Sitcoms: Seventies Edition

Discussion in 'TV Central' started by ClassyCo, May 19, 2018.

  1. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Third in the series. Let's have a look-see at sitcoms we like from the 1970s.

    At the start of the 1970s, the infamous "rural purge" brought the cancellation of many popular rural comedies, and introduced a new era for the TV comedy. THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, and its eventual spin-offs, were successes for MTM Productions. Producer Norman Lear had a string of hits, starting with ALL IN THE FAMILY, and eventually, with its spin-off MAUDE. The decade also gave us the first truly sitcoms centering on African-American families, like SANFORD & SON and GOOD TIMES. Almost all of the above shows had their homes with CBS, while ABC gave us HAPPY DAYS, LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, and MORK & MINDY the same decade.

    What's your favorite sitcoms from the 1970s?
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  2. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    At the time, the '70s was considered the golden age of sitcoms, where the sitcom genre became literally an agent of social change in the first half of the decade, tackling topics TV wouldn't touch in the '60s. By the late-'70s, though, everything was going for slapstick a la THREE'S COMPANY.

    I probably liked MARY the best, along with MAUDE. I couldn't watch MASH beyond its first three or four years. I liked the first four seasons of LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, while they ruined MORK & MINDY after the first year.

    But I saw pretty much all of them.
     
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  3. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I enjoy THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and MAUDE. I do not like M*A*S*H in the slightest. I do like LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, and I have watched a little of MORK & MINDY.
     
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  4. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I also could not stand preachy M*A*S*H.

    I was more a fan of the wacky/mindless sitcoms in the later 1970s. Shows like All in the Family didn't really grab me at all. I recall being more interested in One Day at a Time for a while, but the reruns do NOT hold up well. Though The Jeffersons was a spin-off of All in the Family, it didn't follow the "issue-oriented" format and was more of a traditional sitcom, and I was a regular viewer of that show.

    A lot of the sexual innuendo went right over my head since I was a kid, but the physical stuff on Laverne and Shirley and Three's Company was funny. I was easily entertained. I don't recall watching much Mork and Mindy but I do recall carrying a Mork and Mindy lunchbox to school in the fourth grade. Though it would probably be classified as a variety show, I loved The Carol Burnett Show. Alice was a good show, no matter how often they changed out the third waitress. Soap is viewed more as a 1980s sitcom, though more of it aired in the 1970s (1977-81). THAT was a show that stood the test of time.
     
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  5. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I generally cling more to the sillier sitcoms over the topical ones. The issue-orientated shows can often be too self-righteous for my personal taste. The Carol Burnett Show, while more of the variety sect as you have noted, did offer a healthy dose of fine entertainment. I am a fan of Alice, particularly the seasons with Flo, although Belle and Jolene are serviceable in their roles. Soap is a show that seems to be in a class all alone, and that's certainly an achievement. I have yet to take the time to complete all of it, but what I have seen is excellent.
     
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  6. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    I´m not sure if these threads are including non-American sitcoms so first of all, I´ll say that my favorite sitcoms from this decade are British: "Man About the House" and "George & Mildred". I didn´t finish the latter at the time so I´ll probably reprise it soon too.

    The other pilots I watched were: the US remake of MATH, "Three´s Company" (the pilot is a reshot of the original one and the Ropers here lack the chemistry of the Murphy-Joyce duo); "M*A*S*H" (it left me cold, though I do like Alda and Swit); "Taxi" (was everybody on acid on that set? And what about those tight jeans...?), and that´s all.

    I forgot to mention that my real fav sitcom of the 70´s is "Soap". So many reasons for that...The amazing cast (RIP to Robert Mandan who just died), the nods to daytime (and soon after, also primetime) soap clichés, the bigger-than-life characters...Even so, season 4 is a big letdown and, as many of you may know, it ended with a multi-cliffhanger (and many bangs), and that´s the way the creators wanted it to end: open-ended. Maybe Leonard Katzman thought the same thing when he made up the end of "Dallas"...

    Recap: I don´t think I´ll watch anything from the 70´s by now (I watched the whole "Soap" a couple of years ago) and I´ll only finish "The Ropers".
     
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  7. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    The only 70s comedies I've liked: Barney Miller, The Bob Newhart Show, and MTM (the former two, I have all of; the latter, only 4 seasons worth [1-3, and 6]).
     
