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Monday, September 18, 2017

‘Friends,’ the Sitcom That’s Still a Hit in Major League Baseball

For at least one generation of Americans, “Friends” endures as a cultural touchstone, a glowing chunk of 1990s amber. But its runaway popularity stretched far beyond the United States, and for some Latino baseball players it is something more: a language guide, a Rosetta Stone disguised as six 20-somethings commingling in a Manhattan apartment.

What would they have learned by watching, say “The X Files” instead?

NattyBoh Posted: September 18, 2017 at 09:59 AM | 485 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: english, latino players, minors

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   101. Booey Posted: September 19, 2017 at 01:15 PM (#5534447)
and flip again
   102. Rennie's Tenet Posted: September 19, 2017 at 01:31 PM (#5534467)
Yeah I did sort of extend the definition of "cousin oliver" there BUT it still holds true for "The Cosby show" and "growing pains" .
there must be others I cant recall right now.


This runs back at least to the Donna Reed Show in the early sixties, and you could argue The Danny Thomas Show in the fifties. My Three Sons brought in Ernie (otherwise, it would have turned into My Two Sons), then brought in a little girl five years later, then added infant triplets.
   103. simon bedford Posted: September 19, 2017 at 03:11 PM (#5534558)
My Three Sons did another "jump the shark" trick, the elder brother character who disappeared (like chuck on happy days) never to be mentioned again..I think he joined the army or they married him off but either way "Mike" was written out of the show and never mentioned again.
The show pulled off the rare jump the shark trifecta by having William Demerast replace William Frawley as Steve's uncle charlie ( same character different actor).
   104. stanmvp48 Posted: September 19, 2017 at 03:21 PM (#5534571)
It has been a few years, but I don't think Frawley and Demarest were the same character.
   105. simon bedford Posted: September 19, 2017 at 03:31 PM (#5534583)
You are right, Demarest played "bubs" brother...sheesh I had to look it up because I couldnt remember correctly.
   106. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 19, 2017 at 04:00 PM (#5534605)
Park and Rec only works post season 1. Season 2 is good not great, but it really hit its stride when Rob Lowe and Adam Scott joined.
Season 1 was awful. Season 2 starts well, and gets better as it goes along. Once Lowe and Scott joined P&R, it became, for the rest of its run, every bit as good as the greatest sitcoms of previous TV generations. I would put it right up against M.A.S.H. or Happy Days or Cheers.
   107. flournoy Posted: September 19, 2017 at 04:08 PM (#5534615)
I've always been a bit miffed by the general opinion of Parks and Recreation. As best I can remember, I thought it was okay at first, and by the end, I completely hated every single character. From the beginning, I never liked the main character (Leslie), so early on I could take some pleasure in watching her be completely ineffectual.
   108. Man o' Schwar Posted: September 19, 2017 at 04:11 PM (#5534621)
How could anyone hate Chris Treager? That's litrally impossible.
   109. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: September 19, 2017 at 04:31 PM (#5534636)
The biggest problem with "Friends" is explained in a scene from Futurama.


I've only watched Futurama at random***, but I have never seen an episode that I didn't think was good, if not terrific.

*** I'm old, I'm used to finding something on and watching. I enjoy that serendipity. I have deliberately sought out Longmire on Netflix, but that is it.
   110. Booey Posted: September 19, 2017 at 04:43 PM (#5534647)
From the beginning, I never liked the main character (Leslie), so early on I could take some pleasure in watching her be completely ineffectual.


Leslie Knope reminds me so much of my wife - quirks and all - that I could never dislike or root against her*. And Mrs Booey says that I remind her of Ben Wyatt, so their relationship works out perfectly for us.

* The exception is season 1 of course, where she came across as dumb and incompetent and not at all like my wife.
   111. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 19, 2017 at 05:19 PM (#5534676)
From the beginning, I never liked the main character (Leslie), so early on I could take some pleasure in watching her be completely ineffectual.
I love Leslie Knope. In an era where media, both real and fictional, is saturated with cynicism, there's a character who simply isn't. It's not that she's stupid or blind or has some inherent inability to see it, she simply chooses not to be that way. Knope drives the whole show, and one of the things I love about that show is how it exudes pure joy. Yeah, the characters are not always smart or right or sometimes very nice, but when they do stuff, it's always with the 1000% manic joy of doing. Whether it's Leslie going full tilt after something she wants, or Ron Swanson going full tilt at doing nothing at all, the show is just nothing but genuine joy to me.
   112. Man o' Schwar Posted: September 19, 2017 at 05:26 PM (#5534681)
I love Leslie Knope. In an era where media, both real and fictional, is saturated with cynicism, there's a character who simply isn't. It's not that she's stupid or blind or has some inherent inability to see it, she simply chooses not to be that way. Knope drives the whole show, and one of the things I love about that show is how it exudes pure joy. Yeah, the characters are not always smart or right or sometimes very nice, but when they do stuff, it's always with the 1000% manic joy of doing. Whether it's Leslie going full tilt after something she wants, or Ron Swanson going full tilt at doing nothing at all, the show is just nothing but genuine joy to me.

I had the same reaction. I like cynical, sarcastic comedy as much as the next guy (and probably more than most), but this show was the opposite of that. I grew up in the midwest, and I could relate to the midwestern sensibility of the show - honest, hardworking people trying to make their town better. It's a show that I find endlessly rewatchable (season 1 aside), and it never fails to make me smile.

I also think it had about as deep a bench of secondary characters as any sitcom has had in the last 20 years, and it used them very well. Someone like Dennis Feinstein or Mona Lisa Sapperstein would have been overbearing if not used in small doses, but the show understood that and brought them in at the edges just to add to the overall mix.

It was the anti-30 Rock (which was another contemporary show that I really liked, but it appealed much more to my hateful, sarcastic side).
   113. The Good Face Posted: September 19, 2017 at 05:36 PM (#5534690)
As best I can remember, I thought it was okay at first, and by the end, I completely hated every single character.


This, with the possible exception of Jean Ralphio. That guy was alright.

It was the anti-30 Rock


Might explain why I liked 30 Rock.
   114. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: September 19, 2017 at 05:51 PM (#5534698)
Trump was able to win in 2016 in large part because he was able to win a decent share of the vote among people who held an unfavorable view of him… So perhaps what we’re seeing isn’t a decline in Trump’s support in conservative states, but rather a reflection of its weakness from the start: Red-state voters who pulled the lever for Trump but didn’t like him, still don’t like him.


Loved Seinfeld, detested Friends.(*) I think you could substitute six goat-bearded ironic hipster anonymous 2017 middle relievers for the cast of Friends and I would like it more. I could kind of tolerate Lisa Kudrow, but can't stand any of the three guys.(**) Jennifer Aniston never did a thing for me and then when she became all whiny for like five years when Brad Pitt moved on ("JENNIFER: I THOUGHT WE WERE SOULMATES"), she managed to sink even lower in my estimation. It's now so bad that I don't even like Justin Theroux (***), because he picked her up on the rebound.

(*) And there's simply no serious comparison in their relative quality.

