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Ten Worst Sitcoms Ever

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I want to make a special call-out here for some of the worst popular programming in TV history, particularly the worst, insufferable situation comedies of all time. But worst probably isn't quite the right word. Lots of cheap, shoddy shows are made — but some of these I'm thinking of sometimes have some passing spark of wit. But any possible artistic merits are drowned out by egregious offenses against Geometry and Theology.

What I'm after here are the most actively annoying situation comedies ever, particularly ones representing special trendsetters in crappiness. These are the shows that send me into Ignatius J Reilly mode, wanting to throw empty Milk Duds boxes and popcorn at the screen, while screaming for the writers and actors to be put to the lash post haste! Who told you this crap was a legitimate show? How dare dumb down the world with these ridiculous affronts to Geometry and Theology

In short, I hate these shows so bad that I would actively walk across the room to turn off the television rather than watch. I would not watch them while getting high. I would not watch them bye-and-bye. I would not watch them while drinking a float. I would not watch them with a goat.

I even give credit and forbearance to some fairly cheesy shows, if they have a little personality. As Jules would say, personality goes a long way. Gilligan's Island ran aground pretty quickly, but they did have some characters with a little personality. Even the dreaded Brady Bunch now looks like some kind of gay camp bourgeoisie parody. It's not high art, but it had flava. Then there are endlessly re-run shows that I'd about as soon take a beating as watch.

Without further adieu then, and in my best Comic Book Shop guy voice, here are the WORST SITCOMS EVER:

The Cosby Show 
Worse than being really bad, The Cosby Show was utterly mediocre. The writing was nothing memorable. I know I have ended up watching probably half the entire run of the series, and I can't remember any of the story lines now. I broadly remember there being a couple of obvious plot points, like the son going to college. It wasn't particularly a comedy of manners like Seinfeld, delving into issues of the day like All in the Family or real family issues like Bernie Mac or even the Simpsons.

The whole appeal of The Cosby Show was as a setup for Bill Cosby to mug and make funny faces for the camera. Best I remember, it mostly looked like cookie cutter supporting characters doing uninteresting things till they get to the point in the script marked presumably something like "Bill Cosby talks baby-talk in funny voice and makes funny faces." There's only so far that's going to get you without characters, personality, or plot.

He's got a special thing though that gets him specifically the top spot for most insufferable sitcom ever: his hateful attitude with his TV children. His sitcom character seemed to be really full of resentment toward his offspring. The main point of ongoing humor I remember is his constant snarky remarks about how much he looked forward to getting these kids out of his house. Not that the dark sides of parental resentment aren't legitimate fodder for art, but he didn't go anywhere with it other than being merely hateful. I didn't feel the love, but I got all the constant resentment. I find it neither entertaining nor edifying.

The Simpsons started at the height of the Cosby show run. Their parody of the Cosby character Dr. Hibbert has developed more personality in mostly minute long or less cameos over time than Cliff Huxtable ever did with his own live action show.

Will and Grace
This was not entirely without wit — but they weren't nearly as clever as they seemed to think. I just cannot bear their cheap sense of how great and daring they were. Look, we've got queers, aren't we bold and daring? Yeah, whatever — but it takes more than carrying on about how gay and sleazy you are to make a show. Got it. You're here, you're queer, I'm bored with you.  

Everybody Loves Raymond
I might be missing something, because I've never been able to sit through a full show of this at once. I just find myself overwhelmed with a strong desire to kick Raymond right in his vagina. The wussification of America in recent years has been reflected in sitcoms with shrewish wives dominating whining husbands. This show is the top popular actualization of that stereotype. It's a special archetype of modern sitcom awfulness.

If the show had anything interesting to say on the topic, some perspective on what's wrong with these petty whiners, it could be the basis of interesting if perhaps less than palatable art. This isn't anything that skillful. It's mostly just a constant stream of mundane displays of boring, low level family resentments. They just don't appear to have anything else on their minds.

Everybody Loves Raymond must be banned.

Arrested Development 
This may be the least commercially successful show to annoy me enough to make the list. It was never popular, but supposed tastemakers did manage to browbeat the FOX network into keeping this thing in production for three seasons. They certainly had their
chance
.

This show actually started out to be somewhat funny before the creators completely disappeared up their own collective ass after the first season. They became so overly impressed with how smart they were that we were supposed to be wowed by the thick layers of self-referential nonsense, as if we were expected to get our jollies from watching them jacking each other off in the back room with the inside-baseball crap. The network cut their order for shows in the second season, so they made a story in the show where orders for Bluth built homes get cut. Yeah, and the punch line of this joke is…?

This was symbolized in the show by the incest theme which involved half the damned cast by the end. Many folks thought Penn and Teller ran out of gas trying to get a 90-minute movie out of the aristocrats joke. These people tried to make an entire sitcom based on it. The presumptions of superiority by the supposedly smart set that liked this show were as unearned as the smug presumptions of superiority by the Bluth family. Thing is, the creators of this show seemed to like themselves so well that when they were told to go screw themselves, they probably considered it a compliment. Thank you, I think I will.

The Bluths deserve Bin Laden.

Friends 
This was one of the most absolutely bland major hit sitcoms ever. As much money as they made on this huge hit, you'd think they could have afforded to buy a personality to split between them. These are the most white bread, colorless friends you could have.  

Coach 
This was a dumb show about the trivial interests of a bland dumb jock football coach.  Why would anyone watch such bland nothingness for nine seasons? This gets bonus demerit as the replacement for the short-lived Jackie Mason series Chicken Soup. They axed the funny, clever, thoughtful guy after a few shows to make way for one of the worst lobotomies of a show ever conceived.

Petticoat Junction
Being of rural persuasion, I've always been partial to the rural comedies. The Beverly Hillbillies is still one of my half-dozen favorite all time television shows. But this spin-off is the one that just had nothing going for it except some cute girls running around. I hated Uncle Joe particularly. I just find him worthless — a whole character with no interest other than avoiding work. The Clampetts had some great social satire, and Green Acres had some characters. Arnold had personality, and that counts for a lot. The residents of Petticoat Junction were just bland. Maybe a jug of Granny's medicine would have brought out some flavor.

Sex and the City
Perhaps I'm just not the target market, but this fave of the literati totally leaves me cold. I'm all in favor of all these actresses.  Square Pegs was a much better show, though. The characters had personality. These city girls just seem to be stupid spoiled sluts trying to decide who to sleep with this week. Why does it really matter? Is there some reason why any of these characters would be considered interesting? I fail to see what makes these girls significantly more substantive than Paris Hilton. Of course, people can't get enough of Paris, so what do I know?

Family Ties
Again, there were worse shows on television — but not many as prominent. This bland mediocrity had one small bit of interesting premise. There was a generation gap with a conservative son the least bit vaguely rebelling against his liberal hippie parents. However, these characters lacked personality or writing. This was no All in the Family by any long shot.

They specifically make this all-day-suckers list for high crimes of the Very Special Episode variety. They committed a special high offense against any decent system of Geometry and Theology with cloying pretensions to meaning in the episode in which the conservative son decides that he believes in God. By the end of that cheesy excuse for a dark night of the soul, I was ready to send Alex P Keaton to meet his God and remove all doubt right away. Geez, but I hate Republicans.

Full House
This final selection represents a special rung of TV hell.  People often make fun of the more sentimental happy family stuff from the '50s and '60s, Father Knows Best and My Three Sons. But the Beaver never began to touch the kind of cloying and maudlin offenses of cheap emotional manipulation and string pulling like this show. The cute little orphan girl being raised by her uncles premise broadly sounds like Family Affair from a generation earlier, but even that wasn't so bad. Besides being better written, Buffy and Jody had a real man there with Uncle Bill, which mitigates the offensiveness versus the multiple pathetic manchild uncles of Full House.

In fairness though, come the revolution I will counsel forbearance against punishing the Olsen twins for their part in this Travesty. They were underage pawns in the emotional pornography ring that was Full House. Bob Saget, however, must pay with his life.

