Take a minute and think about some of the best sitcoms of our generation. Go ahead, take your time, there are plenty to choose from.
That's because network television really hit its prime during the early '90s and '00s when shows like Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld, The Office, That 70's Show, Married... With Children, The Golden Girls, Parks and Recreation, and about 20 others could all make the list of the ten best sitcoms of the past 40 years.
It's much easier to remember the good ones because of how many memorable moments they gave us. From the always hilarious Friends Thanksgiving episodes to the crazy antics of Michael Scott on The Office, these great sitcoms will always be remembered.
However, for every television sitcom that becomes a hit, there are several of them that never even got a chance. The failed sitcoms that were unable to connect to an audience because of poor writing, bad acting, or just bad timing. Not every show that makes it on television is a guaranteed hit.
This list features the 25 Worst 2000s Sitcoms Ever (According to Rotten Tomatoes) and might even bring back a bad memory or two for those unfortunate souls that had to endure the pain of sitting through them.
For some reason or another, NBC decided to renew the Friends spin-off series Joey for a second season following a pretty good first season, ratings wise that is. It is not fair to look at the first season and think there was a hit show there because of when it debuted. It aired a few months after the greatest sitcom in NBC's history ended, Friends, and was put into their Thursday night lineup right away, grabbing nearly 11 million viewers a week.
But once the second season began, it did not take NBC very long to discover that it was failing so they moved it to Tuesday night's, opposite American Idol. The hit FOX reality show grabbed just about all the viewers it could and left Joey with a tiny audience that eventually stopped watching, sending it on a one-way track to cancellation city.
It only took 18 episodes before Accidentally on Purpose was cancelled following a myriad of mixed reviews from critics and audiences that were forced into watching it when it aired following the hit series, How I Met Your Mother. Part of the reason the show was such a hit at first was due to the high number of viewers, nearly 8 million per episode, but that was a result of being the bookend to a show considered to be the best sitcom at the time.
After being moved to Wednesday night's, it failed to carry its own audience due to a lackluster story designed to make us believe Jenna Elfman being pregnant with a much younger man's child, and then having him move in with her and her friends, was a real life scenario. But, in fact, it did not relate to most of the viewers and numbers declined each week until cancellation.
CBS has had several hit television sitcoms over the past 20 years. Everybody Loves Raymond, The King of Queens, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Two and A Half Men were some of the biggest sitcoms on television over the past few decades and they all aired on CBS. But for every hit TV show they discovered, there were several that just simply did not work and ended up getting canned relatively quickly.
How To Be A Gentleman was one of those shows. It was so bad that even when it premiered during CBS's Monday night comedy block, it failed to bring in a large enough audience to remain there. It couldn't keep the viewers interested long enough to hold them over between hit shows and lasted just nine episodes.
There is a very big difference between reality and fantasy, and Imaginary Mary did a great job at the latter. In fact, it was so far fetched that audiences never even came close to enjoying the sitcom because of how much it failed to relate to anyone over the age of 10. The concept was that an adult woman would have an imaginary friend named Mary, which was a CGI creature voiced by Rachel Dratch.
But the Imaginary friend was so ridiculous, and fake, that it felt cheap and boring. The pilot episode had about 5.4 million viewers but that number dramatically decreased to around two million by the ninth episode, when the show was cancelled.
Chemistry is something you cannot teach. It happens naturally and is not to be forced. This is especially true when it comes to TV shows that feature stars that simply do not have chemistry. Audiences will notice right away and respond quickly.
So when CBS decided to create a television show based on the blockbuster film Rush Hour, they did not plan on failing to find two main characters that could carry the show the same way Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan carried the film series. In fact, the show tanked and was cancelled after just 13 episodes due to the lack of chemistry between Justin Hires and Jon Foo. They could not replicate, or even come close to, the relationship between Tucker and Chan.
As we mentioned earlier, CBS might be the nation's number one network, but it was not because they always happened to strike gold with a new show. They have had to air many different series before finally landing a hit show and Gary Unmarried was one of those series that helped pave the road for the hits that followed.
After a decent first season, in relation to the various other sitcoms airing at the time, Gary Unmarried was renewed for a second season, but that was a big mistake. However, the show did manage to win the People's Choice Awards Favorite New Comedy award in 2009. That alone convinced the show's front runners to bring it back for a second season. They simply did not expect the writing and overall quality of performances to be so awful.
NBC spent about ten years trying to figure out how to develop a television show, involving gay characters, that could bring in the amount of success they found with Will & Grace. They had such a hard time figuring out a way to reach that audience that they ended up just going back in time and giving Will & Grace a reboot, which has been a huge hit and is into its second season.
One of the failures was One Big Happy, a show starring the beautiful Elisha Cuthbert as a lesbian that was pregnant with her male best friend's baby. The problem was, he was madly in love with a straight woman, played by Kelly Brook. It just did not work because all they did was the opposite of Will & Grace, and it was nothing short of a bomb. It ended after one season.
