Haute and Dangerous: Best of Internet Videos that Make Fun of the Fashion Industry

What could be better than the glamorous, fast-paced, prescription-drug riddled existence of a fashion industry hot shot? I’ll tell you what — sitting on your couch in your snuggie, watching internet videos that viciously satirize every aspect of the fashion industry whilst you scarf down a pizza. It’s all about what makes you feel alive. So live a little, whydoncha? Proudly presenting the Haute and Dangerous Best of Internet Videos that Make Fun of the Fashion Industry:

“Une Fille Comme Les Autres” (A Girl Like any Other) – Jalouse Magazine

Une Fille Comme Les Autres from Jalouse blog on Vimeo.

This short film, directed by Matthew Frost for the French fashion magazine Jalouse (which translates to “jealous”) – would be exactly like every other piece of promotional material produced by the fashion industry in the last 10 years where it not for the hilariously spot-on narration, which effectively lampoons the entire project frame by frame. It’s fresh, in-your-face, and so much fun you just might have to watch it what, like… a few hundred times? Who says the French take themselves too seriously?

Quotable: “She’s smart, you know? And we see her in a bookstore, you know, with all these books, and then she gets cruised by a hipster with a beard, you know… and… and… and… she’s into it, you know?” 

“Presentation 2″ – Very Mary Kate

It’s not like any of us were ever fooled. When you and your equally blonde, boney, and beautiful twin sister each form one half of a billion dollar business empire by the time you hit the big 1-8, it’s hard to believe that either of the Olsen twins ever really had a firm grip on what the peasants call, “reality.” Enter Elaine Carroll, creator of “Very Mary Kate,” a weekly web-series which does the impossible by packing even more hyperbole into the larger-than-life existence of the pint-sized enigma (she’s got two first names!) that is Mary Kate Olsen, and it’s exactly how we (ok, me) imagine the real MK. Here’s the skinny (pun intended!!!) on the so-called “unofficial biography” of the Real Mary Kate: the layer-loving, perpetually tired, pocket-sized blonde skulks around Manhattan with her long-suffering bodyguard,”Bodyguard,” in haute pursuit of her “The Bachelor” degree at NYU, where she majors in ponies, inhales copious amounts of drugs, and torments her so-called “fat (normal-sized) professor.” I dare you to just watch one.

See also: “Presentation,” “Moving Day,” “Back to School.”

Quotable: “Will you do me a favsies and get me my Vera Wang snuggie, it’s burrr…”

“Poses”


This short film shows so-called “real” (read: older than 18 and not anorexic) women mimicking haute couture poses in public places while confused onlookers debate whether they should call the police and/or an ambulance. Meanwhile, a woman’s breathy confession, “I’ve always wanted to be a model.” loops over and over with a nostalgic twinge. Avante garde, no? Artist Yolanda Dominguez, created “Poses” as “a direct criticism of the absurd and artificial world of glamour and of fashion that magazines present.” While I certainly won’t be canceling my subscription to Vogue, this instillation delivers a good giggle and a reminder to think twice before you upload all 52 photos of your latest “high fashion” iPhotoshoot to Facebook….

Quotable: “I’ve always wanted to be a model….

Chloë – Spring

There, I saved the best for last. This pee-your-Proenza Schouler pantalones youtube series makes the pretentiousness of perpetual “it-girl” Chloë Sevigny almost bearable. I said almost.

See also: “Comedy,” “Toast,” “Birthdays.” 

Quotable: “It’s come to my attention that I love schpringgg!”

Nice Apps! Top 5 for a bikini bod – at your desk

As April showers bring in the May flowers, we all know that means that bikini season is practically among us. While Mother Nature has thrown us a few random 70F-bones in the pre- and early-spring months, it’s now time to face the fact that summer is approaching. Beach season, while highly coveted, implies a few things.

To state the obvious, it’s time to get our asses in gear. The problem is, we work too much. Didn’t you know? Your job is killing you.

So, download these apps to compliment your daily workout routine – which is critical for a healthy lifestyle – while on the job and at the desk. You’ll be bikini-ready in no time (or, June hits; whichever comes first).

