tv History of the Sitcom CNN September 3, 2022 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
because everybody really does feel out of place, part of their lives. >> what's going on? >> i don't know. i looked around the room, and i saw all the faces and the presents, and it was just too much. >> it's in the nature of comedy that you provide an audience an object of identification. >> there was a time when i never would have been friends with someone like you, and now you are one of my favorite people, so if what you need is to spend your birthday in a bathroom, i'm happy to do it with you. >> and you make people laugh, not only at you but at themselves. >> well, everyone will think i'm weird.
laughter is a wonderful place to go for forgetting your troubles and woes. >> sitcoms are an escape. the more dire the circumstances, the more you need sitcoms to forget about your troubles. >> we're going to the good place in a freaking gold balloon! >> shotgun! >> that's what we had. that's what helped me escape being poor. [ applause ] >> everything single one of you is a good person. >> when i'm feeling kind of hopeless and sad, i get to laugh and lose myself and remember life's not that bad. >> you're in the good place! >> the beautiful thing about the sitcom, is that it has provided
so much joy in times of uncertainty. >> there's a lot of pressure in the 1960s -- this notion of new products and everything being new, this kind of brave new world. >> everything's about the future and modernizing. yes, it's all bright and shiny and you get cars that look like spaceships, but then it's a scary thing. what does the future hold? >> air force general curtis lemay suggested we bomb north vietnam back into the stone age. >> yabba-dabba-doo! >> yabba-dabba-doo! >> "the flintstones" was a modern stone age family, if you recall. [ laughs ] >> it sort of celebrated the modern family, the guise of a >> it was, like, time travel fantasy for us watching. >> you almost done with the
dishes? >> i just can't wait till they invent the faucet. >> with all the progress that was happening in the late '50s and '60s, "the flintstones" is an escape from the pressures of the modern family and the question, is progress good? >> [ laughs ] >> it was kind of a satire on the consumerism -- "get the newest thing for your kitchen, get the newest kind of car with, you know, these kind of stone wheels." they have a car and it has wheels, but you need your legs to make it move. i bet that is how they did it. >> a lot of people think it was a cartoon on saturdays. that was actually a network sitcom that just happened to be animated. >> i'm 7 years old and my mom used to get just furious, shaking, angry at me for watching "the flintstones", because it's really a show for adults. >> i remember, i was so sad for betty and the fact that they couldn't have children. >> we're so anxious to have a
baby, we take it out on fred and wilma. >> betty and barney talk about adopting. >> it's a ba-- a ba-- a baby. >> that's unusual. >> we want to do everything according to law, ma'am. >> that had not been heard before. >> it was a smash hit. the flintstones was on for six years. >> yahoo! you're the greatest fred! >> it was really on the cutting edge of escapism for an american audience that was hungry for it. >> the communist rulers of east berlin reinforce their barricades. >> in the early and mid '60s, there's so much turmoil, in terms of the civil rights movement, in terms of vietnam. there's a real crisis of identity. >> and there is a pattern in american entertainment of when things get really serious, we gotta get silly. >> i just don't understand it.