Bonus badness: Here's a short run show that managed to pack an exceptional lot of crappiness into two quick seasons:

Bosom Buddies
This show was cursed with talent. It was just an awful, stupid idea that should never have seen the light of day. Two guys dress in drag and pretend to be girls to get a hard-to-find apartment. The title of the series is about the limit of the scope. By any rights, this should have had a merciful death after two or three episodes.  The idea's way dumber even than John Ritter's homosexual act on Three's Company.

However, they had no less than young, hungry Tom Hanks anxious to make a name. The premise and the writing were awful, but Tom Hanks could just about create a sympathetic character full of interesting and appealing human emotions based on reading the phone book.  

That's pretty much what he was doing here for a couple of years. Apparently, a lot of the basic repartee between Scolari and Hanks was simply ad-libbed. You can tell. It was a dumb premise that couldn't last, and wasn't good while it did.

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  • http://jackiestvblog.blogspot.com/ Jackie

    They must be bad if they make you go all Dr. Suess on us! I was partial to Arnold the Pig in Petticoat Junction, but that was my only interest in the show. On the other hand, I think The Beverly Hillbillies was a clever premise and lots of fun to watch.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Boo! Hiss! Boo!

    I disagree, Al.

    Boo!

    And I have to say this, even knowing that you’re a rural gentleman, even knowing that I’m from North Carolina…but it’s true. The Andy Griffith Show is unwatchable sap. It belongs on this list if any show does.

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Duke De Mondo

    Ha! An altogether wonderful screed. and is that “theology and geometry” carry-on a riff on Confedarcy Of Dunces?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Great piece, Al. You only had ten worst sitcoms? Your just a young feller, there Al. I suffered through a lot more American TV than you did. “Love, American Style” comes to mind, for just a start. “Bernie Loves Brigette” about a Jewish guy marrying an Irish girl… I try not to think of the mental tortures I underwent as a prisoner of American TV. It’s just too traumatic (sob). Let me get out a hankie (sob, sob!)

    If Israeli TV were only better…(sob, choke)

  • http:paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Gee, Al – complaining about sitcoms being bland and free of ideas is kind of like complaining about pablum being flavorless and free of texture. You aren’t the target market for either.

    Sitcoms are designed to be inoffensive and easy to digest, requiring no maturity of taste. You don’t need teeth to watch OR criticize them. Couch-potato fare, strictly, Al. You might as well complain that McDonald’s fries are made with sugar, or that Chef Boy-Ar-Dee pasta is limp and doughy.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    Sitcoms are an easy target, and putting together a list of the worst is an easy way to show you have at least a threshold of taste. You, on the other hand, seem bent on demonstrating that you can’t really tell good from bad.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    DrPat — It’s easy to say sitcoms “are designed to be inoffensive and easy to digest, requiring no maturity of taste,” but it’s not neccessarily true.

    There aren’t many comic novels or plays or movies that are as witty as “Cheers” or “Frasier” or “Seinfeld” or “Mary Tyler Moore” or “The Simpsons.”

  • http:paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Sure, Rodney!

    Want some Chef Boy-Ar-Dee and fries with that opinion? You appear to be in the demographic they’re aiming for….

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    I was hoping maybe you could prove me wrong.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    DrPat, I dig ya, but of course you’re substantially wrong in overgeneralizing, particularly when you say “Sitcoms are designed to be inoffensive and easy to digest.” Some are, some aren’t. These shows managed to in fact be highly offensive to my taste. “Inoffensive and easy to digest” certainly doens’t describ All in the Family or really even the Simpsons.

    However, inoffensive doesn’t mean bad or weak, necessarily. Andy Griffith wasn’t at all cutting down their scope to be inoffensive, nor were they bland. They had a lot of character, and quiet bits of human drama woven cleverly together.

    Brother West, I look forward to YOUR list of worst sitcoms where you take Andy Griffith apart. I intended the Cosby show to be a transgressive and less than obvious pick- but dissing Andy Griffith, that’s transgressive. For my part, that show was not at all sappy. They fully dramatically earned pretty much every moment of sentiment on the show- and it was absolutely never cloying and manipulative in a Full House sort of way.

    Indeed DrPat, I hate to be agreeing with Rodney Welch, but sitcoms have been some of the very best programming ever on a tv. The best sitcoms are about the most durable, re-watchable literature in video. I would appreciate if Rodney would grace us with a little breakdown of this last sentiment, though: “You seem bent on demonstrating that you can’t really tell good from bad.”

    Note that this story was written for our July Blogcritics video feature on sitcoms. I knocked out this worst list relatively quickly, but I’m going to have to put more work into the best list. It’ll be at least twice as long and a measure of devotion.

    It’s the nature of art that the good stuff tends to last, and the bad stuff fades. There were a lot of crappy shows made, but mostly the lesser ones fade and leave the stronger in our continuing memory.

    One such thing that jumped out at me here, I was thinking about putting in some show to represent 50s or 60s papered over idealized family crap. But thinking it through, I barely remember most of the obvious names that are thrown around. I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually seen Father Knows Best, though one wants to blackmark it just for the title. Mostly, the mediocre and bland stuff has faded from memory and circulation.

    But The Honeymooners and I Love Lucy will live forever. Amen.

    Duke- Yes, “Geometry and Theology” is an Ignatius J Reilly riff. Among other uses, it was his firm opinion that what America needs is a good, solid king- a philosopher-king (though he didn’t invoke the Platonic phrasing) with a “decent sense of Geometry and Theology.”

    To that end, the great book in which he took solace was a philosophical tome by a prisoner awaiting execution called The Consolation of Philosophy. I actually own a copy of this book, though I haven’t quite gotten around to actually reading it.

    Ruvy, I feel your pain. I vaguely remember Bernie Loves Brigette, but it didn’t particularly offend me. Plus, I was looking for not just crappy, half-assed shows, but things that were archetypally bad.

    Love American Style wouldn’t really qualify as a sitcom, with no recurring characters or situation. Plus, I’m somewhat sympathetic to that show. It wasn’t high art, but it had moments of entertainment quality. Plus, it’s an interesting period piece, with some vague idea of representing changing American ideas of romance in the 70s.

    Yes, Jackie, I’m really Deeply Offended when I break out the Seuss stuff. I’ve got to be really put off by something to not be willing to watch it even with a goat.

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Duke De Mondo

    what was the name of the sitcom that had Hitler move next door to a jewish family? was it called Heil Honey I’m Home?? i’m not making this up, incidentally. it was cancelled after one episode, far as i know.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    Well, Al, you acquit yourself so well with this last post — words I never expected to type — that I can forgive your original list a little more easily.

    My problem with it was that it seemed to go out of its way to be, as you put it, transgressive. It seemed largely created with the idea in mind of listing shows whose main sins are that they are highly praised or highly popular so that you can look like you’re above the common rubble.

    Sort of like when some wag lists the ten worst films ever made and starts with “Citizen Kane” or “The Third Man,” or the worst records, say, and starts with “Sgt. Pepper” simply because it is everyone else’s first.

    In a way, I think comedies in general are kind of review-proof or opinion-proof; at least for me they are. The criteria is very simple: did you laugh or did you groan?

    I have absolutely no problem saying I have laughed loud and often at your Top 5 (although “Raymond,” I’m fully aware, is a pet peeve with a lot of people.) “Family Ties” had some laughs, too — the premise got old but there were still some funny things in it.

    I watch “Andy Griffith” regularly, and it’s often sappy, but that matters less than its great cast of characters — all of whom (Andy, Barney, Aunt Bea, Floyd, Gomer, Opie, Otis, Howard, et al) are more or less a part of life for a lot of people growing up in the South; so much so that I still like dropping in on them at least once a week.

    They, along with Lucy and Ricky and the Honeymooners and the people at Cheers and the cast of Seinfeld, all have permanent residence on Mount Olympus of Sitcomhood.

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Duke De Mondo

    I just feel like adding my thoughts on this particular issue, since it’s been mentioned in passing; Yes, The Simpsons is most likely the most intelligent, incisive and damn funny mainstream show e’er to have skipped cross the telly.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Rodney, thank you for your thoughtful criticism. I can appreciate your suspicion of my ideas of “transgressive” here, but let me make a general point about my choices in this kind of thing.

