tv History of the Sitcom CNN July 31, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
pivot! pivot! pivot! >> shut up! shut up! shut up! >> i feel like we get to know these sitcom characters. they're your friends. >> i don't think it's going to pivot anymore. >> you think? >> they were purely selfish and purely immature. >> are you still master of your domain? >> i'm queen of the castle. >> you hope that you'll have those kinds of relationships in your life. >> tonight is. celebrating our enduring bond as friends, nay, family. >> good to see you too, girl. where you going? carnival? >> your friends, sometimes that's more family than the people that you're related to. >> something's bothering you. >> i've never been happier. >> trying to make your word, having a safe harbor, you know, where everybody knows your name. >> good afternoon, everybody. >> norm!
♪ >> i'm out. >> what? >> yeah, i'm out. i'm out of the contest. >> ugly naked guy is having thanksgiving dinner with ugly naked gal. >> "friends "or "seinfeld" you want me to choose? >> i can't answer that. it's so subjective. >> challenge accepted. >> contest. a contest? >> "seinfeld" will win, i think. >> giddy up. >> "seinfeld" is smart. >> "seinfeld" is a brilliant half hour of television. >> i loved "seinfeld." >> "seinfeld". >> "seinfeld". >> you come to expect their dickishness. >> all right. >> "seinfeld." oh, my gosh. >> "seinfeld" is my favorite all time show. >> you want to play rough? we can play rough. >> i love "friends". i've seen every episode of "friends." >> one of my favorite shows of all time. so watchable. >> whoo whoo! >> "friends".
"friends." >> "friends." >> "friends." >> "friends." >> i really appreciated "friends." >> one of the top all-time sitcoms, "seinfeld," yeah. >> are we finished? >> done. >> at the core of every sitcom you do have a family whether it is a blood family or a found family. you know, in the case of "friends" or "seinfeld." >> as new generations emerge from baby boomers to gen x to millennials to gen z, we see those changes reflected in the "friends" sitcom. >> you look back at the rise of the "friends" sitcom. it happens as we hit the '70s at a moment at which divorce rates in the country were also rising. >> we seem to be going downhill in life's most important venture, marriage. >> do you compare everybody to your ex-wife? >> sure, i do. and compared to blanch everybody looks good. >> "the odd couple" was one of the first shows that began to explore the break-up of the family on television.
>> can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy? ♪ >> the perfect opening to a sitcom was of course "the odd couple" opening, which told all the backstory and set it all up in this beautiful way. >> felix unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. that request came from his wife. >> "the odd couple" was orange any a neil simon play on broadway. it then became a movie and came to television in 1970 thanks to garry marshall. >> would you do me a favor? >> what? >> for my birthday let me clean up in here. >> no! >> the finickiness of tony randall's character was because tony randall was a little bit finicky. >> oscar madison is the total opposite. the slob. the gambler. >> in my room you can eat off the floor. >> you can eat off the floor in my room. look, there are? crackers over there. >> odd couple is so seminal to the sitcom genre is now defines a whole category. >> in the very first episode of
"two and a half men" i remember thinking are he with making alan a neat freak? because if that's what we're doing we're just doing "odd couple." >> what are you doing? >> there are ashes working their way into the knapp of the carpet. >> there was a fantastic episode where they go on "password." and the password is bird. >> aristophanes. >> doesn't get it. and the other team gets it. >> no more greek clues. aristophanes is ridiculous. >> goes back. the password is ridiculous. >> aristophanes. >> ridiculous. >> you got it! >> as much as they got on each other's nerves, they had each other's backs. >> looks like your ex-wife. >> looks like laurie? >> yeah. >> as divorce became so commonplace that shows that diverted from family life in the
'70s really reflected what was happening in reality in america. >> as a latchkey kid i came home from school, locked the door behind me, and then you could watch an hour of tv. >> latchkey kids desperately search for something relatable on television. >> i talked to my folks. i told them i dropped out of school. and my father said to my mother, he said, see, margie? i told you we shouldn't have had him. >> "welcome back kotter," it's in my bones. it's in my dna. that slow, sexy -- ♪ welcome back ♪ ♪ your dreams were your tickets out ♪ ♪ welcome back ♪ ♪ to that same old place that you laughed about ♪ >> boy, what an honor. in my class. all four marx brothers. wacko, stupo, jerko, and dumbo. >> the sweathogs were a collection of guys with a
special relationship with their teacher. they were brothers and friends. >> up your nose with a rubber hose. >> barbarino was set up to be you know, the sex symbol. >> vinny barbarino. damn. >> washington is a basketball player cool guy. >> hi there. >> epstein is the tough guy. >> come on, watching a fight i ain't in makes me nervous. >> horshack is the nerd. >> did you know that horshack means the cattle are dying? [ animal noises ] >> when "welcome back kotter" premiered, we were a hit. >> and suddenly, abc attracted. this audience that had been so underserved by "prime time" tv. the kids, the teens, the young people, there's room for them for a new kind of show. >> and that is the tale of the fonz. >> hey!
