Wednesday 3 August 2011

Two and a Half Men – Greatest Ever US Sitcoms

Iconic comedy Two and a Half Men returns with Season 8 on DVD on 8th August. The defining season of the American comedy phenomenon stars Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer.

The season continues to tackle the key Two and a Half Men themes; women, sex, dating, divorce, mothers, single parenthood, sibling relations, surrogate families, money and, most importantly, love.

Order your copy now here
Charlie Harper (Sheen) is a well-to-do bachelor with a house at the beach, a Mercedes in the garage and an easy way with women. His casual Malibu lifestyle is interrupted when his tightly wound brother, Alan (Cryer), and Alan's son, Jake, come to stay with him. What follows is a series of comedic tales, as the two brothers struggle to deal with their complex and conflicting lives. Charlie and Alan do have one thing in common though: they both love Jake and want what's best for him.
To celebrate the launch of Two and a Half Men Season 8 on DVD, here's a reminder of the Top 10 US sitcoms that have been a hit on both sides of the pond.

Little short of TV gold, Friends is a sitcom phenomenon. Chandler, Rachel, Monica, Ross, Joey and Phoebe are friends in Manhattan and the stories follow their lives as they fall in and out of love – generally with each other. First shown in the UK in 1995, it’s said that one of the 260 episodes is always on show somewhere in the world; such is the success of the show.

Ted Danson took the lead in a comedy about the Boston bar ‘where everybody knows your name’. Blessed with the sitcom essential – memorable characters – Cheers ran in Britain for 11 years, with a total of 270 episodes. The 1980’s wouldn’t have been the same without it.

A spin-off from Cheers, Frasier starred Kelsey Grammer in the lead role as the psychiatrist who leaves Boston to look after his elderly father whilst trying to build a life as a bachelor. This smart comedy is considered to be the most successful comedy spin-off of all time.

30 Rock
Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin star in a comedy based in the world of television. Sharp scripts and inspired casting make for a consistently funny and fresh sitcom that is essential viewing for all media types. Baldwin has never been better than as the power hungry studio head with a heart and a ‘sharp haircut’ and Fey brings all her comedic timing to pack the show with genuine belly-laughs.

Modern Family
A modern comedy is every sense of the word; this sitcom is shot in a mockumentary style and is a satirical look at three related families as they cope with all that life throws at them. As with the other sitcoms in this list, it’s all about the characters and the writing. You have to like someone before you can really laugh at them and Modern Family isn’t afraid to spend time finding out what makes a character tick.

Diff'rent Strokes
Pint-sized Gary Coleman and his “what choo talkin’ ‘bout Wills?” catchphrase hit our screens in the early eighties and was the first to feature racial differences head-on. Arnold and his brother Wills were two African American boys from New York, who were adopted by a wealthy white businessman and his daughter. Cue fun and pathos.

Another pint-sized actor to warm our hearts during the 70s/80s was Danny DeVito as the abusive taxi dispatcher Louie. The sitcom was set around the lives of the taxi drivers of the Sunshine Cab Company and wasn’t afraid to face issues of the day including drug abuse and homosexuality.

Curb Your Enthusuiasm
Starring Larry David – the writer of Seinfeld, Curb is a comedy of bad manners. No matter what Larry does in any given situation, it’s inevitable that things will spiral out of control. Now just starting its 8th season in the US, this is a sitcom for those that aren’t easily offended.

My Name is Earl
Earl was a man dogged by bad karma so in each episode he tries to right a wrong he has committed in the past in order to rebalance his universe. The show ran for four seasons and featured such notable guest stars as Danny Glover, Christian Slater and Burt Reynolds.

Will and Grace
Another New York based sitcom, Will and Grace has the distinction of being the most popular TV series to feature gay principle characters. Will is a gay lawyer and Grace – his best friend - is an interior decorator. One is hyper-clean and the other is messy, both are neurotic and this makes them the perfect odd couple for the new Millennium.


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