Friday, July 14, 2006

What's The Best SitCom of All Time?

What is the greatest situation comedy in the history of television? That’s today’s topic on the second weekly Friday debate. I have assembled a list of 20 sitcoms that have been popular. If you think of others, please add them. If there are some you want off the list, we can do that too.

M*A*S*H Wonder Years
Seinfeld Friends
Cheers I Love Lucy
The Carol Burnette Show Mama’s Family
Dick Van Dyke Show Coach
I Dream of Jeanie Mary Tyler Moore
That Girl Bewitched
Family Ties Andy Griffith
Home Improvement Roseanne
Will & Grace Everybody Loves Raymond


BRATCH said...

Seinfeld is the best. I guess Friends may have been on longer, but they jumped the shark years before they decided to end our misery.

Cheers is probably second. All in the Family was probably the most ground breaking. They talked about things on that show that producers won't touch these days.

Home Improvement and Everybody Loves Raymond are the same show. Too formulaic to be considered. Every show involved Raymond or Tim doing something stupid or not stupid and their wives being pissed at them for 30 minutes and then the credits rolled. Even when the wives did something stupid they would still be mad at their husbands.

Andy Griffith had some great years but Barney left and they went to color. Shark jumping territory.

Dick Van Dyke was only worth watching for a young, hot Mary Tyler Moore.

Mama's Family was pretty good,not the best and the Carol Burnette Show wasn't a sitcom, but they were awesome. They always tried to break each other up.

Travis said...

1. Seinfeld…I was really tempted to put Cheers #1, but I can’t forgive or forget the Shelly Long years. Seinfeld provided so many memorable moments and one liners, it’s the definitive sitcom. Just a show about nothing.
2. Cheers…How many shows could survive the changes in cast that Cheers had and still go out on top? Losing Coach, Diane and adding Woody and Rebecca were not changes to fringe characters, but rather to main characters. All that time and Diane was the only character I didn’t like.
3. M*A*S*H…A show that made fun of war and no one minded. That’s great. Jumped the Shark when Alda started writing and got insightful.
4. I Love Lucy…Another important show because Lucy was the star. To my knowledge, that’s the first time a female was the star of any show on TV. Oh, and it’s pretty funny too.
5. Friends…Agree with Bratch. Jumped the Shark long before it finally ended. Jennifer Anniston made the show watchable because she’s always watchable.
6. The Andy Griffith Show…maybe the last of the wholesome sitcoms.
7. Family Ties…Ok, this is a sentimental pick, but I liked the dynamic of this show. Michael J. Fox was the obvious star, but it had a solid cast surrounding him, including Made For TV Movie ICON Meredith Baxter-Birney. Justine Bateman was an underrated 80s hottie.
8. The Wonder Years…would be higher if I were sure it was a comedy. It was really a light drama. Still, one of my favorite shows of that era.
9. Roseanne…not because I was a great, great fan, but because it was a show full of unattractive people that was just funny. My only gripe is that it was an All In The Family ripoff. But John Goodman made up for that.
10. Home Improvement…A guilty pleasure. I liked the show. I’ve said it. I liked Wilson (before the volleyball WILSON!!!!) and I liked Tim Allen. Yes it played the formula, but I liked the show.

BRATCH said...

Seinfeld is the best because they never altered the show from day one. All the other shows had to have something change. It might have been uncontrollable, but things changed and Seinfeld didn't.

Travis said...

Except for Jerry's dad. That's the only thing I can think of that changed.

BRATCH said...

That's not the kind of change I'm talking about. I'm talking about bringing in huge main character or something.

Like Woody on Cheers, Seven on Married With Children, the little girl on All in the Family.

Will & Grace and Friends tried to circumvent the huge character change by bringing on big celebrities all the time. But the array of big celebrities was the big change. It's like they were saying, "No one is going to watch the seven people who are getting seven figures per show, let's get Tom Selek."

Piccu said...

Seinfeld is the greatest and no show will ever capture the viewing public like that again. Just look at some of the crap that is surviving on TV that isn't 10% as smart as Seinfeld. How is According to Jim still on? And when good sitcoms do come on, no one watches. I guess America is so used to watching mindless idiocy that when a smart show like Arrested Development comes on, they have been stupidized and can't get into it.

On to other shows, I told Bratch last night that I think the second best sitcom is the British version of The Office. I might have been exaggerating a bit, but not much. Ricky Gervais is a genius and that show was so funny and horribly uncomfortable at the same time. I have never seen a sitcom be funny in that way before. The American version couldn't copy it quite as well, although it is very good.

You can't argue with any on Travis' list except maybe Friends, maybe Mama's Family. I enjoyed both shows, but I am not sure Mama played as well in the non Southern regions. I am not sure if Friends can be included in the same sentence in some of these shows.

Andy Griffith with Barney is just as funny today as it was back then. I used to be as obsessed with Cheers as I now am with Seinfeld. Cheers was Seinfeld in the 80's.

I think Married with Children is a little underrated. There weren't any shows like that on TV when it came on. It was probably more "real" than 80% of the shows on TV.

Orelinde_03 said...

You'll never find characters as awesome as Rev. Jim

and Welcome BAck Kotter was great too!

Of course I am a HUGE fan of Friends.

Piccu said...

I forgot all about Taxi, it should be on the list just for that great theme song.

I think we should not forget about Good Times. Not only because the show was funny, but it was a groundbreaking show.

It's not my fav older show, but you can't leave out The Honeymooners, the show that started it all. TV execs just can't seem to let go of the fat, ugly, rude husband with the tough, no nonsense, but hot wife formula. That is basically every sitcom on TV. And most of the time, when a sitcom doesn't follow that formula, it doesn't last too long these days.

BRATCH said...

I used to love Good Times, but as I've grown older, I've realized that James lost his job in 99 percent of all episodes and that bothers me now. Surely they could've mixed it up a bit more.

Piccu said...

Well, James died. Is that mixed up enough for you? J.J. got shot. How's that for mixing it up?

Top that.

Cort said...

Have to agree with Seinfeld as #1 all-time. I more of a "movie" guy than a TV guy, but Seinfeld is killer. My wife have a standing date on Monday night for some black bean burritos and Seinfeld reruns.

I do think you have a couple of glaring omissions: The Cosby Show and Sanford and Son. Whether you liked it or not, The Cosby Show was a juggernaut for several seasons. It lost appeal at the end when everyone grew up, but those early years captured the nation. Sanford and Son was Redd Foxx's vehicle to the world.

I agree with Travis about Wonder Years. It was not really a comedy, although a truly good show.


1. Seinfeld
2. Cheers
3. Andy Griffith
4. M*A*S*H
5. Roseanne (early seasons)
6. I Love Lucy
7. Cosby Show (early seasons)
8. Dick Van Dyke (for MTM, as Bratch said)
9. Coach (personal choice)
10. Family Ties

I just never got into Friends. It was not funny to me. Same with Will and Grace, Mama's Family, Raymond, and Home Improvement. All had their moments, but did not draw me in.

My list also reflects that I do not watch a lot of TV these days, I guess.

Great post. Fun stuff.

Piccu said...

I can't believe we forgot about The Cosby Show. It crushed everything in its path when it was on and it was hilarious. Good on you, sir.

Sanford and Son was great, but not sure if it had the staying power some of these other shows had. I love it though.

Unfortunately for me, I am a TV and movie guy and I have no quality or useful way to spend my free time.