A genre of its own, Black sitcoms always provide interesting perspectives and commentaries on everyday life. Often surviving on smaller budgets and fewer resources than other TV shows, most Black sitcoms had to beat the odds in order to be seen as deserving of their audience and time slot. Moreover, in terms of Black sitcoms that actually manage to achieve widespread ratings as well as and longevity, those are few and far between. With that said, the following is a closer look at some of the top Black sitcoms of all time.
First, let us look at an honorable mention. Although this list is technically reserved for Black sitcoms involving live humans (except in the case of the 15th entry), this show certainly deserved an honorable mention. A revolutionary cartoon that satirically took on some of the most controversial topics affection the Black community, The Boondocks, created by Aaron McGruder, boldly went where many live action shows dare not.
Originally based on McGruder's comic strip of the same name, the show was steeped in controversy in its final season due to the original creator no longer being involved in the creative process. The first three unapologetically bold seasons were enough to keep the world permanently pining for more.
Without further ado, let us look at a list of 15 Black sitcoms that had an impact on everyday television:
15 The PJs (1999-2001)
14 A Different World (1987-1993)
13 Moesha (1996-2001)
12 The Steve Harvey Show (1996-2002)
11 Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009)
10 Martin (1992-1997)
9 Living Single (1993-1998)
8 Sister, Sister (1994-1999)
7 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996)
6 The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
5 Girlfriends (2000-2008)
4 The Game (2006-2015)
3 Black-ish (2014- Present)
2 Family Matters (1989-1997)
1 The Jeffersons (1975-1985)
A spin-off of the classic, highly controversial sitcom, All in the Family, The Jeffersons was broadcast on CBS for 11 seasons and a total of 253 episodes, making it one of the longest-running Black sitcoms in history. Based on an affluent African-American couple living in New York City, the characters George Jefferson, played by the late Sherman Hemsley and Louise "Weezy", played by the late Isabel Sanford, became a beloved representation of Black love and longevity within the Black community, even after the show was abruptly (and arguably, improperly) cancelled in 1985. Highly politically charged at the beginning, although the show eventually mellowed out on its radicalism, it did cover heavy-hitting topics such as racism, suicide, alcoholism, interracial dating, gun control, adult illiteracy, and much more. Moreover, George and Weezy's television legacy was kept intact with the help of other Black sitcoms such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Tyler Perry's House of Payne, as characters from the show also appeared on these sitcoms later in life.
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