America – the land of the free, the home of the brave, the programming guide of first rate TV. No matter your tastes or preferences, chances are there’s a reality show, comedy, scripted drama, game show, or “event series” with your name on it.
Not to overstate it, but watching TV might just be America’s greatest past time (sorry baseball). And with so much quality content streaming about, why shouldn’t it be? But since you only have a single day to celebrate (and you should probably spend some time outdoors), we’ve hand-picked six shows that, in their own way, are so patriotic they’re a constitutional must-watch.
Happy viewing America
No other show on television embodies the true spirit of America like “The Simpsons.” The animated series has elevated two-dimensional American stereotypes into three-dimensional American icons: the beer-and-donut-loving bumbling father, the wise and moral homemaking mother, the rebellious little boy, the overachieving little girl, and the sweet, sweet baby.
There’s a reason that “The Simpsons” is both the longest running sitcom and the longest running scripted series in American television history. They’ve done such an amazing job of parodying American culture for 27 years that they’ve become an integral part of the culture itself. We love “The Simpsons” because we are the Simpsons.
Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, before the internet, and long before “streaming,” the Simpsons embraced one of the most important traditions of any freedom loving society: the willingness to make fun of ourselves. – Liz Brown, Night Editor
From real Civil War cannons to fake ones from “Magnum P.I.,” the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is all about America. First off, Chum-lee and the gang set up shop in the city of Las Vegas, which is essentially the capital of the American Dream – at least, the version of it that has all-you-can-eat buffets, using hundred dollar bills as toilet paper, and Britney Spears. Secondly, Gold & Silver is where one man’s trash can become anyone’s treasure: An old Coca Cola bottle from your grandpa’s attic can be valued at a million dollars? Damn right! Thirdly, it’s ripe with American history, from antique confederate money to JFK’s cigar box.
Admit it: Nothing says America like seedy pawn shops and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville! – Sheila Dichoso, Senior Editor
Sometimes being a patriotic American isn’t about accolades or acclaim – it’s about an unyielding desire to do what’s best for your fellow countrymen. And no American (fictional or otherwise) takes this sentiment to heart as much as Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) with her tireless dedication to the (fictional) American every-town that is Pawnee, Indiana. Leslie’s sweet influence on the rest of the stagnant parks department – including the outstanding cast of Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt, Rob Lowe, Adam Scott and others – is emblematic of the show’s ability to soften the blows of a consistently dysfunctional government, even while satirizing its numerous shortcomings.
It can be easy to give into natural cynicism, especially in government, but “Parks and Rec” hilariously inspires us to sustain belief in our country, our town, and each other. Now go and be big enough to admit that you’re often inspired by…yourself! – Jordan Plaut, Associate Editor
Nothing says “America” with more heartfelt vigor than the hit NBC freshman sitcom about big dreams and buying in bulk. The show features an ensemble cast so diverse, any slice of that pie is surely apple. And let’s not forget that it features a leading lady with our country’s moniker right there in a her name (“Ugly Betty” star America Ferrera). Add to that episodes covering teen pregnancy, workers unions, gay marriage, and entitled Millennials who think they have it all figured out and you’ve got a quintessential look at our country today. Not to mention, two of its main characters are played by Canadian actors – Mark McKinney (“Kids in the Hall”) and Lauren Ash (“Super Fun Night”) – and isn’t exploiting Canadians for their talents the most American thing of all? All jokes aside, the show has enormous heart – so big, it could easily eclipse the Grand Canyon a hundredfold. – Richard Ogawa, Editor
The American Dream = life, liberty, and the pursuit of fabulousness. And living fabulously is what the ladies of the Real Housewives do best. If these groups of women have taught us anything, it’s that all you need is big hair, a lot of money, and a dream to make it in this world. From New York City to Beverly Hills, the housewives represent women who’ve done just that in some of the most affluent and diverse cities in the country.
But while they may live in mansions and party on yachts, don’t discount the hard work that these women have put into having it all. The cast features business owners such as Bethenny Frankel, founder of SkinnyGirl; restaurateur Lisa Vanderpump of SUR; and of course, she-of-many-hypehnates Sonja Morgan. All these ladies skillfully balance family, work, and camera crews without ever taking off their heels.
Sure, they may drink too much “champs” or flip tables at christenings, but they aren’t pretending to be perfect and that’s why we love them. And let’s be honest, you’re going to listen to “Tardy for the Party” at least twice this weekend.
– Jessica Tardiff, Editorial Coordinator
There are few shows more quintessentially ‘American’ than ABC’s Shark Tank. A true embodiment of capitalism, Shark Tank has afforded hundreds of entrepreneurs the opportunity to make their dreams a reality. Indeed, this hit series is living proof that the ‘American Dream’ is alive and well.
However, on this most American of holidays it is important to not only contemplate on our own successes, but also look beyond our borders and reflect on our nation’s impact on the world. While Shark Tank has contributed toward revitalizing public perception of the ‘American Dream’, it has also spawned dozens of products that have changed the lives of individuals across the globe.
“Shark Tank” is the perfect show to inspire the inner patriot / entrepreneur within us all this 4th of July. Who knows, maybe when you’re watching you’ll come up with the next big product that will change the world. – Will Brown, Editorial Intern