Office Yoga (iPhone and Android)
Yoga is one of those workouts that has an absurd amount of benefits – overall health, better sleep, improved circulation and digestion, stress and tension reduction, and much more. What’s great is that you can do it in a class, on the plane, or at work. This app introduces you to yogi, Darrin Zeer, who will lead you through 75 stress-relieving stretches perfect for the cube environment.

DeskFit (iPhone and Android)
Compliment your office yoga workouts with lunges, planks and stretches – all created for your cube. This app works you out in the “6-Degrees of human movement,” at the office, and without weights.

EyeCare (iPhone)
The intended purpose of this app is to remind you to take a break from your computer, phone, tablet, bright screen to rest your eyes and prevent blurred vision, loss of focus, dizziness, fatigue, etc. However, we think it has much more potential. While busy at work, it’s easy to forget to take a break, go for a quick walk (even if it’s choosing to use the printer farthest from your desk). The value of these quick breaks is that you give your eyes and brain a moment to rest, but you also get your blood flowing and muscles working, instead of sitting stagnantly in your seat for 8.5 hours straight. Just ask aGoogle employee.

Waterlogged (iPhone and Android)
How much water are you drinking? Well, double it. It’s necessary to drink approximately 11 glasses of water per day, to ensure a balanced diet, solid workout capability, and overall optimum health. Did you know not drinking enough water causes wrinkles!? This app reminds you to drink some H20 throughout the day, via push alerts and reminders. And, because it records your water intake, you can track your progress and set goals.

Around Me (iPhone and Android)
Alright, we know this one isn’t revolutionary, and we’ve written about it in the past. Fact is: it’s one of the best apps out there, which applies to many of our needs. With all of that being said, use this app to learn what’s physically around you and in a few mile radius. While it’s best to pack your lunch to stay healthy and fit, you can explore the local eats and weigh the health benefits before putting in your order. Don’t be lazy and get taco take-out with the rest of the office; do your due diligence and find the better, healthier option.

Who’s on First? The Week in Sports

Summitt stepping down

Women’s college basketball is a sport frequently overshadowed by its male counterpart, but it’s also a sport that has its fair share of basketball legends. One of those legends is Pat Summitt, who has coached the women’s basketball team at the University of Tennessee for 38 years, racked up 1,098 career wins, and won eight national championships. Summitt is Tennessee women’s basketball, which makes Wednesday’s announcement all the more shocking: Summitt is stepping down from the position she’s held for almost four decades due to a debilitating medical condition, and instead will assume a “head coach emeritus” role that will be less “hands on” but will still allow her to mentor players.

Back in August, 59-year-old Summitt revealed that she had been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease, and that condition deteriorated over the course of this past season, to the point where, according to The Tennessean, she had to be directed down the sideline to shake the hand of an opposing coach after a game, “an act she had done more than 1,300 times” over the course of her career. Longtime assistant Holly Warlick will assume head coaching duties, undoubtedly using what she learned under Summitt to continue to steer the Lady Volunteers in the right direction.

Ugly start to NHL playoffs

At their best, NHL playoff games are among the most exciting sporting events in the world: the speed is high, the battles are intense, and the thrill of sudden-death victory is immeasurable. However, this year’s playoffs, just a week old, have looked more like something out of Fight Club than the peak of the “coolest game on Earth.” The NHL has been rocked by dirty misdeeds, horrific hits, and dangerous stick play since the playoffs began last Wednesday, creating a stream of hard-to-watch highlights that has been pretty much non-stop.

The carnage started with Nashville’s Shea Weber slamming the face of Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg off the glass as time expired in Game 1 of their series, a WWE-style move that earned Weber a $2,500 fine. The shenanigans continued from there: the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators got into a street fight; Carl Hagelin of the Rangers elbowed Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson in the head; Chicago’s Andrew Shaw ran over Phoenix goalie Mike Smith; Arron Asham of Pittsburgh tried to decapitate the Philadelphia Flyers’ Brayden Schenn; Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom crosschecked Boston’s Rich Peverley in the face; and, most recently, Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes, a chronic cheapshot artist, left his feet to hit Chicago’s Marian Hossa last night, knocking the Slovakian winger out and sending him off the ice on a stretcher.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, there have been 804 penalty minutes, eleven game misconducts, eight suspensions, and two fines in just 22 total games so far in these playoffs. All of these antics have some worrying that the NHL is earning itself a “Wild Wild West” reputation, garnering media attention of the wrong kind. So how does the NHL put a stop to these gruesome plays? Some fear it will take a player being killed or paralyzed for the NHL to wake up, while others feel harsher penalties and a stronger backbone from those in charge of the league will help clean up the dirty play.

NFL schedule released

Spring has sprung, the weather is getting warmer, and summer will be here soon. Obviously that means it’s time to start planning for…football? Pigskin fans rejoiced on Tuesday night as the NFL unveiled its full schedule for the 2012 season, some five months before the games will begin. The 2012 campaign will kick off with the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants hosting the Dallas Cowboys in a rematch of the last game of the 2011 regular season, one that saw the Giants eliminate the rival Cowboys from playoff contention. There are plenty of interesting match-ups to watch for in Week 1 as well: Peyton Manning will make his Denver debut when the Broncos host the Steelers at Mile High Stadium; Manning’s old team, the Indianapolis Colts, will (in all likelihood) kick off the “Andrew Luck era” with a visit to Chicago; and the San Francisco 49ers will travel to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers in a battle of NFC heavyweights.

Other games of note include a playoff rematch between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens in Week 3, a six-team showcase on Thanksgiving Day, and a rematch between the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions in Week 2, the teams’ first meeting since the near-brawl between their respective coaches a few months back. According to the Hartford Courant, the Giants will have the toughest schedule in the league, while the Broncos will have the second-toughest (based on opponents’ records in 2011). The league will also hold two games outside of the United States again this year: the Patriots and St. Louis Rams will play in London on Oct. 28, while the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks will play in Toronto on Dec. 16.

Top 10 greatest Bob Dylan covers

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International, a four-disc set of Bob Dylan covers is coming out. What better way to commemorate this release then to compile some of the best and most interesting covers from one of the most covered men in American music?

Bryan Ferry, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” – 1973 – This version is too cheesy to be true. Starting this article it was a must to find the kitschiest Dylan cover from the 1970s possible. I just did not think I would be blessed by the gods above, and given this earnestly bizarre and oddly respectful cover of one of Dylan’s most lyrically beautiful songs. The words that put Dylan in a league with Ginsberg and Kerouac are given the girls-in sunglasses-and-leather-bodysuits treatment. Only Bryan Ferry could’ve pulled off this heist.

Jimi Hendrix “All Along the Watchtower” – 1968 –  This is probably the most widely recognized Bob Dylan cover, and for good reason. Hendrix and his axe take the track into remarkable new territory, which is what any good cover should do. This is not just one of the greatest Bob Dylan covers of all time, but one of the greatest covers of all time. It’s also has one of Hendrix’s best solos.

Miley Cyrus “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go,” – 2012 – As fundamentally strange as these words seem on paper, her voice speaks for itself and does incredible justice to the Blood of the Tracks classic. It’s a reminder that this former Disney Channel megastar has great pipes and a fundamental grasp of American roots music in the way much like Bob Dylan. (Well, not the first part.)

The Black Keys “The Wicked Messenger” – 2007 – One of the most popular bands going adds the disturbing seriousness to the John Wesley Harding two-minute deep cut, what is a simple ballad on death becomes a elaborate story of violence and more, almost a feature-length adaptation.

Sonic Youth “I’m Not There” – 2007 – From the sensational Bob Dylan bio-pic of the same name, the garage rock innovators take on this undiscovered gem Dylan recorded with The Band. It resonates so deeply with Dylan’s overall oeuvre, themes of freedom and disguises, forms and formlessness.

