Tag Archives: sitcom

Tuesday TV Testimonials #25…

Bewitched (1964 – 1972)

bewitched25Bewitched was at least one generation before my time, but I caught it in syndication in the late eighties, and I often enjoyed it over cereal before I went to school. It played around Elizabeth Montgomery’s earthbound witch, Samantha, who was married to her powerless and constantly befuddled husband, Darrin.

Complete with a classic theme tune that is still note perfect in my head many years after having watched an episode, Bewitched is one of the best sitcoms of its era that straddled the shift from black and white to colour with grace. The show suffered a little from the exaggerated canned laughter that was very common at the time, but probably suffered a little more from the change in lead male actor towards the end of its run. Bewitched swapped one Dick for another when Sargent replaced York for the final three seasons, and it would be fair to say the latter episodes missed the wide-eyed caricature of Samantha’s original counterpart.

And all right, yes – part of the reason I liked Bewitched so much is because of the cute thing that Samantha used to do with her nose when she was casting a spell. Some guys really get off on that nose twitch that she did… trust me, you’re just going to have to take my word for that.

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Tuesday TV Testimonials #23…

Everyboody Loves Raymond (1996 – 2005)

everybody-loves-raymond-zoom-f2a92f5a-90e8-493f-b8bb-b6d946f31cecThe traditional family sitcom is not as popular nowadays as it once was. A large part of the reason for that is the decline in network television audiences, and the subsequent rise of entertainment through channels such as YouTube and Netflix. Everybody Loves Raymond is not an old show by any means, but it does represent the most recent mainstream sitcom that I really enjoyed, and looking at the current landscape, that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

The premise of Everybody Loves Raymond is a sitcom tale as old as time, and can be summed up by this one sentence, from the opening credits:

My parents live across the street… that’s right, and my brother lives with them.

…and that is the foundation for a majority of the show’s 200-plus episodes. Ray is the put-upon, somewhat lazy, and sex-starved husband; and Debra is the organised and sensible stay at home mother. They have three young children and spend their daily lives under the constant watchful eye of Ray’s parents. His older brother Robert is a quirky, giant of a police officer whose job and towering physical presence belies his discomfort around women. As the show progressed, Robert ended up with many of the best lines.

There is absolutely nothing in the show’s formulaic set-up to suggest that it should be anything other than completely forgettable, but thanks to good writing, a cheeky (but never salacious) sense of humour, and plots that don’t make the mistake of becoming too saccharine, Everybody Loves Raymond is one of the few sitcoms I never tire of watching, even though I’ve seen most of the episodes multiple times over.

 

Tuesday TV Testimonials #13…

The Cosby Show (1984 – 1992)

CS-cosby-castIt may be difficult to watch The Cosby Show these days without its family-friendly atmosphere being tainted by the recent sexual assault allegations that have been made against the head of the Huxtable household, but having said that, I’d be lying if I denied that it was one of my favourite sitcoms when I was growing up.

The Cosby Show was extremely popular. If you were my age, and you had a TV, it seems you were at least an occasional viewer. It fought against its generic title to became the most successful small screen comedy of the eighties, and the Huxtable’s – who were the first prominent sitcom family to be both black and affluent – helped to break down the colour barriers along the way. While it was never the funniest thing on the box (even at the time there were better sitcoms) it was one of the best examples of how to do clean-cut comedy well, and still appeal to the grown-ups.

For all of his alleged real life faults, Bill Cosby as Dr. Huxtable was as familiar and comfortable as the proverbial pair of slippers; always there for his wife and five children, with a story to tell or a lesson to be learned. And whatever you may think of the man or his fall from grace, you’ve gotta love those sweaters, right?

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Tuesday TV Testimonials #1…

Full House (1987 – 1995)

It’s probably fair to say that I come from the last generation of true television watchers. Nowadays it’s all YouTube, Netflix, and various other means of entertainment, but I grew up in a time when you watched a twenty-six inch wood veneer box in the corner of your living room… and – for better or worse – Full House was one of the shows that bled through my childhood.

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Full House was an American sitcom that ran for eight seasons from 1987 until 1995, and just short of 200 episodes. I didn’t watch the entire run, in fact, I probably jumped ship about halfway through.

At the time I thought it was pretty good, but I revisited it recently and… no. Memory can be a cruel beast, and nostalgia – certainly in this instance – is sometimes overrated. Full House is the most saccharine, family-friendly, let’s-all-hug-each-other-at-the-end-of-the-episode, twenty-two minutes I’ve ever seen, and although there were a lot of eighties offenders that you could probably throw into the same category, Full House was one of the biggest culprits.

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The series spawned these two fashionistas, so it’s not all bad, right?

It hasn’t aged well, but as with a lot of shows then, it was a product of its time. I can accept that: not all television is timeless.

Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the atrocious sequel, Fuller House, which somebody had the bright idea of producing in 2016. It picks up the story twenty years later, but plays as if the world around it hasn’t moved on at all.

Still, as disappointing as all that is, Full House can lay claim to one of the greatest sitcom theme tunes of all time.