    On the one hand, as per the slogan of my blog, I believe that sacred cows make the tastiest burgers. On the other hand though, I particularly hate the cheap unearned sense of superiority with which some folks will bash away at pop culture. I offer my continuing praise of The Beverly Hillbillies as evidence that my thinking doesn’t run that way. My best sitcoms story will likely be full of rhapsodic odes to some big mainstream faves, obviously the Hillbillies and Andy Griffith for starters.

    I sometimes bash away at popular icons in full expectation that this will cheese people off. Hey, sometimes people NEED to have their chains pulled. But I’m not doing so MERELY to be annoying, or to express some faux superiority to the masses.

    For starters, I genuinely find the Cosby show not merely boring, but actively bad for exactly some of the aspects that other people seem to like. If Cliff Huxtable is your artistic role model for an ideal dad, I’m arguing that you should really re-consider your ideas there. What exactly makes Cliff such an exemplary model of parenthood? Dysfunctions and all, I’d ten times rather have Roseanne for a parent.

    Speaking of transgressive, Duke, I’d never heard of this 1990 Heil Honey show. I’d LOVE to see this to find out what the hell they were thinking. According to Wiki, they produced as many as eight episodes, but only one ever aired.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Looking up Heil Honey, I ran into an article on Wiki with shows that were cancelled after one episode- and some that never aired at all. Now I’m going to be seriously jonesin’ to see this never released show:

    One series that never made it to the air due to political pressure was Mr. Dugan, a three-week trial series set to be aired on CBS from March 11 through March 25, 1979. Starring Cleavon Little as a fledging black congressman, Mr. Dugan was yanked from CBS’ schedule after several real black congressmen took umbrage after a special screening.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    The Heil Honey talk reminds me of the Mr. Hilter bit from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

    It’s really hard to get a through line on these selections. My Top 10 worst would be chock full of TGIF sludge i.e. mindless claptrap that shocks the soul into sedated submission.

    Friends might be glossy and overly pretty, but it was well written (you could actually differentiate the characters from one another) and produced and was surprisingly funny from time-to-time. Arrested Development is and was brilliant, but I won’t try to explain it to anyone not in the getting it camp.

  • http://gohah.blogspot.com Gordon Hauptfleisch

    “Coach” gets extra demerits because it seemed to last for 27 seasons. I don’t think I was ever able to watch a whole show, but every time I came across it in changing channels, I couldn’t believe it hadn’t been cancelled years earlier. It isn’t still on, is it?

  • http://breathoffreshink.com Chris Evans

    I was JUST about to start blasting you for your choices…then I saw the author–and it all came together.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    Al, I know you like bashing sacred cows — don’t we all? — but it can become a bit of an act, and at any rate icon-bashing is more effective when it’s rooted in truth, which is where I part company with you on Cosby. Say what you will about all the positive values of the show — that isn’t why I liked it. I liked it because it was funny. Cosby’s funny and so was his family, at least in the best episodes they were. It scored on the most important point, which is something Beverly Hillbillies, in my opinion, never really did, or not to the same extent.

    You can agree with that or not, but if, as I said, a show is genuinely funny, then all the criticisms in the world simply don’t matter. For years I watched and enjoyed “Friends,” despite every supposedly hip and with-it magazine in the world preaching to me that I shouldn’t. The same went for Conan O’Brien — a show I loved and supported even when the TV critics were mounting daily death-watches. Funny trumps hip every time, and ultimately supplants it.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    In fairness to Andy Griffith, Al, my dislike for it may be BECAUSE I’m from North Carolina. Because I’m not only from NC, but I’m from Winston-Salem, which they sometimes refer to as “the big city” on Andy Griffith. Mayberry is actually a thinly disguised Mt. Airy (note the similarities between the names), the little hamlet to Winston-Salem’s northwest. (Right between them is a mountain called Pilot Mountain…ring any bells?)

    But that means that AG reminds me of everything I hated about Winston-Salem: provincialism, sentimental romanticizing of southern small-town life, redneck chic, and cutesy little stores that have pictures of “Aint Bea” in the windows. I just couldn’t stand the kind of place where there was only one barber shop and two policemen…the kind of place that considers WInston-Salem to be “the city.”

    In other words, all the things that warm people’s hearts about the Andy Griffith show are the things that pushed me to get the Hell out of Winston-Salem at first opportunity. So to me the show is just a fairly stomach-turning reminder of what I escaped.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    None of that, though, changes my other firm conviction, that Arrested Development was one of the funniest shows ever made.

  • darkbhudda

    Everytime I see ads describing domestic violence, the descriptions match up with what Deborah did to Raymond all the time on Everybody Loves Raymond.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Brother West, I feel your pain. I used to feel similar resentments as a high school student at the time of the Dukes of Hazard. Hated them danged idiot rednecks. Then when I was away from home in New Mexico going to school, I found myself appreciating the Dukes and Lynyrd Skynyrd much more.

    Brother Rodney, I just do not really see the writing or appeal of Cosby. Perhaps you could write such a thing up in more depth. Break it down for me a little more. But if Cosby and Friends do it for you, then rock and roll.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    This seems more like a list of overrated sitcoms than truly bad sitcoms. Most of these aren’t awful, they just aren’t as good as you’d expect from their ratings and popularity.

    I mean, there have been sitcoms which were mentally and physically painful to watch with nothing remotely funny to them. I mean, what about The Ropers and Joanie Loves Chachi? Now those are truly awful – way beyond most of what you’ve listed.

    Hell, Petticoat Junction was like a work of erotic art for some of us in the 60s, and Bosom Buddies was brilliantly surreal in its way.

    Dave

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Bosom Buddies “brilliantly surreal”? You’re kind of reaching there, Dave.

    I picked some of these rather than easier targets. I hate Friends. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Corporate tools. YUCK.

    Also, you could look at some of these, including Friends as being mediocre more than bad, which is sort of what you’re saying. But that’s worse. Would that thou were hot or cold, and all. I’d rather watch Small Wonder than Friends or Family Ties.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    Al, Comedy is subjective, I think; it either makes you laugh or it doesn’t, and I don’t think you can talk someone into laughing at a sitcom. In that regard, a persuasive article is out, and at any rate this isn’t a subject about which I feel the requisite amount of passion. Suffice to say, I’ve laughed a lot at the shows you hate, and we may have to just leave it at that.

  • http://www.the-op.com Albar Suger

    I have to disagree with you, Barger. I personally think Arrested Development was brilliant. I find it hilarious how you ask what the punch line of Bluth homes getting cut is, and yet, I don’t really see the point of listing the ten worst sitcoms is. Maybe to bash AD some more or maybe to stroke your ego…?

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Rodney, this gets back to an ongoing theme with me, the objective vs the subjective in art.

    You’re certainly right that there is a subjective element to comedy. If it makes YOU laugh, then it’s funny. Different people have different experiences that effect your response. Granny Clampett reminds me a lot of my beloved grandmother, so they start out way ahead of the game.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of more objective considerations. I might get more out of the Clampetts than a city boy would, but there’s actually something there to get. The show was pretty well executed within its parameters.

    Whereas Full House just sucked. There really wasn’t anything to that. Maybe some girls wanted to dote on the manchild uncles or something, but the writing and characters, etc, was objectively pretty crappy.

    I don’t know that I would expect to talk someone into finding something funny, but perhaps pointing out what I’m seeing will show someone something that they’ve missed. Then again, some Blogcritic might come back making a big case for why Cosby was the greatest sitcom Dad ever.

    Also, I just noticed a small point in the editing of my original article which causes me to want to gently and lovingly mock whatever editor monkey was responsible. Specifically, the sentence “The idea’s way dumber even than John Ritter’s fag act on Three’s Company” became “homosexual act.” Weenie, weenie, weenie!

