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tv   History of the Sitcom  CNN  September 3, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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square, conflicts in iraq, somalia, and more. it premieres monday at 10:00 p.m. only on cnn. i want to thank you so much for joining me this evening. i'm jessica dean. "history of the sitcom" is up next.
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what have we always said is the most important thing? >> breakfast. >> family. >> family. >> yeah. >> family is key to the sitcom -- mama! >> it's something that we all can relate to. >> shake, shake, shake up the -- >> in these people's homes for years. you're a part of the family. >> one good thing about moving here is i have no friends and no distractions. that's why i got all -- grandma, what does fonzie say? >> hey. >> the family sitcom brings people together in a really unexpected way. >> there's so many different dynamics at work in families. >> i want you here. it will give us a chance to get reacquainted. >> that implies we are
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acquainted at one point. >> there's a lot of pain. a lot of laughter. you sort of recognize your dynamic in there and go -- well, their family's just as crazy as mine. >> i don't care who kissed who and who's got a pimple on her head and who is wearing an outrageously inappropriate dress. we are going to get together and act like a normal family for one tenth of a freaking succeed and do it right now. let's go. >> it's amazing to track the history of the family sitcom because you can really see so much about culture throughout the years now looking back. ♪ >> you know, it was "i love lucy" that kicked it off. >> first offering this evening, we expect that and go back and sit down. [ laughter ] >> it was a show about a ditsy woman who wanted to be in show business. >> have you ever considered acting? >> has she ever considered act acting? >> her husband who was latin and
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a musimusician. >> i don't want my wife in show business. >> why not? >> lucille ball was always trying to emachines pate herself from the -- emancipate herself from the wife and homemaker role. [ laughter ] >> every time she gets the opportunity, something goes awry. >> lucille ball was fearless in her physical comedy. women were supposed to be demure, dainty, and in their place. >> lucille ball was one of my favorites for timing her bits. >> what do you think you're doing? well? >> "i love lucy" became a phenomenon instantly. >> when you think about the era
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that lucille ball came up in and what she was able to achieve, it's astounding. >> i'm a father, i'm a father! >> when lucy and ricky had a baby, it was, like, huge. it was the highest-rated show of the series. it changed the dynamic, because all of a sudden it became centered around the family unit. >> i think "i love lucy" was the "big bang" of the family sitcom. >> the family moved to the suburbs. >> gee, isn't this exciting? we're in our very own home. >> that mirrored what was happening in america at the time. >> advertisers wanted to cater towards that new suburban family that needed to buy that kitchen appliance or needed to buy that vacuum. >> after "i love lucy," there was a formula for what the american family should look like. ♪ >> "ozzie and harriet."
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>> i just loved everybody in it, actually. >> bring it in, i'm starved. >> it was a happy, gentle, american family of the 1950s. >> how much do you need? >> never mind, pop, that's okay. >> don't worry about it, you can pay me back. >> honest, pop, i don't want it. >> what's wrong with you, david? you got rocks in your head? >> the kids were very polite. everybody was very nice to each other. those were not real people, but they entertained and delighted us. >> all right, kids. dinner's on, we're sitting down. >> when you get to "father's knows best," it's patriarchal. dealing with tiny little problems. >> ah, a quiet evening at home. i can use it. >> and i played bud. bud usually had a problem with truth-telling on some level. >> what was all that racket upstairs? >> i didn't hear anything. >> "father knows best" represented the good life, the american dream. >> i'll read you one story, then
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off to bed you go. >> then "leave it to beaver" enters the sitcom realm until 1957. >> what's that? >> a haircut, i think. >> the real key to "leave it to beaver" is that it's written from a child's point of view. >> why don't you let stanley cut your hair? >> i lost all my money. >> you have the character of beaver, and you have wally, who is his older brother who usually does things right. beaver is always the one that gets in trouble. >> and there were the parents to teach them, show them the right path. >> we want you to feel that you can come to me or to your mother with any problem, and we'll understand. >> in the 1950s, sitcoms were really giving us an idealistic version of america. >> but as we get into the '60s, we'll see different types of family sitcoms. >> i'm sure i'll be able to handle a little washing and
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single mom raising her three daughters on her own. >> you're my mom. i want you to know if i have sex or if i want to get high. >> it's dirty. it's funny. >> no, hide things from me! please! >> "better things" is a fascinating example of the way the family sitcom has adapted to the 21st century. >> mom, where's the broom? >> what are you being, a witch? >> no, i'm going to be a useless housewife from the '50s. >> i love that! >> throughout the years the boundaries have been pushed back and the walls have come down. if you look back to the '50s there was a lot of confines on what family looked like and what was acceptable and what wasn't. >> hi, jacks! >> "my thr mie tmy three sons w show that deviated from the perfect "pleasantville" nuclear family. >> are you going to blow up the stove again? >> no, eddie. i don't think i'll make that same mistake again.
