DAR TV: 8 Important ABC Sitcoms

By @TrueGodImmortal

The ABC Network is one of the more unsung networks when it comes to comedy. We speak highly of networks like NBC, CBS, and even FOX for their comedies, but ABC has a sense of humor as well. Over the decades, we've seen some top notch comedies on ABC, a number of them based on family and the craziness involved within that. Today, I wanted to take a look back at 8 of those comedies that were top notch and impacted the television world. Let's get into it. 

*Happy Days (11 Seasons, 255 Episodes)

-One of the more long tenured shows on the network, Happy Days was set in Wisconsin, and was extremely important to the development of the network. While ABC was popular at the time, Happy Days would give it a huge hit show that inspired one of the most iconic characters in the history of sitcoms. While the main character and focus of the show was Richie Cunningham, the biggest character of the show and the most important remains the Fonz, played by Henry Winkler. Fonzie was essentially the coolest character on the show, with his fashion sense and style being the reason why he became so popular. There were other elements on this show besides Richie and Fonzie, with the love story of Joanie and Chachi being another central storyline throughout the show. Through the earlier seasons, the show was really in its prime, but admittedly, like a number of shows on this list, it took a small bump in quality in later years, but was still one of the more impactful shows of its time. Happy Days is easily one of the most important shows for the ABC Network.

*Modern Family
(9 Seasons, 152 Episodes)

- The most recent of all of these shows on the list, Modern Family really isn't showing any signs of going away anytime soon, following in the footsteps of most ABC hit sitcoms that have a long life on the network. With their 10th season due to be airing soon, Modern Family has captured the nation's comedic attention, with cutting edge comedy and taking more of a chance with some of the themes. Following three different families who all seem to intersect, Modern Family takes a road less traveled, as they explore the challenges of both a step family and a same sex family and how they navigate through their challenges. There are always hilarious moments on this show, and while there aren't specific characters that stick out more than the others, that makes for a more interesting shoe overall and a better watching experience. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ariel Winter, Ed O'Neill, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, and Sofia Vergara all help to round out a cast that brings the laughs and hilarity on a regular basis to a well executed sitcom.

(9 Seasons, 222 Episodes)

-This show is apparently going to get a revival soon, but I'll be honest, I was never a big fan of this show at all. Still, in terms of the importance of the show to the network, it might be the most important sitcom. This show made Roseanne Barr a household name (unfortunately), and it also gave John Goodman more of an acting legacy and popularity. The premise of the show centers around a working class family in Illinois, with both parents being hard working, which was a rarity in the usual scheme of sitcoms. Usually, shows would see the man of the house as the worker while the woman was the caregiver for the kids and running the house, but Roseanne showed both of the parents working outside of the home and making it work, something that was more realistic to many viewers than the fantasy TV sold. Still, the show itself wasn't really that funny or enjoyable to me, but I respect the premise and there were some funny moments from the kids, Becky, Darlene, and DJ, so for that, I have to applaud it. Roseanne was a ratings success and a pioneering show in a way, so it has to be recognized as an important sitcom on ABC.

*Step By Step (7 Seasons, 160 Episodes)

-I'll be honest, I hated this show initially. I don't know why, but I just never cared to watch it after seeing one episode as a child..... That was until I heard the theme song. That's right. I'm including Step By Step on this list for one reason and one reason only: The theme song. Okay, maybe that's not the only reason, but it is a big reason for me, because without hearing the theme song, I might not have given the show another shot. Surprisingly, once I watched another episode, it became a regular in my TGIF lineup, which is probably the most infamous and well known run for ABC sitcoms. With Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers as the two main stars, the show has a nice comedic element and showcases a second chance blended family, as two divorced people end up together and married, much to the chagrin of their respective children. This was one of the first shows that really showcased the comedic side of a big blended family, and through the episodes, they would execute a lot of hilarious moments. The show would be a success ratings wise and eventually get to syndication, which is why it has earned a spot on this list. Step By Step, Day By Day.

