The Stuff of 2013: The Decline of the American Network Sitcom

We've been living in a golden age for television for something like a decade now. And lots of that has been thanks to American network sitcoms, who ditched their laugh tracks and got damned funny. But now, 30 Rock is gone. And so is The Office. Community is on its last legs. Parks and Recreation is limping to a conclusion with a network-imposed hiatus and Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe leaving the cast. Modern Family has flamed out on its early promise (and gets ever-more distressing as Mitch and Cam prove to be ever-more terrible parents raising an ever-more horrible daughter). Happy Endings got cancelled. And so did last year's most promising new show, Ben & Kate. And while this year has produced a couple of new sitcoms that are definitely worth watching — Andy Samberg's cop show Brooklyn Nine Nine and the terribly-titled but actually decent-except-maybe-for-Malin-Akerman Trophy Wife — they've got some pretty big shoes to fill. In fact, as 2013 draws to a close, New Girl might be the only established American network sitcom still at the heights of its powers.

Thank god for cable. And England. And Please Like Me.


Find all of our "Stuff of 2013" posts here.

 Posted by Adam Bunch, the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at


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