Taking a break from the numbingly bad jargon I've been proofreading all day, I see that media critic Jaime J. Weinman has written an insightful appreciation of the TV sitcoms of the 1960s, spelling out the reasons why he's been won over by them.
Among other things, he notes that:
...the '60s stuff does have its own unique advantages. Variety, for one thing. '50s sitcoms were primarily an outgrowth of radio sitcoms, sticking fairly closely to the subject-matter, tone and style of radio comedy. By the '70s, everything was either a Norman Lear kitchen-sink sitcom or an MTM urban workplace/domestic comedy. But in the '60s, the sitcom form took in just about everything: urban sitcoms, rural sitcoms, domestic sitcoms, workplace sitcoms, realistic sitcoms, fantasy sitcoms; sitcoms about war and sitcoms about peace. There seemed to be very few rules about what sort of subject matter was or wasn't appropriate for the sitcom form, and that created a broader spectrum of stories and characters; it wasn't just cute young urbanites with relationship problems.
I don't believe I've written much on this blog about my tastes in television, other than the occasional aside or moment of nostalgia. If I were to do a list of All-Time Favorite TV Shows, I suspect that most of them would be one-hour dramas instead of comedies. However, I do have a soft soft for the comedies I grew up watching in syndicated re-runs every afternoon when I got home from school, and most of those were the very shows that Weinman is talking about. Andy Griffith, Hogan's Heroes, Bewitched, Get Smart, and I Dream of Jeannie all made their impacts on me during my impressionable years, and I still enjoy them to one degree or another today. If you like them, too, and you've ever found yourself struggling to defend them at a cocktail party, you might want to check out Weinman's thoughts. He's pretty much right on target.
(I especially agree with his assessment of those shows that switched midway through their runs from black-and-white to color. The Andy Griffith Show, in particular, is virtually a different series once it shifts into color, and it's not nearly as good.)