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Watch out, Al. Next thing you know, you’ll be apologizing over an expensive dinner to some representatives from the Simian-American Defamatory Defense Legal Education Society for that “editor monkey” jibe.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Thanks Victor. Now I’m having visions of myself cast in the Geico caveman commercial, addressing SADDLES reps over roast duck with mango salsa, “Seriously, I didn’t realize you guys were even still around.”

  • TV Junkie

    Very interesting list.

    I agree with …
    Friends.
    Yes, Friends has to be one of the worst shows ever made. I tried to sit through an entire episode on multiple occasions to see what the fuss was about and just couldn’t; the show sucked that bad. And everybody made such a big friggin deal about how gorgeous Jennifer Aniston was. Sure, she’s pretty, but I see prettier women every day; she’s just not all that. More importantly, she’s not a very good actress.

    Sex and the City.
    Awful show, completely unlikable unfunny characters. Is this a comedy? A drama? Cuz it’s neither funny nor dramatic nor erotic. Middle age sluts in the city deciding who to screw … oooh how scandalous … big whoop-dee-doo! Good call on this one.

    Full House.
    Disturbingly bad TV. Ok, it was supposed to be cute, whatever. But it was so horribly badly written and moronic, I fear I am just a little bit dumber for having watched a few minutes of it here and there. How did this crap get on the air and stay on the air!!??

    I disagree with …
    Everybody Loves Raymond …
    I actually liked this show; I don’t know how someone could put this decent show in same league as Friends or Full House. The overbearing interfering mother-in-law Marie, the crude, jaded, mannerless Frank, jealous and awkward “Robbie”, Amy and her eccentric puritanical family, these were all humorous, likable, and memorable characters. The show worked for me (maybe because Frank and Marie remind me of my parents).

    The Cosby Show.
    The show was a bland moralistic show trying to paint a positive, classy, palatable image of a Black urban family. And it did this well. Ok, the show definitely wasn’t exactly poignant in any way or laugh-out-loud funny, but it had its moments. At worst it was an average family sitcom. It really sounds like the Cliff Huxtable character just really gets under Mr. Barger’s skin (understandable). Still, this show comes nowhere close to Full House in terms of horrible TV family sitcoms; Full House sets the standard.

    Coach.
    Another average sitcom. I kinda liked the old dopey assistant coach character. Ok, not great TV, but definitely not has horrible as Full House. But this show lasted nine seasons?? Didn’t seem like the show was on that long. Ok, there’s no way the show deserved nine seasons, so I’ll give Mr. Barger points for that :)

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Every day, you see women prettier than Jennifer Aniston? Out of purely idle curiosity, TV Junkie, what city do you live in?

    And what sort of rent might one expect to pay on a studio apartment there?

    Just asking.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    TV Junkie, thank you for your detailed commentary. This is just the kind of point by point response I like to see.

    From other work, I’d rate Jennifer Aniston a decent actress, though I don’t see why she would be considered so exceptionally beautiful. I have vague positive feelings about her as a person. It’s just that she made her name in such an awful excuse for a show.

  • TV Junkie

    Well since you ask, I live in the Santa Monica/West LA area of Southern California. $1300 – $2200 a month for a 1 person studio apartment.

    Mind you, I work on the same block as a Playboy office and in the summertime, scantily clad hotties are out in full force so maybe my experience is not representative of other U.S. locales.

    My point is that if Jennifer Aniston were not famous and she was walking down the street, I’d think “Hey, that’s a pretty lady” … I’m not sure why some guys make her out to be some kind of amazing unearthly goddess (fame does strange things to peoples perceptions maybe). I just get tired of hearing about a person who’s nothing more than just another pretty face with mediocre talent. She’s definitely not worth sitting through a really bad sitcom to catch glimpses of (unless she’s going to be naked or something :))

    Errr .. well anyways, my point is that Mr. Al Barger is correct in stating that Friends sucks.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Well, you won’t have to worry about having me as a neighbor anytime soon, TV Junkie. In my town, studio apartments start under $300 a month. I’m paying a bit more for a 2-bedroom, but certainly won’t be able to afford $1300+ in the foreseeable future.

    As for Ms. Aniston, I’d recommend you see some of her other work to gain an appreciation for her comic timing.

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    Well then, how about “My Mother the Car”? I guess I’m showing my age…

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    I’ve heard of My Mother the Car for years, but I’ve never seen it. I’d LOVE to see what the hell that was all about. Heck, after all these years, I’d about pay money to see this, but it is not available on video best I can tell.

  • Baronius

    Al, you like point-by-point responses? Excellent. This looks like fun. But first, if I could address the objective/subjective question, how about this: humor is subjective, but wit is objective. A good sitcom like The Office (US) doesn’t make me laugh with every line, but I can enjoy it anyway. I respect its smarts. On the other hand, even a funny bit on Raymond feels cheap.

    Cosby – I agree, to the extent that I’m familiar with it. I don’t think I ever made it through a full episode. It was just dull.

    Will and Grace – Yes, this show belongs on a Worst list, but don’t forget about some of NBC’s other filler material, like Caroline in the City and Suddenly Susan.

    Raymond – Awful, but not in the way you describe. It’s the standard “Moron and Shrew” sitcom, which dates back to The Honeymooners. He’s dumb and lazy! She’s angry and won’t let him have sex! That’s not modern; that’s older than dirt.

    Arrested Development – I agree. There have been quite a few witty one-camera no-laugh-track sitcoms recently, but this wasn’t one of them. Malcolm and Scrubs could bury this show.

    Friends – This show was good in the first 17 of its 48 seasons. Don’t write it off. As for Jennifer Aniston, back when she ate, she had that kind of off-beat beauty that Hollywood usually ignores. Oh, and Brad thinks he’s so the bomb but I can’t believe he hooked up with that Angelina skank.

    Coach – He’s clueless! She’s angry! I’ve seen this before….

    Petticoat Junction, Bosom Buddies, Sex and the City – Never saw it. As Peter Griffin has noted, Sarah Jessica Parker looks like a foot.

    Family Ties – God, I hate what sitcom writers think Republicans are. Although, come to think of it, the parents were pathetic too. This thing made Spin City look like a political documentary.

    Full House – The phrase “obvious choice” can be a way of accusing the listmaker of laziness, or it can be a recognition that the thing chosen is such a perfect example of bad that, if it weren’t chosen, the list would have to be called something other than Ten Worst. Al isn’t lazy.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Thank you so much Baronious. I will have to say though that you’re being unfair to the poor Honeymooners. Alice was no shrew.

    But who was the first sitcom shrew wife? Mrs Drysdale?

  • http://www.rebeccawright.com Rebecca

    I have seen ‘My Mother The Car’ and take my word for it, the show was awful! I find it hard to describe–imagine KITT (from Knight Rider) as an old broken down ’50 model car with a female voice barking commands at a middle age man, who refers to the car as his mother. I don’t know how Jerry Van Dyke got involved in such dreck. Perhaps his brother Dick couldn’t line up any work for him at the time.

  • Nancy

    *GROAN* Oh, My Mother The Car … Kaye Ballard must cringe every time she recalls being in that thing. God, that’s an oldie but baddie. Petticoat Junction was a Green Acres spinoff, wasn’t it? Yeah, that was pretty bad. Sex & The City was bad, just because the whole selling point was sheer prurience. Mr. Ed IMO was also bad, as was Bewitched with the 2nd Darron. For some reason it went downhill pretty fast when the actor changed.

    The ones I thought/still think were/are the best are the Honeymooners, the original I Love Lucy, Dick Van Dyke, and That Girl. I liked Leave It To Beaver, mainly because the kids were pretty funny: “rat-rat-rat” and the weaselliness of Eddie Haskell were very amusing. Laverne & Shirley was pretty good.

    Mork & Mindy started off OK, but Robin Williams’ frenetics got real old real fast as an extended gag. The Brady Bunch I always considered a stinker. Cosby was pretty blah, but I wouldn’t put it in the top 10 as far as worst. The few episodes I saw of Seinfeld were annoying. I must be one of the few persons in the US who really disliked that show & saw little or nothing funny/amusing/witty about it.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Howdy Nancy. You know, the more the few folks who have seen My Mother the Car carry on about how extravagantly bad it is, the more curioser I get about wanting to see it. This falls under “would that thou were hot or cold.” It surely doesn’t sound mediocre.

