tv History of the Sitcom CNN August 7, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
here we go. pivot! pivot! pivot! pivot! >> shut up! shut up! shut up! >> i feel like we get to know these sitcom characters. they are your friends. >> i don't think it's gonna pivot, anymore. >> ya think? >> they were purely selfish and purely immature. >> are you still master of your domain? >> you hope that you'll have those kinds of relationships in your life. >> tonight is about celebrating our enduring bond, as friends. >> good to see you, too, girl. where you going? carnival? >> your friends, sometimes, that's more family than the people that you're related to. >> something's bothering you. >> i've never been happier.
>> trying to make your way in the world and having a safe harbor. you know, where everybody knows your name. >> afternoon, everybody. i'm out. >> what? >> yeah, i'm out. i'm out of the contest. >> ugly, naked guy is having thanksgiving dinner with ugly, naked gal. >> "friends" or "seinfeld"? you want me to choose? >> i can't answer that. so subjective. >> challenge accepted. >> contest? a contest? >> "seinfeld" will win, i think. >> "seinfeld" was smart. >> "seinfeld" is a brilliant half-hour of television. >> i loved seinfeld. >> seinfeld. >> seinfeld. >> you come to expect their dickishness. >> seinfeld is my favorite all-time show.
>> you want to play rough? we can play rough. >> i love "friends." i have seen every episode of "friends." >> one of my favorite shows of all time. so watchable. >> "friends." >> "friends." >> "friends." >> "friends." >> i really appreciated "friends." >> one of the top all-time sitcoms, "seinfeld," yeah. >> are we finished? >> done. >> at the core of every sitcom, you do have a family. whether it is a blood family or the found family. you know, in the case of "friends" or "seinfeld." as new generations emerge from baby boomers to gen x to millennials to gen z, we see those changes reflected in the "friends" sitcom. >> it happens, as we hit the '70s at a moment at which divorce rates in the country were, also, rising. >> we seem to be going downhill. in life's most important venture. marriage. >> don't you compare everybody to your ex-wife?
>> sure, i do. and compared to blanch, everybody looks good. >> the odd couple was one of the first shows that began to explore the breakup of the family on television. >> two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy? >> the perfect opening to a -- a sitcom was, of course, the odd couple opening. which told all the back story and set it all up, in this beautiful way. >> felix was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. that request came from his wife. >> the odd couple was, originally, a neil simon play on broadway. it then became a movie, and came to television in 1970, thanks to gary marshal. >> would you do me a favor? >> what? >> for my birthday, let me clean up in here. >> no. >> the finniciness of tony randal's character was because tony randal was a little bit finnicy. >> in my room, you can eat off
the floor. >> you can eat off the floor in my room. >> odd couple is so seminal to the sitcom genre, it now defines a whole category. in the very first episode of two and a half men, i remember thinking are we making alan a neat freak? because if that's what we're doing, then we are just doing odd couple. >> there was this fantastic episode where they go on password and the password is bird. >> doesn't get it. then -- then, the other team gets it. >> no more greek clues. ridiculous. >> says the password is ridiculous. >> ridiculous. >> you got it! >> as much as they got on each other's nerves, they had each other's backs. >> it looks like your ex-wife. >> looks like lori? >> yeah.
>> as divorce became so commonplace, that shows that diverted from family life in the '70s really reflected what was happening in reality in america. >> as a latchkey kid, i came home from school, locked the door behind me. and then, you could watch an hour of tv. >> latchkey kids, desperately, search for something relatable on television. >> i talked to my folks. i told them i dropped out of school and my father said to my mother. he said, see, margie? i told you we shouldn't have had him. >> welcome back cotter. it's in my bones. it's in my dna. that slow, sexy -- ♪ welcome back ♪ ♪ the dreams were your tickets out, welcome back ♪ ♪ to that same old place that you laughed about ♪ >> boy, what an honor. in my class, all four marks
brothers, rocko, stupo, jerko, and dumbo. >> they were brothers and friends. >> up your nose with a rubber hose. >> set up to be, you know, the sex symbol. >> boberino, damn. >> washington is the basketball player, cool guy. >> hi there. >> epstein is the tough guy. >> come on. watching a fight, i ain't in it, makes me more nervous. >> the nerd. >> did you know it means the cattle are dying? >> well, welcome back cotter premiered, we were a hit. and suddenly, abc attracted this audience that had been so underserved by prime-time tv. the kids. the teens. the young people. there's room for them for a new kind of show. >> and that is the tale of the
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virtual wallet from pnc bank. my auntie called me. she said uncle's had a heart attack. i needed him to be here. your heart isn't just yours. protect it with bayer aspirin. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. it's interesting, the word nostalgia, isn't it? because we, somehow, cannot live in the present. >> when you hear that music, then the whole show would flash in your mind.
