Thursday, May 8, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Remembering 90's Sitcoms

What you consider the golden age of sitcoms depends on when you grew up.

If you grew up in the era of black-and-white TVs and three channels, you probably think the sitcom peaked with I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

If you’re a child of the 70′s, you’ll probably prefer The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H or All in the Family. The 80′s? Cheers and Cosby.

Each era has its highlights, they’ll likely all get their own dedicated Throwback Thursdays eventually. But, this Thursday, we hearken back to those halcyon days of Seinfeld, Frasier and TGIF.

That’s right. We’re going back to the 90′s! (And, as always, you can check out any and all of these shows from the Mentor Public Library. We’ve even linked to our collection so you can put them on hold wherever you are.)

Hangout comedies

For most of the last century, sitcoms fell into one of two categories: the family and workplace sitcom. (Some shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show combined them.)

Cheers begat a third: the hangout sitcom.

The 90′s neither invented nor perfected the hangout sitcom. (I don’t know by what metric you rate a sitcom; but, no matter what, Cheers has to rank pretty high, right?) But it did proliferate them, and some of the best sitcoms of the decade were of this type.

Friends, Seinfeld, Will & Grace and even latter years of Boy Meets World were all about characters who you wanted to spend time with. Maybe something happened in that episode, maybe nothing happened; but, either way, you wanted to hang out.

Workplace comedies

Workplace comedies fell out of vogue in the 90′s. More often than not, the workplace became part of the family sitcom. For example, Home Improvement wasn’t based around Tool Time and Frasier didn’t spend all of his time at the radio station, but you still saw that part of the characters’ lives.

However, there were still some comedies based around the job in the style of The Mary Tyler Show. My favorites of the bunch are Newsradio and Just Shoot Me. Coincidentally, both are based around jobs in media. For Just Shoot Me, it’s a fashion magazine. For Newsradio… well, I think it’s pretty obvious where they’re working.

If you only recall Newsradio and Just Shoot Me as the things Phil Hartman and David Spade, respectively, after Saturday Night Live, then you should give them another look. They’re better than you remember.

Family comedies

From The Honeymooners to Modern Family, the family comedy will never go out of style. And while the 90′s is mainly though of as the era of the hangout comedy, there were still several great shows based around families.

Roseanne, Married… with Children, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Simpsons, Dharma & Greg, Full House,Daria and Family Matters depicted different families that represented the diversity of families watching.

The one thing they all had in common: They made us laugh.

Feel free to check out any of these shows from Mentor Public Library. It’s free with your library card (and you have a library card, right?)

What was your favorite sitcom from the 90′s?

Come back each week for a new Throwback Thursday profile.

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