What were the sitcoms of our youth really teaching us? James Stafford and Michael Kasdan explore the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of some of America’s iconic shows.
Want to add your own take on your favorite show? Tweet to us using #GMPSitComsGoodBadUgly or let us know what you think in the comments!
– The Good: Family isn’t always blood. Sometimes it’s who you choose (see also: Brady Bunch, Different Strokes).
– The Bad: If you’re shallow and vain, women will love you.
– The Ugly: Friends that enable each other’s alcoholism are the best friends of all.
Married With Children:
– The Good: Your family’s not so bad after all.
– The Bad: Retail salespeople are failures worthy of no more than your scorn.
– The Ugly: Housewives are shrill sex-obsessed harpies.
– The Good: Men and women can live together platonically.
– The Bad: Well, women can. Men can’t control their libidos.
– The Ugly: Gays are funny!
– The Good: If we all pull together, we can overcome even the worst adversity.
– The Bad: Life comes down to a choice between the good girl who can cook or the seductress who’s just trying to manipulate you.
– The Ugly: Beating your subordinates is funny.
– The Good: Sometimes fantasies are best left just that–fantasies.
– The Bad: Rich weirdos with islands probably just want to help you out.
– The Ugly: Little people make great mascots.
The Six Million Dollar Man:
– The Good: Modern science is remarkable. Given unlimited resources, we can cure anything.
– The Bad: Don’t expect six million bucks in surgeries to just be given to you with no strings attached. Prepare to fight Bigfoot on behalf of the US government.
– The Ugly: Half-zipped track suits with no shirt beneath is a really good look.
– The Good: Sometimes, your dad leaves your mom and your mom abandons you, but if you’re spunky and bright and a bit lucky, you can navigate the foster system and end up adopted by a kindly warm grandfather-type.
– The Bad: Rich socialites are always resentful of and mean to the working-class, even playful working-class children.
– The Ugly: Foster children can be victims of grifters and cheats, like when Miss Hannigan, Rooster and Lily St. Regis concoct that scheme to steal Punky away — oh wait, that was Annie. And this was a kitschy knock-off without Daddy Warbucks.
– The Good: When you’re super rich, you can have fritter the day away riding a scale-model freight train around your living room and playing Ms. Pac Man.
– The Bad: Spoiled rich kids engage in the normal teen hi-jinks. But it’s a heck of a lot easier to get out of stuff when it goes bad.
– The Ugly: If you have enough money and privilege, it can cover up any need for the gaping voids where emotional maturity and parental responsibility should be.
– The Good: Family is family and immigrants are adorable. Also, the Meposian Dance of Joy.
– The Bad: Immigrants are dopey shepherds with weird customs.
– The Ugly: Teaching Balki to thrive in “America: Land of his dreams and home of the Whopper,” consists of promoting the twin American core values of neuroses and selfishness.
Who’s The Boss:
– The Good: Women can be executives, and men can be nannies.
– The Bad: Men are also better at being nannies. The best.
– The Ugly: Grandma has an uncomfortably insatiable sex drive.
– The Good: Diverse political views are no obstacle to loving one’s family and friends.
– The Bad: Pretty girls are dumb and plain girls are smart.
– The Ugly: If people are losing interest in you, add a baby.
– The Good: When you hit your twenties and set out on your own, your friends will be there for you.
– The Bad: New York City only has white people! And cavernous Manhattan apartments with spacious hipster coffee shops in the lobby are quite affordable!
– The Ugly: She’s not into you? Just keep stalking with her your passive aggressive mope and your pet monkey. She’ll come around eventually.
– The Good: Life really is a story about nothing, but, man, are the foibles of human relationships funny.
– The Bad: Life really is a story about nothing, and, man, are we all neurotic messes.
– The Ugly: Caring about nobody but yourself is a great way to go through life.
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Photo Credit: YouTube/screen capture (Seinfeld)