The TV screens may be crammed with repeats, but there are some 80s US sitcoms we'd be all too happy to see again.
On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Jerry Seinfeld is the small-time comedian whose interaction with the other characters often leads to superficial conflict of some sort or other… Other than that, often nothing much happens as Jerry interacts with his attractive and assertive ex-girlfriend Susan and his best friend George Castanza, a perpetually insecure, dishonest loser. The most memorable character, though, has to be Cosmo Kramer, whose ice-cream cone hairstyles, flamboyant vintage outfits and trademark dramatic sliding entrances into Jerry’s apartment almost steal the show… That and the twanging guitar riffs that intersperse scenes.
The New York taxi firm Sunshine Cabs Company is staffed with cabbies who are just ‘filling in time’ before they get their ‘real’ job. Only Alex considers himself a real cab driver… All the rest are often presented with the chance to fulfil their ambition, always foiled. Otherwise they daily deal with their unsatisfying life and employment, bossed about by their belligerent dispatcher Louie de Palma played by Danny DeVito. The series, though zany in nature, also dealt with real issues ranging from teenage pregnancy to nuclear war…
3. The Golden Girls
And so to Miami, where those four inimitable mature ladies share Blanche Devereux’ house after the man-hungry Southern belle is widowed. The unlikely trio who join her are divorcee Dorothy Zbornak (Beatrice Arthur), a deep-voiced substitute teacher, and her wisecracking widowed mother Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty), plus the simple- minded widow Rose Nyland, whose peculiar stories of life in St Olaf punctuate her conversation, and whose naivety draw sarcasm and incredulity all round…
At the other end of the wealth spectrum is the Conners’ blue-collar family from Illinois. It’s an ordinary household where the force behind the family is working mum Roseanne (Roseanne Barr). Her sister Jackie is constantly having man problems and looking for advice from Roseanne, who has much on her plate as husband Dan (John Goodman) has sporadic work, and balancing the household finances is a constant battle. Of the three children, DJ, Becky and Darlene, it’s the latter (Sara Gilbert) who is most memorable as the tomboyish teenager, who becomes moody, artistic and a vegetarian…
We love Frasier of course, but that’s always on the small screen somewhere. What would be nice to see again is the show in which Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) was first introduced. Yes, it’s at Sam Malone’s bar Cheers in Boston that Frasier was often to be found along with the other regulars – accountant Norm Peterson, postman Cliff Clavin and psychiatrist Lillith Sternin. The oddball staff included Coach Ernie Pantusso, who solves people’s problems when not putting the bar at stake, waitresses Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) who has an on-off relationship with Sam (Ted Danson), and cynical, wisecracking Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman), not-so-bright assistant bartender Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson), and later, of course, bar manager Rebecca played by Kirstie Allie.
The weirder-than-weird sitcom which parodies daytime soaps with completely melodramatic and convoluted plot lines involving the families of two sisters, one rich, one working class… And who can forget the opening, where a voiceover gives a summary of the coming episode with the comment, ‘Confused? You won’t be after this week’s episode of Soap’, and the episode’s closing title where the life-and-death questions of what is to happen next are rattled off before the line, ‘These questions, and many others, will be answered in the next episode of… Soap.’