Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's your favorite sitcom?

Okay, this is one of those fun survey things I like to do from time to time. On our SitcomRoom Twitter we asked the question “What’s your favorite all-time sitcom?” Got a wide range of answers. Some very unexpected. So now I thought I’d open it up and ask all of you guys.

I’ll be interested to see if most of your favorites are recent, vintage, multi or single camera.

One rule: Do not feel compelled (not that you would) to name shows I’ve worked on. You don’t get extra credit for listing JOE & SONS.

I imagine we’ll have some foreign sitcoms listed too. That’s great. Some will be from shows I’ve never heard of and I will make a concerted effort to find and watch them. I did that a couple of years ago when someone recommended the British version of COUPLING and it is now in my top 5.

For us Americans, I’m sure there are some undiscovered gems out there. And for people in Europe, if you’ve never seen MAMA’S FAMILY are you in for a treat!

I might have told you mine already but I will again. THE HONEYMOONERS. In a later post I’ll explain why.

But what’s YOUR favorite sitcom?

206 comments:

1 – 200 of 206   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Black Books

Geoff said...

Ken, I'm gonna have to say one you DID work on... "The Simpsons." And if I can narrow it down, I would say Seasons 2 through 5.

Bob Sassone said...

The Dick Van Dyke Show

Scott said...

Just one? Geez, probably Kath and Kim. Australian version

Christina said...

So you already know my answer to this answer (the Bob Newhart Show) but would like to point you to one of my favorite new British sitcoms. It's called Peep Show.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peep_show_tv_series

I love the two main characters and unfortunately identify with them. It wouldn't surprise me if they try to import this one to American TV.

Eric L said...

I don't care if it makes me look like a kiss ass, I have to say CHEERS. It's really a coin flip between that and ALL IN THE FAMILY.

Daniel said...

Seinfeld, M*A*S*H, & Extras.
Ok, that's three. I'll stop there.

Anonymous said...

"The Larry Sanders' Show". Does it qualify as a sitcom?

burninghollywoodtv said...

No joke, it's Cheers and that was as a teen in the 80's. Runner up, I'd have to say Taxi.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I agree with you, Ken: The Honeymooners. I think it created the blueprint for every sitcom that followed. My top 5 would be rounded out with Leave It To Beaver, Seinfeld, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Newhart.

I'd say I'm sorry about the Dodgers losing the NLCS, but I'm too busy dancing in the street.

HEATHER said...

I'm sitting here watching Frasier, right now. Not to blow smoke up your butt, but it's always smart and funny, without the usual sitcom fare of smart-ass children and predictable stories.
My condolences on the Dodgers, but hey-look at what Joe Torre did in one season, just think what he will do next year!!!

Gretchen said...

All-time? It's a tie between MASH and The Office.

Devin McCullen said...

5. The Simpsons (would rank higher without the later years included)
4. Soap
3. Seinfeld
2. Cheers
1. Newsradio. Just an amazingly good cast - even the people who weren't that great were in the perfect roles for them.

Stu said...

The question is inherently difficult to answer, just as it would be hard to name a favorite philosopher or painter or musical artist.

With that in mind, my list of favorite sitcoms would include: M*A*S*H, Cheers, The Bob Newhart Show, The Larry Sanders Show, The Office (UK)...

Allow me to take this opportunity to thank you for these discussion topics. Sitcoms are a sizable part of our culture and yet the medium is often derided by art critics. I find these questions to be quite validating.

So not to appear completely dry, I'll finish with a joke: A skeleton walks into a bar and orders a beer and a mop.

DeeLuzon said...

nothing's ever been quite as satisfying as "mr adams and eve" because it was the first show not rooted in the dubious humor of embarrassment that i ever "got." and it was on right before "the twilight zone" on friday nights. but i've never seen it again, so i don't know if it holds up. "burns and allen" holds up and is hilarious, still.

Sebastian said...

Fawlty Towers

But just because the 10th Season of "Friends" was so abysmal. I still cry every time Rachel watches that pro-Prom video.

Dan said...

My favorite sitcom? "Corner Gas." It doesn't get any press, but it is based upon timeless situations, has characters that we care about, and is just plain funny.
Sometimes the writing reminds me of some of the classic radio comedies. It will be funny fifty years from now.

Frank Abe said...

No question: SPORTS NIGHT, written by your BFF, Aaron Sorkin. And I like it because he and Tommy Schlamme broke the rules of the 3-camera sitcom with the walk-and-talks and the fast pace that couldn't accomodate a laugh track or even a live audience for that matter.

Tim W. said...

I can't narrow it down to one, but I'd have to include Newsradio (up until Phil Hartman died), Seinfeld, The Simpsons (even thought I don't watch it anymore), Family Guy and Larry Sanders. I loved Cheers at the time, but time, and the fact I've seen every episode dozens of times, has dropped it out of the top five.

And one show I though was hilarious, but it didn't last very long, was the The Garry Shandling Show (This is the theme to Garry's show, the opening theme to Gary's show...I don't remember the rest). It's been a LONG time since I saw any episodes, but I have fond memories.

Tim W. said...

I don't know why I kept spelling Gary with two r's. Please disregard that. I'm tired.

Anonymous said...

Coach

sephim said...

All Time : Red Dwarf

Honourable Mentions : Spaced, Fawlty Towers, The Young Ones.

Ignore the fact they were all only two seasons, they were two seasons of GOLD.

Dan Borrelli said...

im gonna go Wonder Years, it was classy and one of the few shows where the pilot was just as strong as any episode after.

Amanda said...

SEX AND THE CITY, if that counts. FRIENDS if not. Also HOME IMPROVEMENT and FRESH PRINCE.

Anonymous said...

I never get tired of watching Cheers, Seinfeld and All in The Family.

Bob said...

In this order
The Dick Van Dyke Show
MASH
The Cosby Show
The vicar of dibley
Mork and Mindy

Webs said...

Futurama.

And of course some already mentioned above, but I thought I'd limit myself to new mentions.

Maybe because I'm solidly the geeky core audience, but that show was one the funniest shows ever on TV. Even though it was animated, it had a sitcom structure.

BC in OC said...

I said it on Twitter and I'll say it again -- the original UK "The Office". Considering the entire series is only 14 episodes long, it's a little unfair to compare it to, say, The Simpsons (or many of the other shows already mentioned).

But no sitcom has ever made me laugh harder so it gets my vote.

Ollie said...

UK Office
Spaced

I love the conclusive plot arcs in sitcoms that are only one or two seasons.It adds a dynamic that long-running shows cannot incorporate.

Anonymous said...

The IT Crowd (UK)
It appeals to my inner geek.

Devon said...

I think my age is showing. My favorite sitcom was/is "FRIENDS". A very close second would be "The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill"

John Pearley Huffman said...

1. Dragnet -- Which was full of so much deadpan humor that when it got really weird it seemed normal. It's such a perverse comedy, most people don't even realize it's a comedy. In fact I think Jack Webb didn't realize it was a comedy.

2. Gilligan's Island -- Reviled by critics, held up as a good example by no one, derided constantly as stupefying the culture, and still timelessly silly and funny.

3. 30 Rock -- It's not just good-for-now it's great-for-all-time. And for some reason, as ludicrous as the plots and situations can be, the characters feel real. Plus Alec Baldwin is brilliant. And no sitcom has used its music so effectively since, um, Looney Tunes.

4. Frasier -- It's the classic farce of our times. Every time I see an episode it still seems fresh and there's another nuance to appreciate.

5. The Bob Newhart Show -- Proves that adults could be funny even when acting like adults.

6. Newhart -- Underappreciated surrealism.

7. The Mary Tyler Moore Show -- Chuckles Bites The Dust is reason enough.

8. The Simpsons -- I wish it had gone off the air back in 1995, but those first years are enough.

Gnasche said...

