Top 50 Sitcoms of the 80’s (10 – 1)

May 3, 2012

Well here we are … Top 10 Sitcoms of the 1980’s … All time!
I appreciate you sticking with me through 3 posts … I’m sure THIS is where my order gets the most scutiny BUT It’s my list (I tried not to be biased)

To catch up here are Numbers 50 – 30

Here are Numbers 29 – 11

And now … Top 10

10. Laverne & Shirley

Laverne & Shirley were classic it was the female odd couple, very funny and had a great ensemble cast … depending on the episode a different person steals the show
Lenny and Squiggy, Frank DeFazio, Carmine, even Boo Boo Kitty lol
The iconic “L” on everything Laverne wore …I even had to try Milk and Pepsi one good time (Not so bad)

JTS Moment: The Move away from Milwaukee to California

9. Growing Pains

The Seavers! Mike and Boner ladies and gentleman Great show with a ton of laughs Maggie and Ben could’ve been in a car accident episode 1 season 1 and we wouldn’t been able to tell the difference though Mike Seaver is top 5 Coolest sitcom characters All Time

JTS Moment: Chrissy … and of course Leonardo DiCaprio

8. The Jeffersons

The All in the Family Spinoff! This puts Sherman Hemsley in the top 50 twice
For better or worse everyone loved George Jefferson … and he was the only black person that had dough without getting adopted by a white family LOL
Between George, Florence, and Mother Jefferson jokes were plentiful … and shoutouts to one of the first interracial couples on TV and Lenny Kravits momo, Shoutouts to the George Jefferson Dance and Walk … no shoutouts to the chick that Stabbed George “I’M YOUR WIFE!”

JTS Moment: Two Lionels and when Lionel and Jenny Married

7. Diff’rent Strokes

Speaking of Moving on up, no one disliked Diff’rent Strokes when it was coming on (Till the JTS Moment) Never seen anyone like Arnold before and he was hilarious … the cast was done perfect as no one seemed incredibly useless and they let the little man shine, granted Pearl was the most awful housekeeper … but they had Charlene Duprey! and the Shimmy!!!

… and wasn’t that the same house as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air?

JTS Moment: sam. point blank period.

6. The Golden Girls

There’s no way that Golden Girls could NOT be in the Top 10 and could be arguably higher … just outside of the top 5 but iconic cast and even theme … somehow these 4 ol bittys captured everyone’s hearts and depending on who you ask everyone has a favorite member of the cast
Thankfully they got rid of Coco in the first season

JTS Moment: Dorothy marrying Blanche’s uncle and leaving … The Golden Palace

5. Night Court

Night Court was a dope comedy because every member of the cast was funny and could carry an episode … dynamic ensemble From Judge Harry to the Bailiff Mac even Bull and Roz … no one shined like Dan Fielding and one of my early crushes Christine
… Markie post was LIKE THAT (then she just disappeared; Almost didn’t recognize her in Something About Mary) Anyway Night Court was a beast and that bassline in the theme is legend!

JTS Moment: When they gave Dan a conscience or The Eskimo episode

Markie Post in the 80s though

4. Three’s Company

“Come and Knock on our door”
Hers and Hers and His!! A wild premise but a damn funny show … between Jack Tripper, Ralph Furly, Helen and Stanley Roper it was going to be something funny every show
Just Mr Roper looking into the camera was enough for me lol
Shoutouts to the Regal Beagle and Larry Dallas … underrated shoutout to Felipe Gomez in Jack’s Bistro LOL
Oh and the Answer is Janet Wood > Terri Alden > Christmas Snow > Cindy Snow

JTS Moment: When Chrissy left and they tried with Cindy and Terri

3. Seinfeld

I know there are a lot of people that “Never got into Seinfeld” or thought Seinfeld was “Just okay” I think it just takes a certain brand of humor to truly appreciate it but even if you don’t have that humor you cannot deny the iconic nature of the show and everything it brought to the table
People who never watched the show quote it from the Soup Nazi to close Talkers, Yadda Yadda Yadda, The Puffy Shirt, The “Contest” and Junior Mints … so many reasons why this is one of the greatest Sitcoms ever

JTS Moment: The Ending?

2. Cheers

Cheers is another show that was excellently cast each member brought something different to the table and when put together it made for a great show, like Seinfeld it stopped feeling like a show and more like watching people you knew live their lives … like you were a part of the crew or eavesdropping … now if I were being biased I’d put Seinfeld at this spot but you cannot deny this show and its legacy 11 Seasons and 111 Emmy Nominations damn!

