Hulu Review readers and the general public can still cast their votes in the comments section of this post. The total audience vote is equal to the vote of one panel member.
Let's see what rang like a boom box in the hearts of our panelists and voting audience members:
Oh, Alf. How I love you! You, who made a catchphrase out of a common monosyllabic term for laughter (Ha!). You, who dines on cats not gruesomely, but adorably, and always off screen. You, who provided the same comedic-yet-helpful role to the Tanners that Mr. Belvidere provided to his sitcom family. As the world came to terms with harsh realism in the 80s, you were the only truly fantastic element to be found among our nominees-- and perhaps that was because you made an alien in the living room seem so completely normal. Good luck, Alf!
The A Team
This is the only show on our list that breaks the sitcom mode, and brings a little ass-kicking to the proceedings. In our hearts, Murdoch will always be doing something crazy, Face will always be sweet-talking the ladies, Hannibal will always be loving it when a plan comes together, and BA will never, ever, be getting on that plane. He will have that one last drink of milk, though. When I think of current Hollywood stars taking on these roles in the upcoming A-Team movie, I get night sweats, because I know nothing will ever live up to the fantastically brash cheesiness of the original.
Benson is representing the socially responsible sitcoms that were dying out by the 80s. Set in the mansion of the Governor, Benson came into contact with the issues of the day, every day. Was there ever any doubt that Benson would move from worker to adviser to gubernatorial candidate over the course of the show's run? I give enormous credit to Benson's producers, who stuck with do-good programming even as the world was trending towards, well, Alf.
You take the good, you take the bad, you put them together and then you have an amazingly popular sitcom. The ingredients were simple-- four girls from dramatically different backgrounds are thrown together to deal with the issues surrounding life at their boarding school. All under the tutelage of the sometimes-wacky, sometimes-wise Mrs. Garrett. When the girls grew up and lost their girlishness, the show definitely lost something, but the prime years are full of nostalgia. Even though there's no blood-based family unit to be found, this show is a standard bearer among the nominees as the quintessential family sitcom.
Rounding out the nominee list is the anti-sitcom, Married With Children. While other shows were all about pulling together to face familial problems, the Bundy's were a family at war. Sitcom families were forever changed after shoe salesman Al showed off the seamy underbelly of American life, an underbelly that had been heretofore hidden from the airwaves. Al, Peg, Kelly and Bud have earned a place in our bodies. Not our hearts, but our bodies.