    I didn’t care much for Seinfeld at the time, but I find it rather more palatable in reruns when I’m not hearing about it all the damned time. The emotional coldness of the show appeals to me sometimes, being able to get some of the well-executed observational comic wit without having to get my heart warmed.

    Mr Ed got old, in that it was a fairly limiting premise. But I’m inclined to give good credit for shows that have strong and unique premises besides just being about a nice family in the suburbs.

    I particularly like Bewitched. That’s going to be high on my best-of list sometime this month. I don’t think the change in Darrens really made that much difference. That characte was not the star. For my money, that would be Endora.

  • Nancy

    Absolutely, Endora was the ‘star’ of Bewitched. Whenever she was on, she was “On”, as they say. Al, you ain’t missing a thing having never seen MMTC. You know the premise is that this idiot gets hold of a car that is his reincarnated (no pun intended) mother in law, who (which?) talks to him, but only he can hear, etc. a la Mr. Ed. That is, if I remember right. That one was kind of early days, even for me, and it never did go into reruns – thank God. Like Mr. Ed it was strictly a one-joke premise, and a lame one at that.

    Another I dimly remember was “I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster”. I can’t even remember what that one was about, nor do I care to.

    Hmmm…My 3 Sons wasn’t too bad, from what I recollect.

    Oh – oh – I know: The one about the soldiers in the old west fort. I think Ken Berry played the Capt. Can’t remember its name. Awful show.

  • TV Junkie

    You guys are unfair to Everybody Loves Raymond. I say it was a good show! But I think the Honeymooners was a good show also. Maybe I’m a “Moron and Shrew” kinda guy :) Hey, that’s not even a bad name for a sitcom or variety show. “It’s the Moron And Shrew Show!”

    The Cosby Show maybe, possibly belongs on an overrated list. It doesn’t belong on a worst list. It just doesn’t even come close to the likes of Full House in the ways of awfullness and retardedness. Full House is a gold standard of moronic TV. Sex and the City and Friends are in the same league. But the Cosby Show? Nah …

    On a side note, I think it’s kinda interesting that some people like The Honeymooners and dislike Seinfeld at the same time. (I personally like both) I did catch some reruns of The Honeymooners and thought it was “Seinfeldish”. More correctly, I guess I should say Seinfeld is “Honeymoonerish” in its style of off-beat character and situational comedy.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    TV Junkie- Please elaborate on your Honeymooners/Seinfeld connection, which I’m not seeing yet. What’s that all about?

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    The Dick Dyke Show, with Mary Tyler More, MORE, MORE, oh oh more……

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    I last saw “My Mother the Car” when I was six; I liked it and never thought it was strange. (I thought it was a lot stranger than no one on TV ever went to the bathrom.) I’d like seeing it again, but it seems kinda like a one-joke premise, doesn’t it?

    There were a lot of short-lived shows from back then that I’d like to see again: “It’s About Time,” in which cavemen are transported to 1960s Manhattan, “O.K. Crackerby!” with Burl Ives as an irascible old millionaire with a soft side, and “The Pruitts of Southhampton,” a kind of Beverly Hillbillies-in-revese deal where Phyllis Diller is the matron of a nutty rich family which has gone belly up.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    Loofa — Which show? The Honeymooners? Are you Mrs. Carney or Mrs. Gleason? You don’t have to say, but they were both champs in my book.

  • TV Junkie

    “TV Junkie- Please elaborate on your Honeymooners/Seinfeld connection, which I’m not seeing yet. What’s that all about?”

    That Ed Norton character on the Honeymooners and his antics with Ralph remind me a bit of Kramer from Seinfeld. Or maybe I am just crazy. After all, I like Everybody Loves Raymond ;)

  • http://www.rebeccawright.com Rebecca

    Oh – oh – I know: The one about the soldiers in the old west fort. I think Ken Berry played the Capt. Can’t remember its name. Awful show.

    I think that one was called F-Troop. They used to run that on TBS all the time, and now it’s available on DVD.

    I always enjoy watching ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show.’ I also found it hard to believe they were sleeping in separate beds. You know they enjoyed each others company. I think they were the first TV couple to show signs of physical attraction.

  • Baronius

    I have fond memories of F-Troop. I think it’s one of those cases where I was the right age for it. On the other hand, I was too young for The Honeymooners until I was too old for it, if that makes any sense. I guess it was a show for adults when I was a kid, then it seemed too dated when I grew up.

    On a bit of a tangent, I saw Lady and The Tramp recently. There was a scene in which Lady’s owner was having a baby shower, and all the women were talking about how beautiful she looked. “Radiant!” The scene cuts to the room across the hall, where all the men are laughing and talking about how awful the expectant father looks. It kind of surprised me to see well-done observational humor about the sexes in a fairly old movie. (There’s a point somewhere in there about comedy and generations.)

    Nancy, watching Seinfeld was like reading a Master’s thesis on “Methods of Interweaving Plot Lines”, except theses are usually funnier, and the average grad student has better comic timing than Michael Richards or Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

  • http://www.salonely.blogspot.com reggie von woic

    Goodness, Al!!!
    Everybody loves Raymond, Will and Grace, sex and the city…FRIENDS?!?!

    somebody has a messed up sense of humor.
    damn!

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Howdy Reggie, glad you could join the party. Yeah, those are some pretty egregious shows. Again, that they’re more mediocre than positively bad makes them worse. Friends was mostly more or less competently written, as such bland things go, but I’d rather watch the truly awful Small Wonder robot girl than another half-assed argument between Raymond and his shrew.

    I’m still looking for ideas on the first shrew sitcom wives, by the way.

    TV Junkie- I could maybe see a broad similarity between Norton and Kramer as two sitcom sidekicks who brought the physical comedy to their shows.

    Miss Rebecca- The F-Troop was marginally tolerable at the time, as I was probably in the 5 year old range. What adult could sit through that thing now, I don’t know.

    Baronius, why would you think that they wouldn’t have insight into male and female issues in a 30 or even a 100 year old movie? It’s not like people only started thinking about that stuff when you were born.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    I was about to say the same thing. That’s the general perception so many young filmgoers have; no understanding in anything before their day, no sense of history.

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/THESAVAGEQUIETSEPTEMBERSUN/ Victor Lana

    Love your selections, Al. Just a few that I hated most (and thought were bad too):

    Hello, Larry!, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Primose Lane, Nr. Nice, Mayberry RFD, Here’s Lucy, New Adventures of Old Christine, After M*A*S*H, and Charles in Charge.

  • Nancy

    I dunno, I was pretty young when F-Troop (thank you, Rebecca) was on; even younger when My Mother The Car etc. was out; VERY young when Honeymooners was on. I gotta say I still think, all things considered, that the original, old I Love Lucy & Dick Van Dyke were the two funniest & best written shows ever to have run on TV. Everything else just seems to be labored, by comparison; they seem to have to work too hard for a lot less wit & humor.

    Maybe Cosby’s show falls so far short, because everyone holds the show to the standard of humor of his stand-up shows, which were/are side-splittingly funny & really one of a kind that can’t be duplicated on a set. I mean, consider his schtick about Noah; and then there’s going to the horror movies with his little brother; and the classic “hey-Hey-HEY…” “… it’s … FAT ALBERT!” These all depended so much on the listeners’ imaginations as much as they did on his facial expressions and sound effects into the mike. When you film something much more detailed, with far less imagination involved by the viewers, you necessarily lose a lot more. I don’t think any Cosby show would stand a chance, actually, just because of what it’s being judged against.

    I was going to say there is an abrasiveness in Seinfeld that differentiated it from Honeymooners, but on mentally reviewing what I’ve seen of Honeymooners, I take that back. Honeymooners was pretty abrasive & downright hostile, actually. I don’t know why I consider one funny and the other just mean-spirited & nasty. Maybe it was that Alice gave as good (or better) than she got…?

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Ralph Kramden was abrasive, but he was also very warm and relatable. He had a good heart. Add some political ranting, and you’ve got Archie Bunker.

    Whereas all the Seinfeld characters were purposely drawn cold. By design, they were meant to be kept at arms length, which worked for their show. It was their famous maxim, “No hugging, no learning.” That they kept that right to the end was one of the great distinctive points of the show, locked up in prison in the final scene because they never learned. Great symbolic denouement for those characters.

  • Scott Butki

    Good list, Al.

  • Dynamo of Eternia

    Well, everyone is entitled to their opinions, and if you don’t like them, you don’t like them. But some of these, like The Cosby Show and Friends, were extremely successful, so they must have done something right.

  • Nancy

    Hmmm, Al – I never thought of that. True: they never learned. An object lesson to the rest of us? ;)

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    Rodney, comment #47. “It’s About Time”!!!! I forgot about that one. It’s about time, it’s about space, it’s about 2 men in the strangest place….I remember that stinker that was actually a guilty pleasure.

    What was the name of that show in the early 60s, correct me if I have it wrong, starring Julie Newmar as Rhoda the robot who was sexier than hell? I think the actor who was the father in ‘Courtship of Eddie’s Father’ (another stinker?) was Julie Newmar’s owner….

    As a 6 year old I loved it because Newmar was hot and a robot that could do amazing things….

    best,
    DM

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Nancy, “No hugging, no learning” is a quote. That was Seinfeld’s explicit guidepost during the production. I found the Friends cloying and unpalatable, but they were intended to be your “friends.” The Seinfeld characters, on the other hand, were absolutely designed to be self-absorbed fools. Whether you dig it or not, that was a purposeful artistic effect.

    Dynamo, thanks for dropping by, but the producers of these shows didn’t do much right by any artistic measure. Cosby and Friends were huge hits. They certainly did things right in terms of appealing to demographics or such. That is, they were commercially successful.

    Thus, the marketplace overall clearly disagrees with me on this. Then again, the marketplace thinks that Garth Brooks is one of the couple of greatest singers ever to make a record.

    The market is wrong on both counts. They have a fair vote, and the pro-Friends advocates definitely win the count. Nonetheless, on the merits of what’s actually on the screen, these shows suck.

    Brother Butki, thank you for your kind words.

    Nancy- I dig on some I Love Lucy and Dick Van Dyke as well, but we’re in a golden age of comedy right now, with South Park and the Simpsons, and the just concluded Malcolm in the Middle and Bernie Mac among other gems.

  • Nancy

    Is Simpsons considered a sitcom? If so, I’d definitely count it in as one of the very best. Din’t know that.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    I don’t know that there’s anywhere on the official documents for the Simpsons that says they are a “sitcom.” That’s a subjective critical judgment that some might argue against. However, most people seem to regard it as such. It certainly is built on the most classic family sitcom premise.

    But then where is the line on that? The Simpsons seem like a “sitcom,” but South Park doesn’t quite.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    Douglas, don’t know that show, but I can kinda relate. Even before I knew the first thing about sex, I knew that Larry Hagman just was not taking proper advantage of Jeannie. She called him “Master,” for heaven’s sake! Where was the major’s sex drive? In his arm pit?

  • Jason

    Hey Al, I’d like to know what your ten best sitcoms are.

    Thanks,
    Jason

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Jason, July is sitcom month for Blogcritics, and I will definitely be putting up a best sitcoms story before the end of the month- only I probably won’t be able to restrict myself to just ten. I don’t want to give away all the surprises, but it will certainly include a couple of obvious choices: All in the Family and the Simpsons. They pretty much set the gold standard for sitcoms, along with the Beverly Hillbillies, of course.

    Rodney, in fairness to Major Nelson, he did eventually marry the girl. Presumably by that point he’s taking proper advantage.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    Took him long enough.

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    Rodney, oh my!!!! You know the writers planned it that way….

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    “Took him long enough” was an inherent problem of the premise. That sexual tension was the prime thing emotionally driving the show. I don’t know exactly how the production actually played out, but for practical purposes, their wedding was the end of the show. It resolved the central issue.

  • http://- Chris

    Hey AL, sorry I got to your site, I was searching for the greatest show that ever was – “Everybody Loves Raymond.” I have to strongly disagree with what you said. Oh and don’t use George Carlin’s words, he may not like the show but he’s good friends with Ray.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Chris, it’s a damned shame if Everybody Loves Raymond represents the height of television.

    I’m all in favor of Raymond being friends with George Carlin, and not surprised. Heck, he even seemed to get along peachy with Ann Coulter on the Tonight Show.

    Ray Romano might be a heck of a nice fellow if he moved in next door. We’d probably get on fine bonding over a grill, and discussing the finer points of propane and propane accessories- just so long as he doesn’t expect me to watch his crappy show.

  • http://www.rebeccawright.com Rebecca

    I actually can’t stand Seinfeld. I just never understood what all the fuss was about. Since I’m in my mid-thirties, most of my friends loved the show, but every time I watched it, I just found it boring. I guess I just missed the boat on that one.

    “Nanny and the Professor” that was a bad show. I believe the show starred Paris and Nicky Hilton’s mom. She was an actress before she became a professional socialaite.

  • Greg

    worst. list. ever.

  • http://www.rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    “Nanny and the Professor” starred Juliet Mills and Richard Long.

    As for the Hilton link, Wikipedia states: “Nicky Hilton is a niece of two popular child stars of the 1970s, Kim Richards and Kyle Richards, who appeared in the motion picture Escape to Witch Mountain and TV shows like Nanny and the Professor, Little House on the Prairie, and later, ER.”

  • http:paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Douglas Mayes: My Living Doll starred Newmar and Robert Cummings.

    All: F Troop was chiefly noted for the utter bravado to call the Indians “the Hackawi” because they were perpetually lost. I recall my father choking on his beer at this reference to a joke punchline from his WWII Shore Patrol days, when it was usually rendered, “We’re the Fukawi.” (Where the * are we?)

  • none

    how dare you put Arrested on this list! Jeez…I can count all the horrible sitcoms you missed on one hand…and I agree Full House is awful…but Arrested! HOW DARE YOU, SIR!

  • Mick

    Over here in Australia we had a “All in the family clone” called “kingswood Country” the only difference was our version was filled with hardcore racism. Even though the butt of the joke was son in-law who had a european background like myself, i found it hilarious. Why did political-correctness kill this mastery of what comedy was all about? i.e taking the piss out of the ethnics!!

  • SmOOOthAkshun

    Coach was one of THE BEST comedies ever aired on television. The writers for that show showed their ingenuity and imagination show after show. The Troy Aikman sperm donor show and the Jimmy Johnson SuperBowl ring swallowed by Luther’s dog show rank amongst the funniest moments ever conceived in television history. You’re probably a big Fox news fan, huh? Coach was a well conceived and thought out premise upon which many enetertaining situations could arise and would be down right funny to watch. It was hilarious. If more people would lighten up this would be a much better world.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    SmOOOthAkshun, you’re a Coach fan and also a Fox hating wingnut- what an appealing combination you have going for you there.

    Perhaps I haven’t given Coach enough chance. They had a dog eat someone’s ring? My G-d, where did these geniuses come up with this stuff?

  • Ben Masters

    Chief among the sitcoms that I hated is “Friends,” and the chief reason for my loathing of that series was its utterly detestable (to me, anyway) opening theme. Even the themes of “Hawaii Five-O”, “St. Elsewhere,” and “Hill Street Blues” were more tolerable (in my honest opinion) than the stinker of a song that was the theme of “Friends,” and that is why I have those three in my television disc lineup and not “Friends.” A lot of people will probably disagree with me, and they have a right to their opinions as well.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Ben- The Friends theme song is a perfect compliment to the whole flavor of the show – which is a pretty good reason to hate it. The song is really quite catchy – though more in a catch in your craw way. Like the show, it’s competently crafted. You might could listen to the song a couple of times without being offended.

    But again like the show, the more times I heard the damned song and thus had it pushed upwards into consciousness, the more obvious the complete vapidness of it became. It’s a vacuous bit of corporate pop product with absolutely no real personality or emotion whatsoever.

