And where you can ignore them.
Let’s define a classic first, shall we? According to the rules, which I have fully worked out, the classics mean that the programme has completed its work for 2000. Yeah, it’s completely random. However, most of the great comedies of the past 20 years are already at the top of the list. Do you want me to remind you that office, friends, parks and rivers are fun in this Top 10? Probably not. But some show that you probably haven’t thought about them for a long time – or maybe you’ve never seen them before. Now would be a good time. It’s a comfortable meal in front of the television, which we all deserve.
10. I Love Lucy (1951-1957), Hula.
I think so: Housewives, married to a Cuban group leader.
I think a lot of people would have put Lucy higher. It was an innovative programme – in 1951 there were not many female protagonists on television (or elsewhere). And there are aspects that are both hilarious and iconic, including Lucille’s ball with a body comedy. But I’ve always been worried about Lucy’s respect for Ricky, which may have been typical of the time, but he’s not that old-fashioned. If you can look back, it’s a lot of fun. And without them, it wouldn’t be the classic top ten comedy.
9. Golden Girls (1985-1992), River to Hula
I think so: Four elderly women live in the same house in Florida, which provides fun and excitement.
I freely admit I’m watching this show and I won’t tell anyone. I enjoyed it. The characters of Bea Arthur, Betty White, McClunahan Street and Estelle Getty gave the idea of boring grandma’s a big kick in the ass. My favourite woman was undoubtedly Betty White, like the innocent Rose, in a role very different from that of a woman who played the biting Sue Ann Nivens in the Mary Tyler Moore series.
8. Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990-1996), streaming on HBOMax
I think so: A teenager is a fish out of water when he moves in with his rich parents.
For many of us, Fresh Prince was our knowledge of Will Smith. And it was an introduction that played with all its might – funny, beautiful and talented, but with a wild band that didn’t let the show stand still. Carlton’s theme song and dance will stay with me forever.
7. Cheers (1982-1993), broadcast on Hulu
I think so: A lucky intellectual gets a job as a waitress in a bar in Boston.
His health was the critical point on Thursday night’s NBC Must See TV. The general amusement of visitors to the bar contrasted sharply with the frequent outbursts between Sam (Ted Danson) and Diana (Shelley Long). It is one of the few exhibitions that can claim success in adding and replacing symbols. Not so much Kirsty Lane as Woody Harrelson, Kelsey Grammer and Bebe Neuwirth. The Grammer Frasier winner would have taken his place in the top 10 if he had failed after 2000.
6. Dick Van Dyke Shaw (1961-1966), Hula Show
I think so: A comedy writer on television who is funny both at work and at home.
Dick Van Dyke was and always has been the embodiment of a polite joker. In this series he plays Rob Petrie and Mary Tyler Moore plays his wife Laura. The show jumps between Rob’s office and Petris’ house and is a real situation comedy. Every week there is a problem at work, a problem at home, something that causes chaos and comedy. Rob’s colleagues, played by Rose Marie and Maury Amsterdam, add jokes and riffs to their work as comedy writers.
5. M*A*S*H (1972-1983), Hula River
I think so: Army doctors who worked in a surgical hospital during the Korean War.
Part of me wants to declare M*A*S*H the best sitcom of all time. But I understand that I’m prejudiced because of my age – it’s a show my whole family watched when I was a kid, and I watched the union religiously for years after it was first broadcast. As the following seasons stagnated and preached, the original cast of Alan Alda, Maclean Stevenson, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Switch, Larry Linville and Gary Burghoff brought the satirical atmosphere of the original film (itself based on the book) straight to the small screen. One of my favorite things about television is when you see Alda and Rogers laughing heartwarmingly during a scene.
4. Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977), aired in Hula
I think so: A single woman moves to the big city of Minneapolis to become independent.
Mary Tyler Moore made her entrance into the world of television with this show, just as the freedom of women has penetrated the common local language. She plays Mary Richards, a single woman who works at a local news station and lives in a small building. Her struggle as a single professional woman was in the spotlight and she was supported by many unforgettable personalities. Ed Asner, Betty White, Ted Knight, Valerie Harper and Clorice Leachman added depth and dimension to what could be a one-night show. Instead, the writers and actors ended up in the top 10 classics and Mary threw her hat into the winter skies of Minnesota and became an iconic image on television.
3. Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978), broadcasted on Hula
I think so: The psychologist lives and works in Chicago among eclectic friends and colleagues.
Bob Newhart and Mary Tyler Moore had modern shows, they each asked for an actor, not a character, and that almost reminds me of them. But Bob Newhart wasn’t an innovative show about women’s emancipation or anything like that. It was pretty hilarious and it made Newhart the best straight guy in the business. Surrounded by chaos and strangeness, Bob was the only voice of reason in his element. This made some episodes in which he became an even sweeter actor. After that he made a long sitcom, but for me the original Bob Newhart series is a brilliant golden comedy in the top 10.
2. Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968), aired on Amazon Prime Video
I think so: The sheriff of a small town has a soft policy towards his deputy and his community in North Carolina.
Andy Griffith is a balm for my weary soul. To be honest, this show is both useful and funny and matures like a fine wine. Seeing Andy make a deal with Barney, Opie (fuck you, young Ron Howard!), Auntie B. and all the rest is like a master class on how to be a decent person. The humour is largely soft, lessons learned, and Sheriff Taylor’s patience with the people of Mayberry is second to none. There are many incidental performances to be seen (e.g. the young William Shatner), which are less incidental than the famous individual performances. It is fun to look at them while we long for a place as good as Mayberry that once existed or still exists. This is the escape we deserve.
1. Seinfeld (1989-1998), Hula River
I think so: This show has nothing to do with the subject.
In the radical change of choosing to be number two, I’m going to jump to the top of that dozen in perhaps the most cynical sitcom in history. Like Jerry Seinfeld, like himself, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards, like his friends, this character composition is at the root of totally despicable people. What makes the series special is the razor-sharp writing and the absolute awareness of the actors and crew that their characters are idiots. Each of their weaknesses is revealed and demonstrated for our (and their) amusement, as if we were allowed to play a big inner joke. Filling in many ridiculous and hilarious stories in every 30 minute episode is a brilliant piece, especially for a series not famous for anything. Even today I can still select an episode at random and enjoy the parts. Come to think of it, I’d like a cupcake with a Snapple top.
There you have it. My personal top 10 classic sitcoms. You will notice that Hulu is the absolute king of the genre. If you don’t have access to it yet, you can subscribe to a version with commercials for only $6 a month and receive episodes from the network of the latest shows the day after they aired. So far only 8 of the 10 shows you can find there are worth it. These are programs that let you escape for a while, which seems much easier, more enjoyable and fun. Enjoy it.
More than 10 best scores
The top 10 lists and why we need them.
Top 10 Netflix Original Series Part 1
Top 10 Netflix Original Series Part 2
Sue loves taking care of her adult children too much. She cycles and slows down. She is responsible for the editing of Silver Beacon Marketing and the young Crazy Cat Lady.
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