Situation comedies, or sitcoms for short, have been a staple of American television since they first came about. While always funny, and often poignant, sitcoms have always held a special place in every network’s prime time lineup. Sitcoms encompass a broad category, almost all shows that fall under this category utilize comedic satire and slapstick comedy in order to entertain audiences. And while not every sitcom to grace the silver screen has been a hit, a chosen few have made their way into the hearts and minds of generations. Read on to learn more about twenty of the greatest sitcoms of all time.
- Animals Who Are Now Scarred For Life
- 8 Of The Most Bizarre Shoes You’ve Ever Seen
- 8 Animal Memes That Show How We Feel On Mondays
This is the show that started it all: The Honeymooners. Led by comedy star Jackie Gleason, and despite the fact that the show ran for just 39 episodes, The Honeymooners set the stage for every sitcom of the last 60 years. Featuring the shenanigans of Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton, along with their arguably more intelligent wives, the sitcom produced comedic gold that has stood the test of time. The Honeymooners is so beloved that Family Guy’s character Peter Griffin happens to be an homage to Jackie Gleason.
Sanford and Son
Starring Redd Foxx as Fred G. Sanford, Sanford and Son is a classic sitcom that has been enjoyed by generations. Fred Sanford’s constant back and forth comedy with numerous characters, including his son Lamont, makes the show a laugh riot and worthy of any serious sitcom fan.
Airing from 1978 to 1985, Diff’rent Strokes featured a timeless story that America fell in in love with. Phillip Drummond, a wealthy Manhattanite, takes in Arnold (played by a young Gary Coleman) and Willis Jackson, originally from Harlem. The comedy was spot on so it’s no surprise that the show had such a long run, or that it spawned a spin-off, “The Facts of Life“. The show also didn’t shy away from controversial issues of the day, like racism, illegal drug use and child sexual abuse.
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Everyone knows the line “Yo Home to Bel Air!” from the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Starring in a role that was written for him, Will Smith forever endeared himself to America in this classic “two world’s collide” sitcom. Will, the fictional version of mega-star Will Smith, is sent from Philadelphia to live with his wealthy Aunt and Uncle in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles. The comedy featured in the show has led to a beloved sitcom as well as perhaps the most memorable theme song of any television show.
Originally pitched as a spoof of Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor“, NBC executives instead pushed writer and producer Tina Fey to spoof her own time as head writer for Saturday Night Live. And the rest, as they say, is history. In addition to writing and directing 30 Rock, Tina Fey also stars as the show’s main character Liz Lemon. Fey stars opposite a wacky cast of characters, which includes mega-star Alec Baldwin, in what can only be described as a classic sitcom chock full of high-brown humor.
Want a show about a working class family that not only makes you laugh, but isn’t afraid to deal with controversial issues of the day? Then Roseanne is the show for you. Focused on the fictitious Conner family, Roseanne ran from 1988 to 1997, and dealt with a range of issues facing America. The show was designed to explore a family with an outspoken working woman as its lead, and the show delivered in spades by actress Roseanne Barr.
It’s the 21st century, and that calls for a sitcom that has evolved with the times. Enter Modern Family, a sitcom that focuses on not one, not two, but three families that all define what it means to be a “modern family” in America. The show features the comedic talents of Ed O’Neil, Ty Burell, and newcomers such as Sarah Hyland. All three families featured in Modern Family prove that a family is where the heart is.
This next top sitcom of all time happens to be a spinoff of another top sitcom. The Jeffersons, a spinoff of All in the Family, lasted a whopping 11 seasons. Focusing on George and Louise Jefferson, an affluent African-American couple living in New York City, and their son Lionel.
In the show, George is a successful owner of a chain of dry-cleaning services that, after spending years building his business, is able to move his family from their working class neighborhood in Queens, NY to a luxury apartment in Manhattan. The Jeffersons became a timeless classic that millions of Americans enjoyed for over a decade.