5. Thirtysomething. Being 30-something myself in the late 1980s, I was in the perfect demographic niche for this show and I loved everything about it (- except Melissa who, in a show full of whiny people was far too extreme for me!) Watching it, of course, was something of a “guilty” pleasure.
4. The Muppets. Apparently, the word “muppet” comes from merging “marionette” with “puppet.” Whatever. The sheer genius of this show astounded me on a weekly basis. I still find myself trying to talk like the Swedish Chef – “Ingebore, gunna funna keenel…”)
3. The West Wing. Finally, a President I could believe in… Years later, Martin Sheen was a parishioner at the church I helped out at in Malibu. Each Sunday as he’d come forward for Holy Communion, I couldn’t help thinking that I was giving Eucharist to the President of the United States.
2. Monty Python’s Flying Circus. For a kid growing up in weary and warring Belfast, N. Ireland, Monty Python provided an exhilarating glimpse of a lighter, brighter and much less serious world. I would build my entire week around the show; days of anticipation were followed by several days of analysis and discussion with my friends. I’ve never quite understood its popularity in the U.S. So many of the jokes require arcane knowledge about British culture and politics but, apparently, getting it at a fairly surface level is good enough to be great.
1. Fawlty Towers. John Cleese refused to make more than 12 episodes and, with the original concept perfectly intact, each one remains as a perfect gem. I have watched this series dozens and dozens of times and my enjoyment never decreases. As I get older, however, I come to identify ever more strongly with Basil Fawlty…