I'm so saddened by the passing of Estelle Getty, Sophia on THE GOLDEN GIRLS.
She died last week after years of battling a very nasty form of dementia.
I think THE GOLDEN GIRLS is hands down one of the best sitcoms of all time. I can literally watch an episode of that show for the 20th time and still laugh just as hard as the first time I ever saw it. And Ms Getty's perfect sense of timing to deliver a line (especially a sarcastic one) is one of the reason's why. Betty White, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and some very funny writing are the others.
Several years ago I did a list of what I thought were the greatest sitcoms of all time. I can't find the original. But here are the shows I remember are on the list. And a new one that I've since discovered in syndication.
1) Cheers - Always funny. Always well acted. Always great! And Norm is my hero.
2) Mash - It actually started out more "sitcom-like" and got more serious as the years went on. It was always brilliant.
3) Seinfeld - Personally, with the exception of a few episodes like "The Contest," I never really found this show very funny. But everyone else seems to think it was an all time great so it gets number 3.
4) The Golden Girls - This would be number one for me. But the fact they were on tape makes the show look a little more "low budget" and they did a few too many flashback shows.
5) The Dick Van Dyke Show - An absolute perfect blend of slapstick and cerebral humor.
6) The Mary Tyler Moore Show. - "You know, you got spunk. I hate spunk." A line that sets the tone in the premiere episode in a show that stays great through Chuckles the Clown's funeral all the way to Mary telling her co-workers they are her family in the final show.
7) Arrested Development - This is the one that wasn't on my original list. I never saw it in it's first run, but have recently discovered it in syndication. It's VERY funny.
8) All in the Family - Watch an old episode some time. Carroll O'Connor is playing a very unlikable man. But he plays him with such sympathy you like him anyway. And who on TV was more likable than Jean Stapleton as Edith. The episodes where Edith was almost raped is some of the best TV ever on TV.
9) Everybody Loves Raymond - When I first saw this show, I thought the "crabby wife-stupid husband" routine would get really old really fast. It never did. Ray Ramano's acting got better every year and the supporting cast was always great. Plus, the writing was always fresh.
10) The Odd Couple - I don't think this show ever reached the top ratings. But after they switched to filming in front of a live audience, it became extremely funny. And Tony Randal and Jack Klugman were brilliant with Felix's nose honking and Oscar's dirty bedroom. The episode where they were on Password was probably the best.
Gilligan's Island - I don't care what the critics say, it's just plain funny.
The Simpsons - very funny in it's first 6 or 7 years, but has stayed on a few too many years. The movie was funny, though.
The Cosby Show - again, very funny, but probably stayed on a few too many years.
Maude - would be in the top 10 if it wasn't a spin off.
Laverne and Shirley - same reason as Maude.
Family Guy - would be top 10 if not an animated show.
OK, those are my top 10. Now, I want to hear yours.
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