>> barry marshal was becoming, like, a legend in his own day because he had done the odd couple. >> gary marshal always said, you know, a lot of people, they do important television. i do recess. >> "happy days" was built around the family, originally. >> doesn't richard look nice tonight? >> he's got stinky stuff on his hair. >> is that what that smell is? i thought the milk was sour. >> the fonz was a background character and he was lucky if he had two lines for an episode. >> it's probably just fuel pump. you know? >> but not a lot of people were watching abc. they were a distant-third place. >> remember, in the early '70s, abc made a big mistake in not picking up "all in the family." >> but then, abc decided to really reinvent itself. they brought over fred silverman from cbs, and fred silverman said, let's go after the young people. >> under fred silverman, it's
decided fonzie needs to elevated as one of the stars. >> well, the fonz took it up a level. >> new guys here. >> they were looking for someone tall and tough. and they got short and soft. so i changed my voice, and i changed the tilt of my body. i just started talking like this. >> whoa. >> so, i spoke volumes with just the sound. >> ay! >> miriam always called the fonz arthur because she wanted to treat him with such respect. >> good luck, arthur. >> hey, thanks. >> and she, also, had a crush on him, i think, a little bit. you know? when the fonz took over, the dynamic changed. >> we venture into teenage american graffiti style comedy.
>> let's see it. >> doesn't look like a hickey. >> that show ends up going from 22nd place to first place and becomes the number-one show in the country. >> there'd be traffic, people getting home to watch "happy days." >> it was a revolution. networks targeted 18 to 49-year-olds not necessarily with family sitcoms but with friend sitcoms. >> laverne defazio and shirley feeney. >> gary marshal said we have got this pod on happy days. the show we did was a double date with fonzie and richie. >> oh, he's nice. and a tie, too. >> and a hanky. is that for showing? or for blowing? >> they were incredibly individually funny. >> is anybody upstairs gonna run down and call me a nasty name? >> and then, gary got the idea to spin them off into their own series. >> my jesus and my beatles was
laverne and shirley. >> everyone identified with laverne and shirley because we were best friends. >> and just the opening song. who didn't love that? >> laverne and shirley is about two working-class girls who struggle to make ends meet working at a brewery. going out at night. >> and, you know, really so nice to see to women at the center of a sitcom. >> laverne and shirley, through the lens of the '50s, were able to say a lot about what women were striving to accomplish in the '70s. >> women were more apt to want to go out and work, and not get married right after high school. >> well, have fun down at unemployment. >> i'll meet guys. >> unemployed guys. >> shirley is the quintessential girl who wants to get married. have the white-picket fence
around the house. >> okay. say we go to this party and you meet this wonderful guy. you think he's going to marry you? >> stranger things have been known to happen. >> laverne just wanted to have a good time. >> the mad hatter did not wear fishnet stockings. >> well, that's why he didn't get any action. >> they were physical comediennes. the likes of which, hadn't been seen since lucy. what they figured out to do with making a bed. it's way beyond my pay grade. >> laverne and shirley was number one for i don't know how many seasons. it just went off the charts ridiculous and it felt like it was for us.
president ford, today, proclaimed february to be national black history month. >> in light of the success of the "friends" sitcoms like happy days and laverne and shirley, abc decided that they wanted to create a story about black teenagers. >> what's happening skewed younger. here was these kids just going and like hanging out down at the diner like teenagers in the 1950s. like the white kids going to the malt shop. >> hey, duane. >> hey, what's happening? >> opened the entire world to black teenagers who are best friends. >> and betty's folks are out of town so you know it's going to be the party of the year. >> it was based around the friendships of -- um -- rerun and raj. >> rerun could dance. then, you had duane with the big fro. >> hey, hey, hey. >> hey, hey, hey, what's happening? >> d, the sister, was like my sister. >> you always broke and you can't hold down a steady job. >> his mother was like my moms. she beat him.
