The 50 Greatest Sitcoms of All Time

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30. The Honeymooners

It only aired 39 episodes, but the fact that they’re known as “The Classic 39” should tell you something. The misadventures of Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton are pop culture cornerstones. Jackie Gleason and company created a show that had a lasting impact, including being the inspiration for The Flintstones. “One of these days, Alice, one of these days….”

 

29. Sanford and Son

The one liners and back & forth that Fred G. Sanford (the G stands for gefilte fish) had with any and everybody on the show made it one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen: Fred vs. Esther, Grady, Bubba; Fred vs. Julio, Fred and his son Lamont. The humor still holds up to this day. There’s always something to get into from The Blind Mellow Jelly episode to Fred telling Esther she’s so ugly he could put her face in dough and make gorilla cookies… hilarious.

 

28. Diff’rent Strokes

Diff’rent Strokes made child stars out of Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, and Dana Plato.  However, it may be most remembered for the “Very Special Episodes” which covered topics such as child abuse, pedophilia and drug use.

 

 

27. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

The Fresh Prince was another in a long line of sitcoms in which the lead actor played a fictional version of himself (and broke the fourth wall WAY more often than you remember). A classic ‘two worlds collide’ plot line (see: Diff’rent Strokes, Perfect Strangers, ALF), The Fresh Prince enjoyed 6 seasons from 1990-1996 and has run successfully in syndication since.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had one of the most memorable opening themes in television history, as well as one of the most emotional sitcom scenes of the 90s.

 

26. The Wonder Years

The Wonder Years was a show that pushed the boundaries of how stories were told in a comedic series.

The entire show was perfectly summed up in the last line spoken by adult Kevin: “Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you’re in diapers, the next day you’re gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place, a town, a house, like a lot of houses. A yard like a lot of other yards. On a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back…with wonder.”

 

25. 30 Rock

Common advice for writers: ‘write what you know’. Tina Fey left Saturday Night Live to produce a sitcom, she took her experience as head writer of that show and made it the basis of 30 Rock, which follows the behind the scenes adventures of fictional NBC late night variety show “TGS”.

Fey not only writes and produces the show, but stars as TGS producer Liz Lemon. And although the supporting cast is great, especially Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski, the show is exponentially better than your average sitcom because of Alec Baldwin, playing the network executive that oversees the show and dispenses life advice to sad sack Lemon. The show has even stepped up their game by doing two live episodes, with guest appearances by Jon Hamm, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Matt Damon, and Bill Hader.

 

24. Community

Any comedy that devotes an episode sending up the Apocalypse Now documentary Hearts of Darkness AND has an animated 30-minute G.I. Joe homage gets a special place in my top ten. The meta-rific Community has done send ups of Goodfellas, zombie films and even had an entire episode done in the style of an 8 bit video game. This show speaks to me as movie fan and nerd, has quickly become one of my favorites, and much like Arrested Development will be missed and admired when its gone. #sixseasonsandamovie

 

23. Roseanne

A show about the working class Conner family, Roseanne broke the ‘perfect nuclear family’ mold that was created in the early days of sitcoms. Like so many of the other great sitcoms, Roseanne was willing to feature hot issues such as infidelity, abortion and gay rights. By doing so, Roseanne paved the way for many other shows that followed it.

 

22. Growing Pains
When you heard “Show me that smile again… (ooh, show me that smile)” you knew it was time for another great half hour with The Seavers. The plot follows the standard sitcom formula, with a twist! Instead of dad going to work and mom raising the kids, it’s the other way around.

Father Jason Seaver (Alan Thicke) moves his psychiatry practice to the home when wife Maggie is ready to return to work as a reporter. Jason takes the lead in raising the 3 (then 4) kids. The show lasted 7 seasons and made Kirk Cameron a household name (and put him on the cover of Teen Bop more than once). A young unknown joined the cast in its final season who went on to become a movie star: Leonardo DiCaprio.
And let’s not forget it launched the spinoff Just The Ten Of Us!

 

21. Taxi

The story of a group of down-on-their-luck Manhattan cab drivers, Taxi introduced the world to a number of actors and actresses who would go on to great careers in TV and film.

The show itself was a venture away from the standard family-based sitcoms that had been commonplace, setting the stage for shows such as Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends, and How I Met Your Mother. Taxi is also notable for its willingness to tackle tough issues such as drug addiction, sexual harassment and gambling addiction.

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