Every so often, an episode comes along that challenges our ideas of what a TV show can represent. These five milestone moments helped pave the way for television as we know it today.
1. The Jetsons adopt Orbity, TV’s first HIV-positive character (The Jetsons)
Two decades after its original run, The Jetsons returned to television in 1985 with a few significant changes. The most notable change was the addition of a new pet for the family: furry, adorable, HIV-positive Orbity. Though shocking at first for audiences who had never seen a character with HIV on television before, Orbity ultimately proved that shows didn’t have to shy away from the once-taboo subject.
2. The first interracial circumcision (Family Ties)
While circumcision scenes were commonplace in ’80s sitcoms, Family Ties broke all the rules when it showed a black doctor circumcising Michael J. Fox.
3. Kramer marries Rudy Giuliani (Seinfeld)
This classic Kramer escapade was also a landmark LGBT television moment.
4. Archie says “fisting” (All In The Family)
Television changed forever after the unforgettable season-four episode where Archie Bunker said “fisting” directly into the camera and shrugged.
5. The big lawnmower in the shed (Growing Pains)
Producers didn’t think America was ready for it, but they were quickly proven wrong when ratings shot through the roof following the fifth-season premiere in which the Seaver family snuck into their gay neighbors’ shed and built them a bigger lawnmower.