Abe Vigoda died today at the ripe old age of 94. A reader emailed me and suggested I write about 70’s sitcoms so, here we go. First off, I think the 1970’s were the golden age of the sitcom. Of course there were great sitcoms before and after the 70’s but for sheer volume of high quality sitcoms, I think the 70’s wins. There are way too many to go over in one blog entry but I’ll hit the some of best ones that were on in our house.
In honor of Vigoda, let’s start with Barney Miller. They had a great, culturally diverse, ensemble cast. The humor was aimed at adults. I remember that my father loved all of the jokes from Vigoda’s character, which mainly dealt with aging. Barney Miller also sported a pretty cool theme song. We watched this show in our house regularly.
All in the Family has to be one of the all-time best sitcoms. Here’s another comedy that dealt with very adult topics like the Vietnam war, gun control, race relations, and many more. As a young kid, I remember my parents and their friends filling the house with laughter when this show was on. Even though it dealt with mature themes, the humor was easy enough for a child to enjoy too. The theme song was weird but catchy. This show was on in our house every week.
MASH was my favorite show of the 70’s(and on into the 80’s)and probably helped shape my early political views. Everyone knows that it took place during the Korean War but that it was really a metaphor for the Vietnam War. The performances were superb but the writing is what made this show show so special. In sixth grade, I wrote a report on why the show would never be as good, now that Larry Linville left. I was wrong. David Ogden Stiers was pretty darn good too. Awesome theme song. I never missed an episode and this was the first show where I memorized the dialogue and could say the lines before the actors when the repeats were on.
Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley will always be linked together. These shows were cultural phenomena. The humor was definitely aimed at the younger crowd. I had a Happy Days lunchbox and everyone I knew pretended to be The Fonz. They both had cool theme songs. Both shows were must see TV for my age group.
The Mary Tyler Moore show and The Bob Newhart show both hold a special place in my heart. My sister and I had a regular, Saturday night routine which included watching both of these shows, along with Carol Burnett. Much like All in the Family, these were adult comedies with adult themes but they weren’t political. They had a certain sweetness to them which I loved. The humor was mostly sweet and not the kind of mean humor that came with some later shows. The MTM show had a great theme song. Here’s a fun, rocking version of it by Joan Jett. Both shows were on every week in our house.
I could go on and on but instead, will finish with a list of other great sitcoms that originally aired at least partially during the 1970’s These are all shows that I liked at the time. If you have a favorite that I missed, hit me up in the comment section. Here goes: The Odd Couple, The Jeffersons, Good Times, WKRP in Cincinnati, Taxi, Welcome Back Kotter, Sanford & Son(great theme song), Chico & the Man, Three’s Company, What’s Happening, One Day at a Time, Soap, The Brady Bunch.