Odetta “The Times They Are A-Changin’” -1965 – This woman was just as legendary a folk singer in her own right and contemporary of Dylan who died just a few years ago. The progression is Odetta’s version is more soulfully enduring. Dylan wasn’t remembered for his vocal skills, but Odetta was. She gives the anthem with hip-shaking rhythm that Bob Dylan was too much of short-haired white boy to realize the song could rise to the next level with.

DM Stith “Gates Of Eden” -2010 – This cover does more with melodic instrumental sound than Dylan had ever played for the original. (It was just him and the guitar.) DM adds track after track of building instruments and noises, taking the religious epic to new heights, giving it new meaning. A song takes on interesting dimension with the speed of a van screaming down the highway rather than hobo walking through a cemetary.

The Byrds “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – 1968 -This version is a Country-fried twist from arguably the greatest Dylan cover band of all time, The Byrds. They made huge hits out of “Mr. Tambourine Man,”  “All I Really Wanna Do,” and “My Back Pages.” This version is the opening track from the Byrd’s ode to classic country, Sweethearts of the Rodeo. They slow the song down and remove every second verse lyric. It’s a genius re-invention that allows the musicians the space melodically personalize their instruments.

Rhett Miller “Champaign, Illinois,” (“Desolation Row”) – Not so much of a cover but news verses, set to the old chords from the 11-minute Highway 61 Revisted closer, but revolving around the southern Illinois city known asa former insutrial city, but also the home of the University of Illinois. Rhett’s new words continue in the Felleni-esque allegorical display that defined the original song, some of the finest lyrics Bob Dylan ever written.

Guns N Roses “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” – 1991 – It’s great that Axl Rose could take Bob Dylan’s cowboy ethos and transport it to the land of hair metal. All the stuff I said about Hendrix and “All Along The Watchtower” can apply here, because of Slash’s great solo, the added depth of melody and Axl does have a great voice.

HBO’s Girls: Yeah, I know those people

If you haven’t been reading the incredibly intense amount of press around HBO’s new half-hour dramedy, Girls, here’s a primer. It’s a show about a bunch of people you probably know, doing stuff and having relationships very similar to the things you do and the people you sleep with.

I was skeptical at first. Because really, how could life as 24-year-old girl possibly be made into a television show that’s at once believable and entertaining. No one (not for lack of trying… I’m looking at you, Broke Girls) had yet succeeded in capturing the 20-something je ne sais quoi of the Millennial generation, and I didn’t have high hopes for this show, despite Judd Apatow’s involvement. But goddamn was I wrong.

Sitting down to watch, I armed myself with a pen and paper, ready to jot down all the inane things that happened, so I wouldn’t have to re-watch in order to bash the show in this review. Well, I stopped writing about six seconds in when writer/director/star Lena Dunham’s character, Hannah, gets financially cut off from her parents and begins what is basically a 34-minute panic attack. By the end of the episode,  she’s been fired from her unpaid internship, has terrible sex with a terrible boy, and demands that her parents continue to subsidize her tragically hip/New York City/un-paid internship lifestyle with $1100 a month while stoned on opium tea.

I chucked the notebook and actually laughed out loud through the majority of the episode. Because as ridiculous as some of the antics of the characters are, they’re real. We are like that. This generation is incredibly honestly written by Dunham, and it is hilarious – the best example of which is Hannah’s insistence that she’s “the voice of her generation… or a generation” when handing her parents her memoir, which is all of six pages.

Jezebel has had a string of wonderful articles about Gen Y in relation to this show specifically, and has said about it, “Girls is a television program about the children of wealthy famous people and shitty music and Facebook and how hard it is to know who you are and Thought Catalog and sexually transmitted diseases and the exhaustion of ceaselessly dramatizing your own life while posing as someone who understands the fundamental emptiness and narcissism of that very self-dramatization.”

Truth. This isn’t your average show about wealthy white girls trying to make it in New York. And yet, it’s exactly that, which is what makes it so great – they’re not wearing Manolos, living in huge apartments on waitress salaries, or chilling at VIP tables at exorbitant nightclubs. It’s shockingly realistic, both in its portrayal of young women as well as, in general, the lives of young, affluent jobless Americans.

