Why Do We Still Love Sitcoms From The 1990s?

Somya Arya

Whether your ride-or-die sitcom is Frasier or Friends, The Simpsons or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the one thing that we can all agree on is that no sitcom does it better than a 90s sitcom. Funnily enough, I would say the youngsters from my generation are obsessed with sitcoms from the 90s, despite being too young to remember anything, more than the people who were alive during the 90s. So, asks Somya Arya, why is it that the grainy shots and the laughing tracks have us reminiscing a time we weren’t even alive for?

Let’s start off with probably the most well-know and highly loved 90s sitcom- you guessed it, Friends (1994-2004)! From Central Perk, the coffee shop the characters were always at, to ‘The Rachel’ haircut, everything about Friends seems to have nostalgia laced into it. Watching an episode almost makes you feel like you were a part of it and it was all happening to you.

almost every mid to late 90s trend blew up because of the sitcom

The dialogue, the characters, the clothes – it all feels so recognisable. Well, there’s no surprise to the more fashion side of it considering almost every mid to late 90s trend blew up because of the sitcom. However, on the more storyline side of it, the personality traits of each character made them all seem so relatable, you could see people like them anywhere, they were easy to understand and listen to – nothing harsh but almost like people you knew in the past.

Watching them go through life events and thus getting together to support one another helped spectators create an emotional bond with the characters. It was easy to start to see them more like our own friends, but also find escapism in their lives whilst many others were battling much harsher problems in the real world.

Additionally, 10 complete seasons of Friends didn’t make it any easier for us to not grow an emotional attachment to them. We all got to see so much character development which, once again, reiterated the feeling of having been present in the moment with them throughout the whole thing. Re-watching Friends just feels like you’re replaying memories you once made; it feels as though you’re looking back into the good moments of your life, the moments you only wish to remember.

On the other hand, The Simpsons, which has been airing regularly since 1990 and is still continuing – now on season 33, is more well-loved for its plot lines and the dialogue. Witty humour, sarcasm and social awareness through endless metaphors are just a few reasons to name, but I think the most predominant reason is that the Simpsons doesn’t mask or hide any problem similar to the issues their viewers face in real life.

The Simpsons finds a way to discuss actual problems, including political issues, and educate viewers

Our problems are portrayed as comedic, we’re allowed to laugh and see it all from another perspective, which is the opposite of what the TV sitcom Friends does. It feels nostalgic to us because spectators are able to look back on their own similar experiences and see it in a different light, they are able to feel relaxed and make light-hearted jokes out of it all. On top of that, The Simpsons is based around a family- viewers of all ages will have something they will be able to relate to. Rather than helping viewers find escapism, The Simpsons finds a way to discuss actual problems, including political issues, and educate viewers by ludicrous metaphors that have much comedic value.

Similarly, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which aired from 1990-1996, was (and still very much is) well-loved because of the more thematic aspect of the show. These include problems such as what it’s like to be a small fish in a big pond, their approach to dealing with family issues, and what it’s like to be a black person in this world. Felling nostalgia is bound to happen when watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air because of how understandable and relatable their issues were, especially for black people who found more of themselves in The Fresh Prince than they did in any other sitcom, which had near to no black representation. Their experiences were and still are universal.

a lot of variety came from 90s television, there was always something for everyone

Whether the TV shows bring you nostalgia by laughter or by tears, we all found comfort and a place to hide in through them. A lot of variety came from 90s television- there was always something for everyone and they have all heavily influenced many of our modern-day sitcoms. For example, Friends and How I met your mother, which aired from 2005-2014. It’s safe to say that sitcoms from the 90s hold a very special place in our hearts!

Somya Arya

Featured Image courtesy of Sally via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In-article image 1 courtesy of @friends via @instagram.com. No changes were made to this image.

In-article image 2 courtesy of @freshprince via @instagram.com. No changes were made to this image.

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