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Back to the '80's: Top 10 '80's Sitcoms

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Top 10 '80's Sitcoms

There were a lot of good sitcoms back in the '80's. Some of the classic '70's sitcoms bled over into the '80's and some of the '80's sitcoms bled over into the '90's.

There was a lot of talent that came out of the '80's sitcoms and went on to bigger and better things. No one would have ever believed back then, some of these sitcom actors would have went on to win Academy Awards for drama related acting, but they did.

So, let's get to the shows that kept us laughing through the '80's. I hope you enjoy.

Honorable Mention

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This show ranks way higher on a '90's list, but it did get it's start in the '80's and spent the last two seasons of the decade establishing itself.

No matter what you think of Roseanne, you have to give her credit. She really turned the role of the situation comedy housewife on it's ear. John Goodman was the perfectly cast husband playing opposite Roseanne's brash, sometimes annoying and overbearing, wife.

This show "jumped the shark" in the '90's when the family hit the jackpot by winning the lottery. It was all downhill from there.

Growing Pains

"Show me that smile again (Show me that smile) Don't waste another minute on your cryin'."

Whenever you heard those words being sung so wonderfully by B.J. Thomas (Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head) and Jennifer Warnes (that's right, same Jennifer Warnes who sung I've Had the Time of My Life with Bill Medley for Dirty Dancing), you knew it was time for Growing Pains.

The Seavers were the typical suburban family, whose parents both worked. The siblings were at each other's throats and family situations were dealt with by the family. Of course it helped that the Father (Alan Thicke) happened to be a psychologist.

Mike Seaver (Kirk Cameron) was the breakout star of the show. You couldn't pick up a teen magazine that didn't have his picture pasted across the front. He was an all too wise and scheming teenager, who was always one step ahead of everyone else. Sometimes, even his parents.

This show "jumped the shark" whenever Maggie (Joanna Kerns) had a 4th child, by the name of Crissy, who left her 2nd season as a two year old only to come back the next season as a seven year old. Don't they grow up fast enough, for God's sake???

I would be amiss to not mention a certain young actor joined the cast in it's last two seasons to try and pump a little life back into the show. This young actor's name was Leonardo DiCaprio.

Mork and Mindy

An alien comes down from space and a young single woman takes him in as a roommate. Yeah, sounds like the perfect recipe to get a show cancelled within it's 1st season. But, this show actually ran for five fun filled seasons.

It didn't hurt that it was a spin-off from the very popular '70's show Happy Days. So it had an audience kinda built in. It also didn't hurt that it had one of the freshest, funniest comedians to come along in an awful long time.

This was Robin Williams' (Mork) platform to super stardom. He owned every scene he was in and, thus he owned the series. His physical comedy was beyond compare and he had everyone in the country trying to figure out how to spread their pinky and ring finger from their middle and index finger, while saying Nanoo Nanoo.

Mindy (Pam Dawber) was the hospitable host who took Mork in and eventually fell in love with him. She was cute as a button and I personally had a big crush on her.

Some say this show "jumped the shark" when Mork and Mindy had a "baby" together who was hatched from an egg. Strange thing about this child was he was played by the fully grown, middle aged comedian Jonathan Winters. I actually thought Winters was hilarious and I don't buy into this "shark jumping".

Bosom Buddies

Had this show had the fortune of running longer than it's short two years, it would have been higher up this list. But, if it had run longer, we may have never seen the full potential of it's breakout star, Tom Hanks.

Bosom Buddies was a show about two friends who couldn't find a place to live in the big city. They looked everywhere and the only places available, they couldn't afford. A female friend suggest her apartment building. Problem is, it is an all female apartment building.

Breakout the wigs and lipstick and you have a recipe for hilarity. Who would ever have guessed Tom Hanks was the serious actor he turned out to be, when watching him in drag in this, short-lived, sitcom?
Three's Company

(Sorry I couldn't find the opening credits)

Most people think of Three's Company as a '70's sitcom, but it actually spent more time in the '80's.

