Funny TV Shows: Sitcoms
Funniest TV Shows?
Watching TV shows should provide us with a release, a place to relax and forget about our troubles. What better way to forget about our troubles than to watch comedy shows? Granted some may be totally inane, but others are funny and make you think while you're laughing. What are the funniest TV shows? That's a really hard question to answer...it depends on the who, what and where...who's watching, who's answering, where you're asking.
Comedy-variety shows actually began in 1950. I'm more interested in the "sit-com" which happens to be my favorite type of comedy show. A sit com or situation comedy has the same characters every week in the same setting and the comedy is based on things that happen in everyday life. While they amuse you, you also get to know the characters and can better relate to them and their everyday problems.
I'd like to start by looking at old funny tv shows. There probably isn't a person on the face of the earth that hasn't heard of the I Love Lucy show. Lucille Ball, her husband Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. These are the main four characters that were seen week after week for six years. They showed the funny side of things you deal with every day. Forgetting to pay a bill or burning the toast. You can still see Lucy in syndication all over the airwaves and everyone has their own favorite episode...the candy making episode or the wine making episode. What about vitametavegamin? So many to choose from but the main thing is, the beginning of a new genre of TV show that has lasted over 50 years.
Phil Silvers Show
Comedy TV in the Fifties
The fifties gave us many more comedy shows including Amos 'n Andy, A Date With Judy, Mr. Peepers, Our Miss Brooks, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Make Room For Daddy, Father Knows Best, You'll Never Get Rich, The Life of Riley....just to name a few.
Miss Brooks, played by Eve Arden, was a high school English teacher; Mr. Peepers, a high school science teacher, was played by Wally Cox. Again, everyday people after all we all know some high school teachers that's for sure. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet introduced us to David Nelson but more importantly, Ricky Nelson. They were the sons of Ozzie and Harriet and the four of them had a normal family life, except maybe for Ricky's singing though many aspired to be singers. Sgt. Bilko in You'll Never Get Rich was played by Phil Silvers, always conniving and trying to make money in the Army, using the men in his barracks and tricking everyone around. Maybe not realistic but funny enough to make us want to watch over and over.
Okay, so some of you young people out there reading this are thinking, who? What? Never heard of these shows or these people...but these are the shows that led the way for today's comedy shows. This is the tip of the iceberg but also, as I said, the beginning of the sitcom.
Comedy TV in the Sixties
Along came the sixties and with it new sit coms. For example, Mayberry R. F. D. and My Three Sons...who doesn't know Mayberry and Aunt Bea? What about The dick Van Dyke Show and Mr. Ed? A horse is a horse of course, of course, and no one can talk to a horse of course, that is of course unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed..
Everyone's heard of the Beverly Hillbillies and what about The Munsters and The Addams Family. Gomez and Morticia romanced each other through their 'monsterly' antics. Get Smart and I Dream of Jeannie used the military as their base for comedy, Get Smart dealing with spies and agents, and Jeannie with the Air Force and space program and of course a genie in a bottle. The Flying Nun with Sally Field was a big hit though its premise was a nun whose habit was often caught up in the wind causing her to fly.
And many more. The fantasy and absurdity these shows brought were truly a release and something to laugh at. It took you away from the conflicts on the news. We survived mothers who smoked and drinking from garden hoses. It was a time of innocence and a time of turmoil.
Comedy TV in the Seventies
Along came the seventies and with it more sit coms, not only more sit coms but bolder sit coms. Stuff like All in the Family with Archie Bunker, a total racist yet good at heart. You flinched at things Archie said, yet you loved him and ooohed and aaaahed when he and Edith made up. One of TV's all time favorite sit coms that was often a dramedy (a comedy with drama) was M.A.S.H. M.A.S.H. ran for eleven years showing us humor, pain and social commentary. We watched these soldiers in Korea doing their duty and wanting to be back home. Maude and Laverne and Shirley brought a different breed of women to the sit com. Maude was a powerful divorcee and Laverne and Shirley were working girls, girls working in a bottle factory of all places! Sanford and Son was a total departure from the normal sit com, a black father and son working in a junk yard! The humor on this show was totally infectious, "I'm coming Elizabeth!" Three's Company, The Brady Bunch, Love Boat and more.
Comedy TV in the Eighties
Moving right along we hit the eighties. Cheers and Newhart started the eighties. Who can forget the place where everybody knows your name? The Cosby Show finally showed a professional black family but still had the laughs along with the lessons...a funny, normal family.
The Keatons on Family Ties drew us in right from the start. Of course we know this was the launch of Michael J. Fox's career. Night Court was an irreverent courtroom comedy. Who's the Boss and not to forget the Golden Girls. Everyone loved the Golden Girls...four older women divorced or widowed, living together. Bea Arthur, Betty White, Estelle Getty and Rue McClanahan, a phenomenal group of laughs! Winner of eleven Emmys and four Golden Globe Awards!