(**) Perry isn't remotely funny, Schwimmer's a loser, LeBlanc's a clod.

(***) Though Mulholland Drive remains History's Greatest Movie.
   115. Greg K Posted: September 19, 2017 at 05:55 PM (#5534700)
And Mrs Booey says that I remind her of Ben Wyatt, so their relationship works out perfectly for us.

She was probably just referring to your bizarre obsession with calzones.
   116. Booey Posted: September 19, 2017 at 06:03 PM (#5534702)
She was probably just referring to your bizarre obsession with calzones.


One of my favorite local restaurants is a pizza place that serves amazing calzones, so yes, that actually does factor into it. :-D
   117. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 19, 2017 at 06:16 PM (#5534706)
One of my favorite local restaurants is a pizza place that serves amazing calzones, so yes, that actually does factor into it. :-D
Do you call it the Calzone Zone?
   118. flournoy Posted: September 19, 2017 at 06:16 PM (#5534707)
Knope drives the whole show, and one of the things I love about that show is how it exudes pure joy. Yeah, the characters are not always smart or right or sometimes very nice, but when they do stuff, it's always with the 1000% manic joy of doing.


Where you see "1000% manic joy," I see "relentless, irritating, overzealous big government beaurocrat's whims." The show turned from "Haha, Leslie Knope sucks, watch her struggle and/or fail" (which was good fun) into "Leslie Knope is awesome and bullies everyone into kowtowing to her every wish" (which was horrible).
   119. Booey Posted: September 19, 2017 at 06:27 PM (#5534712)
Do you call it the Calzone Zone?


Well, now I will!
   120. Greg K Posted: September 19, 2017 at 06:29 PM (#5534713)
That doesn't sound very healthy....I'd go for the Low Cal Calzone Zone instead.
   121. Booey Posted: September 19, 2017 at 06:36 PM (#5534715)
Parks and Rec should also get bonus points from the BBTF crowd for their fictional lawfirm Fwar, Dips, Winshares, Gritt, Babip, Pecota, Vorp, and Eckstein...for correctly predicting that the 2016 Cubs would win the World Series (back in what, 2013? 2014?)...and for a few guest appearances from BBTF favorite Madeleine Albright.
   122. Rennie's Tenet Posted: September 19, 2017 at 07:20 PM (#5534722)
I think you could substitute six goat-bearded ironic hipster anonymous 2017 middle relievers 


So you missed The One with Six....
   123. Zach Posted: September 19, 2017 at 07:59 PM (#5534731)
Or unless, like Seinfeld and The Simpsons, they introduce an enormous and constantly added-to stable of memorable secondary characters. Without those additions, the Core Four of those two shows would've quickly burned out from repetition.

This works, but you have to have a writing team that can keep coming up with the brilliant one-off characters.

Seinfeld pulled the plug the instant the formula started to get creaky. The Simpsons... didn't.
   124. Zach Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:02 PM (#5534732)
Seinfeld also had Puddy as a late addition, which helped. It's interesting, because I remember hating Puddy when the show was originally airing.
   125. Jay Z Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:03 PM (#5534733)
Where you see "1000% manic joy," I see "relentless, irritating, overzealous big government beaurocrat's whims." The show turned from "Haha, Leslie Knope sucks, watch her struggle and/or fail" (which was good fun) into "Leslie Knope is awesome and bullies everyone into kowtowing to her every wish" (which was horrible).


In Seasons 2-3, when the show was at its best, she was somewhere in between.

After that seh dominated the show too much and things got spotty. The election season was pointless and overlong. First she ran against a bunch of joke candidates, then a rich guy who didn't want to win. Who cares? Then Councilman Jamm. The writers never knew how to write meaningful opposition to her. The character was a horrible elected official, had no talent for it. The show was actually true to this when they had her lose a recall election. Then of course in the finale they implied she was somehow elected President!

Given the results of the 2016 real life election, the show does make me think about our political landscape a bit. In a way real life had the last word. Even though I watched this show, I'm a midwesterner and more liberal than not, I keep that in mind.
   126. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:23 PM (#5534745)
Or unless, like Seinfeld and The Simpsons, they introduce an enormous and constantly added-to stable of memorable secondary characters. Without those additions, the Core Four of those two shows would've quickly burned out from repetition.

This works, but you have to have a writing team that can keep coming up with the brilliant one-off characters.

Seinfeld pulled the plug the instant the formula started to get creaky. The Simpsons... didn't.


Yeah, but cartoon shows have the advantage in that their characters will never age. I doubt if those Seinfeld characters in their late 50's / early 60's could pull it off as well as they did in their 30's and early 40's.

The biggest problem with The Simpsons is when they have those hugging / learning moments, and when they drag in the obligatory pop star celebrities. When I think of Seinfeld and celebrities, I think of Raquel Welch in a catfight with Elaine, or David Letterman calling Jerry "Jimmy" while canceling his guest appearance.
   127. Greg K Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:31 PM (#5534750)
I don't know, I love the no hugging/no learning shows as much as the next guy (Seinfeld and the modern version of It's Always Sunny are in my top 5 shows of all time)...but the James L. Brooks style sentimental moments of peak Simpsons are about as far from a problem as you can get.

The moments when Bart and Lisa stick up for one another are always touching. And Bart trying to hide the photo of himself he got for Marge at Christmas still gets me every time.

On the other hand, for the occasional time the Simpsons do the guest star thing right, there are a TON of example of the Simpsons royally screwing the pooch.
   128. PreservedFish Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:31 PM (#5534751)
I doubt if those Seinfeld characters in their late 50's / early 60's could pull it off as well as they did in their 30's and early 40's.


Curb is strong evidence to the contrary.

The biggest problem with The Simpsons is when they have those hugging / learning moments, and when they drag in the obligatory pop star celebrities.


Hugging moments were rare during the prime Simpsons run and when they happened they could be legitimate and heartfelt.

The endless conveyor belt of celebrities was unquestionably one of the signs that the show had run out of ideas, or that they just stopped caring. I'm not sure which season is now popularly considered to be the last good one, but the fall of 1999 was when I began to be repulsed by the show and stopped watching. I think that was a year or two before they started packing the show with the likes of N*Sync and such.
   129. Greg K Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:33 PM (#5534752)
That is what always disgusted me about Friends though. At the end of the day those people loved on another and cared for one another. They'd comfort each other when things didn't go their way, and actually feel bad for their friends' misfortune.

In other words, the exact opposite of what friendship is supposed to be about.
   130. PreservedFish Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:34 PM (#5534753)
Adventure Time is my favorite show on television. It is so charming and enjoyable and so imaginative that it frequently takes my breath away. It is also one of the least formulaic shows I've ever seen.
   131. Sunday silence Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:35 PM (#5534754)
Both Greg in no 24 and Andy in post 85 suggest that the only way a show can stay fresh is if they rotate in replacement characters. I look at it differently, if the show can function as an ensemble cast I think it can work for a very long time, (maybe indefinitely w/in certain limits) certainly longer than the 5 seasons or so lifespan that we seem to see here.


