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History Of The Sitcom

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17 hours ago, KWalkerInc said:

On CNN On Demand, it looks like it's listed under "CNN Special Report" in "Programs."  (I only tried looking under that because that they used the CNN Special Report title when I recorded it, which I never would have known if it hadn't been mentioned here.)

I checked, but didn't see it. Maybe you have a different On Demand? I have DirecTV. Thanks anyway.

Edited by catlover79

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6 hours ago, DoctorAtomic said:

I don't know about the whole direction of the episode. They were just throwing in whatever. All the shows that hadn't been covered already got about 2 minutes.

I do like the monologue at the end of Malcolm in the Middle. It's a great piece of writing - you're not just going to be president, you're going to be the best president. You know why? You're going to put in work. 

For anyone curious or would like a deep dive into Malcom in the Middle - I just recently watched this retrospective. It's actually really informative and you see how the show was always moving towards that ending regarding Malcom.

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1 hour ago, Racj82 said:

For anyone curious or would like a deep dive into Malcom in the Middle - I just recently watched this retrospective. It's actually really informative and you see how the show was always moving towards that ending regarding Malcom.

Do you have a link? TIA

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1 hour ago, SusieQ said:

Do you have a link? TIA

I'm so sorry. I thought I attached the link.

 

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7 hours ago, catlover79 said:

I checked, but didn't see it. Maybe you have a different On Demand? I have DirecTV. Thanks anyway.

Yeah, I have Xfinity.

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15 hours ago, Racj82 said:

I'm so sorry. I thought I attached the link.

 

Oh, that was fun! Thanks.

Best trivia moment, finding out that Linwood played Mary's husband in "Little House on the prairie "

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20 hours ago, Racj82 said:

I'm so sorry. I thought I attached the link.

 

Oh my.  I stuck with it because I had really enjoyed the show and I thought I could get used to the narrator, but I felt like I was listening to someone reading their senior thesis. 

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Overall, I thought this was a good episode. The organization of the episode made sense. I wish they would trust the viewers/the audience and not feel the need to show a clip from a modern sitcom to keep/hold the audience attention at the start of some segments. The coverage/clips from Perfect Strangers made me laugh the most from this episode. 

I do not think Blossom belonged in this episode. It's been awhile since I watched the series, but I remember far more episodes focusing on Blossom at home. What was happening at school might play a role, but it seemed like we rarely saw her at school. Also, I am not sure if Blossom was that much of an outsider/geek.

Do you think Freaks and Geeks is a sitcom? It's an hourlong show, so my immediate reaction is that it's not a sitcom. Hour long shows can be dramedies (dramas with comedic elements/moments), but not sitcoms. I am curious what other people think. 

Edited by Sarah 103
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55 minutes ago, Sarah 103 said:

Overall, I thought this was a good episode. The organization of the episode made sense. I wish they would trust the viewers/the audience and not feel the need to show a clip from a modern sitcom to keep/hold the audience attention at the start of some segments. The coverage/clips from Perfect Strangers made me laugh the most from this episode. 

I do not think Blossom belonged in this episode. It's been awhile since I watched the series, but I remember far more episodes focusing on Blossom at home. What was happening at school might play a role, but it seemed like we rarely saw her at school. Also, I am not sure if Blossom was that much of an outsider/geek.

Do you think Freaks and Geeks is a sitcom? It's an hourlong show, so my immediate reaction is that it's not a sitcom. Hour long shows can be dramedies (dramas with comedic elements/moments), but not sitcoms. I am curious what other people think. 

I think Blossom always represented a different type of girl than what you normally saw at the time. Her sense of style, facial features, etc. For tv itself, she was an outsider. That sort of got lost as the show went on though.

I feel like a genuine idiot because I never looked at The Munsters as stand ins for minorities. It's all right there, but I never thought about it.

I guess, at the end of the day, every character that could be seen as an "other" would be a stand in for minorities. At that time anyway.

Freaks and Geeks in that weird Grey area. It's intended to be a comedy but doesn't follow the structure of one. Even more so than other multi cam shows. Ally McBeal is kind of the same way but was always placed as a drama. Even while being highly comedic.

 

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1 hour ago, Sarah 103 said:

The coverage/clips from Perfect Strangers made me laugh the most from this episode. 

I liked those clips, too :D. I remember watching that show when I was really young, it's been ages since I've seen it anywhere. Would be interesting to revisit it again sometime. 