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>> it was a show about a single dad. he was a widower with three boys trying to raise them in an all-male household. everyone had to do something. everyone had to pitch in. we did dishes. you know, we were darning socks. these are things that you never saw in the "ozzie and harriet" show, or "donna reid," or "leave to it beaver." >> hey, that's mine, i got it! >> when you watch a show based on losing someone, that adds a deep-rooted truth to the hardness of life. and then it gives comedy even more of a reason to go as crazy as you want to go. >> i think that shirt's done. >> my shirt! >> well, you'll just have to wear your pants higher. >> in the '60s you see the sitcom move away from telling stories that are solely focused on the nuclear suburban family. >> divorce, of course, had become more prevalent in the '60s, had become more part of
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normal american life. but it took awhile to be reflected in sitcoms. ♪ the brady bunch ♪ >> "the brady bunch" is the story of two separate families being glued together. >> a man with three boys, a woman with three girls. the man would be a widower and the woman divorced. but divorce was a taboo topic on television, so they said, let's just leave it so you don't know. >> hey what are you yelling about, huh? >> she stole our ball. >> i'm just trying to find out what they did with my scuba boards. >> "the brady bunch" was an evolution of "leave it to beaver." it was shown from the kids' point of view. >> will you lend me your skate key? >> i'm not lending anything to a snitcher. >> it was all about what children are having problems with. their appearance or schoolwork or their friends. >> pete brady, interception, goes for a shot -- >> you know, oh, you broke the vase!
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it was those kinds of everyday problems. >> marsha, i'm proud to be your sister no matter how terrible you look. >> thanks a lot! >> this is airing in the nixon era when vietnam is raging and people are losing faith in government. >> all these things were happening and "the brady bunch" was kind of a refuge. >> watching "the brady bunch," having all these brothers and sisters, it was a great getaway for me. >> "the brady bunch" was a huge success for abc. that led to "the partridge family" which really attracted a young, hungry audience. ♪ >> hey, kids. hollywood boulevard. >> we were a musical family that would travel around doing shows. ♪ ♪ you made my day ♪ >> i was for sure going to marry david cassidy. that was definitely going to happen. ♪ you're the look in my eyes ♪
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>> "the partridge family" is trying to embrace this hippy, cool culture. >> what did you hit, mom? >> i think it was a studebaker. >> you crazy hippies, it's bad enough you don't trust anyone over 30. now you're trying to wipe us out! >> it takes this phenomenon of the counterculture and makes it very safe. >> relax, mom. just remember our whole future depends on these next few minutes. >> it was an escape from the real world for a lot of people. >> in new york, a student protest is met by construction work. and the tense state in ohio, four students are killed. >> but some people didn't want to hide from what was happening. >> people are like, no, we want to hear about all the stuff and how it's affecting our families. that's when shows like "all in the family" came on. >> norman was at the beginning of his career, was looking to find a show that he could really make his own. he was turned on to a british series called "'til death do us part." >> it was about a bigoted
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father. i said holy moly, that's the way i grew up. and i knew i had a show. >> take one! >> they shot the pilot at abc. featured carol o'connor and gene stapleton as archie and edith bunker. >> we don't see any evidence of god. >> that's right, daddy. >> i know we had a couple of pinkos in the house, i didn't know we had a pair of atheists! >> it was not well received by abc. they watched it and felt there wasn't the chemistry there. >> we make it again with two different young people. >> we don't see any evidence of god, that's all. >> that's right, daddy. >> i knew we had a couple of pinkos in this house, but i didn't know we had a pair of atheists! >> the network freaks out about whether people will be able to watch this show that has, like, real issues. >> everybody is nervous, and there are people saying they're going to kill you. they're going to shoot you dead
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in 1970, cbs is trying to change their landscape. they had all these rural family sitcoms. they were looking for more sophisticated sitcoms.
