My kid can’t watch prime time TV. Maybe Too Cute on Animal Planet or something from one of the *Kids Only* channels, but any current sitcoms or dramas on mainstream channels—not happening. The sex, gore, and violence is just too much for a 10-year-old to handle. The modern shows make me long for the Can’t Miss TV, for family sitcoms that drew all-ages to the screen, for simpler times when the entire family could gather around the living room TV and watch together. We didn’t have many channels to chose from, and we were spoiled if we even had cable (ooohh, HBO!), so programs seemed much more kid-centered.
It might be my fuzzy memory, but it seems like when I was a kid in the 80s, every night there were shows the entire family could indulge in. As I skipped down TV memory lane, I came up with far more than ten.
Do you remember any of these 80s family classics?
1. The Cosby Show
How could any 80s kid not love the Cosbys? They were the perfect upper-middle class family we all wanted to join. Mom was a lawyer, dad a doctor, and none of the kids were perfect. Now I realize I should have taken notes on how Claire dressed down her kids so efficiently. And when dad Cliff went at it, we all laughed. Remember the funeral for Rudy’s goldfish? How about Cliff’s sweaters? Pure 80s gold.
2. The Facts of Life
For some reason, I was obsessed with the idea of going away to boarding school. (I blame it on The Girls of Canby Hall books.) I wanted their independence. I wanted their friendship. I wanted to smack the spoiled Blair and hang out with cool tomboy Jo. I wanted my own Mrs. Garrett. And I wanted George the handyman (Hello young George Clooney…)
3. Family Ties
Hippie parents, kind of square kids, and sibling ribbing that made you laugh. Alex P. Keaton made Michael J. Fox a household name before Back to the Future, and he’s still going strong.
4. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire
This show came out in 1990, but close enough. This is when we all fell in love with Will Smith, and he proved that rap/hip-hop didn’t have to be nasty. Do you have the theme song in your head yet?
Did you realize that Blossom was modeled after a modern-day Holden Caufield? Neither did I back then (I had a few years before I fell in love with Catcher in the Rye) but I loved Blossom for her funky wardrobe, free dancing, and fast-talking friend Six. Oh, and I wanted Joey Lawrence for an older brother. Thrilled to see Mayim Bialik on Big Bang Theory now. Thrilled.
6. Silver Spoons
He was the little rich boy all little girls swooned over. I’m pretty sure my Barbies to dated him (when she wasn’t with Ricky Martin, who was then in the boy band Menudo). We wanted to hang with Ricky and Alphonso in their mansion so full of arcade games and toys it must have been the original Man Cave. We mooned over his heartbreak as Mr. Mister sang Broken Wings and wished we were there to comfort him.
7. Different Strokes
“What’chu talkin‘ ‘bout, Willis? ‘Nuff said.
8. Full House
Who imagined that baby Michelle would grow into the uber-rich Olson twins?
9. The Wonder Years
10. Who’s The Boss
Because every career girl needs a live-in male housekeeper right? Tony Danza played one of the original Mannys, and his daughter on the show, Alyssa Milano, was super cool—to an 8-year-old.
But wait—ten show just barely puts a dent in all of the fun shows I remember from childhood. How about:
Kirk Cameron’s poster graced many girl’s walls back in the day. Now when I see this box I only see Robin Thicke’s dad. ::shivers::
Doogie Howser, M.D.
Neil Patrick Harris as a boy-genius was cute back then, too.
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So, she looked a little like Rainbow Brite. . . Actually, I think her style is back IN style.
My Two Dads
Charles in Charge
Head of the Class
Dukes of Hazard
Okay, not the best example of classic TV, but we all
watched it loved it as kids. If you were a true 80s kid you must have had a die-cast General Lee car or Daisy Duke Underoos. What were we thinking?
21 Jump Street
Teen drama. Hello Johnny Depp. Still swooning.
What shows have is missed? Which shows do you miss the most? Any you want to buy on DVD to show your kids?