16. The Abbott and Costello Show
Air Dates: December 1, 1952–May 1, 1954
Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Sidney Fields, Gordon Jones, Joe Besser, Hilary Brooke, Joe Kirk
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello defined the old adage "opposites attract." In terms of their comedic stylings, the two New Jersey natives couldn't be any more different: Abbott was the perennial "straight man," while Costello, one of Hollywood's all-time great physical comedians, was the lovable doofus. And together, they created 52 episodes' worth of situational greatness in The Abbott and Costello Show, a free-spirited series that revolved more around extended routines and gags than plot-driven cohesiveness.
Watching The Abbott and Costello Show is a joyous, easygoing experience. There aren't any life-affirming resolutions or major character arcs—instead, episodes go by with three or so long, punchline-heavy scenes that just end. Abbott and Costello's dedication to laughs over lessons will forever be appreciated. —MB