Sunday, October 02, 2011

What's Your All-Time Favorite Sitcom?

Okay, this is one of those fun survey things I like to do from time to time. I did this originally about three years ago -- asked you readers “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 again. 

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'll tell you mine in a future post.  But for today -- what’s YOUR favorite sitcom?


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Stephen said...

For sentimental reasons and timeless jokes, The Golden Girls. For crisp characters/stories, Only Fools and Horses.

Russell Parker said...

Father Ted. No contest.

ajm said...


shirlywirly said...


Mark B. Spiegel said...

That's a no-brainer, as it's obviously "The Honeymooners." And does "Fernwood 2 Nite" count as a sit-com? If so, I'll throw that one in, too.

Craig Zablo said...

The Honeymooners is probably my all time favorite. I've also rediscovered the early episodes of All in the Family. Currently, Modern Family is my favorite comedy.

Beth Ciotta said...

Only one?! M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore, and I Love Lucy.

I said it in one breath. Hope that counts.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Can't name *one*.

- Yes, Minister. It had everything: great scripts, great acting, and a whole lot of Important to say about how the world works.

- Season 1 of The John Larroquette Show. (And it was set in a bus station at *night*!) Sounded big emotional chords for me. (Season 2 was only OK, then the show fell off a cliff.)

- The Famous Teddy Z. It didn't last long, but it taught me to love Jon Cryer's work.

- The Powers That Be. It didn't last long, but it was genius. (David Hyde Pierce prototyped Niles in this, and has often said Valerie Mahaffey, who played his wife in it, was his mental picture of Maris. Mine, too.)

- Seasons 1-3 of Mad About You.

- The first four seasons of The Big Bang Theory (can't tell yet about season 5, but I feel the show is beginning to lose its bearings a little bit)

- How I Met Your Mother

- Most of Seinfeld

- Fawlty Towers

- The British series The Good Life

- The Dick Van Dyke Show except for Mary Tyler Moore

- Seasons 1-3 of Friends

- And not a sitcom, but my comedy goddess has always been Carol Burnett.


James Prichard said...

"Frasier" is my all-time favorite sitcom because it was so funny and the characters were so likable. Easy to watch repeated viewings because I enjoy spending time with these people. "Cheers" is a very close second. "Arrested Development" is the funniest and cleverest sitcom ever created, and comes in third. Holds up well with repeated viewings because you usually catch something new that you didn't the first time around.

jbryant said...

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

For 3-camera, I'd probably go with Frasier.

Among current shows, I'm a huge Louie fan, but "situation comedy" seems like a limiting descriptor for it.

Robert L. said...

Sgt Bilko, Barney Miller and Yes, Minister.

bmfc1 said...

The Odd Couple

nairam_tdlowneorg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dgwphotography said...

Oh man, there are so many, it's hard to pick just one..

Dick Van Dyke Show
WKRP in Cincinnati
Mad About You (before the baby)

Lorraine said...

Father Ted or Blackadder.

Anonymous said...

My all time favorite: Allo! Allo!
Runners up for sentimental reasons (besides being great): Mad About You, Seinfeld and Frasier.
Currently: How I Met Your Mother.

nairam_tdlowneorg said...

All-Time Sitcoms:

1. Scrubs
2. Coupling (only know the british version)
3. Friends
4. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
5. How I Met Your Mother

All-Time Animation:

1. Family Guy
2. South Park
3. Futurama
4. American Dad
5. Spongebob

Right now? Modern Family! Phil Dunphy ist just awesome!

nairam_tdlowneorg said...

By the way: What do you guys think of "Parcs and Recreation" and "Community"? I was a lil bit disappointed, because the characters are really great, but both series are just not that funny.

Mark B. Spiegel said...

Oh yeah, I forgot about "The Odd Couple"; this scene alone puts it on that very short list:

Brian K said...

Without question, number one is Seinfeld. Followed by King of Queens, Cheers and I Love Lucy

EnvyYou said...

Red Dwarf, The Thick of it, Yes Minister, Green Wing, Black Books, Coupling, Scrubs, Better off Ted, The Office (BBC version), Spaced - and of the currently running: Modern Family.
In my teens it was Married With Children.

Der Olli said...

1. Seinfeld
2. Frasier
3. Cheers
4. Black Adder
5. M*A*S*H

EnvyYou said...

... and somehow I forgot The Simpsons, Futurama, and - although I tried in vain to fight it for a long while: Family Guy.

Jonathan Ernst said...

Early Simpsons
Modern Family
Early 30 Rock
British Office
All in the Family
I Love Lucy
Golden Girls
Family Guy

Paul said...

My top 5

1. Blackadder
2. Community
3. Father Ted
4. Arrested Development
5. Season 1-4 of Friends

E.J. Copperman said...

The Dick Van Dyke Show. I'd have said M*A*S*H, but that became less of a comedy as the years went on.

Graham Powell said...

I think it's got to be Seinfeld, though Cheers and Night Court are right behind it.

birdie said...

I hate to not list one of your shows, Ken, but I have to go with The Golden Girls. It's the only show I can think of that successfully mined character humor but at the same time wasn't afraid to go for those sometimes low-brow, truly gut wrenching funny moments. And I still think it was the greatest ensemble cast of all time.

Glad to see someone mentioned The Odd Couple - it's criminally underrated these days. As far as I'm concerned, Garry Marshall is absolved from any later crap he did because what he did with this show is brilliant - it's miles ahead of the movie, and it's also a show (I know people take a big issue with this on Happy Days) that got even better when they added the live audience.

And I'm not gonna lie...I love Three's Company - not so much the Ropers seasons (which are more dated sex-comedy), but the classic slapstick farce of the middle and later seasons. It never pretended to be anything more than it was (and in a way, it was the first show "about nothing"), but it was perfect for what is was. And is there a more lovable sleaze than Larry Dallas? Well, maybe Stan Zbornak...:)

Let me also put in a good word for The Monkees. Say what you want about their music (which I actually like, but don't judge), but this was a great absurdly funny show - a bit of a precursor to Airplane! type humor.

Some others: The Larry Sanders Show, Raymond, Will + Grace (especially the Debbie Reynolds episodes), Cheers the Diane years, Family Ties, AITF and MTM (obvi), Taxi, and the very short lived Dana Carvey Show!

Allen Lulu said...

Fawlty Towers. I still quote it at least a couple times a month.

Jan said...

My first thought was Murphy Brown but it really has to be The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Anthony Strand said...

I've traditionally always said All in the Family. And the reality is that it's either that or Arrested Development, depending on what kind of mood I'm in.

Neil D said...

So hard to pick just one, but I think Barney Miller just edges out the others.

Rinaldo said...

The Dick Van Dyke Show
Mary Tyler Moore
The Bob Newhart Show
Fawlty Towers*
Barney Miller
Arrested Development
of those now running:
Happy Endings

(*Fawlty Towers is the most CONSISTENTLY funny ever, with no dud episodes. But it only made 12, which gives it an advantage in that respect.)

john brown said...

The Dick Van Dyke Show.

brian t said...

Some I like, from the UK: One Foot In The Grave, Open All Hours, Porridge, Blackadder, Red Dwarf.

USA: All In The Family & Archie Bunker Show, WKRP, Frasier, Mad About You, Dharma & Greg, and more recently The Big Bang Theory.

