Totally awesome. Remember back in the day when television consisted of a night full of sitcoms, as opposed to reality shows? (No disrespect to Real House Wives of All the Cities, I still love you). Back in the 80’s, nobody’s parents talked about anything so there were many valuable lessons to be learned in 30 minutes or less. Here’s a handful of shows that helped shape my youth. Really, this list is just a dent…
1. Diff’rent Strokes
Because old people like to adopt kids? And because I’ll never forget the horror of Dudley being forced to watch X-rated cartoons by the guy from WKRP in Cincinnati. Seriously, what did I just watch? Lesson learned. The opening credits always made me want to ride in a limo.
2. Punky Brewster
Because old people like to adopt kids? And while I knew that her bed made absolutely no sense at all, I totally wanted it. For real, if DSS saw where she was sleeping , I’m pretty sure Punky would have been removed from the home. Cherie Johnson taught us all that you always remove the door to your refrigerator when discarding it. Lesson learned.
Because old people like to adopt kids? More importantly, I was petrified to go anywhere near a chemistry set. Lesson learned. For years when writing out my Christmas list to Santa, I would write NOT A CHEMISTRY SET in bold capitals at the bottom of my letter. I would however, have given anything for a chance to ride in a dumb waiter. But not if I had to look at that creepy doll in the rocking chair.
4. Silver Spoons
Because it gave me a chance to see how the other half lived. For years I thought everyone with a mansion had a train to get from one end of the house to the other. Oh, and a car bed. Ricky gets a car bed and Punky sleeps on a fruit stand. Now I get it. And no matter how “cool” some girls might seem, the “Dine and Dash” will get you into trouble every time. Lesson learned.
5. Facts of Life
Because I totally wanted to go to Eastland. Why was Jo so cool? And did they think we missed the fact that there was almost an entire cast change? Did people really shop at Over Our Heads? This series was loaded with controversial topics. Many lessons learned. I remember being stunned when Natalie lost her virginity to Snake. I did not see that one coming. I would have pegged Blair. Fun fact: It was supposed to be Blair, but due to her strong Christian convictions, she did not appear in this episode.
6. Full House
Because everyone embraced the mutual cheesiness and their ability to make everything right in 23 minutes. Really. You could set your watch to the sappy music that would kick in at the 23 minute mark. I wanted to deny my U.S. citizenship during the “Jess-Man.” Thankfully, Kimmy manages to bring the controversy when she gets drunk at a frat party and calls DJ out for being a buzz kill. And Stephanie learns the hard way that you should never drive a convertible through a tunnel, then lie about it. Lesson learned. This series was kind of painful.
7. The Golden Girls
Because I still watch this show. It’s still funny. They were a bit ahead of their time addressing the fact that Blanche’s brother was gay. Lesson learned. Perhaps, though, the most important lesson is that cheesecake solves all problems at any time of night. It also gave me hope that if I ever end up alone, I can always force my friends to live with me during the twilight years. I mean, there has to be a reason drunk people still belt out the theme song at piano bars across the country…
8. The Wonder Years
Because the only thing better than growing up in the 80’s, was watching people grow up in the 60’s. Valuable lessons and history lessons learned. Wayne was such a creep! This show brought drama on the regular. Who could forget Winnie’s brother being killed in the Vietnam War? Or Paul losing his virginity before Kevin? I remember being depressed for like a week after the final episode aired. In fact, I think I was depressed after most episodes aired. WTH Wonder Years?
9. Who’s the Boss?
Because this one was my favorite growing up and I’m not exactly sure why. I absolutely wanted to be Samantha Micelli. It also seemed that if you frosted your enormous hair, got the biggest shoulder pads money could buy, hired a male housekeeper and had a hussy for a mother, you too could own your own advertising agency on Madison Avenue. It’s that simple. Lesson learned.
10. Married With Children
Because this show was crude and crass and everything the 80’s was shaping up to be. All the boys loved Kelly even though she was dumb as bricks. Lesson learned? I loved how the audience would applaud every time a cast member entered the scene like they were The Fonz. My brother and I still use the line: “Thank your father kids……thanks dad!”
11. The Cosby Show
Because like it or not America, this show was HUGE. I often wondered if most families were performing musical numbers in their home regularly. Was I missing something? Lesson learned. I still laugh when I think about the designer shirt Denise made for Theo.
Because while it’s true that the series was in its heyday during the 70’s, it’s still fun to offer your friends “Tripper Spritzers.” The wheels pretty much fell off as this show entered the 80’s, but you couldn’t beat the way Roper would look into the camera when he delivered his lines. It was shocking how many misunderstandings could occur on a day to day basis. Lesson learned. I’m here to cut the………roast beef!
13. The Jefferson’s
Because of the theme song alone. George Jefferson ruled and my friends and I would always have a George Jefferson “Dance Off” at the bars. Lesson learned. Equally awesome was the sass of Florence the housekeeper who consistently made fun of George for being short and balding. And without further ado, here’s the theme song. You’re welcome.