It’s hard to nail down one “golden age” of sitcoms because each decade produces so many quality ones. Most of the best were released in the period from the ‘70s to the ‘90s and are considered classic today.
These shows became so popular that they still spawn a range of fan theories. Viewers have come up with a baffling number of these stories as a way to engage with and provide an alternate perspective on their favorite shows.
Like and subscribe to FactsVerse for more on the surprising explanations they came up with. Watch our video and you’ll agree that these classic sitcom fan theories change everything.
Family Matters Theories
Steve Urkel was meant to be a minor character on Family Matters but became a permanent fixture after positive responses from the audience turned him into a merchandising goldmine. He helped the show become the longest-running American prime-time scripted series until The Simpsons beat its record.
He was also the subject of or at least involved in several fan theories about the show. Fans became so connected to him that they wanted to invent more details about him than the show could provide.
Many fan theories are based on that the idea that a central character made up the entire plot of a show or movie. One of these suggests that the Winslow family is a figment of Steve Urkle’s imagination. He created them as a way to escape his life after his real family locked him in his room after he had one too many accidents. One of these accidents could have resulted in the death of his sister which would explain why a female member of the Winslow family name Judy disappears during the series.
The actual reason for her departure was that the actress who played her, Jaimee Foxworth, asked for a salary increase and was written off the show. Despite this, another fan theory offers an alternate explanation. Urkle was known for crafting inventions, but only 4 of them worked; a transformation chamber, a cloning machine, an UrkPad, and a time machine. This final invention forms the basis of the next theory. In season 8 episode 16, he creates a time machine to take Carl back to the day he moved into the house with Harriet. A note suggesting companies for his past self to invest in messes up the future. They return to the past and believe they’ve fixed everything, but the fan theory suggests that they didn’t. Carl’s youngest’s child Judy disappears after the last episode of Season 4, never to be mentioned again. Fans claim this is the result of the Season 8 episode’s time travel. They accidentally removed her from the timeline and can’t go back to the past to fix it because they no longer remember that she ever existed.
Cheers was a massively popular classic sitcom. It won an impressive 77 Emmys, and its finale was one of the most-watched of all time behind other heavy hitters like MASH. Such a well-known show is bound to get fans thinking of crazy explanations for its stories and characters.
Alternate universes are one of the most popular types of fan theories out there. When it came to Cheers, inconsistencies related to the character of Gary from Gary’s Old Towne Tavern suggest that the show took place in 2 universes at the same time. For one thing, 2 different actors alternated the role but no one acknowledged it. Also, the 6th season episode Bar Wars shows the characters celebrating the 2nd anniversary of winning a bowling game against Gary. This occurs even though the episode took place in late March of 1988 but the 4th season episode From Beer to Eternity where they win the game didn’t air or take place until November of 1985. Another character creates a similar inconsistency; Cliff’s father. He shows up in the 4th season episode The Bar Stoolie where it’s mentioned that he hasn’t seen his son in at least 25 years. However, an episode from the 4th season indicates that he only left the family a few years ago.
Cheers was a relatively happy-go-lucky show, but a fan theory suggests that all the characters were secretly killers. Cliff is a postal worker just like famous serial killer Robert Yale Shulman, Norm is a mob hitman who kills children, Sam was inspired by Ted Bundy, and Frasier and Lilith were based on serial killer couples like Michelle and James Daveggio. At the very least, this would explain why characters like Coach disappeared during the show.
Another theory suggests that Coach wasn’t as braindead as he seemed. His less-than-intelligent comments were actually examples of perfectly crafted sarcasm. If the killer theory is true, he may also have disappeared during the show because he “knew too much.”
There are also fan theories about the Cheers spinoff Frasier. I’m Okay, You’re Defective, the 11th episode of the 10th Season of Cheers, ends with a glimpse into the future where Frederick offers his condolences for the passing of Lilith’s husband. She responds by saying that Fraiser was a good man. Fans suggest that this means that, even though he ends up with Charlotte in the spinoff, he’s destined to eventually return to Lilith and marry her.
