I think it’s best summed up by a sentence I heard which compared this and Big Bang Theory: one is a dumb comedy about smart people, one is a smart comedy about dumb people. This is probably one of the smartest sitcoms that’s existed, if not “the” smartest. It’s not a show you can watch in the background. I remember many hours playing Football Manager in the early 2000’s (actually I think it might have been Championship Manager, but that’s not important right now), and I’d always have Friends on in the background, because that show is the epitome of background noise, you don’t need to pay to much attention to it, you can just have it on in the background and tune in and out, not really missing much (in fact I’d say you can probably start watching any episode halfway through and immediately figure out what’s happening). That’s definitely not the case here, you have to pay attention to it, it’s pretty much the only sitcom I can think of which feels like it a written test at the end of the episode to test how much you remember.
Related to that point; thank God for netflix. This is a binge-watching show. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like watching this one episode a week, there’s so many call-backs and running jokes running throughout the series that I feel unless you watch them in quick succession you’re at risk of forgetting certain things; you’ll still find it funny, but not as much as you could. It could be because I’ve binge watched it that I, personally, find it difficult to remember specific episodes. The episodes are so interlinked and connected that it can be difficult to differentiate between them (with the exception of the fourth series where each episode focused on a different person). Although this itself turns out to be a good thing as it means when you want to watch a certain moment you usually have to watch two or three episodes to get to it, by which point the show has pulled you back in and you have to watch every episode again. That’s not to say it doesn’t have great standalone moments. Do you have access to the internet? Then congratulations, you’ve almost definitely seen a gif or screencap from this show. Including two which everybody should have stored up so they can post them as reactions to certain news items:
80% of news items are made funnier by those reactions (the other 20% are mainly football scores). You may have noticed this blog has been a bit different to the ones I normally do about this kind of thing, it’s more rambling, less coherent, a bit more like it’s been drunkenly written at 1am. That’s because it’s really hard to get across how great this show is, it almost transcends sitcom and stands alone as it’s own thing. It’s achieved a cult status and devotion that many shows would love to have (only sitcoms I can think of in the last few years to have achieved something similar are It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and Community). So you want to know why you should watch this show? Go up to a fan of it, and ask about it, see the excitement and genuine excitement in their eyes as they talk about their favourite moments, the passion they talk about this show with. Or, just watch the damn show in preparation for the new series.