>> all of it. >> but, mama -- >> and i wouldn't say but if i were you. it might give me an idea, dear. >> the average-black family could identify with it. >> the other universal thing about what's happening is friendship. kids thrive on that. without friendship, we have nothing. the irony of "what's happening" is when you go to the autograph signing, it's all white. you make them laugh, people don't care about the color.
what made you get rid of that joint? >> watching you last night. from now on, i'm gonna stick to being high on me. >> so, this, i wanted to find way to pay ohmage to norman lear. >> it's about four teenage girls trying to find their way with the guidance of this wise, older woman. >> divorce. virginity. >> snake and i slept together. >> class wars, on the regular. >> well, you're not prejudiced. you're just a snob. >> teach me to be common, joe, bring me down to your level. >> a show like "facts of life" is the beginning of the very special episode. >> i never think my best friend
is white. i just know my best friend is natalie. >> when you look at tootie and natalie, you are looking at friendship and love. that supercedes race. >> the norman lear shows in the '70s may have been teaching us les lessons, but it wasn't so overt. >> i'm looking for marijuana? >> you must be her cousin jerry. >> yeah. >> the only time i ever saw a child with a disability on tele television, the kid was on a telethon. norman lear cast me as blare's cousin on facts of life. >> i don't have cerebral palsy. i'm drunk. >> it was risky. >> how was the bus ride? >> i don't know. i drove. >> a car? >> no, a lemon.
>> when "facts of life" aired, i was so used to kids bullying me and calling me names that, that's what was in my head when i saw these kids behind me. and the one kid -- there were about four of them -- are you cousin jerry from "facts of life"? it was a real incredible feeling to be liked by kids. you mean, you're not going to make fun of me? you're not going to call me names? wow. >> facts of life was winning a younger demographic. >> eventually, those kids would grow up. what stories do you tell, then? the 1980s were a radical transformation. how do you live up to the ideals that you set for yourself when you were younger when dealing with the realities of having to raise children and pay a mortgage? ♪ sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name ♪ >> i don't know if i can tell you why cheer was so popular in
the '80s but i do know the song was brilliant. >> as taxi was coming to the end of its run, glenn and les charles and james were trying to think what their next project would be. >> we were a desperate network. i thought my future at nbc was on the line. and it was a remarkably simple pitch. we want our characters to come into a bar, share their life stories. >> me? i like the challenges. dogs. vicious kids. those hard-to-find male boxers. >> i miss one digit, the whole company goes in the toilet. >> in year one, "cheers" was the lowest-rated show in prime time on any network. >> what a pathetic display. i'm ashamed god made me a man. >> i don't think god's doing a lot of bragging about it, either. >> we loved it.
we believed. we just got to hang in with it. >> someone said let's not cancel "cheers." not many people are watching it but let's keep it on for awhile. >> i've never met an intelligent woman that i'd want to date. >> on behalf of the intelligent women around the world, may i just say, phew. >> critics were watching and they really liked what they saw. it really took that first year for people to find the show. and once they latched onto it, audiences just loved the characters so much. >> a family of a bunch of loveable losers who are trying to find their way. >> and the things they think they're masking, they're not doing a great job at it. so, it's funny. >> sam, the ex-relief pitcher, reformed alcoholic who took his pitching coach, started this bar. his regulars, george, norm, who, you know, it's stupid for me to try to describe these iconic
characters that everyone knows better than me. >> the relationship between sam and diane was magical. >> sam, i am sorry i was late. is there anything i can do to make it up to you? >> yeah, yeah, but you wouldn't. >> then, it introduced a storytelling trope. the will they/won't they? >> you disgust me. i hate you. >> are you as turned on as i am? >> more. >> "cheers" was explicitly saying these two people are gonna sleep together, and it's going to be a disaster. >> i've never been better, in my entire life. >> you have been boozing with two hands ever since diane walked out on you. >> the call came. this is top secret. diane's going to break up with sam and you might be her boyfriend. >> i'm dr. fraser crane. i am sorry i startled you. >> an overeducated, highly emotional dreamer. and i thought i can play this guy. >> shelly moved on, after the fifth season.
