The 15 Best Comedies of all Time Part One
Why are these shows so great?
This is a list of the best comedies of all time. What makes these shows classic? A show is great when it can be funny no matter what era is it shown in. There is almost a magical quality in how these shows are made. It takes more than one thing to be the best comedy of all time. There have to be great characters, talented actors who have a good chemistry together, and most of all a great script. When all these things come together perfectly you have a hit that will last a lifetime. Here are some of the best comedies of all time.
THE HONEYMOONERS-This show first aired in 1955. What made this show so unique was it was performed live and they only made 39 episodes. What a cast they were. Ralph Kramden, Alice, Ed Norton Ralph’s best friend, and Trixie she was Ed’s wife. They were all working class people who lived in Brooklyn. Ralph was loud, but loveable. He never made enough money and was always looking to get rich quick without success. Alice was there to support her husband emotionally, and to rein in him when he got out of control. Ed was a great friend, but also he also aggravated Ralph with his ways. On viewing you grow to love these characters and how they handle the world and its pressures. They are able to because they have each other to lean on. Ralph will never be rich, but it doesn’t matter he has his wife Alice and his great friend Norton and that is all he really needs. This comedy is timeless.
I LOVE LUCY-This show first aired in 1951. Lucy Ricardo and Ricky Ricardo lived in an apartment owned by the Mertzes. They became friends with each other. This series had the great screwball comedy that movies made in the 30’s and 40’s had. Lucy did the physical comedy; she had a way with saying a phrase that could always make you laugh. Ricky was the straight man for Lucy. He reacted to her outrageous behavior with great expressions. They had a great love that no matter what wild thing Lucy did, or whatever practical joke Ricky played on her, you knew they would still love each other and stay together. It was great to see the friendship of Lucy, Fred, Ethel and Ricky. They had their differences from time to time, but they always stayed true to each other. Viewers tuned in because they had to see what the crazy redhead was going to do next.
THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW -This show first aired in 1961. We have the traditional married couple Rob and Laura Petrie. The unique thing about this show was the split in the scenes between home and work. Until the time this show aired most comedies had the man going to work, but you never really saw him at the office. Rob Petrie played a writer for The Alan Brady Show. His coworkers were Buddy Sorrell and Sally Rogers. They had a great chemistry together and when they got together there were plenty of laughs to be had. At the job they had to deal with Mel Coolie producer and brother in law of Alan Brady. Mel gets teased a lot by Buddy their scenes together are priceless. When Rob went home he had his lovely wife Laura and son Ritchie. Rob and Laura’s neighbors and friends were Jerry Helper a dentist and his wife Millie. This show may seem dated with the clothing and styles of the times, but it is ageless in its comedy whether it was one liners, facial expressions, or physical comedy the show will still make you laugh today.
EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND-This show first aired in 1995. Ray Barone is a sportswriter for a newspaper. He is married to Debra and they live next door to Ray’s parents Marie and Frank Barone. This causes conflicts because Ray’s parents are always at the house without an invitation. Ray sees humor in everything and he will never make a stand especially if it is against his mother Marie. Ray has a brother named Robert he is a police officer and he has always felt that Raymond was the favorite child. Robert has a droll humor and he loves Ray even though he is jealous of him and his family. The writing in this show is spectacular. Everyone can relate to a sibling they feel gets more attention than they did, they can relate to a Dad who is a bit brassy, and a little cranky. Everyone can relate to a mother/mother-in-law that doesn’t know where to draw the line in being involved in their child’s life. Another funny thing about the show is that even though Debra and Ray had three kids the story line was hardly ever about them. This dysfunctional family makes you want to tune in and relive all the fun they have together even when they don’t always get along.
ALL IN THE FAMILY -This show first aired in 1971. We go to Queens and find the Bunker family. There is Archie Bunker he is stubborn, bigoted, uneducated, and impatient. He also has a lot of love for his family and for his country, so we feel for him even when he is saying the most awful things. I think everyone can relate to Archie they may have had a relative that acted just like him. Edith is Archie’s wife she is kind, naïve, and loyal to Archie. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body and she loves her life. In later episode she finally stood up for herself and you were on her side cheering her all the way. The Bunkers have a daughter Gloria and she is married to Mike. Mike is going to college and they are living with Archie and Edith. Archie who is Republican, conservative doesn’t see eye to eye with Mike who is leaning more to the left and is an atheist. Both men are stubborn in their beliefs and it causes plenty of fights. Gloria is the only child of the Bunkers. She is a bit spoiled. She can also put Archie and Mike in their place when they go off on a tangent. Even though this show had plenty of conflict it also had plenty of love. You care about these people.
MODERN FAMILY -This show first aired in 2009. This comedy came out of the gate wildly successful. It is like a documentary about today’s modern family. The cast frequently looks at the camera during the show. The main family is Jay and his wife Gloria and her son Manny. Gloria and her son are from Columbia and were on the poor side till Jay came in the picture. He is older and always feels he has to teach them something all the time. Jay is also has a great love for all his family even though he doesn’t show it. Gloria loves Jay and her struggles in English will crack you up. She dotes on her son Manny. Manny is like a 40 year old in a kids body. Next we have the oldest children Jay has from his first wife. He has a daughter named Claire. She is married to Phil a geek who is a real estate agent they have three kids Haley the typical teenager, Alex the middle child who is very smart, and Luke the youngest who is a chip off the old block and is just like his Dad. The last family is the untraditional union of Jay’s son Mitchell and his partner Cameron. They have an adopted daughter named Lily. The show has great writing and a great cast. You tune in each week to be entertained, have a laugh and hang out with this great group of people.
30 ROCK this showed first appeared in 2006. It is a nod to screwball comedy with fast paced action and an odd assortment of characters who work in a television show. The creator for the series is Tina Fey. She loosely based this on her time on Saturday Night Live when she was the head writer there. In this show we have Liz Lemon a quirky lady who has to have to patience of Job to deal with all the loons in her job. The zany cast includes:
Tracy Jordan an outspoken star who will do anything that comes to his mind. It can be good or it can be a disaster.
Jenna Maroney she can sing and act and she has an ego as large as the moon.
Kenneth is a southern boy who once was a page for the network, but recently has become a janitor. He is full of optimism and homespun wisdom.
Frank a writer for the show he is always wearing a trucker’s hat and he has sarcasm for everyone.
Last there is Jack Donaghy the network executive that gives advice to Liz and tries to control the series and the building. He is very conservative. He and Liz have become friends even though they seem to have little in common. They are there to keep each other straight.
This is the conclusion of Part One of the 15 Best Comedies of All Time. These shows, some old and some new, have found a place in the best of comedy. They are timeless. They are shows with intelligence, physical comedy, and great performances. Thank heavens for DVDs, cable television, Hulu, Netflixs and all the other ways we have to keep these performances alive. Everyone can always use a good laugh and these shows will provide it.