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September 4, 2015

Six "Bad" Sitcoms That Are Actually Good

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 27th 2010 1:29PM
Boy Meets WorldYesterday I did a post where I listed the six sitcoms that even a sitcom lover would hate. So today, how about we look at six 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:

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Average Joe

Umm, Will and Grace won 18 Emmy's and like 85 noms, pretty sure no one with a funny bone (or a brain stem) called it bad comedy.

May 04 2010 at 5:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Average Joe

Alf was adorable, and Alf the commentor, you're a door nob. The Bev Hill show was considered, and still is, a great sitcom and had no place on this list. The writer was clearly compiling a list of shows that were not considered great comedies by the gen pop, and Bev Hill was loved by millions and still is half a lifetime removed. Should Get Smart be on this list by your lofty standards? Max talked into a shoe phone and fell on his face every 4 minutes, would you deem that "good comedy"? This is hardly the forum to be snooty, we're talking about low-brow sitcoms that got little respect, Bev Hill got plenty of that. Oh, and you're all correct, Wings was awesome, but again, too good for this list.

May 04 2010 at 4:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My Dad and I loved "Alf" when it was on, and our whole family adored "The Nanny." Maybe it's a Jew thing? In any case, the true measure of a sitcom classic is whether you can watch it years later and have the comedy hold up. We've been watching "Nanny" reruns lately and still laugh out loud, particularly when Fran's mother and Grandma Yetta are on. Try that with "Three's Company," for example, which I seem to recall thinking was quite funny when I watched it in first-run as a teenager, but now cringe at. As for "The Beverly Hillbillies," well, that was funny when I was a kid, and it's just as funny now.

It's time for a Nanny reunion show, while everyone is still alive! C'mon, CBS, get on this!

May 03 2010 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I always hated the Nanny too, but then I actually started watching it and it's actually a pretty damn good show. I'm not sure why it gets such a bad rap.

May 01 2010 at 8:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great job. Every one of them shows were VERY GOOD. I will leave it at that. Thanks.

May 01 2010 at 5:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nancy j

I have been sick for the last 19 months and The Nanny has saved my sanity. I own the first three seasons and hope they offer the next three soon. I think it is just laugh out loud funny and I don't care who doesn't think it's funny. The whole cast is hilarious, specially Niles. I think it is great acting on everyone's part. A certain type of humor attracts everyone differently and you have to stay on top of the whole program to catch all the really humorous things that are said. I consider it a great pleasure to watch it and I hope they keep it on cable forever.

May 01 2010 at 4:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Nanny was great,and Niles the butler was classic,like the episode when he did the Tom Cruise slide into the room in his shorts,to the tune of Old Time Rock and Roll,as he strummed his feather duster..I still watch the reruns.ALF-was the most pathetic thing I've ever seen.Couldn't stand Boy meets World,either,though my 15 yr old son watches the reruns and likes it.

May 01 2010 at 4:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Nanny. I don't like many TV sitcoms but that one was great. It had a flow to it and a loving kindness that rang through with great humor. A class act that thrilled even a non Jewish boy to steal, with ma, some more koogle.

May 01 2010 at 4:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In the classic and best comeddies categories, we can't forget Will and Grace starring Megan Mullaly/Karen,
Sean Hayes/Just Jack, and Shelley Morrison/Rosario.

May 01 2010 at 3:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I LOVED Boy Meets World!!!!!!! It had drama, comedy, AND good ol'fashion values! And they didn't make the moral to the story cliche every time like most sitcoms.......I kinda grew up with the show........though i'm a little younger than the cast......

May 01 2010 at 3:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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