tv History of the Sitcom CNN August 7, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
told. so i'm honored to serve as director of the minashonka cultural center. >> because the medium is a cultural mirror, it needs to reflect all of our experiences. these shows are the elixir we need. the jokes disarm you, and then you can see the human behind the humor. you guys are working hard for once. >> the american workplace is our home in many ways. >> where's my sandwich! >> we all need a reason to get up in the morning. >> it was frank. >> the american office is iconic. >> how many people can i fire? >> none. you're picking a health care plan. >> okay. we'll table that for the time being.
>> terrible bosses. >> you've got spunk. >> well -- >> i hate spunk. >> terrible workmates. >> are you kidding? do these not bend the [ bleep ] back? >> no. >> everybody trying to get along. >> one problem with hiring women is that they're frail and breakable. >> is it possible you're thinking about light bulbs or your hip? >> hilarious. >> what do you say to that? >> whoa. ow! ♪ >> let's talk about earning a living. >> yeah. >> have you ever done it? >> no, but i could. >> ha! >> lucille ball with the chocolates, always funny. >> if one piece of candy gets past you and into the packing room unwrapped, you're fired. >> all the writers needed to say was louis you why at lucy at a conveyor belt. you're good.
[ laughter ] >> some of the most memorable episodes of "i love lucy" are when she gets a job outside of the home but it always unravels. >> you're doing splendidly. speed it up! >> when sitcoms started, they were family sitcoms and for years, that's all there was. >> and then we move into the 1960s, we start to see more people working in an office than on a factory line. >> for the first time in the history of our nation, a majority of all workers are in white collar jobs. >> and you were spending time getting to know your colleagues. >> you ready? >> i'm ready. >> i got those -- >> "the dick van dyke show" was laugh out loud funny. >> "the dick van dyke show!" >> i can clearly remember it was "the dick van dyke" show, black and white. that's got me into sitcoms. that was ground-breaking. >> first of all, you had carl
reiner. >> carl reiner got his start on "your show of shows" with imogene coca and sid caesar. which was not a sitcom, it was a variety show. >> it's supposed to be tent. >> the writers' room abounded in talent. it just imbued carl with that's a place, that's a gold mine. a writers room is a gold mine. >> i remember talking to myself on the way home and i said what piece of ground do i stand on that nobody else stands on? so i'll write about the life of a writer. >> writers are lazy. people write what they know. >> we got a sketch. don't crack up on us. >> there is nothing to worry about, kids. i have got an idea. alan will play the part of a talking bowling pin. >> i thought it was the greatest idea because in most sitcoms, you didn't know what the husband did for a living. >> the second dance number should come before the big sketch. >> gee, i don't know. >> i like it.
>> now i like it. >> yeah, me too. >> i like it, too. what do you know? look at the tie you're wearing. >> i love the fact it was a glimpse into the writer's room. seeing how shows worked was just so fascinating to me. >> and of course mary tyler moore. how could you not fall in love with mary tyler moore? >> this is no whoopie dress. it's years old. >> yeah, but it still works. give me a kiss. >> i must have seen about 30 girls and when she came into the room, she just said hello, her name was and i heard a ping and a voice. >> will it make you feel any better if i tell you how really sorry i am? >> well, no. >> the original intent of the "dick van dyke show" was mostly for it to take place in the workplace. >> three, two, one, zero. we did it. >> what? what did we do? >> we wasted a whole day. >> audiences were used to the big family sitcoms of the time and didn't really take to "the
dick van dyke show" at first. >> at the end of the first season they were going to cancel it. >> in real life mary had married grant tinker, who was a cbs executive on "the dick van dyke show." grant tinker helped save the show by pushing mary tyler moore to the forefront. >> for instance, i think you look very nice without your -- >> hair? >> these shows that straddle home and workplace almost always result in something tasty. >> now, i'm not saying this just because i'm in trouble, alan, although goodness knows i am. >> would you like these? what do you suggest i do with all of these now, huh? >> well, there must be some needy bald people. [ laughter ] >> and it ultimately became a ratings sensation. >> that's the best five years of my life. >> i don't believe this. >> the best thing i've ever done hands down, no question about
it. >> i was 19 in 1967, and it was dick van dyke. it made a huge impression on me. >> after "the dick van dyke" show mary tyler moore was clearly one of the largest stars in america, and mary and my dad started laying the groundwork for their own company. >> mary tyler moore enterprises has a woman whose name is on this. and it's like i don't need to be this roaring big macho presence. >> and within that you have important messaging about women in the workplace and those politics appear on broadcast television, in a workplace comedy like "the mary tyler moore show." ♪ you just might make it after all ♪ >> mary richards moves to minnesota to start work at wjm-tv. >> what religion are you? >> mr. grant, i don't quite know
how to say this but you're not allowed to ask that when someone's applying for a job. >> want to call a cop? [ laughter ] >> it did represent what women were going through in the '70s. they were standing up and saying i must be heard. >> sitcoms used to be about the wife was at home doing the dishes and then this woman sprang onto our screens who had a job, and often the smartest person there. and it was sort of liberating. >> you've got spunk. >> and i waited a dutiful moment, and i say -- >> i hate spunk! >> and i want to correct something right now. i don't hate spunk. i love spunk. >> it was a total shift in gender roles. she's a single working woman, you know, living in a building with other single women. >> how would you both like to help abolish capital punishment? >> phyllis, there's no capital punishment in this state. >> well, that was easy.