John Ritter (Jack) was a physical pratfall waiting to happen. He and Suzanne Somers were the breakout stars of this show.

This show was one misinterpretation, of what was going on behind a closed door, after another. Jack (John Ritter) was living with, not just one but, two members of the opposite sex back when it was taboo to live with the opposite sex if you weren't married.

To pull this off he had to pretend to be gay. Between the Roper's, and later Mr. Furley, who were the landlord's downstairs, the comedy was non-stop.

The Jeffersons

(Believe it or not, this is the only thing out there with the opening theme) Funny though.

Here is another show most people think of as a '70's show. But, it also spent more time in the 80's than the previous decade.

George Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley) is an icon of television history. His constantly crabby Mr. Jefferson was comic gold. There was ultimately only one person who could put George Jefferson in his place and that was Florence (Marla Gibbs) the maid.

Family Ties

"What would we do, baby. Without us. What would we do, baby. Without us. And there ain't no nothing we can't love each other through. What would we do, baby. Without us. Sha La La La."

Everybody sing along. Or not. Your prerogative. Great theme song and even better show.

Hippie parents raising kids more grown up then themselves. Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) was the breakout star of this series. He was a young republican surrounded by hippie liberals. Classic.

Michael J. Fox was able to juggle this mega-hit television series with a blockbuster movie career when he hit super stardom with Back to the Future. He starred in several movies while still playing, the always entertaining, Alex P. Keaton.

The Cosby Show

cosby show
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This show was huge in so many ways. It ruled the #1 ranking for years on end. It was a breakthrough for black America, in the sense it portrayed a well-educated, affluent African-American family. It never made a big deal of this fact either, which only bolstered the significance.

All of this success and popularity didn't come by chance. Bill Cosby was and is one of the most talented comedians and savvy businessmen Hollywood ever seen. He never seemed to be able to make it on the big screen, though. I can't figure that one out.

Night Court

With all these legal dramas on tv today, they could learn a thing or two about the humor that can sometimes be found in a courtroom.

This was definitely one of the more popular shows of the '80's. They had one of the funniest characters on tv, throughoutItalic the 80's, to boot. Dan Fielding (John Larroquette) was a walking pick-up line. He never failed to make a pass at a pretty lady and it almost always made you laugh.

Married With Children

Had this show not spent most of it's years in the 90's it would have been my easy #1 pick.

Every character on this show was perfect. Ed O'Neil was perfect as the loser at life, Al Bundy. Christina Applegate was absolute perfect as the dumber than a box of rocks beautiful blonde daughter. David Faustino was perfect as the, sure to follow in his loser Dad's footsteps, son. Katey Sagal was perfect as the bimbo-like, do nothing, non-cooking, bon-bon eating, Oprah watching housewife.

The neighbors were also perfectly cast. Marcy and Steve (Amanda Bearse and David Garrison) were the uptight, stick up the butt neighbors. And even after Steve left Marcy and she got married to boy-toy Jefferson (Ted McGinley) the show never missed a beat.

The show did miss a beat, however, when the Bundy's brought in a 3rd child named Seven. The show unfortunately "jumped the shark" at this point.


Who doesn't wanna go "Where everybody knows your name"???

People flocked to this show night after night for over 10 years, because they felt like they personally knew the character's. Sam, Diane, Norm, Cliff, Carla, Frasier, Rebecca, Coach, Woody and Lilith are never to be forgotten characters of an almost perfect '80's sitcom.

Even with the departure of Shelly Long (Diane) and the death of Nicholas Colasanto (Coach) this show kept on going strong for over 10 years. They left television as one of the few shows leaving the audience wanting more. I have no doubt Cheers could have still been running today had they so desired.

Well there you have it. My personal top ten '80's sitcoms. Hope you enjoyed. Comment with your favorites.

I'll be typin' at ya later,
Bob the Blogger