12 Sitcoms from the 70s That Made Us Laugh: Hilarious TV Classics

The 1970s brought some of the best sitcoms to our TV screens.

These shows were full of humor, memorable characters, and timeless stories that still make us laugh today.

You probably remember sitting in front of the TV with your family, enjoying a good laugh together.

Why did these sitcoms leave such a lasting impact? It wasn’t just the funny moments; it was the way these shows connected with the viewers.

They captured the spirit of the times and turned everyday situations into something special and hilarious.

Whether it was through relatable family dynamics or quirky workplace antics, these sitcoms gave us joy and lots of laughter.

1) Three’s Company

“Three’s Company” was a hit sitcom that first aired in 1977.

You’d never guess that this light-hearted show kicked off with a bit of drama.

Suzanne Somers, one of the main stars, was fired because she asked for equal pay.

Despite that, the show became a huge success.

The sitcom revolved around the comedic misadventures of three roommates.

Jack Tripper, played by John Ritter, was the main character.

He lived with two single women, Janet and Chrissie.

Later, Chrissie was replaced by Terry.

Their quirky landlord, Mr. Roper, added even more laughs.

One of the funniest parts of “Three’s Company” was the misunderstandings.

Jack had to pretend he was gay so the landlord would let him live with two women.

This led to a lot of hilarious situations and confusion.

This show was a big deal in the Nielsen ratings, staying in the top ten for most of its run.

Even after it ended in 1984, it continued to entertain audiences in syndication.

If you ever need a good laugh, “Three’s Company” is one of those shows that still feels fresh, even decades later.

It’s a perfect example of classic 70s comedy.

2) MAS*H

MAS*H was a must-watch show in the 70s.

It stood out as a mix of comedy and drama, reflecting life in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War.

The show kicked off in 1972 and wrapped up in 1983.

It was developed by Larry Gelbart and featured a talented cast, including Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, and Jamie Farr.

What made MAS*H special was its ability to make you laugh while showcasing the struggles of war.

The characters used humor to cope with the harsh realities around them.

You saw Hawkeye, Trapper, and the rest of the crew dealing with tough situations.

Yet, their bond and witty banter kept the mood light.

The show’s unique take on war and its emotional storytelling left a lasting impact.

MAS*H wasn’t just about laughs; it also made you think.

3) Happy Days

“Happy Days” aired from 1974 to 1984, showing life in the 1950s.

This sitcom was super popular, with fans loving the Cunningham family and their friends.

You’d get to see Richie, Joanie, and their parents, Howard and Marion.

And who could forget the cool guy, Fonzie? Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, played by Henry Winkler, became a cultural icon.

The show was funny and heartwarming, making you feel good while watching it.

It tackled everyday problems with humor and charm.

It captured the fun and innocence of the past, making you nostalgic for a time you might not have even lived through.

4) The Mary Tyler Moore Show

You can’t talk about 70s sitcoms without mentioning “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” It aired from 1970 to 1977 and stood out for its portrayal of an independent woman, Mary Richards, focused on her career.

The show was groundbreaking at the time.

You got to witness Mary navigate her job at a TV news station while also dealing with her personal life.

Characters like the grumpy boss, Lou Grant, and the funny anchorman, Ted Baxter, kept you coming back for more laughs each week.

Mary Tyler Moore’s charm and comic timing made the show a classic.

Whether you’re watching her handle work crises or quirky friends, Mary’s journey is relatable and hilarious.

The humor and themes still resonate today, making this a must-watch if you love vintage sitcoms.

5) Good Times

“Good Times” was a groundbreaking show that aired from 1974 to 1979.

It was one of the first sitcoms to focus on a Black American family living in a Chicago housing project.

You’d love the Evans family, who faced real-life challenges but always found ways to laugh.

J.J. Evans, played by Jimmie Walker, became famous for his catchphrase, “Dy-no-mite!” His character brought humor and energy to each episode.

You could see the love and struggles of the whole family, including parents Florida and James Evans.

Norman Lear, one of the creators, aimed to show both the difficulties and the joys of life.

The cast’s performances made the show memorable and helped it tackle serious issues without losing its humor.

“Good Times” had a strong impact on TV and culture.

You might be surprised at how many modern shows owe a lot to it.

It set a standard for sitcoms that followed and remains a beloved classic.

Whether you’re watching it for the first time or revisiting, “Good Times” offers timeless comedy and heartfelt moments.

6) All in the Family

You can’t talk about 70s sitcoms without mentioning “All in the Family.” This iconic show changed the TV landscape with its unique approach to comedy.

The show featured Archie Bunker, a loud and opinionated family man.

He often clashed with his liberal son-in-law, Mike.

Their debates tackled social issues in a humorous but honest way.

Norman Lear, the creator, used humor to address topics like racism, gender issues, and politics.

This was new for TV at the time.