But an all-time favourite?: I have a soft spot for The Nanny, mostly thanks to Fran Drescher, though all the characters were strong. I'm from the UK, but I had no trouble understanding Fran's Queens accent, and she wasn't anywhere near as annoying to me as US audiences seemed to see her. (I think the same is true of The Big Bang Theory - no backlash I can see on this side of the pond yet.)

It was a sitcom that knew exactly what it was, knew that we knew, and didn't care if it broke the "fourth wall" occasionally. With less "suspension of disbelief" involved, it seems to me that the writers had to hold it together with strong writing and jokes - and they did, in spades.

(Though it was weird seeing Madeleine Zima, who played little Grace Sheffield, popping up (and out) in Californication ..!)

brian t said...

PS: I forgot to mention Absolutely Fabulous! Whatever happened to the US remake? The only thing that came remotely close was the film The Devil Wears Prada, but that was too serious and sober.

David said...

Thanks for the impossible question, Ken. That's like asking which is your favorite noodle out of a serving of linguini with shrimp and champagne sauce. (In this analogy, Two and a Half Men is a broken spaghetti-o in a can of Franco-American served cold, outdoors in the rain.)

So I'll rephrase it: which sitcom would I bring to the proverbial desert island? MASH, and not because of the volume. It's just the best sitcom portrayal of the best and, sometimes, worst of people, and that's what I'd want to be reminded of.

That said, what sitcoms I keep an eye or DVR out for?

Fawlty Towers
Gavin and Stacey
How I Met Your Mother
Barney Miller
Better Off Ted

Mac said...

Favourite - The Simpson's (The Classic Years)

Very, very closely followed by

'The Larry Sanders Show.
Arrested Development
Fawlty Towers
The Office (UK version)

Thin Guy said...

Curb Your Enthusiasm.

If that doesn't count as a sitcom, then the answer is:


Cheers a close second (or third).

Anonymous said...


benson said...

Dick Van Dyke
Andy Grifith
Both Newhart's
Mad About You (yes, before the baby)
As Time Goes By

And Ken, maybe you can comment on this. I'm "shocked" to see TV Land is putting Dick Van Dyke back on it's schedule. With everything aimed at youth, even on TV Land, what do you make of this?

Anonymous said...

M*A*S*H is my all time favorite show, but I do not consider that to be a sitcom.

My favorite sitcoms are Frasier and Cheers!

Anonymous said...

So hard to pick just one!

I'll have to go with Yes, Minister / Yes, Prime Minister (I really see them as the same show).

Honorable mentions would go the the Dick Van Dyke Show and to Scrubs.

LinGin said...

Dick Van Dyke Show, Frasier, Golden Girls and Mad About You (even after the baby).

Melissa Banczak said...

Dick Van Dyke, esp the Christmas episode at the prison or the one where Laura outed Alan's hairpieces. WKRP, (as God is my witness I thought Turkeys could fly) The first three seasons of Mash. Every episode of Spaced, and Cheers, the Rebecca years (I'm too stupid to live) Any Fraser featuring Niles. I die when I see the one where he's getting ready for the date and he about burns down the apartment. No dialog, just brilliance. Some eps of Community and most of How I met Your Mother. Oh and the one with Jon Cryer when he played the studio exec. I can't remember the title.

Jim, Cheers Fan said...

Cheers, of course.
Then Arrested Development, Larry Sanders, The DVD Show, The (UK) Office, and Parks and Recreation.

If I hadn't read through this thread, I would've forgotten such honorable mentions as WKRP, Barney Miller, The Odd Couple, both Newharts, and Fawlty Towers

Mike Botula said...

Happened to catch a special on this one the other day, and after watching about two minutes of it, I was reminded that, at the time it aired, I thought it was the best sitcom on television. Best episode = Death of Chuckles the Clown." Of course, it's the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Chas said...

In no particular order: Taxi, The Beverly Hillbillies, I Love Lucy, The Bob Newhart Show, For current shows, The Big Bang Theory.

michael said...

Good Time Harry
Open All Night
Days and Nights of Molly Dodd
The Practice (76)
Better Off Ted

Paul said...

It's got to be The Mary Tyler Moore Show. It was hilarious but also had real characters with depth. It had plots that were real but also managed to have amazing block comedy sequences.

It also started the whole modern movement of smart sitcoms (with a litle assist earlier from Dick Van Dyke). I don't think we would have had Taxi, Cheers, The Simpsons, Seinfeld and quite a few others without MTM to start it out (and not only became some of the producers came directly from that show into those others).

No offense to MASH or All In The Family or even Happy Days. Those were fine shows too, but they ultimately didn't hit or maintain the level of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

(Then there's British stuff but I don't know how to compare that.)

Bradley said...

Too tough to pick just one!

Mary Tyler Moore
Dick Van Dyke
The Odd Couple
The Golden Girls

I don't really like anything that's been on the air in the past 5-10 years, except Modern Family and 30 Rock.

What are your favorites?

Bradley said...

Oh man, how could I forget one of the best shows of all time!

The Comeback

Hollywoodaholic said...

60s: Dick Van Dyke Show (it still makes you laugh)
70s: M*A*S*H (Grouch Marx on uppers)
80s: Cheers (Hey, I worked at Paramount, too)
90s: Frasier (the stealth gay is funny show)
00s: R.I.P. Sit-coms
10s: Louie

txutxi said...

Of all time? What a difficult question! Not sure I can narrow it down but two that I return to again and again:

As Time Goes By
Major Dad

Anonymous said...

First: I don't count "Fawlty Tower" as a sitcom in this sense. If I did, it would easily win. For "true sitcoms", I would actually love to say something else, but it has to be "Seinfeld". I still watch it a few times a week, and it's as enjoyable as ever. It really is a marvel of a series. "Frasier" is a very close second, I watch that almost as much as I watch "Seinfeld". If Niles and Daphne hadn't gotten married, it might've been #1. Ha. Current favorite is harder to choose. There are several I like for different reasons. "Modern family" and "Parks & recreation" are both brilliant ensemble shows, with heartfelt writing and genuinely funny dialog. But I would have to give the honor to "It's alwys sunny in Philadelphia". The outragouesness of the characters (Frank might be de Vitos best character EVER!) and the embarassing and insane plots they go through are just something that stands out and gives it the edge.

Devin McCullen said...


The Quis said...

Cosby show

Phillip B said...

CBS' Saturday night line-up from the 70s still holds my interest -- All in the Family, Mary Tyler Moore and the Bob Newhart Show.

Frasier is still extremely watchable after many, many viewings.

30 Rock is on my DVR.

The British version of the Office was a revelation.

Curb Your Enthusiasm is a guilty pleasure - careening between embarrassment and brilliance.

And the economics of TV allow me to take I Love Lucy, Seinfeld, Cheers, the Simpsons and MASH for granted.... it seems they will always be there, like fresh water from the tap.

TimmyD said...

Have to go with Seinfeld even though it's on a billion times a day and I'll admit I'm a little sick of it.

Taxi, Larry Sanders and Arrested Development all tied for 2nd I think.

Tomas said...

1. Fawlty Towers
2. Blackadder
3. Sports Night (It kind of fits the definition of a sitcom)
4. How I Met Your Mother
5. Red Dwarf

(No, I'm not from the UK. I just like their shows.)

Anonymous said...

