Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Mot Morenzi

Sitcoms worthy of comparison to "I Love Lucy"

Recommended Posts

Obviously NOTHING will ever truly match or equal I Love Lucy, but what shows/performers do you think earn the right to be compared to the holy grail of all sitcoms?

 

A review for Ellen described her character as "the most irresistible sitcom creation since Lucy Ricardo." In many ways I have to agree. Especially starting with the second season, Ellen began showcasing physical comedy routines for its star that were reminiscent of Lucy. Ellen getting her foot stuck in the blinds at ballet practice; Ellen hanging from an iron fence post while trying to escape a health spa; Ellen standing on Paige's wedding dress and getting dragged down the aisle. She helped keep physical comedy alive in an era where sitocms were becoming more and more dialogue and joke driven.

 

Will & Grace is another prime example. Aside from the obvious parallel of having four lead characters (two male, two female) living in New York City, there is Debra Messing. A natural redhead whom is often compared to Lucille Ball, and who many people think should play Lucy in a biopic. Debra had some great physical comedy showcases, my favorite being her bending over in an elevator and getting her butt stuck between the closing doors while saying "ow" over and over again, until Will finally pulls her in. Not to mention the famous "water bra" episode where she springs a leak and must prevent her date from finding out. 

 

Although the character of Grace was vastly different from Mrs. Ricardo in many ways, Debra's acting style brings Lucy to mind in many instances. She has the glamour, the poise, and the commanding presence of Lucy, not to mention the self-depreciating sense of humor. Neither women were afraid of making themselves look less beautiful or dignified for the sake of getting a laugh.

 

Obviously these shows ultimately set out to accomplish something different and can fully stand on their own without comparison to any other show. But there are elements that owe Lucy a debt of thanks. What does everyone else think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW gave its star a lot of physical bits, and also developed the ensemble, akin to I LOVE LUCY. Similarly, the writing for both series is of the highest caliber. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this is off topic, as we're discussing I Love Lucy, but Laverne and Shirley was a great example of The Lucy show as was that comedy with Jane Curtin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this is off topic, as we're discussing I Love Lucy, but Laverne and Shirley was a great example of The Lucy show as was that comedy with Jane Curtin.

 

No that's a good one too! I almost mentioned Laverne and Shirley as well. Lucy and Vivian's joint physical bits really gave female comedy teams a lot to live up to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That comedy with Jane even did a nice parody of Lucy and Ethel.

Yeah, that's right, what was the name of that damned show anyway?

 

That comedy with Jane even did a nice parody of Lucy and Ethel.

Just googled her and found the name, KATE AND ALLIE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No that's a good one too! I almost mentioned Laverne and Shirley as well. Lucy and Vivian's joint physical bits really gave female comedy teams a lot to live up to.

Yeah, used to say that Laverne and Shirley was the blue collar version of Lucy and Ethel.  And Absolutely Fabulous, a great British comedy about boozers and sluts was the more or less raunchy version of Lucy and Viv.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Modern Family

Have tried watching this show but just don't get what all the fuss is about, and I really thought i'd get into it now that it's syndicated but I just cannot get into the show at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To an extent, Mama's Family. Especially in the syndicated episodes, Vicki Lawrence got some physical comedy on par with what Lucy did. Riding a wrecking ball was one. Someone should set Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" song to it, since Vicki played on her show once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To an extent, Mama's Family. Especially in the syndicated episodes, Vicki Lawrence got some physical comedy on par with what Lucy did. Riding a wrecking ball was one. Someone should set Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" song to it, since Vicki played on her show once.

Oy friggin vey!  Ok then, let's add Mister Ed, My Mother The Car and Gilligan's Island then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oy friggin vey! Ok then, let's add Mister Ed, My Mother The Car and Gilligan's Island then.

I was merely pointing out where Lucy's style had clearly influenced her successors. All of these shows can be taken on their own terms but there are some obvious Lucy elements that crop up from time to time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was merely pointing out where Lucy's style had clearly influenced her successors. All of these shows can be taken on their own terms but there are some obvious Lucy elements that crop up from time to time.

Ok fine, but as much as I loved those FAMILY sketches on Carol's show, I found this sitcom sorely lacking, more a caricature than a great comedy series. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Home Improvement was a sitcom that often made me laugh. While it is no I Love Lucy, for comparisons sake, the relationship between Tim & his TV wife Jill was loving, funny & well written (like the Ricardos). The relationship between Tim & Al is a bit like the male version of Lucy & Ethel :) .

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Home Improvement was a sitcom that often made me laugh. While it is no I Love Lucy, for comparisons sake, the relationship between Tim & his TV wife Jill was loving, funny & well written (like the Ricardos). The relationship between Tim & Al is a bit like the male version of Lucy & Ethel :) .

Geez, did you hurt yourself with that STRETCH?  LOL!   Never ever cared for that show, but I agree about the two leads.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oy friggin vey!  Ok then, let's add Mister Ed, My Mother The Car and Gilligan's Island then.

I'll make an embarrassing confession. I like Gilligan's Island. It doesn't compare in quality to I Love Lucy, but it makes me laugh and I think it was wonderfuly cast.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Lucy Show - featured plenty of slapstick comedy especially during the series' first three years, television's greatest star and second banana (Lucille Ball & Vivian Vance), and guest stars (often appearing as themselves). The show's main character, Lucy Carmichael, reminds people so much of Lucy Ricardo as she was always scheming, conniving, and getting herself into wild situations.

