"Drive" - a hit twice in the 80s. I think it is linked to Live Aid, isn't it. It's a bit above the standard stuff then - it's moving.
Valerie Harper as Rhoda - amazing. I really liked that programme. In the history of American sitcom, there's probably a dozen which are named after one person. But this is the period of Taxi etc, I reckon, when they were churning them out and it seemed pretty good but now it does look like class. They were precursors to Cheers in some ways and Cheers. of course. is one of the giants but there is just something about the 70s stuff. . A part of it actually was how they filmed it. It has a certain look and style. But it was also how America was to a naive British audience which could never contemplate ever going there. The characters. You could identify with them while seeing them as almost ethnically different, Later, there would in American sitcom be greater identification - Big Bang is a good example - but because they felt more universal.
In writing, Rhoda was better than, say, the good enough but brutal Roseanne. It was the 1990s which turned almost everything towards brutal and while there were positives it was in the longer term a downgrade. Some of the 70s stuff didn't even get here. I am desperate for them to release a UK DVD for Chico and the Man and also, I know it's a bit later, Barney Miller which did get here but only briefly and on the TV fringes. Sorry - a ramble but I think the 70s is style, it continues into the 80s which is distinctive in itself visually - I would argue too that Cheers at its best was almost a pinnacle in writing - and then later whatever the greatness of writing - yes, Big Bang, brilliant plus Frasier but what else? - it all looks too real. But it is a muddle this. I haven't really done it justice. Rhoda in her way was more real in our perceptions. Not a little of that was down to Harper herself. There was something reassuringly permanent about her persona.