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♪ rock the boat don't rock the boat, baby ♪ ♪ rock the boat don't tip the boat over ♪ here we go. ♪ don't rock the boat, baby rock the boat ♪ see disney's jungle cruise. it's time to rock the boat, america. it's interesting about the word nostalgia, isn't it? because we somehow cannot live in the present. ♪ these days are ours ♪ ♪ happy and free ♪ ♪ oh happy days ♪ >> when you hear that music, then the whole show would flash in your mind. garry marshall was becoming like a legend in his own day because he'd done "the odd couple." >> garry marshall always said, "you know, a lot of people, they
do important television. like the recess." >> happy days was built around the family originally. >> doesn't richard look nice tonight. >> he's got stinky stuff on his hair. >> is that what that smell is? i thought the milk was sour. >> the fonz was a background character. he's lucky if he had two lines per episode. >> it's probably just fuel pump. you know. >> but not a lot of people were watching abc. they were a distant third place. >> remember, in the early '70s abc made a big mistake in not picking up "all in the family." >> but then abc decided to really reinvent itself. they brought over fred silverman from cbs, and fred silverman said let's go after the young people. >> under fred silverman it's decided fonzie needs to be elevated as one of the stars. >> well, the fonz took it up a level. >> new guy's here.
>> they were looking for someone tall and tough. and they got short and soft. so i changed my voice and i changed the tilt of my body. i just started talking like this. >> whoa. >> so i spoke volumes with just the sound. >> ayyy! ♪ you ain't nothing but a hound dog ♪ ♪ crying all the time ♪ >> marion always called the fonz arthur because she wanted to treat him with such respect. >> well, good luck, arthur. >> hey, thanks, mrs. c. >> and she also had a crush on him, i think. a little bit. >> hey! >> when the fonz took over, the dynamic changed. >> we venture into teenage american graffiti style comedy. >> let's see it. >> doesn't look like a hickey. >> that show ends up going from 22nd place to first place.
it becomes the number one show in the country. >> there would be traffic, people getting home to watch "happy days." >> it was a revolution. networks targeting 18 to 49-year-olds not necessarily with family sitcoms but with friends sitcoms. >> laverne defazio and shirley feeney. whoa. >> garry marshall said we've got this part on "happy days." the show we did was a double date with fonzie and richie. >> nice. and a tie too. >> and a hankie. is that for showing or for blowing? >> they were incredibly individually funny. >> is anybody upstairs going to run down and call me a nasty name? >> and then garry got the idea to spin them off into their own series. >> it we top laverne and shirley? >> my jesus and my beatles was laverne and shirley. everyone identified with "laverne and shirley" because we were best friends. and just the opening song schlemiel, schlimazel.
♪ hasenpfeffer incorporated ♪ >> who didn't love that? ♪ we're going do it ♪ ♪ give us any chance we'll take it ♪ >> "laverne and shirley" is about two working-class girls who struggle to make ends meet working at a brewery, going out at night. >> and you know, really so nice to see two women at the center of a sitcom. >> laverne & shirley through the lens of the '50s were able to say a lot about what women were striving to accomplish in the '70s. >> women were more apt to want to go out and work and not get married right after high school. >> well, have fun down at unemployment. >> we'll meet guys. >> unemployed guys. >> shirley is the quintessential girl who wants to get married, have the white picket fence around the house. >> okay. say, we go to this party and you meet this wonderful guy. you think he's going to marry you? >> stranger things have been known to happen.
