Friday, July 13, 2012

10 FAVORITES (61): Sitcom Siblings

As most of you saw when I listed my Top 60 Sitcoms, some of the best Sitcoms have dealt with family relationships.  And as most of us who have one know that any good family conflict arises between siblings.  When I say conflict, I mean anything from fighting over clothes and toys to suing each other over money (luckily, my own brother and I have only experienced the first two, not the latter...yet!).  TV has given us a plethora of siblings that have displayed good conflict (and even grown from it!).  While Dramas have their range of Waltons, Ewings or Sopranos and Reality TV has given us too many Gosselins, Duggars and Kardashians; it is the Sitcoms that have given some of the best sibling relationships in TV history.  There are even Sitcoms where the whole premise revolved around the relationship between two siblings.  Therefore, this week's 10 FAVORITES is devoted to:


Mitchell Pritchett and Claire Dunphy
Modern Family, ABC
There are many reasons to love ABC's Emmy-winning hit.  One of the things many fans have pointed out as a major positive is the relationship between controlling Mom Claire Dunphy (the delightful Emmy-winner Julie Bowen) and her uptight gay brother Mitchell Pritchett (the hilarious Jesse Tyler Ferguson).

Joe and Brian Hackett
Wings, NBC
The charm of this underrated NBC hit was in the relationship between the two siblings at its forefront,  pilots Joe and Brian Hackett (played by Tim Daly and Steven Weber, respectively).  Joe was straight-laced, meticulous and serious.  Brian was fun-loving, irresponsible and all-over-the-place.  The two couldn't be more different.  Just what siblings should be!

Julia and Suzanne Sugarbaker
Designing Women, CBS
Like Joe and Brian Hackett, these sisters were about as different as different can be.  Played to perfection by Delta Burke and the late Dixie Carter, the Sugarbaker sisters made for some of the show's funniest moments.  Usually it was Carter's Julia reacting to the outrageous-ness of Burke's Suzzanne that made the chemistry so great.  It's probably why the show never quite worked once Burke left the show after its fifth season.

Roseanne Connor and Jackie Harris
Roseanne, ABC
Though this was another Sitcom that showcased a family and kids, the sibling relationship that made the show was the one between Roseanne and Jackie.  Both Roseanne and Laurie Metcalf won Emmys for their work and the some of the show's best moments came from the scenes between the two.  What made Metcalf's interpretation so lauded was how she was able to seem so pathetic next to Roseanne.  Who new Roseanne was the sane one in her family?!?!

Alex, Mallory and Jennifer Keaton
Family Ties, NBC
It was no surprise that Elyse and Steven Keaton made it onto the TV Mom and Dad lists.  So it should be no surprise that their children have made it onto this one.  And in this trio, we have a great range of typical kid personalities: conservative know-it-all Alex (the great Michael J. Fox), vain shopaholic Mallory (Justine Bateman) and sarcastic tomboy Jennifer (Tina Yothers).  Yes, young Andy was added later, but only for the standard "we-need-a-cute-kid" factor that TV networks love.

Ross Geller and Monica Geller-Bing
Friends, NBC
Though the scene below may be one of the ickiest, the relationship between Ross and Monica was (most of the time) just a typical sibling relationship.  He was beloved by their parents to the point of being a nerdy Mama's boy.  She got criticized by her mother and had a weight problem in her teens.  But in their adulthood, they were there for each other when they needed.  Monica cared for her brother through his (many) divorces and Ross supported Monica in her relationship and eventual marriage to his best friend, Chandler.  The whole time both David Schwimmer and Courtney Cox gave the characters a great mix of hilarity and heart.

Ray and Robert Barone
Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS
According to Robert, Ray had it all.  Ray had the beautiful wife.  Ray had the three cute kids.  Ray especially had the affection and admiration of their parents.  Robert usually got the leftovers.  Both Ray Romano and Brad Garrett infused Ray and Robert's relationship with their own style and the results were hilarious.  Robert got to needle Ray whenever Ray was in trouble.  And Ray had moments of triumph to (lightly) rub in Robert's face.  I think all siblings can relate to that!

The Huxtable Kids (Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa and Rudy)
The Cosby Show, NBC
Both Cliff and Clair topped their respective TV Parent lists, so their kids need to be near the top of their list. The Huxtable kids bickered with each other, protected each other and helped each other.  You had Sondra, who was practically an adult off at Princeton.  Then you had Denise, who wavered between fashionable and flaky.  Then there was Theo, the only male who seemed determined to make Cliff's hair go gray.  Then there was Vanessa, whose growth from 12 to 19 was charted in the show's 8 seasons.  And lastly, there was sweet little Rudy, the requisite cute kiddie.

Bart and Lisa Simpson
The Simpsons, FOX
When you think of Sitcom families, you cannot go another second without mentioning The Simpsons.  Bart and Lisa practically personify the typical young sibling relationship.  They hate each other one minute and then the next minute they're best friends.  Lisa is smart and bit of a know-it-all, while Bart is your typical impish slacker.  Yet their relationship defines for many what a good TV sibling relationship is...but there is one more!

Frasier and Niles Crane
Frasier, NBC
While Bart and Lisa may be iconic, Frasier and Niles are the ultimate Sitcom siblings.  First of all, who knew a spin-off could be just as successful as its predecessor?  What put Frasier over the top as a show was the undeniable chemistry between Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce as the two esteemed psychiatrist brothers.  Unlike a lot of the siblings on this list who thrive in their differences, these siblings seemed to celebrate their similarities.  Their love of a good glass of sherry or a night at the opera were so alike that they were often mistaken as the same person.  The two were even lampooned on shows like The Simpsons (where Grammer and Hyde Pierce voiced the roles of Sideshow Bob and his brother Cecil, respectively!).

No comments:

Post a Comment