Before Michael J. Fox was Back to the Future's teenaged time traveler, Tom Hanks won multiple Academy Awards for his film work, or the Olsen twins established their fashion empire, they were among the actors who starred in a 1980s sitcom. Now, a conservative yuppie teen (Fox) living with his liberal, ex-hippie parents, a struggling ad man (Hanks) pretending to be a woman in order to rent affordable housing, and a toddler (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) being raised by her widowed father and his two best friends don't have much in common as characters. But that just underscores the diversity of sitcoms in the 1980s.
The decade was definitely big on sitcoms about families, both "conventional" and "unconventional"; for example, in their own way, the four best friends living together in The Golden Girls and the four best friends attending boarding school together in The Facts of Life formed their own kind of "family" units as much as the parent-children groups on shows like Family Ties, Full House, or Married... with Children did. Workplace comedies featuring ensemble casts, such as Cheers, Night Court, and Designing Women, were also big in the 1980s.
But no matter the setting of a show or the topics it explored, pretty much every sitcom in the 1980s likely had interesting behind-the-scenes stories. Some of those stories are explored below.
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Dave Coulier - Uncle Joey On 'Full House' - Introduced Candace Cameron To Her Future Husband Who Had Watched The Sitcom To Learn EnglishPhoto: ABC
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Kim Fields Was So Short That During The First Season Of 'The Facts of Life,' Producers Had Her Wear Roller Skates To Avoid Awkward Camera AnglesPhoto: NBC
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Tom Hanks's And Peter Scolari's Tendency To Go Off-Script Could Frustrate The Producers On 'Bosom Buddies'Photo: ABC