    To give them a little credit though, the song and the show have caused me repeatedly over time to get fresh air and sunshine. This has proven to be one of the top shows that will cause me to absolutely turn off a television and walk away.

  • Ben Masters

    Those are some good points that you have made, Al. My brother Marc’s wife Michelle has “The Complete First Season”‘s worth of “Friends” on disc (at least, I think she does– I haven’t seen it around her house lately), and I was the one who had suggested it to her. “Friends” is, I believe, one of her favorite series (I may be incorrect in this, though). I’ve been around when she watched it and I’ve listened to the opening theme once or twice. Part of what I didn’t like about it, and what forms part of the basis of my opinion, is the clapping after each of the first two lines– it’s just like this, if I recall…

    “So no one told you life was gonna be this way”

    (clap-clap-clap-clap)

    “Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s DOA”

    (clap-clap-clap-clap)

    …and then there is no more clapping (at least, none that I remember) for the remainder of the song. You are correct, however, about the increased obviousness of the vapidity of the song the more it is listened to. That is why I try to stay away from it as much as possible. I do, however, concede to and respect the opinions of those that enjoy that series, either through owning one or more of the ten seasons (or even the complete series) on disc or watching it on TBS or any other local station. They have a right to enjoy it, and if it’s one of their favorite series, as I believe it is to my brother Marc’s wife Michelle (like I said, I may be incorrect), more power to them. It has just, however, never been one of my favorites. In my mind, those that didn’t like it (which you and I are, it seems; I may be incorrect about that, and if I am, please say so) and those that liked (even loved) it are both worthy of the consideration of their feelings.

    (The reason why “The Complete First Season” is capitalized and quoted is because that’s how it was branded.)

    By the way, thanks for your response to my comments, Al, and I do appreciate it and respect your opinion.

  • Ben Masters

    Edit: I just found out that I was incorrect about the number of claps in the “Friends” opening theme. It is only 4, after the first line.

  • Ben Masters

    The other main reason why I hated “Friends” is because of its home base, Central Perk. The older series that I have on disc had, in my opinion, much better settings/home bases:

    “Hawaii Five-O”: the Iolani Palace in Honolulu
    “Hart to Hart”: the Hart mansion in Bel Air, CA
    “Dynasty”: the Carrington mansion (actually the Filoli Mansion near San Francisco, CA)
    “Hill Street Blues”: Hill Street Station (this was also the name of the pilot)
    “St. Elsewhere”: St. Eligius Hospital in Boston (actually the Franklin Square House apartment building)
    “Hardcastle and McCormick”: Gulls Way in Malibu
    “Moonlighting”: Blue Moon Investigations (which actually began life in the pilot as City of Angels Investigations)

    What, in your opinion, are some more of television’s better settings/home bases?

  • http://www.hardcastleandmccormick.tv/ Nuke Baby

    “What, in your opinion, are some more of television’s better settings/home bases?”

    Kudos to you for mentioning the Iolani Palace and Gulls Way!

    I’ll add to your list the following locations:

    The Batcave from the ORIGINAL Batman TV Series
    The Fire Station House from Emergency!
    McHale’s Island from McHale’s Navy
    Robin Masters’ Estate from Magnum, PI
    and The “Swamp” from M*A*S*H*

  • daryl d

    Is this article “satire?”

  • Ben Masters

    Thanks for your response, Nuke Baby. I heartily agree with your choices, and I appreciate the kudos that you gave me for mentioning the Iolani Palace and Gulls Way.

  • Ben Masters

    To the original poster, Mr. Al Barger– if you hated “Friends” and “Raymond” so much, why not try a sitcom that is actually very good– “Mary Tyler Moore” S1 from 1970-71. I bought it on disc, and I’m already 8 in, and it is hilarious. I mean “hilarious” as in the good sort of way, natural, clean humor, not the sex humor that “Friends” and “Raymond” had.

  • Dave

    We all have our our top ten worst. I agree with much of this list, but I think I’d replace Family Ties with The Drew Carey Show and maybe Bosom Buddies with That 70’s Show. I think I’d find room for Cheers, too. The sad thing is, Friends had real potential and the first season was brilliantly funny and well-written. I have never seen a show fall off in quality as far and as fast as that show did from the end of season one until the start of season two. It was unwatchable. How it lasted 10 years is beyond me.

  • dumb.

    Worst list ever.

  • CARTMAN

    shitfeld is the worse sitcom ever jerry shitfeld is a terrible comedian and needs to go away,My new
    favorite sitcom is That 70’s Show,its awesome and
    smart and if you’d rather watch shitfeld than T70S
    than your just another member of the american sheeple and should have the atrocity that is shitfeld in constant play for so long that your eyes begin to bleed from hearing those annoying peoples shreeking gobs.

  • Bob

    The worst show ever has to be Mamma’s Family, That show is so lame with a30 something lady playing an old women just is bad. Yeah it was a skit on the Carrol Burnnet Show, they should have left it there. All that canned laughter, its disgusting just to hear it.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Bob, I’m with you on this one. Mama’s Family was pretty far down the food chain, a spin off from a show that wasn’t that good to start with.

  • david

    I think you can tell a lot about a person when they openly admit they prefer that 70’s show (one of the most annoying shows on tv) over seinfeld(the greatest sitcom in television history).

  • Roshan

    First of, if you think Friends sucks you are a retard. I dont know who you are or what you are but friends has an appeal as universal as friendship itself. It may be overrated i agree, and maybe now im tired of watching reruns, but i remember when the show was still on I used to rather die than miss an episode.

    And full house? Only cold, emotionally deprived persons would say that full house is pathetic or probably too intellectually and high thinking to appreciate the value of family. Its a show meant for young ones and old ones probably not for the ones in between like us, but regardless it is well deserving of respect.

    ThAnd imj so SUPRISED that Seinfeld isnt on your list!!!!

    The most vastly overrrated, unfunny, ridiculous, pointless, stupid waste of time ever created.

    Seinfeld may appeal to small group of people unlike friends.

  • HRED

    I think the number 1 reason why some hate friends because the last 4 years of the show just stunk (the writers were definitely in it for the money) but do yourselves a favor, ladies and gentlemen who dislike the series, watch a couple of episodes from earlier seasons (1994-1999) and tell me what you think.

    Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I cannot believe you’ve included such fine shows like the cosby show and friends, but not according to jim, according to jim is easily the worst sitcom in recent history no question about it.

    I agree with ELR, the most stereotypical show ever. And AD, it really never was popular, but people still rave about it and it annoys me because the show simply sucked for most of it’s run

  • Rashad

    I agree with this list for the most part. I never got the appeal of shows like The Cosby Show. What was so funny about it?

  • Jaim

    Just because you don’t remember any Cosby Show plot lines doesn’t mean the memories have left the rest of us raised on the series. I remember the kids lip syncing to Ray Charles’ song, “Night Time is The Right Time,” for their grandparents anniversary. Little Rudy was belting out the female vocals while her older sisters and mom played backup singers. Cliff and Theo played the male vocals with great theatrics.
    I remember Denise trying her shot at being a shirt designer when Theo wanted a replica of a Gordon Cartrell shirt. She ended up making the worst shirt in history and thoroughly embarassing him in front of his date. It was one of the top funniest episodes of the series.
    Another great episode was the smooth contest that Claire and Cliff held between each other. Claire had spranged her ankle. Cliff saw that she had a brown bag wrapped around her foot and said how it’s not smoooth but ugly. However, once he takes off the bag we discover that instead of a regular medical brace on her foot she dressed it up with the coolest shoe ever. The kids voted in her favor after the fun reveal. It was a funny and unexpected moment.
    I could come up with countless other examples, but my point is quite clear. This show was fun,lighthearted,and had a lot of special moments. I laughed and felt good every time I watched an episode. The characters were likeable and always very entertaining to watch.

