Saturday, July 9, 2011

Classic 80s and 90s Television For Kids, WTC?

I was recently reminded of the following clip while reading an article that my husband showed me. I totally remember watching this classic from Sesame Street.

WTC? It's only as an adult that a girl, living in NY, taking her llama to the dentist seems totally preposterous to me.

Or how about this one:

Super heroes with smoker voices in drinking glasses? Yeah, I totally watched that.

Kids today don't seem to understand how T.V. worked back in the 80s and early 90s. There was no "On Demand", DVR's, or 24/7 Disney Channel. If a show was on that resembled something made for kids, you watched it simply because it was the only thing on! Not only that, but we all only had like 6 TV stations to choose from and if your family was like mine, you rented a VCR along with your movie rentals.

This period of T.V. was the golden era of "Chances are, they'll watch it no matter how weird it is. So what the heck? Let's just put it out there and see how it does." Other shows that came out of this era:

1. Alf
A show about an alien (who looks more like an anteater) who comes down and lives with a normal suburban family and is the funniest guy on the block. They tried for a while to make the dad funnier than Alf, but he was constantly upstaged.

2. Today's Special

Starring Jodie, a manager of a department store who wears the same outfit every episode and has a weird "thing" going on with Jeff, a mannequin who comes to life during the night. They're friends with Sam, an old security guard who despite looking like a human is actually played by a puppet. They all know and love Muffy, a mouse who lives in the wall and only speaks only in rhyme.

3. Small Wonder

A show about a human-like robot named Vicki who was invented by the father of the family. They decide to treat her like "one of their own" and are pretty sure that none of their neighbors will notice that she's a robot even though she speaks in a robotic voice. Things in this family aren't equitable, however, as they never give Vicki new clothes and make her sleep standing up in a closet in her "brother's" room. And for the record, her older "brother," Jamie, was really the creepy one.

4. Saved By The Bell

Sure. A show about a group of high-schoolers navigating their way through adolescence doesn't seem at all unreasonable from an idea perspective, but if we look a little closer, this show was ridiculous. First of all, they have an unhealthy closeness to their principal, Mr. Belding (Zack even delivered his baby on the school elevator). Secondly, there were only like 20 kids in their high school, in Southern California. Third, the same 6 kids are the glee club, drama club, wrestling team, cheerleaders, home ec club, prom king and queen, homecoming king and queen, basketball stars, girl pop group, knowledge bowl champions, and chess champions. Not only that but Kelly Kapowski could be arrested for some of the things she wore to school. And do you remember how they graduated, but then had a weird "super senior" season where Jesse and Kelly were gone and replaced by biker chic, Tory? Like we weren't going to notice?

Sidenote: When the husband and I were dating, we spent an entire evening recapping and laughing at every single Saved By The Bell episode that we'd each seen probably 20 times. That's when I knew it was true love.

So kids, I just want you to remember how lucky you are. It's not walking both ways uphill in the snow or anything, but as I look at that picture of Alf, it's pretty close.


  1. I love this post! Totally remember all those shows! My husband and I saw that Power Rangers is on Netflix instant play, and after watching the first episode (which we barely made it through since it was just AWFUL), we vowed to never watch another one unless there honestly was NOTHING else. Seriously, kids have SO many more options of what to watch!

    Which is why Yo Gabba Gabba and other such drug-induced T.V. really baffles me. Because seriously---there are just a lot more choices out there!

  2. Oh my so true just took me down memory lane. The one thing I hate is that the tv is so readily available that I have to really put restrictions on it. You know I had to watch tv when the shows come on but my kids could watch it all day long if I let them. Which some days a mom just needs that.