 

Laverne & Shirleythis program pretty much answered the viewer's question of what it would have been like if Lucy and Viv/Ethel were in their 20s/young adult years. And there is a real-life connection as Garry Marshall was the creator and producer of Laverne & Shirley who previously worked as a writer on The Lucy Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show. Which brings us to ...

 

The Dick Van Dyke Show - strong writing, a great ensemble cast, and plenty of slapstick for the show's star. 

 

The Jeffersonsfeatured an interracial couple and a character as a descendent from another country. Many of the show's plots especially in the later years mimicked I Love Lucy ones such as being starstruck, couples feuding, the men and women making a bet against each other, finding ways to earn money or get rich, appearing on game shows, going on trips, marital problems, etc. Side note: for me personally, I have always considered The Jeffersons to be a cross between All in the Family and I Love Lucy.

 

Perfect Strangers - featured slapstick comedy, the main characters getting themselves into all kinds of jams and bizarre situations. One of the main characters, Balki, is from another country. This 80s sitcom can be, perhaps, argued as the male-version answer to I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, and Laverne & Shirley

 

Three's Company - featured slapstick comedy, plenty of misunderstandings, and characters jumping to conclusions. It also had the landlord-tenant dynamic as well. The show sparked some controversy too as it touched on homosexuality frequently as that was a taboo subject at the time not to mention the show's premise of a hyper-sexual man rooming with two young women trying to his best to bed any woman that catches his interest. As we all know, this was one of Lucille Ball's favorite programs. She even hosted a retrospective episode of this 70s-80s series, in which, she even made comparisons between it and her show, I Love Lucy. She was even a fan of the show's star, John Ritter, in which he later appeared on her last series, Life with Lucy.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Lucy Show - featured plenty of slapstick comedy especially during the series' first three years, television's greatest star and second banana (Lucille Ball & Vivian Vance), and guest stars (often appearing as themselves). The show's main character, Lucy Carmichael, reminds people so much of Lucy Ricardo as she was always scheming, conniving, and getting herself into wild situations.

 

Laverne & Shirleythis program pretty much answered the viewer's question of what it would have been like if Lucy and Viv/Ethel were in their 20s/young adult years. And there is a real-life connection as Garry Marshall was the creator and producer of Laverne & Shirley who previously worked as a writer on The Lucy Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show. Which brings us to ...

 

The Dick Van Dyke Show - strong writing, a great ensemble cast, and plenty of slapstick for the show's star. 

 

The Jeffersonsfeatured an interracial couple and a character as a descendent from another country. Many of the show's plots especially in the later years mimicked I Love Lucy ones such as being starstruck, couples feuding, the men and women making a bet against each other, finding ways to earn money or get rich, appearing on game shows, going on trips, marital problems, etc. Side note: for me personally, I have always considered The Jeffersons to be a cross between All in the Family and I Love Lucy.

 

Perfect Strangers - featured slapstick comedy, the main characters getting themselves into all kinds of jams and bizarre situations. One of the main characters, Balki, is from another country. This 80s sitcom can be, perhaps, argued as the male-version answer to I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, and Laverne & Shirley

 

Three's Company - featured slapstick comedy, plenty of misunderstandings, and characters jumping to conclusions. It also had the landlord-tenant dynamic as well. The show sparked some controversy too as it touched on homosexuality frequently as that was a taboo subject at the time not to mention the show's premise of a hyper-sexual man rooming with two young women trying to his best to bed any woman that catches his interest. As we all know, this was one of Lucille Ball's favorite programs. She even hosted a retrospective episode of this 70s-80s series, in which, she even made comparisons between it and her show, I Love Lucy. She was even a fan of the show's star, John Ritter, in which he later appeared on her last series, Life with Lucy.

Bravo! Excellent assessments all around! ;)

 

(I especially found the Jeffersons comments interesting, especially about the later episodes mimicking ILL: Bobs Schiller & Weiskopf wrote for Lear's AITF and Maude: did they write some of those Jeffersons eps as well which would explain the similarities? Hmmm.....:D )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bravo! Excellent assessments all around! ;)

 

(I especially found the Jeffersons comments interesting, especially about the later episodes mimicking ILL: Bobs Schiller & Weiskopf wrote for Lear's AITF and Maude: did they write some of those Jeffersons eps as well which would explain the similarities? Hmmm..... :D )

 

Thanks.

 

I have been watching The Jeffersons a lot lately on TV One. They've been airing the later seasons for quite awhile now. Some of the situations and plots featured in these seasons reminded me so much of I Love Lucy. Like the episode where starstruck Louise tries to hide Sammy Davis, Jr. from everyone else all the while trying to get his autograph, or the one where Ralph the Doorman causes Louise to doubt her relationship with George, or the one where George takes on Florence's bet and becomes a maid for a day, or the one where Louise takes up art and showcases her work even those closest to her thinks her work is lousy, or the one where Louise dreams of her and George switching places, or the one where Louise thinks her and George are in a rut and tries to spice their marriage, or the one where Florence thinks everyone else around her has it made but her, or the one where Jeffersons and Willises get into a quarrel over the Lionel's and Jenny's announcement of having plans to get divorced, etc.

 

Bob Schiller's and Bob Weiskopf's writing credits do not list The Jeffersons.

 

Maybe the writers of The Jeffersons watched too much of I Love Lucy while writing the episodes???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll make an embarrassing confession. I like Gilligan's Island. It doesn't compare in quality to I Love Lucy, but it makes me laugh and I think it was wonderfuly cast.

 

There's nothing wrong with silly fun that makes you laugh for no reason at all. Each show has its place.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...