TV's five best bookstores

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in the sketch "Feminist bookstore." (IFC).

Bookstores are a staple setting in pop culture, and they were especially in vogue in the 1990s. During that time of economic prosperity, quirky, lovable and datable people were setting up shop left, right and centre in television series. The bookstores were beautiful, big and stacked with quality books; they had clever, punning names and were breeding grounds for comedy and romance. Here's a look at the top five bookstores in TV shows over the last 20 years.

Ellen 1994 -1998


Before Ellen was a daytime talk-show hero she had a sitcom of the same name. Ellen the '90s sitcom was split between Ellen's apartment, where a cast of quirky friends complained about their love lives, and a bookstore where a cast of quirky friends complained about their love lives. Ellen owned that bookstore, called Buy the Book, and it was emblematic of the golden age of independent shops. It had all the bells and whistles of a big store coupled with the charm of a little one. There was a grumpy barista and a lot of lounging about.

Watch Ellen give up her bookstore for a movie production starring Carrie Fisher in exchange for the chance to be a background actor.

Black Books 2000 - 2004


Black Books was a British comedy set in a small bookstore in London. The show follows the daily lives of Bernard Black, Fran and Manny. Black is the ultimate independent-store curmudgeon, kind of like John Cusack in High Fidelity.

Watch the grumpiest bookstore owner in pop culture in action down below.

Stacked 2005 - 2006

Stacked180.jpgLike most great TV shows set in a bookstore, Stacked is both the name of the bookstore and a delightful play on words pertaining to the theme of the show -- star Pamela Anderson's endowment. The show's premise is that Skyler Dayton ( Anderson) turns to work in a bookstore in search of a total life change after she's had it with her shallow lifestyle. She's not exactly booky and stands out in contrast with the rest of the staff. This fish-out-of-water style comedy is a barrel of laughs and has no shortage of boob jokes.

Watch a classic double entendre joke in Stacked.

Almost Heroes 2011

AlmostHeroes-180.jpgNot to be confused with the 1998 movie with Chris Farley and Matthew Perry, Almost Heroes was a Canadian television show that aired in 2011. Brothers Pete and Terry take possession of their father's comic-book store after he passes away and yes, hilarity ensues. The name of the bookstore might not make it into the top names of all time though. The Silver Salmon is neither a pun nor a comic reference (though it's probably a nod to the Silver Snail, a long-time Toronto comics store). But to each their own.

Portlandia 2011 - present

Portlandia180.jpgIn the current age of the decline of the independent bookstore, sketch show Portlandia lampoons some old-guard shop owners trying to cling to their archaic ideas about how to run a bookstore in the skit "The Feminist Bookstore." It has become one of the most popular skits on the show as it portrays the daily awkward struggles of Toni and Candace at their store Women and Women First.

Watch how Toni and Candace choose to run their store. Their winning business plan is to avoid computerized catalogues, bestselling authors and customer service.