Full House Theories
Full House was nearly canceled in its first season but went on to become an essential classic sitcom. It ran for 8 seasons over the course of 8 years and even spawned a Netflix revival called Fuller House. This gave fans plenty of time to fill in the holes about details that were never revealed to us.
One theory suggests that all the characters are actors forced to live out the story. This would explain why it continued to get darker as the seasons progressed; the alleged actors weren’t able to handle living a lie any longer.
Another theory suggests that the plot of Full House is nothing more than the depressed dreams of Danny Tanner. He couldn’t handle the loss of his wife Pam, so he imagined an alternate life that included Michelle, the daughter she would have given birth to if she hadn’t died in a car crash while pregnant.
Full House has also been subjected to another popular type of fan theory; the alternate future theory. One of these connects Full House to How I Met Your Mother. Bob Saget who plays Danny Tanner narrates the future version of Ted, and the characters share personality traits. The fact that he has a boy and a girl and Danny has 3 girls is a minor detail. The absence of a Jesse Kostopolis character can be explained away by the fact that he’s the brother of the deceased wife who viewers wouldn’t meet in an alternate universe. There’s not such a clear explanation for how Joey Gladstone fits in or why Ted moved to San Francisco.
Like and subscribe to FactsVerse for more fan theories that will change how you view your favorite shows and movies. Keep watching for theories about the truth behind other classic sitcoms including Happy Days, The Brady Bunch, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Happy Days Theories
Happy Days made piles of merchandising money, had more catchphrases than any other show, and gave birth to the infamous “jumping the shark” phrase to describe shows that add ridiculous plot points to get higher ratings. It’s also spawned plenty of fan theories that may or may not be a desperate attempt to get more out of the show than it ever intended to give viewers.
The creators of Happy Days never wanted Fonzie to be seen as a common thug, but fan theories suggest that’s exactly how some viewers saw him. They claim that his leather jackets, motorcycle, and cool guy persona may be more than an act. He may have been a mafia member who lived with the Cunninghams as a form of witness protection but killed Ritchie’s brother Chuck when he discovered the truth.
A connecting-two-shows brand of fan theory suggests that Happy Days and That 70’s Show are so similar that they must be part of the same timeline. They were both set in Kenosha, Wisconsin 20 years apart. The fact that one occurs in the city and the other in the suburbs fits in with real-life shits from urban to suburban living in the ’50s and ’60s.
Other Classic Sitcom Fan Theories
Character growth is essential, but some characters change for the worse over the course of a series. This happened in The Brady Bunch, one of the most well-known classic sitcoms of all time. Marcia Brady became more stuck-up and egotistical than ever after Season 4 Episode 14, Love and the Older Man. She develops a crush on her adult dentist who inviters her to babysit for him. She mistakes the invitation as a date and, even though she finds out that he’s married and calls it off, he never tells her that he never meant it as a date. Fans insist that this was the event that made her believe she had a better moral compass than anyone else and sent her personality on a downward spiral for the rest of the series’ 32 episodes.
Characters being dead during or throughout the entire span of a series is another popular genre of fan theory. One suggests that Will Smith of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air died of a gunshot wound back in West Philadelphia. The episode where he gets shot in Bel-Air is an illustration of him dealing with his feelings about it. The Banks family mansion isn’t just a nice place for him to live; it’s a form of purgatory where everyone works out their deep-seated issues until they can leave in the final episode.
Showrunners should see the creation of fan theories as an honor. It means that viewers are so deeply invested in their characters and storylines that they want to make their own stories about them. These alternate explanations have been around since the days of classic sitcoms and include alternate futures, shared or alternate universes, imagined plotlines, dead characters, and more.
Which of the fan theories we mentioned seems the most believable to you? Let us know in the comments below. Like and subscribe to FactsVerse for more shocking details about your favorite classic sitcoms.