>> and you have this kind of shift in the workplace. there's more men and women working together. it's creating this uncomfortable dynamic. >> i was right, huh? >> yes, ted, you were right. >> you were wrong. >> yes, ted, i was wrong. >> ted baxter the egotistical tv anchorman. >> you were wrong and i was -- >> ted, i was wrong! >> all right, all right, mare, let's not dwell on it. >> and the extraordinary betty white. >> who played sue ann nivens, who was voracious and man hungry and had a mirrored ceiling over her bed. >> i think television needs bright young women. look at me. >> that's what i love about workplace comedies. people that would never in a million years have spoken but come connected anyway and have to live with humor on a day to day, second to second basis to get through it. >> chuckles the clown is dead. >> the funeral of chuckles the clown is one of the great moments in comedy. >> he went to the parade dressed as peter peanut and a rogue elephant tried to shell him.
>> and everybody's making fun of it. other than mary. >> i wonder which ones are the other clowns. >> they're all going to jump out of a little hearse. >> at the end of the day, all these comedies are about a crazy dysfunctional family gathered together in a workplace. >> chuckles the clown brought pleasure to millions. [ laughter ] >> it's so relatable. >> so go ahead, my dear, laugh. for chuckles -- [ sobbing ]
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i loved the job so much. but mary and grant and mary tyler moore enterprises decided to end the show while it was still good. >> the television station where mary works is bought out. everyone is fired. >> i think we all need some kleenex. >> there's some on mary's desk. [ laughter ] >> how do we leave this room? >> we were saying goodbye to the show and to each other. ♪ it's a long, long way to tipperary ♪ >> it's still emotional after all these years. because that was a family. ♪ it's a long way to go ♪ >> "the mary tyler moore show" and mtm enterprises were really powerful just in terms of the workplace sitcom.
