We love to laugh at ridiculous characters on TV. And there are few situations that present more opportunities than family sitcoms. So we were happy to take some time to pick our our favorites.
If you think you’ve got weird relatives, you’re not alone. After catching up on a few of the following shows, you might realize your family is kind of normal.
What the best family sitcoms have in common
From the Huxtables to the Bundys, there have been a wide variety of families on TV. But in the broadest terms, they all had certain bonds in common. Not the least of which is that they kept us in stitches as they worked out their problems.
- They reflect the times. There’s a reason “Modern Family” has its name. It wouldn’t have been released while “My 3 Sons” was on the air. The best family sitcoms show what their audiences are ready for. It might not always be reality, but it does reflect the appetites of viewers.
- They show real affection. Most of us probably agree families are best defined by love. Sure, it might be a neurotic and dysfunctional kind of love. But even in the weirdest TV clans, the best ones didn’t ignore that element. No matter how much they pissed each other off, they were family first.
- They get into plenty of antics. As much as we get the mushy stuff, that’s not why we watch sitcoms. They are situation comedies, after all. So the best family sitcoms allow characters to act out a range of hilarious hijinks.
The best family sitcoms (we’ve ever seen)
We’ve seen a lot of sitcoms, many of which feature families of some form. We’re going to try to think of our favorites and write a little bit about them. So here they are, in no particular order.
1. I Love Lucy
Here’s a perfect example of the best family sitcoms reflecting their period of history. Smoking cigarettes all the time? Sure! Married couple sleeping in the same bed? No way! But social issues aside, this is a really funny show. There’s no shortage of crazy situations for Lucy and Ethel. Then Ricky’s stern but lovable character keeps things in line. It’s very old, no doubt about it. But unlike many from its time, the writing is solid and timeless. Watch an episode tonight. We bet you’ll laugh more than you think.
“Frasier” has made it on several of our sitcom lists. But beneath the brilliant writing was a serious study of a funny family. After years away, the protagonist reconnects with his dad and brother. Those close but strained relationships played out in hilarious ways throughout the series. And yeah, plenty of it took place at work. But even there, his family often intruded. At the heart of “Frasier,” we say, was family. And it’s one of the funniest ones we can think of.
3. The Jeffersons
Well, we were thinking about what a great spin-off “Frasier” was and thought of this one. “All in the Family” was funny. We think watching the George and Weezy move on up to the east side was even better. Their personalities remained the same. But an all new environment led to some great new adventures.
4. The King of Queens
Finally! We have a legitimate reason to include our favorite sitcom in a list. We’ve thought about shoehorning it in before. But we’re happy we held back. It feels nice. But there’s just something about this show that keeps us laughing time after time. And Doug’s interactions with his wife and father in law are timeless. Through the years, you also see his relationships with his sister and cousin. But it is in that home in Queens where the show truly finds its lane. And we couldn’t be happier for syndication!
There are so many other great examples and our honorable mentions list is long. It includes the aforementioned “Modern Family,” of course. But shows like “The Middle,” “Black-ish” and “The Goldbergs” are also great. None are afraid to show the softer side of family without losing any of the funny. Then there are options like “Arrested Development” that take a wild approach.
Are your favorite family sitcoms on the list? Leave us a comment below and let us know.
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