Some days, it can feel like most TV shows are all about couples -- or how to become part of one. But a growing number of shows are exploring single life without forcing their characters to find, or even want, love. Check out how these pioneers -- and a few classics -- are perfect for audiences content with solitude.
'Master of None' (2015 - )
Aziz Ansari's show, "Master of None," finds the stand-up comedian confronting the hard truths about single life and a variety of other topics. While each episode focuses on a theme, the episodes are strung together by main character Dev's blossoming relationship -- and the work it takes to keep it going. "Master of None" consistently offers a realistic portrayal of love -- something single TV-watchers will definitely appreciate -- as his relationship goes from its honeymoon phase, to a plateau, to a state of major doubt. For viewers tired of TV's constant portrayal of love as either euphoric or dramatic, "Master of None" offers an unflinchingly honest take, and one that ultimately leaves the audience to decide if that's a good or a bad thing.
'Bojack Horseman' (2014 - )
"Bojack Horseman" is one of those shows you need to see to fully understand -- it's hard to explain just how insightful the show is, when on the outside it's about a half-man, half-horse, former sitcom star dealing with his fading relevance and growing depression. While the backdrop of animated anthropomorphic animals is at times off-putting and other times hilarious, the heart of "Bojack Horseman" is in how Bojack (Will Arnett) deals with his own loneliness. With meaningful performances from Arnett and co-stars Alison Brie and Paul F. Tompkins, "Bojack" ultimately finds hope and happiness in solitude, reminding single members of the audience that it's OK to hit rock bottom -- because from there, the only way to go is up.
Broad City (2014 - )
"Broad City" is the modern-day equivalent of "Laverne & Shirley" -- a buddy comedy focused on the friendship of two 20-something women. The show is part of a refreshing trend of female characters that don't exactly have their lives together -- along with "Girls," "2 Broke Girls," and "Playing House" -- except, in "Broad City," Ilana (Ilana Glazer) and Abbi (Abbi Jacobson) are two stoners living in New York City, and their misadventures are far sillier than those in the other shows. And while Ilana and Abbi have their share of romantic entanglements, they're part of a rare breed of TV character that's comfortable being alone. "Broad City" is worth it for the clever comedy, and it's also a nice break from the perpetual romances of other sitcoms.
'The O.C.' (2003 - 2007)
"The O.C." delighted audiences for four seasons as it followed bad boy Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie) from the wrong side of the tracks straight into his adoption by an elite Newport Beach family. While the fun of the show was in watching Ryan acclimate to rich-kid life -- and get into fist fights almost every week -- "The O.C." was at its best when dragging each character through his or her own relationship heartaches. "The O.C." was filled with enough flirtation, romance, and character chemistry that a rewatch is bound to restore anyone's faith in love.
'Men at Work' (2012 - 2014)
"Men at Work," from creator Breckin Meyer, is a bro comedy for guys who aren't bros: It chronicles the single life of metrosexual magazine writer Milo (Danny Masterson) as he recovers from being dumped -- with more than a little help from his friends. The show feels like an updated "Seinfeld" as it tackles the nuances of modern dating. In one episode, as Milo questions how to best use his smartphone in a new relationship, one can hear echoes of Jerry: "What ... is the deal ... with texting?" With clever writing and unpredictable plots, "Men at Work" brings good news to the single: Being alone is totally fine, and it's all right to rely on your pals.
- 'The O.C.' 10th Anniversary: Creator Josh Schwartz On Mistakes, Mischa Barton's Exit, Chrismukkah & More
- TV Review: Men at Work
- Will There Be a Second Season of Aziz Ansari's 'Master of None'?
- 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick And Morty,' and the Art of Cynical Sincerity
- Id Girls: The Comedy Couple Behind 'Broad City.'