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>> after abc declined to move forward with the "all in the family" pilot, norman lear made the decision to move the show over to cbs. >> they said, yes, but you need a new set of kids. so rob reiner and i were the third set of children for archie and edith bunker. >> so i made the pilot for the third time. same script. i wouldn't change a word. >> so let's hear it again, huh? what did you mean by "what god"? >> we just don't see any evidence of god. that's all. >> that's right, daddy. >> that's right, kid. i knew we had a couple pinkos in this house but i didn't know we had atheists! >> i do remember seeing the opening episode and realizing, my god, the ground is shaking under me. >> and we reach over each other at the table, and we have arguments. >> because guys like you are unwilling to give the black man, the mexican-american, and all the other minorities their just and rightful share of the american dream! >> that didn't happen before. we got real.
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political strife. interpersonal issues. generation gaps. and they're dealing with it all in the family. >> now i suppose you're going to tell me that the black man has had the same opportunity in this country as you? >> more. he's had more. i didn't have a million people marching and protesting to get me my job. >> no, his uncle got it for him. [ laughter ] >> archie was saying things you don't say on television. >> just because a guy is sensitive and he's an intellectual and he wears glasses, you make him out a queer. >> i never said a guy who wears glasses is a queer. a guy who wears glasses is four eyes, a guy who's a fag is a queer. >> looking at that show, you're looking around like you're going to be arrested. >> it was jaw dropping. it was funny but very challenging. and you realized norman lear is taking us into a whole new realm of comedy.
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>> the blow back from the public was buried by the excitement and the applause. [ applause ] >> the show was number one for a long time. >> it changed cbs and their brand as a network. as a result of "all in the family," they turned to norman lear to create more shows in that image. >> there is a person at the door. maude! >> bea arthur played maude as edith's cousin on "all in the family." >> maudie is here. >> and she could take on archie head to head. >> now you can either come to the table and eat, or you can lie there and feed off your own fat. >> the story goes that by the time that episode had aired, fred silverman who was in charge of cbs at the time called norman lear and said, get that woman her own show. ♪
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>> that was not your all-american family. >> maybe you're getting senile in your old age. >> thank you, darling. i only hope i live long enough to become a burden to you. >> maude is an independent, strong woman who speaks her mind. she was married to her fourth husband, walter, played by bill macy. >> i don't have time to fix your breakfast. here, have some cold knockwurst. >> loved their combative relationship. i still to this day, if somebody pisses me off, i'll say, "god will get you for that, walter." >> god will get you for that, walter. >> "maude" was really the first time that we saw such a fiercely independent woman who wasn't afraid to speak her mind at the center of a family sitcom. >> maude had a maid, florida, who was a great character. her husband made an appearance.
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>> i am proud of you, florida, it's just that i don't want you to be a maid no more. >> your mother was a maid, that's how your brothers got through school and you got to be a fireman. >> when john amos and esther rolle finished a scene, we thought, let's fill out that family. ♪ good times ♪ >> that's the first time you ever saw a black family on television. >> look who finally got back from her honeymoon in the bathroom mirror. >> knock it off, j.j., your mouth is always ahead of your think piece. >> let's face it, this family ain't ozzie and harriet. >> they were very different from other sitcom families, from the point that we were urban. trying to survive on the south side of chicago with a dad that has spotty job situations. >> it's a cold world out there, and we can't change it. >> maybe we can't change it, james, but we sure can't let it change us.
