Madeline Gearheart | May 8, 2018
Can You Guess Your State’s Favorite Sitcom from the ’90s?
The sitcom is a dated art form—but that doesn’t stop America from gobbling it up. Deadpan, laugh tracks, and family feuds still show up in many of our TV choices, thanks to our collective nostalgia for the 1990s.
Read on to learn more about your state’s favorite ’90s sitcom, look at common TV trends of the time, and maybe come up with some of your own theories on why we can’t get enough of the scrunchie era.
Top ’90s Sitcoms and the States that Love Them
The National Favorite: Friends (1994–2004)
This sitcom gets the most love from the Midwest, with 6 states there claiming it as their favorite—more states than the runner-up got altogether—and 7 other states from the West, New England, the Pacific, and the South (in that order).
Maybe the friendly spats and love-life woes are universal enough for everyone to plug into. On the other hand, maybe the glamorous NYC life is a great escape for troubled times. Or, maybe it all comes down to Jennifer Aniston’s gorgeous hair.
Who can say? There are a lot of theories.
Runner-Up: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1989–1996)
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air gets the most buzz in Maryland and DC, just a hundred miles or so from the West Philadelphia neighborhood where Will was shootin’ b-ball outside of the school.
This sitcom is also the favorite in three Southern states—Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Perhaps the show held and still holds special appeal in the South for its portrayal of black Americans from both inner-city and upper-crust backgrounds.
Shows with 3 State Votes
That ’70s Show (1998–2006)
Set in the ’70s, filmed in the ’90s, and still gaining popularity in the ’10s, this sitcom just keeps looping back around the Circle.
Since 2011, around when the series was released on DVD, That ’70s Show has seen rising interest nationwide. One of the gang’s most loyal followers is Wisconsin, the home state of the show’s fictional suburb, Point Place.
Everybody Loves Raymond (1997–2005)
Ray Barone may care about only his mother’s opinion, but he’s had three loyal states backing him since the finale anyway.
The King of Queens (1998–2007)
Like Friends, this NYC-based sitcom has the most supporters in the Midwest. Kevin technically got the last word, though—his was the last of the live-action ’90s sitcoms to finish its run.
Frasier gets some geographical love from its home state of Washington. Maybe because no one else can stomach the pompous Doctors Crane.
Saved by the Bell (1989–1992)
Dreamy Zack and the rest of the popular kids grew up near LA, but this sitcom’s biggest fans are all in the South, where Lisa Turtle’s Lark Voorhies grew up.
The Simpsons (1989– )
In a state known for the TV and movie business, The Simpsons has stayed a hotter topic in California than every live-action sitcom that launched acting careers. D’oh!
Shows with 2 State Votes
The Nanny (1993–1999)
This sitcom is the favorite in Florida and Louisiana. Maybe Fran’s Jewish fanbase brought their fandom along when they retired to the South.
This favorite sitcom’s biggest fans are Massachusetts (writer Spike Feresten is from Fall River) and—drumroll, please—New York, the home state of the ubiquitous NYC setting.
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996–2003)
New Mexico seems the opposite of Massachusetts in almost every way, but that doesn’t stop the state from fangirling for Sabrina.
Shows with 1 State Vote
3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001)
If you’re listening, Big Giant Head, Utah could be a good place to put down roots. They like you and may already have a place for you to stay.
Boy Meets World (1993–2000)
Rhode Island is still answering the Mr. Feeeeeeeeny call nearly 20 years later.
The Drew Carey Show (1995–2004)
Ten years after the series finale, Ohio still follows their hometown hero, Drew Carey.
Family Matters (1989–1998)
Yes, Urkel. You did that. Especially in Mississippi.
Full House (1987–1995)
Nevada gives Full House a thumbs-up and a “You got it, dude.”
Home Improvement (1991–1999)
Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor still has a loyal fanbase in North Dakota, where construction is one of the main industries (Data USA).
The protagonist of Roseanne is a working mother in a blue-collar family—not a young adult living impossibly well in New York City. Perhaps that’s why the show still resonates with West Virginia, a state powered by the coal, aluminum, and lumber industries (Data USA).
Step by Step (1991–1997)
Blended families all over the country—especially ones that had more to fight about than the Bradys did in the ’70s—saw themselves represented in this ’90s sitcom.
Will and Grace (1998–2006)
Will Truman and Jack McFarland were among the first LGBTQ sitcom characters to be centered and positively portrayed.
To compile this list, we scanned Ranker.com for the 20 most popular sitcoms that premiered or aired primarily in the 1990s and then compared their search interest from 2004 to the present on Google Trends.
More ’90s Sitcom Trivia and Trends
The ones with autobiographical roots
Eight of the 20 sitcoms on this list feature actors with the same name as the protagonist and an often-similar backstory.
- Roseanne Barr, Jerry Seinfeld, and Drew Carey star in shows named after them or their character.
- Ray Romano is Ray Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond; Kevin James is Kevin Daniels in King of Queens; Fran Drescher is Fran Fine in The Nanny; and Tim Allen is Tim Taylor in Home Improvement.
- Will Smith was born and raised in West Philadelphia and MC’d under the name “the Fresh Prince” before becoming an actor.
The ones that share an actor, setting, or crossover
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt shows up as a child and then teenage actor on Roseanne and 3rd Rock from the Sun; Wayne Knight was a supporting character on both Seinfeld and 3rd Rock from the Sun.
- That ’70s Show and Step by Step are both set in Wisconsin suburbs; The Drew Carey Show and 3rd Rock from the Sun are both set in or near Cleveland, Ohio.
- King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond share characters and crossover episodes.
- Steve Urkel of Family Matters did “the dance” in Step by Step and helped Stephanie Tanner come to terms with her glasses in Full House.
- New York City is the setting for Everybody Loves Raymond (Long Island), King of Queens (Queens), The Nanny (Flushing), Seinfeld, Friends, and Will and Grace.
The ones with recent or upcoming reboots
Nostalgia is good for business.
- In 2014, the Disney Channel rebooted Boy Meets World in the form of Girl Meets World—the story of Cory and Topanga’s daughter, Riley.
- In 2016, Netflix released Fuller House with almost all the original cast, except the Olsen twins.
- In September 2017, NBC premiered a contemporary reboot of Will and Grace with the same characters played by the same actors.
- In March 2018, NBC premiered the contemporary reboot of Roseanne with almost all the original cast.
- In 2018, new episodes of The Simpsons are still being made!
- In 2019, Netflix is slated to release a Sabrina the Teenage Witch prequel with a notably darker tone than the original smart-aleck sitcom.
Catch the reruns! TBS, TV Land, and Hallmark are great places to look for ’90s nostalgia.