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TV Syndicated Sitcoms That I Can't Watch Now

By Edited Apr 26, 2015 8 25

Saturation Watching Burned Me Out

Shows Lost in Overindulgence

Numerous TV shows were worthy of destination watching back in their heyday.  My parents and I would gather around the television in the family room to watch them.  Later on, my wife, kids and I would do the same thing.  Network television was the king of the hill and we would soak up the latest fare with appreciation.  Those shows were then syndicated and became staples of television viewing for a long time.  At some point a few of these shows “jumped the shark” for me and I can no longer stand watching them.  It's not the fault of the shows, I just overindulged over an extended period.  

Here’s a list of formerly favorite shows that now turn my stomach when I see a glimpse of them as I channel surf, and a few others entering the danger zone but not yet causing me to grab the antacids.


I don’t know that anyone was a bigger fan of MASH than I was.  I loved the adventures of

Alan Alda
Hawkeye, Trapper, Frank and Hot Lips.  MASH was great even after Trapper left and they killed off Henry Blake.  Colonel Potter and Klinger were always entertaining together.  Even towards the end of the show’s run when Alan Alda got more preachy and way less funny,  I enjoyed them all.  I watched the slow on network and when they showed multiple episodes per day in syndication.

MASH was the first show in which I noticed the phenomenon of reaching viewing fatigue for a show that I used to love.  I stopped watching the reruns.  Not only did I stop watching them, I was entirely turned off by the show.  It became entirely unwatchable.  I just can’t do it anymore.

Happy Days

Richie and the Fonz were so fun together.  After all, Richie was the quintessential good guy and Fonzie was the coolest human on earth.  Howard, Marion, Potsie and Ralph were also endearing, each in their own way.  Happy Days was a staple for a long while and was

Henry Winkler
enjoyable even in syndication. 

Alas, similar to the show losing its luster in its network run after Fonzie jumped the shark,[1] I could no longer view Happy Days after a while.  Maybe the show was a product of the times and didn’t translate well later.  I got sick of the machinations of the Milwaukee crowd.  Fonzie became overbearing instead of cool.  Richie became a stick in the mud.  I know longer cared when Howard got frisky.  The act grew stale.


Friends was one of the anchors of Thursday nights on NBC.  We all loved Ross, Rachel, Joey, Phoebe, Chandler and Monica.  They were young, fun and attractive.  We got to know each of the characters very well and almost knew how the characters would react to things before the shows played out.  Joey was the player who couldn’t act.  Phoebe was the player who couldn’t play (her guitar).  Chandler couldn’t get a date and Rachel couldn’t decide which guy she wanted.  Monica and Chandler were dysfunctional in their own ways and seemed a great match.  The show was well put together.

Courtney Cox

Sometime after the show went into syndication I started to notice that Ross’s whining became annoying instead of funny.  Rachel’s dithering became too much to bear.  Joey’s dumbness wasn’t funny, it was just dumb.  Maybe it’s like getting cabin fever when you’ve been around someone too long on a camping trip.  The formerly endearing idiosyncrasies became a deal killer.  The show crossed over into the unwatchable zone.

I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy is a special case because the episodes aired on TV only in syndication when I was a kid.  I saw every one several times over.  Lucy and Ricky was so funny together.  Fred and

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
Ethel were great neighbors, even if Fred was a total grump.  It was part of his charm.  I think I lost interest when the group travelled to California.  The interplay in the New York apartments was gone.  By that point, even as a child, I would wait for the inevitable Lucy crying jag.  It no longer rang true.

While I have to give the series credit for being groundbreaking as a sitcom and allowing a woman to take the lead in a show, I can’t watch an entire episode anymore.  I can enjoy snippets of video, like the one showing Lucy on the assembly line, but I can’t take in a whole show.

