10 Best 80s Sitcom Families, Ranked

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Step into the 1980s, a glorious era filled with neon colors, new wave music and family sitcoms as far as the eye can see. While the family sitcom was not a novelty concept, at the dawn of the 80s the subgenre got a facelift to adapt to the new and strange times.

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Gone were the family shows that highlighted poverty and bigotry, and in its place were sugary sitcoms more focused on the nuisances of family life and common problems that these shows managed to solve in half an hour. As stereotypical as most of these shows were, family sitcoms were staples on television, and these shows helped revitalize network television.

10) Silver Spoons (1982-1987)


Photo of cast silver spoons

First in 1982, silver spoons is a family sitcom that asked the question, “What would it be like to be raised by a man who made his fortune selling toys?” »

The response prime-time viewers received each week was that it would be a very awesome childhood, complete with a little train that would take them all over a giant mansion. silver spoons was the series that introduced the world to Alphonse Ribeiro (who first appeared in Season 3), who would go on to cement his name in pop culture by playing Carlton Banks at The prince of Bel-Air In the 90s.

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9) Health (1982-1993)


Cheers Cast Photo

Cheers isn’t your typical “family sitcom“; however, the gang that regularly frequented the Cheers bar near Boston Common was like family, albeit with a lot more booze.

Cheers helped launch several acting careers, including Ted Danson, Shelly Longand Kelsey Grammar (who has his Cheers derivative series, fraser, In the 90s). It was the place where “everyone knows your name”, which made it clear that family wasn’t just the one you were related to.

8) Mom’s Family (1983-1990)


Mom's Family Cast Photo

In 1974, Vicky Laurent put on a gray wig and dressed like a southern mom on The Carol Burnett Show. Her skit as Thelma Mae Harper, aka “Mama”, was so popular it warranted a spin-off series.

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It came nine years later with Mom’s family, which features the quick-witted character of Lawerence as the matriarch of the dysfunctional Harper family. His sarcasm and sharp, hilarious zingers fueled Mom’s family for six seasons, which gained popularity after leaving NBC for syndication in 1986.

7) Family Affairs (1989-1998)


Family Matters Photo Cast

It’s time for an honest take: Family matters would have been nearly dead if it hadn’t been for Steve Urkel (Jaleel White), the geeky neighbor of the Winslows who captivated America as The Cosby Show was entering its sunset period. Beneath the surface, however, Family matters was more than “Did I do that?”

The sitcom touched on a variety of themes, and some of its “special episodes” remain some of the most impactful episodes ever produced on network television, ranging from Eddie Winslow (Darius McCrary) dealing with Chicago street gangs to Carl Winslow (Reginald Vel Johnson) having to deal with racial bias within the Chicago police. While it reached peak ratings in the 90s, Family matters could have easily fit in with the other family sitcoms of the 80s.


6) Punky Brewster (1984-1988)


Wide shot of Punky Brewster

When Punky Brewer Premiering on NBC in 1984, the heartwarming family sitcom brought a dose of “Punky Power” to TVs around the world. Punky (Sun Moon Frye) was a child who, along with her dog, Brandon, was abandoned by her parents. Founded by Henry Wernimont, he welcomed Punky and became his adoptive father.

Punky Brewer shown onscreen how one can be at peace with one’s free spirit, and while saccharine like with other 80s family shows, Punky Brewer had a mojo that has endured for fans even to this day.

5)Alf (1986-1990)


Alf Cast Photo

Let’s set the scene: the location is the San Fernando Valley and, out of nowhere, an alien crashes into a family’s trash can and becomes one of the most popular characters on network television in the years. 80. This is the trajectory of alfwhich ran for four seasons in the mid-’80s and is a cult classic among those growing up during the era.

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Alf (whose real name was “Gordan Shumway”) was a tough alien (except for cats, which was his delicacy) who had a quick-witted tongue in his commentary on humanity. from Alf The run was a little too short, but for the 102 episodes it was on the air, it carved out a place in pop culture history.

4) Growing Pains (1985-1992)


Growing Pains Cast Photo

In some ways, Growing pains was a perfectly crafted family sitcom for the 80s. The plot of the series went like this: Jason Seaver (Alan Thicke) moved his therapy practice to his home so that his wife, Maggie Seaver (Joanna Kern), can return to work after spending 15 years as a stay-at-home mom.

He is now responsible for three exuberant children: Mike (Kirk Cameron), troublemaker and eldest of the Seaver children, Carol (Tracey Gold), the evil one, and Ben (Jeremy Miller), who is sort of in between but admires his brother. Like most 80s family comedies, Growing pains followed the traditional, sanitized path of solving typical family problems in less than half an hour; however, the show differentiated itself in that it showed a family that, on the face of it, seemed to have things together, but were slightly dysfunctional to the core. But, as long as they were together, they could go through anything.


3) Family ties (1982-1989)


Family-Ties-Cast-Photo-1

Family ties was a mirror image of what the 80s became, both culturally and politically. By the time the show premiered on NBC in the fall of 1982, America was embracing the conservative politics and culture cultivated by Ronald Regan, and no one loved him more than Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox).

Keaton a young Republican who had no problem wearing a tie and carrying a briefcase to school, espousing Republican Party virtues and showing his intellectual superiority. He used his love of conservatism as a rebellion against his former hippie parents, Steven and Elise Keaton; and while some of Alex’s position would be a bit problematic in today’s culture, it was ripe for prime-time comedy in the Cold War era. Family ties made a Fox star, who would go on to star in blockbusters such as Back to the futureand have its own spiritual fallout from Family ties In the 90s, spin the town.


2) Full house (1987-1995)


Full House Cast Photo

The premise of Full house is based on a dark plot: Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) had to pick up the pieces and raise his three daughters after his wife was killed in a car accident.

He then recruits his brother-in-law, Jesse (John Stamos), and his best friend, Joey (David Coulier), to help raise her children, and family hijinks ensue. Full house has many iconic sitcom moments, from Jesse and Joey struggling to change Michelle’s diaper in the pilot to the family having to spend Christmas in an airport due to a blizzard. Some would say the show was a little too cheesy, but that’s the beauty of Full housea show that perfectly balanced comedy and drama on ABC for 8 seasons.

1) The Cosby Show (1984-1992)


Cosby Show Cast Photo

Bill Cosby may be a dishonored figure today, but there’s no denying the impact The Cosby Show had on network television. It was staple television before NBC popularized the phase in the ’90s, and was a ratings savior on the network, which languished in third place behind CBS and ABC before the series premiered.

The Cosby Show was also the first to feature the upward mobility of the African-American family, with mother and father having well-paying careers and the family living in a pristine Brooklyn Brownstone. Not only that, but the show was hilarious week after week, delivering many iconic moments that will forever be etched in the memory of those who grew up watching the Huxtables every Thursday night.

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