Be Thankful the '80s Are Over

This weekend’s Filler Clip ™: I have never seen this show, and probably never will, but I know of it because I had a book called “The Best of TV Sitcoms” (a guide to the best U.S. sitcoms from the ’50s through ’80s, as chosen by newspaper critics) where critics chose it as the worst sitcom of the ’80s. The worst sitcom of any decade is pretty impressive; worst of the ’80s is kind of an astounding achivement. That was, after all, a time when bad network TV shows were worse than they would ever be allowed to be today — there are lots of bad shows now, but they usually have a certain baseline of technical competence.

Apparently it was one of the first projects Fred Silverman set up as an independent producer after he left NBC. (Having run all three networks, there was nowhere left for him to go as an executive. If only Fox had existed at that time.) He and the creators sold it to NBC in the middle of their pre-Cosby slump, and NBC put it on the air. It was about two guys who run an ad for a live-in maid, and wind up hiring a gorgeous blonde. In other words, Three’s Company with one girl and two guys and with the guys’ steady girlfriends replacing the Ropers. Then it got revived in syndication, because in the late ’80s everything was getting revived in syndication.

I’m actually surprised that cable channels — which have taken the place of syndication when it comes to ordering and running cheap sitcoms– have been slow to do the same, and commission new episodes of canceled broadcast-network shows. Maybe the success of The Game on BET will prompt other cable networks to do the same.

Anyway, I don’t know if this was the worst sitcom of its era and I’m not very anxious to find out, but I do know one thing: those glittering credits effects were pretty snazzy at the time.


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