Of course this is a subjective determination but some examples that come to mind:
Will and Grace; Barney Miller, Mary Tyler Moore, Cheers. I could reasonably argue that those shows didnt really see the traditional decline phase that we've come to expect from a once great sitcom. Maybe not the greatest ever shows but certainly stayed consistent.

Seinfeld would sort of beg the question What is an ensemble cast? I guess if the characters really function to simply play off of Jerry's insecurities or whatever then its not. So like Wojo in Barney Miller or Ted Knight in Mary Tyler Moore or Cliff in Cheers all those characters can function on their own without reference to the main char. Cliff (that guy who played him) has actually had a really successful follow up career on TV. Valerie Harper (I guess she's still in terminal condition) had a fairly decent spin off. Woody is WOody etc.

Perhaps Seinfeld's success is just an example of the very best writing taking a non ensemble cast as faar as it possibly can.

Is Friends an ensemble cast?? I dont think The Bob Newhart show(s) was. Anyhow I just wanted to suggest this in contrast to other theories.

****

Also was a little suprised by Greg's suggestion that MASH successfully rotated characters in. Yes Winchester was far better than Frank because he could actually challenge the main guys. But I didnt find Mike Farell much of an improvement (his son would've been) over whathis name. Potter was more interesting than MacLean Stevenson but Stevenson is a bit funnier.

And Margaret wasnt replaced and might have been with better effect.

But then Greg brings up Mulcahy and Klinger who arent examples of that at all. In the last couple of years the whole show seemed to devolve on Klinger or Mulcahy saves the day, which was just so off putting. It was out of character and it just felt like lazy writing. I watched the show as it aired so it felt that way to me. Perhaps seeing on youtube or whaatever it feels different to you.

To me the show didnt age well, it didnt seem to be a good example of the point Greg was trying to make.
   132. Greg K Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:40 PM (#5534757)
Adventure Time is my favorite show on television. It is so charming and enjoyable and so imaginative that it frequently takes my breath away. It is also one of the least formulaic shows I've ever seen.

Watched it for the first time this summer, and I was surprised how much I liked it. By reputation I was expecting pure stoner fare...now I imagine it is a gold mine for pot heads, but it isn't just that.

It matches Arrested Development or Community in terms of being self-referential. But you're never sure if it's actually referencing a previous episode, or an existing piece of world-mythology...or if it's just making up the thing it's referencing in mid-reference.
   133. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:48 PM (#5534761)
I'm not sure which season is now popularly considered to be the last good one, but the fall of 1999 was when I began to be repulsed by the show and stopped watching.


I dunno, 9th, 10th?

I can't remember where the Onion AV Club stopped their Simpsons TV Classic review series ...

It's safe to say that at this point The Simpsons has now been mediocre longer than it was brilliant.

But that peak ... easily inner circle.

So, I dunno, 40% can't miss among the best there's ever been, 60% you've forgotten they're even on?

It's a testament to how great their peak was that they've managed to grind on for so long after it ...

   134. PreservedFish Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:51 PM (#5534764)
Many Adventure Time episodes - most, I would say - have nothing to do with the overarching long plot of the show, which develops very very slowly. It's episodic, the adventures are frequently totally self-contained (although they always help build the world). What's more, some of them do not even feature the main characters. It would be like if Seinfeld devoted an entire episode to explore an adventure taken by Kenny Bania or Mr. Pitt or Franklin Delano Romanowski, or even a character that has never before been introduced to the audience.

I think that television (and movies) are often at their best when they are totally unburdened by plot.
   135. Gazizza, my Dilznoofuses! Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:52 PM (#5534765)
Following up on a few points:

1) Talking to a friend, I once described "Friends" as: "Monica is an uptight control freak, Chandler is a complete wuss. Phoebe's bat-sh** crazy. Joey's okay, but too dumb. And Rachel is a self-centered, spoiled brat who is still too good for Ross." She said she agreed with every point I made but still loved the show.
2) You can probably guess from my handle what I think the best sitcom of the 90s was. As mentioned, NewsRadio did make it to syndication on A&E and last I checked was being shown on Antenna TV. All the seasons are on DVD. The 5th season did take a hit with the unexpected and unfortunate loss of Phil Hartman but was starting to find its feet again when it was cancelled.
3) HIMYM went on too long and the final episode was a travesty. Just three or four episodes before they had shown Ted finally letting Robin go, just to say "Never Mind!" But it did have some of the great moments in sitcom history. Every Canada Day, some friends and I joke about going to the mall and on Thanksgiving wish each other a Happy Slaps-giving.
4) Parks and Rec was one of the most bi-polar shows in my mind. Ron, Andy and April were three of the greatest characters ever. But I hated so many of the characters. Jean Ralphio and his sister should have been killed to protect society them from. That overly annoying guy from Eagleton who joined the staff and yelled a lot was awful. And I found leslie to be controlling and incredibly selfish. Her good deeds seemed simply to be attempting to endear others, to herself and I even wondered if the food she cooked for people has mind control drugs in them since I couldn't understand why anyone would put up with her.


EDIT: And just to brag: Aubrey Plaza used to attend my church before I was famous. (I don't remember knowing her, but our paths did cross at least a few times.)
   136. Howie Menckel Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:56 PM (#5534766)
I was a senior in college for the MASH finale, watched by half the damn country (we dressed in hospital gear, and I found a Hot Lips. But I digress).

grew up a big fan of the show, and it was great.

and as Silence suggests, it didn't age well - even by the end of the 1980s.
   137. PreservedFish Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:57 PM (#5534767)
I don't recall seeing you before, Dilznoofus. Looks like you've made 196 comments in 13 years. De-lurk yourself, please! We need fresh blood around here.
   138. cardsfanboy Posted: September 19, 2017 at 09:01 PM (#5534770)
I just read the first 100 posts of this thread, originally I never clicked on here, because I assumed it was going to be elitist whining about how crappy Friends is and everything like it... I'm pleasantly surprised to see such positive(and even rational negative) comments being made on these type of shows. I generally assume that basically the people around here like crappy shows(Always sunny, Louie, etc----that are comedies that nobody ever laughs out loud while actually watching, that it's nice to see people around here actually say reasonable things about shows that are designed for the masses)

I liked the bit talking about what is effectively a 5 year shelf life on many shows of being quality, which made sense...and the comment about cast changes helping keep a long term show from becoming stale. And of course fairly interesting insightful comments about shows like Threes Company or Family Ties. Surprised in a way to see no mention of two long running comedies, Two and a half Men(which to me is something that you let run in the background and never have to watch) or Big Bang Theory(a show which actually gets better over time, simply because of many of the things mentioned in this thread, the main character(Sheldon) has grown and a veritable smorgasboard of new characters added(of course the original main characters, outside of Sheldon, have all done the "homer Simpson" by becoming more and more caricaturic, even though you can see the writers fighting to avoid that happening. (Leonard being the most obvious, but Raj isn't far behind)
   139. Greg K Posted: September 19, 2017 at 09:08 PM (#5534774)
I don't recall seeing you before, Dilznoofus. Looks like you've made 196 comments in 13 years. De-lurk yourself, please! We need fresh blood around here.

Not just fresh, anyone who loves NewsRadio is pretty much by definition a great guy.