>> in the 1970s the baby boom generation had not settled in to the domestic life, young professionals but who have not started their families. >> i didn't want to do the standard family show. >> i'm sure he has girlfriends. but he denies it. >> well, of course todd's 13 now. [ laughter ] >> the fact that so many people in hollywood were hitting the couch probably opened the doors for the setting of the show. >> i enjoyed the oddity of the people. >> what seems to be your problem, stan? >> bob, you have no idea what it's like to be incredibly good-looking. [ laughter ] >> i go into my office and there is a ventriloquist. >> well, doctor, frank here wants to break up the act and go out on his own. [ laughter ] >> "the bob newhart show" is kind of a model for how to do a
workplace comedy or family comedy. you bring together all these eccentric types, and it worked so brilliantly because of bob newhart's voice. >> hey, bob, they're flipping the coin. you're going to miss the whole thing here. >> right. honey, i know you put a lot of thought and effort and energy into this. >> bob, are you going to ask me if you can eat in front of the television set? >> eventually, i was going to ask you. >> i think it was the beginning of a really smart sophisticated ensemble kind of comedy. >> here they come! >> i don't hear nothing. >> wait for it. ♪ >> "mash" is a workplace where the chaos of the war makes their work so intense and crazy. >> we were set in korea but of course at that time that the show aired the vietnam war was going on. so people equated it. >> those helicopters you're about to hear are going to be filled with canadians who went
to a different party tonight. without us a lot of those kids are not getting home from that party. >> attention, all personnel. report immediately to admitting ward and operating room. >> we were people who were flawed doing their best work in an impossible situation. >> on "mash" i was always drawn to the offbeat characters who looked at things a little differently. >> if you say no, we'll tell everybody your brother is in jail. >> my brother is a warden. >> we won't say that part. >> alan alda as hawkeye pierce was the center of the show. he was that pivot. >> and it was hawkeye and trapper john flipping the bird to the establishment, to get one up on hot lips and frank. >> i've always said it, behind every great man there is a woman with a vibrator. >> what do you want? [ laughter ] >> and they run the camp that colonel blake thought he was running. >> klinger, the one thing that general macarthur may not
understand is a flower girl with a 5 o'clock shadow. >> there is a constant debate about morality. why are we here? how are we treating these people? how are we treating each other? >> i hope this guy doesn't mind ignoring orders by living. >> then by the end of the third season. >> radar, put a mask on. >> garybergoff walks in and says -- >> henry blake's plane was shot down over the sea of japan. it's bunion. there were no survivors. >> that moment is pure honesty. >> i have trouble telling that story 40 years later. >> i just never even think of it as a sitcom. you know, it just was -- it was "mash."
>> m.a.s.h. really blew up what a workplace sitcom could be. there was death. there was sorrow. there was really a mixing of genre that was groundbreaking. >> it was the first dramedy in primetime television. >> it's gunfire. it's 2:30 in the morning. >> maybe there's an after-hours war around here. >> "m.a.s.h." lasted 11 seasons. >> if we didn't have such a terrific union here, i'd put in my two-week notice. but i'm too weak. >> february 28th, 1983 the war is over and the show is over. it's the most organically perfect finale. >> you boys always managed to give me a good laugh when i needed it the most. i was laughing to beat all hell. >> i love a good laugh like this. >> to this day, we are still the highest rated tv show. 125 million watched that last episode. >> so many of us couldn't get
through the good-byes. we just kept crying. ♪ >> i turned to my dad and he was crying. and it hits me that you can make people laugh for half an hour but you can also in an instant, because they care, twist a knife that can last forever. there's an america we build and one we explore. one that's been paved and one that's forever wild. but freedom means you don't have to choose just one adventure. you get both. introducing the wildly civilized all-new 3-row jeep grand cherokee l
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people who want to work but can't find jobs. are part of today's other bad economic news. the unemployment rate -- >> the '70s is kind of a lost generation and everybody was trying to find themselves. >> the economy was in the tank and you start to see the disillusionment of american workers reflected in the workplace sitcom. >> toilet stuffed up again? >> that's no longer a problem, mr. beckman. that's a tradition. >> something's wrong with your lights. >> if you look at the 12th precinct it was such a decrepit place. >> well, well, well, the same old melting pot. >> o'kelly, what are you doing here? >> how do you like narcotics? >> you haven't helped them a bit. >> real cops dealing with funny situations.
>> get out of way. i swear i'm going to kill everybody in the precinct if i don't get out of here. >> boy, do i hate to start a day like this. >> hal linden is basically the bob newhart of that office. surrounded by all the craziness. >> lenny is my other personality. >> does he have the same address? >> the workplace comedy is great because all the characters come in and they're not related, so they don't have something in common. >> turned out to be a diverse cast which was i guess different in those days. >> jack soo, gregory sierra, ron glass. that was pretty unusual and revolutionary. >> i believe that when the '70s happened it was a fallout of the '60s and they who might have had a dream about how america would be a completely different place then all of a sudden had to get a job. ♪
>> we're all part-time here. i'm part-time. i only work 60 hours a week. >> we were a bunch of people in a garage. we had dreams. we weren't going to make it. we were going to stick in that garage forever. but the dream was the thing it was about. >> great news. i just called the gym. they want me to spar with carlos navarone. >> the champ? >> wow. >> imagine, the champ hitting my face. >> danny devito's character on "taxi," louie depalma, has got to be top five greatest sitcom characters of all time. he is terrifying. >> once a bum, always a bum. >> oh, yeah, yeah, i say tony has a good chance. i know he's got a good chance. i say he can win. >> want to bet? >> well -- >> ha, ha, ha, ha! ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! >> the friendships they had in "taxi" was what was going to get them through, and that's what made it all okay. >> there's only one person you can trust. >> i do trust you, alex!