I also got a really good laugh out of that clip from "The Munsters" where Herman was sticking out of that manhole and those two women screamed and ran and jumped into the passing truck to escape XD. My family liked "The Munsters", we never really followed "The Addams Family". But I have caught episodes of that on MeTV in the evenings, and between that and the clips they showed from that series tonight, I can definitely appreciate what it brought to the sitcom world as well :). I particularly liked the point about how Gomez and Morticia were quite lusty towards each other compared to many other series of the time. 

I'm also surprised to learn that the people who worked on "Leave it to Beaver" later were producers on "The Munsters". That's funny :D. 

But yeah, I liked how the show highlighted that shows about witches or monsters or aliens or so forth were a great way to highlight and comment on the social issues of the times. The episode of "3rd Rock" with Dick learning about the concept of race and ethnicities is one of my favorites, it's hysterical. 

I also loved Henry Winkler's recollections of when Robin Williams first appeared on "Happy Days". And you know, credit has to go to the cast of that show, too - this is the first time they're experiencing and working with Williams in all his crazy glory, and they had to keep up with him and roll with his improvisations and such, too. That couldn't have been an easy thing to do. I also kept wondering how tough it was for the people who had to play "frozen" to keep a straight face during some of those scenes :D. 

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8 hours ago, Racj82 said:

 

I feel like a genuine idiot because I never looked at The Munsters as stand ins for minorities. It's all right there, but I never thought about it.

I guess, at the end of the day, every character that could be seen as an "other" would be a stand in for minorities. At that time anyway.

I never realized that about the Munsters either and how they tried to fit in while the Addams Family just did their own thing. 

Wednesday's doll was hilarious. I'd forgotten that scene.

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2 hours ago, Snow Apple said:

I never realized that about the Munsters either and how they tried to fit in while the Addams Family just did their own thing. 

Wednesday's doll was hilarious. I'd forgotten that scene.

Never forget. Wednesday also has the sweet dance moves 

 

Also another retrospective I just checked out. It won't be for everyone but I enjoy this guy's style. Possibly one of his most interesting ones is on Roseanne.

 

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10 minutes ago, Racj82 said:

Never forget. Wednesday also has the sweet dance moves 

I'm totally busting that out. 

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3 hours ago, Snow Apple said:

I never realized that about the Munsters either and how they tried to fit in while the Addams Family just did their own thing. 

Same! That blew my mind. I watched those shows for years but I never made that connection.

God, I loved the Munsters. Herman really was a big dimwitted teddy bear.

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15 hours ago, Racj82 said:

I think Blossom always represented a different type of girl than what you normally saw at the time. Her sense of style, facial features, etc. For tv itself, she was an outsider. That sort of got lost as the show went on though.

I feel like a genuine idiot because I never looked at The Munsters as stand ins for minorities. It's all right there, but I never thought about it.

I guess, at the end of the day, every character that could be seen as an "other" would be a stand in for minorities. At that time anyway.

Freaks and Geeks in that weird Grey area. It's intended to be a comedy but doesn't follow the structure of one. Even more so than other multi cam shows. Ally McBeal is kind of the same way but was always placed as a drama. Even while being highly comedic.

 

I never read into these shows, like the Munsters, either. I must be an idiot ( I am not) I don’t think every show carries a message or was intended to carry a  message.. I’d like to know if whoever was writing for the show etc. actually had it in their minds that they were using the Munsters as stand-ins  for a non-white family. That goes for feminism and Bewitched, I dream of Jeannie. And every other show back in the day and their supposed underlying meaning. 

2 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

Same! That blew my mind. I watched those shows for years but I never made that connection.

God, I loved the Munsters. Herman really was a big dimwitted teddy bear.

I’m not sure there is an actual connection I think we are just reading into it now and the era of Wokeness 

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4 hours ago, Racj82 said:

Never forget. Wednesday also has the sweet dance moves 

 

Also another retrospective I just checked out. It won't be for everyone but I enjoy this guy's style. Possibly one of his most interesting ones is on Roseanne.

 

Is this streaming somewhere or can I only watch on my phone? Sorry, I live in the friggin boondocks and we only got fiber optics This year  I’ve been deprived from forever. The Roseanne video. 

Edited by chediavolo · Reason: Add
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55 minutes ago, chediavolo said:

Is this streaming somewhere or can I only watch on my phone? Sorry, I live in the friggin boondocks and we only got fiber optics This year  I’ve been deprived from forever. The Roseanne video. 

Addams family actually has a ton of full episodes on youtube. They are put up by the company that produced the show, so they aren't going anywhere.

Here is one. It's all on the MGM channel on youtube.

