Every year there are always lists compiled about which are the sitcoms that everybody has to watch. Sometimes those lists are correct, the sitcoms on them are hilarious watches but then sometimes you come across a show on the list and you simply find yourself thinking but that show isn’t funny, the characters are annoying and there are better sitcoms on television.
Well this list is a little different, this is a list of those sitcoms that have deserved to get attention over the years but have always been largely overlooked by mammoth shows just as ‘Friends’, ‘Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Frasier’.
‘Becker’ (1998-2004) – When people think of funny sitcoms starring Ted Danson they always seem to jump directly to ‘Cheers’ but completely overlook ‘Becker’, a brilliantly written show that saw Ted Danson play the grumpy (but kind when he needed to be) Dr. John Becker who ran a small doctor’s surgery in the Bronx despite the fact he was a good enough doctor to be working in a major hospital, Surrounded by the moral voice of Margaret (Hattie Winston), the ditzy Linda (Shawnee Smith), the sleazy Bob (Saverio Guerra), blind Jake (Alex Desert) and female companions such as Reggie (Terry Ferrell) and Chris (Nancy Travis) the adventures that Becker got himself into would always guarantee laughs.
‘8 Simple Rules’ (2002-2005) – This show started off with a simple premise, it featured an over-protective father, Paul (John Ritter) who was always making sure that his daughters, Bridget (Kaley Cuoco) and Kerry (Amy Davidson) were doing what they were supposed to be doing and keeping away from boys. This premise provided many laughs but when John Ritter sadly passed away the writers expertly changed the show to talk about death. An episode featured the shock death of Paul and then focused on how his daughters, his wife Cate (Katey Segal) and son Rory (Martin Spanjers) dealt with it.
‘Malcolm In The Middle’ (2000-2006) – Perhaps the most underrated sitcom of all time is ‘Malcolm In The Middle’. This was one show that got the right mix of offbeat comedy and touching story-lines yet it seems to rarely make people’s ‘Best Sitcom’ list. The show centered around a dysfunctional family led by Hal (Bryan Cranston) and Lois (Jane Kaaczmarek) as they tried to control their sons, Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan), Francis (Christoper Masterson), Malcolm (Franie Muniz) and Reese (Justin Bergfield). Every episode provided a ton of laughs and reminded you how crazy childhood can be.
‘Newlyweds’ (1993-1994) – Australia don’t make very many quality sitcoms but this was certainly one of them. As the show’s title suggested it featured a pair of newlyweds Allie (Annie Jones) and Peter (Christopher Gabardi) and the plots normally explored how getting married had changed their lives and of the characters around them like Marnie (Sandie Lillingston), Simmo (Jose Element) and Jules (Cathy Godbold). And of course there were the meddling parents as well, this is one sitcom well worth a look.
‘My Name Is Earl’ (2005-2009) – A modern day classic that seems to barely raise a mention in most people’s ‘Best Sitcom’ lists, ‘My Name Is Earl’ saw Earl (Jason Lee) win the lottery and then decide to right every wrong that he had ever done with his brother, Randy (Ethan Suplee). Throw Joy (Jaime Pressly) into the mix as well and you had an extremely funny show that was capable of having its audience laugh at loud.
‘The King Of Queens’ (1998-2007) – A perennial favorite that always seems to get left behind by shows like ‘Friends’, but ‘The King Of Queens’ was a great watch and introduced the world to the comedic genius that is Kevin James. James played Doug Heffernan, an everyday bloke married to Carrie (Leah Remini) who also had his father-in-law Arthur (Jerry Stiller) living with them. This was a sitcom that every married couple could related to week-in and week-out.
‘The Middle’ (2009-present) – Like its brother ‘Malcolm In The Middle’ ‘The Middle’ is certainly an underrated comedy. While people rave on about ‘Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Community’ they often forget ‘The Middle’ a show that sees a family made up of Dad Mike (Neil Flynn) and Mum Frankie (Patricia Heaton) and their dysfunctional kids, Sue (Eden Sher), Axl (Charlie McDermott) and Brick (Atticus Shaffer) as they live in the middle of Indiana. Like ‘Malcolm In The Middle’ the producers have created a zany comedy that never fails to deliver the laughs.
‘That 70’s Show’ (1998-2006) – Certainly one of the funniest modern day sitcoms, but also a show that is massively underrated ‘That 70’s Show’ saw a group of friends made up of Eric (Topher Grace), Kelso (Ashton Kutcher), Fez (Wilmer Valderrama), Donna (Laura Prepon), Hyde (Danny Masterson) and Jackie (Mila Kunis) trying to grow up in the 1970’s under the watchful eye of crazy parents such as Bob (Don Stark), Red (Kurtwood Smith) and Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp). While the show was about growing up, the music and yes even ‘Star Wars’ certainly made an appearance as some great cultural references.
‘Married With Children’ (1987-1997) – Somewhat frowned upon because of its outdated sexist views back in its day ‘Married With Children’ was a sitcom that had everybody laughing. Most of the sexism came from Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill) a man who seemed to hate life and especially his family made up of wife Peg (Katey Sagal) and his children Bud (David Faustino) and Kelly (Christina Applegate). He didn’t exactly love his neighbors, Marcy (Amanda Bearse) and Jefferson (Ted McGinley) either. If you are willing to look past the sexism you actually may find this is a sitcom that is well worth a look.
‘The Drew Carey Show’ (1995-2004) – One of the sitcoms that it seems everybody has forgotten about was the brilliant ‘The Drew Carey Show’ which at its peak seemed to be adored by the masses. Drew (Drew Carey) was an everyday guy who slaved away at work with Mimi (Kathy Kinney) and Nigel (Craig Ferguson) before then relaxing with his friends Kate (Christa Miller), Lewis (Ryan Stiles) and Oswald (Diedrich Baber). Some episodes were hit and miss but most of the time ‘The Drew Carey Show’ was an entertaining sitcom you yourself could relax to after a hard day at work.
It’s strange how some sitcoms seems to be forgotten about over time, but next time you sit down and tune into popular shows like ‘Modern Family’ or ‘2 Broke Girls’ just remember there are a stack of underrated sitcoms out there waiting for you to explore as well.