Heh. This is fun. There are a lot of comedies I have liked a lot, so it's hard to narrow it down to 1, or even 5 or 10. Here are five that make me fold up with laughter no matter how often I've seen the episodes:

1. WKRP in Cincinnati
2. Black Books
3. Spaced
4. The Dick Van Dyke Show
5. 30 Rock

But I could just as easily have listed Fawlty Towers, 3rd Rock From The Sun, I Love Lucy, Barney Miller, and Community.

Or another list would have Absolutely Fabulous, Kitchen Confidential, In The Thick Of It, Taxi, and Frasier.

Nope, can't name just one, no matter how hard I try.

Rob said...

All in the Family
The Simpsons
King of the Hill
Everybody Loves Raymond
WKRP in Cincinnati
Odd Couple
It's Garry Shandling's Show
Bob Newhart Show
Mary Tyler Moore (with Sue Ann and Georgette)
Are You Being Served
The Jeffersons
Alice (with Flo)
Happy Days
Three's Company (with the Ropers)
The Brady Bunch (love Oliver!)
The Partridge Family
My Three Sons (before Dody)
Mr. Belvedere
The Middle (so far)

Bob Gassel said...

The Honeymooners
Barney Miller
M*A*S*H (seasons 1-7)
Leave It To Beaver
Dick Van Dyke Show

404 said...

I was trying as hard as I could to come up with ONE all time favorite, but then I started reading the comments here and realized that most people took the question to mean "What are all the sitcoms you like?" and proceeded to list 30 or 40. Seems like it kind of ruins the point. It is hard to come up with just one, though, so I have three.

Favorite "vintage": Newhart (the 80s one)
Favorite "Current": Community
Favorite "Foreign": Father Ted. And I was very pleased to see others had mentioned that one as well. The "Song For Ireland" episode is, imo, one of the funniest things I have ever watched.

Anonymous said...

The Honeymooners and King of Queens

Tip Wonhoff said...

1. Wings (is there a better character than Joe Hackett?)
2. Roseanne (the show is so unique, it is one of a kind)

Rod M. said...

All in the Family
Office (Season 2)
Get A Life

Ray said...

It's a close call between "The Golden Girls" and "Friends." "Golden Girls" was arguably better written, but it often feels slow and conventional nowadays. "Friends" (at this point) holds up better.

I've also always had a soft spot for "Ellen," the early years before it tried to be both funny and relevant at the same time - and kinda ended up dropping the ball on the funny.

Iain said...

All-time favourite would have to be Spaced. Honourable mention goes to Better Off Ted - there was something really special about that show, its cancellation was criminal.

Current favourite? Modern Family. Julie Bowen's looks-to-camera are great.

SkippyMom said...

This is unfair because you can't pick just one. It's like potato chips - but for my husband:
Coach, The Odd Couple, Fraiser, MASH and Everybody Loves Rainman.

For the oldies McHales Navy, the Dick Van Dyke Show and MTM.

For me:
Fraiser, Becker, MASH, The Golden Girls and WKRP.

For sentimental reasons and the fact they still make me laugh - I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show [while it was still b&w]

Thanks for the question - it was a fun walk down memory lane.

Anna said...

Newsradio, or Arrested Development.

Kevin Kirkpatrick said...

The Simpsons/Seinfeld are definitely tops in my heart. The show I haven't seen mentioned that absolutely needs to be seen is the UK show The Inbetweeners.

Rory W said...

I've (almost) never met a sitcom I didn't like. I'm not a well person.

Unknown said...

Laughed hardest:
- Fawlty Towers
- Frasier

Cried most
- Friends

Still need to own
- Larry Sanders Show

Still can't get into because of the laugh track:

My WV was "scify" which annoyed me ^^;

Doug Thompson said...

I've always loved Seinfeld, but my all time favourite sit com is a British one called "Rising Damp". It starred comic actor Leonard Rossiter who played Rigsby, a boarding house landlord with a wild assortment of tenants (makes it easy to change cast members). Saw it in England while I was briefly working there in the
1980's, but it still makes me laugh today just thinking about it.
Very, very funny show.

DC said...

As I read comments by others I was reminded of many shows I wouldn't miss. But, I will stick with my first answer and am sure it will change as the wind blows.

The IT Crowd

Terrence Moss said...

I am amazed that only one other person said "The Cosby Show".

Overall, it is not the best of the lot, but I've seen every episode a million times and still laugh. I own all eight seasons on DVD.

Based on what it has meant to me in terms of comedic timing, delivery and inspiration for my own life -- I can't imagine it ever being dethroned.

tb said...

The Simpsons. Has anyone mentioned Get Smart?

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

Scrubs. Bill Lawrence's sensibilities are totally in tune with mine.

Lori in L.A. said...

Brooklyn Bridge

JP said...

Cheers or Frasier

Other sitcoms like the office (us) had good seasons but didn't managed consistently high standards. Fawlty towers had too short a run to be included.

Jawaman said...


Rich Norton said...

Sports Night

Johnny Walker said...

God, it's so hard to pick one.

I LOVE BlackAdder (each season is different, so don't be put off by the first one -- the least good series by a long shot). I grew up loving Red Dwarf (season three is where it gets more palatable to modern audiences). Father Ted is another favourite, and The IT Crowd (by one of the writers of Father Ted) is also very good.

For American shows I LOVED Cheers and Roseanne. And, of course, The Simpsons when it began. I also grew up loving MASH -- but the BJ Hunnicut years with no laugh track (as it was broadcast in the UK).

I've admired/loved Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld at times, but I've also disliked them, too. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia can hit some amazing highs. I also have a soft-spot for well made milder comedies, like How I Met Your Mother. and Pamela Anderson's Stacked (which was massively underrated).

But my own personal, all time, blew my mind, heart and soul, series would probably be The Larry Sanders Show. It's an acquired taste, but once you realise the three main characters actually like each other, it becomes a lot more palatable.

And it's so very hard to pick one.

Johnny Walker said...

And I forgot to mention The Dick Van Dyke Show.

I wonder how many amazing shows I've just not seen yet?

Johnny Walker said...

Damn. Reading through other people's lists I realise how many I'd forgotten. The Golden Girls, Arrested Development (it took me nine episodes to like it), The Venture Bros, The Mighty Boosh.

Wow. You forget just how many great shows there are out there.

Anonymous said...

My top 5 are 'Hey Dad!' from Australia, 'The IT-Crowd', 'Black Books' and 'Coupling' from the UK and 'Home Improvement' from the US.

David Schwartz said...


gottacook said...

Sebastian - you perhaps don't know that on MASH DVDs you have the choice of turning off the laugh track.

As for my favorite, although we don't have cable and so I haven't seen it in a while: Malcolm in the Middle. A show the whole family can enjoy, nothing sleazy, vast silliness when required, and the parents are played by Jane Kaczmarek and Bryan Cranston at the top of their game.

If I had to choose a non-single-camera series too, I guess it would be Mary Tyler Moore - not that I've seen it in a long time (although I can borrow the DVDs whenever I want) but it was my favorite as a teenager, and I'm quite sure I saw the premiere when first broadcast in 1970, which so brilliantly set the tone of the TV-station part of the show during the job interview scene ["Y'know, you got spunk" ... (Mary preens) ... "I HATE spunk!"]

Harold X said...

Just one?
Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show)

followed by Dick Van Dyke; Frazier before Niles and Daphne got together; and Quincy -- er, Mary Tyler Moore.

