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Round One: What’s the Best Sitcom in TV History?

Honeymooners or King of Queens?Are you ready for the biggest sitcom battle in history?

To start things off, we’ve put together a selection of what we think are the top sitcoms of all time. How did we come up with them? Well…

We started by putting together our own personal lists of greatest sitcoms and then scanned numerous “expert” lists that have been assembled over the years. Next, we looked at the top 30 ratings over the past 50+ years and then, added in any sitcom that lasted for at least seven seasons (they must have been doing something right!). Finally, we added in your suggestions. We may not have every show but we’ve got more than 200 top contenders.

In the case where there was some question about whether a show was a drama or a sitcom, we looked at the show’s Emmy history. For example, Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives have been nominated as “Best Comedy” so they are eligible. Boston Legal, on the other hand, was considered a drama.

Now, as we move on to the voting, we’re putting it all in your hands. There are lots of sitcoms to choose from but that won’t last long.

For this round, we’ve grouped the shows by decade. If a show initially aired in more than one, we put it in the decade when most of its episodes aired. For most decades, we split the choices up into two polls. For the 2000’s, we broke them up into four because there were just so many.

At the end of this round, we’ll take the top vote-getters from each decade and pit them against one another. The winners of those groupings will then compete against one another, and so on, until we have the show that you think is the greatest sitcom in TV history.

You can vote only once for each poll but don’t worry, we’ll start the next round of voting on Monday, April 19th. So, please get busy! You’ve got some tough choices to make!

NOTE: This round is now closed. Please go to round two!

Choose the best 1950's sitcom from this list:

  • The Honeymooners (66%)
  • The Goldbergs (0%)
  • The Burns and Allen Show (10%)
  • The Gail Storm Show (0%)
  • Father Knows Best (12%)
  • December Bride (0%)
  • Bachelor Father (0%)
  • Amos n' Andy (4%)
  • The Adven. of Ozzie & Harriet (8%)

Total Votes: 681

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Choose the best 1950's sitcom from this list:

  • The Phil Silvers Show (4%)
  • Our Miss Brooks (1%)
  • My Little Margie (1%)
  • Mr. Peepers (0%)
  • Mama (I Remember Mama) (1%)
  • Make Room for Danny (0%)
  • Leave It to Beaver (13%)
  • The Jack Benny Show (4%)
  • I Love Lucy (76%)

Total Votes: 743

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Choose the best 1960's sitcom from this list:

  • Gomer Pyle, USMC (1%)
  • Gilligan's Island (13%)
  • Get Smart (12%)
  • The Flintstones (10%)
  • Family Affair (1%)
  • The Doris Day Show (0%)
  • The Donna Reed Show (1%)
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show (16%)
  • Dennis the Menace (0%)
  • Bewitched (11%)
  • The Beverly Hillbillies (6%)
  • Batman (6%)
  • The Andy Griffith Show (17%)
  • The Addams Family (6%)

Total Votes: 794

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Choose the best 1960's sitcom from this list:

  • That Girl (4%)
  • Petticoat Junction (2%)
  • The Patty Duke Show (1%)
  • My Three Sons (5%)
  • My Favorite Martian (3%)
  • The Munsters (11%)
  • The Monkees (8%)
  • Mister Ed (4%)
  • Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (2%)
  • The Lucy Show (8%)
  • I Dream of Jeannie (25%)
  • Hogan's Heroes (18%)
  • Hazel (1%)
  • Green Acres (8%)

Total Votes: 759

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Choose the best 1970's sitcom from this list:

  • Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1%)
  • M*A*S*H (33%)
  • Laverne & Shirley (2%)
  • The Jeffersons (4%)
  • Here's Lucy (0%)
  • Happy Days (17%)
  • Good Times (2%)
  • Fernwood 2 Night (0%)
  • Fawlty Towers (6%)
  • Eight is Enough (1%)
  • Chico and the Man (0%)
  • The Brady Bunch (8%)
  • The Bob Newhart Show (5%)
  • Barney Miller (2%)
  • All In The Family (18%)
  • Alice (1%)

Total Votes: 808

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Choose the best 1970's sitcom from this list:

  • WKRP in Cincinnati (12%)
  • What's Happening!! (1%)
  • Welcome Back, Kotter (4%)
  • Three's Company (19%)
  • Soap (4%)
  • Sanford and Son (7%)
  • Rising Damp (UK) (1%)
  • The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (0%)
  • Rhoda (0%)
  • Police Squad (2%)
  • The Partridge Family (2%)
  • The Odd Couple (7%)
  • The Muppet Show (14%)
  • Mork and Mindy (8%)
  • Maude (3%)
  • Mary Tyler Moore (16%)