Barney Miller
Black Adder (II & IV)
Arrested Development
Fawlty Towers

gottacook said...

Among older series, I would choose MASH (seasons 1 through 4, i.e., the years when Larry Gelbart was involved) - one day I hope to see the DVDs with laugh track turned off. Also, CHEERS seasons 1 through 3 had some sharp writing.

I was once a big fan of MARY TYLER MOORE (first-run) but don't miss seeing it - although, unlike the aforementioned series, I do have two episodes recorded: the one where Lou has a bar and forces patrons to sing "Alexander's Ragtime Band," and "Ted Baxter's Famous Broadcasters School."

Sitcom I remember most fondly from preadolescent years: I DREAM OF JEANNIE (the sillier the better).

Recent sitcoms most likely to endure, in my opinion: MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE and THE BERNIE MAC SHOW. I'm so glad they had decently long runs.

Favorite single line of dialogue in a sitcom: an early episode of THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN, wherein John Lithgow proclaims, "Let's drive fast and eat cheese!"

Dan In LA said...

No sitcom has ever been as funny and relevant as Friends. Even when it overstayed its welcome, it never sucked. (Well, except season 1.)

Mitch said...

My favorite American shows are the same as everyone else's but I've always loved the following shows:

Yes, Minister (and Yes, Prime Minister)
To the Manor Born
The Fall and Rise of Reggie Perrin

These were all very nice sitcoms.

Bobert said...

Does SCTV count as a sitcom? There was usually a unifying theme around the 90 min. NBC episodes.

If not, then I'd go with Hogan's Heroes, Sanford and Son, All in the Family, and The Jeffersons. Honorable Mention: Diff'rent Strokes.

Matthew said...

Newsradio. But in one of those "the golden age of science fiction is 14" ways. I pick Newsradio because it was a great show AND it came out at a particular point in my life where it spoke to me. I worked for a small web company and we were a bit like a dysfunctional family, just like the characters (and in many cases the actors) on the show.

Some people may have a clinical answer and can back it up with all sorts of reasoning, but I think a lot of sitcom hit or miss is just kismet, in particular if it can tap into some mainstream zeitgeist at just the right time.

The inescapable consequence of my theory is that someone can argue "Homeboys in Space" is the greatest sitcom ever so long as you are able to prove that 1) you were living in space at the time and 2) were forced to haul garbage. So maybe my theory is all crap.

Dave said...

There's "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show," and then there's everything else.

OJ (not that one) said...

Friends.

(Every once in a while, a pal suggests throwing in an episode or two to pass some time [she tends to be punctual unlike others, hence the time to pass] and even though I might think I'm not in the mood for a sitcom, it takes about fifteen seconds to enjoy the living heck out of it. There is no "not in the mood for Friends" for me.)

The British Coupling would be 2nd, although I think I never finished the fourth season.

Stratman said...

1. Seinfeld
2. Frasier
3. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
4. Newsradio
5. Friends

Single camera shows...

The Larry Sanders Show
Arrested Development
Curb Your Enthusiasm

Props to British gems like I'm Alan Partridge and Phoenix Nights. Coupling was decent, but it felt like a try hard Seinfeld with a Friends dynamic.

Sérgio said...

1. Cheers
2. Frasier
3. Blackadder IV
4. Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister
5. Wings
6. All in the family
7. Amen
8. Third rock from the sun
9. The Jeffersons
10. Third rock from the sun

Sérgio said...

Excuse me, in my last post I made a mistake. Number 10 should be "Hooperman" (because I wrote two times the same show)

Wout Thielemans said...

All-time favorite: Fawlty Towers.

Favorite American series: Frasier.

qrter said...

A more recent, British favourite of mine is "Saxondale", by Steve Coogan (of relative Alan Partridge fame). He has done two UK series in the last three years (13 episodes total).

It's very character-based and strangely warm and loving, while still being incredibly funny.

Obligatory wiki-link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxondale

john W said...

arrested development, even though for some reason it isnt as funny the second time round.

and spaced

Tony said...

F Troop!

Rob said...

I'd have to say my number one is Seinfeld with the following as runner ups:

Frasier
Cheers
Arrested Development
Seasons 2-8 of The Simpsons
The US Office
30 Rock
Malcolm in the Middle

Some notes, I wouldn't call the original The Office a sitcom at all. It's a half hour comedy, yes, but it feels like a different genre. An Australian comedian recently produced a hilarious show called "Summer Heights High" which in terms of style is similar to The Office (UK), I think it's brilliant satire/mockumentary, but I don't classify that as a sitcom and for the same reason's don't do the same for The Office.

I'm very ashamed to say that I haven't watched a full episode of M*A*S*H since I was five and only laughed at the cross-dresser at the time. I suspect it belongs somewhere on a top sitcom list, but I'm not in a position to judge it.

And a quick question, am I the only one who never got the fuss about Friends?

Kris said...

All time: Futurama. It isn't even a contest. Even after multiple viewings I'll still laugh aloud when watching it. Something I rarely do with any TV show.

Currently on TV: 30 Rock, about the only comedy on right now that I would describe as actively good as opposed to tolerable since there isn't anything better on.

I used to watch alot of TV comedies then I realized about 3-4 years ago that not only were they all the same show, each episode was pretty much the same. I was only watching them because of inertia and I decided to just turn them all off (well almost all). Fortunately the field has diversified a bit since then but few of the new shows have managed to tickle my funny bone except 30 Rock.

Nicki said...

I'm under 30 - The Golden Girls, Who's The Boss, and Cheers are probably the oldest sitcoms I've seen a number of as an older teen or adult - so this list skews recent. They're all still infinitely watchable in reruns.

Frasier (particularly through late S10), Friends, Mad About You (S1-4), Home Improvement, Everybody Loves Raymond

Mobutu Sese Seko said...

The Simpsons has done everything preceding them and adopted everything after with a wit, aplomb, humanity and lunacy that will never be equalled. They've set a bar for generations, to the point that live-action sitcoms and even dramas aspire to their stories.

Roger Owen Green said...

The Dick van Dyke Show. Perfect cast. Great writing. Great capri pants on MTM. And at 5 years (I think) wasn't too long or too short.
#2, BTW would be MTM.

Rinaldo said...

I'm unable to feel certain if anything on the air right now (and I can think of 3 qualifying titles) would really stack up against alltime favorites. And those would be

The Dick Van Dyke Show
Mary Tyler Moore
The Bob Newhart Show
Fawlty Towers
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin
NewsRadio
Arrested Development

I can't narrow it down further than a top 7.

Dan said...

During my formative years, I watched reruns of the Dick Van Dyke show. One of the best.

John said...

Seinfeld and MASH are tied for top spot.

But Fawlty Towers is right there too.

And Black Books is the darkhorse candidate.

mcp said...

Yes, Minister/Yes, Prime Minister
Married With Children
Coupling (UK)

impworks said...

TV Sitcoms in no order:

- Yes Minister / Yes Prime Minister
- M*A*S*H (BBC version without the unneeded laughter track)
- Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
- Blackadder
- Hancock's Half Hour (because its the best of a whole generation of classic British comedy)

On radio (BBC):
- Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
- Hancock's Half Hour
- Round the Horne
- The Goons
- Joyce Grenfell's George Monologs

impworks said...

Oops - forgot a TV show - Drop the Dead Donkey. But that makes 6 in my top 5.

Stan said...

Corner Gas really does have a nice feel about it and it's very funny - plus it's Canadian (I don't think being Canadian is required to get the jokes, though). The show it most reminds me of - Newhart - is also a favourite as is its predecessor The Bob Newhart Show (the sitcom, not the variety show).

ScottUSF said...