  8. Grant Jennings

    Grant Jennings Soap Chat Active Member

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    I agree with many of you, I liked Mary Tyler Moore, The Bob Newhart Show, The Carol Burnett Show and Barney Miller. MASH was much too self-righteous for me. Soap was hysterical and had a great cast though it suffered when Robert Guillaume and Diana Canova left to do their own series. Three's Company was stupid but fun (for what it's worth, I think Janet was cuter than Chrissy).
     
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  9. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Talk about finishing on a low note. :fp:

    Though Stanley and Helen Roper were great as supporting characters, they were not intended to be leads. This becomes painfully apparent about ten minutes into the pilot. Producers never seem to understand that some characters are best in small doses. All they see is dollar signs. The 1970s and 1980s are littered with examples of popular supporting characters crashing and burning as lead characters in spin-offs. For every well-done spin-off like Benson there are three or four stinkers along the lines of The Ropers, Joanie Loves Chachi, Checkin' In, The Tortellis, and Flo.
     
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  10. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    @Daniel Avery, I mentioned the wrong show: in my country, Spain, "George & Mildred", the first "Man About the House" spin-off, was aired as "The Ropers". I corrected the name here when I noticed the mistake. I read a lot about "Three´s Company" online and even watched the reunion special with everybody (including the Ewings´ Muppet cousin...ahem*) except la Somers and, well, Mr. Ritter, who was already deceased. I didn´t dislike "Three´s..." despite my love for the British original but I guess that it continued in the US because it sort of became more and more its own show.

    I find hilariously unbelievable the way Sumers left the show though I know it´s true. Oddly enough, I thought she was funnier in "Step by Step" as the Duffster´s new wife. Thanks a lot for your message, I´ll try to get a hold at "Benson" because the rest of the cast is also appealing to me, especially the actress who played the Swedish mum of Corinne on "Soap"...Tomorrow I´ll elaborate on the pilots from the 80´s that I watched...

    * upload_2018-6-8_3-12-3.jpeg

    "You can call me either Jamie or Val..."
     
  11. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Since so many of the Witt-Thomas Harris sitcoms shared crew members and studio space, it would stand to reason that they would also share actors.

    Inga Swenson, who played the hilariously evil Ingrid Svenson on Soap and "Bavarian Battle-Axe" Gretchen Kraus on Benson is originally from....Nebraska! Also, Caroline McWilliams, who played Burt's scheming secretary Sally on Soap, was cast as Marcy Hill on Benson, the Governor's much nicer secretary. Benson likely never met Sally, but he certainly knew Ingrid, but he never mentioned how much Kraus resembled her.;) They manage to get Katherine Helmond of Soap to guest star at least twice--once as an alive Jessica Tate (while Soap was still running) and again as a "sort of ghost, not quite here and not quite there" version after the events of the Soap finale, since the writers did not want to commit to whether Jessica was dead or just comatose somewhere.

    It takes some doing to figure out, but I'm pretty sure Jessica and Mary's maiden name is Gatling, and their uncle (or father's brother) was Governor Eugene Gatling's father. And try as we have over the years, we never did learn which state he was governing!
     
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  12. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Addict

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    Just off the top of my head: Favourites include Mary Tyler Moore, The Bob Newhart Show and Welcome Back, Kotter.

    And I've said it before and I'll say it again. I liked Joannie Loves Chachi. ;)
     
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  13. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    And Fish (w/the late Abe Vigoda), short-lived two-season spinoff of Barney Miller.
     
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  14. Sarah Danner

    Sarah Danner Soap Chat Member

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    It gradually stopped being a sitcom after that. Once Mike Farrell and Harry Morgan joined up, it was still funny for a while. Then Frank Burns left, Klinger stopped wearing dresses, Hot Lips became Margaret, and way too many message episodes.
     
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  15. Emelee

    Emelee Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Soap is the only 70s sitcom that I think I've ever seen. I am a huge fan of it. I wish I had more than just the first season on dvd, but I don't think the other seasons were ever released in the Nordic countries. I need Region 2 dvds (Europe), so I can't import any dvds from outside Europe. I still can't figure out why the world needs that region coding idiocy.
     
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  16. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    And didn't it loose its laugh track?
     
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  17. Sarah Danner

    Sarah Danner Soap Chat Member

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    It still used one. But it was heard a lot less often. I'm pretty sure the last episode had none at all.
     
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  18. superman fan

    superman fan Soap Chat Fan

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    Mash
    All in the family
    The Jefferson's
    Mary Tyler Moore show
    Good times
    Sandford and son
     
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