>> not me, damn it! jim, when will you finally stand up and assert yourself? >> august. >> on that show people from completely different backgrounds created a dysfunctional family. and that to me is always so exciting for comedy because you get to bounce these people off each other. >> and now, here's arlene! [ laughter ] >> much like "taxi," wkrp is a staff of working people who are doing their best and not always the best is coming from it. ♪ cincinnati wkrp ♪ >> this is rock bottom. >> "wkrp" was about a very low-rated station. >> what about this station's traffic helicopter? >> we don't have one. >> so why do we have helicopter reports? >> well, that's just me. see, i get on the air and then i do this. [ helicopter noise ] the traffic today is light. >> the workplace is a wonderful setting for so many comedies because it's a refuge.
you get away from your kids. you get away from your wife. >> the moon is high. [ gong ] and so am i. >> you're in this little environment with people that you get to know probably a little closer than you should know. and out of that's going to come conflicts. >> i don't take dictation. >> i don't know how jennifer ended up as the receptionist. >> why don't you get coffee for all the guys here? >> i don't get coffee, mr. carlson. we agreed. >> my mother was a '50s housewife, so she was not in a workplace. >> will there be anything else i can do? >> jennifer marlowe was so popular because girls are going like yeah, you can be just as cute as you want to be and be smart and you don't have to do what you don't want. >> thank you. >> oh, no, thank you. >> how did she get away with that? >> are you kidding? >> i loved "wkrp in cincinnati." that turkey episode is one of
the funniest things i've ever seen in my life. >> herb, you're in charge of getting those turkeys. >> every thanksgiving wherever i am in the world somebody will bring up turkeys away. >> it's a classic. >> something just came out of the back of the helicopter. it's a dark object. oh my god, they're turkeys! can you get this? >> they are trying to do a special event for thanksgiving and they drop live turkeys out of a helicopter. >> i don't know how much longer. the child is running for their lives. >> turkeys are exploding all over the parking lot. >> not since the hindenberg tragedy has there been anything like this. i don't know how much longer i can hold my position here, johnny. the crowd -- [ laughter ] >> no one knew it was going to become an iconic episode of television. >> people yell it to me at the airport. >> god as my witness. >> as god is my witness. >> as god is my witness.
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>> i will do my best to serve the court and this nation. >> and so the networks' mantra became you target the upscale professional woman. and market researchers found that women really responded positively to men performing domestic tasks. ♪ >> tony micelli, i'm here about the job. >> oh, sorry, there must be a mistake. this job is for a housekeeper. >> that's me, mr. good mop. >> angela, career woman extraordinaire, advertising executive, and tony danza plays tony micelli, the failed professional baseball player. >> do you know this is the best sauce i have ever tasted. >> it's soup, angela. >> domestic labor becomes recognized as such when men perform it. whereas when women perform it it's just, you know, the duties of love that you undertake as a wife and a mother. >> tony, you are the housekeeper and this is part of the house. now, the private chamber may be
mine, but the dust is yours. >> "who's the boss" was a huge hit. it was a groundbreaking show in that the woman is the one who's really wearing the pants. >> morning, wallace & mcquaid. >> listen to the way she does that, sam. that's why they made her the president. >> so angela is an advertising executive on "who's the boss?" elyse keaton on "family ties" is an architect. they have knees really professional upscale careers rather than just jobs. those are really powerful fantasies for women in the '80s. >> as a travel agent, i like to think i'm a little cog in a big machine. a very little cog. >> in 1986 linda bloodworth-thomason went to cbs and she said i just want to say what all women are really about, opinionated and successful when given opportunities. >> linda bloodworth-thomason wrote for "mash," "rhoda," and then created an all-female
version of the workplace comedy that we had not seen before. ♪ >> i'm going to do what i always wanted to do, start my own decorating business. and no matter how many overwrought tight-fisted bankers wail and gnash their teeth i have no intention of going under. >> it was a great cast and great writing. >> i can't seem to find any of my alimony chokes. i think you misplaced them. >> well, excuse me. but they're right here where they always are in order of alphabetical husbands. >> i loved the outrageousness of those characters. >> if sex were fast food, there would be an arch over your bed. >> but they had an intelligence, which was refreshing to see on television. >> y'all watching? we're just about to vote. >> in 1991 "designing women" takes on the clarence thomas hearings with anita hill.