Anonymous said...

Frasier, but in the non-Ken Levine division it would have to be The Inbetweeners (UK). It's incredibly filthy, but very funny and smart.

alopecia said...

Depending on my mood, and in no particular order, Coupling, Mad About You, Fawlty Towers and How I Met Your Mother. If I were forced to choose, I'd probably go for Coupling.

Emily Blake said...

Friends. Never failed to make me laugh.

Tuppy said...

"The Comeback" was criminally underrated when it was on, and it was never given the chance to show its full brilliance. I've haven't seen a show before or since with the range of hilarity and pathos in the span of a single line or in the change of a facial expression. Lisa Kudrow is one of the greatest actresses of her generation.

Please Leave Name said...

I'd have to go with a US squad of:

1. Newhart

2. News Radio

3. The Flintstones

MASH comes in either 5th or 6th.

And from the BBC: it's Top Gear (though I suppose it's not really a sit-com, but it's funny) and Absolutely Fabulous.

Bandit said...

Would the Jack Benny show on radio count as a sitcom? It really came into its own during the war, hit a high point from about 1944-1950, and kinda coasted along to the end.

Because for me, that's definitely it. I can't be the first person, however, to watch Seinfeld and think "Wow, this is fashioned a lot like Jack Benny's radio show."

Also, you didn't say it couldn't be a "no camera" show.

rocketfuel said...

1. Newsradio

2. Golden Girls

3. As Time Goes By

Sue said...

I can't just name one so here goes in no particular order:
Will and Grace, Mash, WKRP, Cosby, Cheers, Honeymooners (the whole family watched together which was special), Sports Night (Sorkin brilliant as always made me laugh and made me cry), Murphy Brown, All in the Family and now 30 Rock and Modern Family (can't miss either one). I guess that's 11.

Harkaway said...

Barney Miller continues to impress me for populating one room with so many stories and characters.

Two stand out in the UK:

Yes Minister/Prime Minister


Drop the Dead Donkey.

All are basically workplace comedies where the laughs flow from watching well developed characters interact.

Jeremiah Avery said...

Quite a few great ones to choose from, though I'd have to go with "Fawlty Towers", followed by "Coupling" and "Frasier".

Will Maybury said...

Stella. It's an odd choice, being a Comedy Central one-half-season wonder that didn't really follow the rules of a sitcom; but it is, so far, the only sitcom that had me busting a gut from the first joke of the pilot to the last joke of the final episode.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Someone mentioned Pamela Anderson's "Stacked"! That's funny, because I was thinking of that show the other day. It was really, really good, Melissa Jaret Winokour and Christopher Lloyd really elevated it to something better than it deserved to be. It was really just a variation on "Just shoot me" (a show I would have in my top 10 list of sitcoms), but it did it really well.

The good thing about it is, I suppose, that I think the commercial failure of "Stacked" was part of what led Levithan and "the other Lloyd" to create "Modern Family". So something good came out of it.

By the way, the reason I thought of "Stacked" was because I read an article about Neil Patrick Harris that mentioned his (excellent!!) shortlived sitcom "Stark Raving Mad" (about a writer... books... "Stacked"). SRM was another show I was quite bummed when it wasn't renewed.

charlotte said...


Anonymous said...

By the way, the funniest failed sitcom I can think of is "That's my Bush!" More of a send-up of the sitcom genre itself than of the president that was the main character, I have rarely laughed as much as I did when watching that show. It couldn't sustain itself really over more than a few episodes, but damn, those were funny.

Joey H said...

My top three:

The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Bob Newhart Show
The Dick Van Dyke Show

Jaaron Moyer said...

As much as I love me some animated comedy, nothing has ever made me laugh longer and louder than Arrested Development. Frasier, Coupling (thank you for the recommendation), Party Down, and Golden Girls round out my top five.

Sogn said...

Tie between M*A*S*H and Frasier. (No sycophancy here; I knew nothing of Ken when these opinions formed many years ago.) As James Prichard noted, the characters on Frasier were incredibly likable; I would add that their interaction was complex, e.g. even Roz & Martin had a nice and funny relationship (thank goodness they chose Peri Gilpin over Lisa Kudrow!). And the brothers' relationship was pure genius. The writing was often sophisticated and literate, but they did bawdy so well too. And then there were the many hilarious farce episodes! I could go on... :-)

The amazing thing about both M*A*S*H & Frasier is that over 11 seasons they both got better. In the case of M*A*S*H it's especially impressive because they had so many cast changes and in every case they improved the show. I can't think of another similarly long-lived sitcom that didn't jump the shark or at least suffer touches of senescence by the end. And M*A*S*H perfectly exemplified the idea of dramedy, smoothly navigating its moves between dramatic and comedic moments. Both shows have extremely high repeat viewing quality.

For sheer gut-busting LOL consistency, Arrested Development (done too soon) and Curb Your Enthusiasm rank highest for me, though both indulged in some animal "humor" I found objectionable.

A few others I simply love:

The Bob Newhart Show (do I have a thing for shrinks?)
The Honeymooners
Get Smart

If animation is eligible:

The Simpsons
Family Guy

A few from the tragically aborted category:

Frank's Place
Slap Maxwell
Stark Raving Mad
Sports Night
Better off Ted

current shows:

Modern Family
Cougar Town

I loved the first season of Community and much of the second, but now I think it's jumped the shark.

Sorry this was so long.

DBA said...

Dick Van Dyke Show

RCP said...

Many favorites already mentioned, but I'll whittle it down to a handful that are particularly beloved:

The Golden Girls
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Absolutely Fabulous
The Waltons (kidding...?)

Bryan said...


William Jansen said...

All Time Worldwide:

Yes, Minister!/Yes, Prime Minister!
Fawlty Towers
The Office

All Time American:

Seinfeld - everything else is just competing for 2nd place

Current favorites:

The Big Bang Theory
30 Rock
South Park

The "One Moment in time"-award:

Bottom! Mid-90'ies British sit-com, which I still love fondly, I just never watch it, because it doesn't hold up outside that frame of mind I had back then.

Ron said...

Dad's Army a WW II sitcom (!) & any incarnation of the Bob Newhart shows.

Sogn said...

Sorry, I have to mention 3 more that I inexplicably overlooked:

Animated: Futurama
All-time classic: The Odd Couple
Current: The Big Bang Theory

Movie Don said...

guess i'm in the minority...

Hogan's Heroes was my all time favourite.

more recent loves: outsourced, better off ted and louie.

bevo said...

Of currently airing sit-com, I am going with Archer.

Kirk said...

In no particular order (too much thinking involved):

Barney Miller
Mary Tyler Moore
The Odd Couple
All in the Family
The Bob Newhart Show
Get Smart
Leave It to Beaver

Runner-ups would include: The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mash, WKRP in Cincinatti, Cheers, Rosanne, Sanford and Son, The Honeymooners, Green Acres, Maude, Everyone Loves Raymond, Fawlty Towers, Dad's Army, Absolutely Fabulous, Red Dwarf, Jack Benny, Wings, Coach, The Many Loves of Doby Gillis, Beverly Hillbillies, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, CPO Sharkey, McHales Navy, I Love Lucy. Batman.