JTS Moment: Sam and Diane getting Engaged, or when Rebecca went weird

1. The Cosby Show

The Sitcom of the 80s.
So much so when people mention the 80’s and TV it’s pretty much the first show that people think of or mention … the knee-jerk reaction of asking the best show of the 80s is Cosby Show … even if you have a different favorite, it’s your first thought lol
There’s not much I need to say about the Cosby Show … other than you best not call my house 8pm on Thursday Night lol
Shoutouts to Gordon Gartrell

JTS Moment: Cousin Pam, Elvin and Sandra emphasis, Denise leaving, Cousin Pam again.

So that’s the List 1-50 … or 50-1

What say you?

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  • Will

    I kinda thought this might be #1. Can’t say I agree, but I’ll let it pass since Three’s Company is in the Top 5.

    And while Chrissy might’ve been the Growing Pains JTS moment, have you seen her today? She can GET IT

    • eclectik

      Three’s Company was a classic but the Cast turnover killed it I could’ve put Cheers on there but w/o Cosby … no Cheers lead in LOL

      • howie AKA Generic

        Chrissy AKA Ashley Johnson IS smokin’ now! Had to interject that.. more comments to come

  • Classick Material

    I’m sorely disappointed that Just The Ten Of Us didn’t even make this list. Where’s the love for Coach Lubbock and his many daughters? Nancy from Nightmare on Elm Street, son!

    • eclectik

      Hot Daughters indeed, but the little I saw of the show it was awful … sure it could’ve been on there instead of Three’s a Crowd but when it’s that low I went with something I atleast liked lol

  • http://Fogsmoviereviews Fogsmoviereviews

    A solid list. I typically avoid making top ten posts cause theyre so easy for everyone to pick apart due to their own tastes, but for the most part, you nailed this. I might flip Cosby and Cheers, but the easy comeback to that is “Cheers didnt even start catching on until the Cosby Show”

    Seinfeld definitely not 1 in the 80s… more a 90s phenomenon. Nice call.

    Golden Girls is too high though. I know you love the old gals, but… I dont know, man. LOL. You could easily drop them and put in Family Ties. 😀

    Nicely done though, for sure. There arent many weak points here to pick on Eclectik.

    • eclectik

      I appreciate the comment sir
      Yeah these lists always open you up for scrutiny … but I figured that would be part of the fun … the discussion (Least we’d be doing back and forth about something cool lol)

      Cheers could arguably be top … the Cosby lead in and cultural impact kept it at 2

      Seinfeld was sneaky since it started in the 80s but definitely a 90s show … maybe a new list is in order

      LOL Family times yeah … Family ties should be higher than Growing pains

  • Jason G

    You got #1 and #2 on the money. I’m like the others and would slide Seinfeld into the 90s.
    I’d flip-flop the Jeffersons and Three’s Company.

    Glad you gave props to Night Court. Loved it. Consistently funny and with all the new cases each episode, it kept fresh people on the show each week. If I could be anyone on a sitcom, it would be Judge Harry T. Stone.

  • @OldSchool80s

    Agree with Seinfeld being taken off the list and moved to the 90s.

    I would move Family Ties all the way up and slot it in there in the Top 5.

    Agree with Golden Girls being WAY too high on the list. Love the nod to Three’s Company and Night Court.

    I also thought you had several in the 30-50 range that should have been much higher. Fun to remember all of them regardless.

  • http://nosite Koala’s Mom

    Oh wow — found your list and loved it! What a lot of work … LOVED Night Court. Maybe someone can help me? Looking for the name of an actress (believe she was in an 80’s sitcom) … late 20’s, early 30’s … ditzy blonde … HUGE blue eyes (and a bit buck-toothed?). VERY breathy voice — portrayed totally naive. CAN’T recall what show she was in (that’s how I came to your list) … ah well … gonna check 70’s and 90’s now … Thank you!

  • Tommy Boy

    Good list. Biggest problem I have is Newhart at #43?! Definitely top ten and Arguably top 5. Maybe the best final moment in sitcom history. And where was M*A*S*H? Didn’t that cross over into the 80’s? If Seinfeld is Top 5 on this list, then shouldn’t M*A*S*H be top 5 also? Goodbye, Growing Pains!

    • FortMcHenry

      Yeah, you’re right — MASH ran from 1972-83, Happy Days, which is included in this list, from 1974-84. So what is their criteria for including shows in a particular decade??? Granted, I always think of both as Seventies shows, but if you include one, then why not the other?

  • ’80s Babies

    Glad to see Growing Pains in the top 10! Tracey Gold is/was a fox…

    My top 5 sitcoms from the ’80s/’90s are as follows:

    5. The Jeffersons
    4. Taxi
    3. Golden Girls
    2. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
    1. Growing Pains

    • Darling

      Thank you: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Such a nice nostalgic post, thank you!