 

 

1 hour ago, chediavolo said:

I’m not sure there is an actual connection I think we are just reading into it now and the era of Wokeness

Well it doesn't have to be about wokeness. Many creators from that time have talked about wanting to talk about race relations and other touchy subjects but they had to be subversive about it. Rod Serling being an obvious example. It's something I can see with The Munsters but I never thought to look at it that way.

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20 hours ago, Annber03 said:

I also loved Henry Winkler's recollections of when Robin Williams first appeared on "Happy Days". And you know, credit has to go to the cast of that show, too - this is the first time they're experiencing and working with Williams in all his crazy glory, and they had to keep up with him and roll with his improvisations and such, too. That couldn't have been an easy thing to do. I also kept wondering how tough it was for the people who had to play "frozen" to keep a straight face during some of those scenes :D. 

Henry Winkler and Pam Dawber (looking quite fine wow) must also have patience of all the saints. 

I thought last week didn't really bring anything new, but I'm enjoying this one. 

4 hours ago, Racj82 said:

Well it doesn't have to be about wokeness. Many creators from that time have talked about wanting to talk about race relations and other touchy subjects but they had to be subversive about it. Rod Serling being an obvious example. It's something I can see with The Munsters but I never thought to look at it that way.

Taking the clips they showed here at face value, it seems clear the writers of the show had a perspective they wanted to show. Maybe in 2021, it seems blatant to us. I can buy that the show totally flew by the people they were sending up. 

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I'm actually watching Taxi now, and I have no idea why Kaufman was on that show. It's a fairly interesting take on the workplace sitcom. It's just a square peg of a role. 

Didn't look like Hirsch had any idea either. 

Certainly a great show, but there's no way Freaks & Greeks is a sitcom. I think everyone has a nostalgia for that time so you want to include it. 

Is Will Smith a producer on the show? I don't see why Fresh Prince is included in every episode. They have way short shrift to those 1940s shows so we could see Carlton dance. Again. 

I do think it's interesting that the freak, geek, and nerd has evolved in sitcoms to be normalized and leading characters versus a Screech character. 

 

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1 hour ago, DoctorAtomic said:

I'm actually watching Taxi now, and I have no idea why Kaufman was on that show. It's a fairly interesting take on the workplace sitcom. It's just a square peg of a role. 

Didn't look like Hirsch had any idea either. 

Certainly a great show, but there's no way Freaks & Greeks is a sitcom. I think everyone has a nostalgia for that time so you want to include it. 

Is Will Smith a producer on the show? I don't see why Fresh Prince is included in every episode. They have way short shrift to those 1940s shows so we could see Carlton dance. Again. 

I do think it's interesting that the freak, geek, and nerd has evolved in sitcoms to be normalized and leading characters versus a Screech character. 

 

I think it's interesting with Fresh Prince. It covers race, class, one of the first popular  black nerd/square characters. It's a family show. It basically hits every subject they've touched on. 

I think Freaks and Geeks was there because it was a necessary example of how tv was evolving heading into the 2000s. 

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I watched Addams Family and The Munsters on TBS on (mostly summer) weekday afternoons in middle school (I preferred Addams Family of the two) and never thought of them having any hidden meaning.  However, I can see The Munsters perhaps being subversive by flipping things and having pretty blonde Marilyn be treated as the "ugly duckling" of the family who had trouble fitting in with them.  I'm surprised they didn't really touch on that in the episode.

I love Freaks & Geeks, and it certainly had some great comedic moments and lines, but I don't think it's a sitcom either.

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13 hours ago, Racj82 said:

Addams family actually has a ton of full episodes on youtube. They are put up by the company that produced the show, so they aren't going anywhere.

Here is one. It's all on the MGM channel on youtube.

 

 

Well it doesn't have to be about wokeness. Many creators from that time have talked about wanting to talk about race relations and other touchy subjects but they had to be subversive about it. Rod Serling being an obvious example. It's something I can see with The Munsters but I never thought to look at it that way.

I meant the Roseanne video. 

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8 hours ago, DoctorAtomic said:

I'm actually watching Taxi now, and I have no idea why Kaufman was on that show. It's a fairly interesting take on the workplace sitcom. It's just a square peg of a role. 

Didn't look like Hirsch had any idea either. 

Certainly a great show, but there's no way Freaks & Greeks is a sitcom. I think everyone has a nostalgia for that time so you want to include it. 

Is Will Smith a producer on the show? I don't see why Fresh Prince is included in every episode. They have way short shrift to those 1940s shows so we could see Carlton dance. Again. 

I do think it's interesting that the freak, geek, and nerd has evolved in sitcoms to be normalized and leading characters versus a Screech character. 