Hannah is both a unique character, and an embodiment of a newly emerging archetype. She’s an English major, working an unpaid internship, living with a girlfriend, sleeping with an idiot, and covered in tattoos that are “illustrations from children’s books.” She’s the quintessential entitled single, white female of the post-9/11 generation.

The other characters, Hannah’s roommate Marnie (the one with a boyfriend), is a wholesome, normal girl, with what appears to be a normal 9-5 job; Shoshana, a student, wears a pink Juicy Couture sweatsuit, lives in a $2100 (admittedly parent-subsidized) apartment with Sex and the City posters. (She’s a Carrie, a Samantha, and a Miranda!) The fourth one is British Jessa, Shoshana’s cousin, who is full of wanderlust, travels the world, and wants to eat dinner at 1 am. Together, they are a pretty well-rounded, multi-dimensional example of what urban post-grads look like in the 21st century.

Even Business Insider has delved into the Girls debate with an article that’s squarely on our side. “‘Girls’ accurately captures the tension between baby boomers and their struggling offspring: Twentysomethings increasingly turn to their parents for financial support, and many have come to expect it,” writes Kimberely Palmner. “Hannah is outraged that her parents would even consider cutting her off. She’s so close to creating the life her parents want for her, she argues—don’t they want to help her achieve it? Why aren’t they grateful that she’s not a drug addict, and that she’s actually trying to make something of herself?”

Besides the general topic of the show, the writing is fantastically droll, and the acting pretty decent.

The fantastic Chris Eigeman makes an appearance as the boss who fires Hannah for asking to get paid, which is great, because once upon a time, he starred in Gen X movies of the wealthy/young/affected genre, such as Metropolitan, Kicking and Screaming, and The Last Days of Disco. 

Ultimately, this is a show for Millennials and their Boomer parents to laugh about a difficult situation that neither side is totally responsible for. It puts a somewhat silly face on the terrible job climate for young people while still sympathizing with the parents who thought they would be able to retire, like Hannah’s mother (“I just want a fucking lake house!” she screams).

Don’t we all.

Watch the trailer, it’s funny.

Haute and Dangerous: In the office

Blend In, Stand Out

Your mother always told you that you were special, and I’m not here to tell you any different. Regardless, you don’t want to be the one on the receiving end of the venomous stares from the water cooler club (“Oh, look, Marcia. That skank from accounting wore a ballgown to work again….”) If you overdress, you look like a snothead who thinks they’re better than everyone else. Underdress and you look like a slob (there goes that promotion!). How does one find balance?

The reality is that, just like you, every office is a unique entity with its own distinct dress codes. Don’t think of words like “casual,” “business casual,” or “power suits unite” as boring rules as much as a foundation you use to build your fab wardrobe. Ensure that your outfits aren’t distracting (stilettos so painfully tight that blood starts to pool up and leak so your cubicle suddenly looks like a crime scene) and/or uncomfortable (a chainmail micro-mini that just won’t stay put) for you and your coworkers, you can get that promotion and make a few friends while still managing to dress better than everyone else. Who says you can’t have it all?

Buy Good Lingerie

Finding the perfect bra is hard. So difficult, in fact, I would bet that’s why we haven’t had a female president yet. It’s hard to focus on things like homeland security and foreign affairs when your underwire is digging into your rib cage like the iron claws of a hungry eagle. When you invest the time and money into finding the right unmentionables — supportive, breathable, pretty — your clothes look better, you feel more confident, and you’re able to focus since you won’t be constantly fidgeting with rogue straps and abrasive seams.

Go The Extra Mile

Think of every sports movie you’ve ever seen. Think of that one emotional scene with the tearjerker music where the coach (preferably played by Denzel Washington) gives a speech so moving, so inspiring, that it motivates his team of lovable underdogs to go forth and achieve seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

This is what should be playing over and over in your head when you’re out shopping. Go the extra mile, overcome obstacles, and take that outfit to the finish line. Don’t buy those $400 pants and cheap out at the last minute — spend the extra $50 and get them professionally tailored. Scared of wearing makeup? Set up an appointment with a professional who can customize your look and teach you the ins and outs of application. And why is a 25 year old with a full-time job still buying the bulk of her wardrobe at RAVE (you know, one of those stores where you can’t find even a simple tank top without padded cups sewn into the bust)? Go forth and conquer. To the victor go the spoils. Carpe diem. You get the picture.

