How 14 Sitcoms Addressed (Or Ignored) Major World Events

Famous fictional warriors are pretty good at avoiding war.
How 14 Sitcoms Addressed (Or Ignored) Major World Events

Sitcoms were just going about their business, pumping out episodes, then it happened. A major event rocked the world, and became the one and only talking point for the foreseeable future. What do they do? Do they put the blinders on and stay the course, or do they scrap upcoming storylines to give their take on the madness? Those tough decisions needed to be made quickly, and as you’ll see, some tackled the issues head-on, and some said, “Naw, we’re just here for that sweet escapism you all need right now.”

Whether we the audience needed to dive right in or needed a little reprieve, TV provided it all! We could get the zeitgeist’s take for as long as we wanted, then dip over to the fluffy stuff for a palate cleanser. For the deep dives and the fluff, here’s how 14 sitcoms went about tackling (or fully ignoring) major world events.

Did ’Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.’ not mention Vietnam for the perks?

Sitcoms and real world events Gomer Pyle: The U.S. Marine who avoided 'Nam. Because of Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.'s positive portrayal of the military, the show consciously avoided Vietnam War references. Best not to rock the boat, since the show had access to Camp Pendleton's real military gear. CRACKED

CBS Television Distribution


Of course ’South Park’ tackled 9/11.

Sitcoms and real world events South Park killed Osama Bin Laden way before America! Season 5's Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants aired on November 7, 2001, and in classic durka durka fashion, they revealed Bin Laden's microscopic penis and shot him, and blew him up Looney Tunes style. CRACKED

Comedy Central

TV Tropes

’Friends’ lived in a New York City where 9/11 never happened.

Sitcoms and real world events Friends never really acknowledged 9/11. Feeling that they were comfort food, they never mention the attacks. The Season 8 premiere, which aired on September 27, 2001, was dedicated to The people of New York City. CRACKED

Warner Bros. Television

Digital Spy

’The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ mentions “The Pill.”

Sitcoms and real world events The Mary Tyler Moore Show hilariously echoed a Supreme Court decision. In 1972, the same year that birth control was made available to all unmarried women, Mary's mother shouts, Don't forget to take your pill, and Mary and her father both respond, I won't! Her embarrassed look is a TV moment for the ages. CRACKED


Trivia Genius

’The Conners’ prove you can be fun and socially responsible.

Sitcoms and real world events The Conners take COVID seriously. Praised for viewing COVID as objectively real and dangerous, the premiere of Season 3 jokes about the new world, but adheres to the six-foot rule and slops on the sanitizer. CRACKED



Producers felt the “working poor” characters on ’Shameless’ had to address COVID.

Sitcoms and real world events COVID themes got mixed reviews in Shameless. Producer John Wells rewrote the final season to incorporate the pandemic, saying, It's impossible to do a satirical comedy about the working poor without addressing what happened. As for that being a good thing, the reviews are mixed. CRACKED

Warner Bros. Television Distribution,
CBS Television Distribution

The Hollywood Reporter
TV Insider

The entire ’Rescue Me’ series is set in post 9/11 New York City.

Sitcoms and real world events Rescue Me expertly captured a post-9/11 world. Created by Denis Leary in 2004, his veteran New York firefighter character Tommy Gavin deals with the loss of his best friend and other colleagues who died on 9/11. The show was praised for its portrayal. CRACKED

Sony Pictures Television,
20th Television

The Week

Chuck Lorre didn’t want his CBS hit ’Mom’ to mention COVID.

Sitcoms and real world events Mom stands by her decision. Chuck Lorre chose not to touch on COVID in any of his five CBS productions. Не didn't want the eighth and final season of Mom to go out on a COVID note, and said, I don't know if it's the right call, but it's the call we made. CRACKED

Warner Bros. Television

USA Today

Critics thought 1968’s ’Julia’ could’ve done more for Civil Rights.

Sitcoms and real world events Julia thought representation was enough. In 1968, NBC aired the first show starring an African-American woman. Although it did showcase a woman of color, it was criticized for steering clear of any associations with Civil Rights activism. CRACKED

20th Television

Smithsonian Magazine

’Major Dad’ dropped everything to address the Gulf War.

Sitcoms and real world events Major Dad hit the Gulf War head on. Since the show was about a U.S. Marine and his family, with six episodes left to film in 1991, they tossed out remaining scripts and began turning out relevant episodes. CRACKED

Universal Television

Los Angeles Times

’The Brady Bunch’ chose to stay apolitical in the 11th hour.

Sitcoms and real world events Mrs. Brady in The Brady Bunch was almost a Vietnam War widow. The war waged for the entirety of the show, but it was never mentioned. The pilot initially mentioned that Carol's husband died in Vietnam, but ABC made her a divorcee to establish an apolitical tone. CRACKED

Paramount Television

Paley Matters

Abishola was the one nurse on the planet who wasn’t affected by COVID.

Sitcoms and real world events Bob Hearts Abishola was thinking long term. Even though Abishola is a nurse, CBS opted out of COVID themes. Producer Chuck Lorre said, If we do shows that are reflective of what's happening right now, it's unlikely that they'll have any value down the road. CRACKED

Warner Bros. Television

USA Today

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