TV nostalgia: comedy
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Shows I used to watch when I was a kid, way back in the 1980s (and maybe a little ways into the early 90s). Some of these things I may eventually see again and write better reviews of and move to their own pages. Or not, we'll see. And there are a few links to reviews that already had their own pages, but which are nostalgic to me.


ALF, NBC


Alice, CBS
IMDb; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

This was based on a movie, which I never saw. I don't recall if I ever saw any of the show during its original run, but I'm sure I saw some reruns in the late 80s or early 90s. I don't remember much about it, and I don't think I was ever that into it, but it was probably sort of okay. Um... so it was set in Mel's Diner. The owner and cook was, as you might guess, named Mel. Waitresses included the titular Alice, along with Flo and Vera. I remember Mel being grouchy and Flo returning his grouchiness, but otherwise basically being nice, I guess. And I remember her always saying "Kiss my grits." I think I vaguely recall Vera being kind of ditzy or whatever. And I'd probably say Alice was the smartest and most likable of the characters, but I don't really remember anything specific about her. There was a spin-off series called "Flo," which I don't recall if I ever saw. And... I can't think of anything else to say.


Amen, NBC
GMC; IMDb; Retro Junk; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

I have only the vaguest recollection of having watched this when I was young. The only thing I remember about it is that it starred Sherman Hemsley as a church deacon. I'm sure at the time, I already knew him from The Jeffersons (see lower this page), which I also don't recall very well. Anyway, I didn't get NBC, so I'm pretty sure I watched this on a Canadian channel that didn't come in very well. I don't think I ever saw that much of the show, but I probably liked it.


Are You Being Served?, BBC One


Bewitched, ABC
This is from before my time, but I must have seen reruns when I was a kid.


Charles in Charge, CBS
Hulu; IMDb; NBC.com; Retro Junk; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Tropes; Universal; Wikipedia

I very vaguely recall watching this when I was a kid. So, I don't know what to say about it. But I have the first season on DVD. I started watching it once and got through a few episodes, then fell out of the habit of watching before I got around to writing a review. Someday I swear I'll get back to it, and maybe think about getting subsequent seasons, as well.


Cheers, NBC


The Cosby Show, NBC


Dear John, NBC
IMDb; Retro Junk; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

This starred Judd Hirsch (of Taxi fame) as John Lacey, a guy whose wife left him, so he joined a support group for divorcees, widowed, and other such people. The group is led by a British woman named Louise. There was an annoying guy named Kirk (played by Jere Burns, who I later saw in the series "Something So Right". There was an old woman named Bonnie, a shy guy named Ralph, a woman named Kate, and I'm sure at some point there was at least one other woman added to the cast. I don't remember much about the show, beyond the theme song. But, you know, it was kinda funny, and Judd Hirsch is always likable.


Designing Women, CBS


Diff'rent Strokes, NBC/ABC
IMDb; Retro Junk; Shout! Factory; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
Sony Pictures DVD: season 1; season 2

Gary Coleman was pretty good. It's always fun to see him show up now and then in something else. But anyway, um... so this rich white guy, Philip Drummond, adopted a couple of black brothers, Arnold and Willis. And he had a daughter of his own, Kimberly. I guess he was a widower, and he later married a woman (played by Dixie Carter) with a son of her own. I wish I could think of more to say. Of course it was pretty important to me, back in the day. Oh yeah, and the theme song was fairly memorable.


Doctor Doctor, CBS


Empty Nest, NBC


Evening Shade, CBS


The Facts of Life, NBC
IMDb; Retro Junk; Shout! Factory; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
Sony Pictures DVD: seasons 1&2; season 3

A bunch of girls lived at a boarding school in Peekskill, NY. This was I guess a spin-off from Diff'rent Strokes, when the housekeeper on that show, Edna Garrett, went to work at this boarding school. Anyway, there were several cast changes over the years I guess, but the main four girls were Blair, Jo, Natalie, and Tootie. Jo was always my favorite. Of course I didn't see all of the series. Um... and I dunno what to say. I didn't think the show was that great, just okay. But I suppose it was important to me at the time, sort of. And the theme song was memorable.


Family Ties, NBC
CBS Store; IMDb; Retro Junk; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Tropes; UP; Wikipedia

I guess this is what made Michael J. Fox famous. He was, of course, the best part of this show. It was a decent enough show, actually. I dunno what to say about it. Alex Keaton (Fox) was a conservative, and his parents, Elyse and Steven were liberals. Plus Alex had a couple sisters, Mallory and Jennifer, and a little brother, Andrew. I'm sure this was important to me, back in the day. But now I don't remember it well enough.


Gilligan's Island, CBS
This was before my time, but I certainly watched reruns when I was a kid.