>> i deny each and every single allegation against me today. >> they were tackling the me too movement before there was a name for it. >> this man does not belong on the supreme court. he belongs in the national repertory theater. >> we were at a point in history where women felt like they had some power and i thought i'd create this show around a woman who was a force of nature in a workplace that had traditionally been a man's world. and that's very different from what you could have written in the early 1970s. >> i'm connie chung in new york. >> i'm barbara walters. >> i'm murphy brown. ♪ >> i remember pitching the show in a very cold room in the cbs building and when i got to the point where she had just come
back from betty ford -- >> hi, everybody. >> -- you could hear the brakes screeching in the room. >> you were fondling it while i was gone. >> they said couldn't she be 30 and played by heather locklear? and i explained why when you shave down the rough edges of the character you bland them out and this is why maybe you haven't had a hit for seven years. so. >> murphy was defined by being excellent in her career. >> the justice department shut you down on 15 counts of fraud. they said you swindled $10 million from unsuspected investors. >> and she didn't care what people thought of her. >> you're the most bullheaded person i've ever met. >> and you're elitist. >> you always have to make a point, don't you? >> yes, i do. and here's another point. >> murphy brown hit big and drew 20 to 25 million viewers a week. >> and murphy had a baby.
>> if i don't come up with a name for him in, say, a year is that a very bad thing? >> she's a single working mother. >> it got under people's skin. >> with the california primary two weeks away, vice president quayle blamed the break down of american families in part on the program "murphy brown." >> bearing babies irresponsibly is simply wrong. >> and i just thought i'm trading one liners with the vice president of the united states. >> in a recent speech, vice president quayle used me as an example of the poverty of values in this country. >> diane english and linda bloodworth-thomason changed the game. female show runners in a totally male-dominated industry. their shows were breakthrough. >> we could choose to blame the media or the congress or an administration that's been in power for 12 years or we could blame me. [ laughter ]
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the er... twice. and all the places this guy runs off to. like jeff's, a life well lived should continue at home. home instead offers customized services from personal care to memory care, so older adults can stay home, stay safe, and stay happy. home instead. to us, it's personal. do you have any idea what time we'll get out of here? >> this is michael scott, scranton. well, we don't want to work. it's not fair to these people! these people are my friends and i care about them! >> from the 1990s, we're
definitely working more than ever before and as a result of that you start to see more workplace settings than might have been possible previously. >> we're a superstar short. did we have any luck on jim carrey? >> we never let him plug "ace ventura". >> in 1992, larry sanders on hbo broke the rules in terms of workplace comedy. >> hey, i think that's warren beatty in the parking lot. >> the larry sanders show is probably the most realistic show ever written about television. >> listen, how would you like to come on my show tomorrow night and just say a little goodbye to me? you know it's the end of the whole thing tomorrow night. >> good-bye. >> capturing how broken and low functioning the people are. >> it's a little unethical, don't you think? >> unethical? don't start pulling at that thread. our whole world will unravel. >> thanks for the upbeat talk before the monologue, artie. >> mary tyler moore didn't work in a newsroom.
bob newhart wasn'ta psychiatrist. but garry had been a talk show host. >> see you tomorrow night. sleep well. remember, we'll all be sleeping at the same time. >> i think he signaled you could mine your life and make a show out of that. >> so what do i do now? >> just pretend like you're talking to me till we're off the air so it won't seem weird. >> okay. >> "the larry sanders show" really gave hbo their voice. but that was on pay cable. >> on network television we'd spent ten years doing these hangout shows. and eventually everyone realized like there's not going to be another "friends." and so we kind of returned to this notion they're hanging out because they work together, they don't have a choice. ♪ i can't do this all on my own ♪ >> by the time you get to the 2000s, "scrubs" is a good example of that trend. ♪ i'm no superman ♪ >> my pitch was a broad silly comedy. ♪ >> a brother finally can
breathe. >> and you're inside of a young doctor's head. >> death is always hanging around this hospital. >> morning. >> "mash" was obviously an influence on me because i was drawn to comedy that somehow was still about something. >> this isn't really what i expected, you know? most of my patients are checked out mentally. >> pumpkin? that's modern medicine. >> advances that keep people alive who should have died a long time ago. back when they lost what made them people. for the love of god. what? >> do you think we should be talking about it in front of her? >> her? she's dead. >> then in the early 2000s there was this hunger to reinvent the network sitcom and nbc decided to take a chance on a uk hit called "the office." >> there's good news and bad news. the bad news is some of you will lose your jobs.
