Do you miss the class sitcoms? Don’t you find them to be more charming, funny, and even innocent compared to many of the shows today?
You certainly feel like you’re traveling back in time when you watch a classic American sitcom from the 1950s and 1960s. It seemed like you were witnessing an America which was more idyllic and innocent. While this might not have been accurate, it represented an America that many people long for.
But somewhere along the line, even these shows became less innocent. One of the biggest culture shocks was when we saw classic sitcom couples sleep in the same bed for the first time!
Join FactsVerse to learn about the classic sitcom couples who were the first to sleep in the same bed…
MARY KAY AND JOHNNY
It’s likely that you haven’t seen this sitcom before as it was one of the earliest sitcoms ever.
Well, actually, it’s the first sitcom ever released! This sitcom showed a married couple sleeping in a bed together. While this might have been a huge scandal in the 1940s when it released. You have to remember that few Americans owned television sets during that era.
As a result, very few Americans watched this show and it didn’t cause much a stir around the country. However, as the 1950s approached, television sets were becoming more popular and the TV sitcom was also becoming more popular.
These American sitcoms became so powerful that many Americans, then and now. It felt that they were an exact representation of the culture and mores of life in the United States at the time.
As one could expect, once we saw our favorite sitcom couples sleeping together in the same bed, it caused quite a stir…
Before we tell you more about each of the classic sitcom couples who were the first to sleep in the same bed. Please like this video and subscribe to FactsVerse for more pop culture stories and fun facts. Now, back to the video…
LUCY AND DESI
Without a doubt, Lucy and Desi were one of the best on-screen couples of their time – perhaps of all time! The show wasn’t afraid to show their loving relationship but still had its limits. For many episodes, the writers had to find a way to subtly explain that Lucy was pregnant without using the actual word itself!
Yet, we finally saw them in bed together in an episode called “First Stop”. And which premiered in 1955 – four years after I Love Lucy premiered.
This did cause some shock to viewers but it didn’t really cause harm to the show. Eventually, we got used to watching classic sitcom couples in bed. But Lucy and Desi still took a huge risk to showing a couple in bed. And while America was still in a conservative culture.
FRED AND WILMA
By the 1960s, Americans were getting more used to seeing their favorite on screen couples sleeping in bed together. Fred and Wilma from The Flintstones became one of the most popular on-screen couples who were in bed together. In fact, perhaps due to the fact that this was an animated series, many Americans feel that Fred and Wilma were actually the first couple to lie in bed together.
While this didn’t cause much of a controversy, it must have irked a few Americans who must have felt it was inappropriate to see cartoon characters lying in bed together. This was of course generations before more explicit cartoons would reach our TV screens.
HERMAN AND LILY MUNSTER
While on the surface, The Munsters may have looked horrific, they were indeed a loving family. Herman and Lily Munster were a loving couple and were one of the early sitcom couples to sleep in the same bed.
They were first shown sleeping together in the episode “Autumn Croakus” which released in 1964. Yvonne DeCarlo, who played Lily Munster, was a sex symbol and The Munsters was a new venture in her career. Bringing her attention to a new legion of fans. To these new fans, she was once again a sex symbol from the show.
Herman and Lily Munster might have been an odd couple. But Americans had no problem by then seeing them in bed together. Join FactsVerse to learn about the classic sitcom couples who were the first to sleep in the same bed
THE BRADY BUNCH
The Brady Bunch was a family-friendly show that mainly focused on the kids. But, of course, the story was about a couple who met up and fell in love and decided to join their families together.
So, it’s only appropriate that there were a few romantic scenes between Mike and Carol Brady correct? There were quite a few scenes with the couple together in bed. By the mid-1960s, American audiences were less prudish about seeing their favorite couples sleeping in bed together.