>> don't try to, it's bigger than both of us. >> people just needed to escape and go watch a talking horse. >> come on, mom, cut it out. >> not until you call the police. >> "my mother the car" with this guy's car was haunted. i don't know why his mother was haunting a car. >> is that about a car? and it's a mother? [ laughs ] what the hell? >> "the flying nun" was probably the silliest show ever made. >> i suppose that's true in a way. >> i wanted to be a nun when i grew up. >> hey, i think i'm getting the hang of this. >> well, i knew i couldn't be a flying nun. [ laughs ] and i knew i couldn't be a nun, either. [ laughs ] >> in the 1960s, most successful sitcoms were just fun, and over-the-top, and silly. >> you laugh because someone else is falling on the banana peel, and that is the essence of escapism. >> that's why there's something really deeply appealing in this
idea of being able to just shake off the shackles of civilization and start all over again. >> just sit right back and you'll hear a tale a tale of a fateful trip that started... >> sit right back, and you'll hear a tale, the tale of a fateful trip that started from something or other. [ laughs ] do you know it? you probably know it better than i do. >> when i watch "gilligan's island", i just put myself on the island with gilligan. >> a bunch of crazy people, they get stranded on the island, no surprise there. >> but i always felt so bad for them. it's like, are they ever gonna get off that island? >> my father, had this idea -- how do i get seven people and put them together so they can't get away from each other, people of different types? so he went to cbs -- and jim aubrey was the president -- and he tried to sell them the show. jim aubrey didn't see how viewers would understand why
these people were there. so dad went home that night, and he wrote the theme song. and then "gilligan's island" went on the air. >> you know, they could make a latrine, they could make huts, they could make radio receivers. >> keep pedaling! >> they could make a cinema complex. a raft was beyond their capability. >> the critics hated it. they thought it was the worst show ever. everybody said this is the stupidest plot we've ever seen. this isn't gonna last five minutes. we've never been off the air in 50 years. >> we may have to stay here for a long, long time. >> i just remember laughing so hard at gilligan and skipper somehow were bald. >> look at us! our heads look like a couple of cantaloupes. >> [ laughs ] it just made us laugh. i think i was just happy i knew what a cantaloupe was. >> you either were a mary ann fan or a ginger fan. >> i was too into ginger, i gotta be honest with you. >> i think i'm a mary ann guy. >> mary ann or ginger? i had the hots for the professor. [ laughs ]
>> well, he's got a point there. >> i love "gilligan's island"! "gilligan's island", to me, was actually really smart. >> my dad wanted to create a microcosm of society. he wanted the skipper to be leadership, and mr. howell to be capitalism -- the professor to be intellectual, and ginger to be vanity. >> does intelligence keep us afloat? does money keep us afloat? >> i've been... >> but there were no black people on gilligan's island, that's this fantasy of the american ideal. >> the island is a metaphor for the earth. a lot of the contemporary events and threats we can say from nuclear annihilation. >> it's coming right this way! >> to political conflicts like the cuban missile crisis, somehow wind up being reflected in the adventures on the island. >> with all the turmoil and everything that was going on in the world then, it was an escape for everybody, and it made you
happy. >> i would like a world without strife, universal harmony, and international good will, where the spirit of brotherhood enriches all mankind forever. thank you. >> i think it taught a lesson -- seven completely different people raised differently, different values, really trying to get along, and we did. >> gilligan, for a guy who's always doing dumb things, when you do something smart, it's beautiful.
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there's something funny going on around here. >> with what was going on in the world in 1965 with us vs russia, "get smart" was lampooning the terror that we had from the cold war. it was a great way to escape the paranoia. >> kaos has a nuclear bomb. >> doesn't everybody? >> loved "get smart". >> i wanted to be don adams. >> dun-dun-dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun. >> you wanted to be home at 7:30 to watch him get in that in the phone booth. >> "get smart" was a direct satire of "james bond", which was the biggest thing in movies. >> bond, james bond. >> and we, you know, we satirized the blank out of it.
>> oh, allow me princess. [ gunshot ] [ telephone rings ] >> he's doing cool spy stuff. he's got the phone in the shoe. >> i will take credit for the shoe phone. >> this is smart, maxwell smart. >> which turned out to be the cell phone, which i should have patented, and i wouldn't even be bothered talking to you. >> one of the most famous gags on "get smart" was the cone of silence. >> the case i assigned 99 to has to do with the gaul formula. >> what? >> the chief and agent 86, couldn't actually hear each other. >> the cone of silence would never work. and it would never work in a different way every time. it was too fast, it wouldn't come down. it would hit the desk. >> a lot of the catchphrases are part of our culture. >> i loved when max would say, "sorry about that, chief." >> sorry about that, chief.
>> missed it by that much. >> [ screams ] >> missed it by that much. >> twice. >> would you believe? >> i shall be able to rip these chains from the wall in one minute, would you believe it? one minute. >> i find that hard to believe. >> would you believe two minutes? >> every job he was given. he totally failed. and agent 99 would help him out. [ gunshot ] she was sharp. >> miniscule, diminutive, microcosmic. >> hm. you certainly have a way with words, 99. >> teensy-weensy. >> i loved 99. just the look on her face that was sort of like, is that what you really mean? >> i know the sound of a .38 special, and i counted six shots. >> but, max, you're making a terrible mistake.
