Tuesday, October 2, 2018


I was drawn in to the discussion, even though it was my day off.  During a story on "Newswatch 16 This Morning" on an auction of props from the TV series "The Office," Tom Williams remarked how I thought the series was "unfunny."

Tom was wrong.

"The Office" was stunningly unfunny.  I was never able to sit through an entire episode.  Every character was a weasel, and I didn't want them in my home.  I don't know how the show made it on to network television.  "The Office" is one of those sitcoms you either love or hate.  There is no middle ground, and you know how I feel.

OK.  So, what's funny?  Here's the way I see it.

My two favorites are "Scrubs," except for the awful last season, and "Barney Miller."  The latter was always clever, sharp, witty and well written.

I've never been able to sit through an entire "Seinfeld" episode.  Incessant whining by the main characters.  My record for viewing is about ten minutes.

"The Big Bang Theory" had some good early years.  It morphed into another bickering couples sitcom.

"M*A*S*H," but only the early years.  I thought "Cheers" went off the cliff after the early years, too.

Both Bob Newhart series had some funny moments.  The same goes for "Mary Tyler Moore."

 "All in the Family" broke some new ground, but I couldn't take the all the yelling.  Ditto for the other Norman Lear series of the time, "One Day at a Time" and "Good Times"...  and then, there's "Maude."

"WKRP in Cincinnati" showed flashes of brilliance, and more flashes of mediocrity. 

"Get Smart" hit it out of the park most weeks.  The opening and closing credit sequences are among the best of all time.

"Three's Company" had one good year, the first one.

"Mork & Mindy" got tired fast.  I respected the talents of Robin Williams, but I always considered him to be what I call "hot pepper flakes on the pizza."  A little goes a long way.

"Wings" was occasionally charming, and featured a great set of secondary characters.

"Drew Carey" and "Night Court" can still make me laugh out loud.

I never understood "Friends."  Perhaps I was too old.  It's another series where I could never make it through an entire episode.

"Dick van Dyke" was a little too sophisticated for my young eyes and ears.

Some "Odd Couple" plots strained credibility, but it was generally solid throughout its run.

"Happy Days" and "Laverne & Shirley" were overrated.

I tried "Modern Family."  I didn't get it.  The same goes for "How I Met Your Mother."

"Spin City" didn't work for me.

"Munsters" and "Addams Family" were always grouped together, but they were very different shows, and funny in different ways.  They had something in common.  I always loved how the Munster and Addams families never realized they were the strange ones.  They believed the others were the odd balls.  By the way, Grampa Munster and Gomez Addams are among TV's all time great characters.

"I Dream of Jeannie" scored points for Barbara Eden's cuteness and Larry Hagman's physical comedy.

"Home Improvement" was the same story over and over again.  Anything with precocious children immediately goes to the "avoid" list.  Bill Cosby was able to draw a big crowd for years with the precocious children formula.

That's a list of the series I've seen.  There are dozens that never motivated me enough to watch.