 

Sounds like Andy Kaufman wasn’t well liked. A strange one. Take Robin Williams, who showed real acting chops & could act like a genuine nice human, and times that by 1000= Kaufman. 

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2 hours ago, chediavolo said:

Sounds like Andy Kaufman wasn’t well liked. A strange one. Take Robin Williams, who showed real acting chops & could act like a genuine nice human, and times that by 1000= Kaufman. 

From what I understand, Kaufman could be an abrasive jackass at times, but it probably says a lot about him that just about every member of the Taxi cast played themselves in "Man on the Moon", the biopic about him.

2 hours ago, chediavolo said:

I meant the Roseanne video. 

Just search "Roseanne review" on YouTube. It'll probably be high on the list.

And yeah, I don't think Freaks and Geeks quite fits as a sitcom, either. But hey, I'm just glad that the Perfect Strangers segment included the Dance of Joy.

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2 hours ago, chediavolo said:

I meant the Roseanne video. 

Oh sorry. Roseanne is on Peacock if you are looking for full episodes. That's the only place right now.

I put a link for the Roseanne review in the thread.

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5 hours ago, chediavolo said:

Sounds like Andy Kaufman wasn’t well liked. A strange one. Take Robin Williams, who showed real acting chops & could act like a genuine nice human, and times that by 1000= Kaufman. 

I don't think he was an actor as much as a performer, so it's an odd choice to be in a sitcom. From what little I know of Kaufman's history, the 'foreigner' was a character he did, and it seems they just purchased the rights to that character. I'm only on S1 though. 

I'm not detracting from Kaufman's talent. I don't know if he was liked or not, but in this episode Hirsch seemed tight lipped at best. 

Clearly, Williams was also a performer, but he was an actor too. Mork was an actual written character. Kaufman seems to just be doing bits in the scenes as the 'foreigner'.  

I think it was disingenuous of History of the Sitcom to pair Latka with Balki as 'fish out of water' stories. The former is just provably false. If anything Elaine Nardo was the fish out of water and essentially introduced as such in the first episode. 

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On 8/16/2021 at 11:35 AM, Racj82 said:

Never forget. Wednesday also has the sweet dance moves 

 

Also another retrospective I just checked out. It won't be for everyone but I enjoy this guy's style. Possibly one of his most interesting ones is on Roseanne.

 

Just watched it. It was interesting. I don’t agree with everything he said I think people put way too much meaning and shows that wasn’t really there in the first place. And it sounded like  it was being narrated by Diane Sawyer!

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Good wrapup with the finale

Also, kudos to the producers for getting commentary from Dawn Wells and Gavin McLeod before they passed

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I love that just clips from this show made me laugh.

Example. The cone of silence coming all the way down in Get Smart.

Yep. Fitting finale.

Sitcoms, above all else, has always been a great place to escape reality. Not all the time. They tackle real life issues. But, a lot of the time, you just want a good laugh. 

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10 minutes ago, Racj82 said:

I love that just clips from this show made me laugh.

Example. The cone of silence coming all the way down in Get Smart.

I loved that, too :D. I loved all the wonky issues they kept having with that thing.

I remember reading something once about how the "Get Smart" writers actually got a visit from some government officials at the time, because apparently some of the funky gadgets the show came up with felt a little TOO similar to some gadgets the government was working on, or considering working on. The writers had to reassure them that they had absolutely no knowledge of whatever the government was doing, they were just making up their own funny stuff for the show :p. 

Regarding the debate over "The Love Boat", I would classify that more as a dramedy than anything else. And yes, having caught some of the reruns on TV, I agree that some of those storylines would definitely not fly today, or at least, there'd be a lot more scrutiny of them. 

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Has anybody identified all the sitcoms alluded to in the opening credits of the show? 

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43 minutes ago, Pj3422 said:

Has anybody identified all the sitcoms alluded to in the opening credits of the show? 

Based on the clip I just pulled up on YouTube:

I Love Lucy, Bewitched, Mary Tyler Moore, Home Improvement, Happy Days, ___ (??), MASH, Seinfeld, Gilligan's Island, ___ (??), Cheers, Frasier, Blackish, Friends, ___ (??), The Simpsons, Arrested Development

Obviously I need some help with those 3 blank ones! Also feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on any.

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21 minutes ago, rubaco said:

Based on the clip I just pulled up on YouTube:

I Love Lucy, Bewitched, Mary Tyler Moore, Home Improvement, Happy Days, ___ (??), MASH, Seinfeld, Gilligan's Island, ___ (??), Cheers, Frasier, Blackish, Friends, ___ (??), The Simpsons, Arrested Development

Obviously I need some help with those 3 blank ones! Also feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on any.

