Behind Closed Doors: 30 Juicy Behind-the-Scenes Stories of 1980s Sitcom Stars

By Sarah Norman | August 29, 2023

Tom Hanks And Peter Scolari Went Off-Script Constantly On 'Bosom Buddies'

If you were a fan of sitcoms in the 1980s, then you may have thought you knew everything there was to know about your favorite shows and their stars. But behind the scenes, there were stories of drama, conflict, and fascinating moments that you never got to see on the screen. From Full House to Night Court, Moonlighting to Family Matters, Dallas to Dynasty, and The Golden Girls, this gallery takes a deep dive into the stories and secrets of the stars of these beloved shows. Get ready to discover the behind-the-scenes drama that made these shows must-see TV, and learn about the juicy tidbits that even the most die-hard fans may not know. Keep reading to uncover the hidden stories of your favorite sitcom stars from the 1980s.

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Back in 1980, Tom Hanks was a relatively unknown actor with only a handful of film and television credits to his name. Despite this, he secured the role of Kip Wilson in the new ABC sitcom Bosom Buddies, which later catapulted him to fame. Over the course of his career, Hanks has starred in numerous box-office hits and has been nominated for six Academy Awards for best lead actor, winning twice.

Bosom Buddies was a sitcom that focused on two young men, played by Hanks and co-star Peter Scolari, who were trying to establish themselves in the advertising industry. To make ends meet, they were forced to reside in an all-women hotel and cross-dress as women. Although the show was canceled after just two seasons, it helped to solidify Hanks' career in the entertainment industry. Furthermore, Hanks and Scolari developed a close friendship while working on the show.

In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! following Scolari's passing in 2021, Hanks noted that the two stars improvised all over the place on Bosom Buddies, much to the chagrin of the people behind the camera:

We had to stay on the set and say every line over and over and over again, so we started... monkeying around with the script and playing around with props and whatnot, and the directors were up in a booth... We’d always hear on the studio talkback, 'Hey, guys? ... Are you going to say that?' 'We might!' 'But it’s not in the script.' 'Yeah, but... if it works, it works, right?' ... 'Can you give us a moment?' 'Yeah, sure. Go ahead.' And then we’d come up with something else. And then they’d come back again and say, 'Wait, wait, wait. We just figured out the one thing you’re gonna do. Are you gonna do that, too?' 'We might!'

Christina Applegate Initially Turned Down 'Married... with Children' Because She Thought The Script Was 'Disgusting'

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Christina Applegate rose to fame on the Fox sitcom Married... with Children, where she played the role of Kelly Bundy as a teenager. In an interview on The Rich Eisen Show, Applegate revealed that she was initially approached to be part of the show's pilot when she was just 15 years old. Despite her interest in pursuing dramatic acting, she eventually took on the role that catapulted her to television stardom. She explained:

I did not want to do the show. At that time, I was on a drama series and I thought [the pilot script] was disgusting. I wouldn't even audition for it. And then they went ahead and shot a pilot with two other kids. And, for whatever reason, the chemistry just didn't work and they came back to me and said, 'Would you please come in?' and I was like, 'No.' And they sent me the pilot. My mom and I did not want to like it, and we turned it on and we were stifling laughing. So I thought I'd go in. But I'd never done comedy before... I know my mom said to [Ed O'Neil] on day one, 'Look, Christina is not very good at comedy. Will you help her?' And I guess it worked out. Eventually, I figured it out.