>> laverne just wanted to have a good time. >> the mad hatter did not wear fishnet stockings. >> well, that's why he didn't get any action. >> they were physical comediennes the likes of which hadn't been seen since lucy. what they figured out to do with making a bed, it's way beyond my pay grade. >> "laverne & shirley" was number one for i don't know how many seasons. it just went off the charts ridiculous and it felt like it was for us. ♪ dreams come true ♪ ♪ for me and you ♪ >> president ford today proclaimed february to be national black history month. >> in light of the success of the friends sitcoms like "happy days" and "laverne & shirley"
abc decided they wanted to create a story about black teenagers. >> "what's happening" skewed younger. there were these kids in watts just going out and hanging out at the diner like teenagers in the 1950s like white kids going to the malt shop. >> hey, duane, rerun. >> "what's happening" opened the entire world to black teenagers, who are best friends. >> betty's folks are out of town. so you know it's going to be the party of the year. >> it was based around the friendships of rerun and rog. >> rerun could dance. then you had duane with the big fro. hey hey hey. >> hey hey hey! what's happening? >> dee, the sister, was like my sister. >> you're always broke and you can't hold down a steady job. >> his mother was like my moms. she beat him. >> all of it. >> but mama -- >> and i wouldn't say but if i were you. it might give me an idea, dear. >> the average black family
could identify with it. the other universal thing about "what's happening" is friendship. kids thrive on that. without friendship we have nothing. the irony of "what's happening" is when you go to the autograph signing it's all white. you make them laugh, people don't care about the color. new dove men, plant based body wash is different. with plant based cleansers. and moisturizers for healthy and hydrated men, skin, relax your body and mind, shower with new dove men. i became a sofi member because i needed to consolidate my credit card debt. i needed just one simple way to pay it all off. it was an easy decision to apply with sofi loans, just based on the interest rate and how much i would be saving.
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what made you get rid of that joint? >> watching you last night. from now on i'm going to stick to being high on me. >> so this shirt i wanted to find a way to pay homage to norman lear. "facts of life" was part of the norman lear family. it's about four teenage girls trying to find their way with the guidance of this wise older woman. divorce, virginity. >> snake and i slept together. >> class wars on the regular. >> you're not prejudiced. you're just a snob. >> teach me to be common, jo. bring me down to your level. >> a show like "facts of life" is the beginning of the very special episode. >> i never think my best friend is white. i just know my best friend is natalie.
>> when you look at tootie and natalie, you're looking at friendship and love that supersedes race. [ applause ] >> the norman lear shows in the '70s may have been teaching us lessons but it wasn't so overt. >> i'm looking for blair warner. >> you must be her cousin jeri. >> yeah. >> the only time i ever saw a child with a disability on television as a kid was on a telethon. norman lear cast me as blair's cousin on "facts of life." >> see, i had this made. it says i don't have cerebral palsy, i'm drunk. >> it was risky. >> how was the bus ride? >> i don't know. i drove. >> a car? >> no. a lemon. >> when "facts of life" aired, i was so used to kids bullying me and calling me names that that's what was in my head when i saw these kids behind me.
and the one kid, there were about four of them, "are you cousin geri from facts of life?" it was a real incredible feeling to be liked by kids. you mean you're not going to make fun of me? you're not going to call me names? wow. >> "facts of life" was winning a younger demographic. >> eventually, those kids would grow up. what stories do you tell them? >> the 1980s were a radical transformation. how do you live up to the ideals that you set for yourself when you were younger when dealing with the realities of having to raise children and pay a mortgage? ♪ sometimes you want to go ♪ ♪ where everybody knows your name ♪ >> i don't know if i can tell you why "cheers" was so popular in the '80s but i do know that the song was brilliant. ♪ you want to go where everybody knows your name ♪ >> as "taxi" was coming to the end of its run glen and les
charles and james burrows were trying to think of what their next project would be. >> we were a desperate network. i thought my future at nbc was on the line, and it was a remarkably simple pitch. we want our characters to come into a bar, share their life stories. >> me, i like the challenges. dogs, vicious kids, those hard to find mailboxes. >> you think accounting's boring, eh? i miss one digit a whole company goes in the toilet. >> in year one "cheers" was the lowest-rated show in prime time on any network. >> what a pathetic display. i'm ashamed god made me a man. >> i don't think god's doing a lot of bragging about it either. >> we loved it. we believed we've just got to hang in with this. >> someone said let's not cancel "cheers." not many people are watching it but let's keep it on for a
while. >> i never met an intelligent woman that i'd want to date. >> on behalf of the intelligent women around the world, may i just say -- whew! >> critics were watching and they really liked what they saw. it really took that first year for people to find the show. and once they latched on to it, audiences just loved the characters so much. >> a family of a bunch of lovable losers who are trying to find their way. >> and the things they think they're masking they're not doing a great job at it. so it's funny. >> sam the ex-relief pitcher, reformed alcoholic, who took his pitching coach, nick colasanto, started this bar. his regulars, george wendt, norm, who -- it's stupid for me to try to describe these iconic characters that everyone knows better than me. >> the relationship between sam and diane was magical.