[ gunshots ] you're the one with a .38 special, max. >> barbara feldon rolling her eyes in the camera was her feminist statement on "get smart". >> "get smart" didn't preach about the world at all. there were never direct references to what we should think about was what was going on in the '60s. what was subversive about "get smart" in framing what was going on the world in such broad strokes, was that if you, the smart viewer, wanted to attach meaning to it, you could see messages in it. >> once you're laughing, you forget everything, you know? laughter is a wonderful diversion from thinking about death. >> it's airing in the '60s, at the pinnacle of the vietnam war. it's when the marines are being sent off to vina vietnamese prison camps. >> and you could see, like, dead bodies on the news every night.
>> and so the idea that you could then escape with a show like "gomer pyle" was appealing because people didn't want to think of the military in solely negative terms. that's not our history in america. it was definitely a feeling like, "let's have a guy who's almost like a throwback to the old gi in the cartoons." >> oh, golly. >> golly, golly, golly, golly, golly. >> well, gee, golly. >> golly, nothing will happen to your car. >> "gomer pyle" was many things but it was not in any way reflective of vietnam. >> i have to listen to his big mouth every day, and i have to pay for his meals every night, this is even worse than being married! >> one show we couldn't watch was "gomer pyle", because my mother said there were enough idiots in the world without people acting like idiots. >> i think we're gonna need those life preservers! >> it's just pranks and fun. pure escapism. >> an escape? from stalag 13? [ laughs ] that's a good one. >> "hogan's heroes" was set in
world war two, but it debuted in the midst of the vietnam war. >> heil. >> heil! >> why did i have to go to those news readers? >> "hogan's heroes" can imagine that pitch? >> "guys, listen to this it's gonna be great." >> let's do a sitcom about a nazi prisoner of war -- i'm just spit balling here. i'm thinking nazis, men trapped without running water. i'm in! >> my dad and i used to watch "hogan's heroes" together and laugh, laugh, laugh. >> hogan, hogan. >> you see, hogan, never underestimate your enemy. >> i see nothing. >> i see nothing, i was not here, i did not even get up this morning! >> this is airing when there are
many americans trapped in vietnamese prison camps, which are not a very funny thing to think about. >> so television was like, if we come up with really broad ideas that are very full of slapstick comedy, people will want to gravitate to that. >> now where did that come from? >> and with that, you get to release all that angst, and with that comes humor. >> it is attacking! >> humor is always an inversion, it's always can we find what is ironic about this situation in some way? >> colonel hogan, colonel hogan, kissing prisoners is verboten. >> and thankfully we have sitcom as a medium to do that for us. you know, it's an escape. eal ofn two minutes really make roger happy.
