If you like to laugh, then you were always watching sitcoms in the '80s. And there was so much to watch! Plus, the best of the bunch ran season after season. Best of all, the cast of characters grew richer and more complex as you watched. The situation comedies brought familiar faces that you eagerly tuned into each night. Will you be able to name these sitcoms from a single image? Pull up a chair and try your best. You’re sure to do better than 88% of people who tried. Start now.
From “Designing Women” to “A Different World” to “Roseanne,” there was enough diversity to satisfy everyone’s tastes. And the sitcoms united us all. With only a few channels from which to choose, most everyone was getting hooked on the same shows as you. Do you recall the long-running favorites like “Mork and Mindy”, “Newhart” and “Coach”? And then there were spinoffs from favorite shows like “Three’s a Crowd” that followed Jack’s character from “Three’s Company." "Joanie Loves Chachi" was a spin-off of the extremely popular sitcom, "Happy Days." The characters who were our favorites kept coming back. But now it’s time to test those memory cells! Take the quiz now by clicking the button below.
This was the story of four older women who shared a home together in Miami. They also shared the love, hardships and fun times that life threw at them in their golden years. It starred Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty. The British Queen Mother so enjoyed the show, she requested it be performed live before her. The cast readily agreed to do so.
If ever there was a sitcom from the '70s and '80s that people remember, it certainly is "Happy Days." This classic ran for an incredible 255 episodes over the course of 11 seasons and gave us some of the most memorable characters in TV history, including Arthur 'Fonzie' Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler), Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and Chachi Arcola (Scott Biao). The show's popularity led to a number of spin-offs, including "Mork and Mindy" and "Joanie Loves Chachi."
"Cheers" turned Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Kirsty Alley and Rhea Pearlman into household names. A 271 episode, 11-season run made it one of the most popular sitcoms ever created. "Cheers" won six Golden Globes as well as 71 other awards and led to the spin-off sitcom, "Frasier," also a massive success.
"The Cosby Show" was a huge success in the 1980s. Starring comedian Bill Crosby as Dr. Heathcliff 'Cliff' Huxtable, it covered both him and his family's day-to-day lives. It also starred Phylicia Rashad, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Lisa Bonet. As a 4-year-old, Alicia Keys once appeared in a "Cosby Show" episode.
The winner of three Golden Globe Awards, "Seinfeld" starred comedian Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander. "Seinfeld" is one of the most popular TV sitcoms ever. It ran for nine seasons and 173 episodes. NBC wanted a 10th season, but Seinfeld turned it down, along with $110 million.
The animated "The Simpsons" first appeared on "The Tracey Ullman" show as a short. It was so successful, it eventually became its own show. And what a success it has been. The show has run for 30 seasons and well over 600 episodes. It has also won numerous awards over the years.
"Mork and Mindy" hit American television screens in 1978 and ran for four seasons and 94 episodes before it came to an end in 1982. It starred Robin Williams as the alien, Mork, and Pam Dawber as Mindy. Many people remember Mork's Nanu Nanu greeting from the show. It is said that Williams was inspired by Dr. Spock's Live Long and Prosper greeting from "Star Trek."
"Growing Pains" was a very successful sitcom that ran for seven seasons and 167 episodes. It centered on the Seaver family: Father, Jason, mother, Maggie and their children, Mike, Carol, and Ben. The show helped launch Kirk Cameron as one of the biggest teen stars of the 1980s. Alan Thicke, who played Jason Seaver, was the father of RnB singer Robin Thicke.
"Family Ties" followed the daily lives of the Keaton family - mom and dad, Elyse and Stephen, oldest son, Alex, daughter Mallory and youngest daughter, Jennifer, with baby Andy born a few seasons in. No doubt the star of the show is Alex, played by Michael J. Fox, a wise-cracking teenager with a distinct love of capitalism and Republicans. Fox and his on-screen girlfriend, Tracy Pollan, married in real life.
"Full House" was one of the most popular sitcoms of the late '80s, early '90s. Starring Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Dave Coulier, it tells the story of a dad (Saget) bringing up his children with the help of his brother-in-law and best friend. The show was almost canceled after the first season. Luckily, it went on to air for 193 episodes over eight seasons.