yeah. yeah. i know. i know. gutting. >> i was so impressed by that show. this is nothing like anything on tv right now. >> the good news is i've been promoted. >> i had this dream that i was on this comedy court and they were all taking me to task for ruining the british show. ♪ >> and greg daniels was like hey, you like the english "office," let's stay close to their pilot. >> this is from corporate. how many times have i told you there's a special filing cabinet -- >> how many times have i told you there's a special filing cabinet -- >> the waste paper basket. >> it's called the waste paper basket. >> i mean, there are so many reasons for it to have failed. mockumentary, weird-looking actors. you know, but -- anyway, are we rolling? >> so the first season ends.
no one likes it. ironically a lot of the reviews said it hews too close to the british show. >> then big thing was okay, now we're going to write all our own stories. and i was like i want michael to be very optimistic. his intentions had to be good even when he was doing terrible things. >> nobody leaves until we work this out. cage match. >> cage matches? yeah, they work. how could they not work? if they didn't work, everybody would still be in the cage. >> the american show is just less cynical. >> do i have a special someone? well, yeah, of course. a bunch of them. my employees. >> i wrote a christmas episode where michael had bought ryan a video ipod, which had just come out. >> whoa. wow. geez. >> about four days later, apple announces that it has made content deals with nbc. >> i'd like to just show you the tv show here. this is an episode from "the office."
>> no! >> you'll thank me later. >> the first episode back was the highest rated episode because everybody had spent weeks doing nothing but watching "the office" on their video ipods. >> and this was astounding to the people at nbc. these are high school and college kids watching the show in droves and they've never set foot in an office. >> and eventually, i realized, okay, well this is because this is their experience in school. >> everything dwight does annoys me. >> did you get your tickets? >> to what? >> the gun show. >> you know, they're put at a desk next to another kid who they may or may not like. that must be what they're identifying with. >> i manage my department and i've been doing that for several years now and god, i've learned a lot of life lessons along the way. >> your department's just you, right?
>> yes, jim, but i'm not easy to manage. >> it was the biggest sitcom on nbc, and nbc was really sold on these quirky workplace sitcoms. ♪ >> with "30 rock" i wanted to see how far we could push a premise that you can trace back to "mary tyler moore." and the first version of it i pitched was set in a news environment. and nbc passed on it and said no, write more of what you know. >> we were there at "30 rock" we were there at "snl." we knew what went on in the office. >> let's get into the first commercial parody. we were trying to think of a funnier cereal name. the favorite options so far include honey bunches of sadness, oat bung and swastikos. >> fruit lupus. >> fart nuggets. >> "30 rock" is about a woman who ends up being a kind of a
caretaker for an egomaniacal performer. >> your job is to protect me from embarrassment. >> had to go to the optometrist. >> and her mentor who tries to teach her how to live. >> i can't fire rosemary. >> yes, you can. it's easy. observe. jonathan, you're fired. >> the workplace setting is great for comedy because you have all kinds of different people. >> listen. i understand this is tough for you. okay? but what did i tell you? >> not to freak out. >> right. and what else? >> stop falling in love with gay guys? >> anybody, who worked in a regular office could relate. >> well, i am the one that always has to clean up the mess afterwards. >> that's why my job is way better than yours.