  • Allan bo Ballan

    Cheers or Three’s Company would be 1a and 1b for me.

    Which decade would the Simpsons would fall under?

    • eclectik

      I supposed Simpsons would be 80s … I dont consider it a Sitcom, but I can see it there; because what else would it be? LOL

  • Jak

    There was a show about some family I used to watch as a kid and in the opening they were having a picnic and some kid picked up a mustard bottle and acted like he thought it was his drink – attempting to drink it. I think maybe the kids had a garage band and played moanie moanie (however that song is spelled) at one point? I thought Corey Feldman might have been in it but I went through his IMDB and didn’t see anything that was familiar. I do know there was a motherly looking redheaded lady (a little healthy weight-wise) who has been in a lot of things.. This is killing me, if anyone knows what I’m talking about let me know!

    • April

      Jak – I think you’re remembering The Hogan Family (aka Valeria, aka Valerie’s Family). There is a scene at the end of the opening credits where the family is at a picnic and one of the boys raises a bottle of mustard to join a cheer. The redheaded lady would be Edie McClurg, who really did seem to be everywhere in the 80’s. I can’t remember a garage band, but that sounds like an appropriate plotline for the show.

      The Hogan Family has one of my favourite 80’s theme songs.

    • FortMcHenry

      I agree with April, it sounds like the opening of Valerie (later Valerie’s Family, Hogan Family). Valerie Harper was the mother, but replaced after the first season during a contract dispute, with Sandy Duncan who was the father’s sister. The three boys were Jason Bateman, Jeremy LIcht, and Danny Ponce. The father (can’t remember the actor’s name who played him) was an airline pilot. The theme song was “Through the Years” sung by Aretha Franklin. Edie McClurg played the neighbor, Mrs. Poole, and occasionally her husband, played by weatherman Willard Scott, would put in an appearance.

  • nope

    “Best of the West” & “It’s Your Move” were both short-lived but fundamental 80’s sitcoms for me. Also, it’s a tragedy that seasons 2-6 of Alice aren’t easily available.

  • carlos

    NOT EVEN CLOSE…………espicially your top 10

  • Robert

    Where is “Good Times”

  • carlos

    Obviously, its all personal choice. My Choice is ( Wells it the 60’s, twilight zone),1) Happy Days( come on, how can a regular family beat out a group of friends) 2)TAXI( again, come on, how can a family beat out a group of friends)- 3)three’s company(same as above) 4) several other show, next) Married with children and cosby’s some where in the 15-20

  • bobbx542

    Love the list, especially the inclusion of Night Court in the top ten, and I hate to be the nit picker here, but Mac was not a bailiff. He was the court clerk. Interesting bit of info there as well, he wore those disgusting sweater vests as either a tribute to Cosby, or as a parody. Depending on who you listen to.

  • st

    Loved the list. A lot of the assessments I agree with, so where I might have changed my order in places I can see your reasons for placements. The awesome LOL and Sho-Nuf moment of this list: You are right, The Last Dragon ep from Different World was heresy! It addressed a topical and important issue, but when I saw that I was like ” Say it ain’t so, Last Dragon (Taimak)!”

  • Rob S.

    I don’t get why people underrate The Golden Girls. I’ve never had a show make me laugh out loud more. I think it’s not only one of the greatest sitcom’s of the 80’s but of all time. It’s nearly impossible for me to look at Seinfield as an 80’s sitcom. I think that determining which decade a sitcom belongs too should be determined by which decade the majority of the show aired in and not which decade it started or ended.

  • Leisa Smith

    I think you got #1 and #2 backwards! Cheers was the best …..ever!

  • lakawak

    Seinfeld is NOT an 80s show. Seinfeld Chronicles is NOT considered part of Seinfeld, even though it is included in the syndication package and DVD set. (Similar to how Three’s Company’s syndication and DVDs have 3 episodes of The Ropers.) IT was a pilot that was considered a failure. The retooled the show, adding Elaine and changing Jerry’s father, as well as the set. So officially, the first episode of Seinfeld aired in 1990.

  • trickydick

    Great list if not just for the memories it brought back! For that alone, I can give you some leeway on the rankings.

  • FortMcHenry

    This list just highlights pretty much why I stopped watching regular TV in the 1980s, and haven’t ever picked it back up, ever since. And this is supposedly the 50 “Best” sitcoms? I shutter to think what a 50 WORST could possibly include. “Small Wonder” even made it in the 50 Best? One of the stupidest excuses of a program in TV history (it was such a dog it wasn’t even picked up by a network, but released to syndication). Crap like “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Happy Days” (really a 70s show, not 80s), “Growing Pains”, “The Facts of Life”, “Webster”, “Saved by the Bell”…. horrid. The ‘dumbing down’ of Americans was certainly in full swing by the 1980s. I guess the only way 80s sitcoms look good is to compare them with the rubbish that would follow in the 1990s and thereafter.