The show sparked conversations all around the country.

“All in the Family” was so influential that it inspired several spin-offs.

Shows like “The Jeffersons” and “Maude” owe their start to it.

It’s clear the impact is still felt today.

Fans loved it for its boldness and humor.

That’s why it remains a standout in TV history.

7) Laverne & Shirley

“Laverne & Shirley” aired from 1976 to 1983 and was a spin-off of “Happy Days.” The show centers around two friends and roommates, Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney.

Both characters work as bottle-cappers at the Shotz Brewery in 1950s Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Penny Marshall played Laverne, and Cindy Williams played Shirley.

The chemistry between the two leads was a major part of the show’s appeal.

They had a knack for getting into comical situations, whether at work or at home.

The series became known for its catchy theme song, “Making Our Dreams Come True.” The opening credits, featuring Laverne and Shirley skipping down the street, became iconic.

Fans also remember the show’s many memorable catchphrases and physical comedy moments.

What really stood out about “Laverne & Shirley” was how relatable the characters were.

Their struggles and triumphs felt real, making you root for them even more.

They showed that strong friendship can get you through just about anything, even life in a big city.

With its blend of humor and heart, “Laverne & Shirley” remains a treasured sitcom from the ’70s.

8) The Bob Newhart Show

You can’t talk about 70s sitcoms without mentioning The Bob Newhart Show.

This classic sitcom aired from 1972 to 1978 and starred Bob Newhart as Dr. Robert Hartley, a psychologist in Chicago.

Newhart’s dry humor and deadpan style were the heart of the show.

As you watched, you’d see him deal with a variety of quirky patients.

Each episode brought a new blend of laughs as he navigated his professional and personal life.

The dynamic between Bob and his wife Emily, played by Suzanne Pleshette, added another layer of comedy.

Their playful banter and chemistry made their relationship feel real and relatable.

You could also enjoy the antics of Dr. Hartley’s friends and colleagues.

Characters like Howard the airline navigator and Carol the receptionist added humor and warmth, making the show even more enjoyable.

If you are a fan of sitcoms with smart, subtle humor, The Bob Newhart Show is a must-watch.

Its influence is still felt in TV comedy today.

9) Barney Miller

“Barney Miller” is a sitcom that aired from 1975 to 1982.

The show took place in the 12th Precinct’s squad room of the NYPD.

It combined humor with a realistic look at police work in New York City.

You got to watch Hal Linden as Captain Barney Miller and a cast of quirky detectives.

There was also humor in their encounters with oddball criminals and daily challenges.

The show stood out for its character-driven stories.

Each episode featured a mix of funny and serious moments.

This balance made it relatable and memorable for many viewers.

“Barney Miller” didn’t just make people laugh; it also offered a unique glimpse into the lives of police officers.

The mix of comedy and drama kept it interesting, making it a must-watch for fans of the genre.

10) What’s Happening!!

What’s Happening!! aired from 1976 to 1979.

The show focused on the lives of three black teens: Raj, Dwayne, and Rerun.

Each episode followed them through everyday situations, where they often found themselves in humorous predicaments.

You might remember the iconic laugh and dance moves of Rerun, played by Fred Berry.

He became a fan favorite with his upbeat personality and love for dancing.

Raj, played by Ernest Thomas, was the sensible one among the trio.

He usually tried to keep things under control but often got caught up in the chaos created by his friends.

The show also featured Roger’s mom, Mabel Thomas (played by Mabel King), who was both stern and loving, often giving the boys advice.

Dee, Roger’s younger sister, added her own charm with witty remarks and sarcasm.

What’s Happening!! became known for its unique take on teenage life in the city.

It highlighted important themes like friendship, family, and the ups and downs of growing up.

Many fans still look back fondly on its feel-good vibe and memorable characters.

Whether it was learning about love, friendship, or just having fun, What’s Happening!! kept you laughing along with the gang.

11) The Jeffersons

You can’t talk about 70s sitcoms without mentioning “The Jeffersons.” This show first aired in 1975 and ran for 11 seasons until 1985.

The story centers around George Jefferson, a successful business owner, and his wife, Louise.

They move up from a modest neighborhood to a luxurious Manhattan apartment.

George Jefferson was known for his bold personality and sharp tongue.

He often made jokes about race and class, which sparked both laughter and controversy.

The show’s cast was beloved, featuring memorable characters like the wise-cracking maid, Florence, and neighbors Tom and Helen Willis, an interracial couple.

“The Jeffersons” wasn’t just comedy; it tackled social issues like racism and class differences.

It spun off from the famous sitcom “All in the Family,” where George Jefferson was a recurring character.

You still hear the catchy theme song, “Movin’ On Up,” hummed by fans today.

Despite the show’s age, its impact on TV and culture remains strong.

12) Taxi

“Taxi” is a classic sitcom from the late 70s.

