Fantastic TV started in the TGIF years in the late 80’s, early 90’s. Full House and Family Matters were part of the initial season of TGIF and was later joined by Step By Step. My mom and I would watch TV together and these shows were a great blend of humor and family fun. I look back at my youth and I watched a lot of TV. There were adult shows that my mom liked that I hated (Coach, Grace Under Fire, ER) and shows that I’m sure she hated that I liked (Beavis and Butthead, New York Undercover, The X Files). For me, I don’t even remember what I enjoyed the most about the following shows but I chose them in this order and it most likely isn’t quality, as much as my personal amusement level.
4. Family Matters
I liked Urkel. Millions of others enjoyed the nerd and his catch phrase, “did I do that?” When he showed how good he was at basketball, and my favorite sport was basketball, I was hooked. I thought Eddie as the cooler, nice guy friend to Urkel was kind and Waldo was hilarious. I’m sure I was bored as shit during Laura storylines and whatever that other sister’s name was, but I looked forward to this show on a weekly basis. I wanted to comment on how this show is an all black cast. When I was 10, that thought never occurred to me. I wasn’t brought up with racism and never looked at color for prejudice and still don’t. I looked at the Winslows as any other family and enjoyed the sitcom.
3. Step by Step
Step by Step used a relatable family formula. 2 divorced parents with children get married and the families have to live as one. There was Mark the nerd, Dana the feminist, Karen the beauty queen, JT the jock, Al the tom boy, and Brendan the shrimp. Cody was the comic relief and the show’s plot lines were carried by Duffy and Somers. No episode springs to mind as a reason why this show was great, and it probably wasn’t, but it was the cast that gelled. I had a huge crush on Al and is probably the reason why this show scores so high on my list because it otherwise shouldn’t.
2. Full House
1 & 2 are TBS replay trophy winners. I must have seen every episode multiple times through because every day after school for years I’d watch 2 hours of straight TV while doing my homework. The storylines of Full House were perfect for a youngster in school. I was a big Stephanie fan and then graduated to DJ as I got older. Kimmy was annoying and the rest of the cast played acceptable roles in making a great show. They all had their own personalities which allowed the show to take on different faces with each episode. The way they all intertwined seemed consistent and realistic. I can’t get on board with the spin offs, but when this show was at it’s peak, it was massive. Whatever season Jesse and the Rippers and the Smash Club were prevalent I don’t believe was their finest.
1. Saved By the Bell
Where to even begin with this show. The plots was always hare brained and hilarious. Zach would conjure up some ridiculous plan, Screech, RIP, would bring the dorkish behavior to complement Zack, and they’d end up putting one by ol’ Belding. Zach would go on dates with whatever girl they wanted to introduce and eventually come back to smoke show Kelly. The Ms. Bliss years were always shittier because of that loser character Mikey and Nikki. This show was a masterpiece with kids in their teens. I feel like I’d watch the morning shows at breakfast and then come right back with the afternoon shows. “I’m So Excited” Jesse Spano was my least favorite character. The College Years didn’t thrill me. That one weird episode where Zack became “Running Zack” was always a favorite of mine.
Honorable Mention – Blossom, Home Improvement, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, 7th Heaven (Lucy!)