Thursday, April 12, 2012

Top 5 Best Sitcoms of the 80s

We love the 80's and we love sitcoms, so this is a list that we've been dying to write.  First, a ground rule: there are some great shows that started in the late 80's, but don't count for this list, since the majority of their run was in the 70's or 90's (M*A*S*HThe Simpsons, Seinfeld, and Married... with Children all come to mind).  Sorry.  You can bitch about it in the comments.  And with that out of the way, your list:

5: It's Garry Shandling's Show (1986-1990) - Originally on Showtime and later picked up by Fox, the premise was that Garry Shandling played himself--a stand-up comic.  The twist was his life was a sitcom, which he and the whole supporting cast knew.  But it wasn't weird--they talked to the audience (fourth wall soundly broken and discarded), interupted scenes to go to commercial, and did sitcom-ish things without a problem.  But the best thing about the show was the theme song.

4: Newhart (1982-1990) - Following his success with The Bob Newhart Show, hysterically dry and funny Bob Newhart went on to star in another show named after him--Newhart.  In Newhart, Bob played Dick Loudon, former New Yorker and now operator of a 200 year old inn and host of a radio show nobody listens to.  Among the memorable characters were brothers Larry, Darryl, and Darryl who lived in a shack nearby and would stop in occasionally.     The show boasts one of the most memorable moments in television history with its finale, in which Bob wakes up to find that the whole Newhart show was a dream of the character he played in The Bob Newhart Show!  Awesome.

3: The Cosby Show (1984-1992) - You can talk about how many walls this show toppled (most notably that the show showed a black family in America where the husband was a doctor and the wife a lawyer--unprecedented), which would be true, but it would miss the point of how funny this show was.  The Cos is a masterful storyteller, and his comedy and storytelling weaves its way throughout the run of the series.

2: Three's Company (1977-1984) - Jack Tripper (John Ritter) is a cooking student who moves in with two sexy ladies, but is only allowed to live under the roof of his prudish landlord by pretending to be gay.  The show is legitimately hilarious, and got even better when landlord Mr. Roper was replaced by Mr. Furley (Don Knotts).  The show played on double entendre's to great effect.  Plus, the show let Suzanne Somers leave the show, and simply replaced her (twice)--that took balls...

1: Cheers (1982-1993) - One of the greatest shows of all time, Cheers was about the stories of the patrons and employees of a neighborhood bar in Boston.  Bartender Sam Malone (Ted Danson) was a former reliever for the Red Sox and general ladies man, Cliff Clavin was a know-it-all mailman, Norm Peterson was an accountant who came to the bar to escape his wife... The ensemble cast list goes on, but for the sake of brevity, I'll just give you the wiki link.  There are so many memorable moments--Coach's death, Cliff on Jeopardy, Sam and Diane.  It was a show that made you laugh, could make you cry, and everything in between.

I know you have an opinion--share with us below, and like us and share this with your friends!


  1. kate and allie!!!! hello!!!!!!

  2. Good for you. Good for you. (One of the catch phrases on Shandling) I think IT'S GARRY SHANDLING'S SHOW was wholly unique and deserves to be up there with the big boys. Great top 5.

  3. I like Jane Curtin, but PASS.

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Leslie, and thanks for the Comment too.  Yeah, Shandling is responsible for two great shows (the other is the Larry Sanders Show).  He's been pretty low key for a while now, so people forget just how funny he was.  His comedy reminds me a bit of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David--he's cut from the same cloth.

  5. Good call on Cheers and Cosby Show.  Three's Company seems more like a 70s show to me...Here's some great ones from the late 80s (The early 80s was all Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow and Romper Roo)
    1. Alf 2. Who's the Boss
    3. Growing Pains
    4. Wonder Years
    5. My wife would say Golden Girls (I HATE this show)

  6. The Gary Shandling theme song gets in my head all the time!

    Nick M: I also thought Three's Company was older. And while I like your choices, I can't get on board with Alf! Maybe I just need to rematch it?

  7. I get Wonder Years, although it wasn't really a sitcom.  

    Growing Pains didn't do it for me, although I did watch it (along with Family Ties and Who's the Boss).  

    I never liked the Golden Girls.

    Alf.  I don't understand what everybody's fascination with Alf is about.  I didn't like it at all.  Bad show.  Sorry...

  8. Three's Company: 3 years in the 70's, 5 in the 80's.  Good enough for me.

  9. Alf is definitely better now than as a kid. I think there's humor targeted to adults more so than kids. Try rewatching it.

  10. What, no "Small Wonder" or "Out of This World?!" Unacceptable!

    Just kidding. But I do think "ALF" was actually quite good. For serious.