Growing Pains, ABC
IMDb; Retro Junk; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Well, there was a psychiatrist named Jason Seaver, his wife, Maggie, and their kids. Their son Mike (the role that made Kirk Cameron famous) was kind of a goof-off or whatever, I don't remember exactly. Except that he didn't get along with his sister, Carol, who was a much more academically-driven, serious type (and she was my favorite character). There was also a younger son named Ben, and later a younger sister named Chrissy. Anyway, yet another show that I don't remember well now, but which was important to me at the time. Sort of.


Happy Days, ABC
CBS Store; IMDb; Retro Junk; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

A comfortable old show, not bad. Spawned the currently popular expression "jump the shark." I don't quite know what to say about the show. It was made in the 70's, but set in the 50's. And um, there was this guy, Arthur Fonzarelli (aka Fonzie, aka the Fonz), who was about the coolest guy in the universe. There was this family, the Cunninghams, with whom Fonzie was friends. There were other people. And um, it was all kinda funny and stuff. Gah, I'm sorry my explanation sucks so much. But it did a couple crossovers with "Mork and Mindy," and "Laverne and Shirley" was a spin-off from this show. And... anyway, Happy Days has rerun on cable, on various networks. It's currently on the Hub. I should watch it sometime. Oh, and the theme song was awesome.


Head of the Class, ABC
IMDb; Retro Junk; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Howard Hesseman has always been cool (though his character here, a teacher named Charlie Moore, was fairly different from his character on WKRP in Cincinatti). Anyway, this show always struck me as being kind of like Welcome Back, Kotter, but with an advanced class instead of a remedial one. Um... so, there were a bunch of characters, all of them gifted, but a wide range of different types. There was a fairly typical nerd named Arvid, a flippant troublemaker named Dennis, a preppy named Alan, a rich girl named Darlene, an exchange student from India named Jawaharlal, an 11-year-old prodigy named Janice, an artistic type named Simone, a kind of biker punk or whatever named Eric (who had a crush on Simone), and probably some others I don't remember very well. There was a principal named Dr. Samuels, who wasn't particularly fond of the students, nor of Mr. Moore. I can't really say too much about the plot of the show, except that the kids often bickered amongst themselves. And stuff. I definitely think it was a decent show, and I'd like to see it again someday.


The Jeffersons, CBS
IMDb; Retro Junk; Shout! Factory; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Land; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
Sony Pictures DVD: season 1; season 2; season 3; season 4; season 5; season 6

This was a spin-off of All in the Family, though I'm not sure if I was aware of that when I watched it, as a little kid. In fact I don't remember much of anything about the show other than the theme song, and that it was about George Jefferson and his family. I should probably try to see the series again someday. Anyway, I'm sure I must have liked it, though I'm also sure I must have been too young to really get it.


Kate & Allie, CBS
Great but Forgotten; IMDb; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; Wikipedia

This was about Kate McArdle and Allie Lowell, who moved into a brownstone in Greenwich Village together, after each of them got divorced. Also moving with them were Allie's teenage daughter, Jennie, and younger son, Chip, and Kate's teenage daughter, Emma. I think Kate and Allie had been old friends, before their marriages, or something. Oh, and Jennie was a decent singer, as we saw in at least a couple of episodes. Later in the series, Kate and Allie started a catering business together. And eventually, Allie dated a guy named Bob Barsky. I can't really think of anything else to say, except that I always found it an amusing and clever show, which I'd probably like to see again, someday.


King of Kensington, CBC (Canada)
IMDb; TVarchive.ca; TV.com; Wikipedia

This aired when I was quite young, so I'm not sure if I saw it first run, or in reruns. And I don't remember anything at all about the show, except the theme song. But I might like to see the show someday.


Laverne & Shirley, ABC
CBS Store; IMDb; Retro Junk; ShoutFactoryTV; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

This was of course a spin-off from "Happy Days," which means it's another show that aired in the 70s and was set in the 50s. Anyway, the title characters were roommates and friends who lived and worked together. I dunno what to say about them. There were also a couple characters named Lenny and Squiggy who were neighbors or something and seemed to mostly annoy the others, but I liked them better than the main characters. I dunno what to say about them, either. Well, they were like greasers, or something. Also, Laverne always drank milk & Pepsi. And the theme song was pretty cool.


Live-In, CBS
IMDb; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; Wikipedia

This was an incredibly short-lived show from 1989, about an American family that hired a live-in nanny named Lisa, from Australia, to look after their kids. And one of their kids had a crush on her. And so did I. Honestly, all I remember about the show is the title, and the fact that I had a crush on the nanny. Didn't remember her name or what she looked like, just the fact that I liked her accent and thought she was really cute. And now I've found some pictures at Sitcoms Online. Yay, internet.


Major Dad, CBS


Mork & Mindy, ABC
IMDb; Retro Junk; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Well okay, I don't remember this too well. But I'd like to see reruns. Maybe. Anyway, Robin Williams has always been pretty funny. What else to say? It's a spin-off from "Happy Days," I guess. Funny show. Mork was an alien from the planet Ork. He came to Earth to like, I dunno, study us or something. And then like fell in love with Mindy, I guess. It was weird. Oh yes, Mork was very weird. And funny. Dunno what else to say. Nanu, nanu! Um... shazbot! Or something....


