Six "Bad" Sitcoms That Are Actually Good
The six shows that follow are considered "bad" by whatever television common wisdom a lot of fans use. At best, if you like one of these shows you're supposed to consider them "guilty pleasures," but I like them without categorizing them that way. These are good sitcoms. Not "so bad they're good" good or "oh well I guess they're not the worst sitcoms in history" good, I mean they're just good, and you don't have to feel guilty about liking them.
1. 'Boy Meets World.' 'Boy Meets World' is the most underrated sitcom of the 1990s. Let me say that in italics and bold print so it stands out a little bit more: 'Boy Meets World' is the most underrated sitcom of the 1990s. It was underrated when it came to ratings/viewers (it lasted for six seasons on ABC), but also there probably aren't more than a handful of people who would even take the show seriously in those terms.
The problem? It was lumped into all of the other ABC "TGIF" fare. Your 'Family Matters,' your 'Step By Steps.' So everyone just thought it was another one of "those ABC Friday night comedies" that only kids cared about. But you know what? 'Boy Meets World' was good in a way that all of the sitcoms we could all name are considered good: it had a great cast, it was clever, and most of all it was funny. Not "stupid funny," I mean the situations and the dialogue were funny and knowing, sometimes even surreal and weird. And the show had a heart.
That's not an historic thing of course. Most sitcoms teach us a lesson or solve a problem in 22 minutes or less. But even as an adult I could identify with what the kids (and their parents) went though and how they handled it.
This is the part of the post where I embed a video. There are 20 million 'Boy Meets World' clips on YouTube so it's hard to pick just one, and the one I pick will probably make you say "you think that's good?" I'm not even sure it's the best clip, but here ya go:
2. 'ALF.' I know, I know, it's a show that stars an alien puppet. But it was funny! I mean, come on, it's ALF! If you were to describe this show to someone, it would sound stupid, and admittedly the premise is very "sitcommy." But it's all in the writing and the performances. There's just something funny about a puppet making wiseass jokes about humans and eating cats. It's the weird 'Sesame Street' thing where your mind knows it's just a puppet and not real but you accept it 100% anyway. HA!
3. 'The Nanny.'Maybe it's Fran Drescher's voice, but a lot of people hate this show. And I'll admit that like a lot of sitcoms the last season or two weren't that great. But the first few seasons were well done and enjoyable. I also like the fact that the show had a long theme song and opening credits that were animated, a la 'Bewitched':
4. 'It's A Living'/'Making A Living.' No, that's not the oddest sitcom title in TV history. The show debuted on ABC in 1980 under that name and had a name change in the second season. It wasn't a ratings success and was canceled, only to find success in syndication (under the old name). This was about a bunch of people who worked at a restaurant on top of a hotel and starred Ann Jillian and Crystal Bernard (and for a short time Louise Lasser and Susan Sullivan). Again, another show that was 20 times funnier than you would think it would be. It costarred Richard Stahl, who was never not funny in anything he ever did.
Also, the theme song is profound: life isn't the French Riviera or a charity ball.
5. 'The Beverly Hillbillies.' A lot of people didn't like this show because the humor wasn't "sophisticated." But it was, in a way. The whole "mountain folks getting used to the way things are done in the city" plot led to an endless supply of funny episodes. Hey, you either laughed at something stupid Jethro did or Miss Hathaway dueling with greedy Mr. Drysdale or the "ceee-ment pond" or you don't, and I did.
6. 'Bosom Buddies.' You might wonder why I put this show on the list because a lot of people like it. True, it's probably the most "respected" show on this list, but a lot of people simply dismiss it as "that show Tom Hanks did before he became famous." But even if the plot is sitcom-ridiculous (they have to dress up as women to save on rent??), it was a well-written show. No wonder Hanks was proud of it enough to show up for the TV Land celebration of it last week.
Here's a clip. That's Rita Wilson, Hanks' future wife: