Great television, and the friends who actually get it…

Sitcoms have taken a backseat in the past years as shows like Friends and Seinfeld came to an end. Unfortunately, the humor of such programs seems to have been lost to the world, well, unless you’re watching them on syndication, I suppose. Currently, the only program on television that I would consider a worthy candidate for the “Funniest Sitcoms on TV Awards” would be Modern Family. The Office would be a close second, although as of late it has become rather boring, I guess Steve Carrell really did steer the boat on that one. Sitcoms seem to be a dying breed, in my opinion anyway. Shows like Friends and Seinfeld were consistently entertaining, unlike the more modern programming being aired today. For example, I watched five episodes, in a row, of The Big Bang Theory a few weeks ago and barely laughed once. Maybe a few light chuckles here or there, but nothing that had me reaching for the remote to pause the program so that I wouldn’t miss anything while laughing. [Insert Modern Family here] My mom actually keeps the weekly recorded episodes of Modern Family on her DVR so that she can watch them again and again for fear of missing even a second the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time. πŸ˜€ It is just that funny! Anyway, I was watching Friends last night, as I do whenever it is on, although I own all ten seasons on DVD, and I got to thinking about something a good friend of mine and I always say:

“All things go back to Seinfeld or Friends

What we mean by “All things” is that both shows, while primarily are revolved around nothing in particular, relate to the viewers day-to-day lives in some way or another. I cannot count how many times in various conversations or random scenarios where I have thought (or quoted) something from either program. I think that shows that actually inhabit your life so long after they have gone off the air are worth being noticed as the goal for all other sitcoms to reach. Maybe it just cannot be done, I mean, Curb Your Enthusiasm is absolutely hysterical, and of course it is just like Seinfeld, but that is to be expected since it is from the same creator. The only reason I am not including CYE in this post is because I don’t really consider it a sitcom, as it is on a network where profanities can be used, making it that much easier for them to go all out with the funny-isms. Bottom line is, sitcoms of today are getting lazy. Just because you can’t be a rockstar funny-guy like Jerry Seinfeld and his lot of negative lunatics, that does not mean you should produce sub-par programming either. This speaks to all the 30-minute “funny” folks out there. Get your acts together and take notes from the comic geniuses of the past, and the few that are in the present.

**NOTE** Whitney, Mike & Molly, New Girl and How I Met Your Mother are all pretty funny shows on the sitcom circuit right now, however, the consistency is not there throughout every episode for me. All other sitcoms not mentioned anywhere in this post are just a sad excuse for television right now. Sorry***

Some of my favorite moments:

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417 thoughts on “Great television, and the friends who actually get it…

  1. Shiney says:

    I agree with the previous comments that Happy Endings is a decent and funny show. It is a bit like FRIENDS as someone noted, but I think it’s still well-written. A lot of shows over the years have been similar to previous shows (The Mary Tyler Moore Show/Mary Richards/Lou Grant begat 30 Rock/Liz Lemon/Jack Donaghy) but as long as they’re written well, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m wondering when a show like M*A*S*H will be a muse for a new show. That was an exceptionally great sitcom but I think maybe the acceptance of a war-based comedy just isn’t possible anymore.

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  2. karmicspins says:

    β€œAll things go back to Seinfeld or Friends” — yes, I agree that FRIENDS and Seinfeld are to sitcoms what The Beatles were to music. They set the standard, and a lot of sitcoms that came after end up falling short. I love Modern Family and The Office (at least, while Steve Carrell was on it), and I’ve recently discovered the gem that is Parks and Recreation. πŸ™‚

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  3. Indolent Insomniac says:

    Even though I’m not a huge sitcom fan,(Mystery and Action are my forte πŸ˜‰ ) I still remember every single episode of FRIENDS (considering the million times I’ve watched them). And just like you pointed out, its their “All things go back to Friends” that has really connected with the audience.

    P.S I, personally, love The Big Bang Theory and The Mentalist

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    • Krystal Rose says:

      I always wanted to watch The Mentalist, I like Simon Baker a lot but I missed the first few. Maybe I can get it on Netflix down the road when it’s available. Like you, I also like action, mystery and I enjoy some sci-fi and drama shows too. Thanks for your comment πŸ™‚

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  4. mattymillard says:

    Nice blog! I love friends and agree there is nothing quite like it around at the moment. There are one or two good sitcoms, such as the Big Bang Theory but none that I know of with the same warmth to the characters that friends had and probably made it so addictive. Most of the comedy shows that seem to be popular are pretty quirky, such as the Mighty Boosh and Flight of the Conchords (I’m in the UK so different shows might be popular), plus stand up and panel type comedy shows seem to have taken over the airwaves the last few years. They’re funny, but don’t ever make me want to go and watch the next one straight away! I’m sure the day of the sitcom will return however.. πŸ™‚

    In the meantime, comedy books are the way to go, so have a look at my blog if you like to read!

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  5. xy1812 says:

    FRIENDS is probably the only sitcom I can watch over and over again. Nothing can compare. And yes, Sitcoms are a dying breed. Right now all I see are reality shows and sci-fi whatnots. Its all too serious nowadays.

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  6. Jaina says:

    I think the thing with sitcoms these days is that if they’re not an instant success for the network, the network aren’t shy of just axing it and trying something new. It’s a cheap option for them. If they get the formula right, they’ll be raking it in.

    I’m pick with my sitcoms, but I do love Community, Modern Family and New Girl. Any sitcom without a laughter track basically. Those need to be gone!

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  7. S. Cat Sullivan says:

    It seems like scriptwriters everywhere are taking shortcuts – whether they’re writing for the small screen or the big one – and resorting to foul language, potty humor, and innuendo for giggles. Seriously? That stuff is only funny when you’re twelve. Even then it gets old really fast. I wholeheartedly agree that good content is both timely and timeless, something not many writers achieve. These days, I’m wondering if any are even trying!

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  8. savageindian says:

    I would have to totally agree with you 99%. I do not know exactly 99%, but yes, comedy shows on tv suck. I was waiting for a long time for “The New Girl” to come on because I love Zooey Deschanel’s acting in the movies she has been in. I watched the first few episodes of the show, and lost interest.

    I also feel like in many ways that comedy movies has also hit bottom. I do not like the new, crude, vulgar and twisted type of comedy movies out either. I have seemed to have changed to Drama more than comedy because of the lack of good comedy movies.

    Sitcoms really need to have something new, in the old way come out to get me back to watching network television.

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  9. musicfan2 says:

    Think you are right!! Unfortunately, sitcoms are not as funny as they used to be! Even shows, which were not my personal favorites like Frazier, were funnier and had more consistency to them. Hopefully, we get some good writers back on tv to help change this problem!!!

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  10. braintomahawk says:

    Good point. Even other huge shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, or King of Queens just didn’t break new ground. Would you consider Roseanne to have landmark status like that? Will The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family be the next templates for shows, or at least associated with a specific generation/decade?

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    • Krystal Rose says:

      Roseanne definitely made an impact in television. I didn’t love it all the time but I appreciated the talent of the actors and the writing either way. It is one of the shows that absolutely influenced television. The new shows might make an impact and be templates for the future, but I am not sure how many will have true staying power in our memories years down the road.

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  11. Allison G. Martin says:

    I’m a huge Friends fan and even though there are some funny shows out there, there’s nothing quite like that show. Each character had their own unique, quirky personality that reminded you of someone you knew. I will say that Parks and Recreation has become a new favorite of mine though. Blame Aziz Ansari and his delightful delivery of one liners. Great post!

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  12. campusnowblogs says:

    We loved your post. Though we do think the Big Bang Theory has some great comedic timing to it. 3 seasons and already in syndication might be too soon but can’t completely rule out Sheldon Cooper.

    We just wrote about the bachelor – Reality tv has it’s own charm! Here is the post: http://campusnow.com/blog/2012/02/28/what-you-can-learn-from-the-bachelor/

    – We are new but we love to blog. Subscribe at http://campusnow.com/blog/

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  13. Pink Ninjabi says:

    Thank you for sharing! And I totally agree the Office seems strange without Steve Carrell. I do love Big Bang Theory, but this is also largely in part because I am surrounded by geeks, and have friends who do act in such a manner, thus, it’s hilarious.

    I like King of Queens, and the New Adventures of Old Christine (not the same as Elaine’s Seinfeld Days, but it does have her in it!). King of Queens is just hilarious but not sure if many of these are just re-runs on the cable network.

    Thank you for sharing thoughts I have been lamenting to my friends for years!

    I also miss Growing Pains, Family Ties, Full House, and the like… sigh…

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  14. Joe Pineda says:

    I think plenty of other people have already agreed in comments that Arrested Development was sorely missed in the post, so I won’t drag that point further. However, I can think of a number of other sitcoms that were really funny but somehow, somewhere, they lost all interest from the producers and were simply dropped.

    For instance, I thought that you meant The Middle when you were watching Modern Family. That was a good show too, even if the characters were too stuck into roles at times.

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    • Krystal Rose says:

      I have never seen Arrested Development, but, since it was cancelled after only 4 seasons it is a moot point, really, to what my post is actually about. My point of this post, which many people have missed, is that the shows I am originally referring to (Friends and Seinfeld) had the fan base then and still do today and they both lasted in the sitcom world for 9 to 10 years, on a first run basis. Not only that, but now after they have both been off the air for a long time, they are still syndicated and beloved by those fans and many new ones who have discovered them in recent years as well, causing people to refer to them on a pretty regular basis. None of the shows mentioned are like that, no matter how funny people think they are, myself included. I would be shocked if in ten years from now people across the country, and the world for that matter, are making references to the shows everyone is talking about now. Love what you want, I know I have favorite shows that many people don’t like also, but the post is about affecting the generations of people for a massive period of time, not about laughing in the present at the new material. It was also based on my opinions of today’s programming versus that of the past, which is not something based on “what I missed” and the like, opinions can hold any content they want, even if others disagree. This post was not based on facts, I am not wikipedia, but the proof of the impact of the two shows I mentioned is a fact, even people who hate Seinfeld and Friends can reference them and know the episodes fairly well! I cannot say the same for Arrested Development, Big Bang Theory, etc. Many people commenting here are not understanding that I am not saying anyone is wrong for watching what they like, Hell no! That is the freedom we all have, choice. I am just strictly talking about how I feel about television that I enjoy, those I do not enjoy, and two shows that have impacted television in a massive way. Period. To each their own.