"Taxi" had a spectacular cast for a sitcom, starring Judd Hirsch, Tony Danza, Andy Kaufman and even Danny DeVito. As the name implies, "Taxi" followed the daily lives of a crew working for a taxi company in New York. Kaufman's contract specified he only needed to be on set for two days a week since he wanted to focus on his stand-up career.
Comedian Roseanne Bar starred in this sitcom from the late '80s that proved so popular, it ran for 221 episodes and nine seasons. Roseanne's husband was played by John Goodman. The series told the story of a regular family's trials and tribulations in the '80s and '90s America. The show was originally going to be called "Life and Stuff."
Starring the adorable Emmanuel Lewis, "Webster" followed the daily lives of George Papadopoulos, his wife, Katherine, and Webster, their adopted son who was orphaned when his parents (friends of the couple) were killed. The series was a big hit and ran for six seasons. Susan Clarke and Alex Karras, who played Katherine and George, were married in real life.
"Punky Brewster" is the story of a small girl and her dog, abandoned in a supermarket and eventually adopted by a good Samaritan, Henry Warnimont. The show starred Soleil Moon Frye as Punky and George Gaynes as Henry. This sitcom ran for four seasons and 88 episodes.
"Newhart," starring Bob Newhart, followed the daily lives of innkeeper (and former author) Dick Loudon, played by Newhart, and his wife, Joanna, played by Mary Frann. The show was a massive success thanks to a number of quirky characters. It ran for 185 episodes and eight seasons, from 1982 to 1990.
"Head of the Class" is the story of a group of gifted students and their teacher in an 'enrichment' class given at the high school they attend. It starred Howard Hesseman as teacher Charlie Moore. He left the show after the fourth season and was replaced by Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly. The show ran from 1986 to 1990.
"Small Wonder" followed the lives of the Lawson family and their inventor father, Ted. Things change in their household when Ted creates a girl robot, Vicki, who the family passes off as one of their own children. The show ran for 96 episodes and four seasons.
Starring Scott Baio, "Charles in Charge" followed the life of Charles, a student and housekeeper to the Powell family as he tries to balance his studies, personal life and job. Baio was not the first choice for the role of Charles. It was originally written specifically for Michael J. Fox who turned it down. The show ran for five seasons and 126 episodes.
With Craig T. Nelson in the lead role, "Coach" proved to be a massively successful sitcom. It ran for 199 episodes over nine seasons and told the story of college coach Hayden Fox who must balance his love for the game with his family life. The role was originally written for Dabney Coleman.
Hal Linden starred as Captain Barney Miller in this police sitcom that aired for eight seasons and 171 episodes. Pretty much every bit of action in this series took place in a police station, with Miller having to deal with a whole lot of problems, not only from the streets outside but from his own men.
"Joanie Loves Chachi" was a spin-off of the extremely popular sitcom, "Happy Days." It followed couple Joanie Cunningham and Chachi Arcola as they moved to Chicago to pursue their music careers. It starred Scott Baio and Erin Moran in the lead roles and ran for 17 episodes between 1982 and 1983, certainly not as long as "Happy Days!"
Another school-based sitcom, "Saved By The Bell" followed the daily shenanigans of six students from Bayside High School. It starred Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, and Dennis Haskins and ran for 86 episodes over four seasons. The series became extremely popular and saw a number of TV movie spin-offs.
Starring Jane Curtin and Susan Saint James, "Kate and Allie" ran for 122 episodes from 1984 to 1989. It followed the story of two best friends, one who comes to live with the other after divorcing her husband. But life is never that simple as there are also children involved in the equation. Kelsey Grammer made his acting debut during the series. He went on to star in other sitcoms such as "Cheers" and "Frasier."
"ALF" was an alien visiting Earth from the planet Melmec. He announced himself to the Tanner family by crashing his spaceship into their garage. ALF and his new family lived in harmony (sort of) as long as he didn't eat their cat! This sitcom had a great run of 104 episodes and four seasons.
