Watchworthy

Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People 

Ranker TV
Updated May 19, 2020 25.3k votes 3.4k voters 51.9k views 47 items

List Rules Vote up the shows that seem super dumb, but are actually some of the smartest series on television.

There’s nothing wrong with a TV show being dumb. There are actually a lot of dumb shows for smart people. It’s just that everyone who wears smarty pants is worried about looking stupid for watching something that’s not aimed directly at the wine and cheese crowd. These secretly smart TV shows manage to take low-brow comedy and add in high art. 

Sometimes, stupid TV with smart jokes - or a stupid, secretly smart movie, for that matter - is exactly what you want to watch after a long day at work. A 30 minute sitcom that’s layered with dense jokes needs a writer's room full of egg heads. Dumb TV shows for smart people are written by people who are on the search for the perfect dumb joke, and that takes an entire head full of brains.

Some of the stupid shows smart people enjoy have such an idiotic premise that it’s hard to imagine that anyone intelligent would enjoy them. Something like Arrested Development, a show that at its core is about rich people arguing over a property company, sounds no different than a series like Dallas or Dynasty. However, the show’s substantial amount of witty jokes makes it one of the best dumb TV series with smart humor out there. 

Vote up your favorite smart TV shows that seem stupid below and add anything you feel is missing. 

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list ordered by
1
It's Always Sunny in Phi... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney

Premiered: 2005

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Black comedy

Season 14 - Rotten Tomatoes Score 80%

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX, 2005) is an American television sitcom created by Rob McElhenney. A group of five depraved underachievers: twins Dennis Reynolds (Glenn Howerton) and ...more
2
Rick and Morty is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Adult animation, Sci-fi, Comedy, Adventure

Season 3 - Rotten Tomatoes Score 96%

Rick and Morty (Adult Swim, 2013) is an American adult animated science-fiction sitcom created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. Cynical mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his fretful, easily ...more
3
Futurama is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Maurizio Pezzoli added Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal

Premiered: 1999

Genres (Tv): Animation, Sitcom, Comedy, Science Fiction

Rotten Tomatoes Series Average - 95%

Futurama is an American adult animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the ...more
4
South Park is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman

Premiered: 1997

Genres (Tv): Animation, Television comedy, Sitcom, Satire, Animated cartoon, + more

Season 22 - Rotten Tomatoes Score 77%

South Park (Comedy Central, 1997) is an American adult animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In the small town of South Park, four boys get caught up in all sorts of bizarre ...more
5
Archer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash

Premiered: 2009

Genres (Tv): Adult animation, Action, Comedy

Season 7 - Rotten Tomatoes Score 100%

Archer (FXX, 2009) is an American adult animated black spy sitcom created by Adam Reed. The adventures and mishaps of secret agent Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and his colleagues, who are ...more
6
Arrested Development is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi

Premiered: 2003

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes Series Average - 75%

 

7
Bob's Burgers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Animation, Sitcom, Comedy

Season 6 - Rotten Tomatoes Score 100%

Bob's Burgers (FOX, 2011) is an American animated comedy television series created by Loren Bouchard. The series centers on the Belcher family — parents Bob and Linda and their children Tina, ...more
8
Parks and Recreation is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Elora Vibes added Amy Poehler, Jim O'Heir, Nick Offerman

Premiered: 2009

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Mockumentary, Satire, Romance TV, Comedy-drama, + more

Rotten Tomatoes Series Average - 92%

Parks and Recreation (NBC, 2009) is an American television sitcom created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur. The series follows Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), a perky mid-level bureaucrat, and her ...more
9
Monty Python's Flying Ci... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam

Premiered: 1969

Genres (Tv): Sketch comedy, Satire, Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes Series Average - 100%

Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a British sketch comedy series commissioned by David Attenborough, created by the comedy group Monty Python and broadcast by the BBC from 1969 to 1974. The shows ...more
10
Drunk History is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Derek Waters, Bennie Arthur, Craig Cackowski

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Television comedy, Historical fiction, Comedy

Season 1 - Rotten Tomatoes Score 59%

Drunk History (Comedy Central, 2013) is an American television comedy series created by Derek Waters, based on the Funny or Die web series. In each episode, an inebriated narrator, who is played ...more
11
Mystery Science Theater ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Joel Hodgson, Michael J. Nelson, Trace Beaulieu

Premiered: 1988

Genres (Tv): Comic science fiction, Comedy, Puppet

Season 10 - Rotten Tomatoes Score 100%

Mystery Science Theater 3000, often abbreviated MST3K, is an American television comedy series created by Joel Hodgson and produced by Best Brains, Inc. The show premiered on KTMA in ...more
12
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Elora Vibes added Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith

Premiered: 1963

Genres (Tv): Sci-fi, Adventure, Drama

Season 11 - Rotten Tomatoes Score 91%

Doctor Who (BBC, 2005) is a British science-fiction television show created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, and Donald Wilson. The further adventures in time and space of the alien adventurer ...more
13
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner

Premiered: 1989

Genres (Tv): Animation, Television comedy, Comedy, Family Film

Season 29 - Rotten Tomatoes Score 99%

The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the ...more
14
Robot Chicken is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
qwerty9988 added Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, Breckin Meyer

Premiered: 2005

Genres (Tv): Sketch comedy, Black comedy, Animation, Sitcom, Satire, + more

Rotten Tomatoes Score - N/A

Robot Chicken (Adult Swim, 2005) is an American stop motion sketch comedy television series created by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich. Pop culture references fly thick and fast as stop-motion ...more
15
American Dad! is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Seth MacFarlane, Wendy Schaal, Dee Bradley Baker

Premiered: 2005

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Animation, Sitcom, Satire, Animated cartoon, + more

Rotten Tomatoes Score - N/A

American Dad! is an American adult animated sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker, and Matt Weitzman for the "Animation Domination" lineup on Fox. American Dad! is the first ...more
16
BoJack Horseman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Luke Albright added Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie

Premiered: 2014

Genres (Tv): Comedy, Animation

Season 5 - Rotten Tomatoes Score 98%

BoJack Horseman (Netflix, 2014) is an American animated sitcom created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg. BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett) was the star of the hit television show "Horsin' Around" ...more
17
Schitt's Creek is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Schitt's Creek Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Dan Levy

Premiered: 2015

Genres (Tv): Sitcom

Season 5 - Rotten Tomatoes Score 100%

Schitt's Creek (CBC, 2015) is a Canadian television sitcom created by Eugene Levy and Dan Levy. After losing their fortune, a family is forced to rebuild their lives with their sole remaining ...more
18
Shameless is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Emmy Rossum, William H. Macy, Ethan Cutkosky

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Comedy, Drama

Season 9 - Rotten Tomatoes Score 70%

Shameless (Showtime, 2011) is an American comedy-drama television series developed by John Wells, based on the 2004 British series. Led by drunk patriarch Frank (William H. Macy), the poor and ...more
19
Trailer Park Boys is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Tee Jay added John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells, Mike Smith

Premiered: 2001

Genres (Tv): Television comedy, Mockumentary, Comedy-drama, Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes Score- N/A

Trailer Park Boys (Showcase, 2001) is a Canadian mockumentary black comedy-drama sitcom television series created and directed by Mike Clattenburg. The series focuses on the misadventures of a ...more
20
Big Mouth is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein

Premiered: 2017

Genres (Tv): Animation, Adult, Comedy

Season 3 - Rotten Tomatoes Score 100%

Big Mouth (Netflix, 2017) is an American adult animated sitcom created by Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett, based on Kroll and Goldberg's tweenage years in the New ...more
21
Wilfred is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Elijah Wood, Jason Gann, Fiona Gubelmann

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Black comedy

Rotten Tomatoes Series Average - 82%

Wilfred (FX, 2011) is an Australian-American comedy television series developed by David Zuckerman, based on the 2007 Australian series. After a failed suicide attempt, a depressed man (Elijah ...more
22
Saturday Night Live is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson

Premiered: 1975

Genres (Tv): Sketch comedy, Satire, Variety show, Sketch, Comedy, + more

Season 44 - Rotten Tomatoes Score- 70%

Saturday Night Live (NBC, 1975), also known as SNL, is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. Hosted by a ...more
23
Portlandia is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Kyle MacLachlan

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Sketch comedy

Rotten Tomatoes Series Average - 94%

Portlandia (IFC, 2011) is a sketch comedy television series created by Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, and Jonathan Krisel. Armisen and Brownstein star as various characters in sketches ...more
24
Letterkenny is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Jared Keeso, Alexander De Jordy, Andrew Herr

Premiered: 2016

Genres (Tv): Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes Score - N/A

Letterkenny (Crave, 2016) is a Canadian sitcom created by Jared Keeso and developed and written by Keeso and Jacob Tierney, with Tierney as director. Friends Wayne (Keeso) and Daryl (Nathan ...more
25
The Last Man on Earth is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Really Stupid Shows That Are Actually For Smart People
Will Forte, January Jones, Cleopatra Coleman

Premiered: 2015

Rotten Tomatoes Series Average - 84%

The Last Man on Earth is an American post-apocalyptic comedy television series created by and starring Will Forte. The series premiered on the American broadcast network Fox on March 1, 2015. ...more