Probably a side effect of growing up in the midwest in the 70s and 80s with parents who only believed in public television...
1. Fawlty Towers
2. Good Neighbors (originally named The Good Life in UK.)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/goodlife/index.shtml)

More recently I'd have to say
1. Absolutely Fabulous
2. The Office (UK first, then the US seasons after 1 which weren't just americanized scripts from the original)

Anonymous said...

From Jan:

It's been awhile for some of these, so I'm not sure if they'd hold up, but I have very fond memories of "Doctor, Doctor," "Butterflies," "Frasier," "Titus," and "Grounded for Life." All of them had me laughing out loud at one point or another.

Eric Weinstein said...

Top 3:

1. MASH
2. Bob Newhart Show
3. Arrested Development

Corinne said...

So many of my favorites have already been mentioned: The Office (UK), Vicar of Dibley, The Good Neighbours, the Bob Newhart Show, Frasier, 30 Rock and Arrested Development.

A couple of people mentioned the Canadian show, "Corner Gas" which I've not yet seen but reminds me of another Canadian show, "The Red Green Show." Red is a handyman/DIY-er and duct tape is the answer to everything.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Green_Show

http://www.ilaugh.com/the_red_green_show

Noah said...

"The Simpsons" if it counts. It would be tough to name just one live action, since styles and my tastes have changed over time. It's probably either "Cheers" or "The Office" (American version) with "30 Rock" as a rising dark horse.

Doktor Frank Doe said...

Four Words - M*A*S*H

Primarily the first three seasons.

dgm said...

I echo the votes for The Bob Newhart Show, The Simpsons, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Seinfeld. I'll throw in The Odd Couple. Brilliant, all. And finally, I'll add "Will & Grace," which I never saw in the regular season but whenever I catch one in re-runs, I am pleased and astonished at how funny it is and at the mad comedic skillz of Sean Hayes, Debra Messing, and Megan Mullally.

emily said...

Tim W:

This is the theme to Garry's Show,
The theme to Garry's show.
Garry called me up and asked if I would write his theme song.

I'm almost halfway finished,
How do you like it so far,
How do you like the theme to Garry's Show.

This is the theme to Garry's Show,
The opening theme to Garry's show.
This is the music that you hear as you watch the credits.
We're almost to the part of where I start to whistle.
Then we'll watch "It's Garry Shandling's Show".

This was the theme to Garry Shandling's show.



It's a gift. And a curse. You'll thank me later.

Jayne said...

Frasier without a doubt. Second is probably either The Bob Newhart Show or M*A*S*H.

Shay said...

M*A*S*H, hands down, although unlike previous posters I prefer the years with Harry Morgan - the man was a genius, and brought a certain amount of elegance to the humor.

Additionally, I would have to go with Sports Night as second choice (although the later half of the second season isn't quite the same quality).

For third choice, The Addams Family. John Astin and Carolyn Jones played off each other really well.

NewsRadio and first-season Arrested Development are also way up there.

DodgerGirl said...

I Love Lucy. There are lots of great choices, but Lucy always makes me laugh, no matter how many times I've seen it.

Anonymous said...

Curb and I Love Lucy - both shows make me squirm when watching.

bevo said...

Hmm.... a favorite sit com? I have two and for the same reason. Most sit coms appear to start with a single, unifying joke. The characters operate within the confine of that joke. Home Improvement? Tim hosts a repair show yet he is a klutz in a real life. Most comedies fit in those mold. The joke wears thin by season three and is dead by the fifth season.

A lot of you mention The Office and Spaced. Both shows left the air before the joke got stale.

Rare comedies change the joke to remain fresh. Ken has detailed how MASH altered the joke by changing characters, and how Cheers changed the joke when the Rebecca character replaced the Diane character.

For my money, Seinfield and Newhart remain my favorite comedies. Both changed the joke but offered sly insights into the human condition. Seinfeld changed when Larry David left the show. Peter Sclari's addition of Newhart altered the joke on Newhart.

For a short run comedy series, though, you can never beat WKRP in Cincinnati. The show only gets funnier as I get older because I have come in contact with those characters in real life.

Mary Stella said...

I can't pick one favorite out of all the ones I've watched in 50 years.

Here are some of my favs: I Love Lucy, Newhart, M*A*S*H, Married With Children (the fun of dysfunction).

I'm sure I'm forgetting some because the caffeine has not yet kicked in and I was up late celebrating because my beloved Phillies are in the World Series for the first time in 15 freakin years!

benson said...

A little surprised no one has mentioned Hello, Larry, Me and the Chimp, or My Mother, the Car.

Also, a rant. Look at all the mentions of Newhart, and you can only get one freaking season on DVD.

My top 5:

1a. Dick Van Dyke
1b. Newhart
1c. Frasier
2. As Time Goes By (its very sweet)
3. Andy Griffith
4. Green Acres
5. MTM, Odd Couple, Bob Newhart

Dana King said...

Cheers. And I'm not saying that because you wrote it. I read your blog because you wrote Cheers.

Debby G said...

The Mary Tyler Moore show. She is so engaging, the supporting characters are fun, and to a teenage girl in the still somewhat sexist, watching a single working woman was inspiring.

Debby G said...

I meant, "the somewhat still sexist seventies." Say that ten times real fast.

Mike Tennant said...

Green Acres

LouOCNY said...

anybody who reads my posts knows its Barney Miller - I know too many cops who say that they encounter the people on the show on BOTH sides of the desk everyday.

MASH, up to the time you and David I left - while it changed after Gelbart departed, you guys maintained a certain amount of the grit and wit, without too many compromises. AFTER you left everything changed - even the lighting - and it started going into the latrine..

WKRP As a kid, it was the hippest sitcom on TV, now as an adult, well...I now appear on a small community based station (PLUG: www.wtbq.com Fri 1230-2 ET), and its just like a real KRP - in fact, we are trying to get together a reality show based on life at this odd place - it is that weird...

LUCY the mother of them all

DVD, and just about anything the MTM people did in the 70s

Same thing with CHEERS and FRAISER - basically the same people doing the same fine work.

from the Limeys I love BLACK ADDER, and Rowan's other, underrated, THE THIN BLUE LINE

plus about 5,000 others....

Jayne said...

Dana King wrote: Cheers. And I'm not saying that because you wrote it. I read your blog because you wrote Cheers.


This just made me laugh a bit because I starting reading Ken's blog due to him being a Frasier writer!

Looking at some of these lists, am I the only person on the planet who doesn't find EITHER version of The Office funny?

Steve said...

Seinfeld and Cheers are my favorites.

Night Court
Coach
The Office

Randy from My Name is Earl may be my favorite character from any sitcom.

My wife's vote is for Rosanne.

mothersbadson said...

Seinfeld
The Honeymooners
The Office
Big Bang Theory
I love Lucy

Jackson Hall said...

Black Books is my favorite as well

Gridlock said...

Not sure if Brass Eye can count as a sitcom (it really isn't) but get it, see when it was made and tell me it's not STILL the most cutting indictment of modern journalism out there.

Black Books I only discovered recently but is very good - 2 seasons is the sweet spot for British comedy (Blackadder cheated by changing every time). Red Dwarf was a corpse by season 5, yet they made 8 of 'em...

The Office is one of the best romantic dramas ever made but I've always had a problem with Gervais (even though he, like I, worships Larry David and Gary Shandling).

If I could only ever watch 5 sitcoms again? Seinfeld, Curb, Arrested Development, Larry Sanders and Father Ted.

Where's the Father Ted love in the comments? If any of you are looking for a UK sitcom then I'd say get this one (Linehan and Mathews would be proud to now have made 3 appearances here, with Black Books and The IT Crowd).

OutOfContext said...