Shows in the Danger Zone, but Still Watchable


Seinfeld ranks as one of my favorite all time shows.  Jerry, Kramer, George and Elaine are hilarious together.  The show about nothing really does fill up a half hour with funny stuff

Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus
about the mundane.  I was cutting some food recently and thought of Mr. Pitt, Elaine’s boss for a time, cutting the Snicker’s Bar with a knife and fork.  I even said “sponge worthy” recently.  The show is still funny to me but I know longer glom onto an episode when I see one is on the cable lineup.  The show is moving into an occasional watching category.  I can’t take the show in large doses anymore.  I could never binge watch a bunch of episodes.  They’re all too familiar.

Two and a Half Men

That Charlie Harper is a cad.  His nerdy brother Alan is charmingly goofy.  Alan’s son Jake

Charlie Sheen
sure is gross, but amusing.  I still enjoy these characters, but Charlie sometimes feels creepy to me now.  Maybe Charlie Sheen the person is creeping into the character for me.  Being drunk and crazy is not as funny if the actor himself is really drunk and crazy.  That stuff is only laugh inducing when you know it’s acting.  Sometimes I find myself blowing past this show now.  I used to always stop by for a half hour or so.

The Simpsons

Although technically not a sitcom, I view this show as if it wasn’t a cartoon cast.  Bart, Homer, Marge and Lisa are familiar to most of us and have had a long run.  I’ll still watch every once in a while, but how many nuclear meltdowns can Homer cause before we tire of them?

I’m sure my list of unwatchable shows will grow longer over time.  As another log on the unwatchable fire, binge watching on Netflix will probably make shows unwatchable for me even faster now.  Maybe it can happen in a weekend instead of a decade or so.

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Feb 27, 2014 11:00am
I never understood all the acclaim about "MASH" in the first place. I don't think I could ever get tired of watching "Seinfeld," but I could "Two and a Half Men" getting old after awhile. It seems like it would be hard to get tired of "The SImpsons" just because of the sheer volume of content available. What would it take for a show to move from "danger zone" to "can't watch"?
Mar 21, 2014 1:14am
I agree with you completely
Feb 27, 2014 12:48pm
For me, sheer overindulgence turned the tide on the shows I listed. I watched too much of them over time. Maybe they could come back after I've forgotten what all the episodes are about.
Mar 18, 2014 5:51am
I've recently started watching a new sitcom (well, I've not watched it before), the Big Bang Theory. I was trying to remember the last sitcom I actually watched properly before that, and I think it was MASH. Or maybe Ye, Minister. I don't generally watch sitcoms, even British ones.
Mar 18, 2014 7:05am
I don't have a current sitcom that I definitely try to watch when it first airs on network. I'll catch a Big Bang episode now and then when I'm channel surfing. Thanks for the feedback!
Mar 18, 2014 8:44pm
We still watch MASH occasionally. We are burned out on Seinfeld and Happy Days, too, and we never watched Friends. The old Raymond shows can be quite funny sometimes. I enjoyed your article - Thumbs Up!
Mar 19, 2014 4:38am
Mar 18, 2014 10:57pm
I've never watched reruns back to back or never more than twice since they first aired so none of my past favorites are unwatchable to me. I do understand how they can become annoying, though. The current ones don't appeal to me enough to keep up with an entire season.
A thumb from me!
Mar 19, 2014 4:39am
Thanks! I keep hoping for a new sitcom to grab me, but it hasn't happened yet.
Mar 19, 2014 11:54am
I hear ya on this, though I quit watching "Happy Days" in its original run right after the Fonz literally jumped the shark.

"M*A*S*H" has not aged well at all--while the show was cutting edge in many ways (many episodes without a laugh track and others dealing with very real social problems) it looks hopelessly naïve and twee today. I once loved it, but now it is unwatchable.

And "Friends" for me was NEVER watchable--I just couldn't care about the characters (too whiny and needy and self-absorbed!!).

