Comedy veterans Mike Epps and Wanda Sykes join hands as executive producers and co-stars in Netflix’s multi-camera family sitcom ‘The Upshaws.’ The eponymous family’s bumbling patriarch, Bennie, is a serial screw-up who fuels the show with his antics. Whilst attempting to juggle his flailing garage business, kids, wife, and “baby mama,” Bennie must also endure his sister-in-law (Sykes), who takes great pleasure in watching him fail and reminding him of his shortcomings.
The show has been commended for its relatable representation of a middle-class Black family, as well as its unrelenting comedy, driven by Epps and Sykes’ creative bickering and namecalling. If you enjoyed the wholesome laughs and lovable family that the show presents, we’ve got 6 more family sitcoms that will warm your heart and leave you clutching to your sides with laughter. You can watch most of these shows similar to ‘The Upshaws’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
6. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996)
The quintessential show familiar to anyone who watched sitcoms in the 90s, ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ helped launch superstar Will Smith‘s career. Following a young fictionalized version of him who is sent to live with his wealthy aunt and uncle in Bel-Air, the show mines comedy from interactions between the streetsmart Will and his snobbish host family. Much like ‘The Upshaws,’ we get to see a multi-talented comedic actor, albeit in his early days, given the platform to show off his talents. The dysfunctional family dynamic is also strongly emphasized, leading to quirky characters like Will’s spoilt and snobby cousins Hilary and Carlton, and their hilariously tight-lipped butler Geoffrey.
5. #blackAF (2020- )
‘#blackAF‘ is a family sitcom created by and starring Kenya Barris in a fictionalized version of himself. Portrayed as the head of a “newly-rich” Black family, Barris wrestles with the social pressures of being rich whilst trying to impart the values of his forefathers to his children, with hilarious consequences. Things are not helped by his wife Joya, who is especially adept at spending copious amounts of money. The authentic portrayal of an African American household and the comedy chops of the cast members make the show hilarious and relatable, much like ‘The Upshaws.’
4. The Parent ‘Hood (1995-1999)
‘The Parent ‘Hood’ is a sitcom that follows an upper-middle-class family from Harlem. Like ‘The Upshaws,’ the central family here also has 4 children that are in their teens or younger. Their father, Robert, finds creative ways to solve traditional family problems whilst also attempting to set the right example for his children. Through thick and thin and all the comedic situations in between, the family sticks together and perseveres. Though in its latter seasons, the show shifted gears to tackle more serious issues like juvenile crime, its heartfelt family dynamic and quirky patriarch make for an entertaining watch.
3. Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! (2021- )
The unmistakable Jamie Foxx steps back into the small screen with a literal family sitcom that sees him as executive producer alongside his daughter Corinne Foxx. ‘Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!’ is loosely based on their father-daughter dynamic, giving it a feeling of authenticity despite Foxx’s outrageous multi-character performances. David Alan Grier, who co-starred with Foxx on the 90s sketch comedy show ‘In Living Color’, is also on the cast as the latter’s father, giving the show some serious comedy chops and making it a perfect mix of family and hilarity.
2. Black-ish (2014 – )
The prolific Kenya Barris makes another appearance on the list, this time with his critically acclaimed Emmy nominated show ‘Black-ish.’ The show follows the upper-middle-class Johnson family, led by Andre and his wife Rainbow, as they grapple with issues inside as well as outside their household. Praised for its portrayal of various cultural issues surrounding African American families, as well as its compelling cast, which includes Laurence Fishburne in a recurring role, the show should definitely be on your list if sitcoms with heart are your thing. The ABC show is also long-running, so you won’t run out of episodes any time soon.
1. The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
No list of family sitcoms would be complete without ‘The Cosby Show,’ which was the top-rated show on television for 5 consecutive seasons. Widely known to inspire an entire generation of sitcoms that includes ones on this list like ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,’ the show featuring the lovable Huxtable family also helped normalize a predominantly Black cast on future television series. Based on Bill Cosby’s stand-up routine, which in turn was based on his family life with 5 children, ‘The Cosby Show’ is truly the epitome of Black family sitcoms and remains unmatched to this day.
Read More: Is The Upshaws Based on a True Story?