The Jack Benny Program--the no-camera version--on radio.

Simon H. said...

The first 9 years of "The Simpsons" is without a doubt the high point of television comedy. Even in it's current form it's better than 95% of the comedies on television. Honorable mentions to I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, The Dick Van Dyke Show, M*A*S*H, Taxi, Cheers, Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, and South Park.

wesley mead said...

The Simpsons, if that counts.

If not, Frasier. Seinfeld would be second.

I'm in the UK, but I don't think even our very best quite match up to those three. (Best UK sitcom - Only Fools and Horses)

Darth Weasel said...

it it qualifies as a sitcom, Jack Benny; I listen to his radio version when doing the marathon training, when I feel down I pop in an episode form his television show...smurf, I even bought Charlie's Aunt and watched The Horn Blows at Midnight . SInce I am only 37 this is not just someone reminiscing about "everything used to be better", I just think he did it better.

If his tv show is not considered a sitcom I would say the Simpsons. Best. Sitcom. Ever. and most quotable.

Other honorable mentions would be Malcom in the Middle, Burns & Allen, the British Coupling for the first 3 seasons (does putting a qualifier in there change the pick?) and Fawlty Towers.

Razor Rob said...

NEWS Radio. Loved everybody in it (especially Jimmy James, the man with fancy plans and pants to match!) I suspect they had a lot of fun making it. The played with the format with some fairly outlandish shows.

Phil Hartman is such a great loss to comedy and, not only did the show make me laugh out loud consistently, for Phil's farewell I wept and not just the first time I saw it.

Anonymous said...

Sports Night

Anonymous said...

The Games - An Australian mockumentary about the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Anonymous said...

Family Ties or The Cosby Show

FrankYoshida said...

Malcolm in the Middle.
Clever, funny, original.
I love that it's in syndication all over the place now.

Rob Spahr said...

Tie between NEWSRADIO, WKRP in Cincinnati, and FRASIER. They have all 'aged well', often make me laugh out loud, and I never get tired of watching them. (Strange how they are all tied to radio broadcasting.)

Lionors said...

Newsradio.

But if we can say more than one, I want to add Arrested Development.

A. Buck Short said...

1. The Life of Riley
2. The Stu Erwin Show
3. Private Secretary
4. My Little Margie
5. Our Miss Brooks
6. The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
7. The Phil Silvers Show – aka Sergeant Bilko – aka You’ll Never Get Rich
8. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
9. Leave it to Beaver
10. Father Knows Best

11. (Bonus) Make Room for Daddy

Waiting long enough so as not to otherwise interrupt the flow – 10 + 1 from a trip down memory lane (when it was just a cowpath). But only because I’m sure nobody will mention any of these. (And of course also because Joe Franklin raped me.)

If you are of a certain age, you may have a special fondness for certain sitcoms just floating in the ether, even though you may not be able to think of a single classic moment in any of them. You remember the idiosyncrasies of the characters and the typical dynamics of their interaction like it was yesterday. (Sort of like food not being as good as it used to be – not because mon’s apple pie was better, but because, then, you were 5 and actually had taste buds that could appreciate something other than a 12 year-old malt)

Sometimes when we always cite “I Love Lucy as the mother of all sitcoms as we know them, everybody seems to forget other denizens of that Jurassic period. From the 50’s (How many of them came from radio or to a lesser extent vaudeville, and were they called “sitcoms” on radio, or just “shows” even though they were actually “listens?”:)

If you have the time, does any of this serve as a warm spot generator?

The Life of Riley
William Bendix as Chester A. Riley (“What a revoltin’ development this is.”), Tom D’Andrea as the next door neighbor Gillis, who just seemed like a lot cooler working class guy (aircraft plant) than your parents, and Wesley Morgan as Junior (aspired to be Junior or maybe only to have a name like “Wesley Morgan”). How can you not love a show with support character names like Otto Schmidlap and the wonderful Sterling Holloway’s (Gyro Gearloose himself) Waldo Binney. Remember when they had voiceover with the closing credits: “Produced by Tom McKnight and directed by Abby Berlin.” If that didn’t imprint, why can I still hear it.

The Stu Erwin Show
Next to Riley and some of the others, this one almost seemed “nuanced. The underappreciated talent of (politically incorrect) handyman, Willie Best. Conjure up any one of those 50’s kitchen sets and the age of innocence music. C’mon that’s gotta do something for you.

My Little Margie
As I recall, another (and possibly simultaneous?) Willie Best vehicle (milkman in the whitest possible uniform?). Gale Storm as Margie making that trill sound every time she got into a jam. Dad Charlie Farrell (who also had the tennis club and once tipped me $10 for carrying his bag at a college class reunion).


Private Secretary
Anne Southern as “Foxy” McNamara. Don Porter, who seemed to play the boss in just about everything, and Jesse White in the quintessential Jesse White (Bilko-like role) as “Cagey” Calhoun (long before he got into the Maytag repair business).

Our Miss Brooks
Eve Arden as teacher Connie Brooks, the omnipresent Don Porter, Gale Gordon (one of Lucy’s and Jack Benny’s favorites) as principal Osgood Conklin, and a young Richard Crenna’s, awkward age student Walter Denton (“Gee, Miss Brooks”). He actually shot a MOW here in Denton, TX and we had a conversation lasting about as long as one could last based on that coincidence.

The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis
Yes, Dwayne (not Darrell) Hickman, but more importantly Bob Denver’s Maynard G. Krebs (“Work!!!), Tuesday Weld ( Dobie’s high school “Beatrice”) as spoiled Thalia Menninger, and whoever it was who played that bluenose kid Chatsworth Osborn, Jr.

The Phil Silvers Show Corporal Rocco Barbella, Henshaw, Dino Paparelli, the mystical Duane Doberman, and Joe E. Ross as the excitable cook Rupert Ritzik. “We…want…Rupert Ritzik! We…want…Rupert Ritzik!” The put-upon Paul Ford as Col. Hall.

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
David Nelson’s Tony Dow/Wally to Ricky’s Jerry Mathers/Beaver. Don Defore, the neighbor you’d like to have, “Thorny” Thornberry, who still seems the precursor to the unseen Wilson on Home Improvement.

Leave it to Beaver
Weasely Eddy Haskell, and a pre-Dick Van Dyke Richard Deacon as Lumpy Rutherford’s dad Fred. (At one point in the 60s you could flip channels and watch Beaver all day. He got older, then younger, the kid’s face would break out, then clear up, then break out again, etc.)

Father Knows Best
Introducing the Andersons: Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Elinor Donahue, Billy Grey and Lauren Chapin as “Kitten.” Not exactly a sitcom -- young Bud Anderson was often too troubled and conflicted for that, but cute funny moments, and many life lessons learned.

OK, one more
Make Room for Daddy. Because I never miss a Rusty Hamer project, the best yelling this side of Ralph Cramden, and Hans Conried who made such an impression as zany Uncle Tonoose (“Im-a hots in da boots”) that you thought he was in more episodes than he actually was.

Aren’t you glad this is all I’ve got? I think I’m starting to tear up.

addy said...

1. Seinfeld
2.Scrubs
3.Faulty Towers
4.the Young Ones
5.Frasier
6.I Love Lucy
7. AbFab
8.Friends

All shows where I can come in at any time and laugh. And watch them over and over. My god, when I was pregnant with my son I saw the Hannukah Armadillo Friends and almost had the kid right then and there from laughing.

Billy & Karen said...

1. Coupling(UK)
2. Sportsnight
3. Keeping Up Appearances (UK)
4. Cheers
5. Newsradio / Arrested development

scott said...

Because it sustained its level of excellence over seven years I would pick MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW. (It edges out FAMILY TIES, TAXI and DICK VAN DYKE SHOW.)

Phil H. said...