    Now to tackle your opinion of Arrested Development. I still miss this show. It’s been off for years, and I still wish it could come back at least on cable if not basic cable. I thought it was funny without being too over the top or cliche. I loved the magician brother and his insane schemes, the self-involved grandmother with an unsual attachment to her youngest son, and all of the crazy side characters that came into play i.e. The Doctor who was always too literal with his comments, The Family Lawyer(Henry Winkler) who wasn’t very competent, the receptionist(Judy Greer) that always showed off her boobs even when no one asked to see them. This show had a lot of promise and definitely needed to be on a network willing to take a chance. I often think Showtime would have been a better place for it’s sardonic humor.

    I must say that I can’t believe you put Will and Grace on this list. This show was always hilarious. Jack and Karen’s antics alone should have kept this series off your list. Sorry, but the show is about the friendship between a straight woman and a gay man it’s going to delve into gay culture. I mean what were you expecting? If anything this show wouldn’t have been watchable if they didn’t raise the issues of the gay community or the many problems that face gay people today. It wasn’t them saying “We’re queer get used to it,” it was more them saying “We’re queer and we strive for the same things in our lives as you straight people do.” This show helped normalize gay people in the eyes of many who only ever had the swishy stereotype to go on. But first and foremost, it was always a crazily funny show that was a thrill to watch on Thursday nights. I still watch the reruns. They never get old and those jokes still crack me up.

    I do agree with your inclusion of Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Full House. Friends had a good first two seasons but after that it felt very boring to me. Once every ‘friend’ had slept together I felt very turned off by the show. In terms of Raymond, it was just too painful to watch. I never knew why Ray and his wife even stayed together they never seemed to even like each other. The parents were annoying, and the brother always creeped me out with his weird voice and mannerisms. As for Full House, I think it is a very sappy show that only really appeals to little ones. If you’re over the age of ten you can see how overly sentimental and cliche it is.

    Shows I think should have been included on your list:
    1. Flight of the Concords
    2. My Name is Earl
    3. Two and a Half Men
    4. Kath and Kim

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Jaim- Thank you for reading my story, and for your considered comments.

    But your descriptions of the Cosby show don’t make it sound any bit more appealing than I remember it. What is funny or entertaining about watching Cosby kids lip synch Ray Charles? I love Ray Charles, saw him live numerous times, and have a Ray website. So if I want Ray, I put on the CD. Bill Cosby pulling faces is pretty entertaining perhaps to a four year old. It is when I do it. But as the basis for a decade or so of a television series, it’s just lame.

    If you really liked Arrested Development, it is all available on DVD, and you could get the whole series for probably less than $50. The show started out pretty funny for about a season, season and a half. But the writers disappeared up their own asses with the repitition and the boring inside-baseball stuff.

    They just flat ran out of ideas. By the time they were cancelled and down to what they knew were their last couple of shows, they nonetheless had nothing better to put on the air than the infamously bad American Idol contestant William Hung singing.

    The reason for including Will and Grace is just that they bored me to tears like the shallowest dumbass sitcom. I’d just as soon watch full house.

    But I also note that the nominal statement that “We’re queer and we strive for the same things in our lives as you straight people do” didn’t particularly ring true. The last time I watched the show, the plot line involved one of the queers trying to pick up an older guy in a bar, who eventually turned out to be his dad. Doesn’t sound anything like the same things that I strive for in life.

    Actually, striving for somewhat different things than me might well attract me to a show. Just not these shallow idiots, and not hitting on Dad.

  • Spurwing Plover

    ME AND THE CHIMP,MY WORLD AND WELCOME TO IT,LOTS OF LUCK,MR TERIFFIC,THREES COMPANY,TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

  • Scott

    What I find staggering is how long some sitcoms that I never watched ran. The Nanny (Horrible!) ran for six seasons! Family Matters (wretched!) ran for nine! Reba (moronic!) ran for six.

  • Ash

    Hey FRIENDS IS THE BEST SITCOM EVER! Who gives a fuck what you think. Plus Arrested Development is great. Unfortunitly [personal attack deleted] you wouldnt get more than 2 jokes an episode.

    [personal attack deleted]

  • Squrillyboy

    “The cosby show”, “Friends”, “Everybody loves Raymond”, and “Full House” are the worst? You may not have liked those shows but they were the best of there time! There have been so many bad shows you could’ve put in place of those like for instance: “The cavemen”, “That 80’s show”, “The war at home” and the list goes on and on. You should’nt base lists like these on your own personal opinion but on actual fact. If a show ran for 5 seasons or more then it belongs no where on this list! Because if it lasted that long then that means it had an audience that gave it high enough ratings to last.

  • http://sillykill50.blogspot.com/ DM

    Man, life must be pretty rough if you resort to calling people names for not liking the same sitcoms as you. Mr. Barger’s commentary is at least thoughtful and interesting whether you agree with it or not. The vituperation in some of the comments seems excessive, considering the subject matter revolves around light entertainment.

    As for “The Cosby Show”, I don’t think it has aged well. I thought it was reasonably funny during its initial run–admittedly, I was just a kid–but in retrospect, I find it extremely irritating.

    I can’t stand “Friends”; “Everybody Loves Raymond” is mediocre but once in a while Peter Boyle gets in a good line (that guy will be missed). The Sacred Cow that impresses me least is probably “I Love Lucy” because it just seems formulaic. On the other hand, I’m crazy about Andy Griffith, Mary Tyler Moore, and Dick Van Dyke. I never got into “Seinfeld”. I think I understand what they were trying to do and George Castanza cracked me up; the others didn’t do much for me.

    But this is all just one person’s opinion and I don’t claim any expertise on television history.

  • Clank

    Overuse of the terms ‘cloying’ and ‘bland’ killed this read for me.

  • Spurwing Plover

    SEINFELD had to be the stupidists all time sit-com especialy with a eco hypotcrit like LUARIE DAVID then there was MY WORLD AND WELCOME TO IT with a rottem theme song and crummy animated inserts.On their otherhand BEVERLY HILLBILLIES was one of the best along with GILLIGANS ISLAND and HOGANS HEROS

  • SmOOOthAkshun

    #
    80 – Al Barger
    Nov 12, 2006 at 3:43 pm

    SmOOOthAkshun, you’re a Coach fan and also a Fox hating wingnut- what an appealing combination you have going for you there.

    Perhaps I haven’t given Coach enough chance. They had a dog eat someone’s ring? My G-d, where did these geniuses come up with this stuff?

    Uh, yeah, uh, I can think for myself and, uh, I don’t, uh, need Fox Noise to make up my news for me. Fox Noise isn’t even a news channel. I mean, I guess its good for people like you who can’t think for themselves, though.

    How about the best comedies of all time? Not in any particular order except for 1 and 2.

    1. Whose Line Is It Anyway
    2. All In The Family
    3. Coach
    4. MASH
    5. Becker
    6. Two and a Half Men
    7. Freaks and Geeks
    8. Married With Children
    9. Any Abbott and Costello Movie
    10. Three’s Company

  • Umbio

    I agree with every show on your list except Will & Grace, funniest show ever

  • David

    You’re wierd man

  • http://www.morethings.com/wordpress Al Barger

    Dear F-U, Thanks for your thoughtful comments. However, actually my insides are filled with Godly love. To quote Granny Clampett (from one of the BEST sitcoms ever) when she was trying to talk herself out of choking the living crap out of Mrs Drysdale, I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart.

  • The King of Comedy

    Big Bang Theory. Jokeless shit-com for mouth breathers.

  • Jay

    I stopped taking this list seriously when I saw Everybody Loves Raymond.

  • SG

    WOW. How could you not like “Arrested Development”???? You wanna know the MOST OVERRATED SITCOM ever? Frasier! Frasier was NEVER funny, 2 stupid, pompous, windbag brothers! The only remotely funny cahracter was Daphne. Arrested Development paved the way for sitcoms of the 2000’s!

  • Hunter

    I stopped reading after he said Arrested Development was on of the worst.

  • JBH

    You leave Full House out of this, goddammit lol. The rest of this list I agree with but Full House was actually watchable in a weird, mesmerizing way. I did want Jesse’s 2 mushroom head kids to get hit by a truck or something though.