Sit-coms are undoubtedly one of the most representative and developed genres in the entire history of TV series. Years and years of experimentation, novelties, achieved goals have helped to define this extremely rich genre, which then experienced its definitive consecration between the end of the last century and the beginning of this one with immortal productions such as Friends e How I Met Your Mother, series that then paved the way for everything that came after. However, there is a universe huge even before, a conglomerate of sitcoms that have made the history of television, contributing to the creation, in a significant way, of the panorama we know and love today and which have made possible the creation of series such as those mentioned above.
Many of these sitcoms from the past are also well known to new generations, perhaps also thanks to their presence on streaming platforms or television rotation. Others, on the other hand, have ended up mostly forgotten over the years, losing their grip on the younger public, unaware of the heritage they are depriving themselves of. To remedy this useless waste of resources, let’s go and revive 7 great sitcoms from the past, which unfortunately have been forgotten by the new generations, and it’s a shame because it would really be the case to revive such productions.
A year before the whole world knew Friends and lived its revolution, it began its own race Frasier, spin-off of another much loved sitcom, and which we will talk about shortly, that is Cheers. On air, with 11 seasons, from 1993 to 2004, Frasier illustrates the story of psychiatrist Frasier Crane and the family he lives with, from his ex-cop father to nurse Daphne. The spin-off of Cheers has had a huge success, symbolized by the sensational 37 Emmy won, including 5 in the Best Comedy TV Series category, a record that over time has since been shared with Modern Family.
Despite its great resonance, over time Frasier it has been partially forgotten, so much so that its name will sound new to most of the new generations. Particularly significant, in this sense, is precisely the parallel with Friends, because the two series have gone hand in hand, sharing the years of airing, and despite the level of awards Frasier has always swept the comparison, the echo it has achieved Friends it is clearly superior. And yet, even just for having outclassed what is arguably the most beloved sitcom of all time is totally worth catching up on Frasier.
Frasier and the Great Forgotten Sitcoms: Cheers
If we had such a pearl Frasier we owe it, of course, to Cheers. Known in Italy with the title Eat eat, the sitcom produced by NBC also ran for 11 seasons as its spin-off, from 1983 to 1993. What took place between Cheers e Frasier it was a real changing of the guard, because also Eat Eat he doesn’t joke about awards. In its long existence, Cheers he got well 117 Emmy nominationsa huge number that has only been surpassed by ER – Doctors on the front line.
Unlike Frasier, Cheers it circulated more in the 2000s on Italian television networks, and probably boasts a slightly greater circulation than its spin-off, but still not sufficient given the size of the series. The sitcom revolves around one of the cornerstones of this genre, the bar, where a series of frequent patrons and its staff spend their days and discuss their lives. Beyond Frasier, Cheers also had another spin-off, The Tortellis, which, however, had decidedly less luck, given that after just 13 episodes it closed its path, with poor ratings and accusations of racism.
We keep going back in time and after the binomial composed of Frasier e Cheers we move to 70’sexperienced in its entirety by another mythical sitcom like Archibald initially known in Italy as Everybody at home, broadcast in the United States with the original title All in the family. From NBC we pass to CBS with this series that Italy has known only in the 80s, after it has literally depopulated for an entire decade in America.
Throughout the 70s, Archibald it is one of the most watched series by Americans and thanks to this resonance it has been able to deeply permeate the stars and stripes society, ending up playing a historical role in its own way. Archibald is the adaptation of the British format Till Death Us Do Partbut decidedly updated on the basis of the American society, with the contribution of themes practically never addressed before, from racism to homosexuality, up to the role of women and the very delicate issue that was then the conflict in Vietnam. Archibald it is a historical series, capable of forever changing the face of American television and of leading it into a new era, more aware of the historical changes taking place and freer to address themes hitherto avoided. A series absolutely to be recovered because it is one split sensational of a fundamental decade of American history and beyond.
