By 1955, half of the households in the United States had a television set. Since that time, there have been several classic TV shows that have captivated people’s hearts, minds, and imaginations.
Certain sitcoms were groundbreaking for their storytelling and the contributions that they made to the art form. We’ve chosen three of the best shows ever created so that you can learn what made them so special.
Here are some interesting points of information that you should know about these famous sitcoms.
1. All in the Family
You can’t say classic TV without mentioning All in the Family.
This 1971 show by Norman Lear is one of the most famous sitcoms of all time and for good reason. All in the Family exists in the pantheon of famous TV shows because of its willingness to tackle social issues of the day.
It featured the lovable bigot Archie Bunker, his endearing, yet dimwitted wife Edith, and progressive but naive daughter and son-in-law Gloria and Michael Stivic.
Here are some facts about this classic TV program that you might not know:
- The show was originally going to be called “And Justice for All”, featuring Archie Justice and his family
- It’s originally based on a British show
- The show retained an organic feel because they used a live studio audience rather than a laugh track
- Mickey Rooney was originally supposed to play Archie, rather than Carroll O’Connor
- The pilot aired with a warning for the audience
This show spawned multiple spinoffs and has inspired countless other successful shows, including South Park.
2. The Jeffersons
The most notable All in the Family spinoff came in 1975 in the form of The Jeffersons.
Ths show was iconic largely because it featured a black family and cast, was the longest-running show with a black cast and featured positive images and stellar writing and performances.
Sherman Hemsley played the charismatic George Jefferson, one of TV’s most iconic characters.
Here are some interesting facts:
- Isabel Sanford, who played George’s wife Louise, is 21 years older than Hemsley
- Lionel Jefferson was the first family member to appear on TV, on an episode of All in the Family
- The theme song for the show is performed by Ja’Net Dubois, who plays Willona from Good Times (Another show from the All in the Family universe)
- The show was nominated for 14 Emmy awards
- Norman Lear handpicked Hemsley for the lead role and waited 4 years for him to fulfill his Broadway commitments
This show ushered in a new era of television history and remains a favorite for many today.
3. Family Matters
Family Matters is successful for both its family vibes and physical comedy. The Winslows are one of the most famous sitcom families in TV history, along with their nerdy, annoying neighbor, Steve Urkel.
Here are some fun facts:
- Though Jaleel White’s Urkel character became the star, the show originally centered around Harriete Winslow, played by Jo Marie Payton
- The writers wrote off the show’s youngest daughter Judy without explanation
- The Chicago house used in exterior shots remains largely unchanged to this day
- After 9 successful seasons and a network change, ratings began to plummet and the show was canceled
- Harriette Winslow was replaced by another actress in the second half of the final season
The Steve Urkel character remains one of the most recognizable in television history and has shown up in several other areas.
Catch Up on the Most Famous Sitcoms
These famous sitcoms are great places to start when you’d like to get to know TV history. Now that you have a primer on these groundbreaking sitcoms, the only thing left to do is watch them for yourself.
Set aside some time to binge and check back for more articles related to entertainment.