The Five Spot: Five Seriously Moving Moments In Sitcom History
Back when people still watched network sitcoms in big numbers in the previous century, they typically did so looking to have their funny bones tickled, rather than their heartstrings tugged.
Sure, we occasionally got the *NBC announcer voice* “this week, on a very special…” billing in some of the promotional ads prior to their shows broadcast.
Yet far too often, the end result was an uncomfortable train wreck. This usually left us begging to get back to the funny. For example, try sitting thru the Diff'rent Strokes episode where Arnold’s friend Dudley gets molested. Or the episode when that literal red-headed stepchild Mr. Drumond took in during the later seasons of Diff'rent Strokes (when Arnold was way too old to be cute anymore) gets kidnapped. Let's not even mention (oops) the Mr. Belvedere episode when Wesley’s young friend gets kicked out of school for contracting AIDS. Or the Alf where the wisecracking Melmac-muppet's presence in a pup tent scares a visiting Tanner family member (we're so sorry, Uncle Albert) to death via heart attack. Yes, all of these things happened but let's stay focused.
Almost as a litmus test to determine the true cream of the situation comedy crop, there have been a few shows good enough so a little bit of drama didn’t hurt. In the hands of a skillful writing team, a group of gifted actors or ideally a combination of the two…every once in awhile it could make for one of a series’ most memorable moments and maybe even make things a little misty for you.
Submitted for your consideration, here are five surprisingly emotional and affecting scenes from the now long gone heyday of network TV sitcoms...