1. NewsRadio
2. Scrubs (John C McGinley is worth the price of admission)
3. The Simpsons (early years)
4. Northern Exposure (just the episodes with Adam or some of the experimental stuff they did. I know it was a long form drama, but those eps were written like sitcoms).
5. Friends, if for Matthew Perry and his physical reactions alone.

Anonymous said...

STEP BY STEP

maven said...

It is so hard to just pick one! But I'm going with Seinfeld.

Good Dog said...

Difficult to boil it down to just the one.

From the UK:

Porridge and Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads.

From the US:

Seinfeld and The Larry Sanders Show.

Ben said...

I think it's the cast of the show that really sells me on picking "Everybody Loves Raymond". I really can't think of too many other shows that reliably make me literally laugh out loud.

Runners-up for me would include "Fawlty Towers", "WKRP in Cincinnati", and "Are You Being Served?" (but that one's just a guilty pleasure). All multi-camera shows, though.

Anonymous said...

With the caveat that all episodes in all series weren't always great:

1. Seinfeld
2. I Love Lucy
3. Married With Children
4. Father Knows Best

stur said...

It's way too hard to pick just one, so I will go with a top 5:
The Dick Van Dyke Show
Mary Tyler Moore Show
Bob Newhart Show
M*A*S*H
Barney Miller

mike doran said...

I had to scroll pretty fast so I might have missed it, but... Did anyone mention CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU? In addition to being both gag-funny and character-funny, Nat Hiken would sneak in some real satire on occasion (check the episode where the cops try to arrange a Broadway theater party - it could have been done today, just update the '60s refernces to now). I'd also like to mention a completely forgotten Britcom, HOT METAL, about the takeover of a staid British newspaper by a media mogul who turns it into a super-sensational tabloid. There were two series of six episodes each. In the first series Geoffrey Palmer was the serious editor suddenly having to contend with the stone-faced mogul, Terence 'Twiggy' Rathbone (Robert Hardy) and the hyper managing editor, Russell Spam (also Robert Hardy - a wonderful dual performance). In the second series, Palmer was gone, but Richard Wilson came on as an equally bewildered foil. Written by David Renwick, and Andrew Marshall, who also wrote WHOOPS APOCALYPSE (and track that one down too, if you can).

Amber said...

Frasier - the writing was incredibly witty and clever on so many levels and the acting was fantastic; I can watch the reruns again and again and again and appreciate everyone's skills all over again. I grew to *love* all the main characters and it was sad when the show ended.

Sex and the City - okay, half the time I wanted to bash Carrie's head in for being so obtuse or bitch-slap Miranda for being blindly judgmental and cold or sew Sam's legs shut for a while or pull that stick out of Charlotte's ass, but there were honestly so many moments in that series where the women said something I'd never heard women say on TV before although most of us women had thought such thoughts on our own or told our own girlfriends about them. I would just burst out laughing in delighted shock so many times and my friends and I would discuss the shows later and laugh all over again. Extraordinary breakthrough.

Ab Fab - okay, I know I know...but I *loved* watching how vapid and horrible Patsy and Edina were. I've *know* women like that, so selfish and vain and ego-ridden and I *loved* watching them being pwned every week. My husband won't watch it, though; he *hates* that show, ahahahah

Bill said...

Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin
Larry Sanders
The Young Ones
Father Ted
Big Bang Theory

jbryant said...

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which I caught in reruns in the 70s and 80s. Everyone remembers Maynard, as they should, but for my money Frank Faylen's Herbert T. Gillis is one of the great supporting sitcom characters, up there with Ed Norton and Barney Fife. By the way, buck, Chatsworth was played by Steve Franken.

I see The Andy Griffith Show isn't getting much play -- we got a bunch of Jim Aubreys in here or something?

I like most of the ones getting frequent mentions, particularly Frasier, Dick Van Dyke, Larry Sanders, The Office (both), Spaced, AbFab.

I stumbled upon an episode of WKRP the other day on WGN. Hadn't seen it in years, but fell right into it. We were getting ready to go out, but decided it could wait half an hour. Choice bit: Les Nessman orders a "non-electronic listening device," which turns out to be a jelly jar with an antenna.

gottacook said...

Interesting that ROSEANNE has been mentioned only once. That show (1988-97) was huge for most of its run, and Roseanne herself was considered a force in the business. Have memories of the show (and of the woman) curdled in the interim? Does anyone miss seeing it (besides the wife of the person posting above)? I sure don't.

John Alexander Hall said...

My favorite is the British S.F. comedy, RED DWARF. Chris Barrie is amazing as Rimmer and the writing is great.

After that, I love BARNEY MILLER. Mostly the latter years after the introduction of Dietrich and the departure of Fish.

John Alexander Hall

Jaxon said...

1. Arrested Development
2. Frasier
3. Seinfeld
4. Peep Show (and if you like Peep Show, make the obvious leap to That Mitchell and Webb Look)
5. Monk (I consider it more comedy than drama)
6. King of the Hill
7. MASH
8. Malcolm in the Middle
9. Cheers
10. Look Around You

Note: Curb Your Enthusiasm, by far, is the all-time champ in season finales.

Additional note: I recently watched an episode of The Secret Files of Desmond Pfieffer online (the P is pronounced). It's widely reviled as one of the worst shows of all time, but I thought it was funny. Go figure.

Malinda said...

Yay comment 112.....

"The Office" is my current favorite, hands down.

Though I will still watch "I Love Lucy" and "The Cosby Show" every time it's on, no matter how many times I've seen the episode.

Zeke said...

It's not meant as brown-nosing but it's most definitely Cheers, seasons 1-5 (the Diane years.) That said, if Diane hadn't left the show, the perfectly executed dance between her and Sam would've been really hard to maintain and most likely begin to feel strained, thus causing the show to go downhill. So I'm glad Shalley Long left (as were the other actors, I hear.) And of course the first episode with Rebecca (the Season 6 premiere) is one of the best -- almost a 2nd pilot.

Repectful said...

How soon they forget. Bilko, Bilko, Bilko!!! (The Nat Hiken Show with Phil Silvers). Before Neil simon took over. Still sharp fifty years later.

Dana Gabbard said...

Current sitcoms are 2 1/2 Men and Scrubs. I'll always watch MASH if I see Wayne Rogers listed in the opening credits--35 years later many of those early episodes still have me in stitches. Get Smart, Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart Show and MTM from my chldhood. From radio Vic and Sade and Jack Benny.

Dana Gabbard said...

Opps, Barney Miller and News Radio too!

Ivor said...

The OC.

Oh, and One Foot in the Grave.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I'm with you, Rob. I never understood the appeal of FRIENDS. Okay, the girls weren't hard to look at, but the comedy was not there at all. As trite and obvious as THREE'S COMPANY.

Thanks, a buck short, for the reminiscence on the classic comedy shows of the fifties/sixties. I watched and loved all of them.

Vermonter17032 said...

Ken, this is an easy one for me: Cheers. Far and away the best sitcom of all time -- well, at least the Diane Chambers years are the best. The Kirstie Alley years lose a lot of the heart and soule of the first five seasons, but are still fun.

Anonymous said...

Mary Tyler Moore show, Cheers, The Office (American and British).

Jennykins said...

It's nearly impossible to pick just one. I loved "The Andy Griffith Show" when I was a kid...loved "Mary Tyler Moore" when I was a teen, loved "Friends" in my early 30's, and love "The Office" now.

AlaskaRay said...

Mr. Peepers with Wally Cox. I bet you haven't thought about that one in quite a few years. Perhaps it was the newness of TV (at least to me) or the fact that I was only about 5 years old, I have great memeories of it.

Ray

Anonymous said...

