The 80s gave us a lot of things–some of which we gladly left behind (after all, who really needs to be wearing neon spandex?). However, some great things came out of the decade of excess, especially through our television sets, and we’d probably all be better off if we spent some more time with them. Here are five television sitcoms from the 80s you should still be watching:
This show is about–you guessed it–family. Elyse and Steve Keaton (played by Meredith Baxter-Birney and Michael Gross, respectively) played liberal parents from the age of hippiedom enlightenment, raising a group of conservative children, led by Alex P. Keaton (the Michael J. Fox we all know and love). Although lightened with a good dose of humor, Family Ties occasionally tackled some big issues like alcoholism, politics, and racism, and in a way that could open communication lines for real-life families.
The Cosby Show.
In this groundbreaking series, based on the comedy of Bill Cosby, the American black family was portrayed as educated, successful, and firmly united–truly a positive message that was a long time coming. Cosby chose not to focus on the issue of race, in effect saying that race shouldn’t be an issue, and instead centered the episodes on the challenges of raising a large family, in a way that was just as heartwarming as it was hilarious.
The Golden Girls.
Who’d have thought that a television series about a group of elderly women living their retirement out in Florida would resonate with such a widespread and varied crowd? People of all ages and walks of life can appreciate the Golden Girls because, when it comes down to it, this show was really about the trials and tribulations that we all face. Plus, it was just plain funny.
Who’s The Boss.
This series played with the idea of traditional gender roles, introducing Angela, a strong female as head of household (played by Judith Light) and Tony, her male live-in housekeeper (played by Tony Danza). Both Angela and Tony had one child–Angela a son and Tony a daughter (played by Danny Pintauro and Allyssa Milano, respectively)–creating one very unconventional and lovable blended family.
Set in Chicago, Illinois, Perfect Strangers brought together two distant cousins from two totally different worlds–Larry Appleton, an American photographer (played by Mark Linn-Baker), and Balki Bartokomous, a sheepherder from a small, isolated Mediterranean island. When Balki arrives in America to live with Larry, all he knows of the American way is derived from his very limited exposure to American television, advertising, and pop culture. Hilarity ensues, along with some universal themes about what it means to be human.
The 80s graced us with some television awesomeness that we should not soon forget; and if you browse here, you can find tshirts and goods to help keep them in the forefront of your mind between episodes. Check out these great shows and re-enrich your life with some of the good that came of a decade that gets more than its fair share of criticism.
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