I noticed some people are singling out certain seasons. If I did that, the Top 10 might look a little different. MASH would definately be there, as it's last few seasons, when it basically became a drama with none-too-funny comedy relief that I have a problem with. The peoblem I have with the Dick Van Dyke Show is the "Lets put on a show" episodes, where all the cast members showed off their singing and dancing skills. Nothing against their dancing and singing skills. If it was a variety show I would have loved it, but it wasn't. Just too many episodes like that in the early years. They seemed to taper off later on, when Carl Reiner have to write every episode himself. Speaking of Carl Reiner, every episode where he played Allan Brady qualified it as Top 10.

Ben Scripps said...

"Are You Being Served?". (If I could pick more than one, "WKRP in Cincinnati", "Arrested Development", "Fawlty Towers" and "Sledge Hammer!" would make the top five.)

And for the record, I'm not suggesting "AYBS?" was better than the other four (it wasn't), just that it's the one I enjoy watching most.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

briant: I'd say the first year and a half of Cybill pretty much was AbFab US.


Kirk said...

That should be "when Carl Reiner no longer felt the need to write every episode himself" I often wondered if the reason there's so many "Let's put on a show" episodes in the early years was simply the result of Reiner being overworked.

Also, the reason Cheers won't make my Top 10, is I find the Diane years somewhat funnier than the Rebecca years. Oddly enough, it's not because of Rebecca herself, who was a very funny character. It's just that the Sam/Diane dynamic produced some hilarious episodes that were never quite equaled.

PRFan said...

The Vicar of Dibley and Spaced.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Cheers, Fawlty Towers, Becker. And Frasier. And Larry Sanders was pretty goo, too. Seinfeld. Mad About You sometimes. Dick van Dyke Show. Black Adder. Futurama.

Someone stop me.

Mel said...

Top Five:

1. Mary Tyler Moore Show
2. 30 Rock
3. Cheers
4. Arrested Development
5. Seinfeld

Anonymous said...

"Becker". "Frasier". "MASH" (not entirely sitcom, but close enough). "Mad about you" (yes, it went downhill later on, but that's true for a lot of shows, so whatever). "KYTV", if anyone remembers that (barely sitcom, but close enough).

I'm surprised no one mentioned "Home Improvement" yet. Plenty of fun elements.

"Who's the Boss?" has its annoying aspects at times, but can be great fun if you allow it to get to you.

"Caroline in the City" is pretty damn good most of the time and largely underrecognized.

The "Hogan Family/Valerie/Valerie's Family" line had its moments. "The Larry Sanders Show" wasn't so terrible at all. If I remember correctly - it's been a while since any of those were on the air here.

"Two and a half men" was pretty great for most of the first six or so seasons, immature penis jokes aside.

"The Nanny" is somewhat cheesy upfront, but has its moments.

"My name is Earl" is good stuff all in all.

I love "Scrubs" and "Futurama", but have a hard time considering "sitcom" in the conservative sense.

Actually it's difficult to answer this. You just drift off too easily from "favorite sitcoms" over "good stuff" to "other funny shows you remember watching at some point in time" - I'm not a fan of "Spin City" or "Dharma & Greg" or "King of Queens" or "Night Court" or "Prince of Bel-Air" or a hundred other shows, but I've enjoyed an episode every once in a while. So who am I to judge...

Steely Dan said...

At this moment my favorite sitcom is "The Newsroom" by Ken Finkleman (Canadian show that ran on the CBC for three non-consecutive years). Kind of like the British "Office" before the British "Office" existed.

Kirk said...

Whew! Reading other's comments reminds me of what I missed, all runner-ups: The Andy Griffith Show (mainly the Barny Years, though whoever played Howard Sprague did good yoeman work) Also: Futurama. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (a comedic soap opera, you say? Perhaps, but it was produced by Norman Lear, a man known for his sitcoms). Allo, Allo.

Bill Slankard said...

Fawlty Towers - as close to perfect as it gets. Only 12 episodes were produced over two season, an example of quality over quantity.

Breadbaker said...

Blackadder and Yes, Minister/Yes, Prime Minister. Get Smart! and NewsRadio. How do I know? The only four sitcoms I have on DVD (I also have Blackadder on CD--funny even without the visuals--and the complete scripts).

Jim S said...

This is hard. There are lot of great sitcoms out there. So I'll do this historically i.e. the shows that hold up years after seeing them.

1960s - Dick Van Dyke. As pointed out the prototype of the modern sitcom, with a flexible format. Could be an inside baseball story about being in a writer's room. Could do a family story like Everybody Loves Raymond. Do admit didn't like the let's put on a show ones either.

Then Green Acres. Whatever they were huffing, they came up with a different world with its own strange rules. Remember the sane guy who saw the strangeness was a man who farmed in three piece suits

1970s. Mary Tyler Moore Show. Started off as a women's comedy, and as Rhoda and Phyllis left evolved into a workplace comedy. Lou Grant was such a strong character, he went from sitcom boss to serious drama character without missing a beat or really changing much at all. Runner up Barney Miller. Basically a one room play every week. Again, had a different perspective. MASH is disqualified because it hung on too long. Those last four seasons just weren't funny. Barney Miller, Mary and Dick all called it quits themselves despite being very popular.

1980s. Newhart. See Green Acres, but with Bob Newhart. Just very funny, with great characters. Also evolved. It took two years to get the formula right. Runner Up Cheers. Great show, but Cliff bugged me and I prefer the Rebecca shows. But a true classic. Hadn't seen episodes in years and started watching them and they really hold up.

The 1990s. Seinfeld. Again, a show that was given time to find its legs, but brillantly funny. Great show. Runner Up: Friends. Again, a show that probably hung on too long, but the final year shows were good, not great but good. Loved Monica and Chandler.

The Oughts 2000-2009. Everybody Loves Raymond. Started in 1996, but hit its stride in the Oughts. Really funny. Really solid. Great writing, cast, and some great' "that same thing happened to me." Runner Up - Malcolm in the Middle. Very funny. Also True moments, and experimented with the format. Very clever. Again that surreal quality that I seem to enjoy - see Green Acres and Newhart.

The teens 2010 - present. Parks and Recs. Having covered small government as reporter. They get atmosphere right about both the bureaucrats and the public right. Plus, it's nice. Nothing wrong with a little niceness. Runner Up - 30 Rock. Just funny and, again, surreal. Alec Baldwin is just terrific.

Fraiser - Enjoyed it. Had to stop watching it in the day before DVR and Hulu because of night work and didn't miss it. Just lacked that something extra special that Cheers had. Too insular, I guess, but I recognize it's a good show.

Generally smile at Brit shows, but don't really laugh out loud. Guess it's a matter of taste.

Roger Owen Green said...

The Dick van Dyke Show - perfect balance of home and work life, and it wasn't on too long (MASH's problem) or not long enough (The Associates).

Bob Claster said...

So many.

Fawlty Towers
Larry Sanders
Buffalo Bill
(interesting: the first four I thought of all have somewhat unsympathetic male leads...)

Yes, Minister
Burns & Allen

A few recent additions from the UK:
Gavin & Stacey
(both brilliant)

Three rare examples of consistent excellence throughout a long run:
Barney Miller
Everybody Loves Raymond

Modern Family
30 Rock

Tragic brilliant failures:
Sports Night
Bakersfield PD
Frank's Place

Yeah, I know, this doesn't help you at all. But if it motivates someone to check out those two Britcoms (Gavin & Stacey and Outnumbered), or hunt for Bakersfield PD or Empire (good luck!), or motivate a DVD release of Frank's Place (yeah, I know, music rights problems), I've done a good thing.