and in came christy allie. she just blew the roof off it. in came woody harrelson. >> you get behind a bar, and right away, strangers are your best friends. >> cheers was that place where you fit in, where you actually belong. this is your secondary family. >> we'd lost nick, the coach, after the third year. we didn't realize how sick nick was and he started writing all his lines down, wherever he could. we saw one of them after he had passed away. the line was, it says if he's still with us now -- and we used to touch that, every night, when we'd perform. we'd come down and touch that and give it a little pat. >> well, i'm off. >> the last episode.
>> i'm the luckiest son of a bitch on earth. >> i just remember thinking i got to be part of that history of comedy. i am the luckiest son of a bitch, truly. hi?stomer) (burke) happy anniversary. (customer) for what? (burke) every year you're with us, you get fifty dollars toward your home deductible. it's a policy perk for being a farmers customer. (customer) do i have to do anything? (burke) nothing. (customer) nothing? (burke) nothing. (customer) nothing? (burke) nothing. (customer) hmm, that is really something. (burke) you get a whole lot of something with farmers policy perks. see ya. (kid) may i have a balloon, too? (burke) sure. your parents have maintained a farmers home policy for twelve consecutive months, right? ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ (burke) start with a quote at 1-800-farmers. it's dry. there's no dry time. makes us wonder why we booked fifteen second ad slots.
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italian dinners, and waking up in the morning. >> in the mid-to-late 80s, the demographics changed. a lot of it had to do with the baby boomers as they got older. >> because tv is always seeking a younger demographic, you have got an area that is rife with story possibilities that no one else is bothering to explore. >> they wanted to do a show about older women living together. >> and i said, i think susan harris is the greatest-comedy writer, perhaps, of all time. and i worshipped the innovative quality of soap. i pitched her the idea. her question was, networks just want shows about young people. you know, are you gonna put this on the air? ♪ thank you for being a friend ♪ ♪ travel down the road and back, again ♪ ♪ your heart is true, you are a pal and a confidant ♪ >> as a kid, that's right. we sitting there on a saturday night with my parents watching
"golden girls." >> this is a timeless foursome. sophia is the matriarch. >> ma, what's the matter? >> everyone is fine. no one died. the home burnt down. >> she just would call ru a slut in so many great ways. >> i just discovered a great new way to meet more men. >> more men? you are going to need a turnstyle in your bedroom. >> gosh, the true heart of that show was dorothy, the b arthur character. >> aware of anyone who says no calories, absolutely no charge, and let's just lie down on the bed and watch television. >> and then, of course, rose's character is the clown. >> i mean, i was the one who thought up big, squeaky toys for cows. >> "the golden girls" talked about edgy stuff. it was in my first script, rose's husband died while having sex with her. >> although, i did think it was
strange when he started yelling, rose, i'm going, i'm going. >> that's an edgy joke. young-adult audiences went crazy for it. >> viewers and, apparently, network sensors would allow older women to say things other characters couldn't get away with. >> complete this famous saying. better late than -- >> blanch. >> pregnant. >> one of the biggest laughs the show ever got. the girls are going on a cruise. they realize that they should pick up some condoms. they are being very coy. >> to the right. >> condoms, rose! condoms, condoms, condoms. >> the laughs were massive because it was such norm-breaking behavior. >> streaming opened up a whole-new avenue to find continued viewership, with people who were not even, necessarily, alive when the show ended in 1992.
this show was built to last. >> how about some whipped cream? >> mm. >> i think we still have a can. i will get it. it's in my bedroom. >> never mind, blanch. >> we live in a peaceful, prosperous time. but we can make it better. >> leading up to the '80s, there had been a number of shows about people hanging out with each other. "seinfeld" really busts this, wide open. it's hard to believe, at times, but no one forced them to hang out with each other, all of the time. >> you know what your problem is? your standards are too high. >> i went out with you. >> that's because my standards are too low. >> what's so unique about the "seinfeld" episode, the pitch, is that we see the origin story of a sitcom played out on the show. >> so, you are saying i go into nbc and tell them i got this idea for a show about nothing? >> we go in to nbc. >> since when are you a writer? >> writer? we are talking about a sitcom. >> jerry had an observational humor. >> do you know what this is all about? do you know why we're here?
