Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top 60 Sitcoms...In 30 Days! - Part III

Let us continue with the Countdown!  Today, we will go from #36 to #26, taking us right up to the Top 25.


36. Perfect Strangers, ABC (1986-1993)
Part The Odd Couple and part Laverne & Shirley, this show helped to launch ABC's hugely successful TGIF nights.  The chemistry between stage actors Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot (as Larry Appleton and his distant Greek cousin Balki Barthokomous, respectively) was, to put it bluntly, "perfect."  So, "don't be ridiculous," because this was a great show!

35. How I Met Your Mother, CBS (2005-Present)
When this Sitcom first started, I was not too impressed by its premise: The voice of a Father (inexplicably Bob Saget!) tells his kids the story of the show's title.  But the show has managed to work its way into the cultural lexicon thanks in large part to the scene-stealing performance of supporting player Neil Patrick Harris (as womanizer Barney Stinson).  Let's face it, NPH has made this show "legen...wait for it...dary!"

34. Three's Company, ABC (1977-1984)
What made this show so popular?  Was it the late John Ritter's constant pratfalls and clownish antics?  Was it the many, many, many misunderstandings?  Was it the reactions of the landlords (played by Norman Fell and Don Knotts, respectively)?  Or was it the likes of Suzanne Somers scantily clad and the constant sexual innuendos?  I think we have a winner!

33. Arrested Development, FOX (2003-2006)
Talk about a show that gained a huge fanbase in such a short time.  The show only survived three poorly rated (yet highly acclaimed!) seasons, yet this Emmy winner has managed to gain more fans by the minute.  Fans of the show got to rejoice recently thanks to the news released at the show's reunion panel.

32. Newhart, CBS (1982-1990)
Bob Newhart's second Sitcom was another success for CBS and it fit right in the comic's comfort zone of humor.  Newhart played a travel writer who, with his wife, purchased a Vermont Inn and was surrounded by the strange characters in the New England town.  The show has become more famous thanks to its legendary series finale.

31. Maude, CBS (1972-1978)
This All In the Family spin-off starred Bea Arthur as the outspoken, liberal and flustered Maude Findlay.  Like its predecessor, Maude covered topics of the 1970s that were oftentimes controversial.  It is notorious for one of its first season episodes in which Bea Arthur's Maude (who was middle-aged!) became pregnant and decided that she should have an abortion.

30. Married...With Children, FOX (1987-1997)
The series that helped launch the fledgling FOX network was raunchy, in-your-face and entirely controversial (thanks to its gratuitous nature!).  The everyday lives of the Bundys was a favorite especially with the very much coveted 18-25 demographic.  The show came at a time when the Family Sitcom (which had been exemplified in shows like The Cosby Show) was changing and showing more families that were slightly dysfunctional (like Roseanne and The Simpsons).

29. Laverne & Shirley, ABC (1976-1983)
Who says that the girls can't be as clownish as the guys?  One of the few successful Sitcoms that centered on two single women, this show allowed its female stars (Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall) to be as physically comedic as Lucille Ball was 20 years earlier.

28. Hogan's Heroes, CBS (1965-1971)
Only a few Sitcoms have been about soldiers and war (we'll see a very successful one real soon!), but this one had the fast pace and the quick wit of an old-fashioned Marx Brothers film.  The show centered around the antics of the American and British prisoners in a German POW camp during World War II.  Led by Col. Robert Hogan (played by Bob Crane), the prisoners were able to weekly turn the tables on the German officers running the camp, particularly the constantly fooled Col. Klink (played brilliantly by Werner Klemperer) and the always frightened Sgt. "I Know Nahzing!" Schultz (perfectly played by John Banner).

27. Will & Grace, NBC (1998-2006)
Nobody expected much out of this Sitcom when it first began, but after a season or two, the show became a critically acclaimed (and Emmy-winning) hit.  The friendship between gay lawyer Will (the charming Eric McCormack) and ditsy designer Grace (the hilarious Debra Messing) became a cultural icon (especially for women and their gay friends!).  The scene-stealing performances of Sean Hayes and Megan Mulally (as the flamboyant Jack and the wealthy Karen) were just icing on this beloved ensemble.

26. The Andy Griffith Show, CBS (1960-1968)
Every time you hear that opening whistle, you just want to run to a place like Mayberry.  Star Andy Griffith was quaint and delightful as Mayberry Sheriff Andy Taylor.  He was surrounded by a great supporting cast that included young Ronny Howard (as his son Opie), Frances Bavier (as his beloved Aunt Bea), Jim Nabors (as the goofy Gomer Pyle, who got his own series eventually!) and, lastly (but most importantly), the hilarious Don Knotts (as Andy's befuddled and quirky deputy Barney Fife).

Next week, we shall delve right into the Top 25.  25 Sitcoms that have shaped and influenced the Television landscape and, by extension, the culture.  We'll have a little nose twitching and we'll move on up.  We'll find out what we would do, baby, without us and who can turn the world on with her smile.  We'll see shows about nothing and shows that are golden.  We'll love Raymond and Lucy and we'll go where everybody knows your name.  That's just about a third of the 25 Best Sitcoms of All-Time.

1 comment:

  1. Delightfully written. And I learned about some shows I have never heard of... hehe