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>> "good times" was not only to show the problems but show the love of a minority family. >> we're staying in a used car lot of love. >> in 20 years we only turned out one clunker. >> the idea of white families seeing things on an episode of "good times" that they could relate to their own experience, that is a power that cannot be duplicated with hours of conversation. >> it showed how sitcoms weren't afraid to discuss social issues that had formerly been taboo. ♪ this is it ♪ >> when you get to something like "one day at a time," the single mother in that show is divorced. that was unusual for television. >> i haven't had a happy minute since we moved to indianapolis. sure was different before the divorce, when daddy was around. >> yeah, yeah, i know. you used to wrap him around your
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little finger. >> all the single parents before had been widowed. so television begins to catch up with who we are. >> what you doing, mom? >> i am circling the jobs for which it would appear i am qualified. >> i don't see any circles. >> exactly. >> i mean, it was the '70s. women were feeling empowered to have lives of their own and to still have a family. >> darling, would you like to tell me what's going on between you and chuck? >> you're going to die! >> i only did it because i love you! >> showing what a family goes through. showing what it's like to raise two daughters in a divorce. >> we'll make it. i promise. >> i love you. >> we grow up in families, and we all share these experiences in one way or another. >> "one day at a time," "all in the family," "maude," "good times," all these family sitcoms, they just owned the top ten.
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the 1980s were a radical transformation from what america had been like in the 1960s and 1970s. the economy was booming. >> congratulations, sir. >> as the regan era took hold there was that rise in consve
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>> we saw american audiences losing interest in the socially relevant sitcoms, and really the sitcom started to die away. >> dramas had really taken over. those soaps were so big. "dynasty, "dallas," "magnum p.i." >> and so you saw the family sitcom really strive to find a new identity. >> i can't believe you guys can watch this, you look ridiculous. >> "family ties" has one of the great premises in sitcom history. >> half a million people trying to stop a senseless war. you find that ridiculous? >> i'm talking about the outfits. >> these two flower children from the '60s grow up, and then in the '80s suddenly find themselves with this young republican son. >> well, how do i look? >> middle-aged. >> it was about the clashes between two generations. >> you're a young man. you shouldn't be worried about success. you should be thinking about hopping on a tramp steamer and
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going around the world. >> the '60s are over, dad. >> thanks for the tip. >> "family ties" is a reversal in many ways of "all in the family," except now you have the liberal parents and the conservative child. >> this morning i found a copy of the "wall street journal" under his bed. >> i think maybe he was switched at birth and the rockefellers have our kid. >> michael was just wonderful. he was young and energetic. and he had such good timing. >> who did this? >> we started rather slowly. nbc was moving us around a little bit, trying to find the right place for us. >> "family ties" pumped a little bit of life into the family sitcom. but the sitcom in general had been pronounced dead. there were very few on the air. and then all of a sudden comes "the cosby show" in '84. >> dad, can i have an advance on my allowance? >> son, you're already backed up until your 50th birthday.
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>> "the cosby show" was a game changer to me. this was just a family i adored. present history has tainted that a little bit. it didn't stop the fact that that was a ground-breaking experience. >> they had this really sort of idyllic family. claire was a lawyer. he was a doctor. >> there was a very natural chemistry between cliff huxtable and claire and their children that wasn't cliched black poverty. >> son, your mother asked me to come up here and kill you. how do you expect to get into college with grades like this? >> no problem. >> there's a much more conservative paradigm that is driving "the cosby show." >> instead of acting disappointed because i'm not like you, maybe you can just accept who i am and love me anyway. >> you know, in any other sitcom, that would be the moment
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where the music would start and the father would embrace the son and say something, you know, really encouraging. >> theo, that's the dumbest thing i've ever heard in my life. >> and you could hear the audience gasp because like, this is a strong father who is going to say to his son as he said, you know -- >> i brought you in this world and i'll take you out! >> the audience cheered because it was like the parents are saying yes, we're taking back the house. >> i just want you to do the best you can. that's all. >> there was such a love and camaraderie in the huxtable family that i think you had a universal audience. >> we got super bowl ratings every single week and they're tuning in because everyone wants to be a huxtable. >> "the cosby show" revitalized the sitcom. >> all right. then let's put "cosby" at 8:00. let's put "family ties" at 8:30.
