Back to 1970’s Sitcoms Escaping Reality

We had a model something like this in the late ’70s into the ’80s. My uncle got it for us at a Holiday Inn auction when they were replacing the furniture. It seemed huge at the time. No remote, no cable. Weren’t those the days.

By John Clise

Sometimes we all need to escape to a safe place even if just for a while. Every once in a while I’ll jump on YouTube and surf through the 1970s, watching full episodes and clips from those golden days of innocence and wonder… my childhood obviously.

One of the first shows I can watching was the Bob Newhart Show with my dad. I was seven or so. It was always so cool. I remember that theme music would come on and we would get our pillows and lay on the floor to watch the show.

Bob riding the subway in the intro was so cool. It seemed so adult to me at the time. Seemed pretty fun, too. Riding the subway to work. Jerry, the dentist, always seemed funny to me. He just showed up, dropped a few jokes and went on his way.

Bob was always so happy to get home to Emily. Home was his safe haven. I loved the way he shared his day with Emily. Generally, it was Mr. Carlin’s troubles.

I always loved Barney Miller, too. That show addressed so many serious social issues during its run. It also addressed some good humor, too.

Barney seemed like a babysitter for a group of adult precinct cops.

Ron Glass, as Harris, always made me laugh. He was in love with his suits, and his mustache. I remember after having to shave it to go on an undercover patrol, he wore a fake one. Barney caught him scratching under with pencil. Captain Miller didn’t real impressed.

Jack Soo, as Yemana, was so dry in his delivery. It was almost in slow motion. Abe Vigoda, as Fish, was killer. His ongoing health concerns and issues were just great. Max Gail, as Wojciehowicz, gave the show the opportunity to address the stresses of Vietnam Veterans soon after the war was over. All of the characters brought so much to the show.

Good Times was another show that tackled current societal issues of the day. It intertwined those issues with the family life, and loss. That was especially magnified after John Amos left the show, and his character, James, the patriarch of the family, died in a car crash.

My real favorites from the 1970s, or that at least began in the ’70s, are Love American Style, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island.

Those ensemble shows were always so exciting to see who the guest stars were going to be for that week’s episode. Wouldn’t it be great to have another show or two like that now. Love American Style is where we got Happy Days.

What ’70s list would be complete without The Walton’s. America’s favorite depression era family telling their story through the years.

I’ve been accused of being a lot like Oscar from the Odd Couple in my life. A gruffy sports reporter who lives on beer and hotdogs… seems accurate.

There so many great shows on TV in the ’70s. And some clunkers, too.

Sometimes, it’s just very comforting to escape back to a time when I really had no problems. My worst problem was probably a rainy day keeping me from riding my bicycle to the corner store for a Big Red. They came in a glass bottle for a quarter out of a vending machine.

If you’d like to share some of your favorite ’70s show or any others drop those in the comments below.


One thought on “Back to 1970’s Sitcoms Escaping Reality

  1. Great post… you listed the shows I still watch. I think Barney Miller and Taxi were two of the best written shows going. Out of all of those sitcoms The Bob Newhart Show is way up on my list. His dry humor and the cast were great. Suzanne Pleshette wasn’t the ordinary sitcom wife at that time…she could give Bob a run for his money.
    I also still watch All In The Family…I never noticed as a kid how dingy and realistic their home was…not dirty but just dark. I was 8 in 1975 and that is when I started to watch all of those shows…Good Times, MTM Show, Rhoda, and the Waltons.


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