Frasier. Bob Newhart Show. WKRP. MASH. Fresh Prince of Bel Air (I think that's highly underrated). Seinfeld.

Kathleen

Anthony said...

Taxi, All in the Family and the Honeymooners.

I have to say growing up I loved Gilligan's Island and the Honeymooners.

Still could watch both endlessly.

Jon Mac said...

The greatest of all British sitcoms is Porridge. Brilliant writing, great acting, pathos and loads of laughs. A masterpiece.

Other belters from the UK:

One Foot in the Grave
Peep Show
15 Stories High
Pulling
Look Around You
Yes Minister/ Yes Prime Minister
Only Fools and Horses

Anonymous said...

M*A*S*H
Seinfeld
Are You Being Served (British)

Jaime J. Weinman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jaime J. Weinman said...

With me my choice is usually but not always WKRP in Cincinnati; sometimes it's Sgt. Bilko, and sometimes it's seasons 3-7 of Mary Tyler Moore (not so much the first two).

It's hard to explain why, but these just struck me as shows where nobody (except maybe Murray on MTM) seemed to be making "jokes" -- everybody was funny, but the laughs mostly seemed to come from character, sometimes in surprising ways. Some shows go for character comedy at the expense of the big laughs, others go for jokes and turn the characters into setup/punchline machines. My favorite sitcoms are the ones that get, as Hannah Montana would say, the best of both worlds. I could even over-generalize and say that if a joke would be funny no matter which character was saying it, it's not a good sitcom joke.

BillW said...

It's tough to pick one for all time. I sort of remember eras.

Honeymooners
I Love Lucy
The Dick Van Dyke Show
Mary Tyler Moore
The Bob Newhart Show
M*A*S*H
Cheers
Frasier
30 Rock

I can watch any of those any time they pop up. If I had to pick one, it would be "I Love Lucy". And count me in on not getting the humor in "The Office" (American) or why people love "Friends".

Rich Shealer said...

I'd have to say that WKRP is my favorite, but man the Jack Benny Program might win out.

One thing I liked about WKRP was its sense of history. They would refer back to previous episodes because they happened in that universe.

They did a flashback of Venus's first day that was really good. It showed what had happened on the other side of the doot in the pilot.

They seemed to stay true to character. Johnny heard God and Carlson actually helped him deal with it which you would expect.

Two words: Phone cops.

Rich Shealer

Jim said...

Too many choices... In roughly chronological order:
Honeymooners
Dick Van Dyke
All In The Family
WKRP
Taxi
Cheers
(British) Office
Arrested Development

What might be more interesting: Classic sitcoms you hated (My Mother The Car, According To Jim, etc are ineligible). Mine would be I Love Lucy.

Also, what bugged you about great sitcoms you otherwise loved? For me the Latka/Johnny Fever split personality episodes, and any AITF with just Mike and Gloria.

Andrew said...

Not sure if it quite qualifies...

Green Wing

Also,
Arrested Development
Sportsnight
(UK) Coupling

Anonymous said...

gotta be arrested development. but a close second would have to be trailer park boys. one of canada's greatest gifts to the world.

Anonymous said...

ROSEANNE! The people were real, had regular jobs, the kids were average, Roseanne's mostly hate but some love relationship with her mom, living on just above minimum wage, etc etc.

Tim Susman said...

I think the best measure is: what have I bought more than one season of on DVD.

The Simpsons
Cheers
Friends
Arrested Development
Newsradio
Fawlty Towers
Seinfeld

Susan said...

Has no one mentioned Family Ties? Okay, I suppose it's really dated, and it definitely had too many mushy moments, but it was also very funny and human at the same time. I just loved it.

Otherwise, I have to go with:
SportsNight (a sitcom? Not sure. But brilliant)

Friends (the comedy stands up in reruns the way I find shows like Seinfeld don't. And I find myself quoting it all the time! "It's a moo point. It's like a cow's opinion. It's moo.") It got a bad rap, but it's really a great show, despite a shaky start and annoying end.

Ben & Mandy said...

I break it down by favorite multi-camera sitcom and favorite single camera sitcom. I was born in 1982 and grew up with Cheers. I have all of the available seasons on DVD and I have watched them often. It is like comfort food to me, when I hear "Cheers is filmed before..." I know everything is going to be alright for the next 22 min. But as for single camera sitcoms it has to be The Office (both, but currently the NBC version). The Office is the only show I can think of that my wife and I watch and then instantly rewatch. We DVR it and watch it twice on Thursday and then once on Sunday when we are at my inlaws for dinner and then again on Wed when my friend who does not have a DVR comes over. So every week I will have seen the same episode like three or four times. It is for that reason that I would call The Office my favorite current sitcom.

Ben

lizvelrene said...

I think for sheer rewatchability I have to list "Seinfeld" at the top. It's the only television show that I can watch reruns of over and over again, even after I've seen them all.

Just under that: Arrested Development, Fraiser, Black Books. If Spaced counts as a sitcom, it's right up there.

A little under that: Newsradio, Night Court, Roseanne, The IT Crowd, Fawlty Towers, Bob Newhart, and Cheers. And ok, maybe Friends is in there too.

lizvelrene said...

Did noone else say Night Court? Maybe it's just me with the comedy-crush on John Laroquette then. I thought he was just fantastic.

Britfan said...

Great shows less familiar to US eyes are 'Spaced', 'The Young Ones' (most of the time) and (already mentioned) 'Peep Show'. Strangely, 'Peep Show' is more of a comedy double-act in a sitcom format, along the lines of 'The Honeymooners'. Ken - how do you rate the Brit partnerships Ray Galton and Alan Simpson (Hancock, Steptoe) and Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (Likely Lads, lots more) as writers?

D. McEwan said...

Yikes! Who'd have thought this would out-comment "Exotic Women" by a ratio of 142 to 3? Anyone still reading these? I started skimming after A. Buck Short couldn't remember Steve Franken's name. Of course, Franken replaced Warren Beatty, who never worked again after getting canned off of DOBIE GILLIS. Wonder what ever became of him.

My faves? Okay, in no particular order (and omitting anything currently on the air):

THE BURNS & ALLEN SHOW (Jack Benny's show was only a sitcom on some weeks. If it were truely a sitcom, then it would be the undisputed #1, unless MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS was a sitcom, which it wasn't.)

OUR MISS BROOKS

DECEMBER BRIDE

SERGEANT BILKO

AMOS AND ANDY (So sue me. It was funny!)

I MARRIED JOAN (An I LOVE LUCY rip-off, but I'll take Joan Davis over Lucy anytime. I had the misfortune to work with Lucy once. Hard to look back at her sentimentally when you've known her. And this isn't a list of the greats, but of my personal favorites.)

THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS

All shows starring Bob Newhart, even the one-season ones.

THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW (The 60s were barren. This is it for the 60s.)

THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW

M*A*S*H

CHEERS

TAXI

FRASIER

FAWLTY TOWERS

RED DWARF

THE SIMPSONS

ROSEANNE (EXCEPT for the last season!!!)

WILL & GRACE

DHARMA & GREG (Should have spun-off DHARMA & GRACE)

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES

AB FAB

Nothing with Garry Shandling. (Yes, good shows, but I can not stand Garry. Some unpleasant personal encounters with him back in the 1970s and early 80s didn't help either.)

Nothing with Bill Cosby. (As a stand-up, he is unsurpassed. As a sit-com smug mugger, he was unbearable. And look at my list. Don't generally care for shows that feature kids.)

"Dan In LA said...
No sitcom has ever been as funny and relevant as Friends. Even when it overstayed its welcome, it never sucked."

Dan, you've seen EVERY sitcom? Because most every thing on my list above was better than FRIENDS. There are those, such as me, who felt FRIENDS generally sucked.

