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Share to PinterestThese 80s Sitcoms Are Still Popular Today

These 80s Sitcoms Are Still Popular Today

By Staff Writer
Share to PinterestThese 80s Sitcoms Are Still Popular Today

The 1980s were a different time in television. For starters, viewers had to wait a whole week to find out who shot J.R. on "Dallas." That may be one reason 80s shows left such a lasting impression. With its iconic fashion and “very special episodes," 80s sitcoms continue to appeal to audiences today. Many of these sitcoms are available on streaming services, so they can be enjoyed for the first time for the fiftieth time.


Diff’rent Strokes (1979-1986)

“Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?” This catchphrase was made famous by "Diff’rent Strokesstar Gary Coleman, who played the adorable Arnold Jackson. The sitcom about two Black orphans adopted by a white millionaire broke new ground with its discussion of race and class in the 1980s. The show dealt with several important issues, including child pornography and bulimia. One anti-drug storyline even featured then-First Lady Nancy Reagan.


The Facts of Life (1979-1988)

“You take the good; you take the bad…”. This iconic theme song is still catchy four decades later! A spin-off of "Diff’rent Strokes," "The Facts of Life" starred Charlotte Rae as a housemother to four teens at the Eastland School for Girls. The show followed the cast through the trials of growing up and featured a number of “special episodes” dealing with topics like teen pregnancy and suicide. Later seasons even featured a young George Clooney as the local handyman!


Family Ties (1982-1989)

Sitcoms about family life were popular in the 1980s, with a number of shows centering on marriage and children. "Family Tiesoffered a unique spin on life during this decade, showcasing two 60s hippie parents (Meredith Baxter Birney and Michael Gross) raising their 80s yuppie son (Michael J. Fox) and two daughters. "Family Ties" is best known for launching Fox’s career—he later went on to star in the popular "Back to the Futurefilm franchise.


Who’s the Boss? (1984-1992)

The businesswoman was a new concept in the 1980s, and Angela Bower (Judith Light) was the queen of the power suit. "Who’s the Boss?was ground-breaking when it premiered because it reversed traditional gender roles of the time. Tony Danza played a male housekeeper who stayed home while Light’s character had a successful career in advertising. The show lasted for eight seasons, and a reboot was announced in 2020 with original stars Danza and Alyssa Milano.


The Golden Girls (1985-1992)

Before "Sex and the City," there were four other women talking about their sex lives while eating cheesecake, but they were in Miami. "The Golden Girls" proved that older women could still lead vibrant, active lives, and it had a character that everyone could relate to, whether it was the cynical Dorothy (Bea Arthur) or the naïve Rose (Betty White). The show has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years thanks to streaming services and a love of all things “granny core."


Cheers (1982-1993)

Another show with a memorable theme song, "Cheersis one of the longest-running sitcoms in history. Set in a Boston bar managed by former baseball player Sam Malone (Ted Danson), the show features the regular customers and staff who become a second family to each other. The show also featured Sam’s ongoing romances, and viewers were either Team Diane (Shelley Long) or Team Rebecca (Kirstie Alley). Winning 28 Primetime Emmy Awards, "Cheers" was ranked by TV Guide as #18 of the 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.


The Jeffersons (1975-1985)

The Jeffersons featured George and Weezy Jefferson, a successful Black couple “movin’ on up” to the Upper East Side of Manhattan. A spin-off of "All in the Family," it was the first show to feature an interracial married couple and included episodes dealing with alcoholism, gun control, and suicide. Isabel Sanford, who played Weezy, was also the first African-American to win an Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy Series.


Three’s Company (1977-1984)

Think finding a roommate is a modern-day problem? In "Three’s Company," two women must convince their landlord their male roommate is gay so he can continue living with them. Hijinks ensue! The show made stars of John Ritter and Suzanne Somers, and its over-the-top humor made it a ratings hit. Some of the dated jokes may not translate for modern audiences, but the show's open discussion of dating and homosexuality was ground-breaking at the time.


The Wonder Years (1988-1993)

Made in the 80s but set in the 1960s, "The Wonder Yearsis the perfect show for viewers who love nostalgia. Fred Savage stars as Kevin Arnold, a teen navigating the awkwardness of adolescence during the tumultuous 60s. The show was distinctive for its mix of comedy and drama, breaking away from the traditional laugh-track style of most sitcoms. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it number 63 on its list of 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.


Married… With Children (1987-1997)

Fox’s "Married… With Childrenbroke the mold of the happy family sitcom when it premiered in 1987. The show starred Ed O’Neill as Al Bundy, a man who hates his job, his family, and his life. Viewers either loved or hated the show’s crude humor, but it’s undeniable that Al set the stage for future TV husbands like Homer Simpson. It also was Fox’s first big hit and remains the longest-lasting live-action sitcom for the network.



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