Sure, the CBS sitcom continued to crack us up, even in its seventh season. But more than that, The Big Bang Theory brought serious character development to the table this year — Sheldon kissed Amy! Raj got a girlfriend! — that had us rooting for these hapless characters even more than ever.
INSIDE AMY SCHUMER
Whether negotiating with Paul Giamatti’s (homosexual) God to avoid a case of herpes or providing animation voice-over for a defecating, pants-free and very anatomically correct meerkat, Schumer’s second season was always just a little dangerous — but with enough big laughs to justify any possible offense. And indeed, with a wide range of inspirations — the sexism of video games, the ridiculousness of high-end hotels, even the writing and direction of Aaron Sorkin’s TV dramas — it was easy to see why guests from Josh Charles to Rachel Dratch to Parker Posey lined up for guest spots on the buzzy Comedy Central hit.
From leaving his daughter alone on a subway platform to saving his elderly neighbor from the elevator, Louie continued to show us just how hilarious and absurd our everyday lives can be — even when they don’t seem funny at all. Plus, with moments like his “Fat Girl” monologue, series star Louis C.K. got us actually thinking in between guffaws.
THE MINDY PROJECT
The best romantic comedy of 2014 didn’t take place on the big screen, but instead aired Tuesday nights on Fox. Indeed, The Mindy Project‘s vastly improved sophomore season focused squarely on its flawed, titular heroine’s search for love — a quest that led her to the top of the Empire State Building (and the arms of her irascible/adorable coworker, Dr. Danny Castellano). Better still, the overarching love story never got in the way of our central lovebirds (or their merry band of supporting players) delivering rapid-fire scalpel-sharp zingers on the regular.
The Showtime dramedy’s fourth season may not have been its funniest, but it was undoubtedly its best. Navigating the highs and lows of adolescence, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, college pressures and more, Shameless proved it can walk the thin line between comedy and drama like no other show on TV.
As Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer ramped up her presidential aspirations — and her staffers continued grappling for a greater power — the third season of HBO’s inside-the-beltway comedy got nastier (and more hilarious) than ever. Selina herself my have declared she’d “rather be shot in the f—in’ face than serve as vice president again,” but as much as we love her petty viciousness, we can’t help but chant “four more years!”