Good piece, though. A thumb.
Mar 19, 2014 1:06pm
This comment has been deleted.
Mar 19, 2014 1:10pm
Thanks, Vic. I've always thought a TV show was starting to lose some steam when they have the characters travel somewhere. I saw an ad the other night that the Modern Family crew was going to Vegas. Looks like their wave has crested.
Mar 19, 2014 1:56pm
Yeah, I'd agree with you there. "Modern Family" is great, but I can see it jumping the shark VERY soon!

There are other obvious show killers (other than any series where Anthony Anderson is suddenly a featured actor--he's killed more shows by himself than the Fox Network has in its entire history). Any time a show adds a "cute kid" (Cousin Oliver on the "Brady Bunch" or Seven on "Married . . . With Children") it jumps the shark as it does whenever the show takes a "road trip" (like the "Facts of Life" chicks going to Kukamunga or Paris or wherever the hell they went), or works in some odd-ball plot device (as "Roseanne" did when she won the lottery), or when they work in a "new baby" (as in "Mad About You"--show was ruined by the pregnancy). Those are clear signs of the beginning of the end.
Mar 19, 2014 2:20pm
I forgot about the "cute kid." That is the same as the road trip for a sitcom!
Mar 19, 2014 2:46pm
I only found MASH and Seinfeld watchable. I just couldn't buy into the "Friends" craze either. Struggling 20-somethings with $3,000 apartments (somehow able to pay rent AND hang out at a coffee joint half the time). The whining got to me - esp. Ross. Happy Days was a bit before my time. I did enjoy how respectful Fonzie was of Mrs. C, but the macho crap became a bit much at Al's Diner (physical fighting). The one show that I did laugh at as a tween was Three's Company. Now that I'm aware of how much gays and transgendered people have suffered in society - I can't laugh and I feel sad watching Mr. Roper make fun of "Jack" (thinking he was gay and therefore it was okay to mock him). Great page. Thumbs, etc.
Mar 19, 2014 2:54pm
Thanks, I agree that Three's Company would be out of place now.
Mar 19, 2014 4:07pm
I feel that way about "I Love Lucy" but can watch reruns of "The Big Bag Theory" over and over. I stopped watching "Friends" long before it was over as I disliked the story line of Ross and Rachel.
Mar 19, 2014 5:54pm
I think they tried too long to keep up the anticipation with Ross and Rachel. After a while I didn't care. Thanks for reading!
Mar 19, 2014 5:26pm
I think part of the problem is that most shows last too long. A good example of this was the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I loved the first few seasons, but once Rhoda and Phyllis were gone it wasn't the same. Writers struggle to come up with new stories too, which can make a good program stale after awhile.
Mar 19, 2014 5:58pm
Thanks, good supporting cast members often get their own shows and then the show they left is no longer as good.
Mar 21, 2014 1:13am
I enjoyed Seinfeld but never understood Mash. Great post better than Bubblews
Mar 21, 2014 5:18am
Thanks, Meow. Glad you enjoyed reading.
Mar 21, 2014 8:28pm
The fact that television is the great time-waster (remember, it was referred to as the 'idiot box' or the 'boob tube'), is a good indication of its worth. This is especially true of sitcoms. Many sitcoms that were good back in the 1970's are now pretty dated, such as M*A*S*H, or All In The Family, and Happy Days (which itself was set in the 1950's..sort of). Lots of memorable characters and wonderful acting in many cases, though.

But really..how many times can you watch something you've already seen a gazillion times? Talk about time-wasters. No wonder they become tiresome, if not annoying. The only ones I can still watch are Monty Python's Flying Circus, and Fawlty Towers, at least in short spurts, and only occasionally.
Mar 22, 2014 3:30am
Thanks for reading! Fawlty Towers is a good one, too bad they didn't make many episodes.
Mar 23, 2014 12:33pm
Everybody Loves Raymond is probably nearing danger. Although it is a funny sitcom.
Mar 23, 2014 2:10pm
Thanks for reading! I never really watched that show much. Not sure why, maybe during its regular network run I was watching another show in its time slot.
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  1. wikipedia "Jumping the Shark." wikipedia.com. 11/8/2004. 20/02/2014 <Web >

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