to be out. this is out. >> a gentleman named rick ludwin at nbc who was in charge of late night. >> he approaches jerry seinfeld. >> so, if you had an idea for, like, a tv show for yourself, we'd just love to talk about it. >> jerry said larry david, and i, we're just going to write about, like, our friends. >> what kind of stories? >> oh, no, no stories. >> no stories? well, why am i watching it? >> because it's on tv. >> not yet. >> it was completely nontraditional. we decided to make a pilot. >> the second button, literally, makes or breaks. look at it. it's too high. >> and then, the research came in. weak. >> but rick ludwin really believed in it. >> he said well, i could give you the money from the budget and you could do, i don't know, four episodes more of "seinfeld." biggest change was elaine was added to the show. >> get out!
>> and you know what? that feels like we have something. >> so what do you think about new-time slot? 9:00 on thursday, 8:00 central. >> name one famous nbc show that aired in that time slot. >> "cheers." >> it's a dangerous slot because they are handing you the biggest audience there is. if that audience starts watching you and goes, i hate this. and they go, no way, you're dead. >> my mother caught me. >> caught you doing what? >> you know. >> the episode that is superimportant in the trajectory of "seinfeld" is the contest. >> i am never doing that, again. >> it was predicated on a real contest that larry david had been part of. >> seeing who could go the longest, without masturbating. >> but are you still master of your domain? >> i am king of the county. >> but what, also, should be noted. elaine is in the contest. >> john f. kennedy, jr. >> and that, i think, was a bold statement, at that time.
>> hang on. hang on. >> jerry was dating marla, the virgin. >> let's go in the bedroom. >> really? >> that was an episode that doubled its audience, while it was airing because people were, clearly, getting on the phone and going turn over to channel 4, you got to see what they're doing. and that's where i think the ultimate success of the show was born. >> it's over? you're out? oh, my god. the queen is dead. >> in the '90s, the world is literally changing overnight. and here are these four people grounded in their adolescence. >> you mean shrinkage? >> yes. >> they're not trying to be good people. >> and everybody recognized some part of themselves in them and went i -- i think i love these guys. >> george is getting upset. >> "seinfeld." that was a game changer. >> "seinfeld" just had a tone. >> you are making out during schindler's list?
>> the last three lines of the show are the first-three lines of the pilot. >> the second button is the key button. it literally makes or breaks the shirt. >> a guy's shirt button is not the way you would launch a successful series. it sure as hell not the way to end a successful series. unless it's sei"seinfeld."
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i'm taking charge, with garlique. did you ever stop to think about what the world would be like without men? >> a bunch of fat, happy women and no crime. >> in the '90s, it was celebrated that you wanted to build your career, first. >> in a '90s kind of world. ♪ i'm glad i got my girls ♪ >> keep your head up, what? >> but we didn't have any young, black women who were really being featured on television, at that time. >> why does this keep happening to me? >> because you keep looking for someone to carry you. >> well, what's wrong with that? >> they keep dropping yo ass. >> so, the characters on the show were based on me and my -- my close-knit group of friends.
>> check it out, people. >> kadijah is living in brooklyn, wanting to really start her magazine. >> the next issue of flavor will contain a free scratch-and-sniff poster of lawrence fishburn. >> her best friend, maxine shaw, attorney at law. i played sinclair james. a loveable, fun, supernaive girl. >> i haven't been this nervous since i lost my tube top at the deep end of randy johnson's pool. >> well, i'm sure no one noticed. >> she was very in touch with herself, and her femininity. >> if you go after men too aggressively, you're only going to scare him off. >> what are you making? >> a man trap. >> the importance of having a black woman, who is the show runner means "living single" is like this behind-the-scenes look at what black women are like when they're not around white
people. >> there is nothing but a bunch of brothers talking about baby, like to put you and -- >> so kudos to create something so amazing and so real. >> a year later, "friends" was on the air. >> yes, we were, for all intents and purpose, the model, the template. >> it was really difficult to watch because we were getting less publicity. >> we were on fox. they were on nbc. would the narrative and the conversations about our success or the degree of our success be different, if we were on, let's say, nbc? of course. >> i never watched "friends" because they could not possibly find a way to add anybody of color. >> it was, to a certain extent, a product of the time period. and of my own ignorance. you know, there were black shows and there were white shows. there weren't a lot of shows that were interracial.