so does carvana's customer advocate caitlin picking up his car at promptly 10am. hi, are you roger? berglund. with the honda accord? yes i am. it's right over there. will i be getting? and he loves that caitlin pays him on the spot. yep, rog. it's the little things that drive you happy. we'll drive you happy at carvana. joe biden and democrats in congress just passed the inflation reduction act to lower our energy bills. investing in american-made clean energy means our families will save $1,800 a year on energy bills. that's more savings for us. making a home means making decisions. lots of them. so, we promise to be here, with prices you'll love, if you just promise to put your heart into it. seasons change, but our lowe's price promise is everyday. shop fall at lowe's today. we see the baby pizza crust in its natural habitat... in a few months, it will mature into a delicious,
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every-other-day ordeal. >> when you're looking at the '70s, there was a lot of "let's not think about that complicated stuff right now. let's make it go away." >> "the love boat" was the ultimate in fluff. >> love, exciting and new. >> love, exciting and new. >> love, exciting i can't go that low. [ laughs ] >> come aboard we're expecting you yeah, you know the song. >> we're expecting you the love boat >> the love boat, makes you smile, doesn't it? >> my agent called me and said, "aaron spelling wants you to do a thing called 'the love boat'." >> sounds great. >> people joked that abc stood for aaron's broadcasting company, that's how powerful aaron was at abc. >> aaron spelling, just, he had a touch for knowing what the
audience wanted to see. >> "the love boat", sitcom or not a sitcom? sitcom. >> "love boat" was a new format a sitcom. >> i think "the love boat" is a sitcom. >> "love boat" was not a sitcom. no. >> to me, "the love boat" was a sitcom. >> it expanded what we thought of as a sitcom. >> all i know is it was a hit. [ laughs ] >> it was usually comprised of three storylines. >> ta-da! >> one would be a pure comic story, one would be a melodramatic story. >> how do you tell the lady that you love she's never gonna walk again? >> and one would be a romantic comedy. >> i'm just a bartender, and you're a star. >> they used a laugh track, which was never really done, especially in an hour filmed show. >> don't worry about your termites, lady, because when the
house falls, it'll kill 'em. >> [ laughs ] >> it had laughs, but they weren't laugh laughs, i think a lot of them were pushed in there. >> hey, mister, you look like you wanna dance. >> well, not exactly. >> oh, yes! >> charo was outrageous. she was so free. >> cuchi, cuchi, cuchi, cuchi. >> cuchi, cuchi, cuchi, cuchi. [ laughs ] >> i was on "the love boat" four or five times. >> what are you gawkin' at? >> well, i guess i didn't expect to see so much of west virginia out here in the middle of the ocean. >> when i watch "the love boat" now, i really often marvel at how wrong some of those plots are. >> and i'll be back with your prescription. >> i mean, it's practically a caveman beating the woman over the head sometimes and dragging her back to his cabin. >> hi. >> times have changed. >> now, the ship's doctor could not sleep with a passenger. >> "the love boat" provided an escapist experience, in a literal sense of the word, because you could feel like you
were on a cruise escaping your life. >> entertainment has changed. everything has changed, but human beings are still human beings. people want happy endings. they need happy endings. >> bye. >> bye. >> and we gave it to them every saturday. >> in 1977, abc was pure escapism. it was a formula that really ensured success. >> aw, come on. don't take it so seriously. >> abc was flying high with "happy days", "laverne & shirley", "the six million dollar man", "the bionic woman." abc could do no wrong. and "eight is enough" was part of that era. ♪ there's a madging in the early
morning we've found ♪ >> so "eight is enough" is a man, tom bradford, has eight children. he, of course, has a wife, but that wife passed away. >> he falls in love again, the kids still grieving the mother, now have to deal with this other woman. >> abby and i are getting married to each other. >> we were the evolution of "the brady bunch". >> oh, come on, mary, lighten up. dad and abby will never know if we break a little rule or two. >> yeah, who's gonna tell them? >> you wouldn't squeal, would you? >> much like "the love boat", it was a dramedy, and it was a longer form show. >> why don't you ground her for missing dinner? >> because we know where nancy is, we didn't know where you were. >> i was eating pizza. >> there were many things on that show that i thought were complete fantasy -- a family that sits down and discusses things. really? >> well, i want to know what you're going to do about tommy. he's got a party saturday night, and he's still a kid.
>> why don't you mind your own business? >> "eight is enough", was a return to some something that seemed maybe safe. if you look at the era, and, like, what's going on -- divorce rates soaring in the '70s, right? i mean, the family is breaking apart. >> i'm 8, i can understand complicated things. >> nicholas, women are weird, that's all, now move. >> in the late '70s, the world had just come out of this incredible revolution and anger. and everybody's looking for chewing gum for the eyes. >> hey! >> and all of a sudden it's like "let's just watch a family that's working, let's watch a family that probably doesn't exist outside of this box." ♪ fill our lives with love ♪ like netflix on us! and benefits that add up to more than $225 in value each month. making a home means making decisions. lots of them. so, we promise to be here, with prices you'll love, if you just promise to put your heart into it. seasons change, but our lowe's price promise is everyday. shop fall at lowe's today.
