Throughout our extensive years of research done in the field of TV, specifically the sitcom, we have noticed a trend. On average, sitcoms seems to be based in the following locations: New York, Chicago, Southern California, or the New England area.
When we were little, sitting way too close to the TV on Friday nights for TGIF we longed for the one goofy but loving family to be in St. Louis is us! No, the occasional random location like Step by Step‘s Port Washington, Wisconsin or Family Ties‘ Columbus, Ohio settings, we wanted St. Louis (or at least Missouri)!
Well believe it our not there have been a few actual sitcoms based in St. Louis! Here’s the ones we could find with a little info and followed by their introductions:
1. “AfterMASH” 1983-1985
Based in Hannibal, Missouri, it was a spin-off from the hit show MASH, the show was about three of the original MASH characters (Colonel Potter, Klinger and Father Mulcahy) dealing with the hilarity of life after war!
With great plot line like Klinger decorating Colonel Potter’s office to look like it did in Korea, or Klinger escaping from jail to attend the birth of his child and then faking insanity to prevent going back to jail, you can pretty much assume this show was a ratings giant…you would be wrong however. It managed 2 seasons and 31 episodes (though the 31st episode never aired) until finally getting canceled after losing a rating battle with the A-Team.
Here’s their Season 2 theme/intro:
2. “The John Larroquette Show” 1993-1996
Based in St. Louis at a fictitious bus depot, John Hemingway (played by John Larroquette) [Editor’s Note: When actors get older they always play characters that have the same first name as they do. Do older actors just not like getting called by a fake name or what?] who manages said bus depot while having fun with the wacky people that work there and hang around. The cast of characters really set the tone for how awesome St. Louis is. Take for instance Pat, the prostitute in drag and the fact that Hemingway himself got the lovely job in St. Louis only because he was a drunk that lost everything.
Canceled a month in to its fourth season, the show was barely recognizable after many major changes to “lighten up” the darker parts of the comedy.
3. “Grace Under Fire” 1993-1998
Based in the fictitious town of Victory, MO, the show was about a sassy blonde divorcee with her three kids and her abusive alcoholic ex-husband that shows up when they need a “special” episode. Of course there were also the fun, lovable neighbors and, like all good sitcoms, featured a wacky single guy, who in this case was played by Dave Thomas. [Editor’s Note: If you were wondering the “wacky single guy” craft was perfected by David Leisure on “Empty Nest”.]
Despite being one of the last and worst, “successful stand-up comedian gets their own show because it worked for Seinfeld.” shows Grace Under Fire lasted five seasons and 112 episodes, getting it just barely over the syndication hump and providing Brett Butler money for denim dress shirts and blonde hair dye for years to come.
[Editor’s Note: How many people do you think rush to zone-star.com because they saw it plastered in front of the Grace Under Fire intro?]
4. “Mama’s Family” 1983-1990
Pretend like you didn’t watch this! Based in Raytown, Missouri which is apparently just outside of Kansas City, the show was a about a loud, crazy old lady and her family consisting of: Sister Fran, son Vinton, and grandchildren Sonja and Buzz. Because it was a spin-off of a skit on the Carol Burnett Show, when Vicki Lawrence’s, who played “Mama” old lady schtick couldn’t get the job done, they called in reinforcements in the form of Mama’s sisters played by Betty White and Carol Burnett.
Mama’s Family lasted six season and 130 episodes and now it fills the time on the PAX network between Supermarket Sweep episodes.
5. “Malcolm and Eddie” 1996-2000
Set maybe too proudly in Kansas City, and proving that UPN really will make any ole idea in to a TV show, they thought making the black guy version of the odd couple with none other than Malcolm-Jamal Warner, formally Theo on the Cosby Show, and Eddie Griffin, formally of…um…I don’t know…lets say “Meteor Man“. [Editor’s Note: There’s that “I don’t want a fake name any more” thing again!]
What will happen when you take a responsible guy like Malcolm and make him work and live with a free spirit like Eddie?! All kind of crazy antics and four seasons totaling 89 episodes…wait what?! Four seasons?! How the hell does that happen? Oh right, UPN.
6. “On Our Own” 1994-1995
Located in St. Louis and the only show on our little list that shows any St. Louis landmarks in their opening theme, “On Our Own” featured seven siblings living together in the North St. Louis O’Fallon Park neighborhood. After losing their parents, they are on their own [Editor’s Note: Ah, I get it now.] being raised by the oldest brother Josh.
The show appeared on ABC’s TGIF and stared six real life siblings which shockingly weren’t Wayans. You might recognize the youngest sibling who played Michelle’s token black friend on later seasons of Full House.
Early episodes revolved around Josh dressing the drag to pretend to be the family’s Aunt to avoid getting the kids split up. Despite their case worker seeing through their elaborate scheme, she allows them to stay a family, which allowed the show to continue on for a whole 20 episodes!
On a personal note, this show had the best horrible opening theme ever, which each of the characters dancing in front of a seemingly random video, and you can check it out right here:
Thats the list! Did we miss any? Are you shocked that someone had uploaded the opening credits of afterMASH and On Our Own to YouTube? Let us know what you think in the comments.