i guess, it's a time i was thinking this is what i know. this is what i know. >> okay. >> i hear ya. we can talk about that. >> "friends" is not based on "living single." friends is based on martakauffman and david crain's life experiences. >> marta and i spent our 20s living in new york. >> we were part of a group of six and we all glommed on to each other. i have spent a ton of time analyzing, you know, "friends" and what it's about. that time in your life where your friends are your family. >> i'm very thankful that all of y your thanksgivings sucked. >> the biggest surprise to me was matthew perry. >> he put accents on certain syllables that you go, that's -- i would never have read that joke that way. >> could we be more white trash? >> when i watch "friends," i didn't want monica to not be a
control freak. >> you want to push the caps until you hear them click. >> matt made joey funny. >> look at me. i'm chandler. could i be wearing any more clothes? >> they were all rooting for each other. >> now, we need the semen of a righteous man. >> i think phoebe is appealing because she's different. and so, it gives people permission. yeah, you don't have to fit in. you can still like yourself and it's okay. ♪ smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you ♪ >> i don't know why people love smelly cat. but to me, there were other songs that were also very, very funny. that's funny. >> well, maybe, i don't need your money. wait, wait, i said maybe. >> rachel green being, sort of, a spoiled character, off the top of the show. and about humbling that
character, and making her independent. like sam and diane on "cheers." >> we knew ross and rachel, from the pilot, were going to be a thing. >> i just want to be married, again. >> the ross and rachel relationship made it like oh, i have to tune in this week because i want to see, are they getting together? >> i can't believe i get to go to my prom. >> the one with the prom video where rachel realizes that ross has always loved her. >> oh, dear. >> i can't believe you did that. >> all the most memorable moments in the sitcoms are the ones where they touched on something beyond the comedy. >> and it made for really great television that a lot of people wanted to watch. literally, everyone in america.
>> i, ross -- >> take the emily. >> take the rachel. >> we had really been on a ride with ross and rachel. our goal in writing the finale was to really make you believe that they might not get together. >> i have to get on the plane. >> no, you don't. >> i do. >> no, you don't. >> i do. they are waiting for me, ross. >> i watched the final episode and am crying, as an audience member. >> i was there in the audience. and you could feel the energy. >> i remember it being very secretive. we had a big flat across part of the stage so that people couldn't see. >> oh, come on, miss, isn't there any way that you can just let me off the [ bleep ]? >> no, no! oh, my god. did she get off the plane? did she get off the plane? >> i got off the plane. >> look, i also wonder why this show endures the way it does. i do feel like it is the
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you had in the late '90s a series of anti-heroes starting with roseanne. she was still tame compared to al bundy. >> and now there's larry david. larry hates me. i don't really care for him either. >> take this [ bleep ] piece of pie and get it out of my face. >> put the [ bleep ] pie down. >> don't put that pie down. >> a lot of our friend groups, they're borderline toxic. >> because george costanza was based on larry david, "curb your enthusiasm" is actually a continuation of seinfeld in spirit. >> your last name is black. >> yes. >> that's like if my last name was jew, like larry jew. >> larry david the character, he's one of my best friends. >> you had sex with a mental patient. >> she's not a mental patient. >> she's a mental patient! >> i love how much of a [ bleep ] he is. >> [ bleep ] holes don't go out
with the disables, okay? >> i think i like the [ bleep ] holes, you know? i like the jerks. >> could you just move your legs? >> what are you doing? are you looking at my breasts? >> he will articulate the things that people might think, but their internal editor goes, don't say that. >> you wear that dress because you want people to look at your shoes, right? >> there was no thought, what will people think? >> if you weren't my best friend, i would take my bare hands and pop your head off your neck. >> it's not the best friend. >> "curb your enthusiasm" came about at a time when sitcoms of the '90s had somewhat worn out their welcome because there had been a glut of them. >> in the wake of "friends" ending, this juggernaut for nbc networks obviously had to find some way to make it new. >> kids, i'm going to tell you an incredible story. >> the premise of "how i met your mother" is a grown man telling his children the story of how he met their mother. >> it was way back in 2005. i was 27, just starting to
