It is hard to believe that well over half a century has passed since Ozzie and Harriet and I Love Lucy were on TV every week. That was in the ’50s. I watched them, as a young child of course. Today, one can be of any age and be familiar with shows of any era, thanks to cable re-runs, DVDs, and old people talking about them. Let’s move up a decade. There was The Andy Griffith Show, Beverly Hillbillies, and Get Smart. Skip up another ten years or so, and along came Happy Days, All in the Family, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. We could keep going, and get to Cheers, Frazier, and Seinfeld, but it’s obvious there are television sitcoms that have made an impression, shows we will remember for a long time, re-runs we will watch over and over again.
I wonder, fifty years from now will there still be sitcoms? I think so. Unless television itself goes away. Will there be anyone alive who remembers all those shows I’ve mentioned? Probably. Because, they all reflect the era from which they came, the writing was superb, and the old situations are all still entertaining. But, there will never be another Lucy, or Fonz, or Maude. And, fifty years from now, folks will still be watching re-runs saying, “There will never be another Sheldon.”
Decades from now Modern Family will seem old-fashioned, and The Middle may be the new Ozzie and Harriet. “Remember how cute Brick was?” But, who am I to predict the future of television shows? Back when I was watching The Ed Sullivan Show, I never dreamed there would be something like The Voice with chairs spinning around, or while watching Little House thinking one day there would be grizzly, yet captivating shows such as The Walking Dead. And, in 2065 will there be one million TV channels re-running thousands of sitcoms? Probably. If there’s still television, and talented writers and actors.
Originally published 10/11/15 as “Are Sitcoms Forever?”