Mary Hartman Mary Hartman said...

No chance of selecting just one, but I'll keep it short:

Fawlty Towers
Whitney (ok?) {just seeing if you're paying attention}
All in the Family
Bob Newhart (w/Suzanne P.)

J S Swanson said...

Not in any order ~ Frasier. Maude. Brothers. Soap. Absolutely Fabulous. Green Acres. Police Squad. Modern Family.

Klee said...

1. MTM Show
2. Cheers (Diane years and first 4 of Rebecca);
3. Everybody Loves Raymond (almost perfect every episode, except the finale);
4. I Love Lucy (most seasons but some of those Connecticut shows just don't do it for me...and the aful Luci-Desi Comedy Hour...sucked.)
5. Rhoda (first two seasons)
6. The Munsters (still makes me laugh);
7. Phyllis (first season only)
8. AbFab (first 3 seasons comedy gold, later years it is hit or miss...)
9. Fawlty Towers (manic and still funny)
10. Doctor, Doctor (short lived with Matt Frewer on CBS);
11. Most Tracy Ullman original Fox show. The new Showtime is very funny too.
12. funny when i was younger: Jeffersons and Three's Company (Terry's years);
13. Newhart (after 2nd season till FINALE);
14. Almost Perfect (loved the relationship between Nancy and Kevin);
15. Worst Week (Loved just about every EPISODE of that short lived CBS show)
16. Arrested Development (should have been on HBO)
17. Seinfeld (still makes me laugh too LOVE George, Jerry and Elayne Kramer not so much)
18. Curb Your Enthusiasm (first seasons were brilliant, jumped the shark when the Katrina family moved in, it's finally back in SHAPE, thank God!
19. Murphy Brown (first 6 seasons only--once Bakula and Lily Tomlin joined it was too late)
20. Not really a sitcom but Lost in Space...c'mon it had Jonathan Harris!!!

Anonymous said...

The Bailys of Balboa


Sorry, couldn't choose just one...


birdie said...

ha - someone mentioned slap maxwell - loved that show. and buffalo bill. poor dabney coleman could never catch a break, could he?

totally forgot to include arrested development.

if we were singling out seasons, then i would have to say cheers, season one. perfection. there are some shows that hit the ground running and others that take a while to find their footing, but i don't believe any show started off as well as cheers (though not in the ratings, of course). best pilot ever written. and my favorite episode is "let me count the ways." that final scene is utter brilliance.

not sure if i explained myself clearly enough on the golden girls. what i was trying to say is that it was the best of both worlds. most character driven shows are more restrained with the laughs (frasier being the perfect example), while the more roflmao-type shows are often cheap laughs at the expense of character, etc - not that there is anything wrong with that, but it is what it is. but the golden girls was a happy exception - HUGE laughs, and most of those big laughs, in fact, did come from character, and, the better you know those characters, the bigger the laughs are - which is why it does so well on repeat viewings.

Me said...

Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Cheers (early years)
The Bob Newhart Show
The Dick Van Dyke Show
All in the Family
The Larry Sanders Show
The Honeymooners
Buffalo Bill
Family Ties
Everybody Loves Raymond

Klee said...

Oops worth mentioning: Two and a Half Men, Anything but Love, Will and Grace in the later years, Frasier (first few seasons), not a sitcom but SNL off and seasons for me had Dana, Phil Hartman, Nora Dunn, Jan Hooks, Mike Myers, every one with Phil H. was great! Also, some years with Will Ferrell, Molly et al. Get Smart. Bewitched in color, I Dream o Jeannie the color years too. I can still watch them over and over.

JC said...

Laverne and Shirley ...
until they moved to California.

Matt Patton said...

I'm too lazy to have an absolute favorite, so here's a list (in no particular order:

Bob Newhart's first two sitcoms
COUPLING (the original version, not the ghastly U. S. Remake)
NIGHTY NIGHT (absolutely pitch-black, and very funny)
MARY (I was one of the people who watched it every week--I still remember James Farrantino looking at Mary and murmuring "If only you were easy . . .")
RHODA (if only for Carlton The Doorman)
MIRANDA (not being shown here yet--unashamedly goofy and Miranda Hart is a complete hoot--I've got a friend with connections)
IDEAL (another offbeat dramedy -- about a small-time pot dealer in Manchester--one of several very funny shows generated by Steve Coogan's Baby Cow production company. Even if you can't stand the star, Johnny Vegas, in anything else, give this one a chance)

birdie said...

as an aside: i noticed no one mentioned will + grace...ken hates that show, right?:)

it admittedly got a bit uneven toward the end, and the finale was terrible, but i have to admit i loved it. few shows have made me laugh harder, but the occasional moments of poignancy hit me really hard too (like when will's father died). yeah some of the celebrity guests bombed, but i think many were put to excellent and hilarious use: sandra bernhard, james earl jones, michael douglas, sharon stone, molly shannon, gregory hines, etc. and all of the parents on that show were fab (sydney pollack was one hell of an actor); however, debbie reynolds stole the show. plus, the main 4 (and shelley morrison) were all just very, very talented - especially eric mccormack. of the big five shows of that era, my favorites were will + grace and raymond (which actually had a good finale); then friends and seinfeld; then...(sorry) frasier, which i simply never cared for.

raymond was more consistent than will + grace and probably holds up better, even if it doesn't quite have the side-splitting highs w +g had at its best. i guess at this point i would rank raymond higher, but then again i've been watching it more lately (it's on TV Land allll the time).

Pat Reeder said...

Too many good ones to list, and all have been mentioned already. I'll put in a second, or third, or 45th, for "WKRP" and "NewsRadio" because I am a radio guy. The original "Bob Newhart" show also deserves another mention. "Frasier," "MASH," "Cheers,"Friends" and "Golden Girls" are the ones I watch most often in reruns. "The New Adventures of Old Christine" surprised me with how funny it was when I caught it in syndication. And there will never be another sitcom that created its own world that you actually wanted to visit like "The Andy Griffith Show."

All that said, I've only plunked down the money to buy the entire run of any sitcom on DVD, so if I had to put my money where my mouth is, it would be "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

Mark said...

Everybody Loves Raymond! Laugh and laugh with skilled drama in every single episode.

Carol said...

Let's see...currently running on American television it's How I Met Your Mother. (Neil Patrick Harris needs to host a variety show when he's done HIMYM. On every channel. Heck, he needs his own channel.)

Old timey sitcom is definitely Dick Van Dyke Show. It's amazing how well that show holds up almost 50 years on.

On British Television, sort of currently (supposed to be getting a new series soon) the IT Crowd. Totally unrealistic and hysterically funny.

Pierre Francois said...

Very hard choices, of course. I would reluctantly settle on The Honeymooners as the best of all time. 39 episodes, 38 home runs is a pretty unarguable record. However, these four are just millimeters behind:
The Odd Couple
All in the Family
Barney Miller

And ten runners-up...
The Phil Silvers Show
The Dick Van Dyke Show
Get Smart
Green Acres
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Golden Girls
Everybody Loves Raymond

And if Cheers had ended after the first five years, it would be a top-five for sure.

Mac said...

147 comments! This must be a record - and you didn't even mention THOR!