At an HMV going out of business sale a few months ago I picked up the complete series for $5 or so. Watched it a couple times since and I'm excited to pass it on to my brother for Christmas. We used to love that show when it aired and I'm pretty sure he's never seen it since.
   140. cardsfanboy Posted: September 19, 2017 at 09:10 PM (#5534775)
1) Talking to a friend, I once described "Friends" as: "Monica is an uptight control freak, Chandler is a complete wuss. Phoebe's bat-sh** crazy. Joey's okay, but too dumb. And Rachel is a self-centered, spoiled brat who is still too good for Ross." She said she agreed with every point I made but still loved the show.


I've always thought of Chandler as the "typical watcher male point of view." He had basically a nothing job, wasn't good, wasn't horrible with the ladies, was basically a middle of the road guy, designed to be the male audience surrogate, and in some ways, Monica was the female audience surrogate, middle class family, crappy childhood because of obesity not because of actual horrors etc... Of course they had personality characteristics, but it seemed to me that Monica and Chandler were always designed to be the members of the show that the audience was supposed to recognize a bit of themselves in.
   141. Sunday silence Posted: September 19, 2017 at 09:15 PM (#5534778)
MASH had an edginess early on, the book was I think more farcical. The movie was sort of anti establishment the TV show was a little anti establishment at first. There were some interesting moments like when unexploded missile that landed in camp went off at the end, and it rained down propaganda leaflets. Col Flagg had an edginess and was a foil. Harry Morgans first appearance as a racist general also had some edginess.

It lost its edge somewhere and it lost its tone, at the end it got real sentimental and happy ending. it was bad, but still it was great for awhile.
   142. Greg K Posted: September 19, 2017 at 09:17 PM (#5534780)
(Always sunny, Louie, etc----that are comedies that nobody ever laughs out loud while actually watching, that it's nice to see people around here actually say reasonable things about shows that are designed for the masses)

I can see that for Louie (the not laughing out loud part), but It's Always Sunny? How do you not laugh at Sweet Dee running head first into a car?, or Dennis' campaign speech (with the added bonus of Charlie once again foiled by a video camera, or the birth of Nightman?
   143. Sunday silence Posted: September 19, 2017 at 09:19 PM (#5534781)
Phoebe's character is great cause if she was anywhere near rational her sex appeal would have blown the others away. She has a more interesting face, I guess its the cheek bones sort of like Teri Garr.
   144. PreservedFish Posted: September 19, 2017 at 09:20 PM (#5534782)
Cfb's pronouncements on pop culture are usually ... curious. And strident. He's kind of like RDP in that way come to think of it.
   145. Howie Menckel Posted: September 19, 2017 at 09:23 PM (#5534784)
Phoebe's character is great cause if she was anywhere near rational her sex appeal would have blown the others away.

wow, have never heard this before. anyone else with a +1?
   146. cardsfanboy Posted: September 19, 2017 at 09:26 PM (#5534785)

I can see that for Louie (the not laughing out loud part), but It's Always Sunny? How do you not laugh at Sweet Dee running head first into a car?, or Dennis' campaign speech (with the added bonus of Charlie once again foiled by a video camera, or the birth of Nightman?


Because these are just piss poor caricatures of people that nobody could imagine any of them existing in a world.... They aren't funny, they are bad people and they aren't Seinfeld bad, they are Oj Simpson bad, yet still don't do anything funny.

I've seen maybe 15 episodes of Sunny and I'm pretty sure I've never laughed in any of them.(okay, take it back, I think there might have been a small laugh in some episode in which it's about tailgaiting and a man dressed in green) It's as bad as trying to force oneself to watch Parks and Recreation, The Office or Community, shows with zero actual comedy unless you spend excessive amount of effort hoping to find one thing funny. The concept of painful uncomfortable comedy, just doesn't really appeal to me. (beetlejuice over three seasons.... brilliant...but you need to produce something that makes me watch you for those three seasons)...actual comedies make you laugh multiple times per episode... Malcolm in the Middle may not be one of the greatest comedies of all time based upon artistic merit, but it's damn hard to go an episode without a couple of guffaws... nothing from that show is on par with the Seinfeld, Friends or even How I Met Your Mother for long term jokes, but it was funny to watch as you watched it.
   147. cardsfanboy Posted: September 19, 2017 at 09:30 PM (#5534786)
Cfb's pronouncements on pop culture are usually ... curious


You mean more mainstream. There is not many people mainstream pushing Sunny in Philly as brilliant, it's the people on the edge of the mainstream pushing that. Pop culture is two and a half men, big bang theory, etc... not Sunny in Philly, or Arrested Development(which I do love)
   148. PreservedFish Posted: September 19, 2017 at 09:53 PM (#5534802)
I'm gonna stick with "curious."
   149. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 19, 2017 at 10:03 PM (#5534810)
I doubt if those Seinfeld characters in their late 50's / early 60's could pull it off as well as they did in their 30's and early 40's.

Curb is strong evidence to the contrary.


I meant as Seinfeld characters. Remember that brief flash of horror Jerry feels when he pictures himself arguing with Kramer as 50-somethings, with Kramer touting a periscope for cars and Jerry screaming "THAT'S STUPID!!! STUPID!!!! STUPID!!!", just before Jeanine Garafolo pushes him out of the way of a speeding car? It's not that those four main actors aren't still capable (obviously Julia Louis-Dreyfus still is), but they'd have to have different characters.

And Curb is great, but its characters all began in middle age or older, so the foundational premise is entirely different. You don't see entire seasons where the plots always seem to include one of the main characters' new love interests. Very few Puddys, Virgins, or Marisa Tomeis.
   150. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 19, 2017 at 10:09 PM (#5534813)
I don't know, I love the no hugging/no learning shows as much as the next guy (Seinfeld and the modern version of It's Always Sunny are in my top 5 shows of all time)...but the James L. Brooks style sentimental moments of peak Simpsons are about as far from a problem as you can get.

The moments when Bart and Lisa stick up for one another are always touching. And Bart trying to hide the photo of himself he got for Marge at Christmas still gets me every time.


Different strokes, I guess. The closest thing to a "happy" ending I remember from Seinfeld was when Jerry and Elaine high fived each other after Jerry sicced Kenny Bania on Elaine's creepy English boyfriend at the coffee shop. But that was more happy schadenfreude than happy sentimental, and much more my cup of tea for comedies.
   151. cardsfanboy Posted: September 19, 2017 at 10:14 PM (#5534817)
As a side note, this article talks about how some spanish speaking players use this to help their English, the Cardinals have a player (Aledmys Diaz) that uses Ellen for the same reason(he even got an appearance on Ellen because of this)
   152. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: September 19, 2017 at 10:25 PM (#5534830)
   153. PreservedFish Posted: September 19, 2017 at 10:29 PM (#5534837)
And Curb is great, but its characters all began in middle age or older, so the foundational premise is entirely different. You don't see entire seasons where the plots always seem to include one of the main characters' new love interests. Very few Puddys, Virgins, or Marisa Tomeis.


