Foot working scenes and situation comedies—they just seem to go together. At least they did for an 8 year time period spanning 1988 to 1996 when viewers watched feet in somebody’s hands during the airing of the most successful sit coms. The programs were especially noteworthy for reflexologists at a time when reflexology was not a well-known practice.
Thirty-four sit coms broadcast on American network television included a foot working scene during a total of 54 episodes. Twenty-nine of the shows succeeded, moving on to at least one additional season. The episodes live on in re-run heaven with showings continuing today.
Stars who found themselves providing the feet or hands during foot working scenes of sit coms include: Ed O’Neill, Katey Sagal, Christine Applegate, Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Tony Shaloub, Rhea Perlman, Mary Lou Henner, Burt Reynolds, Helen Hunt, Paul Reiser, Tim Allen, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Candace Bergen, Betty White Rue McClanahan, John Lithgow, Fran Drescher, Judd Hirsch, Tony D’Anza, Judith Light, Brett Butler, Cybill Shepherd, Jeff Foxworthy, Dabney Coleman.
Situation comedies with foot work scenes or mentions include:
(1988) Roseanne, Who’s the Boss?, Dear John, Eisenhower & Lutz*, (1989) Family Ties, It’s a Living*, (1990) Murphy Brown, The Tracy Ullmann Show, (1991) Cheers, Married with Children, Designing Women, Evening Shade, Alf, (1992) Golden Girls, Mad about You, Inside Herman’s Head, Powers that Be*, (1993) Joe’s Life*, Dave’s World, (1994) Wings, Home Improvement, Friends, Frasier, Coach, Ellen, (1995) Cybill, Grace under Fire, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, Pride and Joy*, Madman of the People*, (1996) The Nanny, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Almost Perfect, Dream on. (*Indicates a program not continuing into a second season)
Many credit the surge in television and movie inclusion of foot working scenes to members of Los Angeles’s Foot Reflexology Awareness Association whose work brought awareness of for reflexology to the Hollywood television and movie community.
Roseanne, Friends and Married with Children
Notable among the thirty-four sit coms with foot working scenes or mentions are Roseanne, Friends and Married with Children.
It was October 21, 1988 and the situation comedy Roseanne was about to come known for something more than chronicling the struggles of a working class family. Husband and wife characters played by Roseanne Barr and John Goodman hit the couch for a foot working scene. It would be the first of fifty-four episodes from twenty-nine successful sit coms over a ten year period to mention to show someone with another’s feet in hand.
Typical to the perennially bickering couple, Roseanne and Dan argue about who will work on whose tired feet. In a 1991 episode Roseanne says to Dan, “You must work on my feet now, knave. And says, “And a darling pair of pups they are,” as he complies. In a 1995 episode Dan is pictured working on Roseanne’s feet. “You could do this for a living, she says. ‘Ok, my turn,” says Dan. “For what, Roseanne replies. “For a foot rub,” Dan says. “I thought you were doing this because you loved means because I slaved to raise the kids and keep e for . Amd, all I get is a five minute foot massage.” says Roseanne. “Okay,” Dan replies. “Three more minutes.”
The very first episode of Friends included a foot working scene. Character Phoebe played by Lisa Kudrow tries to comfort distressed runaway bride Rachel played by Courtney Cox and says, All right, come here and give me your feet.” She is then shown working on feet.
Married with Children is the sit com foot work champion with seven episodes showing foot working scenes or mentions made. Two of the scenes portray the pregnant chapter Peg Bundy played by Katey Sagal receiving foot work or demanding it. She promises, “Nothing will change now that I’m pregnant,” she promises followed by the sight of husband Al (Ed O’Neill) and son Bud each rubbing one of her feet. “Rub harder.” she commands. In another episode Peg says to Al, “Rub my feet.” He replies, “Only if a genie appears.” Two of the further episodes comment on mothers demanding foot rubs of sons. In separate episodes daughter Kelly, played by Christine Applegate, and neighbor Marcy express a need for someone to rub their feet to help with a monthly period. In one neighbor Marcy uses foot work to pamper her husband.