2. Cougar Town - I know, I know...The title is abhorrent. But you have to believe me when I tell you that this show, which may have initially been created with the premise of Courteney Cox dating younger men, has evolved into a hilarious ensemble comedy about a group of family, friends, and neighbors who play made-up games and drink lots of wine. Some have even equated it to a middle-aged version of Friends. I'm sure many people would dispute my placement of Cougar Town above its Wednesday night lead-in Modern Family, but I honestly think Cougar Town's second season was just a hair funnier than the sophomore season of Modern Family. More importantly, Cougar Town has been criminally overlooked by the Emmys and the Golden Globes (though Courteney Cox did get a well-deserved Golden Globe nomination last year), and its ratings are nothing compared to Modern Family's. Somebody has to give this fabulous comedy the acclaim and attention it deserves so it can overcome the handicap of its horrible title.
3. Modern Family - 2009 was the year Modern Family gave new life to the sitcom genre. 2010 was the year it cemented itself as a comedy staple, winning the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series and earning nominations for five of its cast members (Eric Stonestreet won for Outstanding Supporting Actor). What could easily have been a collection of one-dimensional caricatures (the trophy wife, the clueless clown dad) has become a well-crafted mosaic of original characters struggling (hilariously) to live with each other's insanity, because that's what a family is. Let's hope Modern Family can maintain this level of awesomeness in the coming year(s).
4. Raising Hope - Yet another family-oriented comedy made my list this year: the new show from My Name Is Earl creator Greg Garcia, Raising Hope. If you haven't seen it, the show centers on a blue-collar family helping their twenty-three-year-old son raise his baby daughter (the product of a one-night stand with a serial killer). Martha Plimpton is pitch-perfect as middle-aged grandmother Virginia, and Cloris Leachman looks like she's having a ball playing Maw Maw, Virginia's dementia-suffering grandmother. Raising Hope is somehow able to be hysterical and touching at the same time. Often the main source of hilarity comes from the lengths the family will go to for their children (like grandfather Burt faking the kidnapping of his granddaughter in order to get a real hug from his son). Raising Hope was certainly the most pleasant surprise of this TV season. I'm looking forward to seeing it develop more in 2011.
5. Glee - There's no question Glee wins the award for the most bipolar show of the year, causing us as much frustration as it didglee in 2010. It might placate any haters to know that this show also makes my list of top five disappointments of 2010 for its incredibly inconsistent second season. But the second half of its first season (which aired in the first months of 2010) and the only plotline of the second season that lives up to the wonder of the first season (and by "plotline" I mean Kurt) earned it the final spot in my top five comedies of 2010. When I see what a circus (Britney Spears allusion intended) Glee has become, I think of the Madonna episode, Neil Patrick Harris' guest appearance, and the first season finale, and I remember how great this show can be when it puts plot and character development before spectacle. I sincerely hope Glee can get its priorities straight in 2011 and focus on storytelling instead of trying to break their own record on iTunes.
Honorable Mentions: Party Down, 30 Rock, The League, Parks and Recreation
I'm sure just about everyone will disagree with my list and/or its order, but I can assure you, I'm right. I mean, I respect other people's opinions and all, but this list is 100% accurate. These are the best comedies of 2010. Actually, now I'm having second thoughts about Glee making the cut. Party Down probably deserves the spot more, but it's already been canceled, so what's the point? In any case, if you aren't already watching these shows, consider it your mandatory homework over the winter hiatus to catch up on all of them. But mostly Community and Cougar Town. Okay? Okay. Stay tuned for the year's best dramas.