I guess I just meant that it shows that this type of comedy - obsessive observational comedy performed by misanthropes, or whatever it is - clearly works with older characters and mid-life situations. It would be quite a trick to pull that transition off, of course.
   154. Greg K Posted: September 19, 2017 at 10:31 PM (#5534841)
As a side note, this article talks about how some spanish speaking players use this to help their English, the Cardinals have a player (Aledmys Diaz) that uses Ellen for the same reason(he even got an appearance on Ellen because of this)

Do you mean Diaz watches re-runs of Ellen to help him with his English and this is what got him on Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show? Or perhaps he watches re-runs of The Ellen Show, and as a result Ellen lent him her time machine to go back in time and play a customer at the bookstore in Ellen.
   155. cardsfanboy Posted: September 19, 2017 at 10:34 PM (#5534844)
Do you mean Diaz watches re-runs of Ellen to help him with his English and this is what got him on Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show? Or perhaps he watches re-runs of The Ellen Show, and as a result Ellen lent him her time machine to go back in time and play a customer at the bookstore in Ellen.


Lol... I mean he watches the ELlen Degeneres show and he got on her show. (the daily talk show one, not the sitcom one)

(as a side note. I think no matter what he does in his major league career, Diaz is going to become a pretty good coach in the future, he has the head, passion and work ethic for that)
   156. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: September 19, 2017 at 10:47 PM (#5534858)
I'd go for the Low Cal Calzone Zone instead

I think Jose Calderon owns a Low Cal Calzone Zone in SoCal. On that note, has anyone mentioned BoJack Horseman? Man, I love that show.

Regarding NewsRadio, obviously Bill McNeal was a great character, but I was always most fascinated by Matthew. You see somebody like that, you just gotta wonder, what makes this guy tick?
   157. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 19, 2017 at 11:06 PM (#5534867)
And Curb is great, but its characters all began in middle age or older, so the foundational premise is entirely different. You don't see entire seasons where the plots always seem to include one of the main characters' new love interests. Very few Puddys, Virgins, or Marisa Tomeis.

I guess I just meant that it shows that this type of comedy - obsessive observational comedy performed by misanthropes, or whatever it is - clearly works with older characters and mid-life situations. It would be quite a trick to pull that transition off, of course.


No argument there.

It may also be easier to pull off when it's set in New York City or Los Angeles, and in Curb's case, with a cast of characters that seem to spring out of Portnoy's Complaint.

Of course you can also just say it's Jewish comedy at its finest and most characteristic,** but I'd still have a hard time imagining either of those shows being set in Washington, Chicago, or San Francisco.

** Although Jerry's standup comedy act is about as whitebread as one can get. Larry David's, not so much.
   158. Rennie's Tenet Posted: September 19, 2017 at 11:13 PM (#5534870)
It's interesting how rapidly average audiences have declined: Seinfeld peaked over 30 million viewers, Friends near 30, the current powerhouse Big Bang Theory peaked around 20 million, 2 1/2 Men around 15 million. Single cameras: Modern Family 13 million, The Office 10 million, 30 Rock 7.5 million.

"Always Sunny" is a mystery to me. It's exactly the type of show I should like, but I've tried it about five times and never got through an episode. Red Dwarf is the only other show I can think of that I've put that much effort into.

Edit: Newsradio peaked at around 10 million viewers, which probably would have kept it running for about 8 years now.
   159. flournoy Posted: September 19, 2017 at 11:45 PM (#5534881)
I hadn't intended to ever have so much to say about Parks and Recreation, having scarcely thought about it since I watched it, but so it goes. This:

4) Parks and Rec was one of the most bi-polar shows in my mind. Ron, Andy and April were three of the greatest characters ever. But I hated so many of the characters. Jean Ralphio and his sister should have been killed to protect society them from. That overly annoying guy from Eagleton who joined the staff and yelled a lot was awful. And I found leslie to be controlling and incredibly selfish. Her good deeds seemed simply to be attempting to endear others, to herself and I even wondered if the food she cooked for people has mind control drugs in them since I couldn't understand why anyone would put up with her.


... seems mostly spot-on. As the show progressed, I found that it kept failing for me because I couldn't buy into the premises at all. There's this nurse who hangs out with her friends at city hall all day every weekday while they're at work. Nobody does this. I suspect nobody would be allowed to do this. Oh, but she does this because she just loves Leslie so much? Sorry, I don't buy that either - Leslie is terrible.

Leslie needed to do a fundraiser for her own political campaign, so what did she do? Somehow she forced everyone she worked with to be part of her telethon fundraiser. Try to approach your co-workers and say, "Hey, I need to raise money. So I need you to clear your schedule tonight and work the telephones for me from 6:00 this evening to 6:00 tomorrow morning. Thanks in advance!" Let me know how that works for you. Well, apparently it works for Leslie. Even Ron Swanson, who is supposed to be a man of conviction and is ideologically opposed to Leslie in every way, will drop everything to help her, because he thinks she's just great.

To make a comparison, The Office (P&R's spiritual predecessor of sorts) makes innumerable ridiculous plot contrivances, but I'm on board with those and willing to dismiss them because the characters are so much fun. (For the most part, anyway.) The same cannot be said for Parks and Recreation.
   160. Jay Z Posted: September 20, 2017 at 01:43 AM (#5534897)
... seems mostly spot-on. As the show progressed, I found that it kept failing for me because I couldn't buy into the premises at all. There's this nurse who hangs out with her friends at city hall all day every weekday while they're at work. Nobody does this. I suspect nobody would be allowed to do this. Oh, but she does this because she just loves Leslie so much? Sorry, I don't buy that either - Leslie is terrible.


As I pointed out, the show never really called Leslie out on her overbearing behavior. It was a flaw of the show.

Ann Perkins was a particularly kludgy character. I am convinced Rashida Jones was only involved in this project as compensation for having her character written out of the Office.

Ann got involved with Leslie because she lived next to the pit. Remember the pit? Leslie spent many episodes hoping to fill the pit in, until it magically happened. Anyway, Ann dated Andy at the time. They broke up. Andy stayed on the show anyway, eventually worked at Parks and Rec. Maybe handing out basketballs. Someone must have handed out the basketballs, the regular cast members hardly ever did that sort of thing. Then she started dating Mark, then broke it off with him. Mark then left the show. Then she had this big friendship with Leslie. But then Leslie got married and the friendship angle kind of died even though Ann talked about it constantly. Ann was a nurse, she had no reason to hang out at the Parks and Rec. They eventually contrived a reason, a part time job in the government building so ostensibly she had some reason to hang out there all the time. She dated Tom in a jokey way for a while in a completely superfluous subplot. Then she had a baby with Chris for no particular reason, just for something to do. Few characters in the history of fiction have been as vapid, boring, and inessential as Ann Perkins, all to placate Rashida Jones.

I'm reminded of a major plot hole in this show. A major plot point occurred when the neighboring town Eagleton had a shortfall of funds in the government. Leslie for reasons never explained by the TV show was unilaterally able to decide to merge Eagleton and Pawnee. Now Leslie was made to suffer for her poor decision by losing a recall election. But the show never explained how Leslie came to have the power to make such a decision in the first place.
   161. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 20, 2017 at 01:45 AM (#5534898)
Where you see "1000% manic joy," I see "relentless, irritating, overzealous big government beaurocrat's whims."
It may just be that the show's premise — people working in a government office and not hating it — is not for you.

