Redartz: It wasn't too long ago that some folks claimed the sitcom to be dead. Turns out they were wrong; there are quite a few comedies on network tv worth the viewing in 2021. But as this is "Back in the Bronze Age" and not "Here in the Netflix Age", we're looking at some earlier programming (so as not to give the impression that I'm totally lost in the past, I think one could make a good argument that we are currently in a Golden Age of television drama, but that's another tale for another day).
Back to the sitcoms (or Situation Comedies, for those sticklers among us). Our title above mentions a Golden age; to what does that refer? Well, in my humble opinion, to the 1970's. Granted, every decade has had it's share of enjoyable, popular, even classic comedies. You might well choose to argue that my claim for the 70's misses the mark. Well, that is the crux for our topic this week. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Consider the decade that opened with "The Brady Bunch", "The Partridge Family", and "The Odd Couple".
Basically played for laughs, and those were found in abundance. But as the decade progressed, the comedies got more...socially conscious. More introspective. More biting. Think of "All in the Family" and "Maude".
And the comedies got more diverse; with "The Jeffersons" and "Chico and the Man".
But the world of 70's sitcoms also had it's lighter fare. Nostalgia was a big draw, with "Happy Days" and "Laverne & Shirley".
So were 'urban comedies' such as "Taxi" and "Barney Miller".
And of course the decade ended with the sheer wackiness of Robin Williams in "Mork and Mindy". Obviously the decade offered a wide choice of comic material...
As further evidence, I bring your attention to the CBS schedule for Saturday nights in the 1973 season. "All in the Family", "M*A*S*H", "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", "The Bob Newhart Show", and "The Carol Burnett Show" . Even granting that that last program was technically a variety show, that still must qualify as the greatest single night of televised comedy in broadcast history. Whatta lineup...
Anyway, the sheer abundance of strong comedies (and I have only scratched the surface here) in the 70's pretty much settles my case. Golden Age of Sitcoms? I'm going with the decade of Hawkeye Pierce, Rhoda Morganstern and the Fonz.
You still disagree? Excellent; that's where our topic gets juicy. What decade, or era, would you say qualifies as a 'Golden Age' of comedy? If you agree with me, fine; why? And if you've other thoughts, then by all means convince us otherwise!
And for our UK contingent: certainly don't intend to leave you out. Your BBC and ITV certainly offered some comic viewing, what were the best schedules? The best shows? Was there a particular era that stood out for you, programming-wise? The table is wide open to discuss the Greatest Eras of Comedy...