I watched The Drew Carey Show for a while, though not for its entire run. I gave up on it around the time Drew fell into a coma and came back to life as Mimi and his brother Steve’s baby. Looking back, it was a good show, but not a particularly remarkable show. That being said, The Drew Carey Show still made a mark in the world of sitcoms by doing stuff that other shows never really did. They weren’t about storytelling, but about presentation, and being willing to break the fourth wall willy nilly.
There were two kinds of The Drew Carey Show episodes that stood out. One were the live episodes. Now, they weren’t the first, nor the last, show to use going live as a gimmick. However, when Carey and company went live, they did things different. For starters, there would be somebody serving as a de facto MC, usually somebody from Who’s Line is it Anyway?. They would break into the show while it was live to change the action around. Suddenly you could see an improv game break out in the middle of a sitcom. Going live was a reason for the show to goof around, and with a great improviser like Ryan Stiles in the cast, that made sense. No show goes live like The Drew Carey Show did.
Then, there were the “What’s wrong here?” episodes. In this episodes, they would intentionally make mistakes and includes things that were amiss. Some of them were obvious, like Drew suddenly having a harpoon or whatever. Others were more subtle. Maybe a character would call Lewis “Lawrence” or something. When you watched, your job was to try and spot all the errors. What was really fun, though, was that in reruns they would show these episodes like Pop-Up Video basically, where they would point out everything that was awry. I literally can’t recall any other show doing this.
The Drew Carey Show can’t say it was the best sitcom, but it can say it was one of the more innovative.