>> sam, i am sorry i was late. is there anything i can do to make it up to you? >> yeah. yeah. but you wouldn't. >> and then it introduced a storytelling trope. the will they/won't they. >> you disgust me. i hate you. >> are you as turned on as i am? >> more. >> "cheers" was explicitly saying these two people are going to sleep together and it's going to be a disaster. >> oh, i've never been better in my entire life. >> you've been boozing with two hands ever since diane walked out on you. >> the call came, this is top secret, diane's going to break up with sam and you might be her boyfriend. >> i'm dr. frasier crane. i'm sorry if i startled you. >> an overeducated highly emotional dreamer. and i thought, i can play this guy. >> shelli moved on after the fifth season, and in came kirstie alley. >> she was like this biker chick from hell. >> she just blew the roof off of it. >> no! >> in came woody harrelson.
>> you get behind a bar and right away strangers are your best friends. >> "cheers" was really that place where you fit in, where you actually belong. this is your secondary family. >> we lost nick colasanto, the coach, after the third year. we didn't realize how sick nick was. and he started writing all his lines down wherever he could. we saw one of them. after he passed away. the line was "it's as if he's still with us now." and we used to touch that every night when we'd perform. we'd come down and touch that and give it a little pat. >> yep. i'm off. >> the last episode -- >> i'm the luckiest son of a bitch on earth. >> i just remember thinking, i got to be part of that history of comedy. i am the luckiest son of a bitch. truly.
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>> because tv's always seeking a younger demographic you've got an area that is rife with story possibilities that no one else is bothering to explore. >> brandon tartikoff and warren littlefield wanted to do a show about older women living together. >> and i said, i think susan harris is the greatest comedy writer perhaps of all time and i worshiped the innovative quality of "soap." i pitched her the idea. her question was, networks just want shows about young people. you know, are you going to put this on the air? ♪ thank you for being a friend ♪ ♪ travel down the road and back again ♪ ♪ your heart is true ♪ ♪ you're a pal and a confidant ♪ >> as a kid, that's right, sitting there on a saturday night with my parents watching "golden girls." >> this is the timeless foursome. sophia is the matriarch. >> ma. what's the matter?
>> everyone is fine. no one died. the home burnt down. >> ma, estelle getty, she just would call rue mcclanahan a slut in so many great ways. >> i've just discovered a great new way to meet more men. >> more men? you're going to need a turnstile in your bedroom. >> gosh, the true heart of that show was dorothy, the bea arthur character. >> honey, beware of anyone who says no calories, absolutely no charge, and let's just lie down on the bed and watch television. >> and then of course rose's character is the clown. >> i mean, i was the one who thought up big squeaky toys for cows. >> "the golden girls" talked about edgy stuff. it was in my first script, rose's husband died while having sex with her. >> although i did think it was strange when he started yelling "rose, i'm going, i'm going." >> that's an edgy joke. young adult audiences went crazy
for it. >> viewers and apparently network censors would allow older women to a say things that other characters couldn't get away with. >> complete this famous saying. better late than. blanche. >> pregnant. >> one of the biggest laughs of the show it ever got, the girls are going on a cruise. they realize they should pick up some condoms. they are being very coy. >> enema bag? >> to the right. >> condoms, rose! condoms, condoms! >> the laughs were massive because it was such norm-breaking behavior. >> streaming opened up a whole new avenue to find continued viewership with people who were not even necessarily alive when the show ended in 1992. this show was built to last. >> how about some whipped cream? >> mm. >> mm. i think we still have a can. i'll get it. it's in my bedroom. >> never mind, blanche.