John Pearly Huffman, you were joking about GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, right? Tell me you weren't serious.

Anonymous said...

Red Dwarf for sure - hugely imaginative and very strong on characterisation. I'd also throw in Joking Apart, a darker - but similarly farcical - sitcom from the writer of Coupling.

Both audience comedies, so I'll put in a vote for the little-seen Respectable - a genuinely charming single-camera sitcom set in a suburban brothel.

Tallulah Morehead said...

CHEERS of course. What other show featured nothing but drinking and sex? That's entertainment.

(But I also loved the now long-forgotten GUESTWARD HO, for J. Carrol Naish, and because ti was based on a Patrick Dennis novel, my Godfather.)

Xheers darlings.

AHF said...

The Dick Van Dyke Show

Tallulah Morehead said...

Okay, Phyliss Diller's sitcom THE PRUITTS OF SOUTH HAMPTON was also based on a Patrick Dennis novel, but it sucked. GUESTWARD HO was funny.

Cheers

Tallulah Morehead said...

"Darth Weasel said...
it it qualifies as a sitcom, Jack Benny; I listen to his radio version when doing the marathon training, when I feel down I pop in an episode form his television show...smurf, I even bought Charlie's Aunt and watched The Horn Blows at Midnight . Since I am only 37 this is not just someone reminiscing about 'everything used to be better', I just think he did it better."

Darth darling, three things:

1. Congrats on surviving the RETURN OF THE JEDI purge. I'm delighted to see that a Dark Lord of the Sith survived. They are so much more fun at parties than boring old Jedis.

2. Congratulations on your fine taste. Jack Benny is indeed the best ever.

3. Regarding your Don't-discount-my-opinion-as-just-that-of-old-farts-like-A Buck Shot, Cap'n Bob, D. McEwan, and Ken Levine-who-all-saw-The-Jack-Benny-Shows-first-run-because-I'm-younger-so-my-opinion-actually-counts addendum, as we old farts sometimes say, thank you and fuck you.

Cheers darling.

michael said...

Good Time Harry (NBC 1980)

Open All Night (ABC 1981-82)

Black Adder

Do sitcoms have to be 30 minutes? If not, is Pushing Daisies a sitcom?

Pearley said...

d. mcewan --

I will defend Gilligan's Island with my last dying breath. It still makes me laugh. I think Jim Backus was dang near a genius and Natalie Schaeffer's support was spot on. Bob Denver and Alan Hale made a great comic duo. Russell Johnson's Professor was a perfect foil. And come on, Ginger and Mary Ann...

Mister Charlie said...

Dick Van Dyke.

-Chuckles

Nat G said...

The Dick Van Dyke Show, because it is both very funny (most of the time), and has that personal connection (this was the life I wanted to lead). "Personal connection" can keep me watching shows that I know are drek (Charles in Charge, My Two Dads.)

Other top ones: The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, SportsNight, Arrested Development (which ran just the right length of time), Frasier, Simpsons, Cheers.

Corner Gas is a great "discovery" show, not because it's great (it's pretty good), but because there's so much of it that, for the American audience, just came out of nowhere. For me, it's like when Nick at Night was running The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis... no waiting a week, suddenly day-after-day of this fine stuff I'd not seen before.

Wayne from Maine said...

WKRP, I worked at WJBQ in Portland, Maine and you would think The characters were lifted right from there!
Also M*A*S*H, Cheers, Scrubs, I actually liked Aftermash, I think it could have made it if it went a while longer.
Wayne from Maine

bobmungovan said...

I'll go with a top 3, although I think I'm suffering from a "most recently watched" bias, and not really considering the "all-time" aspect:

Seinfeld
Friends
That 70's Show

rob said...

American: The Mary Tyler Moore Show
British: Good Neighbors

sherman said...

Slings & Arrows
Not sure if you'd characterize it as "sitcom", it's definitely not a "DRAMA",
but it's tremendously funny and witty.

Mac said...

Must be my age but I do lean toward: MASH, Cheers, Frasier, WKRP, Newsradio. Black Adder, too. But what I miss most?

Mad About You.

The Curmudgeon said...

No time to read through all 157 entries to see if this one's been mentioned yet (although I did see, on quickly scanning through, "Soap" and "Black Adder," which are surely worthy additions to any list of great sitcoms) -- but one show that I remember fondly (and cannot verify my initial impression because it has disappeared) was "The Associates" starring a very young Martin Short and a very ancient Wilfrid Hyde-White.

Kevin said...

Freaks & Geeks. One of the best single camera dramedies ever put on the air ... until NBC's Garth Ancier killed it.

Sharilyn said...

Perhaps it's because these reflect my own past & present work environments, but:
-The Office (US)
-WKRP
-Murphy Brown (I think it isn't remembered as fondly as it deserves to be, simply because it went 2 seasons too long)

Anonymous said...

Murphy Brown, 'natch.

Stacerella

El Vecino said...

Here ocmes the spanish one:

"Aida" is an spanish sitcom written by people I have been teached by, and we spent the most of the classtime watching Cheers and Frasier when they needed to explain something (running gags, personalities,....everything) so they are big fans of yours.
And the Us and UK sitcoms are, by far, better, but the people starring in "Aida" is closer to spanish people. So, although I recognize the influence of all your years working with this format, I think Aida is, for me, the best sitcom. I wish you could watch it, with subtitles.
Do it if you can, the two or three first seasons.

Beth Ciotta said...

I feel like such a kiss up. But these are truly my favorites. Truly.

M*A*S*H
Wings
Frasier
Dick Van Dyke Show
Mary Tyler Moore Show
Bob Newhart Show
Andy Griffith Show
Scrubs
Gilmore Girls
UK Couples
UK Black Adder

Anonymous said...

SEINFELD MOTHER F U C K E R S

Jim said...

It just has to be Bilko, even after all these years.

Anonymous said...

I loved the British version of Peep Show, too -- but don't forget there was a US version produced by Carsey-Werner for Fox in 2004 or 2005 (they also did the US version of "One Foot in the Grave" as "Cosby")

Ski said...

"how i met your mother" and "family guy". awesome

Debby G said...

I just remembered one I loved in the late seventies: the fake talk show Fernwood Tonight. It made me laugh out loud often. Martin Mull and Fred Willard were brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Andy Richter Controls the Universe (please let there be a DVD someday) and Newsradio (Who else got to make finales twice and end on a cliffhanger?)

Auto Parts said...

i like smalvile and always watch at here tv series


Auto Parts

Craig said...

Seinfeld, both versions of The Office, Arrested Development, Burns and Allen and When Things Were Rotten.

Mike Barer said...

Mary Tyler Moore, WKRP In Cincinatti.

ArC said...

Arrested Development, Simpsons (seasons 2-9 -- 3-6 were the very best seasons, but 2 and 7-9 are very very good), Futurama, 30 Rock, Newsradio.

Anonymous said...

1. Buffalo Bill
Dabney Coleman
1983-1984

2. Seinfeld

3. Cheers


Steve Gorelick

D. McEwan said...

"Pearley said...
d. mcewan --

I will defend Gilligan's Island with my last dying breath. It still makes me laugh. I think Jim Backus was dang near a genius and Natalie Schaeffer's support was spot on. Bob Denver and Alan Hale made a great comic duo. Russell Johnson's Professor was a perfect foil. And come on, Ginger and Mary Ann."

Well its a free society, so you get to love GILLIGAN'S ISLAND all you want. But if you're going to watch it, go into the next room, okay?

And if I can't respect your taste (and I can't), I can at least respect what it takes for a grown man (I'm assuming you're an adult, despite your 10 year old's comedy taste) to publically admit laughing at GILLIGAN'S ISLAND.