  • jeremiah mccluney

    I don’t think Seinfeld is funny at all. I think I’d put Golden Girls at no1. It’s timeless and universal. You got some good ones that a lot overlook.

  • John Frey

    You didn’t post the dates the series ran on this page, but you did on the others.

  • consptheory77

    For those of us, like myself, who grew up in the 1980’s, and watched a lot of TV, I don’t think an objective list of what “the best” sitcoms are, it’s only possible to consider what is “best remembered”.

    The defining sitcom of the era was, for me, “Different Strokes”. I liked Arnold, I watched the show every week since I can first remember watching TV, I even wrote a letter to NBC when I was upset that the show was pre-empted for the World Series – and an NBC executive wrote a gracious reply back to me, something I doubt anyone would do today.

    80’s sitcoms fell into different categories, some of which overlapped. I realized reading this article that I have seen and heard more black people on sitcoms from the 70’s and 80’s than I ever have in real life. Different Strokes, Webster, What’s Happening, 227, Amen, Benson, Good Times, The Cosby Show – I watched them all regularly. In retrospect, I recognize it as a phenomenon of Jewish TV producers trying to promote good race relations in the wake of the civil rights movements by presenting positive views of black people – which means now that some of the humor and characterization are dated, and a bit shrill.

    But Different Strokes also overlapped with the kid-centric NBC sitcoms like Punky Brewster, Silver Spoons, Saved by the Bell, and I’d put the early seasons of The Cosby Show in with them. My first crush as a child on a girl was my seven year old self crushing on Soliel Moon Frye. If I had to pick two playmates from a sitcom of the era, it would be Arnold and Punky. And Different Strokes also overlapped with The Facts of Life, which is representative of the way I remember those who were teenage girls back in the 80’s.

    Some sitcoms I didn’t see too much of, because my parents kept an eye on what I watched, and steered me away from shows they felt were too liberal or had kids who were too impudent. Hence, I never saw that much of Who’s the Boss, Growing Pains, Kate and Allie…I did manage to eventually sneak in some Growing Pains, because by that time, I thought Tracey Gold was attractive, and then they had that spinoff Just the Ten of Us, with the blonde, the brunette, the redhead, and the nerd girl, and that piqued my interest in a way you don’t want to know about. And the more sitcoms with mouthy kids I watched, the more mouthy I myself became, my parents were right.

    Some sitcoms that I watched back then and liked, I don’t like now. I keep seeing now that The Golden Girls has become a classic, with a whole new generation enjoying it that hadn’t even been born yet back then, and though I watched it every Saturday back then, now I don’t have the patience for it at all.

    I loved Perfect Strangers too, it became my favorite sitcom after Cosby peaked in 86, but that was my Miller-Boyett exception. I started watching Full House when it at the bottom of the ratings, liked it, then lost interest at the time it started becoming popular (which was right after they moved it from Fridays to Tuesday, after Who’s the Boss, proving to me at the time that time slots were far more important to the survival of a show than its quality). But trying to watch Perfect Stranger again on DVD a few years back, some of it makes me wince. And I was never in for the whole Urkel bit on Family Matters.

    And then by 1990, my TV viewing dropped off anyway. I think the last major sitcom I remember watching was Major Dad. I just finished up watching the complete four seasons on Hulu over the past few weeks, and I don’t believe I had seen any episodes of it since 1990, my primary recollection being that my sole interest at the time it was on air was because I liked the blonde girl that played the oldest daughter. But more than 25 years later, the fascination now lies with it as a sort of time capsule, as its run coincided with the Bush administration, and it sort of marks the transitional period between the 80’s and the 90’s.

    The form now takes a beating, because it’s irony free, but I actual like the dim-witted “family sitcom” (which was eventually killed by those Friends). One of the reasons that The Big Bang Theory is the top rated sitcom is because it is perhaps the last sitcom to retain that “filmed before a live studio audience” vibe which used to be a mark of the family sitcom. Of course Bialik was Blossom and Galecki was on Roseanne, even if I don’t remember them as such. On the other hand, Big Bang Theory followed Friends into similar patterns of sexual humor. You may not believe it, but Big Bang Theory has had not only threesome jokes, but bestiality jokes and I think one about necrophilia, and I can only think at such times how far standards have fallen, none of those jokes were good ones, they could have left them out.

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