Jane Krakowski, Elli Kemper, Tituss Burgess and Carol Kane will return for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's interactive episode.

Netflix sitcoms and comedies: 25 uplifting shows to stream on your lunchbreak

Posted by for TV

These feel-good Netflix shows will inject some positivity into your working (from home) day in 30 minutes or less.

Working from home sounded like our type on paper when we first began this lockdown lark, but it has proven all too easy to get really, really tiresome if we don’t make sure our day has some structure to it. Especially in the run-up to Christmas.

What do we mean by this? Well, we need to make sure we start and finish at set times, that we get dressed, that we take proper lunchbreaks, and that we give our brain the space it needs to breathe every so often.

There’s lots of ways to do this, of course. You could take a walk round the block (self-isolation permitting, of course) at the start and end of each day. You could set an alarm at 12.30, reminding you to go cook yourself some lunch and sit in a different room for a little while. Or you could rely on regularly scheduled Netflix breaks to lure you away from your home office (which, if we might be so bold to say, looks an awful lot like you took your laptop to bed with you).

Oh yes, Netflix reigns supreme when it comes to improving a WFH day. But, while we’re every bit as entertained by The Haunting Of Hill House, Narcos and Money Heist as the next serial binge-watcher, none of us are looking for anything emotionally heavy on our lunch breaks. And while we’re big fans of Queer Eye and The Politician, we don’t want to watch anything that takes up more than 30 minutes of our precious break-time. We’re busy womxn, after all, and we have important shit to be getting on with.

Fortunately, there are plenty of shorter feel-good options available. And, because we care (and because we all need a bloody boost right now), we’ve looked up all those sitcoms, animations and comedies which boast episodes of 30 minutes or less.

Happy viewing, folks!

Please note that we will be updating this article (originally published on 16 April) as and when new feel-good shows become available, so it may be worth a bookmark.

  • Big Mouth

    Even for a cartoon character, going through puberty isn’t easy. Andrew is learning that first hand as he experiences the nightmare that is growing up in this animated series geared toward adults. And, with every hilarious episode clocking in at around 26 minutes, they make for ideal lunchtime laughs!

  • Sister Sister

    Netflix in November 2020: Tamara & Tia Mowry Stars Of Sister, Sister Photo: Ann Summa / Gamma Liaison
    Tamera and Tia Mowry are the stars of Sister, Sister.

    Everyone remembers this absolute classic, don’t they? And not just for its banging theme tune and 21-minute-long episodes: this 90s show tells the story of Tia and Tamera, twins who were separated at birth and adopted by different parents. One day, though, the teens have a chance encounter while shopping at a clothing store in the mall. After the families meet, Tamera’s adoptive father reluctantly allows Tia and her mother to move into his home so the girls can be together. But just because they’re twins doesn’t mean Tia and Tamera are identical in any way other than looks…

  • Girlfriends

    New on Netflix 2020: Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross) enjoys a drink with Maya (Golden Brooks) as they discuss Joan's predicament with William in GIRLFRIENDS on The CW. (Photo by Ron Tom/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images)
    Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross) enjoys a drink with Maya (Golden Brooks) as they discuss Joan's predicament with William in Girlfriends.

    Another nostalgic favourite, this Tracee Ellis Ross–led sitcom aired from 2000 to 2008, starring Ross (Joan), Golden Brooks (Maya), Persia White (Lynn) and Jill Marie Jones (Toni) as best friends living in Los Angeles. And, yeah, you better believer every single episode clocks in at around 20 minutes.

  • Moesha

    Moesha on Netflix
    Moesha is now on Netflix.

    Relive the 90s and watch all of Moesha in sweet 21-minute installments? Sounds like a plan to us!

    For those who didn’t catch this TV show the first time around, it sees Brandy Norwood’s Moesha Mitchell as a teenager juggling school, friendships and romance. Previously the female head of the household, she is learning to love and trust her father’s new wife, all while trying her hardest to be the “glue” that helps hold her family together.

  • Kim’s Convenience Store

    While running a convenience store in Toronto, members of a Korean-Canadian family deal with customers, each other and the evolving world around them. The result? A show that is beautifully, breathtakingly corny,

    Average episode length: 21 minutes

  • Vicar of Dibley

    Set in a fictional small Oxfordshire village, this gloriously funny sitcom sees Dawn French take on the role of Geraldine, a female vicar who is assigned to Dibley following the 1992 changes in the Church of England that permitted the ordination of women.

    Average episode length: 28 minutes

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine

    Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher lead the diverse star-studded cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which focuses entirely on the mishaps and crime-solving adventures of New York’s funniest police precinct.

    Average episode length: 22 minutes

  • The IT Crowd

    Ah, we all know and love The IT Crowd. Set in the IT department of a London office (the irony!), this show tells the story of staff members Maurice (Richard Ayoade), Roy (Chris O’Dowd) and their department head Jen Barber (Katherine parkinson)… who knows absolutely nothing about IT.

    Average episode length: 24 minutes

  • Friends

    We’re not even going to bother describing this one, to be honest: everyone in the world has seen Friends. Everyone. So succumb to temptation, wrap yourself up in a nostalgic cocoon and head back to Central Perk with Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe. You won’t regret it.

    Average episode length: 22 minutes

  • Kopitiam

    This Malaysian sitcom sees a young woman return home to take over her father’s old coffee shop. Along with inheriting the Kopitiam, however, she gains a kooky group of friends, and they all have plenty of feel-good coffee-drinking adventures along the way. Lovely.

    Average episode length: 25 minutes

  • Gavin & Stacey

    Best Christmas TV: Gavin & Stacey: The Christmas Special
    Gavin and Stacey is available to watch on Netflix.