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and "family ties" went up in a huge way. that great thursday night lineup, "cosby," "family ties," "cheers," "night court." >> nbc really created this idea of must-see tv. you're talking about 20 and 30 and 40 million people tuning in. >> people say you were one of america's most successful fathers. i said, no, that was bill cosby. cosby was number one. >> with respect to what's happened of late, it's like hugely disappointing to all of us. but he set the standard for what a family sitcom was. >> "the cosby show" had proven that the family sitcom was a viable genre again. >> by the late '80s, family sitcoms were very popular among the big three networks. there was this incredible resurgence. >> this is great. we should be mothers.
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>> oh, yeah. >> families tuned in to these tv shows to see an aspirational version of what family can be. >> did i do that? >> "silver spoons" and "growing pains" and all of that, it's constant hugging and learning, right? >> with the family sitcom at the height of its popularity, fox started moving into the television arena. >> fox was new, building their network. they were one of the last majors to build a network. >> they decided they would use the family sitcom to do that and compete against the big three. >> al, look at our little girl. we don't really have to go to a recital, do we? >> they wound up going in a completely opposite direction, sort of the anti in a way, anti family sitcom. >> bud, apologize to your sister. >> no. >> okay. >> "married with children" is full of trash people that do horrible things and say horrible things.
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>> quiet you morons. >> you're always aware there were wise guys zinging each other. >> peg, how could you sell the family "playboys"? >> looking back at it now, i don't know how that show stayed on air. >> this okay, mom? i haven't worn it since grandma's funeral. >> "married with children" helped put fox on the map. >> this idea of a darker family presentation spoke to people who were bored with what the main family sitcoms were offering at the time. >> family, before you go, would you bring ole daddy's shotgun and stand close together? bother the bugs...
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you just sit there and drink your beer. i'll fix the sink myself. >> the hell you will! >> 1990s, we saw the big networks start to really experiment with the family sitcom. some sitcoms were very edgy like "roseanne" and "married with children." >> talk is cheap, mr. fix it. >> on the other hand, you had shows that were kind of going back to a more wholesome storytelling. you see that on abc's "home improvement." >> in a broad stroke, what "home improvement" did, first off, it made a stable family and a loving family.
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>> no running in the house. >> hold the ball with both hands so you don't fumble. >> tim. >> also, i really wanted to find out what made men tick? >> there is nothing like a ride and cool steel hanging under your hips. >> tim the tool man taylor has a home improvement show called "tool time." >> we want a job done quick and right, what do we need? >> more power! >> more power was my moniker my whole life. plus the grunting and blowing stuff up. >> he's like this supposed man's man. >> and then he comes home to a woman who is a feminist. >> under no circumstances do you ever treat the female sex as though they are housekeepers put here to wait on you hand and foot. >> honey, want to pop that in the washer for me? >> what was great about our family was that even though we disagreed -- >> i think i'll just pop on out of here. >> -- we loved each other and
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always made up. >> "home improvement" was proof that a traditional family sitcom could still be a hit. but through the '90s, we continued to see the family change. we saw people having children much later in the life, and the family sitcom reflected that. ♪ >> in "mad about you," the marriage itself was the premise of the show. >> a strong woman character against the strong male character, and so the fireworks, they just kept happening. >> watching how two people try to love each other over time -- >> it doesn't bother you that we haven't had sex in five days? >> hello. >> you know the feeling, you go to a party, you and your wife are having fun, you say good night and get in the car. the minute that car door closes, that's the show. >> what's going on with us? >> what's going on is we're married five months and the sexual part is over. [ laughter ] see, i thought you understood
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that. i'm sorry. that's what happens. i play checkers in the park and you start arguing with buses. come on. >> that's not funny. >> they are two people who can voice their own opinions without fear, and be awful and apologize, and hit a dry spell in the marriage and then find the heat between them again. people were feeling probably that combination of i relate to it, and i aspire to it. >> more. >> come here. >> that made it very much its own. >> early on season one, i think the network said, you guys should have a kid. no, no, no, no. that's too soon. season two, time for a kid. the network was like annoying in-laws. so when are you guys going to try? we'll let you know. in "raymond" you never saw the kids. >> i saw your car pull up. you didn't call. >> no. >> we really wanted to focus on the marriage and their