As a comic, Whitney Cummings is one of the funniest comics around today. Her comedy is sometimes crude and raunchy, but she is still a big enough star to carry a fan base of loyal followers. That is her biggest problem. People either love her, or they simply do not get her and find her annoying. The majority of the viewers of her television show, Whitney, were the latter.
The show's downfall was forcing the comedy, something we expect from a sitcom. The writing was a bit weak and came across as if this was the first time any of them wrote in television. In other words, the show's concept and original idea was probably way better than the actual product thanks to being a sitcom on NBC. If it had been on FX, chances are it would still be around today.
Kate Walsh is one of the better, and most underrated actresses around. She was so good on Grey's Anatomy, that she got to continue playing the role of Dr. Addison Montgomery, on her own show, Private Practice, which was another major hit for the network.
But when Private Practice ended in 2013, she just had to keep working and decided to take on the role of Rebecca Wright in NBC's Bad Judge. The idea that a raunchy, dirty, party chick could also play the role of a judge turned into a nightmare for the writers as NBC simply did not allow her to really go after the role and it got cancelled less than a month after it premiered.
Just because a book is a best-selling title, does not mean it can become a hit television series. The main reason is that the audience that watches television is very different from the ones that read books daily. But another reason could be because the content just simply is not funny enough to act out in a sitcom on NBC.
Are You There, Chelsea? was never going to be a hit show because the content did not belong on NBC. The raunchy humor was toned down for network television, which basically ruins the content and delivery, but that was not enough. They had to go ahead and bring in Laura Prepon to play the lead role, which is supposed to be a woman in her early 20s, when she was in her mid 30s at the time. It just failed to connect with audiences and was cancelled in one season.
Often times, it is hard to explain why a television show fails, especially one that featured an original premise and starred Justin Kirk (Weeds) and Crystal, the Capuchin monkey from The Hangover Part II. The show could have been great but whenever you feature an animal in your cast, that is the only thing that people are going to see.
In other words, the show was going to succeed or fail based on whether or not audiences loved the monkey. But the show front-runners decided to do something to prevent that from happening. They put the characters in nonsensical situations that ended up alienating audiences. The writing ruined the series by preventing it from ever taking off.
John Mulaney spent six years writing for Saturday Night Live. He won multiple Emmy awards for his writing and was the co-creator of the hit Weekend Update character Stefon. His comedy specials are future classics and if you have not been able to watch any of them yet, you are doing yourself a disservice.
But in 2013, when he pitched the idea of a semi-autobiographical sitcom to NBC, they turned him down. So he decided to go to FOX where they picked it up right away for six episodes. However, the writing was stale and it was quickly compared to Seinfeld minus the intelligent humor. The show failed to find an audience in today's world that appreciated the sense of style that Seinfeld brought to the sitcom world. It was out-dated and that caused the show to get cancelled fairly quickly.
There have been many television shows that follow the everyday lives of normal, hard-working moms. Cheryl Hines, Megan Mullally, Matt Prokop, Jessica St. Clair, and Horatio Sanz starred as the main cast but even with so much talent on their roster, the show was not able to hold the interest of its viewers for very long.
In The Motherhood was originally a web series that found plenty success online but starred different actresses and was a much better version of the story. The television series failed to captivate audiences the same way the web series did and it was evident when it got cancelled after just a couple episodes.
Truth Be Told should have never made it to network television. It was a disaster from the very first episode when they try to hire a babysitter so they can go to a Jay-Z concert but, as it turns out, she was actually a former adult actress. If that sounds bad, you should have seen it. The show was a confusing mess of lame sitcom jokes combined with an inability to write a story that discusses race and current topics without coming off as insincere.
It is one thing to use race as the cornerstone of your show, just ask the creators of Fresh Off the Boat and Blackish, but this show was never able to turn it into anything more than a lame attempt to reach a wider audience simply for a few more ratings points. It was cancelled after 10 episodes.
There are only a few actors in Hollywood that are so aware of who they are that they would create, write, produce, and star in a television sitcom. Rob Schneider is one of them. He must have been bored and was looking for something to do when he came up with the idea for the show Rob, about a guy named Rob who was married to an amazingly attractive Hispanic woman named Claudia Bassols.
Creating a show, or film, and casting a far more attractive female lead to play your girlfriend is not an original idea. It's very apparent that he stole the idea from his best friend Adam Sandler, who has done it for many years on the big screen. That said, the show was as poorly written as you could imagine. It felt as if the only reason he created the show was to be close to Claudia Bassols, and who would blame him if that was the case.
As a teenager, Annie Watson (Jaime Pressly) was a mean girl that ran wild and ruled her high school. Her best friend, Nikki Miller (Katie Finneran), was not at all a mean girl, she was actually an overweight kid that had few friends in school. So what happens when they grow up and become mothers with daughters that are turning into mean girls themselves?
