17. The Honeymooners
Air Dates: October 1, 1955–September 22, 1956
Stars: Jackie Gleason, Audrey Meadows, Art Carney, Joyce Randolph
Any man who's ever worked hard for meager earnings while dreaming of bigger things should relate to, as well as feel for, Mr. Ralph Kramden (played by the great Jackie Gleason). The main character on The Honeymooners, Kramden exemplified lower-class unhappiness throughout the classic sitcom's 39 episodes, collecting paychecks as a bus driver before returning home to his humble Brooklyn apartment, where he'd see his wife, Alice (Audrey Meadows), and lovable but often irritating best friend, Ed Norton (Art Carney).
At any given moment, Kramden appeared ready to go postal, and few actors have nailed near-explosion combustibility with Gleason's kind of screen presence and knack for comedic timing. —MB