Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Sitcoms List

In original release The Young Ones was pants-wettingly funny and outrageous, but didn’t stand up very well at all on a re-watch even 10 years later.

I guess it raises the question of whether shows are being ranked for their immediate influence or enduring legacy, and whether its total output or best seasons go head to head.

Yeah, at the time it was brilliant. The world has moved on.

On that note, the sitcom that likely has made the biggest drop from “cutting edge, influential, top-rated sitcom” to “horrendously dated and unfunny” is Murphy Brown. At the time it was fast-moving, topical and took a lot of shots at the movers and shakers both in Washington and in the television industry. President Bush Sr even commented on it.

Now? Who even remembers Murphy Brown? A lot of it is now cringingly dated, which is always the danger with topical comedy. (That said, I wish I had a clip of Jim Dial’s “Good for me!” speech, which was definitely the highlight of the series for me.)

THis actually is a good debate - even if outside the topic of this thread. Is the quality of a sitcom to be assessed at what it achieved at the time, or whether it is still watchable? I can sympathize with either position. It seems unfair to complain that a sitcom that aimed at the audience of the time is not really funny for viewers years later. But if a sitcom is completely dependent on the prejudices of its age, it seems indeed in hindsight not so good.

All in the Family might be, but my wife and I are watching MASH for the first time in a long time and:

  1. The new HD scan of the original negatives makes the show look like it was filmed today.

  2. It holds up. Is it perfect? No. Is it better or as good as the best sitcoms today? Well, I think probably yes.

Mash holds up really well. I love it.

Agreed. Any list that doesn’t have the Dick Van Dyke show among the top ten is seriously flawed.

Cheers, Seinfeld, Sanders, and Parks&Rec are all better than Andy Griffith? Balderdash! Like most greatest lists, this one suffers from bias toward the recent.

No Beverly Hillbillies? The remake of One Day at a Time makes the list but the original didn’t? No Green Acres?

Not to mention Murphy Brown, which did this all the time. It was just one of the reasons that I really couldn’t stand the show. The other being that Candice Bergen cannot act. She just can’t.

No That 70s Show ? Is this list just one guy drawing random numbers or something?

Next up: TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Albums.

I mean, the 79th best sitcom of all time is quite an honor; there have been a LOT of sitcoms.

My wife and I have been watching WKRP (her first time). It had a lot of great lines/scenes but they were 90% in the first season, a few in the second and, before the third season comes around it’s seemingly more worried about character development and messages than being especially funny. First season was gold, though.

We have a tendency to remember such things by their best moments, and WKRP has, of course, one of the funniest sequences in the history of anything. It’s got some other fantastic moments too, but yeah, it was not consistently funny for much of its run. No one remembers that, though, because you don’t remember “meh” moments. You remember the gold.

There is a scene in “Family Ties,” which I don’t think even made the list, in which Alex does an interpretive dance to impress his girlfriend, and it’s screamingly funny. If you judged the whole series by that scene it’d be as funny as The Simpsons but the show didn’t maintain that level for any sustained period of time, it just gusted up there a few times.

That list is complete bull shit. Sure, they got some good sitcoms on there but the ranking seems to be completely arbitrary.

I’ll say this though. It takes some serious balls to put The Honeymooners on there, especially in the top ten, in this day and age.

What’s the best sitcom that isn’t on the list at all? I’m sure you will all do better than me, but I would point out that:

IT Crowd

did not make the list and that seems like a pretty big miss. IT Crowd is actually quite popular, too, so I’m surprised it didn’t make it.

I’m surprised that Married With Children isn’t on the list. It was popular, funny and influential.

Better Off Ted

Quoting myself to point out another sitcom that did not make the list. It’s a fact, but then again, “facts are just opinions and opinions can be wrong.”

I have no use for any list that plops Barney Miller way down there at number 49.

And no Get Smart? This is the second-worst list I’ve ever seen!


Get Smart is #66.

Which are the kiss of death for a sitcom.

One of the things that hurts WKRP is that unless you saw it in the original run, you likely aren’t hearing it with the original soundtrack. The producers never got the syndication rights to the original music, so subsequent releases had all new music which generally sucked.

A number of jokes were based on the original songs, and just don’t work without them.