In the name of comedy, Bollywood often resorts to regressive, misogynistic, and homophobic tropes, such as cross-dressing, body-shaming, caricaturing communities, and vulgarity.
But there is more to comedy than just offensive stereotypes, and these shows proved that content can be hilarious, without being vulgar or problematic:
1. Panchayat: Amazon Prime Video
Starring Jeetendra Kumar in the lead role, this situational comedy was unlike any we’d seen – because it took us to the villages of India and weaved a story every working millennial could relate to. Hilarious, warm, and boasting of a stellar starcast, Panchayat is a must-watch.
2. Gullak: SonyLiv
Every kid who grew up in a middle-class family will relate to this dramedy where every character, scene, and colloquial dialogue, evokes laughter and memories.
3. Yeh Meri Family: Netflix
A comedy that was cute as it was relatable, Yeh Meri Family talked about first crushes, sibling relationships, and summer vacations in the perfect trip down memory lane. Also, Shanky’s words of wisdom and inimitable swag!
4. Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai: Disney+Hotstar
To date, there is yet to be a family comedy that even comes close to the sarcastic humor that Sarabhai served on a platter.
5. TVF Permanent Roommates: MX Player
The show that made us fall in love with Sumeet Vyas’ charming persona, Permanent Roommates was honest and hilarious, without regressive jokes and tropes on marriage, men’s freedom, and clingy women.
6. TVF Tripling: MX Player
A show that combines the joy of road trips and sibling relationships, TVF Tripling is a definite joyride. And though the charm diminishes in the second season, it’s still a better tale than most mainstream comedies.
7. Star Boyz: YouTube
Chronicling the misadventures of three boys in space, Star Boyz serves a novel, albeit wacky concept, that makes it one hell of an experimental comedy.
8. Adulting: YouTube
The perfect mix of humor and drama, Adulting will remind you of the joys and challenges of living away from a family and finding your family in your flatmates.
9. Ladies Room: YouTube
With the entire series shot in different washrooms, Ladies Room has moments that will make you laugh out loud for real, while also reminding you of your BFF. Or more importantly, misadventures with your BFF.
10. What The Folks: YouTube
One of the few shows to look at how life changes for a couple after marriage, with respect to dealing with in-laws, What The Folks is an honest, light-hearted show, well worth a watch.
11. Bang Baaja Baaraat: Prime Video
The days leading up to the big fat Indian wedding can leave even the most die-hard romantic couples at loggerheads. And that crazy wedding planning journey is what Bang Baaja Baraat brings to light in a way that could give the cliched rom-coms, a run for their money. The show also deserves praise for showcasing kissing scenes and physical affection in a respectful and honest manner, that fit with the script and did not look like they were added forcefully, just to boost viewership.
12. Pushpavalli: Prime Video
You meets Fleabag in this dark comedy about a young girl who fails to draw the line between crush and obsession. While Pushpavalli is certainly no hero, she is so far removed from your usual protagonist, you can’t help but admire Sumukhi Suresh’s courage and creativity in writing (and starring as) such a character. A definite treat!
Is there a show you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below.