Sitcoms have become an integral part of American television culture. Back in the days before Comcast On-Demand, Netflix, Tevo and the like, we would anxiously wait for the new episode of Rosanne, or gather with friends to watch, well, Friends. Many of us grew up with our evening TV watching built around the family’s favorite sitcoms.
Long before Homer, Al Bundy and Peter Griffin, Fred Flintstone forged the way for the average working guy character and prime time animation. The Flintstones was modeled after the popular Honeymooners sitcom and appealed to adults as well alike, but for different reasons. Being the first primetime animated sitcom makes The Flintstones wildly influential.
There is really nothing this boundary pushing show didn’t touch upon. Nothing was off limits to Rosanne Barr and nothing was too taboo, in fact the show thrived on it. But the magic was that it reflected the lives of many of the audience. The stories were rife with realistic and easily relatable topics; work, taxes and death to name a few.
Progenitors of the Show-about-nothing genre, Jerry Seinfeld and co-creator, Larry David crafted one of the most popular sitcom. TV Guide named it The Best TV Show of All Time, in 2002 and though you may or may not agree, one thing is for sure: Seinfeld had an impact on pop culture. Never had a TV show wriggled it’s influences into the mainstream like Seinfeld. People refer to unbelievable circumstances in their lives as “Seinfeld” moments. And many memorable quotes and phrases from the show have weaseled their way into casual vocabulary.
The longest running American sitcom, the longest running American animated show and the longest running American primetime scripted television show. The Simpsons took the genre to new heights. The Simpsons did what many modern sitcoms were doing; it was easy to relate to and often reflected daily life of the average family. But The Simpsons upped the ante more than a few chips. The Simpsons flipped the formula and had us laughing at ourselves and usually without us knowing it. D’oh!
We have a rich and hilarious history of television worth watching over and over. With today’s technology allowing us to pick and choose what we want to watch, even full seasons of shows, watching a classic sitcom has never been easier. Gather the family and fire up the sitcoms.