But it wasn’t because of the changing values that The Brady Bunch had so many scenes between Mike and Carol in bed together. Since labor laws don’t permit children to work for too long, the show’s creators had to include many long scenes featuring Mike and Carol. Join FactsVerse to learn about the classic sitcom couples who were the first to sleep in the same bed
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?
Now let’s go a bit back in time to see why it was such a big deal for sitcoms to show couples lying in bed together. By the time we saw Mike and Carol Brady in bed together, Americans got over the initial shock of seeing their favorite sitcom couples together.
And today, one can hardly imagine anyone getting upset at seeing a couple sleeping in the same bed.
But one has to remember that American television has always had a board of overseers who governed what was appropriate for Americans to watch. Unlike cinema, which also had to conform to strict censorship laws at one time, television was accessible to every American. Television sitcoms especially were what many American families enjoyed watching as they gathered around the living room to eat dinner.
As a result, these sitcoms were highly influential to American children and even adults! The Broadcast Standards and Practices was a governing board that had a hand in deciding what material was too risqué or even obscene to show.
In The Dick Van Dyke show, Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore played a married couple – Rob and Laura. The show’s creator, Carl Reiner, wanted to show the couple sleeping in a double bed together. And it is as one would expect from a married couple. Yet, The Broadcast Standards and Practices didn’t allow this.
But why? After all, we had already seen on-screen couples lying in bed together so why couldn’t we see the same for Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore? It’s because they weren’t a married couple in real life. And which was the case for Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns and of course Lucy and Desi Arnaz.
Eventually, Carl Reiner relented, and the show continued without showing the couple in bed. Nevertheless, show producers would fight to show what they wanted on scree. And not afraid to challenge the attitudes of the broadcast overseers.
Some battles won, while others were lost. But the simple imagery on sitcom couples who were among the first to sleep in the same bed is an important part in the battle for free speech. And also the fight against censorship in American entertainment.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CENSORSHIP IN AMERICAN FILM AND TELEVISION
While the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects freedom of speech, Americans have had to fight for this fundamental value throughout the country’s history. The censorship of American films and TV shows have been a small but crucial footnote in these battles.
As there was little censorship in American film for much of the early 20th century. There were filmmakers who weren’t afraid to challenge the social attitudes of the time. Many concerned Americans worried that this new popular medium would negatively influence the population.
Will Hays was a politician and was the Postmaster General. He later became the President of the Motion Picture Association of America and create the Production Code. This code would later become known as the ‘Hays Code.’
This code set strict rules on what could and couldn’t be shown in an American film. This was intended to rid American and even foreign films of supposed obscene content that could negatively influence the population.
This included showing excessive violence, nudity, sexuality, scenes of childbirth, illegal drug dealing, mocking members of the clergy, mocking the American Flag, mocking other nations, mocking any religion, showing sympathy for criminals, showing rape or attempted rape scenes, mocking the institution of marriage, depicting prostitution, and one night stands – to name a few!
The Hays Code was eventually ended in 1968 though it’s influenced had waned during that decade. This was replaced by the ratings system which didn’t censor films but encouraged them to cut certain content. And to get a more favorable rating that cinemas wouldn’t hesitate to show.
With such a stringent code on cinema, one can’t be surprised that this moralistic attitude went to television – which soon became a more popular medium. Even today, the FCC highly monitors what’s on American television. While tastes have changed and the American sitcoms of the 1970s did a lot to challenge the cultural mores of the time. Many TV creators have to fight to show what they wish in their sitcoms.
With independent cinema, premium TV channels, and now streaming services, we now have more opportunities to create the content we wish. We have less censorship and can show many things that the Hays Code or the Broadcast Standards and Practices simply wouldn’t have allowed.
But nonetheless, censorship and the pressure to not show certain things on television, films, or online videos is still a battle that has to be fought…
Are you a fan of any of these sitcoms?
Now, here’s what we’d like to know from you:
Do you miss the days when American shows displayed a more conservative attitude? Or have times moved on and shows should reflect the current values and mores?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
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