Another pointless “best ever” thread that nobody will ever convince anybody else of
Well, I dunno about ever, but I’ve basically spent the past few weeks on a Dick Van Dyke Show bender. I am surprised at how engaging it still is.
- Everybody Loves Raymond
- Arrested Development
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
Bang…Zoom with Meathead a close second
Wussy. - Papa Titus(Stacy Keach)
Corner Gas http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0397138/
Friends. The scriptwriters on that show are (were) amazing.
Of these, Simpsons. But I was tempted to vote other for Seinfeld. It has held up better, and they quit on a high point. Really, only the finale was sub-par. For the Simpsons, the final decade was sub-par.
I Love Lucy is clearly the ground breaking archetype for sitcoms. But not the best. Very patterned and predictable. Excellent performances. These shows hold up individually to this day, but it wouldn’t survive as a modern series.
After that there were some classic ventures into ensemble characters and absurdism like The Beverly Hillbillies. The Hillbillies included some incredibly subversive satire under the guise of hick humor. Irene Ryan was a gifted performer who should share most of the credit with the writers. But even that was not the best.
The Andy Griffith Show may have been the best of the light, family oriented shows, but it was rarely funny without Don Knotts. And it may have been the very best of that category, but it would barely qualify as a sitcom in these times.
The 70s was a vast landfill that made us long for the wasteland. Barney Miller and the Odd Couple would be bits of glimmer amidst that pile of junk.
Taxi heralded the coming of better shows in the 80’s. It featured a uniquely diverse ensemble cast that allowed individual stand out performaces from Danny DeVito, Andy Kaufman, and Christopher Lloyd. But it also jumped the shark with Kaufman. Excellent show with outstanding performances, but inconsistent quality between seasons. Deserves high rankings in any list.
The 80’s were ruled by the Cosby Show in popular appeal, but many people find it unwatchable now. It was another of those light family oriented shows that failed to deliver real laughs. Certainly not this.
Cheers was the real star of the 80s. The show had a weak start, playing a story of sexual tension between Sam and Diane amidst the real entertainment from a cast of natural clowns. Luckily the clowns won. The show would stick to comedy and never let character development get in the way. This resulted in the wedding of Woody and Kelly, played for maximum laughs with a brilliant farce uncontaminated by saccharine. This one is probably the very best.
In the 90s you could go with Seinfeld or Married With Children. Seinfeld was ground breaking in discussing social themes openly, but Married was groundbreaking in public vulgarity, and sharpening the edge of comedy. Personally, I don’t think Seinfeld stands the test of time except for a few episodes. Married is always funny. But both were big time hits.
Friends is an outlier among these shows. It was a real comic soap opera. The romantic pursuits of it’s characters may have drawn a larger audience than the pure comedy. But it had plenty of laughs too. The characters polished their roles over time. Even though I don’t think they were top flight performances, they were consistent, and gave the writers a foundation to work with. Many people would place this show at the top, I wouldn’t put it very far down.
Since then, there’s been the brilliant Arrested Development, and the ongoing How I Met Your Mother.
Arrested Development was all writing. There’s nothing special about the performances in most cases. Jessica Walter provided the best performances consistently, but Will Arnett, Tony Hale, and David Cross also provided occasional gems. I’d call this the best written sitcom of all time.
HIMYM is along the lines of Friends. It is engaging with a intertwined stories over time, and the outstanding performance of Neil Patrick Harris. Quick pacing, clever plots and characterizations make this a top contender. The teaser in the title is a brilliant attraction. Always enjoyable, but it lacks enough real laughs for me to make it the winner.
My call is Cheers. Great writing, performances, plenty of laughs, and just a tinge of sentimentality. Over the course of a long running show there were changes in the cast, circumstances, and even the premise that would have killed other shows. Cheers flourished in those conditions, and I think is unique in that regard.
Pushing Daisies. It was simply brilliant, whimsical and real at the same time, with such a wonderful concept and execution. The fact it was cancelled in the second season continues to both amaze and depress me every time I think about it.
other is winning
no wait…WKRP…or maybe Taxi
Other: Arrested Development
But you didn’t vote for it?
Other: WKRP in Cincinati
Seinfeld by far. How could you not include Seinfeld on a list of greatest sitcoms?
How I Met Your Mother second.
No, wait. Aliens in the Family.
No, wait. Mr Belvedere.
No, wait. Valerie’s Family.
No, wait. Love Sidney.
No, wait. The Far Out Space Nuts.
No, wait. Dusty’s Trail.
No, wait. Joanie Loves Chachi.
No, wait. We Got It Made.
No, wait. Day by Day.
Oh… darn it. I pick MASH.