Living Single is one you are missing. It's the one in bold font with green, yellow and magenta colors.

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Looking at the intro on youtube,  you also missed fresh off the boat and fresh prince of bel air

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2 hours ago, Racj82 said:

Living Single is one you are missing. It's the one in bold font with green, yellow and magenta colors.

YES! That’s the one I finally couldn’t figure out after playing & pausing over and over again. Cheers & Fresh Off the Boat were on screen for only a microsecond, so I missed them the first 10 times. Thanks to all of you who answered my question! 

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38 minutes ago, Pj3422 said:

YES! That’s the one I finally couldn’t figure out after playing & pausing over and over again. Cheers & Fresh Off the Boat were on screen for only a microsecond, so I missed them the first 10 times. Thanks to all of you who answered my question! 

I watched the intro on youtube in super slow mo. I wouldn't have been able to catch them otherwise.

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I'm glad they covered animation, though I think that could have been its own episode. 

Something like the Boondocks isn't necessarily escapism. The Ann Coulter bit kills me every time. 

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On 8/16/2021 at 3:53 PM, chediavolo said:

I’m not sure there is an actual connection I think we are just reading into it now and the era of Wokeness 

Being generous and saying the idea of "wokeness" becomes mainstream around 2010 at the absolute earliest, there are books and journal articles from the 1990s that make the case for Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie commenting on feminism and The Munsters and The Addams Family commenting on race and ethnicity. There are also writers that mention Bewitched in the context of dealing with interracial/interfaith couples through metaphor. 

The writers of this miniseries did their homework and built on existing/established scholarship and did not invent new readings of the show to appear woke.

On 8/25/2021 at 10:31 PM, DoctorAtomic said:

I'm glad they covered animation, though I think that could have been its own episode. 

I totally agree with you. The final episode felt disjointed and disorganized. It lacked a clear focus. The best and strongest segments were on animation. I wish the whole episode had been on animation.

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I fundamentally disagree that animation = escapism automatically, so that's why I had said that. They said in this episode here that Flintstones was an adult sitcom that ran in primetime that satired consumerism. That's hardly escapist. 

 

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On 8/27/2021 at 4:44 PM, DoctorAtomic said:

I fundamentally disagree that animation = escapism automatically, so that's why I had said that. They said in this episode here that Flintstones was an adult sitcom that ran in primetime that satired consumerism. That's hardly escapist. 

I agree that animation does not automatically mean escapism. I meant they should have explored prime-time animation as a unique subgenre with its own episode dedicated to it, the way they did with workplace shows or other subgenres that they did episodes on during this miniseries.

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I think either episodes 3 or 4, or 4 or 5 had a lot of overlap. It was the ones on race and class iirc. 

There could have been room to trim those and make an animation episode. I mean, I saw more of the Fresh Prince in this series than I ever saw when it actually aired. 

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On 8/30/2021 at 11:36 PM, DoctorAtomic said:

I think either episodes 3 or 4, or 4 or 5 had a lot of overlap. It was the ones on race and class iirc. 

There could have been room to trim those and make an animation episode. I mean, I saw more of the Fresh Prince in this series than I ever saw when it actually aired. 

Well that's pretty hyperbolic. Unless you never watched fresh prince before.

But, they could have either made this longer or return to the series in the future. There is more to touch on.

Animation

Multi cam vs single cam sitcoms

Do one on sitcoms tropes. Like the add a baby element that many shows do. Or aging up said baby so they can do more with them.

Do one on adaptation. Films turned into sitcoms. US versions of shows from other countries. There are many they didn't explore.

The very special episode

 

 

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8 hours ago, Racj82 said:

Well that's pretty hyperbolic. Unless you never watched fresh prince before.

I never watched the Fresh Prince before. It was brought up in this series repeatedly, possibly more than any other sitcom. There was a single segment on the Honeymooners, and that show arguably has been the blueprint for married couples in sitcoms for over half a century. That alone is an episode. 

They did mention the 'very special episode' at some point though. I think it was when Facts of Life was first brought up. It was only a few comments

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9 minutes ago, DoctorAtomic said:

I never watched the Fresh Prince before. It was brought up in this series repeatedly, possibly more than any other sitcom. There was a single segment on the Honeymooners, and that show arguably has been the blueprint for married couples in sitcoms for over half a century. That alone is an episode. 

They did mention the 'very special episode' at some point though. I think it was when Facts of Life was first brought up. It was only a few comments

Yeah, they brought it up. They skimmed over a few subjects that could get a whole episode.

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