Created by Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon, "Mama's Family" ran from 1984 until 1990 (130 episodes). It starred Vicky Lawrence and Ken Barry and told the story of Thelma Crowley Harper, who together with her sister, moves in and lives with her divorced son and his young family. This concept/idea first aired on "The Carol Burnett Show."
Starring Tony Danza of "Taxi" fame, "Who's The Boss" first aired in 1984 and ran for nine seasons and 196 episodes. It followed Tony Micelli (Danza), an old pro ball player who became a housekeeper for a powerful executive (played by Judith Light). Micelli had to juggle his daily duties with raising his own daughter, Samantha (Alyssa Milano), and dealing with Angela's young son, Jonathan, and her sassy mom, Mona.
Another extremely long-running sitcom that first aired in 1976 and ran into the mid-1980s, "Alice" starred Linda Lavin in the lead role as Alice, a recently widowed mother of a teenage boy who moves to Phoenix. Here she gets a job as a waitress at Mel's Diner. It also starred Beth Howland and Vic Tayback. "Alice" ran for 202 episodes.
"Perfect Strangers" told the story of Larry Appleton, an uptight resident of Chicago who, just after moving to his first apartment, meets his cousin Balki from the Mediterranean Island of Mypos. Balki has come to America to meet his family who lives there. Bronson Pinchot turned down the role of Balki but eventually changed his mind.
A 1980s sitcom with Tom Hanks who spends a lot of time disguised as a woman? Yes...it really did happen. It may have only lasted for two seasons and 37 episodes, but this scenario played out in the early '80s sitcom, "Bosom Buddies" It also starred Peter Scolari.
Starring Robert Guillaume, this sitcom followed the lives of Governor Eugene Xavier Gatling, his family, staff and, of course, Benson, a former butler who quickly became indispensable to the governor in his daily tasks. The show was a spin-off of another sitcom, "Soap," where Guillaume also played Benson.
Set at a radio station in Cincinnati, "WKRP" starred Loni Anderson, Howard Hessman, Richard Saunders and Gordon Jump, amongst others. It followed the day-to-day running of a radio station, that after struggling to stay afloat, changed its programming to play more rock music. The show used to play music from new bands just starting out and over the course of its run, featured Blondie, U2, The Cars, and Devo.
A soap-sitcom, "Soap" told the story of two families, the Tates and the Campbells. It starred Katherine Helmond, Rod Roddy, Richard Mulligan and Robert Guillaume, eventually leading to "Benson," a spin-off series with Guillaume. "Soap" ran for four seasons and 88 episodes. This sitcom was one of the first TV shows to have an openly gay character, played by Billy Crystal.
"Married... with Children" was one of the most-loved sitcoms of the 1980s and 1990s. Featuring Ed O'Neill as Al Bundy, this show followed the day-to-day lives of the Bundy family, with Al as a shoe salesman with an acerbic wit. It also featured Christina Applegate and Katey Segal. The show ran for 263 episodes over 11 seasons.
Starring comedian Gary Shandling, this sitcom had a four-season run of 71 episodes. The show also starred Molly Cheek and Michael Tucci. It often featured the show's characters speaking directly to the audience both in and out of character, something known as breaking the fourth wall.
"Laverne & Shirley" was a spin-off of the very successful, "Happy Days." It featured Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams in the lead roles. Characters from "Happy Days" would often make appearances on the show. "Laverne & Shirley" was basically rewritten from scripts of a failed 1960s sitcom, "Hey, Landlord." "Laverne & Shirley" ran for eight seasons and 178 episodes.
With 253 episodes and an 11-season run, "The Jeffersons" was one of the longest-running sitcoms of all time. This sitcom, starring Isabel Sanford and Sherman Hemsley, told the story of an African-American family who moved into an apartment complex in New York. "The Jeffersons" was a spin-off of "All in the Family."
Starring Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges, "Diff'rent Strokes" followed the story of Arnold and Willis Jackson who were adopted into a wealthy New York family. "Diff'rent Strokes" ran for eight seasons and 181 episodes and gave us the much-loved catchphrase 'What you talkin' about Willis?'