Total Votes: 779

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Choose the best 1980's sitcom from this list:

  • It's a Living (0%)
  • The Hogan Family (Valerie) (0%)
  • Growing Pains (3%)
  • The Golden Girls (13%)
  • Gimme a Break (0%)
  • Full House (8%)
  • Family Ties (7%)
  • The Facts of Life (2%)
  • Diff'rent Strokes (2%)
  • The Cosby Show (21%)
  • Cheers (29%)
  • Charles in Charge (1%)
  • Bosom Buddies (1%)
  • Blackadder (4%)
  • Benson (1%)
  • Amen (0%)
  • ALF (7%)
  • 227 (1%)

Total Votes: 855

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Choose the best 1980's sitcom from this list:

  • Who's the Boss? (11%)
  • Webster (1%)
  • Too Close for Comfort (0%)
  • Taxi (18%)
  • Sledge Hammer (2%)
  • Silver Spoons (1%)
  • Roseanne (18%)
  • Perfect Strangers (3%)
  • One Day at a Time (2%)
  • Night Court (15%)
  • Newhart (9%)
  • My Two Dads (1%)
  • Mr. Belvedere (1%)
  • Moonlighting (8%)
  • Mama's Family (4%)
  • The Love Boat (5%)
  • Kate & Allie (1%)
  • It's Your Move (0%)

Total Votes: 816

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Choose the best 1990's sitcom from this list:

  • Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (0%)
  • Hail to the Chief (0%)
  • Grace Under Fire (1%)
  • The Golden Palace (0%)
  • Friends (32%)
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (14%)
  • Freaks and Geeks (5%)
  • Frasier (15%)
  • Family Matters (3%)
  • Evening Shade (0%)
  • Empty Nest (1%)
  • Ellen (1%)
  • Doogie Howser MD (1%)
  • Dinosaurs (1%)
  • A Different World (1%)
  • Designing Women (4%)
  • Dear John (0%)
  • Coach (4%)
  • California Dreams (0%)
  • Boy Meets World (6%)
  • Blossom (0%)
  • Action (1%)
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun (10%)

Total Votes: 892

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Choose the best 1990's sitcom from this list:

  • The Wonder Years (5%)
  • Wings (2%)
  • Two Guys and a Girl (1%)
  • The Steve Harvey Show (1%)
  • Step By Step (1%)
  • Sports Night (2%)
  • Spin City (2%)
  • Smart Guy (0%)
  • Sister, Sister (0%)
  • Seinfeld (32%)
  • Saved By The Bell (4%)
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1%)
  • Red Dwarf (3%)
  • Northern Exposure (3%)
  • NewsRadio (3%)
  • The Nanny (3%)
  • Murphy Brown (5%)
  • Martin (1%)
  • Married With Children (15%)
  • Mad About You (2%)
  • Living Single (1%)
  • Keeping Up Appearances (1%)
  • Home Improvement (12%)

Total Votes: 879

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Choose the best 2000's sitcom from this list:

  • Coupling (UK) (2%)
  • Cougar Town (3%)
  • Community (3%)
  • The Class (1%)
  • The Big Bang Theory (31%)
  • Better Off Ted (3%)
  • The Bernie Mac Show (6%)
  • Becker (6%)
  • Back to You (1%)
  • Arrested Development (17%)
  • Andy Richtor Controls the Universe (0%)
  • All of Us (0%)
  • According to Jim (7%)
  • Accidentally on Purpose (1%)
  • 30 Rock (14%)
  • 8 Simple Rules (5%)

Total Votes: 836

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Choose the best 2000's sitcom from this list:

  • How I Met Your Mother (21%)
  • Hannah Montana (1%)
  • Girlfriends (0%)
  • George Lopez (3%)
  • Gary Unmarried (1%)
  • The Game (1%)
  • Futurama (7%)
  • Family Guy (17%)
  • Extras (2%)
  • Everybody Loves Raymond (23%)
  • Everybody Hates Chris (2%)
  • The Drew Carey Show (7%)
  • Drake & Josh (1%)
  • Do Not Disturb (0%)
  • Dharma & Greg (5%)
  • Desperate Housewives (9%)

Total Votes: 880

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Choose the best 2000's sitcom from this list:

  • Reba (7%)
  • The Parkers (0%)
  • The Office (US) (19%)
  • The Office (UK) (4%)
  • New Adven. of Old Christine (2%)
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide (1%)
  • My Wife & Kids (1%)
  • My Name is Earl (7%)
  • Modern Family (11%)
  • The Middle (1%)
  • Malcolm in the Middle (7%)
  • The King of the Hill (4%)
  • The King of Queens (20%)
  • Just Shoot Me (6%)
  • It’s Always Sunny in Phila. (7%)
  • The IT Crowd (3%)

Total Votes: 848

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Choose the best 2000's sitcom from this list:

  • Will & Grace (11%)
  • Undeclared (1%)
  • Two and a Half Men (22%)
  • Trailer Park Boys (1%)
  • Titus (2%)
  • 'Til Death (1%)
  • That's So Raven (1%)
  • That '70s Show (10%)
  • South Park (8%)
  • Sons of Tucson (1%)
  • Some of My Best Friends (0%)
  • The Simpsons (18%)
  • Sex and the City (7%)
  • Scrubs (13%)
  • Samantha Who? (3%)
  • Rules of Engagement (1%)

Total Votes: 864

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What do you think? Which show do you think will be the big winner? Any predictions?

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Doc April 19, 2010 at 1:50 pm

It’s amazing how much junk has been on the air over the last 10 years.

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Travis April 20, 2010 at 6:56 am

I agree with you Joe Doc.

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wayfarer001 April 15, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Well, let’s call this Favorite Sitcom since popularity will play a greater role than quality; witness Friends, a huge leader & decent show that few would argue the best ever. Barney Miller, Arrested Development, either Newhart & All in the Family are all superior shows that likely won’t make the first cut.
C’monnn, Andy Griffith!

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Nankers April 14, 2010 at 6:23 pm

What fun! Went down memory lane while reviewing each list. No complaints here. It was all just in fun, wasn’t it now!

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Rick Brawley April 14, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Kind of agree with some of the polls!!!! Thought All in the family got a raw deal..That show for it’s time was awsome!! Maybe we had too many younger viewers.

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Jim April 12, 2010 at 10:41 pm

I liked the poll, too bad we can’t vote on shows in this manner prior to them being canceled out of hand. If the networks got feedback from actual viewers instead of depending on Mr. Nielsen’s magic box shows would be more fairly judged. With 80 percent of today’s homes equipped with computers, representative counting is obsolete. Using polls such as the ones shown here would allow each viewer to have a voice instead of each Nielsen box being counted as 22,600 viewers.

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tommy d April 12, 2010 at 3:09 pm

the only issue i see is the decade that you categorized The Simpsons. It seems the series’ strongest seasons were in the 90s – Seasons 4-7. Also note that Time magazine’s December 31, 1999 issue named it the 20th century’s best television series,.

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Rowan April 12, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I’d just like to point out that you have several series listed as sitcoms that are NOT sitcoms and should not be listed as such. A sitcom is not just a comedy. It has parameters, and some of the shows listed do not fit them: Moonlighting, Freaks & Geeks, Northern Exposure are all classified by the television industry as hour-long dramas, even though today we like to use the term “dramedy” when describing them. Even Desperate Housewives is not a sitcom, it is an hour-long comedic soap opera. The Muppet Show is also not a sitcom at all, but a musical-variety sketch show. It was always touted as such when it aired.

Other than that, some of these shows are difficult to choose between. I mean the groundbreaking Mary Tyler Moore Show up against the equally groundbreaking Maude, and fantastic The Odd Couple? How are we supposed to choose between these gems so easily?

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Alijah April 12, 2010 at 7:47 am

I am so happy to see all of my favorite shows on here!! I love Desperate Housewives and Reba, both of whom were not on the original list. Thank you so much for adding them!!

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blue April 12, 2010 at 12:15 am

I agree, the poll setup is idiotic. In some sections, one struggles to select the best of the hardly-great, while in others it’s annoying to see several exceptionally good shows. If you continue on in this fashion, you’ll get a result, but it will mean nothing. Congratulations on a pointless poll with a presumptuously inflated title.

Also, “comedy” does not equal sitcom. No matter what awards were given out to whom, you have bizarrely inaccurate choices in your lists. For example: Desperate Housewives is not a sitcom, and The Muppets was more of a variety show.

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admin April 12, 2010 at 3:49 am

@blue: Thanks for your feedback, though far from tactful. You are not obligated to take part.