>> we live in a peaceful, prosperous time. but we can make it better. >> leading up to the '80s, there had been a number of shows about people hanging out with each other. "seinfeld" really busts this wide open. it's hard to believe at times, but no one forced them to hang out with each other all of the time. >> you know what your problem is? your standards are too high. >> i went out with you. >> that's because my standards are too low. >> what's so unique about the "seinfeld" episode "the pitch" is that we see the origin story of a sitcom played out on the show. >> so you're saying i go into nbc and tell them i got this idea for a show about nothing. >> we go into nbc. >> since when are you a writer? >> what writer? we're talking about a sitcom. >> jerry had an observational humor. >> do you know what this is all about? do you know why we're here? to be out. this is out. >> a gentleman named rick ludwin at nbc who was in charge of late night -- >> he approaches jerry seinfeld.
>> so if you had an idea for like a tv show for yourself, we'd just love to talk about it. >> jerry said larry david and i, we're just going to write about like our friends. >> what kind of stories? >> oh, no. no stories. >> no stories? well, why am i watching it? >> because it's on tv. >> not yet. >> it was completely non-traditional. we decided to make a pilot. >> the second button literally makes or breaks the shirt. look at it. it's too high. >> and then the research came in. weak. >> but rick ludwin really believed in it. >> he said i could give you the money from the budget and you could do i don't know, four episodes more of "seinfeld." >> the biggest change was elaine was added to the show. >> get out! >> and you know what? that feels like we have something. >> so what do you think about the new sometime slot?
9:00 on thursday, 8:00 central. >> name one famous nbc show that aired in that time slot. >> "cheers." >> it's a dangerous slot because they're handing you the biggest audience there is. if that audience starts watching you and goes i hate this and they go oh, wait, you're dead. >> my mother caught me. >> caught you? doing what? >> you know. >> the episode that is super important in the trajectory of "seinfeld" is "the contest." >> i am never doing that again. >> it was predicated on a real contest that larry david had been part of. >> seeing who could go the longest without masturbating. >> but are you still master of your domain? >> i am king of the county. >> but what also should be noted, elaine is in the contest. >> john f. kennedy jr. >> and that i think was a bold statement at that time. >> hang on. hang on. >> jerry was dating marla, the virgin. >> let's go in the bedroom. >> really? >> that was an episode that
doubled its audience while it was airing because people were clearly getting on the phone and going turn it over to channel 4, you've got to see what they're doing! and that's where i think the ultimate success of the show was born. >> it's over? >> you're out? >> oh, my god, the queen is dead. >> in the '90s the world is literally changing overnight. and here are these four people grounded in their adolescence. >> you mean shrinkage? >> yes. >> they're not trying to be good people. >> and everybody recognized some part of themselves in them and went, i think i love these guys. >> george is getting upset! >> "seinfeld." that was a game changer. >> no soup for you. >> "seinfeld" just had a tone. >> you were making out during "schindler's list"? >> last three lines of the show are the first three lines of the pilot. >> the second button is the key button. it literally makes or breaks the shirt.
>> a guy's shirt button is not the way you would launch a successful series. it's sure as hell not the way to end a successful series. unless it's "seinfeld." i'm really nervous. i don't know what i should wear. just wear something not too crazy, remember it's a business dinner not a costume party. on a spotty network this is what she heard... just wear something crazy, remember it's a costume party. a costume party!? yes!
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did you ever stop to think what the world would be like without men? >> a bunch of fat happy women and no crime. >> in the '90s it was celebrated that you wanted to build your career first. ♪ living single ♪ >> in a '90s kind of world, i'm glad i got my girls. keep your head up. what? ♪ >> but we didn't have any young black women who were really being featured on television at that time. >> why does this keep happening to me? >> because you keep looking for someone to carry you. >> what's wrong with that? >> they keep dropping your ass. >> so the characters on the show were based on me and my close-knit group of friends. >> check it out, people. >> khadijah is living in brooklyn, wanting to really start her magazine. >> the next issue of "flava"
will continue a free scratch and sniff poster of laurence fishburne as othello. >> her best friend maxine shaw, attorney at law. >> i left that man with nothing but a lip balm and half a tic tac. >> i played synclaire james, a lovable fun super naive girl. >> i haven't been this nervous since i lost my tube top at the deep end of randy johnson's pool. >> well, i'm sure no one noticed. >> regine was very in touch with herself and her femininity. >> if you go after a man too aggressively you're only going to scare him off. >> what are you making? >> a man trap. >> the importance of having a black woman who is the show runner means "living single" is this like behind-the-scenes look of what black women are like when they're not around white people. >> i don't know. the club scene is tired. it's nothing but a bunch of brothers there with beepers and gold teeth talking about i'd like to put you on a plate and sop you up with a biscuit.