*Full House (8 Seasons, 192 Episodes)

-First off, let me just say this: in retrospect, this show is horrible. There are so many reasons why I feel that way, but personal opinion aside, there is no way I could ever deny what Full House meant in terms of importance to the ABC Network or to the sitcom world in general. For better or worse, the show gifted the world with the Olsen Twins, who were adorable at the time (they have aged like bananas since, but I digress), and pretty hilarious child actresses. The show was centered around the widowed Danny Tanner and his family and friends, including his best friend Joey and his brother in law Jesse (otherwise known as Uncle Jesse), as he struggles to raise his three daughters without their mother. While I am not a fan of the show myself, the fact remains, the show was very enjoyable for Middle America, family friendly, and a huge ratings success for ABC, which of course is why it's impossible to leave this show off the list.

*Boy Meets World (7 Seasons, 158 Episodes)

-This show was really important to a lot of childhoods and it's clear why. It was the quintessential sitcom that managed to appeal to all ages without being overly corny and having a great story in the show romantically. It was a coming of age show based around the Ben Savage portrayal of lead character Cory Matthews, who experiences life through middle school and beyond in the sitcom. The show was a huge part of the TGIF lineup for a while on the network and it was a ratings success of course like the other shows on this list. There were a number of iconic characters on the show, including Cory's best friend Shawn, his long time teacher Mr. Feeny, but most of all, Topanga. Most of us who watched that show were pretty fond of Topanga when we were growing up, and she was a huge part of the success, especially considering the dynamic between Cory and Topanga helped to drive the show. Over the 7 seasons, we watched these characters go through middle school, high school, and eventually start college, as Cory and Topanga would end up married very early. The show was executed perfectly and if I had to pick a favorite sitcom on this list, it would probably be Boy Meets World.

*Home Improvement (8 Seasons, 204 Episodes)

-I feel a bit indifferent on this show personally, but I would be lying if I said I didn't watch this from time to time growing up. Truthfully, who didn't watch this growing up? It would be one of the most watched sitcoms of its era, with the series being a huge launching pad for Tim Allen's acting career (though The Santa Clause and Galaxy Quest doesn't necessarily mean that's a good thing). The show would also play a role in a jumpstart for the acting career of Pamela Anderson, who was a regular on the early seasons of the show (once again, not necessarily a good thing). The premise of this show centered around Tim Taylor and his family, as they live a mostly normal life in suburban America. Tim is the host of a show called Tool Time, which was essentially a huge part of the success of this sitcom. With his sidekick Al Borland and a Tool Time girl, the show would end up spawning an infamous quote, and would help make Home Improvement a regular program on many televisions in the 90's. For me, the funniest parr of the show was their neighbor Wilson, who you could never really see, but he always provided  Tim with sound advice through his tough times. All in all, Home Improvement wasn't my favorite show, but it was certainly a huge part of ABC's success in the 90's. 

*Family Matters
(9 Seasons, 215 Episodes)

-Of course, this is where I have to end this article. This show was probably the most watched show in my neighborhood on ABC, and as you can see, it's the only black sitcom on this list. There's two  reasons for that. One, ABC isn't exactly the best network for black sitcoms and two, Black-ish hasn't been on long enough to warrant a spot over any other shows on this list. However, in reality, you would have to mention Family Matters, as it has a huge legacy in all communities. The premise of the show of course, is based around the Winslow family in the suburbs of Chicago. With Carl Winslow, the father and a police officer, he was essentially the focus of the show initially, before Steve Urkel would end up becoming the breakout character on the show. There were other important characters on the show as well, including the mother of the family Harriette (who will forever be etched in my memory by a tweet that joked about the studio audience cheering for her appearance while she came down the stairs when she really looked horrible), the son Eddie Winslow, and daughter Laura Winslow, who was the object of Urkel's affection. Still, over the length of the show, it got out of hand, becoming more outrageous as the seasons went on, but the show still kept some of the initial charm through storylines for Steve and Myra (a girl obsessed with him), and Eddie's failures and successes in his love life. Overall, Family Matters wasn't the best show, but it was entertaining mostly, and was a mainstay in the iconic TGIF lineup. ABC might not have had the greatest sitcoms overall, but they had a number of classic sitcoms that garnered huge ratings and Emmy nominations and awards, making the network even more successful in the process.



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