Ultimately, the most popular shows will rise to the top because people will vote for them over others, regardless of the groupings. As mentioned, we’re not taking only one from each grouping to the next round.

I think the Muppet Show could be considered either a sitcom or variety show. Unlike the Carol Burnett Show, it had characters and stories taking place around the production of a variety stage show. The acts were often heavily influenced by what was going on off stage.

You are correct about Housewives not being a sitcom and there are a couple others. We didn’t originally intend to include these but people mentioned them so we did. In retrospect, that was probably a mistake considering the title, but I don’t think they’re going to end up impacting the final result.

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Ryan April 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I love the poll but do think the alphabetized list and breaking up decades is not the most accurate way to do it. In the 70s for instance, you have some amazing shows in the early half of the alphabet that will get cut whereas the second half of the list is much weaker allowing lesser shows to get through. I mean, WKRP in Cincinatti will make the cut but not The Brady Bunch or The Bob Newhart Show?

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admin April 11, 2010 at 3:16 pm

@Ryan: There’s no easy way to do it. We’ve got a ton of shows to vote on but, even at this point, it looks like there are some clear favorites. We’ll see how it goes.

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imoth April 11, 2010 at 12:16 am

I would have arranged the poll perhaps like this:
– put the 200-300 shows randomly in groups of 20
– in each group of 20: let the voter give out 5 points (to at least 3 shows)
– next round 40 best shows: 4 groups of 10 (arranged randomly), the voter gives out again 5 points to at least 3 shows
– last round, top 10: The voter gives out 5 points to at least 3 shows. The winner is declared.

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Dennis April 10, 2010 at 11:46 pm

No Larry Sanders? The best sitcom ever…

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margaret jones April 10, 2010 at 9:56 pm

It was very hard to choose. I didn’t realize how many shows there were, and how really great so many of them were. It was fun, Thanks.

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Gregg April 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I know I’m not supposed to take this all too seriously (and I don’t) but voting based on a partial list in alphabetical order seems kind of pointless. Why not set them up to vote by entire decade?

Also, how do you qualify the Simpsons as a 2000s series? The show started in the 80s but really the best of it was in the 1990s and the only show that could come anywhere near it during that era (or possibly any other) would be Seinfeld.

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admin April 10, 2010 at 11:06 pm

@Gregg: We broke them up because the polls would be so long otherwise — 60+ shows for the 2000’s. The way the plugin is set, you can vote only once. That seemed too limiting. In the future rounds, there will be just 2-3 shows per grouping (unless we decide to add the “sorry we forgot” category).

We included The Simpsons in the 2000’s because it’s still running. As mentioned in the post, we put shows in the grouping where most episodes had aired. Since the 2000’s includes a bit more than a decade, it seemed the most appropriate place.

No, it’s not meant to be taken too seriously and we know we’re not going to make everybody happy. Hope you still enjoy taking part.

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imoth April 10, 2010 at 10:50 am

Where are Absolutely Fabulous, ‘Allo ‘Allo!, Archer, Bottom, Corner Gas, Curb Your Enthusiam, Eastbound and Down, Entourage, Father Ted, Flight of the Conchords, How Not To Live Your Life, I’m Alan Partridge, Men Behaving Badly, Spaced, The Brittas Empire, The League of Gentlemen, The New Statesman, Yes Minister, Yes Prime Minister etc.? Perhaps this poll should have been about US sitcoms.

Seinfeld is spelled Sienfeld.

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admin April 10, 2010 at 11:14 am

@imoth: Thanks for catching the typo and your feedback. Unfortunately, the shows you mentioned didn’t make the list. We solicited reader input for weeks and nobody mentioned them. If we get enough other comments like yours, perhaps we’ll add a special “let’s not forget” poll. Thanks.

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imoth April 10, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Sorry. I did not notice that this poll was coming.

Here’s a list of Britain’s Best Sitcoms (2004):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britain's_Best_Sitcom
1. Only Fools and Horses, 2. Blackadder (only this one is on your list), 3. The Vicar of Dibley, 4. Dad’s Army

Also, not on your poll these shows: One Foot in the Grave, Peep Show, Green Wing, Shameless, Trailer Park Boys, The Young Ones and The Thick of It. Also not listed these favourites of mine: The Larry Sanders Show and The Newsroom.

There are really great non-English sitcoms like Finnish shows Tankki Täyteen and Reinikainen, but I understand why they are not listed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sitcoms
(note: not all sitcoms are listed here)

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Mike Hunt September 20, 2010 at 8:16 pm

It’s spelled Seinfeld.

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