I recently got rid of cable because I was sick of bending over every month when I got the bill. However, I didn’t want to miss rotting my brain on a daily basis so I’ve turned to things like Hulu+ and Netflix to help me get my fix of mindless TV.
Imagine my excitement when I began exploring and discovered many of my favorite 80s television shows were available for viewing.
So I grabbed my jelly bracelets, poured a glass of Tang and got to work re-watching the best television sitcoms ever.
Except they weren’t the best.
Some of them were actually pretty horrible. What were we thinking in the 80s? How did we find these premises entertaining? A show about an abandoned child who took up residence in a vacant apartment only to be subsequently adopted by the building owner? And her name was Punky Brewster? Seriously? Her adoptive father wasn’t reported to Child Services for letting her keep that name? Preposterous!
Then I realized most of the 80s sitcoms were equally as ridiculous, so I made a list of 10 of my favorite shows of the 80s and what was wrong with the premise of each.
It didn’t take long.
Saved by the Bell: This kid-friendly show starred a lead character who was positively horrible. He regularly screwed over his friends who always forgave him, only to set themselves up to be screwed over again the following week. And since when is a preppy kid best friends with a nerd and a jock? Not in my high school!
Mr. Belvedere: This was one of my favorites although I never realized how creepy the show was. A housekeeper who wore a jacket and tie everyday? Strange. A guy who kept a daily journal about living with kids and then read it aloud to himself every night in his room? Hello sex offender.
Alf: The Tanners were able to keep a talking stuffed animal quiet and undetected even though he lived in their DETACHED garage? How stupid are we? My neighbors root around in my detached garage and all that’s in there is a raccoon nest and bags of leaves I keep forgetting to get rid of. He would have been discovered in one week…tops.
Murder, She Wrote: A show about a famous author who solves mysteries. Here’s one mystery she never solved; why was everyone around her always getting murdered?! Maybe that should have been the series finale.
My Two Dads: So basically, your mom was a slut? That’s the premise of the show that we’ve somehow managed to overlook in this quirky comedy. And she was such a hoebag that didn’t even have a “type” as the two potential fathers were polar opposites. Clearly she just gave it away to any guy she met at a bar. Not exactly clean family fun. Wait, that describes some of my friends in college.
The Cosby Show: I never understood why Bill Cosby’s character was named Cliff Huxtable yet it was called “The Cosby Show.” It baffled my young mind and continues to do so. Why not just call it “The Huxtables” or give the characters the last name of Cosby? It seems to me Bill Cosby must have had insecurities that people wouldn’t watch the show unless they knew who was in it.
Cheers: A show about a bar that was open in the middle of the day and only a few people ever paid for drinks. Given the fact they were literally giving it away, that bar should have been a lot more crowded than it was.
Who’s the Boss?: It’s not so strange to me that a man was hired as a housekeeper. Not only can I get on board with that, I like it. What’s a hard hard sell here is that he was a good housekeeper. Vacuuming the curtains with the actual vacuum and not an attachment? Really Tony? I can only imagine how he “cleaned” the bathroom.
Doogie Howser, M.D.: Right. Because I’m going to let a guy who hasn’t yet grown pubic hair remove my spleen. My standard rule of thumb is if your voice sounds like a chipmunk and you still believe in Santa Claus, you’re not getting into my organs.
Diff’rent Strokes: A show about two boys from Harlem who go live with their dead mom’s millionaire boss? Is that how it goes in real life? When you die your estate goes to your boss? If that’s the case, my boss is going to be pumped when he gets my collection of VHS tapes. (And as a sidenote, why is there an apostrophe in the title? Is it to show us the dad is pretentious? His never-ending barrage of three-piece suits told us that.)
Even though I realize that most of these shows have ludicrous plots, I also know that I still love them and will watch them whenever they’re available.
After all, one thing’s for certain: “I want Charles in Charge of Me.”