March Madness! The Outstanding 1-2-8: Section B

Sixteen down and just 112 classic shows to go. This segment features the longest running show of all time and one that just about everyone reading this has quoted at some point in their lives. Soooo… how do you think it will do?

Did you think we meant Rhoda?

Vote below, read some descriptions below that if you want to frolick in the history of television and drop over to GBOAT on Facebook to say some things about some shows (and should your vote be counted twice… like many a judge on Law & Order, we’ll allow it!)

16. The Bob Newhart Show (CBS, 1972-78) – Before he fell into the world’s longest lucid dream about a Vermont inn full of Larrys, Darryls, and other brother Darryls, our greatest living comedian was a Chicago psychologist who exchanged barbs with his wife Suzanne Pleshette while managing the neuroses of the regulars of his group sessions.

15. The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show (ABC, 1959-61/NBC, 1961-64) – No animated show until maybe Bojack Horseman loved puns so much as this goofy classic which had many incarnations beyond the ones above, and one terrible movie. Whotsamatta University graduates Moose & Squirrel fractured fairy tales, knew-it-all, and tried to pull rabbits out of hats in between sketches featuring the likes of Dudley Do-Right and Mr. Peabody and Sherman.

14. Weeds (Showtime, 2005-12) – A few years before Walter White broke bad with meth, Nancy Botwin turned to dealing pot to support her family after the death of her husband Negan… we mean Judah. Similarly, the stakes get crazier every season, although in this case the shenanegans were a bit more funny.

13. The Odd Couple (ABC, 1970-75) – The original “odd couple” On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence; that request came from his wife. Deep down, he knew she was right, but he also knew that some day he would return to her. With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his friend, Oscar Madison. Several years earlier, Madison’s wife had thrown HIM out, requesting that HE never return. Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy? Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

12. Baskets (FX, 2016-19) – Zach Galifiniakis’ ethereal clown show featuring himself as Chip, a 40-something ne-er-do-well returned from French clown college trying to ply his trade in the barren fields of Bakersfield, California. He movies back in with his fussy but sweet mom, Christine Baskets (Louie Anderson in an Emmy-winning role), but finds a home in an unsuccessful rodeo. The show also introduced the world to veteran deadpan stand-up Martha Kelly as his ultra-patient closest friend.

11. Shameless (Showtime, 2011-21) – We just said goodbye to this series yesterday and here it is in our tournament–kismet. This remake of a U.K. show told the story of the hyper-dysfunctional Gallagher family of Chicago led by William H. Macy’s drunken patriarch Frank. What with all the toxic relationships, crimes, capers, drunken reveries, and the occasional happy moment, eleven years passed so quickly.

10. Diff’rent Strokes (NBC, 1978-85/ABC, 1985-86) – Back before the world moved to the beat of just one drum, rich white dude Phil Drummond agrees to take in his dying servant’s two kids–the younger one, Arnold, had to also overcome a hearing impediment as he never got just what his brother, named Willis, was talking about. The show, at its best, was hilarious as it was groundbreaking, and mastered the very special episode.

9. black-ish (ABC, 2014-present) – The center of the -Ishaverse, this sharp comedy starring Anthony Anderson as ad exec Dre and Tracee Ellis Ross as anesthesiologist Bow, two parents trying to raise their children in a way that reflects their upwardly mobile status without losing track of where they came from.

8. You’re the Worst (FXX, 2014-19) – Two A-Holes in a Series: Jimmy and Gretchen meet-ugly at a wedding, have a multi-night stand, quickly realize the awfulness of one another and try to build a relationship out of that revelation, while fearing the trappings of actual commitment. Of course, there were redeeming moments and Jimmy’s roommate Edgar was a singular character on television.

7. Monty Python’s Flying Circus (BBC, 1969-75) – Where it all began… after a bunch of different popular shows in different combinations. Easily the most important comedy troupe in history, their absurdist half-hour of semi-connected sketches influenced most modern sketch shows, especially one you’ll see if you scroll down just a tad. Furthermore, Adult Swim practically owes its existence to Terry Gilliam’s weirdo, abstract and often obtuse, and sometimes vulgar intersticial animation.

6. Family Ties (NBC, 1982-89) – In a role reversal, a pair of lifetime hippies have a teenager who is Nixon/Reagan Republican conservative, Alex P. Keaton. The show which also included sisters Mallory and Tina Yothers, became one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1980s, launched the film career of Michael J. Fox, used a minor 1981 hit by Billy Vera & the Beaters for a touching moment, propelling the song to number one, and gave us a classic Christmas episode.

5. Daria (MTV, 1997-2002) – One of two spin-offs from our big upset of the last round, Daria began life, already deadpan, as a bemused foil to the hijinks on Beavis & Butthead. While Mike Judge was busy on the other spin-off (which we’ll get to eventually), Glenn Eichler & Susie Lewis Lynn took on Daria, made her even droller, gave her a goth bestie in artist Jane Lane, as they ridiculed their peers at Lawndale High–including Daria’s cheerleader little sister Quinn.

4. Mr. Show with Bob and David (HBO, 1995-99) – Back in the ’90s, the future Tobias Funke and Saul Goodman took the Monty Python formula of loosely related absurd premises and put their own spin on it. In addition to Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, the sketch comedy show would help build the careers of Sarah Silverman, Jack Black, Brian Posehn, Mary Lyn Rajskub, Scott Auckerman (“Show Writerman”), Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob SquarePants) and Paul F. Tompkins, underrated comic genius, and voice of many characters, including Mr. Peanutbutter, on our last group’s #4 seed.

3. The Office [UK] (BBC, 2001-03) – The only show with two versions in our tournament, Ricky Gervais’ and Stephen Merchant’s dark original took the mundane cubicle life and found delight in its most cringeworthy moments. Gervais’ David Brent had all the crippling insecurity and toxic narcissism of Michael Scott, but with fewer redeeming features and zero self-awareness.

2. The Good Place (NBC, 2016-20) – Mike Schur, co-creator of the American version of The Office and creator of the number one show in our last section, Parks & Recreation, took his world building to another level, the afterlife. Kristen Bell’s Eleanor Shellstrop wakes up to learn from Ted Danson’s Michael that she has made it to the super-exclusive “The Good Place” due to a lifetime of hard work and charity as a human rights lawyer–only Eleanor knows that in real life she was an “Arizona dirtbag” who knowingly pushed fake medicine on the elderly. And that barely tells you anything about this hilarious show with more twists, turns, and re-inventions than Lost

1. The Simpsons (Fox, 1989-present) – It’s The Simpsons. 700+ shows over 32 seasons. What more is there to say? Would you believe Homer was supposed to be 33 when the series started? I have had a cow over that ever since I turned 34.

Thanks for reading and voting.

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