It first aired on ABC in 1978 and later moved to NBC.

The show centers around a group of New York City taxi drivers and their lives.

Judd Hirsch played Alex Reiger, the level-headed main character.

Danny DeVito starred as Louie De Palma, the grumpy dispatcher.

“Taxi” had a strong cast that also included Tony Danza and Andy Kaufman.

Kaufman played the oddball mechanic, Latka Gravas.

His character brought a lot of unique humor to the show.

The sitcom won several Emmys during its run.

Despite some behind-the-scenes drama, “Taxi” remained a favorite among fans.

It only ran for five seasons, but it left a lasting impact.

Episodes balanced comedy with heartfelt moments, making it more than just a laugh-out-loud show.

Watching “Taxi” today, you still get the sense of camaraderie and the struggles of everyday life.

The humor and relatable characters make it a timeless piece of TV history.

Cultural Impact of 70s Sitcoms

70s sitcoms played a huge role in shaping popular culture.

They addressed significant societal changes and influenced the way modern TV shows are made.

Societal Changes Reflected in the Shows

The 70s was a time of great change in society.

TV sitcoms like All in the Family tackled serious issues such as racism and gender roles in a way that was both funny and thought-provoking.

Sitcoms also brought more diverse characters to the small screen.

Shows like The Jeffersons featured African American families, breaking stereotypes and offering new perspectives.

Little things, like the way women were portrayed, evolved too. The Mary Tyler Moore Show showed a single, independent woman thriving in her career, which was a big deal at the time.

Influence on Modern Television

Many of your favorite modern TV shows owe a lot to these 70s sitcoms.

The format and humor of shows like Friends and The Office can be traced back to the sitcoms of this decade.

The multi-camera setup, laugh tracks, and even the concept of a “will they, won’t they” couple all started back then.

Not just in style, but in substance too.

Today’s shows often carry on the tradition of discussing social issues through comedy, something that was pioneered by the sitcoms of the 70s.

They were the trailblazers, and you can see their influence everywhere in today’s TV landscape.

Iconic Characters and Their Catchphrases

In the 1970s, certain characters and their memorable catchphrases became staples of television, leaving a lasting impact.

These catchphrases often captured the essence of the character, making them unforgettable.

Memorable One-Liners

“Bang, zoom, to the moon, Alice!” Ralph Kramden from “The Honeymooners” used this phrase to express his frustration.

Fortunately, it was just empty bluster and added a comedic touch.

“Good night, John Boy.” This endearing line from “The Waltons” became a comforting nightly ritual.

“Just one more thing…” Detective Columbo’s catchphrase often led to a breakthrough in his case, highlighting his cleverness.

“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” Jan Brady’s complaint in “The Brady Bunch” perfectly summed up the sibling rivalry.

Character Development and Evolution

Ralph Kramden started as a boisterous and often blundering husband but showed a tender side, revealing depth beneath his rough exterior.

John Boy Walton evolved from the eldest sibling with big dreams to a loyal family member who often took on responsibilities.


Columbo always appeared disheveled and underestimated, yet his keen observation skills and persistence made him a formidable detective.

Jan Brady’s character growth showed her struggling for identity amidst her sisters, eventually becoming more confident and self-assured.

These catchphrases are not just memorable lines but reflect the growth and complexity of beloved characters from 1970s sitcoms.

Behind The Scenes Trivia

Discover fascinating behind-the-scenes stories about casting choices and the unique set designs that brought these shows to life.

Learn about the interesting and unexpected aspects that made these sitcoms special.

Casting Stories

Many of your favorite ’70s sitcoms had unique casting stories.

For instance, Happy Days almost starred a different Richie Cunningham.

Ron Howard was initially hesitant but later became iconic in the role.

The creators of The Mary Tyler Moore Show wanted Mary Richards to be relatable.

They chose Mary Tyler Moore, who had already charmed audiences as Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show.

On That ’70s Show, Mila Kunis famously lied about her age to land the role of Jackie Burkhart.

She was only 14 when she auditioned but claimed to be 18.

The producers eventually found out but kept her on because she was just that good.

Set Design and Locations

Sets in ’70s sitcoms were as iconic as the characters themselves. Happy Days, set in the 1950s, had a meticulously designed diner and perfectly styled homes.

These made audiences feel nostalgic and added authenticity to the setting.

MASH*, though a ’70s sitcom about the Korean War, had a set that closely resembled a real army camp.

The set was outdoors and had real dust and dirt, which added to the show’s realism.

For The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the production team designed Mary Richards’ apartment to reflect her independent and modern lifestyle.

It became an iconic TV set with its open floor plan and chic decor.

Similarly, That ’70s Show captured the essence of a 1970s basement hangout spot with wood-paneled walls and retro furniture.

The attention to detail in these set designs helped transport viewers back in time.

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