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there is growing evidence that the nations crack cocaine epidemic is taking a new and dangerous turn. >> in 1981, the number of major crimes reported to the new york city police department reached a record high. >> people are tired. >> in the early '80s, new york was a dangerous place. a lot of crime. a lot of conflict. >> people vs cowan. disturbing the peace and assault. >> i can't be held accountable, an ethereal force violently expelled the essence from my body. >> "night court" consciously avoided the realities of life in new york and said "let's not be so serious." >> what "night court" was doing was presenting a very happy-faced version of what you
would see if you went to a "night court" in manhattan. >> fiona did nothing of her will. it is my doing. >> "night court" was more about the humor of the people involved. >> do you believe all this higher consciousness stuff? >> huh? >> the whole point of it was, like, very weird people come into this building every day. >> ow, ow. >> see ya later. >> all right, mr. tuttle, do you have anything to say? >> i'll...be... brief. >> the characters were not dangerous, and the crimes were
usually very minimal. >> what she gonna do? spank you? >> john larroquette plays the prosecutor. he's the lovable asshole, if i can say that. [ laughs ] >> jealous? >> hey, roz, take a look at this! >> marsha warfield's one of the funniest women ever. you see her? >> you know, a little water might help that grow. >> "night court" was all escapist. >> mr. che is an amateur magician, your honor. >> "night court" is a way to get america to pivot from the actual news. and you know that's not necessarily the reality of the situation, but that's why it's called tv magic. >> the fact remains, that -- that-- that even successful magicians sometimes spend lifetimes fruitlessly trying to develop -- >> "night court" takes this gritty aspect of the city and gives you a sunnier version of it. "newhart" happened at the same
time and is a is an interesting parallel with "night court". newhart, he's looking for an escape from new york. and he goes to an idealized place which is an inn in vermont. >> here it is! the stratford. >> in the first bob newhart show, bob was married to suzanne pleshette, and he was a therapist. >> are you going to sleep? >> no, i'm just gonna lie here and let my nostrils flare. >> in bob newhart's second series, he was married to mary frann. >> i like it. >> no, you don't. >> i thought maybe the second show should be about an inn. >> that's really it out there, isn't it? >> uh, what? >> nature. >> in the flesh. >> if you like, i can introduce you to mud. >> i'm convinced that the reason bob newhart is excruciatingly funny to me, was because of the
sensitivity -- in a sense, the thwarted decency. >> i miss you more than you miss me. [ chuckles ] i do too. [ laughs ] i do too. i do too. >> he does, okay? >> bob newhart thrives as a comedian when surrounded by eccentric people. >> dick, i got rid of that clog in the vent. >> oh, uh, good, george. what was it? >> i don't know, but when i woke it up it ran off. >> and vermont, they were able to surround him with really outstandingly created characters. >> hi. i'm larry. this is my brother darryl and that's my other brother, darryl. >> they loved larry, darryl, and darryl. >> i throwed my back out last week crawling under a house. >> sounds like a tough job. >> wasn't a job. i just like crawling under houses. >> the most iconic sitcom finale of all time is the finale of "newhart". >> i've got to get out of this mad house!
>> it was very difficult to keep it from getting out. >> to do the finale of the show, people don't know -- bob newhart fed a fake story to the papers. >> i told the cast what was gonna happen. i didn't tell the crew. i said, "we've added a scene, just keep shooting." >> honey. honey, wake up. you won't believe the dream i just had. >> [ groans ] >> and she throws back the covers, and it's suzanne pleshette. >> suzanne pleshette was snuck into the soundstage. >> all right, bob. what is it? >> i was an innkeeper in this craziest little town in vermont. >> we just watched 9 years of a dream. >> it manages to tie up both shows with a bow, and it is probably the most escapist example of a sitcom series finale.