Leslie needed to do a fundraiser for her own political campaign, so what did she do? Somehow she forced everyone she worked with to be part of her telethon fundraiser. .. Even Ron Swanson, who is supposed to be a man of conviction and is ideologically opposed to Leslie in every way, will drop everything to help her, because he thinks she's just great.
She didn't force anyone. Everyone pledged at the beginning of her campaign to do whatever she needed. Ron Swanson, in particular, spearheaded that move precisely because he thinks she's just great (Season 4, Ep. 10. Everyone else volunteers to take on a responsibility. Swanson offers "any other damn thing you might need.”)

That's the point of the show. As different as they are, the characters all genuinely love each other, lead by Leslie's ferocious love of, and optimism for, the people around her. That love leads them into all sorts of silly adventures, but it's the mark of PnR that pretty much all of their plots devices are driven by friends trying to help out another friend for no other reason that they love their friend. Like I said above, the refreshing lack of cynicism sets this show apart. Now that it's gone, there's no other show with that abounds with the same cheerful optimism.

Leslie is terrible.
Found the Eagletonian.
   162. DJS, the Digital Dandy Posted: September 20, 2017 at 02:14 AM (#5534899)
Even It's Always Sunny has some warm moments. The moment they accept they're all going to drown in The Gang Goes to Hell. Dennis deciding he wants to try being a dad at the end of Dennis' Double Life. Mac deciding to stay out of the closet in Hero or Hate Crime? The flashback at the end of A Very Sunny Christmas which shows young Mac and young Charlie bonding together and throwing rocks at trains. The moments are sparse, but the show earns them by going there rarely.
   163. Drexl Spivey Posted: September 20, 2017 at 02:46 AM (#5534900)
Regarding NewsRadio, obviously Bill McNeal was a great character, but I was always most fascinated by Matthew. You see somebody like that, you just gotta wonder, what makes this guy tick?


True story: After filming that episode, James Caan had Andy Dick check into a rehab facility. Caan just walked to his car and said "get in" to Andy.
   164. Meatwad in 7 Posted: September 20, 2017 at 03:10 AM (#5534901)
i will never forget rum ham.
   165. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 20, 2017 at 07:20 AM (#5534907)
Jennifer Aniston never did a thing for me and then when she became all whiny for like five years when Brad Pitt moved on


When Brad Pitt made his appearance on the show, it was like watching prime Barry Bonds take batting practice among a bunch of AAA players. It is one of my absolute favourite episodes because he's so amazing.

I don't know, I love the no hugging/no learning shows as much as the next guy (Seinfeld and the modern version of It's Always Sunny are in my top 5 shows of all time)...but the James L. Brooks style sentimental moments of peak Simpsons are about as far from a problem as you can get.


The best mix of guest star and sentimentality in a Simpsons episode resulted in probably my absolute favourite "story" episode. It's Dustin Hoffman (in the credits as Sam Etic), playing the part of a substitute teacher that Lisa finds to be her intellectual/cultural equal. She falls for him hard, and in the process rejects Homer for not being anything like the substitute teacher. The end of the show is extremely heart warming and touching.

I'm not sure which season is now popularly considered to be the last good one, but the fall of 1999 was when I began to be repulsed by the [Simpsons] and stopped watching.

I dunno, 9th, 10th?


I stopped collecting the DVDs after season 10, and I would probably say that the absolute peak Simpsons is seasons 3 to 9.
There are great episodes in season 1 and 2, obviously, but season 3-9 is filled almost to the brim with their best work.
If you refined it even further, I would say the best 5 seasons of comedic TV in history would be Simpsons seasons 3-7.
   166. Lassus Posted: September 20, 2017 at 07:20 AM (#5534908)
I don't recall seeing you before, Dilznoofus. Looks like you've made 196 comments in 13 years. De-lurk yourself, please! We need fresh blood around here.

Stalking him is sure to help. :-D


True story: After filming that episode, James Caan had Andy Dick check into a rehab facility. Caan just walked to his car and said "get in" to Andy.

My favorite showbiz story of all time is Jon Lovitz beating the shit out of Andy Dick. If I am forced to choose between either punching a Nazi or punching Andy Dick, the latter is getting punched.

   167. Lassus Posted: September 20, 2017 at 07:27 AM (#5534909)
Also, man, everyone here is so, so, so old. Hasn't anyone watched anything made in the past five years?
   168. PreservedFish Posted: September 20, 2017 at 07:52 AM (#5534913)
Here's the almost complete list of television shows I watch:

Game of Thrones
Bob's Burgers
Archer
Adventure Time


(Rick & Morty has been recommended to me so many times that it'll certainly be the next new show I watch)

Since cord-cutting many years ago I no longer just happen across reruns of Seinfeld and the like. I haven't seen a full Simpsons episode in maybe a decade, which is crazy. In the 90s IIRC I would see as many as 3 per weekday.
   169. Lassus Posted: September 20, 2017 at 08:17 AM (#5534918)
Adventure Time had been mentioned previously, I missed that. I guess I was thinking pure comedy/sitcoms that were more recent. (I haven't, but I'm not much of a sitcom guy, just all the talk about the classics had me wondering.)
   170. simon bedford Posted: September 20, 2017 at 08:24 AM (#5534919)
Lassus
I dont think its that everyone is so 'old" (although I guess i am )its just tv has changed so much from the days when I would watch a show when it was on, i watch orange is the new black and GoT but in my own time when I feel like it.
Most sitcoms just seem to be boring retreads these days and I am no longer willing to wade through 'mike and molly" or "two broke girls" on the off chance I will find a "good show".
Also please remove yourself from my lawn.
   171. PreservedFish Posted: September 20, 2017 at 08:33 AM (#5534921)
I guess I was thinking pure comedy/sitcoms that were more recent.


Guilty as charged, I guess. But I think this says as much about television and modern life as it does about me. Big network pure comedy/sitcoms must have a tiny share of the market compared to decades previous.
   172. Greg K Posted: September 20, 2017 at 08:50 AM (#5534927)
Speaking of new shows and Michael Schur shows, I just watched the first couple episodes of "The Good Place" last night. I'm on the fence as to whether it is worth continuing.

EDIT: It's also got Ted Danson, to tie in the discussion of ancient sit-coms here.
   173. mathesond Posted: September 20, 2017 at 09:16 AM (#5534933)
One somewhat recent show that only lasted 3 seasons due to ratings, but I found incredibly hilarious, was Happy Endings. An ensemble cast similar to Friends, but much funnier. Several laugh out loud moments, especially in the second seasons. And once the writers knew it wasn't going to be picked up for season 4, the third season was just filled with ridiculousness.

I also enjoyed Cougar Town (which starred Courtney Cox, and had a few cameos from the Friends crowd as well as Community), but it seemed to go off the rails even before the move to TBS.
   174. mathesond Posted: September 20, 2017 at 09:17 AM (#5534934)
The Good Place is great, I'm looking forward to season 2.
   175. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: September 20, 2017 at 09:19 AM (#5534935)
The Good Place is great, I'm looking forward to season 2.