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relationship with the parents. >> hi. i'm ray and i live here in long island with my wife, debra. >> the very first season ray says in the opening credits -- >> it's not really about the kids. >> it's not about the kids. >> i say that for every year you're over 40, you should add an inch to the hemline of your dress. >> well, then you should be dragging around a persian rug. >> we've all had parents who, despite our best efforts, reject all of our kindness. and it backfires. >> i don't understand why you would use bleach on these towels. >> they just seemed a little yellow. >> yes, they are yellow towels. >> we all come into a family. we need a family, love them or hate them, that's who, you know, we were given. >> the success of "cosby" resurrected the sitcom. because of that, ushered in a lot of other great story telling. when "the cosby show" went off
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the air, we did have other black family sitcoms to fill that void. and one of them was the "fresh prince," which was another version of aspirational black family wealth. >> i didn't know there were so many brothers living in this neighborhood. we doing all right, huh? >> fox was one of the first networks that really took risk with black sitcoms that had minority people that were very much part of the writing and the creation of it. >> i think it's vital that people of color write their own stories, because that's where the authenticity comes from. >> he's probably tired. >> well, he should be, he kept us up all night, gina. we should be the ones crying. >> we saw black family sitcoms like "martin." like "the bernie mack show." those sitcoms showed parenting to be difficult. >> uncle bernie is too old to play with dolls. can we play something else? >> which was not something you saw on a show like "the cosby show." >> chris!
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get in the bathroom and wipe the pee off the toilet seat. disgusting. >> fox network had come on and done well with black sitcoms so the wb and upn at the time were coming on, and they started to diversify and grow that audience. >> they are able to snatch up this audience that the other networks were really ignoring up until that point. >> so these shows kind of set the stage for the diversity in the family sitcom that can be seen on television today. >> welcome, wongs, i'm rick. the length and depth of my bow expresses my deep appreciation. >> that's more of a japanese thing, but thank you, rick. new astepro allergy. no allergy spray is faster. with the speed of astepro, almost nothing can slow you down. because astepro starts working in 30 minutes,
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this is xfinity rewards. our way of showing our appreciation. with rewards of all shapes and sizes. [ cheers ] are we actually going? yes!! and once in a lifetime moments. two tickets to nascar! yes! find rewards like these and so many more in the xfinity app. hi, i'm denise. i've lost over 22 pounds with golo in six months and i've kept it off for over a year. i was skeptical about golo in the beginning because i've tried so many different types of diet products before. i've tried detox, i've tried teas,
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i've tried all different types of pills, so i was skeptical about anything working because it never did. but look what golo has done. look what it has done. i'm in a size 4 pair of pants. go golo. (soft music) if haley never wakes up on a beach in florida half-naked, i've done my job. >> our job. >> right. i've done our job. >> in the late '90s, early 2000s, you see the popularity of reality television. and that had a huge impact on the family sitcom. >> everything was reality shows back then. >> the sitcom was pronounced dead, again. >> so chris lloyd and i said, "what's a new way to do a family
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show?" and then we said, "what if we shoot it documentary style and instead of focusing on one family, what if we focused on multiple families?" >> dad! >> what happened? >> luke just shot me! >> what we want to do is portray these characters as real. >> i didn't mean to. >> are you okay? >> no! the little bitch shot me. >> [ chuckles ] >> language! >> but the network said, "you can't have a kid swear like that," and i said, "that line came from my daughter." my attitude about it is, telling stories from our own lives and not being afraid of those stories, that's what people can relate to. >> hi, i'm gloria pritchett, manny's mother. >> oh, and this must be your dad. >> actually, no, i'm her husband. don't be fooled by the, uh, give me a second here. >> none of these people look like they would be a family, but they are. >> what the hell is that? >> i had andre do it while we were gone. >> is that us with wings? >> i was just really taken by