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  15. nips says:

    …Oh its been so long someone has written about friends. They dont make sit coms like that anymore. I mean they have tried and a true effort to that but its absolutely hard to replace FRIENDS. Please write some more about them. have a huge friend list who love FRIENDS.
    P.s: We even wanted to start our own cafe dedicated specially to it but still falling short on fund. one day may be. Any how u keep the good work.

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  16. amandalovesmovies says:

    I’m Modern Family is a decent show, I find it at times to be a little safe. I think It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is closest thing to Seinfeld on the air right now. While admittedly not for everyone, it’s had seven seasons and it’s still laugh out loud funny.

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  17. amukraine says:

    So true, it seems that Modern Family is the only really funny sitcom right now. And thanks for sharing great moments of classic sitcomes, it was fun to watch them once again πŸ™‚

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  18. Emily says:

    I think in some ways shows have been “modernized” and that’s not necessarily always a good thing but sometimes it works. We can’t have the plots involving not having a way of communicating with each other – we have cell phones now. Most other plots could be resolved by a good internet connection! It seems like it’s harder and harder to create situations that are interesting and fresh. I do think Modern Family does a very good job of this. I would agree with other commenters that Happy Endings is a new and funny take on the old premise. What hose shows both have in common is novel relationships. I also recently wrote that House of Lies is kind of like an updated slick ridiculous version of Seinfeld in that all the people are just terrible people, but you keep watching anyway! (http://herearethingsilike.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/house-of-lies/)
    It’s not the traditional sitcom, but it’s a half hour comedy with some new interpretations of some old ideas. It’s definitely not a sitcom, but we seem to be moving away from those in most decent tv these days since people have such a hard time making a good sitcom.

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  19. dsommer27 says:

    Sitcoms are tough sales for networks as they often cost alot to produce and if they become popular, the stars begin asking for obscene amounts of money. This affects the genre because not as many talented people are trying to get good sitcoms made due to the lack of interest. Reality TV shows are cheap to produce, can be populated with a cast of no names, and are very popular now, so why try and push a creative sitcom. I believe the traditional sitcom will be a thing of the past.

    BTW: I love community, modern family, and the Big Bang Theory. The last two are hard to admit because I often do not like things that other people like.

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  20. Ashley says:

    I must confess, I did NOT enjoy the last four seasons of friends, so I struggle with you comment regarding consistency. That being said, from a generalists perspective, I would have to agree: sitcom TV has diminished in its quality and stature within North American Culture. I would also question Drama’s as well. Not quite up to snuff. The kicker is… mystery series are taking over. And not the usual CSI stuff either. Oh and yes, I agree with @dsommer27 that reality shows are taking over.

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  21. Arrogantsob says:

    Sit-coms now are mass-produced, assembly line productions following the same molds of a thousand shows before them. How man sitcoms over the last twenty years have centered around a fat, goofy man, and his sassy, more intelligent, much-hotter-than-him wife? Or the two roommates, one being responsible, straight-laced and conservative, while the other is selfish, sloppy and always ready with a “witty” one-liner? Sit-coms are now a half-hour of one joke recycled over and over and over (Think: The Big Bang Theory) and people eat up this shit with a spoon. Atrocities like “Two and a half men” and “Whitney” are scoring ratings and renewed year after year, while fresh, edgy material like “Arrested Development” exists in general anonymity before disappearing as quickly as it arrived. It’s embarrassing, to be honest with you. And it shows the lack of demand for quality that seems to exist in all facets of society now. And this doesn’t just apply to sit-coms anymore. Every fall, we are exposed to yet another batch of hour long dramas that all center around cops, hospitals or lawers. Thats it. Again, assembly line production and writing. Television is at its best when it is at it’s most relatable. Now I have an average size group of friends, yet very few of them are cops, lawyers, or doctors, so how is this relatable to me? It’s is why the best shows on TV right now are all on cable, either basic or premium. Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Big C and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia seem to have no place on a network, as they are intelligent, fresh and edgy.
    I do have to disagree with you on “How I met Your Mother”, “Whitney” and “Mike and Molly”, as they can only possibly be described as funny if you are comparing them directly to the rest of the garbage that surrounds it. Taken on their own merit, and nothing else, they are just as guilty of lazy writing and stale storylines as anything else. And don’t get me started on Chelsea goddamn Handler…

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