Entertainment

What TV Shows Best Represent American Life Today?  

Ryleigh Nucilli
10.3k votes 888 voters 5k views 37 items

List Rules Vote up the television shows that most accurately portray contemporary American life; vote down the ones that don't.

Is there such a thing as "the" American experience? If so, where can a person see it? In novels? Films? Television? If it's the last of these, which television shows come the closest to portraying real life as it exists for Americans now? 

The television shows on this list, none of which qualify as "reality TV" and all of which ran sometime within the last decade, depict contemporary American life, both comedically and dramatically. But how close do they come to representing the real thing? Do any of the following offer quintessential, lifelike windows into what day-to-day life in America looks in the present moment?

Vote up the shows that do the best job of representing real American life as real Americans live it day to day.

list ordered by
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26
Love is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list What TV Shows Best Represent American Life Today?
Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Claudia O'Doherty
Love (Netflix, 2016) is an American romantic comedy web television series created by Judd Apatow, Paul Rust, and Lesley Arfin. The series is a "down-to-earth look at dating," exploring ...more
27
Will & Grace is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list What TV Shows Best Represent American Life Today?
Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally
Will & Grace is an American sitcom, based on the relationship between Will Truman and Grace Adler, and is set in New York City. It was broadcast on NBC from September 21, 1998 to May 18, ...more
28
American Housewife is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list What TV Shows Best Represent American Life Today?
American Housewife Katy Mixon, Diedrich Bader, Meg Donnelly
American Housewife (ABC, 2016) chronicles the daily life of an average wife and mother who tries to stand out among the housewives and their privileged children in her hometown of Westport, ...more
29
Broad City is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list What TV Shows Best Represent American Life Today?
Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, Hannibal Buress
Broad City (Comedy Central, 2014) is an American comedy television series, created by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. Two Jewish American women in their twenties experience adventures of ...more
30
Fuller House is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list What TV Shows Best Represent American Life Today?
Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweeten, Andrea Barber
Fuller House (Netflix, 2016) is an American family sitcom and sequel to the 1987–1995 television series Full House. It centers around D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure), a veterinarian ...more
31
Dear White People is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list What TV Shows Best Represent American Life Today?
Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, DeRon Horton
Dear White People (2017, Netflix) is an American satirical comedy-drama television series based on Justin Simien's 2014 film of the same name. It follows a group of students of color at a ...more
32
Atypical is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list What TV Shows Best Represent American Life Today?
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Keir Gilchrist, Brigette Lundy-Paine
Atypical (Netflix, 2017) is a coming-of-age dark comedy television series created and written by Robia Rashid. Sam (Keir Gilchrist), an 18-year-old on the autism spectrum, looks for a ...more
33
The Chi is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list What TV Shows Best Represent American Life Today?
Jason Mitchell, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Jacob Latimore
The Chi (Showtime, 2018) is an American television drama series created by Lena Waithe. A coming-of-age story centering on a group of residents of the South Side of Chicago who become linked by ...more
34
Girls is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list What TV Shows Best Represent American Life Today?
Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke
Girls is an American television series that premiered on HBO on April 15, 2012. Created by and starring Lena Dunham, Girls is a comedy-drama following a close group of twenty-somethings living ...more
35
Transparent is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list What TV Shows Best Represent American Life Today?
Jeffrey Tambor, Amy Landecker, Judith Light
Transparent is an American comedy-drama television series produced by Picrow for Amazon Studios that debuted on February 6, 2014. The series was created and directed by Jill Soloway. The story ...more
36
Flaked is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list What TV Shows Best Represent American Life Today?
Flaked Will Arnett, David Sullivan, Ruth Kearney
Flaked (Netflix, 2016) is an American comedy web television series created by Will Arnett and Mark Chappell. A recovering alcoholic (Arnett) faces reality after a life changing accident in ...more
37
Looking is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list What TV Shows Best Represent American Life Today?
Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett
Looking is an American comedy-drama television series about a group of gay friends living in San Francisco. It premiered on January 19, 2014, on HBO. The series' executive producers are David ...more