>> kudos to yvette lee bowser to create something so amazing and so real. >> a year later "friends" was on the air. >> yes, we were for all intents and purposes the model, the template. >> it was really difficult to watch because we were getting less publicity. >> we were on fox. they were on nbc. would the narrative and the conversations about our success or the degree of our success be different if we were on, let's say, nbc? of course. >> i never watched "friends" because they could not possibly find a way to add anybody of color. >> it was to a certain extent a product of the time period. and of my own ignorance. there were black shows and there were white shows. there weren't a lot of shows that were interracial. i guess at the time i was thinking this is what i know. this is what i know. >> okay. >> i hear you.
>> we can talk about that. >> "friends" is not based on "living single." "friends" is based on marta kaufman and david crane's life experiences. >> marta and i spent our 20s living in new york. >> we were part of a group of six, and we all glommed on to each other. >> i've spent a ton of time analyzing, you know, "friends" and what it's about. that time in your life where your friends are your family. >> i'm very thankful that all of your thanksgivings sucked. >> the biggest surprise to me was matthew perry. >> he put accents on certain syllables that you go that's -- i would never have read that joke that way. >> could we be more white trash? >> when i watched "friends" i didn't want monica to not be a control freak. >> you want to push the caps until you hear them click. >> matt made joey funny.
>> look at me. i'm chandler. could i be wearing any more clothes? >> they were all rooting for each other. >> now we need the semen of a righteous man. >> i think phoebe is appealing because she's different. and so it gives people permission, yeah, you don't have to fit in, you can still like yourself and it's okay. ♪ smelly cat ♪ ♪ smelly cat ♪ ♪ what are they feeding you ♪ >> i don't know why people love "smelly cat." but to me there were other songs that were also very, very funny. cow in the meadow goes moo, and the farmer knocks him on the head and chops him up and that's how we get hamburger. that's funny. >> well, maybe i don't need your money. wait, i said maybe. >> rachel green being sort of a spoiled character off the top of the show and about humbling that character and making her independent. >> like sam and diane on cheers. we knew that ross and rachel from the pilot were going to be a thing.
>> i just want to be married again. >> the ross and rachel relationship made it like oh, i have to tune in this week because i want to see are they getting together. >> i can't believe i don't get to go to my own prom. it's so harsh. >> the one with the prom video where rachel realizes that ross has always loved her. >> bye. >> oh, dear. >> i can't believe you did that. >> yeah, well. >> all the most memorable moments in the sitcoms are the ones where they touched on something beyond the comedy. [ cheers and applause ] >> and it made for a really great television that a lot of people wanted to watch. literally everyone in america. >> i ross. >> take thee emily. >> take thee rachel. >> we've really been on a ride with ross and rachel.
our goal in writing the finale was to really make you believe that they might not get together. >> i have to get on the plane. >> no you don't. >> yes i do. >> no, you don't. >> they're waiting for me, ross. >> i watched the final episode and i'm crying as an audience member. >> i was there in the audience, and you could feel the energy. >> i remember it being very secretive. we had a big flat across part of the stage so that people couldn't see. >> oh, come on, miss. isn't there any way you can just let me off the -- >> no! no! >> did she get off the plane? did she get off the plane? [ rewinding ] >> i got off the plane. [ cheers and applause ] >> look, i also wonder why this show endures the way it does. i do feel like it is the marriage between the writing and the chemistry of the cast. we genuinely loved and love each
other. everyone just did a really good job. that's not a good way to end it. but i mean, i think -- yeah. does your deodorant keep you fresh all day? we put dove men deodorant to the test with nelson, a volunteer that puts care into everything he does. it really protects my skin. it's comfortable and lasts a long time. dove men, 48h freshness with triple action moisturizers. you need an ecolab scientific clean here. and you need it here. and here. and here.
