Ever been sitting there watching TV and had a eureka moment of “THAT! THAT IS MY LIFE!” It’s not glamorous, there is nothing of excitement going on, and it generally does not involve a 2,000 square foot rent-controlled apartment. It’s that rare moment when you get a glimpse that maybe the kids are alright and someone has walked a mile in your twenty-something shoes before. In honor of that, we’re compiling our list of the best shows on TV that capture what it’s like to be in your twenties.
While decidedly not a show about millennial twenty-somethings, the Brit comedy is essentially if “Friends” and “Sex & the City” had the most awkward child alive. It follows the ins and outs of falling in and out of relationships, equally loving and hating your friends, being young but aging (when should you start using anti-aging creams?), and the “Oh shit I’m supposed to be a grown-up now” moments. You can’t tell us you’ve never experience the stomach-drop of the awkward phone pause and still don’t know how to escape it.
~Technically~ this show is about a group of friends in their early 30s, but it’s hilariously accurate for people in their 20s as well. It focuses on a group of young adults trying to make it in the world while living in a janky-yet-swanky loft apartment and getting into shenanigans. The things they deal with include, but are not limited to: unachieved dreams, lost jobs, new jobs, empty bank accounts, learning to do laundry, cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and the ridiculous, messy world of dating, and they do it all while learning to be good friends to and with each other. It’s perfection.
It might have premiered in the late ’90s, but we’ve never found a show as relatable to our lives as a twenty-something as “Friends.” From finding a job you love and people to spend all your free time with. It’s the ultimate squad goal to find those people you never get tired of and can stand in for family when your family is unavailable. And let’s be real we all want a “Monica & Chandler” relationship and a “Chandler & Joey” best friend.
We all have that one kid in class or at work who just doesn’t let life get them down. For reference, that’s not me—I’m not a JD. I am definitely the mean surly Dr. Cox (OK not really, but I want to be). But “Scrubs” did show me a lot about what it was like to have a job and try your hardest to make it work and finding the niches with friends or coworkers who make the days go by faster (aside from the humor that is necessary for life to be bearable). Also it’s super realistic about the fact that getting your “dream job” isn’t easy at all and requires a lot of grunt work. Plus they had musical episodes, and who doesn’t wish their 20s would pass by in a haze of musical numbers?
How I Met Your Mother
Regardless of your feelings on the series ending (BTW we hated it) it is a sweet story of friends who just wanna hang out and fall in love. We meet them when they are babies and see the end result of their lives, and it’s nice to see that for some it all turns out OK. We all have that friend who is a little crazy and it’s nice to know it’s not just us. Supposedly the show is about finding true love, but I think we can all agree that it’s about the friends you make that you just can’t shake.
Manhattan Love Story
Honestly I was heartbroken when this got cancelled. The apartments were swanky, and everybody seemed to be making bank, but it was the cutest story of two people just having awkward date encounters and I loved it. I mean Dana took her brand new BF to a World of Warcraft-esque LARP weekend. It really doesn’t get much better (or worse) than that.
Hart of Dixie
If only we could all be so lucky as to move to the most charming small Southern town in the U.S. with perfect clothes and delightfully wacky antics (seriously, can you imagine what you save on rent?). But the heart (puns, we love ‘em) of the show is about realizing that the life you imagined as a kid, even the one you worked your ass off to achieve, isn’t always the right one for you. Whether that’s realizing your high school sweetheart is not actually your soulmate or that you’re not going to be happy in that super high-paying job, the show perfectly captures that left turn your life takes in your twenties between expectations and realities (like trying to rent an apartment with no credit).
Parks & Recreation/ April + Andy
OK, so Andy is not in his twenties but he’s basically that guy who never manages to grow out of being 25, so we’re going to allow it on a technicality. But watching April and Andy’s progression through the show is so refreshing. We see April work her way up from being an angsty teenage intern to the glorious boss bitch that she was destined to be. In between are lessons about how to get health care or why you should have dishes that aren’t Frisbees. Although it’s an attempt at a caricature of young adults, Andy and April’s blunders and foibles are hysterically accurate.
Although most workers at Dunder Mifflin Paper Supply Co. are in their 30s or older, it’s not hard for a twenty-something to relate to Jim’s deadpan sarcasm or Dwight’s overly eager-to-please attitude. We’ve all had bosses like Michael Scott—well, maybe not exactly like Michael Scott, but we know what it feels like to be working for someone who seems to have misplaced priorities. Replace the cubicles and conference room with a lecture hall and Scranton’s Regional Manager becomes the professor whose lectures you both dread and secretly look forward to. In a world where we’re constantly torn between overachieving and getting by with the bare minimum, “The Office” just gets us. And haven’t we all procrastinated with a coffee break or two?
Spaced/ Tim + Daisy
Trippy, unpredictable, and jam-packed with pop culture references, “Spaced” offers 14 perfect episodes that draw you into the lives of Tim and Daisy, two North London twenty-somethings experiencing a definite slump. The show takes a tired premise—that Tim and Daisy must pretend to be a couple in order to score a nice apartment—and uses it as a launch point for exploring the thin line between fantasy, adventure, and the mundane as the pair fumbles through relationships and a never-ending search for meaningful work.
This ’90s classic holds a lot of sway for those in their early twenties. Even though the show was only on for four seasons (all four years of college), a lot of personal growth happens, which is so true when in your early years of your twenties. Felicity gets to go back in time once she realizes that life is tough, and this is why it’s perfect for a young twenty-something: You can’t go back in time, you have to live with your choices and deal with your mistakes. Felicity has the disadvantage of not understanding that magic can’t solve everything, but by watching the show, you’ll truly understand that as an adult, you have to grow up, and deal.
Sex And The City/ Carrie Bradshaw
Yes, we know that when the series starts, Carrie is around the age of 32. But, this show is a must for women in their twenties. Carrie and her posse deal with all sorts of guys, within the entire physical and emotional range. You will be able to relate to at least one of the ladies, and probably recognize some of the same type of guys you’ve hooked up with.
Flight Of The Conchords/ Jemaine and Bret
Guys, this show is hi-lar-ious. If you haven’t watched the two-season series, you really need to. Bret and Jemaine sing about being broke, romances, work (or the lack thereof) and life in general. Many of us in our twenties are trying to figure out what to do, or are struggling to survive on our dream careers, and Jemaine and Bret make it hysterically bearable (with dry humor, sarcasm, and witty songs) and relatable.