The TV romantic comedy is, as assorted articles across the last two years have suggested, on the rise. And it’s a phenomenon that’s developing into a full-bodied genre as the film rom-com withers to homage, parody, and (very) occasional subversion.
With bounteous time to develop romances, the TV rom-com is often characterized as being far less beholden to tired and reductive tropes than its film counterparts — it’s a genre that has the time to balance sweetness with realism, intimacy with cynicism, and perhaps most notably, it has room to present monogamy as an option more than a panacea.
Despite having proven itself vulnerable to cancellation, the TV rom-com has most recently attracted the likes of Judd Apatow, whose upcoming series just got a release date (February 19). Apatow seems to want to cash in on some prime rom-com real estate, claiming the very bold title Love (no relation to Gaspar Noé’s ultimately overhyped 3D pornographic drama, except for the similar assertion of thematic importance in its title). And with Apatow’s Love incoming, it seemed like the right time to rank the currently airing TV rom-coms, in all their funny, sometimes shamelessly sentimental, sometimes shamelessly cynical plurality.