Sitcoms That Changed The World, Five

by | Nov 7, 2005 | All, Reviews


• We have always thought and said that the sign of a great sitcom is one that can make you both cry with laughter and cry through sadness too. That takes real writing talent, Only Fools is a prime example of one where you genuinely feel for the characters and empathise with what they go through.

• Nice to hear Caroline Aherne narrating – we miss her on TV and hope she returns to writing soon.

• Wonderful clips from some vintage shows such as Hancock, Steptoe and The Likely Lads

• The understanding that a main TV character is very much of the time and can reflect the mood and feeling of the nation. A terrific example was how Tony Hancock’s Half Hour captured the feeling of postwar, cash-strapped Britain but still managed to laugh at itself.

• Nice to see Bill Cosby and we are glad he has been recognised for his achievement in the rise of black comedians in the US.

• The clip from Ellen when the lead character and indeed the lead actress came out on TV. The look of relief on her face was genuine as if she could now be what she wants to be and not what middle class America wants her to be.

• Some clips still made us laugh out loud even though we have seen them hundreds of times. Hancock’s Blood Donor, The Young Ones hitting each other and David Brent doing his muppet impressions still have timeless qualities today.

• The story about the genesis of Alan B’stard – yes, he was based on Alan Clark

• “If you want to know what life was like in Thatcher’s Britain, rather than watching any documentary you are far better off watching episodes of Only Fools And Horses. ”


• The sheer ignorance of some people. For example, the lady who, when Ellen DeGeneres came out on TV, said she was playing with her health and protested against it. Why did people have to take to the streets over that? TV is supposed to reflect real life not your slanted idea of Utopia.

• The usual suspects of non entities and Z list to speak about the shows. eg the Hamiltons and Boyd Hilton.

• We cannot understand how Roseanne can be compared to Steptoe And Son for a class-based sitcom when one was tacking class wars and struggles 20 years earlier than the other. The huge gulf between UK and US audiences was also apparent when it came to racism, too. In the UK it was tackled in the 1960s and 1970s but it took The Cosby Show in the 1980s for the US audience to realise that black Americans can be successful, too.

• It is disturbing to think that many people who watched Till Death Us Do Part actually agreed with the racism of Alf Garnett.

• M*A*S*H was a sitcom for the anti-war brigade and was huge in the US. In fact, the last episode attracted 125 million viewers. So how come the Americans still like starting wars when so many are allegedly opposed to it?

• We cannot understand how Friends “changed the world”. Especially when it was explained that it saw an upsurge in coffee shops and one in four women wanted a Rachel haircut. We bet the Republican government were in a complete panic.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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