Seconded. If you are on the fence then keep watching until you like it or are sure you don't.
   176. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: September 20, 2017 at 09:26 AM (#5534939)
I can't remember where the Onion AV Club stopped their Simpsons TV Classic review series ...

It's safe to say that at this point The Simpsons has now been mediocre longer than it was brilliant.

But that peak ... easily inner circle.

So, I dunno, 40% can't miss among the best there's ever been, 60% you've forgotten they're even on?

It's a testament to how great their peak was that they've managed to grind on for so long after it ...


Not only inner circle - but a longer inner circle peak than most sitcoms are even on the air... I.e., IMO - the peak starts to fade in season 10, not 8 -- and even seasons 11/12/13 have their moments (though - by 11, it's usually the one-off episodes -- the VH1 behind the music parody, Bart/Lisa in the future - that shine).

IOW - the Simpsons peak manages to be longer than most compilers existed... If you lop off the first season as sheer novelty - maybe even some of the second - you're still talking about a good 9-10 seasons of prime.

(Rick & Morty has been recommended to me so many times that it'll certainly be the next new show I watch)


Half of them probably by me... By the time GoT went down the toilet the middle of this past season, R&M fast became what I most looked forward to watching Sundays.

And BTW - the last two episodes have been brilliant... both give previous bests (like The Ricks Must be Crazy) a run for the money.

Run a 199 on a possible Doolittle...

Pack your #### Morty, you ###### with squirrels!
   177. Greg K Posted: September 20, 2017 at 09:29 AM (#5534940)
I also enjoyed Cougar Town (which starred Courtney Cox, and had a few cameos from the Friends crowd as well as Community), but it seemed to go off the rails even before the move to TBS.

The original British version, Cougarton Abbey, was even better.
   178. Greg K Posted: September 20, 2017 at 09:30 AM (#5534943)
Thanks #174 and #175...I shall press on!
   179. Greg Pope Posted: September 20, 2017 at 09:31 AM (#5534944)
Both Greg in no 24 and Andy in post 85 suggest that the only way a show can stay fresh is if they rotate in replacement characters.

I was talking more about a tipping point, if you will. That may be the same thing as staying fresh, I'm not sure. The tipping point for me, in the shows I have watched, is when the tone shifts. The best years of sitcoms are where the audience laughs at the situations that the characters find themselves in, and the characters' reactions to those situations. Eventually the jokes shift to where you're supposed to laugh at the characters themselves and how pitiful they are. George's reaction to the Soup Nazi is funny to me. Elaine dancing with her thumbs out? Not so much. It has always signaled to me that the writers are out of ideas, so they just make the characters stupid/pitiful.

Will and Grace; Barney Miller, Mary Tyler Moore, Cheers. I could reasonably argue that those shows didnt really see the traditional decline phase that we've come to expect from a once great sitcom. Maybe not the greatest ever shows but certainly stayed consistent.

I never thought Will and Grace was funny, so I can't comment on that. Barney Miller and Mary Tyler Moore were before my time, so I can't really address those either. Cheers I did address and I strongly believe that they didn't fall into the loser trap because of cast changes.

Also was a little suprised by Greg's suggestion that MASH successfully rotated characters in. Yes Winchester was far better than Frank because he could actually challenge the main guys. But I didnt find Mike Farell much of an improvement (his son would've been) over whathis name. Potter was more interesting than MacLean Stevenson but Stevenson is a bit funnier.

I didn't see the shows in order, only in reruns, so it is hard for me to say if there was a quality decline. But other than Radar leaving, I'd still argue that all of the replacements made the show better. Burns, Trapper, and Blake were pretty one-dimensional, stock characters. Winchester, BJ, and Potter were much more realistic (although Winchester was a bit over the top in what I believe were his earliest episodes).

   180. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 20, 2017 at 09:35 AM (#5534946)

I wasn't a regular watcher, but my biggest problem with Friends is that all of the characters are so incredibly stupid. The joke was supposed to be that Phoebe and Joey were the "dumb ones", but at some point in the series even the "smart" Ross had become a blubbering idiot. I will say that while I remember not finding Jennifer Aniston that attractive when I was a teenager watching the show in its initial run, I have a completely different perspective now that I'm in my mid-30s.

I agree with everyone that Parks & Rec was pretty bad in the first season because Leslie was so incompetent and unlikeable (basically a female version of Michael Scott), but it really picked up steam later on. The non-cynical nature of the show was refreshing, even though I found some of the characters quite annoying.

Watched 2 or 3 seasons of It's Always Sunny, but have never been a big fan of cringe-worthy humor and couldn't convince myself to keep going. On the other hand, I loved Louie and wouldn't put it in the same category as It's Always Sunny in that respect.

I really liked Seinfeld BITD but I'm not surprised that it doesn't hold up as well with the younger generation -- a lot of the plots are probably unrelatable to people who grew up with ubiquitous smartphones and Internet access. I'm sure the same thing is true of many shows and movies, but the absurdity of the everyday and mundane was such a key part of Seinfeld's appeal (at least during the peak years) that I don't know whether it holds up very well. I thought the same thing about some of Jerry's standup when I saw a short routine of his recently.

One show that nobody has mentioned here is Scrubs. I was a big fan of that show for a while (probably 5 seasons), and am told by doctor friends that it's actually the most accurate show in terms of what it's actually like being a young doctor.
   181. Greg Pope Posted: September 20, 2017 at 09:37 AM (#5534949)
Seconded. If you are on the fence then keep watching until you like it or are sure you don't.

I watched the whole season and it remains a very puzzling show for me. On the pure comedy scale, it's not great. But every episode has a couple of really funny, laugh out loud moments. So probably still worth watching for those. On the plot scale, it's a little formulaic on one hand (person who doesn't belong is trying to fit in and hide her differences) but on the other hand it takes on some pretty serious stuff. So again, still worth watching.

And lastly, I had no idea how they were going to keep the plot moving during the whole first season. I thought that it was only a half season because they were going to run out of ideas. But after the season was finished, now I'm really curious to see where this goes.
   182. The Good Face Posted: September 20, 2017 at 10:22 AM (#5534963)
Also, man, everyone here is so, so, so old. Hasn't anyone watched anything made in the past five years?


It's Always Sunny... is still around and still producing high quality content.

Even It's Always Sunny has some warm moments. The moment they accept they're all going to drown in The Gang Goes to Hell. Dennis deciding he wants to try being a dad at the end of Dennis' Double Life. Mac deciding to stay out of the closet in Hero or Hate Crime? The flashback at the end of A Very Sunny Christmas which shows young Mac and young Charlie bonding together and throwing rocks at trains. The moments are sparse, but the show earns them by going there rarely.


Sure, or the episode where Dennis and Mac have a trial separation, but it ends with Dennis "helping Mac out of a jam". But even those warm moments usually just reinforce the dysfunction and codependency of the characters.