Hygiene is an Ongoing Battle

So, after a particularly rowdy night out, you woke up in a dumpster and came straight to work. These things happen, which is all the more reason to be prepared. So, next time you’re at the drugstore, pick up one or more of the following:

  • deodorant
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • dry shampoo
  • makeup remover/face cleaning wipes
  • hairspray
  • comb
  • a pretty case to keep it all in

Put your newly-assembled car case (or cubicle case) in your car (or cubicle) so you can continue living your Lindsay Lohan-esque lifestyle without looking like her.

Beach House blissful beats build up to Bloom

No, the picture to the right isn’t a smartphone camera photo beneath some random marquee. It’s the cover art for Baltimore-based indie dream pop duo Beach House’s new album Bloom. Their new work is set to be released May 15, 2012 on Sub Pop.

To bring readers up to speed, the band Beach House consists of French-born Victoria Legrand and Baltimore native Alex Scally. They formed in 2004, with Scally playing guitar and keyboards, and Legrand on vocals and organ. “Since their 2006 self-titled debut, this duo has been churning out a consistent line of dreamy melodies, characterized by simple beats, blissful guitar lines, and [Legrand’s] vocals, which [can] only be described as a crossover of the soul of Robert Plant and the rasp of Janis Joplin (though not quite as raspy).”

Now, the band has released three albums, most recently 2010’s Teen Dream. That record “stands starkly opposed to its predecessors: forsaking the foggy insularity of lo-fidelity for a bold, bright, sharply-produced sound that makes for brilliant use of dynamics.The grand change in sound has coloured the aesthetic perception: the languorous, melting, opiate haze of past records summoned summer days thick with humidity, but, now, the stark, defined, crystalline palette sounds like night-time, with its high contrast between bright lights and whole blacks.” Pitchfork’s Stuart Berman wrote about the album, “Its billowy synth lines and sleigh-bell accents made it perfect winter listening. But the album made even more sense as the warm weather arrived– Teen Dream captures Beach House in the midst of a great thaw, the frosty surfaces melting away to reveal full-blooded passion.”

But that was so 2010. Beach House is releasing their fourth album next month. No doubt the band will try to push against the walls even more. Scally even admits it: “We started to grow really tired of the kind of sloppy or fast sound of lo-fi that we were so into in the beginning.” Stereogum concurs, “The move away from this atmosphere is in concert with a band striving to break new creative ground and work into more expansive, shiny tones.”

What’s interesting to note is that in Bloom, the band doesn’t get stray too far away from the dreamy atmospheric melody that made them famous in the first place. If anything, they’ve trimmed the music fat and kept only the most substantial parts that make their songs great.

The album might start off unfamiliar to devoted listeners, but it doesn’t completely deviate what people have come to like about them. In fact, Beach House carves their name even deeper into the trunk of the music scene that they undoubtedly own.

BeAcH HoUsE 4EveR

GIVEAWAY: $100 of Custom Stickers That Kick Ass

Join us on Twitter tomorrow (Thursday) for the chance to win $100 bucks of store credit on Sticker Mule. The TNGG team is a fan of Sticker Mule for a few reasons:

  1. They’ve made it way too easy to make custom stickers.
  2. You can even print skins for your iPhone or laptop.
  3. They’re the official printer of stickers for companies like Reddit, Mashable, and others, which we think is awesome.

Tomorrow, TNGG is teaming up with Sticker Mule for a Twitter giveaway to bring you some sweet stickers of your own design.

DATE: Thursday, April 19.

TO ENTER: Use the #TNGGgiveaway hashtag and tweet to @stickermule answering the question: “Whether it’s on your car or your laptop what kick ass sticker do you already own?

