seinfeld mashi-love-lucy       cheers

The upshot: Sometimes a Mount Rushmore isn't just about what's "best." It can also reflect a measure of respect for groundbreakers, trendsetters, people and things that left their mark on a moment in time. In our Mount Rushmore for sitcoms, we admit a personal bias that, perhaps wrongly, bumps "All in the Family" out a place that was arguably earned by virtue of its groundbreaking nature.
That being said, we're sticking with these four -- at least until there's enough pressure for us to put it to a vote:
  • "I Love Lucy" -- The humor still holds up in syndicated repeats, 60 years later. Set the bar for situation comedies.
  • "M*A*S*H" -- Groundbreaking for its blend of comedy and tragedy. Final episode still ranks among the all-time most watched TV shows.
  • "Cheers" -- Just the smartest, funniest damn writing ever. (Point of disclosure: Our editor has a personal bias in favor of "Cheers." He watches reruns late at night and can recite all the lines. Nerd.)
  • "Seinfeld" -- Jerry Seinfeld and Co. perfected the art of humor that makes you squirm, crafting ingenious comedy moments from some of the smallest ingredients. Our personal favorite? "The Contest." But we won't go into detail here...

Others in the conversation:

All in the Family     |     Mary Tyler Moore
Friends     |     The Honeymooners
The Cosby Show     |     Frasier
Will & Grace     |     The Simpsons

What others are saying: "Christian Science Monitor" published this article featuring the results of a poll in which readers voted on the top 20 sitcoms of all time.