!(feature_l)http://relayer.s3.amazonaws.com/articles/spreads/4e41b08c2fb4290001000157.jpg!Iconic comedy Two and a Half Men returns with season eight released on DVD on Monday (August 8th). The defining season of the American comedy sees Charlie Sheen back in his role as Charlie Harper for the last time – soon to be replaced by Ashton Kutcher. Time will tell if his partnership with Jon Cryer will be as winning but while we await the new takes on themes of women, sex, dating, divorce, mothers, single parenthood, sibling relations, surrogate families, money and love, you can pick up the new series here.
Of course eight years of Sheen as Harper, a well-to-do bachelor with a house at the beach, a Mercedes in the garage and an easy way with women, has seen the show become a huge hit. When Harper’s tightly-wound brother Alan (Cryer) arrives along with his son Jake, their complex and conflicting lives was the source of the comedy. We take a look at 10 of the top US sitcoms that have also made the transition from the States to the UK.
Little short of TV gold, Friends is a sitcom phenomenon. Chandler, Rachel, Monica, Ross, Joey and Phoebe are friends in Manhattan and the stories follow their lives as they fall in and out of love – generally with each other. First shown in the UK in 1995, it’s said that one of the 260 episodes is always on show somewhere in the world; such is the success of the show.
Ted Danson took the lead in a comedy about the Boston bar ‘where everybody knows your name’. Blessed with the sitcom essential – memorable characters – Cheers ran in Britain for 11 years, with a total of 270 episodes. The 1980’s wouldn’t have been the same without it.
A spin-off from Cheers, Frasier starred Kelsey Grammer in the lead role as the psychiatrist who leaves Boston to look after his elderly father whilst trying to build a life as a bachelor. This smart comedy is considered to be the most successful comedy spin-off of all time.
!(feature_l)http://relayer.s3.amazonaws.com/articles/spreads/4e41b1362fb429000100015f.jpg! 30 Rock
Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin star in a comedy based in the world of television. Sharp scripts and inspired casting make for a consistently funny and fresh sitcom that is essential viewing for all media types. Baldwin has never been better than as the power hungry studio head with a heart and a ‘sharp haircut’ and Fey brings all her comedic timing to pack the show with genuine belly-laughs.
A modern comedy is every sense of the word; this sitcom is shot in a mockumentary style and is a satirical look at three related families as they cope with all that life throws at them. As with the other sitcoms in this list, it’s all about the characters and the writing. You have to like someone before you can really laugh at them and Modern Family isn’t afraid to spend time finding out what makes a character tick.
Pint-sized Gary Coleman and his “what choo talkin’ ‘bout Wills?” catchphrase hit our screens in the early eighties and was the first to feature racial differences head-on. Arnold and his brother Wills were two African American boys from New York, who were adopted by a wealthy white businessman and his daughter. Cue fun and pathos.
Another pint-sized actor to warm our hearts during the 70s/80s was Danny DeVito as the abusive taxi dispatcher Louie. The sitcom was set around the lives of the taxi drivers of the Sunshine Cab Company and wasn’t afraid to face issues of the day including drug abuse and homosexuality.
Curb Your Enthusuiasm
Starring Larry David – the writer of Seinfeld, Curb is a comedy of bad manners. No matter what Larry does in any given situation, it’s inevitable that things will spiral out of control. Now just starting its 8th season in the US, this is a sitcom for those that aren’t easily offended.
My Name is Earl
Earl was a man dogged by bad karma so in each episode he tries to right a wrong he has committed in the past in order to rebalance his universe. The show ran for four seasons and featured such notable guest stars as Danny Glover, Christian Slater and Burt Reynolds.
!(feature_l)http://relayer.s3.amazonaws.com/articles/spreads/4e41b1d92fb4290001000162.jpg! Will and Grace
Another New York based sitcom, Will and Grace has the distinction of being the most popular TV series to feature gay principle characters. Will is a gay lawyer and Grace – his best friend – is an interior decorator. One is hyper-clean and the other messy, both are neurotic and the perfect odd couple for the new Millennium.