Murphy Brown, CBS


My Sister Sam, CBS
IMDb; Retro Junk; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; Wikipedia

Pam Dawber, formerly of Mork & Mindy, played a photographer in San Francisco, named Sam Russell. Rebecca Schaeffer played her teenage sister, Patti. And Patti moved in with Sam. Honestly, all that is more than I remembered. I knew the title and the actresses' names, that's it. I'm sure I liked the show when it aired, but now I remember none of it, which is a shame. I think I'd like to see it again someday. But, unrelated to the show itself, I remember that after it ended, Schaeffer was killed by a stalker. That... really made me hate stalkers. And it led to anti-stalking laws.


Newhart, CBS


Night Court, NBC


Normal Life, CBS
IMDb; Sitcoms Online; TV.com

I don't actually remember anything about the series except that it starred real-life siblings Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa as a brother and sister. I didn't even remember the title of the show. I think I probably liked it for the very limited time it was on, but... yeah, I couldn't tell you anything about it. I might like to see it again but that ain't happening. I did, however, feel the need to mention it.


The People Next Door, CBS
IMDb; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; Wikipedia

This starred Jeffrey Jones (whom I must have known from Beetlejuice). He played a cartoonist whose imagination came to life. That's all I remember. It only lasted a few episodes, and it was probably justifiable that it was cancelled so quickly. But I know that at the time, I thought it was really funny. If I saw it now... I have no idea what I'd think.


Perfect Strangers, ABC


The Popcorn Kid, CBS
IMDb; Sitcoms Online; TV.com

This didn't last long, I guess, and I don't really remember anything but the title, and that it was set at a movie theater. Still, I probably liked it while it lasted, and it might be cool to see it again someday. Which I never will.


Square Pegs, CBS
IMDb; Retro Junk; Sitcoms Online; Sony Pictures; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

I don't remember it well. I wouldn't remember anything other than the title, if not for seeing a few reruns, many years after having seen the show originally. Anyway, it was okay, but not great. Sarah Jessica Parker was in it, playing Patty Greene, one of the two main characters. It's always fun having pretty girls playing characters who are s'posed to be sort of unattractive and unpopular, in TV shows or movies. Her best friend, Lauren, was less interesting, I thought. In fact the only really interesting character was Johnny Slash, played by Merritt Butrick (Jim Kirk's son, David Marcus, to Star Trek fans). He was kinda weird. Actually, it seems he was s'posed to be a sort of new-waver, or whatever. Except he just came off seeming rather spacy... but funny. The whole show is s'posed to be soooo 80's, with all the trends and slang terms and fashion and whatnot (even an annoying, self-centered Valley girl). But it just sort of... gets it all wrong, I think. I mean, I was kinda too young at the time to really be aware of much of what was going on, but watching it now, it's almost like watching your parents do an impression of how they see you and your generation. Because of course, TV is written by adults. It's just sort of bizarre to watch young actors playing roles written by adults about the teenagers of the day. Kind of painful to watch, at times. The wrongness of it just makes you wince, and then you have to wince again at the laugh track. But still, it's funny, even if not for the intended reasons. And... purely for nostalgic reasons, I'll probably get it on DVD, someday. Oh, also, the Waitresses did the theme song, so that's cool. I mean, genuinely cool.


Three's Company, ABC


Throb, syndicated
IMDb; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; Wikipedia

I have only the dimmest recollection of having watched this (I think I got it on a Canadian channel that didn't come in well). It was about people who worked at a minor record label called "Throb," but that's all I remember. It might be interesting to see it again sometime, but I doubt that'll ever happen. But hey, check out the theme song on YouTube. Oh yeah, that seems kinda familiar...


Too Close For Comfort, ABC
IMDb; Retro Junk; Sitcoms Online; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Later spun itself off as "The Ted Knight Show," not to be confused with an earlier series of the same name (which I never heard of until preparing this page), starring the same actor, but having nothing to do with this show. Anyway, Too Close For Comfort was one of those cliched, contrived, utterly sitcom-y sitcoms that littered the 80s, which I probably wouldn't care about today, but nevertheless enjoyed when I was younger. (Or maybe I'd still really dig it, if I saw it now; I kinda feel more nostalgic as of this edit than I apparently did when I first wrote this entry.) It's about this guy Henry Rush, and his wife Muriel, and their adult daughters Jackie and Sara. They also had a weird neighbor or friend or whatever, Monroe Ficus. He was kinda funny. I vaguely remember some other recurring characters, including Henry's niece, April, who was later added to the cast. I can't really think of anything else to say about the series, and I don't remember it that well, but yeah... the more I think about it, the more I think I'd like to see it again someday.


Welcome Back, Kotter, ABC


Who's the Boss?, ABC


WKRP in Cincinnati, CBS


The Wonder Years, ABC



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