THE WINNINGS: One (1) lucky winner will receive $100 store credit on Stickermule.com. Follow TNGG’s Twitter handle @nextgreatgen for updates. We hope to tweet you soon!

DISCLAIMER: TNGG has not received any compensation for this post. Sticker Mule is providing the prize for this contest’s winner. All opinions stated here belong solely to the author.

Queue It or Screw It: The Gang’s All Here…and There…Oh, and Over There, Too!

Everybody needs friends. The Girl Scouts advised that you “make new friends, but keep the old.” The Beatles got by with a little help from their friends. They also “ate sandwiches” with their friends, but that’s beside the point.

In the last few years, TV has been all about friends. No, not Friends (although it may as well be since they’re all trying to recreate that ensemble-casted juggernaut), but groups of friends that make up the ensemble cast of hit shows. Gone are the solo-act days of Roseanne, Everybody Loves Raymond, or Whitney (because let’s face it, that last one never really had any “days” to speak of). It’s all about the ensemble – the bigger the better. Are You There, Chelsea? Only one name in that title. And I will forever regret wasting the 10 minutes I spent on it—I could’ve been cleaning the grout in my tiled bathroom with a toothbrush! 2 Broke Girls? Getting there, but once the sprinkles are off the odd-couple cupcakes (so to speak), viewers may be left wanting. But wait! There are more – cast members.

In Modern Family, arguably the best comedy on TV right now, there are nearly a dozen.  Each member of the family serves to advance one plot or another in their own way. You’d think that the “the whole family coming together to argue about and then solve a problem” thing would get old (as it really, really did on Brothers & Sisters—how many Merlot-induced fights and revelations can happen at one table?), but it doesn’t. Maybe it’s because episodes sometimes focus more on one family than another, but I’d argue that it’s tough to find an episode that doesn’t feature at least one hilarious contribution from every cast member (including the baby). Every cast member gets a chance to steal the show, and as a result, everyone shines.

In How I Met Your Mother and really-similar-but-just-not-quite-as-good Happy Endings, they cut Modern Family’s cast in half. In comparison, that may not seem like much, but for a single-camera comedy, splitting screen time among five or six actors, each with their own plots and subplots, trials and travails, it’s still a challenge to both honor each character’s individual storylines and maintain an ongoing thread of connection between them all.

Hanging out at the bottom of the appreciation heap (one critical, one for people who don’t know what good TV is) are Cougar Town and Community. Both shows feature groups of friends brought together by proximity—the former a cul-de-sac, the latter a student union—and both came back late in the game for midseason after juuuuust missing the axe.

Cougar Town is okay. The creator (Bill Lawrence) also ran that paragon of quirky ensemble dramedy, Scrubs. Lawrence channels the bigtime quirk into Cougar Town, right down to the snarky title cards that change every episode in an attempt to explain why Cougar Town is relatively devoid of cougars. The characters are weird, they do things no normal adult does, and the whole thing will probably end up being a withdrawal dream from Jules Cobb (Courteney Cox)’s booze-fueled slumber. Seriously, they drink a lot of wine from very large glasses. Often.

Community is awesome. It is far weirder than even Cougar Town (the next strangest in this list), but if you get it, you love it. Everybody functions simultaneously as a team and foils for each other. Just like any group, some are closer than others, and loyalties change from time to time. Just like another awesome NBC show, 30 Rock, Community is chock full of topical pop-culture references and hilarious send-ups of other TV shows or movies.

I feel that I should also mention Parks & Recreation here.  I’m not going into detail because I write too much about it already, but there’s an ensemble cast, it’s awesome and you should watch it.

The best way to show you how these ensembles interact is to show you. Compare them one after another, pick your favorite (or three), and catch up!

Modern Family:

How I Met Your Mother:

Happy Endings:

Cougar Town:

Community:

HIMYM is on Netflix Instant Watch and the others can be found on Hulu. Grab three or four of your nearest and dearest, pour a decent red into your own Big Joe, and wonder why your friends aren’t as funny.