I agree that Jim Backus was a brilliant comedy actor. I thought so before GILLIGAN'S ISLAND ever went on the air, and I still thought so afterwards, in spite of it.

On the other hand, at the end of the run of DOBIE GILLIS I thought Bob Denver was a good actor. By the end of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, I was no longer of that opinion.

As for Natalie Shaeffer: once, about 30 years ago, in Westwood, I had to swerve over two lanes of traffic to avoid being crashed into by her when she blithely ran a red light. As I POLITELY screamed "OPEN YOUR EYES YOU STUPID OLD BITCH!" AT HER i THOUGHT TO MYSELF, "Wow. That stupid cow who just nearly killed me is Mrs. Howell." I'm not a fan.

As for Ginger, Mary Ann, and the Professor, please, don't belittle the hundreds of great comic actors referenced here today by even suggesting that those loxes are on the same level as the casts of FAWLTY TOWERS or BILKO or THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW or MURPHY BROWN or JACK BENNY or THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW or M*A*S*H or OUR MISS BROOKS or CHEERS or, well, that is a long, long list of actors you're insulting.

I inadvertantly omitted MURPHY BROWN from my earlier list. I loved it, and even went to a taping to see it in 3-D. Perhaps it did run 2 seasons too long, but then, so did GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, and at least those 2 years gave us a bunch of hilarious performances from Lily Tomlin, as well as allowing my friend Gilmore to work and bond with her.

FERNWOOOD TONIGHT, which became AMERICA TONIGHT, was a greaet show. I loved it. But it was a fake variety show, not a sitcom.

Peter Nyrén said...

1)Fawlty Towers
2)Friends (seasons 1-4)
3)Frasier
4)Everybody Loves Raymond
5)Coupling UK
Also check out "Joking Apart", an early Stephen Moffat (of Coupling) with Robert Bathurst as a stand-up with a broken marriage. Hilarious!
/Peter

BOB said...

Can't pick just one. MTM, MASH and Bob Newhart were the one's I watched religiously. I didn't appreciate The Honeymooners originally, but do now - same for I Love Lucy.

Bill said...

Either Arrested Development or the Larry Sanders Show. Cheers, the Simpsons, and NewsRadio close behind.

dangermandownunder said...

The Beverly Hillbillies. Rock solid characters, innocence, charm and goofy jokes.
Some of the strongest rating ever, long running and the perfect show for the time.

Louise said...

Outnumbered.
A British part-improvised show with 3 kids in....sounds awful doesn't it but the first series was good, the second is coming to the BBC at the end of November with (I can almost gurantee)a complete lack of mawkishness.

Steve said...

It may have been mentioned....but I overlooked one of my favorites:

Soap

winkingbull said...

Herman's Head

Jesse said...

Arrested Development
Newsradio (before Hartman died)
30 rock
Frasier
Simpsons

Andrew said...

The Munsters
Mr. Ed

Favorites of my childhood.

Cameron said...

I'm British and my all time favourite Brit sitcom is called Porridge. I also love Blackadder. Fave American sitcom is definitely Cheers, specifically the Kirstie Alley years. I couldn't stand the Diane years and was glad when she left. I also love Phil Silvers, Frasier, Taxi, Soap and Seinfeld.

webbie said...

I can't name just one.

How can any list not include Andy Griffith?

WKRP--thanks to Hulu I watched the entire first season on insomniac night and found myself holding my sides.

Coach--yes it was silly, but it was darn funny!

Wings--"first we were spanking each other with meat and things suddenly got wierd." That line alone belongs in broadcast history.

The BBC Coupling and The Vicar of Dibley (if you don't splig a gut at the Teletubbies wedding, there is something wrong with you!)

Oh, there are more, but these are at the top of my list.

Matt Bird said...

Good Neighbors
Cheers
Arrested Development
Black Books
The UK Office
The US Office
The UK Coupling
How I Met Your Mother

Most underrated:
That '70s Show

Jack said...

Cheers and M*A*S*H top the list.

I would also put The Dick Van Dyke Show, All in the Family, Family Ties, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, Night Court, and Friends as runners up

GirlFriday said...

Bewitched.

Darth Weasel said...

"3. Regarding your Don't-discount-my-opinion-as-just-that-of-old-farts-like-A Buck Shot, Cap'n Bob, D. McEwan, and Ken Levine-who-all-saw-The-Jack-Benny-Shows-first-run-because-I'm-younger-so-my-opinion-actually-counts addendum, as we old farts sometimes say, thank you and fuck you."


I think the late Mr. Benny said it best:
"Well."

Obviously the way I come across is not always as intended; in this case, reading how I phrased it, that certainly is a valid interpretation and for that I apologize. It was not how I intended it to come across but it was not properly expressed. So please accept my apology.

edwamil83 said...

I feel horrible this show is not mentioned: Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Easily, the funniest show on TV right now.

Don-O said...

Throwing my deflated two dollars worth:

Ferwood/America 2-night

...and if allowed to push ones luck:
Bob Newhart Show
MTM Show
Barney Miller (after the first season)
Faulty Towers
MST3K

There, I'm done pushing my luck,
Don-O

The Sando said...

Father Ted!

Saffi said...

THE POWERS THAT BE

I know I'm posting late, but that one deserves a mention. It was the first time I ever saw David Hyde Pierce, and he blew me away. On the show he was married to a character played by Valerie Mahaffey, who went on to play the egomaniacal hypochondriac Eve on Northern Exposure.

Later on, when I was watching Frazier, whenever Maris Crane was mentioned, I always pictured Valerie Mahaffey.

Saffi said...

Er, make that "Frasier". Oops.

Tallulah Morehead said...

Darth darling,

Apology accepted. When you're 111 like me, you get sensitive. Now sheath your light-saber.

Oh, and Jack Benny never said, "Well!"

What he would say was, "----- Well!"

The pause was EVERYTHING with Jack.

BTW, in CHARLEY'S AUNT, don't you love Jack's elaborately fake British accent, which consists of once in a while using a short vowel A (ahhh) instead of the long vowel (a), and otherwise just speaking as he always did, not to mention passing himself off as an Oxford undergrad when he was in his 40s?

Cheers darling.

Michael Jones said...

I'm coming in late to this party and I don't feel like reading 196 comments to see how often it's been mentioned, but BARNEY MILLER is my favourite.

Stella Louise said...

I can't name just one and of the ones I'd name (probably forgetting about a dozen or more...), many of them are shows you worked on:

Frasier
Taxi
Cheers
MASH (although it's hard to classify MASH as sitcom...)
Friends
SportsNight
The Office
Barney Miller
Mary Tyler Moore Show
Bob Newhart Show
Buffalo Bill
Coach
Roseanne
Murphy Brown
Mad About You
The Odd Couple
Spin City

OK--If I had to pick one, it might be Frasier. I still can remember lines and scenes from that show that crack me up and I haven't seen it in years...

Emme said...

Sports Night -- even if it doesn't really feel like a sitcom.

-bee said...

No question that MASH is firmly at the top of my list - there has really been nothing quite like it, the tragedy and the comedy both coming through as clear as a bell.

After reading through these comments, I would also add that I loved the show in its earlier and later incarnations equally. I really SHOULD like the later years more because I think Charles was a more interesting and subtle foil for Hawkeye, but dang it - when I see the earlier episodes, Larry Linvelle sure DOES pull off that cardboard cutout with flying colors. In any case, I think it was good for the show that it changed, it never got stale.

Other favorite 1/2 hour sitcoms:

Roseanne (yeah, the last season was a failure in practice, , but in THEORY it was a really courageous attempt to explore the transformative powers of art).

The Simpsons (though like many here - I don't watch it anymore).

The Honeymooners

Frasier (at its best, clockwork perfection)

Season 1 of "The John Larroquette Show"

Yes Minister

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