by women.
Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23
This is perhaps the definitive example of a “cancelled before its time” show. Small town girl June moves to New York and rents a room with an it-girl and part-time con artist, who decides to take June under her wing and teach her how to make it in the big city. Krysten Ritter turns in the performance of her career as the sassy, slightly sociopathic socialite Chloe. Plus, Nineties teen dream James Van Der Beek plays a narcissistic version of himself. What’s not to love?
Written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, based on her one-woman play of the same name, Fleabag is about as dark as a sitcom can get while still being considered a comedy. The main character, known to the audience only as ‘Fleabag’, owns a small café in London and is incapable of making good choices. Finding out just how she got to this point like watching a car crash in slow motion.
The Mindy Project
Mindy Kaling is the showrunner and lead of this sitcom about an accomplished doctor who wishes life was a little more like a chick flick. The fictitious Mindy is a wonderfully fleshed out character, ditzy at times but also fiercely competent in her work. Kaling is taking her love of romantic comedies to the next level with her upcoming new project, a series based on the Richard Classic Four Weddings And A Funeral.
Michaela Coel won two BAFTAs for her writing and acting work on Chewing Gum, in which she plays the deeply religious, Beyonce-obsessed virgin Tracey, who is desperately keen to break out of her restricted home life and learn more about the world. Tracey might be a bit of a social hand grenade, but she’s also a realistic, loveable character that audiences connected with.
Years before Sharon Horgan had us in stitches with Catastrophe, she was making us cringe (in the best way) with Pulling. Broadcast on BBC Three in 2006, it felt like the anti-Sex and the City, drawing viewers into the messy, distinctly un-fabulous lives of Londoners Karen, Donna and Louise as they drank, smoked and shagged their way through their thirties.
Let’s ignore that egregious movie and the last handful of Christmas specials. When Ab Fab first came out, it was unlike anything else on TV. Jennifer Saunders is hilariously over the top as fashion victim Eddie, while Joanna Lumley’s portrayal of Patsy Stone is nothing short of iconic.
Chock-full of the late, great Victoria Wood’s trademark innuendo-laden dialogue, Dinnerladies was fairly unique back in 1998, featuring a cast composed almost entirely of middle aged women, including Anne Reid and Celia Imrie, as well as a then-unknown young Maxine Peake. Like much of Wood’s comedy, Dinnerladies often touched on painful themes like bereavement and divorce, but with genuine warmth and humanity.
Described in a nutshell by series creator Julia Davis as “Fatal Attraction in the West Country,” Nighty Night gave us one of the most monstrous comic creations in all television; Jill Tyrell, the beautician who entraps her neighbours in a series of increasingly megalomaniacal schemes. Jill is a deluded criminal well and truly beyond redemption or absolution, but that just makes her all the more compelling to watch.
Grace and Frankie
Created and executive produced by Marta Kaufman (one of the co-creators of Friends), Grace and Frankie is all about how life can start at seventy. Quickly evolving beyond its initial odd-couple premise (the two women end up living together after their husbands announce they’re gay), Grace and Frankie is a smart and nuanced story about the complexities of family dynamics.
Forget the perpetually problematic and whiny Girls. If you want a show about the lives of millennial women in Brooklyn, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson’s Broad City is funny, feminist and wildly inappropriate, with a diverse and eccentric cast of supporting characters — and a cameo appearance from none other than Hillary Clinton!