TOP TEN: All Time Top 10 TV Sitcoms
Everyone will not agree with this list.
Comedy is unlike any other genre of television, as what may be funny to one person, may not be funny to another. What I may relate to from my personal experience and find the humor in, you may have no connection with, and think its not entertaining at all.
So when listing my TOP TEN, TV Sitcoms of all time, I essentially narrowed my list down to ten shows that I universally believe are the best ever to do it.
Please, don't confuse this list with the funniest shows of all time, for a Sitcom encompasses much more than just a show filled with 1 liners and laugh out loud humor, although my list does include shows that fit that criteria as well.
A situation comedy is a genre of comedy that features characters sharing the same common environment, such as a home or workplace, with often humorous dialogue.
Great Sitcoms are character driven but they also develop great stories and overarching themes. The episodic nature of a Sitcom is unlike a Drama, as normally the issue featured in an episode of a Sitcom is settled by the end of the episode. Although, to me, some of the best Sitcoms have story-lines that continue after the episode ends and keeps the viewers wanting more in the coming weeks.
There are a lot of great one off episodes of Sitcoms, but for me, the very best know how to grab your attention and keep you hooked to the growing story-line progression. That is what makes them the best.
This list, will be debated, but I believe this 10 shows are the greatest sitcoms of all time. As a 28 year old black man, I can't relate to I love Lucy or the Dick Van Dick Show, so don't expect to see them here. But for me, and my viewing pleasure, these are the best I have seen.
A show about the working class Conner family who always fought hard to make it. I loved Roseanne because it was a great look at the lower middle class white American family, who didn't have it that good. Unlike so many of the other shows at the time, Roseanne was willing to feature hot issues such as infidelity, abortion and gay rights. By doing so, Roseanne paved the way for many other shows that followed it.
Sharp writing and a great cast that successfully grew throughout the series run helped Cheers stay on the air for a remarkable 11 Seasons, garnering 28 Emmys along the way. Cheers always made me laugh. Of course I would watch the show on reruns, but I found myself so intrigued with the writers ability to write intelligent and well rounded characters who were hilarious and all based in a bar. The cast speaks for itself. Many have it as the greatest ever, I wouldn't go that far. Worthy of a place on the list though.
8. The Jeffersons
George Jefferson was funny by himself- the walk and the talking alone was entertaining enough; the back and forth sparring with Florence was incredible, adding Tom, Bentley, and Helen and show was a hit. I still watch episodes to this day and there are few men who were funnier than Sherman Helmsly.
7. The Office
One of my favorite shows of all time, period. The Office has a cast of characters that you can't help but enjoy laughing at and with. Michael Scott and Dwight will go down in history as the funniest TV duo ever to do it.
6. Sanford and Son
The one liners and back & forth that Fred G. Sanford had with any and everybody on the show made it one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen: Fred vs. Esther, Grady, Bubba; Fred vs. Julio, Fred and his son Lamont. The humor still holds up to this day.
5. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
For my generation, Fresh Prince was everything that was cool about TV. Led by Will Smith, who was hilarious in his antics and even funnier with his one liners, Fresh Prince was a well rounded TV show that kept you laughing and entertained. Number 5 is as high as it goes on my list though.
The show’s plot was simple: following the lives of six New York City friends as they navigate through their twenties. What made Friends work was the instant chemistry the cast had from the pilot on, the impeccable writing, and smart direction. I can turn on any episode to this day watch it. i have every season on box set and love every minute of it. Great show.
3. All in the Family
A truly groundbreaking show that featured an oxymoron as its main character. Archie Bunker was a “lovable bigot” that represented the Greatest Generation’s struggle with coming to terms with the changes that were occurring in 1970s America. All in the Family was also highly influential in its impact on television, spawning The Jefferson's and paving the way for the “offensive” television of today. I placed it at number 3 because its influence is undeniable and it was absolutely hilarious. I used to watch the reruns everyday during the Summer at 10am like it was a new show on TV. Just phenomenal TV that would be risky even for today's standards.
The funniest show I have ever seen. So why isn't number 1? Because this list is about well rounded sitcoms. Martin was hilarious and there is no doubt, if someone said it should be number 1, I really wouldn't argue with them. But for me, it lacked certain aspects of what it would take for me to call it the best sitcom ever. The production values, character development, and weekly continuity lacked that extra boost in seasons 4 and 5 for me to push it very the top. But without question, as far as pure comedy-wise, its the funniest.
1. The Cosby Show
In my opinion, the greatest Sitcom in the history of TV. The Cosby show was the show I looked up to as a youth. They were the family I related to the most, or wanted to at least. They were the example for the positive Black image I saw on TV. And they were funny. Bill Cosby will always be one of the funniest people to grace the TV, and the plots, production, and continuity of the show set the bar high. Not only was it the number 1 show on TV, it changed the way many people in the world looked at African Americans, all while making you laugh. Many say it wasn't funny enough, but I don't care. The show didn't need any outlandish buffoonery, it didn't need to play to any cheap pop stereotypes, it was innovative and natural. For me its the best sitcom I have ever seen.