The 1980s saw audiences that were clad in neon, MTV-obsessed, and styled their hair to new heights (literally). This decade was a time of great television, from Miami Vice to Moonlighting. Full of eclectic colors and an array of new characters for us to love, there were plenty of hilarious sitcoms that are beloved to this day.
Sitcoms are known for their family-oriented foundations and cheesy storylines, and some shows made these components work better than others. Here are 5 Sitcoms From The 80s That Are Way Underrated (& 5 That Are Overrated).
10 Overrated: Gimme A Break! (1981-1987)
This wasn't a bad show, but its plot was just too typical. Nell (Nell Carter) keeps a promise to a dying friend and looks after her three daughters and widowed husband as housekeeper and mother figure. The idea is sweet but it feels like it's been done before in some capacity, and it's certainly been done plenty of times since. The three daughters each portray a stereotypical personality: promiscuous blonde, a brainiac and a tomboy. There wasn't much that was unusual about the characters, and they could've done more with the show.
9 Underrated: Punky Brewster (1984-1988)
Punky Brewster (Soleil Moon Frye) was an endearing character that made the show worth watching. Her story is rough but she finds happiness with her new foster parent, an elderly man named Henry (George Gaynes). Punky gets the home she deserves and Henry learns to soften up a little with Punky's presence. The two have a special bond and help each other in many ways, improving life for the other. It's a heartwarming story that's quite deep for a sitcom, even if the darker aspects are toned down.
8 Overrated: The Facts of Life (1979-1988)
The show was adorable, but not very relatable. How many young girls are away from home as they are? How could audiences relate to living in a boarding school with people they didn't know? Not to mention the storylines were completely cheesy. It's a classic, but it's not exactly one of the best shows in history.
7 Underrated: Newhart (1982-1990)
A couple from New York leave the city streets for the simple life in rural Vermont, opening an inn. As if that weren't enough of a culture shock, they have to endure the strange ways of the townsfolk and adapt to a far different kind of lifestyle. There aren't many sitcoms these days that have a premise such as this, and there are likely plenty of people that can relate to this kind of shift in lifestyle. Not every storyline is timeless but this show is still worth your time, especially if you've experienced a cultural shock of similar magnitude.
6 Overrated: The Golden Girls (1985-1992)
Four elderly women sharing a home in Miami. Already you can tell the plot is designated for a specific audience. Plus, their theme song can easily get stuck in your head and instantly become annoying. The show was popular, and in many ways still is, but that doesn't erase its outdated plots or the bubble in which the four women tended to live.
5 Underrated: Night Court (1984-1992)
The thing about Night Court is that it shows you a different kind of world — the nighttime world. It was a clean version of New York nightlife, granted, but that's what made it so funny. Its wacky storylines and an insight as to how court is carried out at nighttime versus the daytime poses the opportunity for plenty of zany criminals to infiltrate the courthouse and cause mayhem.
4 Overrated: Full House (1987-1995)
In a way, this show echoes Gimme A Break! in that Joey (Dave Coulier) and Jesse (John Stamos) move in to help Danny (Bob Saget) raise his three daughters following the death of his wife. The storylines are of course typical and cheesy, and serious topics like D.J.'s (Candace Cameron) eating disorder are covered in one episode and never mentioned again, which is unrealistic. Danny was always giving his daughters heart-to-heart talks and their family was anything but normal. Still, it resonated with audiences enough for a revival.
3 Underrated: Family Ties (1982-1989)
A young Michael J. Fox stars as Alex P. Keaton, a smart kid obsessed with Reaganomics who rebelled against his hippie parents. His sister Mallory (Justine Bateman) is materialistic and fashionable, another complete opposite of their parents. While this show had the typical cheesy storylines that are commonplace among sitcoms, it was revolutionary in that the kids were sometimes more adult than their own parents. The different viewpoints the kids had from their parents demonstrated generational and cultural aspects that had shifted because of the times, and this was an unusual factor that few sitcoms have ever covered.
2 Overrated: ALF (1986-1990)
Let's be honest — ALF doesn't even look real. The show was released in 1986, and they were capable of improving ALF's look from Muppet to something more reminiscent of the creatures featured in the Star Wars franchise. That in itself is disappointing. Plus, ALF wants to eat the cat that belongs to the family who allows him to stay and keeps him hidden from the Alien Task Force and their nosy neighbors. It's no easy feat, and ALF could be rather ungrateful in that regard. Not to mention his storylines could have benefited from some improvements.
1 Underrated: My Two Dads (1987-1990)
This show was way ahead of its time, and still it's tragically underrated. Two men (Paul Reiser and Greg Evigan) are suddenly tasked with being awarded joint custody of the teenaged Nicole (Staci Keanan). Nicole's mother has recently died, and left her daughter to the two men who competed for her affections back in the day. It's never determined which man is Nicole's father, but the trio have adventures as they learn to live together. Two men who had dated the same woman living together and raising a daughter is a premise that was worth more than three seasons, especially because it was such a unique foundation for a sitcom. A revival wouldn't be a bad idea.