@Carol. If you like The IT Crowd, you have to see Father Ted. Written by the same guy who wrote The IT Crowd and - I promise you - it's even funnier.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to those that mentioned "Soap", "Police Squad" and "Becker"! I grew up in Sweden, and "Soap" was HUGE over there. We only had two TV channels, and "Soap" was on at 8 PM Sunday nights, the prime spot in all of the week (later "The Cosby Show" would take over that spot), so almost everyone watched it by default. I remember laughing so hard at that show, especially the alien abduction story - and that was without even really having a clue about the soaps that the show was parodying. Would definitely have to go on my list of best sitcoms ever, but that's partly because of sentimental reasons.

"Police Squad" was another show that was an insanely funny failure, like "That's my Bush!". I have rarely laughed as much while watching TV, but the concept was stretched thin after just a few episodes, so it was no wonder it didn't succeed. But it was great for what it was.

And "Becker" was one of the best -00s sitcoms there was, IMO. It was a shame that it never really caught on and that it just fizzled. I LOVED Danson as the title character - the perfect mix of grumpiness and heart (with an emphasis on the former), and the supporting characters were pitch perfect (I especially liked the blind dude, and then later on Jorge Garcia's character - both felt like fresh additions to an at the time rather stale genre). I also loved how they mixed the restaurant and the doctor's office environment so seamlessly.

And let's not forget "ALF"!! One of the best sitcoms of all time for me, just because of it being different and I loved all the one-liners. I recently watched the entire series again on Hulu, and it has a lot of pedestrian episodes, but the majority are good to great. It was such a standard formula, but the character of ALF just shook it up enough that it made it better than it really had any right to be. Plus, Brandon Tartikoff was a character on the show in a couple of really meta-nerdy episodes... that has to be worth something right there.

Amy said...

!. Get Smart
2. That Girl
3. Arrested Development

Jesse Jackson said...

My first thought - Sports Night

Chet Swanson said...

Maybe not a sitcom, but China Beach is my all time favorite.

Then Frasier and Mash

LouOCNY said...

All three Newhart shows
Developing a taste for FRASIER
CHEERS, of course

I don't care what people think, but I love HOGAN'S HEROES - lots of good and even great talent behind that show.

And for all those BM lovers out there, a shameless plug that the COMPLETE series box set is coming out in three weeks - and it will include the first season of FISH too!

Somersby said...

Dick Van Dyke, Coupling (UK version) and All in the Family.

bg5pete said...

1) WKRP in Cincinnati
2) Cheers
3) Frasier
4) Frank's Place
5) Fawlty Towers

Anonymous said...

Peep Show
The Bob Newhardt Show
Better Off Ted
Married With Children

Jeff Randall said...

In no particular order -
Hogan's Heroes
Big Bang Theory
3rd Rock from the Sun
Married with Children
South Park

Chris Anton said...

In production: It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Classic: Seinfeld

purplejilly said...

Since people are listing more than one, I will, too. Mine are:

1. Futurama
2. Curb Your Enthusiasm
3. Extras

Jeff Clem said...

Bakersfield, P.D.

Mitch said...

"Mall and the Family," that show about suburban shopaholics. Immediately followed by All in the Family.

Is it ok to stand up while watching a Sit-com?

Dave Scharf said...

Fawlty Towers.

And, I better cheer for the home town: "Corner Gas." Canadian sitcom that ran on CTV. Wrapped up about three years ago. Ken, I would really like your thoughts on Corner Gas.

cshel said...

I tried to limit it, but it's so hard to choose.

The Andy Griffith Show
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Green Acres

Will and Grace

Parks and Recreation
Modern Family
The Middle
Curb Your Enthusiasm
30 Rock
Family Guy

Fawlty Towers

Tragically cancelled:
The New Adventures of Old Christine
Better Off Ted
Pushing Daisies (I know it's not a sitcom, but I'm still heartbroken)

J. Allison said...

Arrested Development.

Mary Stella said...

I can't pick one. There are too many from different times in my life.

Dick Van Dyke Show
I Love Lucy
All in the Family
Happy Days/Laverne & Shirley
Mary Tyler Moore
Bob Newhart on any show
I'm torn whether to call Evening Shade a sitcom but I loved that show
Golden Girls

There are more but clearly I've exceeded the "All Time" limit.

Suzanne said...

There was a show featuring Matt Frewer that I just loved called
Doctor Doctor. There are still a few sitcoms that I believe have stood the test of time, such a Frasier, Roseanne and Seinfeld. Not trying to suck up, but I always liked Almost Perfect. Nancy Travis' character was such a funny, nearly neurotic lady. Always made me laugh but after they got rid of Mike....well, it just wasn't as much fun.

Cap'n Bob said...

The Honeymooners. See, people, it's easy to pick just one.

Harold X said...

Ken -- Don't know if you would have gone to the Dick Van Dyke Show anniversary tribute Saturday night (and you were probably doing baseball anyway).


Do you think there's a chance that Garry Marshall would be willing to emcee everything?

Jonah D said...

Oh wow. You've all mentioned so many good shows. It's impossible to pick one or two.

When I was eight: Brady Bunch / Partridge Family

Eighteen: Mash / Taxi (always funny)/MTM

Twenty eight: Cheers / Night Court

Thirty Eight: Wings/Friends/Frasier/ Just Shoot Me /Seinfeld

Forty Eight: The Office

Currently: Always Sunny

Nat G. said...

Dick Van Dyke Show

(But if you're cruising for things to try, the earlier suggestion of Corner Gas is a good one.... and unlike most good British sitcom discoveries, there's a lot of it. Ran 107 episodes.)

Anonymous said...

@Bob Claster

I've been watching Outnumbered on youtube since I read your comment. It is hysterical. Thanks.

thomas tucker said...

Holy cow, I'm not gonna read thru 171 comments.
Did anyone mention Love That Bob?

birdie said...

someone mentioned evening shade - i liked that too - it was probably one of the few cbs shows i watched growing up (80s/early 90s) - i just loved...the late-back vibe of it all. and i've always been one of those who rooted for burt reynolds to do well. i also ADORE charles durning...whatever you say about reynolds, you have to respect him for his loyalty and always making sure his friends had jobs.

speaking of cbs, i'll throw one in for kate and allie. first couple of seasons were good; jane curtin is a brilliant comedic actress; and i always loved those cold openings they did. yes, like a lot of 80s shows it got too message-y, but it had a nice, low-key kind of charm for most of its run. i wish WE would put it back on.

not a sitcom but a half hour "dramedy," but i also really liked hooperman (okay, i love john ritter, but he's really terrific here). another one of those liked-by-critics but medium ratings so it stayed on only 2 seasons. wish it had had a longer run. use to air right after slap maxwell (or perhaps vice-versa).

oh, and if we were voting for best-ever episode? the odd couple "password," hands down.

Henry Sheppard said...

1. Goodnight, Sweetheart
2. Seinfeld
3. As Time Goes By (first 3 seasons)
4. Fawlty Towers
5. Yes, Minister

Early M*A*S*H was good, but it degenerated into a preach-a-thon.

Naten said...

hands down Soap for me. I'm in the midst of re watching them-thanks Netflix- still enjoying them much as I did as a kid I'm thinking some of that stuff went right by my young and tender sensibilities !! Just saw the show where they busted Billy out of the Sunny brainwashing cult and let's just say it the major is and always will be the ish!!! Nobody ever did dementia better. Jah

Zapp the Unholy said...