Many Adventure Time episodes - most, I would say - have nothing to do with the overarching long plot of the show, which develops very very slowly. It's episodic, the adventures are frequently totally self-contained (although they always help build the world).


That's a big part of its charm. Adventure Time is kind of like watching a child play with action figures, and I mean that in the best possible way.
   183. Lassus Posted: September 20, 2017 at 10:29 AM (#5534967)
It's Always Sunny... is still around

"Still around" sorta marks what I mean. Mike Trout was 13 when the show started.

It's not meant as a crazy indictment, just seemed notable.
   184. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: September 20, 2017 at 10:42 AM (#5534976)
Also, man, everyone here is so, so, so old. Hasn't anyone watched anything made in the past five years?


It's Always Sunny... is still around and still producing high quality content.


As is Rick and Morty :-)

Veep has also been mentioned - well, under-mentioned - so I'll give it more mention. I was concerned that the show's move out of the WH into a post-Presidency would be problematic, but after an uneven start - I thought most of season 6 was fantastic.

Putting Jonah in congress worked out beautifully -- and not just because it made for a great excuse to keep Roger Furlong around. Jonathan Hadary's turn as Sherman Tanz was also delightful.

I think that was probably my biggest fear -- separating out the ensemble into what amounts to non-intersecting lives had the risk of losing a lot of the chemistry magic, but the smaller, independent groupings worked out wonderfully, I thought.
   185. The Good Face Posted: September 20, 2017 at 10:44 AM (#5534981)
"Still around" sorta marks what I mean. Mike Trout was 13 when the show started.


The popularity of a show that debuted 12 years ago makes everyone here so, so old? Wat? I mean, people are also talking about shows like 30 Rock or P&R that just wrapped up a few years ago. This thread isn't just some kind of 80s or 90s nostalgia fest.
   186. Booey Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:00 AM (#5534989)
Archer hasn't been mentioned enough. Brilliant show.

And in the Seinfeld/Sunny mold of awful people being d!cks to everyone around them, The League was a really funny show. Taco is a great character.
   187. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:04 AM (#5534996)
Other than Cheers --

Has there actually been any 80s sitcom that has gotten any approving nods in the thread? All of the others mentioned were for purposes of exposition (80s family sitcoms all seemed to have their cousin Oliver moments).

I suppose MASH spanned the 70s and 80s, but I think it's heyday is the 70s (I'm in the camp that thinks the latter day MASH wasn't all that good... I'll agree that last iteration cast was better, but the storylines got too Alan Alda schmaltz... better cast, worse episodes).

Good lord - the 80s was a sitcom wasteland... after Cheers, what else is there worth remembering? I suppose WKRP straddled the 70s/80s fence. After that - what's left? A few seasons of Benson maybe? Night Court? The rest was all Cosby Show/Family Ties/Growing Pains family schmaltz or a bunch of little orphan ragamuffin clones (Different Strokes, Punky Brewster, Webster, etc).

It's like a dead space between two pretty good decades for sitcoms.
   188. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:07 AM (#5534997)
Just glancing through lists of 80s sitcoms... ALF might just crack the decade's top 5. That's really, really sad.
   189. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:08 AM (#5534999)
The Wonder Years started in '88, does that count?
   190. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:11 AM (#5535000)
I seem to remember Perfect Strangers having its moments, but then again I was 9 when it debuted. Roseanne also had some moments. And then, of course, there was the Dukes of Hazzard, which I assume has not been mentioned yet only because it goes without saying that it is the universally acknowledged best show of all time.
   191. simon bedford Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:12 AM (#5535003)
Rosanne, Cheers , Golden Girls , MASH, Wkrp, night court..i would watch reruns of the worst episodes of any of those before Alf..married with children and Newhart are also better than Alf..not sure you could squeeze it into a top ten of 80s american sitcoms , you toss in british sitcoms like "ever decreasing cirlces" etc and Alf doesnt make a top 20.
   192. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:13 AM (#5535004)
Alf never did get to eat the cat, did he? Sigh.
   193. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:14 AM (#5535005)
The Wonder Years started in '88, does that count?


OK - I suppose another straddler... as, I guess, would be Roseanne which debuted the same year.

I'm sure someone will be along any moment to say that I missed Newhart (point taken). Taxi is another straddler I suppose.

I guess maybe something like "1983 through 1988" being a real deadzone might be more accurate
   194. Booey Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:14 AM (#5535006)
Also, it was a crime against nature that Better Off Ted was cancelled after just two seasons. Phil and Lem were a great duo, and the Veridian Dynamics commercials were awesome ("Friendship...It's basically stealing.")

Portia De Rossi (DeGeneres) is a great comedic actress. Too bad her shows keep getting cancelled so early (also Arrested Development).
   195. The Good Face Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:15 AM (#5535007)
Archer hasn't been mentioned enough. Brilliant show.


Archer exploded out of the gate and was amazing for a few years, but was already showing signs of wear by season 4, and has been in decline ever since.
   196. Booey Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:17 AM (#5535008)
Just glancing through lists of 80s sitcoms... ALF might just crack the decade's top 5. That's really, really sad.


Did ALF have the most disturbing and depressing finale ever? It's got to be up there, no? Especially for a show aimed at kids.
   197. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:19 AM (#5535009)
I seem to remember Perfect Strangers having its moments, but then again I was 9 when it debuted. Roseanne also had some moments. And then, of course, there was the Dukes of Hazzard, which I assume has not been mentioned yet only because it goes without saying that it is the universally acknowledged best show of all time.


As we're the same age, I certainly get the Dukes love... was a religious watcher of that show.

But yeesh, if you ever want to be disappointed how dumb you were as a child - a modern day rewatching will do that to you. Perhaps more than any other show, you could literally write a program to generate those scripts... I'm not even talking AI, I'm talking a simple series of arrays to just plug and play. In hindsight, I feel relatively certain that budding sexuality/Daisy Duke is what kept 10 yos interested.

   198. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:19 AM (#5535010)
Good lord - the 80s was a sitcom wasteland..
That's strange, because I would've said that the 70s was the wasteland. I don't think there's a single 70s sitcom that's been mentioned here that, if my remote control were broken, I wouldn't actually get off the couch to turn off if it somehow appeared on the screen. And that's saying a lot.


EDIT: Many of the 1980s ones discussed here were not great television -- but I actually enjoyed watching them at the time, and would probably rewatch out of nostalgia.
   199. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:22 AM (#5535012)
Did ALF have the most disturbing and depressing finale ever? It's got to be up there, no? Especially for a show aimed at kids.

Wait, *did* Alf get to eat the cat?? I don't remember the finale.
   200. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:24 AM (#5535013)
But yeesh, if you ever want to be disappointed how dumb you were as a child - a modern day rewatching will do that to you. Perhaps more than any other show, you could literally write a program to generate those scripts... I'm not even talking AI, I'm talking a simple series of arrays to just plug and play. In hindsight, I feel relatively certain that budding sexuality/Daisy Duke is what kept 10 yos interested.

In my case it was more the General Lee, because I went through a phase when I was really into racist cars, and that was pretty much the only outlet in popular culture. KITT seemed pretty open-minded and unprejudiced.
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