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Like every millennial, I love watching sitcoms. They often help keep a positive frame of mind whenever things get a bit bleak.

For a long time, I was stuck watching the same sitcoms, and it was not till the recent lockdown that I decided to explore more. Now, I have the attention span of an ant and find it hard to sit through shows or movies that I watch on streaming sites.

Here are my picks for top 5 sitcoms that’ll help you get through these testing times in descending order (from honourable mention to my personal favourite):

Honourable Mentions:

Still from “Never Have I Ever”||Credits: Narcity

Never Have I Ever (Netflix):

Co-created by Mindy Kaling (The Office, The Mindy Project) Never Have I Ever centres around an Indian-American teenager (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) as she navigates her way and makes her life better after an especially horrible year. This teen sitcom is relatable for those who have been a part of the Indian diaspora abroad. The show received acclaim for its representation of South Asians — something rare in western media.

I’m Not Okay With This (Netflix):

This is not a sitcom but more of dark comedy-supernatural thriller; it’s not for the faint-hearted. Starring Sophia Lillis and Wyatt Olef of ‘It’ Chapters One and Two, this show is about a teenager coming to terms with a tragedy, her sexual orientation and newfound superpowers, based on a series of graphic novels by the same name. If you want something dark yet fun at the same time, this criminally underrated gem is worth the watch.

5. The Office US (Prime Video):

Despite being an adaptation of an iconic BBC comedy, The Office has cemented its place amongst classics. Known to be one of the funniest shows in the recent history of television with witty jokes and one-liners being thrown left, right and centre, the show is known to have one of the greatest ensemble casts ever with the likes of Steve Carrel, Rain Wilson, John Krasinski and Mindy Kaling, just to name a few. It was one of the first shows to attempt to show diversity on a mainstream level.

While I felt that the show was slow to pick up (especially since the first season only has eight episodes), it gets better Season Three onwards. With the show having being adapted in various countries (including India), it’s obvious that its legacy still lives on. The show has found a new generation of fans especially since all its seasons are available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

4. Community (Netflix/Prime Video):

This show was US Network NBC’s comedic staple during the early 2010s along with The Office and Parks and Recreation, yet never gained the same popularity while on-air as the other two; which is a shame since it was known to be one of the most creative shows on air during its six-season run. The show is about seven community college students who constitute a Spanish study group. It has a very simple idea but a clever execution. The show can be credited for making Paintball games cool again and giving us one of the greatest TV bromances ever with Troy and Abed. It also launched the careers of Donald Glover, Ken Jeong, and was instrumental in landing Captain America Winter Soldier to the Russo Brothers. The show is available on Amazon Prime and Netflix.

3. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix):

This Netflix original co-created by Tina Fey (30 Rock, Mean Girls) stars Ellie Kemper (The Office) in the titular role of Kimmy Schmidt. The show is about 30-year-old women trying to figure out life and the world after she was kept in a bunker for 15 years by a rabbi who told her and four other women that the world had ended and they were the only survivors. One sees her struggle as she goes through her new reality with a child-like optimism while trying to forget her past. Despite having somewhat of a dark background, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is one to the easiest shows to binge-watch due to the light-hearted tone it decides to take and the characters.

2. The Good Place (Netflix):

This post-life sitcom is one of the most original shows I’ve seen since Community. The show is about four now-deceased people who live in a neighbourhood of ‘The Good Place’ (synonymous for heaven) designed by Micheal who also runs it with the help of Janet (neither a girl nor a robot). However as their time goes by, things are not as great as they seem. Kristen Bell, who stars as the protagonist Eleanor Shellstrop, leads one of the most diverse casts in recent years. The show is full of witty writing, some of the most lovable characters (especially Janet). It surely deserved a longer life on TV. If anyone had missed this gem, it’s on Netflix and definitely worth the watch.

Credits: Radio Times

1. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Netflix):

This is one of the best shows currently being aired and my favourite sitcom of recent times. The fact that this show was booked by NBC only 24 hours after it was surprising cancelled by Fox in 2018 says a lot about its greatness and popularity. A take on the genre of buddy cop comedy, the show revolves around the 99th precinct in New York’s Brooklyn. While the protagonist of the show is Andy Samberg, every character has cemented its place in popular culture. The show is particularly appreciated for its down to earth representation and portrayal of LGBTQ characters.

I would say more but there’s nothing that hasn’t already been said about this much-loved show by everyone else. If you haven’t watched it make sure to catch up on it ASAP on Netflix.

These are tough times and we need a reason to laugh; while sitcoms aren’t exactly the most enlightening forms of entertainment, they help in lightening the mood.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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