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the portrayal of a gay couple as part of an equal part of the cast. >> he was a bit of a drama queen. >> no, no no, stop, stop, no. you come into my house and you insult me and my boyfriend who, by the way, is not that dramatic, and -- oh, god. [ "circle of life" plays ] >> so when he actually reveals lily, it's to the theme song from "lion king". >> it's the circle of life >> we adopted a baby. >> this loving gay couple who were just adopting a child, this was the most progressive thing on broadcast television at that particular moment. >> in this family do we kick and punch each other, or do we love each other? >> love each other. >> that's right. i'll be in the den. >> "modern family" took this genre that seemed kind of played-out, updated it and breathed life back into the family sitcom. after that, we start to see more perspectives, new perspectives, fresh perspectives. >> you're gonna love orlando. i've grown to love it like the
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daughter we wished evan had been. >> hm? >> fresh off the boat homie, you don't know where i come from but i know where i'm going i'm fresh off the boat >> in "fresh off the boat", an asian-american story centers the narrative as opposed to being, like, the butt of the joke. >> class, i'd like you all to give a warm welcome to chungi yi mi-- >> yeah, call me eddie. >> oh, thank god. >> it's about an asian-american family that moves from a multi-cultural city to a very white suburban town. >> oh, hi! welcome to the neighborhood. i'm deidre, this is amanda, this is samantha, this is -- >> it was a really good window into how mainstream culture could feel strange to somebody else. >> "fresh off the boat" made a major impact in proving to the industry that a show like this can be successful. >> still to this day, i get people on the street who come up
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to me in tears saying how meaningful it was seeing themselves represented, and feeling like you are a part of america. >> it's a part of a progression of representation in tv. >> okay, so i'm just your standard, regular old, incredibly handsome, unbelievably charismatic black dude. this drooling, pigment-challenged mixed-race woman is my wife. >> "black-ish" is a family sitcom that is interested in talking about topics of racial identity in ways that television sometimes is uncomfortable about discussing. >> you're not serious about naming our kid davonte are you? >> i want a strong black name. >> oh, boy. >> okay, because we've given our kids white names. >> what? >> and they've all ended up black-ish. >> dre. >> the father feels like his family is losing touch with their roots, and he wants them to sort of know their heritage. >> i just want one of my kids to end up being black so i can love it. >> [ stammering ] >> whereas "the cosby show" was
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a much more sort of safe kind of "here's us living every day," the "black-ish" family is very unapologetic about their blackness in ways that really hadn't been seen on prime-time television before. >> so next saturday, when you turn 13, you're becoming a man, too, a black man. because i'm throwing you an african rites of passage ceremony. >> that does not sound as fun. >> no, it does not. >> "black-ish" was a show that was really good about talking about individual social issues in a way that we hadn't really seen since norman lear. >> and that leads us right up to the reboot of norman lear's 1970s classic, "one day at a time." >> ugh, i get it, we're cuban. >> azucar! >> it follows three generations of latinas. >> come on! >> everything that we would get into as a normal family, but then it also tackles a lot of things that are going on in the world that normally are seen as taboo -- like queer issues. >> where are we with the idea telling him? >> who thinks it's a good idea to greet my latino veteran dad
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with, "hey! i like girls." >> you'll finally have something in common. >> you know, there's ptsd with the mom, there's anxiety and depression. >> so what? he called you a name. what'd he call you? stupid, dummy, goober? >> he saw me and yelled, "build the wall." >> [ gasps ] >> oh, my god. >> i think it allows audiences to have those conversations in their own living rooms. >> even these days, in this openly racist world. i managed to never have an incident. >> you and your brother are of different shades. >> yes. >> if you put something in your show that's shocking and radical, the hope is in five years' time, it's gonna become more normal. >> who even decides what latinx looks like? i look latinx. >> of course you do, you're beautiful. i always thought you looked like anne hathaway. >> oh no, no, no! >> the future of the family sitcom, to me, is most present
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in shows like "one day at a time" -- telling stories about an america you don't always see on television. >> yeah! >> in ways that are funny, and fresh, and invigorating. and if you look at the best family sitcoms on tv right now, that's what they're doing. >> and in case anybody else wants to know what's up. this latin-american family is headed to their american home. >> that is so cool. anne hathaway just totally stood up for those mexicans. i'm not obsessed with sex. i just can't stop thinking about it. >> sexuality has come a long way in sitcom history. >> can you donate a penis to a person who's transitioning? >> laughter is a great way to deal with a very tricky world. >> daddy horny, michael. >> sitcoms talk about sex. >> my underwear. >> my god. >> and about relationships


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