Taking place in and around the East Side (whatever that means to you), Love captures that LA millennial nonsense better than most. And I mean that in a good way. Follow the anxiety-ridden characters from the romance filled aisles of 7-11, to awkward dates at trendy Silver Lake restaurants, to the coolest jam session filled house party you’ve ever seen. You may end up hating the characters (which is all part of the plan), but you will absolutely find yourself falling in love (see what I did there) with LA.
COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE (Crackle)
You’re welcome for not including the Seinfeld-inspired bit on traffic I just came up with, but I will say, if you haven’t seen this show, WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THAT?!? Combining Seinfeld’s signature humor with comedians, retro cars, and coffee seems like a no-brainer in retrospect, but who could’ve known that such a simple premise would make you fall so hard for this crazy town. Getting to see genuinely hilarious comedians in their natural LA habitat would be enough, but this caffeine fueled show also makes you want to find the nearest Verve and chop it up with your pals over a cup of joe. And if you’re looking for #relationshipgoals, I highly recommend starting with the Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks episode. It’s just… the best.
NEW GIRL (FOX)
When New Girl came on the air in 2011, bohemian lofts in the arts district entirely furnished with DIY (anthropology) decor were still a thing that barely employed late 20 somethings could afford. It certainly made me want to pack up my tiny room in Queens and chase the space to LA. And I did. While the entire series (to date) has been a fun frolic of “adorkable” (remember that ad campaign?) adventures around the Los Angeles area, the first season is the one that makes you yearn to be in the City of Angels. But mostly, who doesn’t want to live in a giant loft in DTLA with Zooey Deschanel? I know I do.
A very on trend show about semi-ordinary people who do stuff (kind of), Flaked makes the list because of its beautifully shot setting of Venice. With its quirky back streets, trendy bars, and freak show-like boardwalk, Venice is a bonkers place to spend some time. Flaked takes full advantage of its setting, with much of the first season revolving around saving the seemingly sleepy beach town from (gasp) gentrification. Whether or not you enjoy Will Arnett not trying to make Jack Donaghy’s heart explode and not doing magic is irrelevant. The establishing shots alone will make you want to absolve yourself of all your worldly possessions and live inside a food truck on Abbot Kinney.
While most of us are still reeling from the horrific sadness that was the Entourage movie, it’s hard to forget the cultural impact that the show had on, well, bros mostly I guess. It was bros being the broiest bros that ever bro-ed, and looking good while bro-ing. When the show wasn’t making people sick with its blatant misogyny and over the top profanity laced dialogue, Entourage made LA look like the best place in the world. Even the villains of Hollywood were somehow likably evil. More than anything, Entourage embodied the American dream. You and your friends becoming rich and famous, cavorting with models while hitting golf balls off your roof, and using LA as your personal playground. I mean, come on. Let’s hug it out, bitch.
BOJACK HORSEMAN (Netflix)
As an animated comedy, it would be easy to overlook the show’s setting. Sure it’s a fictionalized LA that is populated by a jaded, alcoholic, talking horse, but honestly that doesn’t matter at all. With the titular character’s home perched in the Hollywood Hills overlooking the iconic Hollywood sign, it feels completely logical that this version of LA would exist. And maybe kind of does. What this show lacks in real people, it makes up for with real emotions and actual perspective on this city. So watch the show and fall in love with an animated, but fully realized, Los Angeles.
STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP (NBC)
Sigh. Let’s all pour one out for Studio 60, shall we? Aaron Sorkin’s short-lived follow up to The West Wing still lives on in our hearts if not on our TVs. This one makes the list not only for Sorkin’s trademark snark and wit, but because that snark is directly pointed at the entertainment industry. And nothing makes you love and feel like a part of LA more than being pissed at Hollywood. This show is perfect if you want to feel like a jaded TV writer without the hassle of, ya know, being one. Plus, there are some great references to the history of the actual Sunset Strip. Which is now mostly known for being under construction.
BEVERLY HILLS, 90210 (FOX)
I was far too young to truly appreciate the glamour, high-octane teen angst, and brilliance of this show when it was on, but even so, I remember that it was spectacular. In its heyday, 90210 was the LA reference point for those of us who were unlucky enough to be living elsewhere. It made everyone want to pack up their convertibles, make a B-line to West Beverly Hills High, and scream at the top of our lungs, “Donna Martin Graduates!”
THE PRICE IS RIGHT (CBS)
Who can honestly say that every one of their sick days as a kid didn’t include the dream of moving to LA, winning the Showcase Showdown, and starting a new life entirely narrated by Bob Barker? No? Just me? Okay. Bum bum badummmmmm
- PARTY DOWN (Starz) – You know that catering job you had? This is the funnier version of that.
- THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES (CBS) – Come, on! A CLASSIC!
- TOGETHERNESS (HBO) – Eagle Rock is a thing!
- YOU’RE THE WORST (FX) – Very funny, terrible people, living in LA.
- THE COMEBACK (HBO) – An insider look at Hollywood starring Lisa Kudrow being the best.
- EPISODES (Showtime) – Matt LeBlanc playing a fake Matt LeBlanc. Thumbs up.