Judge Harold T. Stone (Harry Anderson) presided over a 'petty crime' court in Manhattan that ran in the evening. He was aided by Dan Fielding and Christine Sullivan (played by John Larroquette and Marki Post). The show ran for nine seasons and 193 episodes with Larroquette winning four Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Fielding.
Running for 118 episodes from 1985 to 1990, "Mr. Belvedere" tells the story of the Owens family and their British butler, Mr. Belvedere. It starred Christopher Hewett as the butler, and Bob Uecker and Ilene Graf amongst others. It became the first sitcom in which one of the characters (albeit a minor one) had AIDS.
The popular "Designing Women" ran for a full seven seasons from 1986 to 1993 for 163 episodes. Starring Delta Burke, Dixie Carter and Annie Potts, it tells the story of a group of women who run a design firm. The popularity of the show can be seen in the fact that by the time it hit its last season in 1993, it was the only show still running of the 24 that debuted the same year as it did.
"Silver Spoons," starring Ricky Schroder, told the story of an extremely wealthy father (played by Joel Higgins) who must bring up his young son (Schroder) whom he has never met. Unfortunately, he has never really grown up himself! The show also starred Erin Gray and Alfonso Ribeiro (later of "Fresh Prince of Bel Air") in later seasons. It was extremely popular, running for 116 episodes and five seasons.
Created by Don Nicholl, Michael Ross and Bernard West, "Three's Company" told the story of two women and one man living as roommates in an apartment. It starred John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers. The success of "Three's Company" led to other spin-offs - "Three's a Crowd" and "The Ropers."
"Too Close For Comfort" followed the lives of two sisters living together in a duplex. The only problem was - their parents lived right next door! It ran for six seasons and 129 episodes. "Too Close For Comfort" is an adaption of a similar British comedy, "Keep It In The Family."
"The Facts of Life" told the story of a group of young girls who attended a boarding school together. It followed their day-to-day lives as they dealt with the problems all teenage girls experience. Luckily, there is always Mrs. Garrett (played by Charlotte Rae) to provide guidance. In later seasons, the girls left school to help Mrs. Garrett open her own business. This popular sitcom ran for 203 episodes over nine seasons.
Running for 137 episodes between 1981 and 1987, "Gimme A Break" explored the theme of having help raising your children. When his wife dies, a police chief approaches her best friend to help him to continue raising his children. The show starred Nell Carter, Dolph Sweet and Lara Jill Carter in the lead roles. Carter was fighting a serious drug problem during the show's run and spent some time in rehab.
Winner of three Golden Globe Awards, "One Day At A Time" first aired in 1975 and ran for nine seasons and 209 episodes. It told the story of a recently-divorced mother and her two daughters as they rebuilt their lives in a new city. It starred Bonnie Franklin, Valerie Bertinelli and Pat Harrington Jr. amongst others.
Starring Helen Martin, Marla Gibbs and Hal Williams, "227" was set in an apartment building in Chicago. This sitcom followed the daily comings and goings of the residents of the building, their stories and the highs and lows in their lives. It was based on a play by playwright, Christine Houston and ran for 116 episodes over five seasons.
Starring Sherman Hemsley, "Amen" ran for five seasons (110 episodes) between 1986 and 1991. Hemsley played Deacon Frye who ran a church in Philadelphia. The show dealt with his relationship with his family and his new Reverend, all of them wanting his time and attention. And to make things more interesting, at times, not everyone saw eye to eye.
Created by Bill Cosby, "A Different World" was a spin-off of "The Cosby Show," following Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet) as she attended college. Bonet left the show after just one season when she got pregnant. Marisa Tomei was also on the show for one season as Denise's roommate. In real life, Tomei and Bonet were also roomies during the filming of the first season of the show.
"Three's A Crowd" continued where the popular sitcom, "Three's Company," ended. Starring John Ritter as Jack Tripper, the sitcom didn't do as well as its predecessor, lasting only for one season of 22 episodes.