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do you like joe biden? >> uh-huh. >> he is on my celebrity sex list. >> trust me, you can do better than joe. >> oh, no, i don't think i can. >> in the summer of 2008, economy had collapsed. barack obama was running for president, and the government was going to be playing a much more active role in people's lives. >> parks and rec is actually called public service, at one point. we like the idea of going for a boring title, like "the office." >> we are just taking the
template of the office but the office takes place in one of three rooms in the same, dreary building. and suddenly it was like, well, now, the world's our oyster. >> here we go. okay. wake up. here we go. out of the slide. >> leslie knope was very optimistic but she really had big ambitions, which was good for comedy. >> we did it. i like to tell people, you know, get onboard and buckle up because my ride's gonna be a big one. and leslie's stopping for no one. >> we thought it was important for the main character to be a woman because we wanted it to really be a show about a trailblazer, in many ways. >> oh, excuse me, ma'am. do you mind if i borrow your hat? i just want to throw it up in the air, victoriously. >> it was a realistic look at a fictional version of an experience we've all had because there were people of all different shapes and sizes and -- and ethnicities, all, mingling together. >> you have qualified for the management-training seminar. >> can you get me out of it?
>> yes. >> normally, if given a choice between doing something and nothing, i'd choose to do nothing. but i will do something, if it helps someone else do nothing. >> when "parks and rec" ended, dan gore and i landed on a joint respect for barney miller and the reason was that most life, as an officer, is not chasing bad guys through the streets. it's sitting around in the precinct and killing time because it's an office. >> what the hell's going on around here? >> fire extinguisher roller chair derby? >> okay. >> and go! >> the show started off, as -- as pretty silly. but one of the tricky things about a show lasting for a really long time is that attitudes change. and in this case, there was no version of telling a bunch of stories about a police precinct that could run from all of the issues about policing that the whole country is talking about. >> i got stopped by a cop last night. >> stopped for what?
>> stopped for walking. >> that makes zero sense unless -- >> put your hands on your head. turn around. don't make any sudden movements. >> i didn't do anything. >> it is a remarkable achievement to take a social issue, that is so serious. something, like racial profiling. and not only find the humor in it, but find the humanity in it. >> right outside my home. >> i can't believe this. i mean, nothing like that has ever happened to me and i've done some pretty suspicious things in the street. >> hey, hey, what are you doing? >> i am just playing a prank on my buddy. >> sounds fun. carry on. >> after the re-election of president obama, there was no longer much room for hope in politics, as much as there was division. which meant it was the perfect time for a show like "veep." >> i cannot [ bleep ] believe how terrible you are at your job. >> what are you running on a platform of how your taxes and -- >> if a bomb went off in that white house, i wouldn't care. those are the worst people on earth.
>> where were you, amy, by the way? where were you? >> you said you had it covered. >> no, i didn't have it covered and it's your job to know that if i say i have it covered, i don't have it covered and you covered me. >> i think we love workplace sitcoms because we identify with them with even these unlikable people, in this unlikable world. >> well, they seem very excited about the possibility of a woman becoming president. >> not necessarily you. >> every generation gets the political satire it deserves. and "veep" is ours. but it's tough to compete with reality. you know, of the trump administration. >> billy joel is gonna sing so you guys have to stop the recount. >> any show that's about a -- a workplace or a group of people, they, eventually, migrate into, well, who is the dad? who is the mom? who is the crazy uncle? they kind of fit into a family's circumstance. >> i mean, anywhere can be a workplace.
>> morning. morning. >> morning. >> you do realize i'm lost, right? >> oh, it's this way, sir. >> and it can be an american coach being dropped into a british premiere league football team. >> boots. >> hmm? >> they call cleats boots. >> the workplace is endlessly fertile. yeah. >> reflecting society. reflecting all of our faults. and yet, being able to laugh at ourselves. >> whether it's 30 rock doing a tv show or on a moon base. >> do not take off your seatbelt. >> i forgot about my bird. >> oh, my god. i will feed your bird. >> these workplace comedies. they hit us in a -- in a very deep place. >> next stop, the moon.
here we go. pivot! pivot! pivot! pivot! >> shut up! shut up! shut up! >> i feel like we get to know these sitcom characters. they are your friends. >> i don't think it's gonna pivot, anymore. >> ya think? >> they were purely selfish and purely immature. >> are you still master of your domain? >> you hope that you'll have those kinds of relationships in your life. >> tonight is about celebrating our enduring bond, as friends. >> good to see you, too, girl. where you going? carnival? >> your friends, sometimes, that's more family than the people that you're related to. >> something's bothering you. >> i've never been happier