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i've had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. you know, insomnia. before i found quviviq, an fda-approved insomnia medication for adults. you would not believe the things i used to think about when i couldn't sleep. hey, linds. i need you to sign this business contract. all 114 pages. lindsey, lindsey!! hey, lindsey! it's workout time. hey, big man, we're in the middle of something here. yeah, it's called physical fitness. just a couple dozen more questions, lindsey. don't forget to pack your phone charger for tomorrow morning's flight. it's plugged in right over there. insomnia can impact both my days and my nights. that's why i take quviviq nightly. quviviq can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, and more sleep at night may mean feeling less tired during the day. quviviq works differently than medication you may have taken in the past. quviviq is thought to target one of the biological causes of insomnia. overactive wake signals. do not take quviviq if you have narcolepsy. don't drink alcohol while taking quviviq or drive or operate heavy machinery until you feel fully alert.
quviviq may cause temporary inability to move or talk or hallucinations while falling asleep or waking up. quviviq may cause sleepiness during the day. quviviq may lead to doing activities while not fully awake that you don't remember the next day, like walking, driving and making or eating food. worsening depression including suicidal thoughts may occur. the most common side effects are headaches and sleepiness. it's quviviq. ask your doctor if it's right for you. there's a monster problem and our hero needs solutions. so she starts a miro to brainstorm. “shoot it?” suggests the scientists. so they shoot it. hmm... back to the miro board. dave says “feed it?” and dave feeds it. just then our hero has a breakthrough. "shoot it, camera, shoot a movie!" and so our humble team saves the day by working together. on miro.
we know how good it feels be with our families. how it warms and comforts us. how it gives us strength and joy. >> during the reagan era, there was really this emphasis on being a good person. >> dj, we're still a family, and now is when we really need to stick together. >> in the late '80s, after "eight is enough", there was all these, like, really squishy, soft-focused families, like "full house". >> at that time, the family sitcom is almost like a disney
movie. >> honey, i told you, everything is gonna work out super great. >> you've got it, dude. >> and it puts pressure on american families to live up to some ideal that has not existed in decades, if it ever existed before. >> the economy is starting to kind of tank, we're at war, and, you know, we're not gonna live better than our parents. but when "the simpsons" come along, they just, like, blow that apart. >> the simpsons. >> "the simpsons" is escapist, because no matter how much of a couch potato you are or how underachieving your children are, they're not gonna be as bad as "the simpsons". >> i thought i'd investigate the effects of cigarette smoking on dogs. >> i think it's really hard for people who weren't alive then to understand how controversial it was. >> uh, yes, i'm look for a mrs. o'problem, first name bea. >> bart was extremely disrespectful. >> uh, bea o'problem. come on, guys, do i have a bea
o'problem here? [ laughter ] >> i just remember the impression of, like, "[ gasps ] children are never allowed to speak like that. >> [ screaming ] >> what's going on out there? >> i think bart's stupid again, mom. >> oh. >> i'm a fan of "the simpsons". there's no show that does the high joke density better. >> well, i'm my own toughest critic, but i think it's genius. >> that storytelling on "the simpsons" was so unlike anything that had come before it. there were these ornate, baroque stories. you know, they could have a three-second scene at a nuclear reactor. >> i've got it. >> and then jump somewhere else. >> endlessly clever. so many good characters on "the simpsons". >> sideshow bob casts a long shadow through the universe. he's a great villain. his relationship with a rake destroyed him. >> "the simpsons" -- great animations. love it. >> tracy, what are you doing here? you're all better. >> nobody tells me these things.
>> when the simpsons came out, it was a massive hit. >> could this is the best day of my life? >> "the simpsons" helped usher in this sort of modern era of adult animation. >> hey, brian, what's up? >> is animation necessarily an escapist form? obviously visually, you're looking at something usually more colorful than your actual life. >> you can be risky and obscene and transgressive and really, really dig into humor that other shows are kind of afraid to touch. >> oh, god, i've been so bloody naughty. oh, i need to be taught a lesson, and you're the one to do it. [ screams ] >> pushing those barriers. >> it is wrong to eat human beings. >> says you. >> "south park" took that a whole leap further. >> oh, my god, they killed kenny! >> you bastards!