Frasier and the Great Forgotten Sitcoms: Good Times
The 70s in America represent a very complex decade, which opened with the consequences of the uprisings of 1968 and saw literally explode many issues hitherto hidden under the sand. It is no coincidence, therefore, that another highly innovative series such as Good Times, signed again by CBS. In addition to having achieved a crazy success, the sit-com has the merit of being the first in the United States to stage the daily events of a African-American family adapting them to the dominant television format.
It is a considerable revolution, because in the 70s the racism it was still rampant in the United States (on the other hand it still is today), and represented one of the biggest topics of social and political debate. Good Times it represents a courageous step forward, unique at the time, so much so that to see regularly African-American families represented in sitcoms we will have to wait another decade. Clearly, the series wasn’t completely free from stereotypes and caricatures, and perhaps seeing it today can make one lose the figure of the importance it had, but to fully appreciate it one must place it in its time and this makes the most of the revolutionary scope that Good Times it has had in the American television system and consequently in the whole of society.
We remain in the 70s and at CBS with another historical series, also capable of bringing about an enormous cultural change, even if different from that of Good Times. As mentioned, one of the most debated topics in that very delicate decade is, obviously, the controversial conflict in Vietnamone of the most tragic pages in American history of the second half of the 20th century. Talking openly about a war that, deep down, nobody wanted and of which few saw the meaning, was not easy, and so with a stroke of genius CBS studied a way alternative to do it.
MASH comes to life in a field hospital during the Korean War fought in the early 1950s. The sitcom has some tragic undertones clearly evident, already this sign of great precociousness, but above all it has the courage to go on the air while the war in Vietnam is being fought, of which Korea is not too veiled a reference. MASH takes its cue from the 1970 Robert Altman film of the same name and achieves resounding success, contending with Archibald the scepter of the most watched series in those years by the Americans and winning well 14 Emmy e 7 Golden Globe. As with the previous series, the value of MASH it is also measurable, and above all, by virtue of the cultural contribution it has given, providing a voice to the debate on the war in Vietnam that was boiling in the pot, but on which the lid was always kept tightly closed.
Frasier and the great forgotten sitcoms: Lucy and I
At this point, let’s leave the very rich 70s, which gave us so many ideas, and go back quite a bit in time, with the TV series which, according to several American scholars, provided the template for practically all the sitcoms that came after. If we have, therefore, this genre that we love so much and that has clearly signed the serial panorama, we certainly owe it to Lucy and I, real show of records in the 50s.
Recover Lucy and me it is a must for all lovers not only of sitcoms, but of TV series in general. Ltelevision entertainment as a whole it bears the signature of this production, capable of being the first television program to arrive in 10 million of houses. Lucy and me it not only provided the format for all the sitcoms that came after it, but it practically helped create television entertainment as we know it, or at least as we knew it before the advent of streaming. Also favored by the historical period in which it came out, i.e. the beginning of the 1950s, when the Second World War was finally behind us and the Welfare economy was becoming a dominant reality in American society and beyond, before the collapses that will come with the 70s that we mentioned earlier, Lucy and me it was a real mass phenomenon, the first sit-com with a high media circulation. A historical series, to be recovered absolutely.
After talking practically about the dawn of the serial landscape with Lucy and I, let’s slip between the years of Archibald and those of Cheers con Taxi, sit-com aired between 1978 and 1983. Focused, as can be clearly seen from the title, on a group of taxi drivers headed by Luoie De Palma’s Sunshine Cab Company, played by a grandiose Danny DeVitothe series was an incredible success, able to take home in its five seasons 11 Emmy e due Golden Globe.
Taxi had the advantage of taking us into a world that is still quite new, but definitely interesting like that of the taxi drivers in New York, a reality that would then be outlined with much more resonance in the years to come both in film and television production. Also Taxi, often choosing the path of demented humor, he takes charge of talking about important issues such as drug addiction, a drama with which the United States was coming to terms and with which it would still be measured for a long time. Like Frasier, Of Cheers or revolutionaries Archibald e Lucy and I, Taxi it’s an absolutely dazzling series recover for the new generations, who are too often unaware of the rich heritage they could explore by immersing themselves in sitcoms from the past which, despite the years, keep their power unchanged.
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