True, this show ended more than a decade before I was born, but it’s basically the original roommate sitcom. Felix Unger (Tony Randall) and Oscar Madison (Jack Klugman) are two divorced men who decide to share an apartment. However beyond their martial status, the “couple” share little else — at the most basic level Felix is extremely neat while Oscar is sloppy.
Jack Tripper, Janet Wood, and Chrissy Snow (Three’s Company, 1977)
A trio of roommates once again bending the rules to make a living situation work, Three’s Company hinged on Jack Tripper (played by John Ritter) living with two women, Janet and Chrissy. The problem was the landlords, Mr. and Mrs. Roper, wouldn’t stand to have a co-ed apartment in their building, so Janet tells Mr. Roper that Jack is gay. Seasons of comical situations ensue.
Mork and Mindy (Mork & Mindy, 1978)
Mork and Mindy of the eponymous show had to overcome more than the usual differences to become good roommates. Mork, played by a then-unknown Robbin Williams, is an alien from the planet Ork sent down to observe human behavior. Another problem for the two is that Mindy (Pam Dawber) is only 21 in the first season and still living at home, so she stashes Mork in the attic at first. Audiences got to laugh as Mork endlessly struggled to learn about our society. In the final season of the show, Mindy and Mork get married.
Kip/Buffy Wilson and Henry/Hildegard Desmond (Bosom Buddies, 1980)
Before Big and Splash, Tom Hanks had to cross-dress for a part. The premise? When Kip and Henry’s old apartment is literally demolished, their only option is an apartment building for women only. So, like any great young, enterprising duo, they adopt the feminine alter-egos Buffy and Hildegard to get a place.
Larry Appleton and Balki Bartokomous (Perfect Strangers, 1986)
Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker), an aspiring photographer, thinks he’s gotten some long-awaited privacy when he moves into a new apartment in Chicago. But when his distant cousin Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot) drops in to live with him he must learn to get along with his culturally-confused relative. Of course the relationship goes both ways, with Balki’s curiosity helping out the slightly neurotic Larry.
Monica Geller and Rachel Green (Friends, 1994)
Monica (Courteney Cox Arnette) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) have been best friends since high school, so it would only make sense that their friendship would live on in the part of their lives chronicles by a show called Friends. Monic, who can be seen as the mother of the group, compliments Rachel’s more fashionable nature well.
Charlie, Alan and Jake Harper (Two and a Half Men, 2003)
A list of television roommates wouldn’t be complete without the boys of Two and a Half Men. When hedonistic Charlie (Charlie Sheen) takes in his brother Alan (Jon Crier), they make an interesting duo for parenting Alan’s boy Jake (Angus T. Jones). Despite its middlebrow taste, the show is very successful, even after Sheen’s recent string of disruptive behavior — something Charlie’s character on the show mirrors.
Vincent Chase, Eric Murphy, Johnny “Drama” Chase, and Salvatore “Turtle” Assante (Entourage, 2004)
As Vinny and his boys rise in the Hollywood scene over the weekends, their pad(s) get progressively more lavish, but that doesn’t mean they get separate places. Like any good frat house, each of them has their own duties: Turtle drives, Drama cooks, Eric manages, and Vincent makes the money.
Dennis and Mac (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 2005)
At the core of the degenerate gang that somehow “runs” Paddy’s are roommates Dennis and Mac. Yes, Charlie does the dirty work, but what brains the morally deprived, ever-entrepreneurial trio lies with Dennis and Mac, who always seem to complete their impressively delusional sentences and follow each other’s backward logic fearlessly into their next scheme.
Ted Mosby and Marshall Eriksen (How I Met Your Mother, 2005)
For the first three seasons of HIMYM, protagonist Ted Mosby lives with his best friend Marshall, his roommate from college, and Lily, Marshall’s soulmate. Like any successful sitcom, its content is vague — stories of young people in New York. What makes the show unique is that it’s framed as a story told by an older Ted to his children about how he met their mother, whose identity is still a secret from delighted audiences six seasons later.