All In the Family, Cheers, MASH, Night Court, Seinfeld, Married with Children, Action

Sick City said...


Oh, you said FAVORITE sitcom?!? TAXI. Hands-down the most brilliant show ever. Absurd and insane one minute and sad enough to make you cry the next. And somehow completely realistic. Never before have writers written for more diverse, contrasting talents and made it all look (mostly) seamless. Just beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Is Sports Night a "sitcom"? If so, Sports Night. If not, Scrubs.

The Danimal said...


cadavra said...

Van Dyke. Nothing else comes close.

Buttermilk Sky said...


Better Off Ted

The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin

Frank's Place

King of the Hill

Corner Gas

The Larry Sanders Show

Blackadder Goes Forth


Eric said...

Frasier. The whole Niles and Daphne story arc, including after they got together, places it as the all-time best in my humble opinion.

As far as current sitcoms, Hot in Cleveland. I know some people don't like it because it's a "laugh track" sitcom, but I find it extremely funny.

As you can probably tell, I love me some Jane Leeves, who has to be the most underrated actress ever. Why she isn't a multi-time Emmy winner escapes me. Not to mention her memorable guest spots on other great sitcoms like Seinfeld and Murphy Brown. Okay, went off on a tangent a little bit, I will now step down from my soapbox.

Pumpkinhead said...

Seinfeld, Frasier, Cheers, Curb, Raymond, Red Dwarf, Keeping Up Appearances, All in the Family, Gidget, Honeymooners, Flintstones, Gilligan's Island... there are just too many to name or to pick one favorite.

Brian said...

1. Seinfeld 2. Cheers
Seinfeld wins for me because I like to find where situations from it apply to real life. For example, when we "broke up" with my kids piano teacher. I used the "it's not you, it's me speech". At least she didn't say "Damn right it's you!"

Jeffrey Leonard said...

TV Land has picked up The Dick Van Dyke Show and will begin airing episodes tomorrow, October 3rd, exactly fifty years after the premier. What a magical cast! Sure beats watching the depressing news. They don't make sitcoms better than this one!

Steve said...

Friends. Seinfeld is a close #2.

Dan said...

Strangers With Candy will always have a special place in my heart.

AanAllein said...

Arrested Development easily

alan0825 said...

Big Bang Theory

Griff said...

It's a tie. THE HONEYMOONERS and the first two seasons of SGT. BILKO.

Tom Mason said...

Fawlty Towers. The Dick Van Dyke Show. Barney Miller. The Odd Couple.

Janice said...

Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda, because they spoke to where I and many women friends were in our lives at that time. Taxi because it made me laugh.

Mike Schryver said...

The Odd Couple.

selection7 said...

Newsradio. There's lots of funny sitcoms but ultimately it's the characters that get you when you really fall in love with a sitcom. Most of that cast were born to play those roles and it doesn't hurt that those characters fit my personal taste. Though I guess Dave Foley was limited at times having to be the straight man. He's actually funnier in real life than he usually got to be on the show.
What else...and I see it in many ways as a sitcom in the classic mold that nevertheless did things modern in terms of dialog and story.

Michael in Vancouver said...

The Dick Van Dyke Show was the first sitcom to make me laugh when I was a kid. I grew up in the 1970s, in the era of colour TV, but that was the only B&W show that felt contemporary, which just made me love B&W in general. And it just gripped me with laughter. At the time, my sister was watching Mary Tyler Moore and MASH, and although I liked those at times, I was probably too young to appreciate the more adult themes in those shows. (I was more taken by them in reruns later in life.)

Later someone pointed out that Dick Van Dyke was the only TV show that captured the Kennedy era. All other sitcoms from the 1960s reflected family values, with the big families and white picket fences. Dick Van Dyke was the first and only sitcom about upper-class, intellectual yuppies, with only one child (god forbid!), an independent-thinking wife, and that Jackie Kennedy harido. I can't think of another show that accurately reflects the era.

Jenn said...

I don't know if all of these are considered the best written, but I enjoy them nonetheless.

Big Bang Theory
King of Queens
Fawlty Towers
King of the Hill
Seinfeld (before I watched all of them a million times)
The Office (the first 4 or 5 seasons)

Mark Fearing said...

Although not a traditional Sitcom, a few seasons of Malcolm in the Middle were brilliantly funny. I've seen some in reruns that I missed that I thought were some of the funniest TV I had watched.

Obvious ones, Seinfeld, WKRP...Arrested Development...Frasier. And yes to Fernwood Tonight, though I haven't seen it in many years so maybe it didn't hold up.

KG said...

Thats a tough one!

I would say "Friends" because it maintained the quality throughout its 10 seasons.

"Frasier" is a close second when it comes to sitcom. But "Frasier" is in my opinion the best show ever made overall. The show has influenced ma A LOT.

I love also Cheers, Seinfeld, Becker, 30 Rock. All my favorite shows are comedies.

ChicagoJohn said...

In reverse order:
5) Married With Children

The Simpsons put Fox on the map as a network, but it was Married With Children (IMHO) that made it into a comedy juggernaut. I remember tuning in one night with my friend, who never laughs at sitcoms, and watching him laugh hysterically.
Its no wonder that Ed O'Neal & Christina Applegate are still two of the hottest comedy properties on air.

4) South Park

Simply the best commentary on anything happening anywhere, today. Horribly dark, irreverent, and horribly funny.

3) Cheers

Before I ever ran across your blog, Ken, I had read more about the Cheers writers then any other comedy.
I believe that Cheers had a rare group of people, as writers, who competed against themselves. Where the staff felt that even though they were regarded as the best at what they do, they still wanted to be better.

2) Action!

A seriously under-mentioned comedy, because - let's face it - it was only on for something like 13 episodes. If it was on today, it would be renewed in a second. But at the time, it was soooo bleeding edge, so dark, so bawdy, that only South Park has gone darker. And South Park gets away with it because what happens is happening to animated characters.

1) Frasier

To repeat what everyone else said, the characters were all likeable. So when bad things happened to them, we winced and laughed at the same time.
And while the writing was amazing, the execution of the writing was even better. The directors gave the performers a chance to play out the scene without dialogue, and trust that they would make it funny or poignant.
Like Frasier setting up the answering machine next to his easy chair so that he could listen back to the message from the lingerie model.
-Or my absolutely favorite moment on the show, where the three men had recently been dumped by the women in their lives. As they stood on the balcony, sipping wine, they basically yelled at the city full of women to come get them. Then there was this long silence as the camera pulled back... and we felt their loneliness.

I love all of those shows, but Frasier because it dealt with men who were lonely. I don't know of any other series that touched on that topic so well. To this day, its the best I've ever seen.

The Green Chain said...

I'm not sure any show has ever made me laugh as hard as "Father Ted," but the live action version of "The Tick" had moments of mad genius and I loved "Fernwood 2Night." When I was a kid I thought nothing in the world was as funny as Mork (pre Jonathan Winters) or Mel Brooks' Robin Hood parody "When Things Were Rotten" (I'd be afraid to watch it now to see how it holds up). And Aaron Sorkin's "Sports Night" -- brilliant. But for fave... I'd have to go with "MASH."

Jens from Germany said...

Married... with Children

Mac said...

Arrested Development's back!

They've just announced - 10 episodes and a movie!

Today, is a good day...

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