The eighties also brought us Different Strokes,Taxi, and Roseanne. Another decade of funny shows. If you look closely though you'll see the evolution beginning...from I Love Lucy to Roseanne...quite a difference in writing and the behavior of the female lead and yet we continue to laugh and be amused. Roseanne was bold and sarcastic, something women never were on TV. She loved her family but in a way we weren't used to seeing.
Comedy TV in the Nineties
What about the nineties? Just Shoot Me, Family Matters, Full House, and the Nanny. Is there anyone who wasn't affected in some way by the nasal voice of Fran Drescher in the Nanny? Then there's The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Everybody Loves Raymond and the controversial Murphy Brown. Let's not forget Frazier and Seinfeld. Evolution...from Mayberry R.F.D. to Seinfeld. I don't have to point out the difference. Not only was Jerry Seinfeld neurotic but the entire cast was neurotic and eccentric. Kramer will live on in infamy! The characters go through everyday life with a certain twist. They eat in the same diner and do many of the same things we do everyday, however, not many people see their fiancé die from licking the envelopes on the wedding invitations!! From the normal to the absurd and we loved it.
In addition to the comedy shows we've been watching forever on all the major networks, cable TV has brought us new and bolder comedies and newer channels or older channels that have just grown up. For example, Fox is now a major competitor and has brought us shows like the Simpsons -- not only a comedy show but an animated comedy show. A cartoon for adults. The Simpsons are known the world over and Marge's blue hair is totally recognizable. (The Simpsons actually started in 1989.)
Comedy TV in the 21st Century
Along comes the 21st Century and with it more comedy shows, more changes and more laughs. Shows like Arrested Development, The Office and 30 Rock! The Office offered a totally different approach to the comedy sit com genre. While following the sit com rules of having the same characters in the same place week after week, the characters take time out of their lives (the show) and talk to the audience. The main characters are bumbling idiots for the most part, but you love them anyway. The Office has been on the air since 2005.
A lot of my current favorites began during this time period like How I Met Your Mother. It's almost a dramady because it does contain many touching moments. The characters run the range of a married couple, a woman chaser, a bachelor looking for the 'mother' of the title, and a single woman whose being Canadian seems to get in her way of finding the right man.
I can't forget to add HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. Being a non-network show or should I say a cable show it doesn't have the restrictions or censorship foisted on network shows. It is totally irreverent, uses words that sometimes makes you blush, shows the dumbest smart character I've ever seen (Larry David) and yet it makes you laugh sometimes almost till you cry. While it's based on reality if people ever acted like that in real life they'd be banned from society.
Unless you've been living in a place far, far away, you've heard of the sit com Two and a Half Men. You may not have ever seen the show but you've certainly heard about one of its stars, Charlie Sheen. His real life absurdity was almost the ruination of a really funny TV show, but somehow the powers that be and Ashton Kuscher managed to save this show and keep it one of the top comedies still on TV.
Malcolm in The Middle, South Park (TOTALLY irreverent animation), the short lived $h*! My Dad Says, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia...if you've never seen this one that's been on since 2005, I really don't know how to describe it. Everyone in the show is a mean, 'unlikeable' person and yet you wind up watching this. This is really a totally new experience in sitcoms.
More? Modern Family, Scrubs, Weeds, The Sara Silverman Program and on and on. I apologize if I've left out any of your favorites but there is no way to cover all of the comedy shows or rather sitcoms that have aired over the last 50 years, at least no way I can handle.
Current Comedy TV - Which is the funniest?
Now to the question that sparked this hub, "Which broadcast TV show do you think is the funniest this year?" Still a hard question to answer. There are so many new funny tv shows. I enjoy the fresh approach of Mike & Molly and Two Broke Girls, even Subpurgatory is cute though not the best show on the air. I would have to say in my opinion, The Big Bang Theory.
It could be the nerd in me, the techno-geek or it just could be these guys and gals are hysterical. I can't even pick a favorite character as I love them all from Sheldon to Penny. The new and the old. This show just cracks me up no end.
Typical sitcom with five main characters; two roommates who happen to be physicists, a waitress (and aspiring actress) across the hall, and two friends and co-workers who just happen to be an aerospace engineer and an astrophysicist. Of course I'm sure you have lots of friends who fit those descriptions. Those are the original cast members but now add two girlfriends, one is a microbiologist the other a neurobiologist. If you're scratching your head, you haven't seen the show! The roommates Leonard and Sheldon are the two main characters and their friends and episodes revolve around them. They talk about scientific theories but their social lives are a little, shall we say, lacking? Sheldon provides the laughs as he has no social skills and no understanding of them. He's brilliant in the scientific world but can't drive a car! It would probably take me another 1500 words just to describe this show. It's been highly rated since it began and is broadcast internationally, according to Wikipedia. It's won Emmys, People's Choice Awards, Teen Choice Awards and others. There are Big Bang Theory Fan Sites in several countries. You've just gotta see it!
I used videos rather than photographs in this hub to avoid copyright violations.
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