The show could have become a huge hit but the writing got in the way. The constant bickering and confusing situations that arose between all the characters caused the show to become a chaotic mess. Jaime Pressly is always a great addition to any sitcom and was the main reason this show was not given a 0% from critics. But she was not enough to carry the show and it was cancelled shortly after it premiered.
The Simpsons helped jump start the notion that animated comedies could reach wider audiences if created for adults and put on a network television in a prime-time slot. But it wasn't until Family Guy came around that people started to take notice and copy the formula. Of course, most of the animated shows on FOX during the 2000s were all Seth McFarlane's creations, some of them were not.
Allen Gregory was created by Jonah Hill and was promoted pretty heavily upon its release back in 2010. Many people thought it was going to be the next hit adult animated series on FOX but instead, it became a massive failure due to the cringeworthy moments involving the main character, who was not even likable. He had very few, if any, qualities that made people enjoy him and it was cancelled after the first season.
Kelsey Grammer truly began his acting career in 1984 when he played Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers. He would go on to play that same character on his own show, Fraiser, until 2004. For 20 years, he played the same character on two different major hit television shows. So when Fraiser ended, he could not help himself and just had to get back on television.
His first attempt was Back to You, which we are going to discuss very shortly, was cancelled after 17 episodes. After that failure, he tried again with ABC's Hank, but found even less success and ended up getting cancelled after just five episodes.
Yes, we all know that Ken Jeong is a comedic genius that is now a full-blown Hollywood star but was originally a real-life doctor. Although he normally comes across as a silly little guy in most of his appearances, he is, in fact, one of the smartest actors around today. Sadly though, he was unable to use his intelligence to predict that his ABC television show, Dr. Ken, was simply not getting over with viewers.
The premise behind the show was created from the many different stories and situations that Ken Jeong experienced while he was a doctor. But the writing was far from entertaining and failed to captivate its audience. The comedy was dry, and boring, and it fell flat for much of the first season so it is still a mystery why ABC decided to renew it for a second season.
What were they thinking? No seriously, what was Warner Bros. Television and ABC thinking when they decided to give a green light to a show that starred two men who were forced to dress up as women to keep their jobs in a horrible economy?
Not only was the acting terrible, the show's premise was a disaster from the start. Ben Koldyke and Amaury Nolasco could never dress up as women and actually get away with it, yet they fooled everyone in their fictional world on the show, which made the show even harder to watch. How foolish did the writers think their viewers were?
We Are Men is a show about a man who was stood up at the altar, on his wedding day, and the new life journey that he embarks on after he moves into a new place and begins making friends with three other divorced men. The premise was something that intrigued many of us while the cast was even better.
The show featured Kal Penn, Jerry O'Connell, Tony Shalhoub, and Chris Smith, which was a strong cast if you ever wanted to create a sitcom. But outside of Tony Shalhoub, the cast lacked any chemistry and forced viewers to choose between laughing and changing the channel. Most of them changed the channel as it was cancelled after 11 episodes.
The failed FOX sitcom Dads was created by two men that are also writers on Family Guy, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, who are also best pals with Seth MacFarlane, one of the show's executive producers. Although Seth MacFarlane was not the creator of this show, he had his fingerprints all over it. That was part of the reason the show was cancelled, as it could never find a way to land the racial gags and blue jokes without offending audiences.
On paper, Giovanni Ribisi and Seth Green playing best friends who are successful video game developers sounds like an idea that could really take off, especially when their dads move in with them. But the jokes were never as funny as they were offensive, leaving viewers without a single chance to laugh. It lasted one season.
With the success of NBC's Will & Grace, shows featuring gay characters were no longer a major issue. Its popularity alone helped to drive the arrival of another sitcom starring a gay man on FOX called Normal, Ohio.
The show starred John Goodman as a man returning to his home in the Mid-West, and dealing with the many problems faced including how society views them. Although the concept was a good idea, the execution was not. Most of the jokes were centered around John Goodman's character being who he was and it got pretty old, really fast.
There is nothing harder for an actor than to rebound from a hit television sitcom with a brand new series. Only a few times has an actor been able to figure out a way. Ed O'Neil, Michael J. Fox, Kelsey Grammer, and Patricia Heaton come to mind for finding success multiple times on TV.
However, not every single show they create is a winner. Back to You is the perfect example because it brings together Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton for what looked like it would be a major hit but ended up becoming a snooze fest due to a combination of poor writing and the infamous writer's strike of 2007.
Back in 2005, and after just 21 episodes, ABC decided to cancel one of their newest sitcoms at the time, Freddie, after just about every single critic that owned a laptop gave it a horrible review. It came across silly and most of the jokes fell flat due to a lack of chemistry between the entire cast. One critic even went as far as to call the show annoying.
Because of Freddie Prinze Jr's popularity in the 2000s, the show did manage to bring in a large audience in the first few episodes, finishing the season with 6.8 million viewers, which ranked 89th for the 2005-2006 television season.