>> they make bart seem like beaver cleaver. >> shit. butthole. hey, wendy. dumb bitch! >> in the '90s, we see the rise of the concept of political correctness and audiences were looking for an escape for that. >> whip it out, butters. >> creators matt stone and trey parker showed the power and the comedy that you could find in being politically incorrect. >> all right, butters, looks like we have 2 point -- wow, 2.4 inches. really nice, butters. >> i'm hung like a horse. >> i think about an animated show like "south park", and it's full of comments about modern subjects. >> i had a sex change operation. my penis is now a vagina, and i am experiencing womanhood for the first time in my life. see you in class! >> it would push the envelope in such an extreme way, but in the voice of a child. >> jesus was black, ronald reagan was the devil, and the government is lying about 9/11. >> no! >> "the boondocks" were the black "south park". what "the boondocks" did is really dive deeper into a subset of the black community that
maybe white people don't see at all. these characters that aren't human, they get to really say things that people might be afraid to say. >> ow! >> how many times had a told you, you better not even dream about telling white folks the truth? >> one of the most hilarious episodes was martin luther king coming back and seeing how black people were living and really being shocked about what he saw. >> i had a dream once, but low and behold some four decades later, what have i found but a bunch of trifling, shiftless, good for nothing, [bleep] >> so whether it's about racist white folks, whether it's about black folks being problematic with themselves and their outlook on life, "the boondocks" is not pulling any punches. >> one thing for sure, though. can't blame this one on the white man. what am i saying? 'course i can. >> but when i was a kid, my top
sitcom was probably "dinosaurs." >> not the momma. >> it was bonkers. >> everything that jim henson company does is escapist. >> hey, frozen dinner, oh, that's great. >> the original idea was all really generated in the year that my father, jim henson, passed away in 1990. and he just liked the idea of dinosaurs who lived so irresponsibly that they will inevitably go extinct. >> in an operation of this magnitude, there's bound to be some unforeseen casualties. >> for my dad, what he'd loved about sitcoms is when they could do something powerful. >> what the show actually was, was always a warning. >> it sounds like we'd be declaring war on nature.
>> exactly! >> yes, dinosaurs had, like, very good '90s-style, you know, "let's take care of the earth" climate change messaging. >> you destroyed the global food chain! no plants means no food at all! >> the finale of "dinosaurs" is really and truly one of the best finales for any television show ever. >> we killed them all. >> are we gonna move? >> well, no, there's no place to move to. >> we always knew that that irresponsible treatment of the environment in "dinosaurs" had to destroy the planet. >> and because it was puppetry, because they weren't human beings spouting at you, you tolerated it. ing all the things. so, we promise to have your back, if you just promise to take in the fall colors. seasons change, but our lowe's price promise is everyday. shop fall at lowe's today. this is the tempur-pedic® breeze° and its mission is to make sleep feel cool. so, no more night sweats...
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in the world of 2010's america when we became increasingly aware of all the horrible inequalities our society was built atop, how do you exist within a world that is built to reward the worst people too often? >> the way the world is changing, with women, black lives matter, all of it. we're at a point now in comedy where people need to continue to push boundaries. with women, black lives matter,
all of it. we're at a point now in comedy where people need to continue to push boundaries. >> adult animation presents a brightly colored world that might seem more interesting than our own, that sometimes is a better way to, like, make us face the ways in which our reality is being let down. particularly, shows like "bojack horseman". >> [ sighs ] well, that was another in a long series of regrettable life choices. >> what'd you say? >> "bojack horseman" is a netflix animated comedy that is set in an anthropomorphic hollywood in which talking animals coexist with humans. >> are you drunk ? >> todd, i weigh over 1,200 lbs, it takes a lot of beer to get me drunk. yes. >> it imagines, okay, what if a mister ed type ended up becoming the dad in a "full house"-style sitcom.