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you had, in the late '90s, a series of anti-heroes. starting with roseanne. she was still tame, compared to al bundy. >> and now, there's larry david. larry hates me. i don't really care for him, either. >> take this [ bleep ] piece of pie and get it out of my face. >> don't put that pie down. >> a lot of our friend groups. they're -- they're borderline toxic. >> because george costanza was based on larry david. >> curb your enthusiasm is actually a continuation of "seinfeld" in spirit. >> your last name is black? >> yes. >> that's like if my last name was jew. like, larry jew. >> larry david, the character. he's one of my best friends. >> had sex with a mental patient. >> she is a mental patient. >> i loved how much of an [ bleep ] he is. >> what can i tell you? sometimes, you're an [ bleep ]. >> well, [ bleep ] don't go out with the disabled. yeah. check that out. >> could you just move your legs? >> what are you doing?
are you looking at my breast? >> he will articulate the things that people might think, but their internal editor goes, don't say that. >> you wear that dress because you want people to look at your shoes, right? >> there was no thought, what will people think? >> if you weren't my best friend, i would take my bare hands and pop your head off your neck. >> curb your enthusiasm came about at a time when sitcoms of the '90s had somewhat worn out their welcome because there had been a glut of them. >> in the wake of "friends" ending, this juggernaut for nbc, networks obviously have to find some way to -- to -- to make it new. >> kids, i am going to tell you an incredible story. >> the premise of "how i met your mother" is a grown man telling his children the story of how he met their mother. >> it was way back, in 2005, i was 27. just starting to make -- >> the show wasn't sort of your traditional society com. sitcom.
it had to do with the flashback element. >> is this going to take a while? >> yes. >> 25 years ago, before i was dad, i had this whole, other life. >> so you guys absolutely don't think i should call her? okay, fine, i won't. interesting piece of trivia. i called her. >> what are you doing? >> it was this ideal world, where you've got your really good buddies. that will always have your back. >> yes, kids are not my favorite thing in the world. but i like them. >> you don't want to have them. >> i like sports cars but doesn't mean i want to push a ferrari through my vagina. >> but "how i met your mother" fell into the traps that "friends" did. it is just like we are affable white people living in new york. >> it's really important to take note that these "friends" sitcoms started to reflect more cultural diversity. >> now, we're as dysfunctional
and incestuous as the cast of the brady bunch. >> people who come from completely different perspectives. their study room is like the bar in "cheers." jeff winger played by joel mchale, sort of our leader, he is this disgraced lawyer who comes back to community college. >> i'm a student. >> well, that cannot be an inspiring journey. >> he creates the study group because he wants to get in. jeff and i do not have sexual tension. we just argue all the time. >> oh, just like sam and diane. >> chevy chase who plays pierce hawthorne. >> his entire character exists to be racist and sexist. >> abed the arab. is that inappropriate? >> sure. >> i think it really stood out, at the time. >> "community" ended up as this insane-wild ride through dan harman's mind.
but what was different about "new girl." it wasn't meta. i mean, it wasn't community. it wasn't trying to make fun of the genre. >> hey, schmidt. >> oh, come on. >> "new girl" is about a woman, who has been with the same guy for a long time. she comes home early from a trip, and she finds him with another woman. >> it's just -- >> that's why i need a new apartment. i'm sorry, what was the question, again? >> do you have any pets? >> and only place she can find is an apartment with three guys, and they're kind of, like, her polar opposites. >> hey, guys, i brought -- what ya doing? >> oh, you know, we just chilling. just chilling. >> that discomfort. the girls and the guys being in the same space, and they're not together, like partners. they're together, like friends. that felt unusual and fresh. >> i accidentally saw nick's
pee-pee. >> what did she say? >> i accidentally saw nick's pee-pee and his bubbles. >> it was really important to me all the characters were racially diverse. men, women, not just like a cast of white people, which is like not that interesting. >> you know, the fact of the matter is i live in a loft with three people, who happen to be white. but believe you me, there is so much more that i find annoying about you that i haven't even gotten to race. >> and i think that's why i do feel like new girl was the sitcom for the millennial generation. >> most of these dudes are not looking for a relationship. >> yeah, this is a lot. >> you got to [ bleep ] a lot of frogs to get a good frog. >> that's not the saying. or any saying. >> the next step is showing these authentic portrayals. layer portrayals. >> because, yes, we gravitate toward people who are like us. but they don't have to be exactly like us. in order to create these really profound friendships and communities.
i'm obsessed with sex. >> sexuality has come a long way in sitcom history. >> can you donate a penis to a person who is transitioning? >> laughter is a great way to deal with a very tricky world. >> sitcoms talk about sex. >> my underwear. >> my god. >> and about relationships. >> i'm breaking up with him tonight. >> these shows changed the way that we think about sexuality. you're talking about gay rights. you're talking about women's rights. >> gender diversity. >> dismantling the patriarchy. >> you know, sexual revolution. >> so i'm officially out of men to [ bleep ]. i have to get married or move. >> but if you can make the