TV sitcoms - which is an abbreviation of situational comedy - has been a staple of television for years. It's consistently been one of the few genres on television that's rarely, if ever, been out of fashion. Granted, it's gone through several highs and lows, but it's never been far from the public consciousness. Here's the ten best sitcoms from the past thirty years...
10. EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND
The set-up for Everybody Loves Raymond is so perfectly blended together, it almost feels like it wasn't even written. Ray Barone is a successful sports writer who, it seems, can't shake his overbearing parents and kinda simple-minded brother. The interactions between the mother and Ray's wife makes for some truly cringey moments, but Everybody Loves Raymond was as good-natured as it comes.
Although it was a spin-off from Cheers, Frasier truly stood on its own two feet very quickly and even eclipsed where it came from. Kelsey Grammer's deadpan humour, mixed with a fantastic supporting cast made up of David Hyde Pierce as Niles, Jane Levees as Daphne and John Mahoney as Frasier's Seattle cop dad, Marty.
Although it finished almost thirty years ago, Taxi is still regularly called the first, best TV sitcom. It not only launched the careers of Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd and Andy Kaufman, it also highlighted a great many societal issues of the time including homosexuality, immigration issues and single-parent families.
7. CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
The premise of Curb Your Enthusiasm is, undoubtedly, laughably threadbare. The former showrunner for Seinfeld, Larry David, is followed around on his daily life, interacting with his wife, his manager, his manager's wife and more. It's fair to say that Curb's central quality rest solely on Larry David's shoulders. But what it makes it more cringe-funny is that, deep down, we're all Larry David. We've all been in his situations to some degree - do you eat first when your meal arrives before someone else? Is there a correct way to ask if somebody's mixed-race? Is it wrong to steal flowers from a roadside memorial?
6 & 5. THE OFFICE (US) / (UK)
You could argue that the US Office outstayed its welcome. You could also argue that the UK Office didn't give itself enough time to develop fully. Whatever you might think, it's fair to say that both Offices were remarkable sitcoms. Granted, they're two very different beasts - one more real-world, one more zany - they're both linked by the office manager. Which is our favourite? We always preferred Michael Scott to David Brent.
4. 30 ROCK
30 Rock gave birth to one of TV's greatest on-screen bosses - namely Jack Donaghy. Everyone either wanted to be Jack Donaghy or have a boss like Jack Donaghy. A man with impeccable suits, fantastic hair and the best lines. "Shoulders back, Lemon. You're not welcoming guests to Castle Frankenstein." -- "Money can't buy happiness. It is happiness."
A show that was famously about "nothing", Seinfeld sure was insanely funny. Whether it was George Costanza's hapless attempts at making a life, Kramer's entrance or even Jerry's tennis shoes, Seinfeld is a staple of TV sitcoms.
Again, like Seinfeld or Friends, Cheers had no real story or narrative to it. Each show was a standalone product. Who thought a show about a retired baseball player running a dive-bar would turn into one of the most successful comedies TV has ever seen?
It ran for ten seasons, it shaped a decade and launched the careers of Jennifer Anniston, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Matt LeBlanc. There isn't a person under the age of 30 who can't name or quote their favourite episode. Whether it's the one where Phoebe gets hummus on her dress or the London episode, Friends is truly the most well-known and most successful TV sitcom. Very few sitcoms since then have come close to reach its level of popularity.