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It is hard to find a more wholesome show on television (or streaming) right now than the Apple TV+ mega-hit comedy, Ted Lasso. But, if you have found yourself in a pinch and want to watch series like it, then going through co-creator Bill Lawrence’s previous contributions to the medium is as good a place as any, especially if you’re already caught up with the fish-out-of-water adventures of Jason Sudeikis’ lovable character. Below we will break down other shows from the Primetime Emmy Award-winning television writer/producer, like Scrubs and Spin City, as well as where you can watch them online.
Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
Since Ted Lasso is one of the most-watched and talked about shows across any platform right now, let’s start things off there. What started out as a clever ad campaign starring Jason Sudeikis to promote NBC’s coverage of the English Premier League in 2013 became a full-fledged comedy series in October 2019 when Apple announced that Ted Lasso would be one of the original shows coming to its streaming service, launching the following month. Little did anyone know, but Ted Lasso would soon become more than a comedy series about an American football coach who becomes the head coach of an English soccer (football across the pond) coach. But, soon everyone would see…
In the year or so since Ted Lasso first debuted on Apple TV+, in August 2020, millions of the streamer’s subscribers have learned that the show is much more than a half-hour comedy about soccer, but instead this superbly-written dramedy about a man being away from his family in one of his darkest times and finding ways to remain positive through coaching and fostering new relationships. Even though we’re only two seasons in at this point, it’s safe to say Ted Lasso is one of Bill Lawrence’s best shows yet.
Scrubs (Hulu, Amazon)
In October 2001, Bill Lawrence’s medical dramedy, Scrubs, premiered on NBC and welcomed millions of viewers into the halls, patient rooms, and operating rooms of Sacred Heart Hospital with its diverse cast of characters. Over the course of nine seasons (the final two on ABC following its initial cancellation), we were introduced to lovable goofs like Zach Braff’s John Dorian (whose narration took the show to the next level), Donald Faison’s Christopher Turk, Sarah Chalke’s Elliot Reid, John C. McGinley’s Perry Cox, and Judy Reyes’ Carla Espinosa, and multiple guest stars in some of the best episodes of television ever produced.
Scrubs had a certain charm to it that could balance extremely silly moments with absolutely gut-wrenching scenes in the same episode without it feeling weird. These inside jokes and tear-jerking moments (especially anything with Brendan Fraser’s Ben Sullivan) helped make the show both an all-time comedy and one of the best medical dramas at the same time, which is thanks to the amazing writing team behind each episode.
Spin City (Pluto TV)
Before Scrubs and even longer before Ted Lasso, Bill Lawrence, alongside Gary David Goldberg, created one of the most iconic sitcoms of the 1990s in Spin City, a comedy series that followed the fictionalized version of the New York City government, with a large focus placed on Mayor Randall Winston's (Barry Bostwick) office. The first four seasons of Spin City primarily followed the day-to-day life of Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty (Michael J. Fox), a role that would earn the Back to the Future star three consecutive Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, and multiple others. After Fox stepped away from the show due to his Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis, Charlie Sheen stepped in as his replacement, Charlie Crawford.
And, while Spin City featured its fair share of easy jokes and quick laughs, the series touched on a number of topics that made it a groundbreaking series for its time. One of the biggest examples of this is the friendship between Michael Boatman’s Carter Heywood (a gay man) and Alan Ruck’s Stuart Bondek (a straight man) as best friends.
Cougar Town (Amazon, Hulu)
Although it never attained the cultural relevance of Scrubs or Spin City, the comedy series Cougar Town was big enough of a hit to last six seasons. Co-created by Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel, the sitcom followed Jules Cobb (Courtney Cox), a recently divorced, single mother coming to terms with her new life in the fictional town of Gulfhaven, Florida, known by the locals as “Cougar Town” because of its high school mascot. With an extensive support group of friends and family, including her son Travis Cobb (Dan Byrd) and best friends Ellie Torres (Christa Miller) and Laurie Keller (Busy Philipps), Julies attempts to not let her divorce and single status define her as a person.
Cougar Town originally premiered in September 2009 on ABC, where it ran for three seasons before being cancelled and subsequently brought back by TBS in 2012, where it ran for an additional three seasons before ending in March 2015.
Clone High (Paramount+)
Created by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Bill Lawrence, the short-lived animated series Clone High ran on MTV for a total of 13 episodes starting in late 2002. As the name suggests, the show centers on a high school whose students are all clones of famous historical figures, including Abe Lincoln (Will Forte), Joan of Arc (Nicole Sullivan), Gandhi (Michael McDonald), Cleopatra (Christa Miller), and JFK (Chris Miller), to name a few.
Clone High was cancelled before it could gain much traction, but the show has remained a cult hit in the years since then and will even be getting the reboot treatment on Paramount+, at some point in the near future, with Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Bill Lawrence all returning for the revival.
Bonus: Friends - “The One With The Candy Hearts” (HBO Max)
Before he was producing and creating some of television’s best shows, Bill Lawrence was a writer on a number of sitcoms in the early-to-mid ‘90s including Boy Meets World, The Nanny, and most notably, Friends. Partway through the first season of one of the most successful sitcoms of all time, Lawrence wrote the episode “The One with the Candy Hearts,” where Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) encounters his ex-wife, Carol (Jane Sibbett) while on his first date in nine years.
Bill Lawrence would only write that single episode for Friends, he would go on to find success a couple of years later with Spin City. The rest is history.
One of the craziest things about all of this is the fact that not all of Bill Lawrence’s shows are included here, partly because they’re not streaming anywhere. Maybe that’ll change and we’ll get to watch Ground Floor and Rush Hour at some point in the future. Until then, we’ll just have to settle with another rewatch of Ted Lasso, one of the best Apple TV+ shows around.
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.