>> we were lost and now we're found and we're horsin' around [ burps ] >> he is a washed-up sitcom star. >> party at my house tonight! >> and he's turned into this kind of alcoholic, depressed, still rich, formerly famous actor. >> nothing's lonelier than a party. good thing i don't need anyone . >> oh, "bojack horseman" is so good. >> let's move in together! let's do it! >> it sucked you into forgetting that it's an animated show, that these are talking animals. >> it became this perfect vessel to poke fun at a lot of excesses of our current culture. >> [ gasps ] >> "bojack" is harder on hollywood than anything equivalent in live action comedy of recent years. >> this is so sad, you always hear about mass shootings affecting other people's movie openings, but you never think they're gonna affect your movie
opening. >> in the latter seasons, you get this really dark, embittered. >> who put pills in my house? >> deeply moving account of a person who has been declining to face his problems for his entire life. >> what are you so happy about? >> there is something escapist about watching bojack dealing with these really heavy-duty crises, which, if you were watching a human do that, in a sitcom, it would be devastating. >> is it terrifying? >> "bojack horseman" is asking a question a lot of us were asking, which was, how do you be a good person? >> you know the way you feel when you see a chimpanzee and a baby tiger who've become friends? that's how you're going to feel every day. >> "the good place" is a show about four people who died and went to hell and a demon who made them believe that they were in heaven. >> during your time on earth, every one of your actions had a positive or negative value. >> a show like "the good place", i don't think it could have existed without animation pushing the boundaries of what people would watch. >> now, today we're gonna start
with something that everyone has always wanted to do -- flying. [ cheers and applause ] now that you're dead, let's live a little, right? >> i suppose there's a sort of fantasy or escapist element to it where they're in a magical place where, you know, there's a character named janet who knows every fact about the universe. >> janet, i'm finished with cleanup, and i'm ready to fly. how do i start? >> hop on the launch pad and conjure an image that brings you pure joy. >> people puking on roller coasters. people puking on roller coasters. [ gasps ] >> but there was always a sort of like weird looming threat. >> ow! what the -- >> that i think kept it from seeming like just pure escapism. >> is that giant terrifying ladybug supposed to be there? >> oh, well, great question, tahani. no, no, it's not. >> "the good place" came out in 2016 right when a lot of people were feeling incredibly disillusioned by trump's election that year.
>> we will make america great again. >> at a time when i think people were craving that kind of dialog of talking to our better natures. >> i'm sorry i was so grumpy. it's just, i wanted to get my hair wet. i wanted to talk briefly to someone and then say, "take it sleazy." >> i think there's so many big things happening in the world right now. to have a message that kind of is, "it's gonna be okay, and this is your place in the universe. keep trying to take care of your soul a little bit." >> "the good place", i think it's an actually perfect show. >> any place or thing in the universe can be up to 104% perfect. that's how you got beyonce. >> you don't realize that they're talking about really deep philosophical things, and good and bad and who are we at our core, and can we change? >> oh, god. >> the trolley problem really showed what the show is trying to do.
>> we're in a trolley car. it was chidi with his hands on the control, trying to figure out who to kill and who not. it pointed out we're faced with these horrible choices all the time. and we should have some empathy, you know, because they're hard. >> dude, make a decision! >> well, it's tricky! i mean, on the one hand if you subscribe to a purely utilitarian world view. [ splat ] >> it was a very funny scene. >> okay, so, what did we learn? >> there's something escapist about letting all these things that we're dealing with here play out in this fantasy world. that's the whole idea behind tv. [ laughs ] you want to escape. >> good afternoon, eleanor. what can i get you today? i recommend "full cell phone battery." >> whoa. it somehow tastes how i felt when my cell phone was fully charged. oh, i'm so relaxed. >> people like laughing, and i
think when they laugh they're more likely to listen to what you have to say. >> nothing more human then that -- besides texting people that you're five minutes away when you haven't even left the house. thank you, eleanor. >> you're very welcome. . ♪ welcome to all of you watching here in the united states, canada, and around the world. i'm kim brunhuber. ahead on "cnn newsroom," a brutal heat wave in the western u.s. could actually worsen as we approach labor day and spread to on the record parts of the country. the dire situation for people living in the capital of mississippi. the challenges as workers try to restore the city's water supply. and finger-pointing again in ukraine as europe's largest nuclear plant loses its main connection to the power grid becaus