The Sitcoms of the 1980s Are Always in Your Heart

Taking a break from political ravings. Let’s talk about 1980s sitcoms instead!


Sitcom: The Cosby Show

Approval rating: One thumb up

Rationale: The early years of the show were good. Then it just got boring, as Theo overcame his dyslexia and just said no to the guy who gave him a free joint (Come on, Theo!). Then Denise went to a different world, and before you knew it, there was only Alvin.

Heathcliff was funny, and his wife Clair was a force of nature: beautiful and deadly.

Sandra, the oldest, was the equivalent of watching paint dry. Denise was cool but rarely seen. The younger Huxtable kids had fun friends. Theo knew a guy named Cockroach, and Rudy had a little friend named Kenny, who was really funny and sexist and quite possibly the best person on the show.

Kenny 01

Best scene: 

Cautionary factor: Clair’s sense of style was intrepid. Hours after watching a Cosby Show episode, many women have anxiety due to an inability to locate a complimentary scarf.

Sitcom: ALF

Approval rating: Thumbs down

Rationale: ALF. Alien Life Form. The producers should have known there’s only so much material to squeeze out of a big fluffy alien living in your house.

In one episode, ALF has a crush on the daughter (who was in the movie Father of the Bride). He makes a music video for her called “You’re the One that’s Out of this World”. It makes me mad that I still remember it, yet I can’t seem to memorize my cell phone number that I’ve had eight years.

Sitcom: Perfect Strangers  

Approval rating: Thumbs down

Rationale: Let’s start with Cousin Larry, who works in every office in the United States. He’s that unavoidable guy who hangs out near the printer and tells you all the details about his weekend.

Larry’s girlfriend is Jennifer. In real life, Larry could not have touched one of Jennifer’s shoulder pads. But in the magical world of sitcoms, this Ideal 80s lady finds Larry irresistible.

Balki could be kind of funny, but thanks to his terrible catchphrase (“Well of course not, don’t be ridiculous!”), I was okay with him being a future recipient of a Darwin Award. Balki’s girlfriend was held underwater once for a really long time.

Sitcom: Family Ties  

Approval rating: Thumbs UP!!

Rationale: Alex P. Keaton, Swearer vests!

The show did commit several sitcom sins:

Rapidly Aging Baby Syndrome: Andrew Keaton aged in dog years.

Unrealistic couple: Mallory and Nick are supposed to be two simple souls in a harsh world. Nick makes garbage sculptures and Mallory studies fashion. Who’s going to support these two? What will become of them? In real life, a girl like Mallory would marry a rich guy who would keep her as a pet.

Unsolved mystery: What was the P in Alex P. Keaton?

Sitcom: Full House

Approval rating: Sever your thumbs

Rationale: Full House is a tragedy, a slow poison lIke asbestos you unknowingly breathe for years.

There’s much I could say, but there’s a whole blog devoted to how terrible this show is (the blog is really funny). I’ll just touch on a couple of things.

The horrible catchphrases were Everywhere You Look on Full House. They were good for any occasion (date mix-ups, funerals, car accidents, you name it). “Duh!” “How Rude!” “Cut.It.Out.” Joey’s cartoon impressions make me want to kill him.

Jesse and Rebecca have a completely unrealistic relationship. Rebecca is beautiful, intelligent, and accomplished. Jesse is hot. He didn’t finish high school, can’t hold down a job, and is in a band he thinks is going to make it, even though he’s in his 40s. Rebecca makes tons of money, but due to Jesse’s separation anxiety, they live in the Full House attic, even after they have children. Jesse has a catchphrase [“Have mercy!”] he uses constantly.


Sitcom: Cheers

Approval rating: Meh

Rationale: This show was good when Diane was on it. When she left, Sam got progressively grosser. And Rebecca, the new Diane, was awful.

I WILL give you a roofie

Cheers only other employee is Carla, who was determinedly referred to as a “barmaid”. Carla is notable for her zingy one-liners and troll-like appearance which saved her from being forced into an on-screen romance with Ted Danson.

 “barmaid” Carla

Not-exactly-a-Sitcom: Miami Vice

Approval rating: Thumbs down

Rationale:  The 80s pervades the atmosphere. The set looked like a giant Wham! video, and the synthesizer in the theme music is audio Kool-Aid.

All the guys had mustaches and earrings and wore leather. Looking at them through the lens of 2012, they have the rugged look of gay nightclub bouncers.


Sitcom: Growing Pains

Approval rating: Shrug

Rationale: Teenage girls everywhere were indoctrinated via Tiger Beat magazine and Kirk Cameron’s Ogilvy home perms. Today, all that stands out is the dad’s peculiarly grating voice : “Miiiiike” “Maaaaaggie” “Beeeeeen”.

Important Point: Growing Pains has a Rapidly Aging child/poodle

Sitcom: The A Team

Approval rating: Thumbs up

Why it’s awesome: Cool theme song, Hannibal’s cigar, Mr. T

Cautionary Point: You really have to suspend disbelief to get into a story about four Vietnam vets on the run from the government, who happen to possess hearts of gold.

Sitcom: Silver Spoons

Approval rating: Thumbs down

Rationale: Terrible theme song, boring premise

Redeeming factor 1: Alfonso Ribiera’s character is a semi-professional breakdancer. Seriously, that almost brought the show to a thumbs up status.

Redeeming factor 2: Jason Bateman was briefly a regular on the show. He is not terrible looking. He was just a little kid when he was on this show, though.

Sitcom: Who’s the Boss?

Approval rating: Thumbs up


It reinforced family values?

They covered important issues of the day?

Tony Danza!

Check out Part II for Golden Girls, The Facts of Life, and more.


2 thoughts on “The Sitcoms of the 1980s Are Always in Your Heart

  1. Pingback: Sitcoms of the 1980s: Part Deux | Lost in the Garden

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