Sitcoms! You all know them; you all love them. They are the warm light at the end of the tunnel after a hard day's work, the delightful treat after a tough gym session, and the perfect distraction to chuck on while eating dinner - because no one likes being alone with their thoughts. There's always a time for situational comedies.
Part of what makes the genre such great comfort viewing is the fact that it's just so light. Even when things get emotionally heavy, there's still a sugary sweetness to sitcoms that leaves you with a lovely taste in your mouth. However, within that overly pleasant presentation is a darkness that likes to creep in when you're not looking.
Yes, while sitcoms work hard to make you smile and laugh, there are many times when they throw tragedy and trauma your way. You can see this plainly in the backstories of some characters, as some of the most happy-go-lucky sitcom icons have incredibly dark pasts that counteract their overly bubbly presentations.
These characters take the crown for masking an incredibly tragic and depressing backstory with laughs and giggles.
10. Barney Stinson - How I Met Your Mother
Barney Stinson; the man, the myth, the legend! This suit-wearing, womanising, playbook writing go-getter is a textbook example of how to write a loveable, cool-guy character - even if some of his attitudes towards women are a little dicey. But, there was a time when he wasn't so great, a time before he became legen (wait for it) dary.
You see, Barney's transition into his final form came as a result of a dark past. He had a far from easy childhood, as he never knew his father and was often given misinformation by his mother (she even once told him his dad was Bob Barker, yeah, right). He was also bullied a lot, but the worst was still to come.
The tragedy that made Barney who he was came after he was jilted by his girlfriend, whom he intended to marry and live the rest of his life with. She left him for a rich businessman and even laughed at his attempts to win her back with a song, causing him massive emotional grief, which led him to "suit up".
Barney is hilarious, but underneath that bravado and confident persona is the pain of heartbreak.