Writing a TGIF Family Sitcom

I grew up watching all of the ABC family sitcoms that aired on friday nights, collectively known as TGIF. These included Full House, Perfect Strangers, Step by Step, and Family Matters, amongst many others. Josef Adalian of Vulture.com tracked down five of the writers for these sitcoms and found out what went on behind the scenes.

The onscreen subject matter might have been squeaky-clean, but the writers who worked for TGIF-style sitcoms were just as likely as their more “adult” colleagues to visit some very dark places when pitching ideas for the latest adventures of Balki Bartokomous or Jesse Katsopolis. “It was extremely politically incorrect,” says Alu, who had a Peggy Olson–like transformation from the writers’ secretary at Laverne & Shirley to one of the gang. “It was a bunch of horny, lonely, and sometimes hideous-looking guys. If you were easily offended or if you were thin-skinned, you’d be unhappy. A lot of comedy comes from the extreme, like, ‘What if Larry and Balki woke up in bed together?’ You then pull back from there.”

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