make -- >> the show wasn't your sort of traditional sitcom. it had to do with the flashback element. >> is this going to take a while? >> yes. 25 years ago, before i was dad, i had this whole other life. >> so you guys absolutely don't think i should call her? >> ted, no. >> get it through your skull. >> okay. okay. fine. i won't. interesting piece of trivia, i called her. >> what are you doing? >> it was this ideal world where you've got your really good buddies that will always have your back. >> yes, kids are not my favorite thing in the world, but i like them. >> you don't want to have them. >> i like sports cars, but it doesn't mean i want to push a ferrari through my vagina. >> but "how i met your mother" fell into the trap that "friends" did. it's just like, we're affable white people living in new york. >> but as we entered the 21st century, it's really important to take note that these friends
sitcoms started to reflect more cultural diversity. >> when you guys first came in, we were as wholesome as the family in "the brady bunch," now we're as dysfunctional as the cast of "the brady bunch." >> they come from completely different perspectives. their study room is like the bar in "cheers." >> hey! >> jeff winger, played by joel mchale, sort of our leader, he's this disgraced lawyer who comes back to community college. >> i'm a student. >> well, that will be an inspiring journey. >> he creates the study group because he wants to get in the pants of britta. >> jeff and i do not have sexual tension. we just argue all the time. >> oh, just like sam and diane. >> oh, good, more of this. >> chevy chase, who plays pierce hawthorn. >> his entire character exists to be racist and sexist. >> all right. you know know brittles. >> britta. >> abed. abed the arab. is that inappropriate? >> sure. >> "community" is really creative, and i think it stood out at the time. >> "community" ended up as this
insane wild ride through dan harmon's mind. but what was different about "new girl," it wasn't meta. it wasn't community. it wasn't trying to make fun of the genre. >> hey, schmidt! >> oh, come on. >> "new girl" is about a woman who has been with the same guy for a long time. she comes home early from a trip and she finds him with another woman. >> it's just -- that's why i need a new apartment. i'm sorry. what was the question again? >> do you have any pets? >> and the only place she can find is an apartment with three guys, and they're kind of like her polar opposites. >> hey, guys, i brought -- whatcha doing? >> we're just chillin', just chillin'. >> that discomfort, the girls and the guys being in the same space and they're not together like partners, they're together like friends, that felt unusual
and fresh. >> i accidentally saw nick's pee-pee. >> what? >> what did she say? >> i accidentally saw nick's pee-pee and his bubbles. >> it was really important to me that all the characters on "new girl" were racially diverse -- men, women. >> not just like a cast of white people, which is like not that interesting. >> the fact of the matter is, i live in a loft with three people who happen to be white. but believe you me, there is so much more that i find annoying about you that i haven't even gotten to race. >> i think that's why i do feel like "new girl" was the sitcom for the millennial generation. >> most of these dudes are not looking for a relationship. >> yeah, this is a lot. >> you got to [ bleep ] a lot of girls to get a good frog. >> that's not the saying, or any saying. >> the next step is showing these authentic portrayals, layered portrayals. >> because, yes, we gravitate toward people who are like us, but they don't have to be exactly like us in order to create these really profound
friendships and communities. i'm not obsessed with sex. i just can't stop thinking about it. >> sexuality has come a long way in sitcom history. >> can you donate a penis to a person who's transitioning? >> laughter is a great way to deal with a very tricky world. >> daddy horny, my god. >> sitcoms talk about sex. >> my underwear. >> my god. >> and about relationships. >> i'm breaking up with him tonight. >> these shows changed the way that we think about sexuality. >> for god's sake, ellen, tell him you're gay. >> you're talking about gay rights. you're talking about women's rights. >> gender diversity. >> dismantling the patriarchy. >> you know, sexual revolution. >> so i'm officially out of men to [ bleep ]. i have to get married or move.