Ok, so I’m a sucker for the 80’s. It was a part of my childhood that I still reminisce about often, and I truly do miss that period. What I miss the most is the television lineups that we had then. Not to slight the television shows now, but the shows in that decade were meaningful, inspirational, and entertaining still. We had humor, drama, legal, and situational sitcoms that stayed on the air during the school year, and went on hiatus for the summer. The primetime lineup was diverse and very appealing to all age groups.
Ok, so I know this wasn’t a primetime show, but I just have to express my fondness for Jem and the Holograms. I watched this show in the afternoons and still occasionally get the theme song in my head from time to time. The Misfits were wild and sneaky, but made good cartoon bad girls. Ok, now moving on…
One of my favorite shows in primetime was The Love Boat. I would watch this show and drape a sheet around me to simulate the moment the belle of the Captain’s Dinner came down the ship’s sprawling staircase. Hey, what did most 8 year olds want to be besides the belle.
Now Small Wonder was one of those shows that didn’t last very long, but along with shows like Charles in Charge and Perfect Stranger, Small Wonder was a quirky and funny show about a robot girl who was discovering family.
A great family drama was. This show embodied a unique dynamic of characters who were well matched and showed the diversity of a family.
And the infamous Cosby Show...there are so many moments that still have meaning in today’s life and culture. This family (and show) truly represented the average American family makeup, and sent very powerful messages about growing up and learning through the process. Man, I loved Thursday nights at 8pm!
My Two Dads
Exploring and creating shows with a variety of family situations was a common theme throughout the 80’s. There were also shows, mostly comedies, that showed a different kind of family situation. Charles in Charge, Who’s the Boss and The Facts of Life were shows that created a variety of situations that may not be typical, but we could still relate to their experiences. Plus, being hilarious helped.
Charles in Charge
The Facts of Life
Who’s the Boss
Now, there were plenty of drama on television then. I think it was some of the best ever, but I’m biased.
Trapper John, M.D.
Spenser: For Hire
Jake and the Fatman
Hart to Hart
There were a mix of cop and legal dramas, such as Miami Vice, as well as pure drama (ie. Dallas, Dynasty). These shows sometimes had a form of comedy to them, but they were all so cool and truly entertaining.
Now there were also some slap happy comedies, as I call them, that were mostly funny but had the occasional lesson you can learn from their mishaps. One I still love today is WKRP in Cincinnati. The characters were hilarious, but their jobs were very meaningful for the times. There were a lot of story lines that I didn’t get as a kid, but it still made me laugh. Watching it today as an adult, I see how impactful some of the stories were, but it’s probably more funny now.
So if this was how you changed the channel and found your viewing pleasure for the evening, let us remember the wonderful variety of our primetime lineup.