22 October 2015

My Top-10 Sitcoms of The Last 50 Years

Newhart (1982-1990) -Please forgive me but I actually like Bob Newhart's second major sitcom series -at the Stratford Inn in Vermont- more than the first 'shrink' series, as good as that one was. In fact I think the 80s series Newhart is one of the most underrated comedy shows ever- watched it every week with friends when they were new, too funny.
Interestingly, all 184 shows are -here- on this YouTube playlist.

Cheers -This would probably make everybody's list, but honestly I never go back and watch them anymore... too much saturation I guess, and it just doesn't seem quite as clever as it did at the time. Still, too substantial to leave off... I watched every single episode for years for a reason, and it launched a few careers.

Taxi  -This or Sanford & Son really might be my very all-time favorites... pretty much the best entertainment on 70s television, imo. The characters are simply superb, Danny DeVito an absolute comedy genius supported by a top-notch cast. The writing was clever and kept you riveted to every episode, I love this show. I think my favorite is when Jim burned Louie's apartment to a blackened crisp lol.

Hogan's Heroes  -Kind of silly but I just grew up with it since I was five and loved the characters. They represented pretty much what American Baby Boom kids thought of the Germans in the 1960s... until later in the 70s when we saw what kind of cars they could put together. Was in the same room as Werner Klemperer once, somebody I worked with knew him well... seemed like a nice-enough guy.

Married with Children  -Still funny if you watch it now, and was truly something fresh and revolutionary at the time... really seemed pretty radical when it was new and the casting was brilliant. Met Katey Sagal briefly once. It's funny how not that long ago this show seemed 'naughty', when it's sexual innuendo and mini-skirted babes are nothing compared to the garbage they put on TV now.

Gilligan's Island  -I know it's pretty goofy but I watched it all the time when I was a little kid and think Mary Anne was my first crush ever when I was about 8 lol... great show.

Addams Family  -these are fantastic, what can you say. Show had a cool look and feel too. You're either Munsters or AF and I was always a bit more of an AF kid/guy, the characters were more polished and hilariously complex/eccentric, I love it. I think I got interested in investment by watching Gomez at the stock ticker.

Sanford and Son  -this is close to my favorite sitcom of all time, every character is a laugh riot, including Michelle Obama lookalike Aunt Esther (SHUT UP Fred, you heathen!). And for some reason I get a kick out of 'Grady'.

All in the Family  -this one again pertinent... listen to Archie rail against the libs, I'll be damned if he wasn't right about everything!!!

Fawlty Towers -not quite as nutty as Monty Python shows but pretty comical nonetheless: these were also shown on PBS in The States back then, with John Cleese at his finest as aspiring-yet-bumbling innkeep. I think my favorite one is where he bumps his head and goes into 'Nazi' mode, deeply insulting his German guests.

I left out cartoons like Simpsons and some other good shows lose points with me for grating political message, i.e. M*A*S*H. For some reason I was never much of a Seinfeld fan, although his standup stage act was great in the 80s. 

Then some others just didn't age all that well, like perhaps The Jeffersons or Good Times. Happy Days is pretty corny too if you go back and watch one of those these days... creating ageless comedy is an elusive art.

Green Acres, Bewitched, Brady Bunch, Andy Griffith,, and Get Smart might also get Honorable Mentions, fwiw- what say you?

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