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When it comes to funny TV shows, you could make the argument that the 90s were the greatest era of all time. Obviously, a lot of my reason for thinking that is because I came of age during that time period.
Whether you think it’s the best of not, you have to acknowledge that the 90s produced some incredible sitcoms that are still worth going back to.
Today, we’re going to take on the daunting task of picking our ten favorite 90s sitcoms and ranking them. It’s no easy task, but it’s one that needs to get done.
What Are We Counting as “The 90s”?
Because a lot of these shows had particularly long lifespans, some of them ran into the early 2000s before they ultimately left television. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to consider any TV show that had at least 60% of its run in the 90s. With that guideline, we should be able to get all of the shows that dominated TV during the 1990s, while ignoring shows that are predominately thought of as 80s or 2000s shows.
Additionally, we’re not going to include any animated shows, as they’re a different beast entirely and they deserve their own list.
Married With Children is a show that would probably never fly in today’s culture, but at the time it was hilarious in its own offensive way.
Frasier is the perfect example of how good a spinoff can be. In fact, it stands on its own so well that a lot of fans might forget that Dr. Frasier Crane originally came from Cheers (which would probably also be on the list if it came out at the right time).
The Wonder Years doesn’t really feel like a 90s show since it takes place during the Vietnam war, but the show had most of its run during the early 90s. The coming of age tale of Kevin Arnold is an interesting time capsule that can be appreciated by anyone who lived through the era and those who want to see life in a different time.
Saved By The Bell is a goofy show that screams 90s. Zach Morris and his friends grow up before our very eyes. There’s romance, hijinks, and Mr. Belding. What more could you want from a sitcom?
What started as a show about a Chicago family quickly evolved into the Steve Urkel show. The nerd took the world by storm with his clumsy antics and his undying love for Laura Winslow. He causes more problems for the Winslow family than anything else, but they keep coming back for more.
Probably the most iconic line from Tim Allen’s Home Improvement isn’t a line at all. Instead, the show is known for his iconic grunt. The clumsy Tim “The Toolman” Taylor hosts his own home improvement show while raising a family. His ineptitude is what makes the show hilarious, and the interesting dynamic with his family and friends really rounds out the classic sitcom.
Boy Meets World stars Ben Savage, the brother of Fred Savage (the star of The Wonder Years). The show follows Ben’s character Cory and his friends as they grow up and experience the world. The show is actually quite similar in structure to The Wonder Years, but in the end, I think it’s a more effective story overall.
Friends is one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time. The crew of Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe are some of the most recognizable characters in any show. Their story unfolded over the course of 10 seasons and managed to keep fans glued through its entire run. The show is funny, heartwarming, willing to push the limits, and gets so much right.
I had a really hard time ordering the top three shows on the list. Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and the number one show on our list all have some incredible aspects, and in the end, I feel good calling Will Smith’s comedy about a kid from Philly who moves to ritzy Bel-Air the second-best sitcom of the 90s. The show will make you laugh, cry, and wonder how Will Smith is able to get in so much trouble without getting kicked out of his house.
The answer to which show should be number one was in front of me the whole time: it’s Seinfeld. Jerry Seinfeld and the rest of his hilarious friends come together for a nearly perfect television show. Each episode is a nicely contained little story that’s enjoyable for everyone. It even ends with a fantastic episode, which is more than most shows can say.