    A down-to-earth romcom about a girl from Wales and a boy from Essex? Why, it’s the show that made James Corden and Ruth Jones famous, of course!

    Average episode length: 30 minutes

  • Blackadder

    There are only two seasons of Blackadder currently available on Netflix. Thankfully, though, the Elizabethan world of season two (the best of all the Blackadder outings, in our opinion) is ready and waiting for you.

    Average episode length: 30 minutes

  • Big Bang Theory

    Johnny Galecki Jim Parsons Kaley Cuoco Simon Helberg Kunal Nayyar Sara Gilbert Mayim Bialik Melissa Rauch Kevin Sussman Laura Spencer in the big bang theory

    Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj are the socially-awkward scientists whose lives take a wild turn when the free-spirited Penny moves in next door.

    Average episode length: 22 minutes

  • How I Met Your Mother

    This four-time Emmy winner is all about Ted (Josh Radnor)’s epic search for his soulmate, in a story told largely through flashbacks as he recounts to his kids how he met their mother. Yes, the end is widely acknowledged as being terrible. But the rest of the series? Brilliant stuff.

    Average episode length: 22 minutes

  • The Good Place

    Jameela Jamil and kristen bell in the good place

    The Good Place is about the afterlife and the very first episode opens on a shot of Eleanor (Kristen Bell) finding out she is a) dead, and b) due to spend eternity in a suburban paradise. Too bad, then, that she’s only there because of an admin error. Can she become a better person before she’s found out and sent to The Bad Place? Watch and learn…

    Average episode length: 22 minutes

  • Grace & Frankie

    They’re not friends, but when their husbands leave them for each other, proper Grace (Jane Fonda) and eccentric Frankie (Lily Tomlin) throw their lot in together and begin to bond. Another Emmy-nominated series worth your time.

    Average episode length: 30 minutes

  • Peep Show

    Peep Show feminist remake

    This quirky comedy, starring David Mitchell, Rob Brydon and ACTUAL OLIVIA COLMAN, follows two 20-something roommates with nothing in common – save for the fact their lives are anything but normal. 

    Peep Show earned rave reviews and went on to win a BAFTA TV Award when it first hit our screens all those years ago, so you won’t be disappointed if you tune back in now.

    Average episode length: 26 minutes

  • Rick & Morty

    It’s the animated television series literally everyone is talking about (seen the “Pickle Rick” memes? Yeah, that’s from this). We’d be doing the show an injustice if we tried to describe it, because it genuinely defies description. All you really need to know is that it follows the misadventures of cynical mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his good-hearted grandson Morty Smith, as they split their time between domestic life and interdimensional adventures.

    Average episode length: 22 minutes

  • Miranda

    The story revolves around Miranda, an unusually tall, clumsy, socially awkward 30-something woman, who frequently finds herself in bizarre situations .Anyone else suddenly feeling seen?

    Average episode length: 30 minutes

  • Schitt’s Creek

    A married couple suddenly go bankrupt and the only remaining asset they have is an ugly small town named Schitt’s Creek. And voila, there you have one of 2020’s best and most progressive comedies in a nutshell.

    Average episode length: 21 minutes

  • Absolutely Fabulous

    Jennifer Saunders Joanna Lumley in absolutley fabulous
    Jennifer Saunders Joanna Lumley in absolutley fabulous

    Because who wouldn’t want to spend their lunch-break with the indomitable Edina and Patsy?

    Average episode length: 30 minutes

  • Bojack Horseman

    Another cartoon for adults, Bojack Horseman sees the faded star of a 90s TV show attempt to make a comeback over a decade later. Also, he’s an anthropomorphic horse.

    Average episode length: 25 minutes

  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

    Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

    At a glance, the critically-acclaimed Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt doesn’t sound like a recipe for happiness. Our eponymous heroine begins episode one in a doomsday bunker, after being kidnapped by a crazy pastor some 15 years ago. This show, though, focuses on her life after her time in the cult, as she reclaims her life by venturing to New York and moving into a flatshare with Titus Andromedas, a gay wannabe Broadway actor. Her wide-eyed enthusiasm as she gets to grips with everyday life? It’s a recipe for the ultimate feel-good show.

    Average episode length: 30 minutes

  • The Thick Of It

    Peter Capaldi’s Malcolm Tucker, a terrifyingly sweary Scotsman, rules the fictitious Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship with an iron fist in The Thick Of It

    Fair warning: this biting-sharp satire about the inner workings of modern British government feels more relevant than ever before.

    Average episode length: 30 minutes

  • The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air

    Will Smith basically plays himself in this good-natured sitcom, and he explains the plot succinctly in his opening theme song. Basically, when Will gets into a fight, his mum sends him away from their rough Philadelphia neighborhood to live with wealthy Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian in Bel-Air. Cue an endless supply of hilarious mishaps and adventures.

    Average episode length: 22 minutes

  • Archer

    The final cartoon on the list, Archer follows the day-to-day adventures of its eponymous character, a sexist and moronic spy loosely based on James Bond. It’s the show’s women, though, who really deserve your attention. 

    There’s Pam Poovey, the openly bisexual HR director, and Cheryl / Carol Tunt, a wildly self-aware billionaire with a strangulation fetish. There’s Lana Kane, one of the top field agents in the International Secret Intelligence Service – and a working mother, to boot, thanks to her insemination by sperm donor. And there’s Mallory Archer, a former super-spy who manages the entire operation from her luxurious office – when she’s not sleeping with the head of the KGB, and Bert Reynolds, or, you know, anyone else who takes her fancy.

    Average episode length: 21 minutes

For more streaming ideas, check out our pick of the best shows and films on Netflix this March.

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This article was originally published on 13 March 2020, but has been updated to include new Netflix releases.

Images: NBC/Getty/Netflix

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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