Thursday, May 31, 2007

More Life Lessons Provided By T.G.I.F.

by Twinswin83

Let’s face it; sitcom television is a dead genre. It’s been apparent for nearly a decade now that American television is ruled by reality TV and serialized dramas. Not since the heydays of Seinfeld and Friends has a sitcom dominated the Nielsen ratings. It has been even longer since a network has pieced together an entire evenings worth of quality sitcoms to fill their two-hour primetime block. I remember the glory days when you would consistently hear during the end credits of your favorite program that “this show was filmed before a live studio audience.”

With shows like The New Adventures of Old Christine and Two and a Half Men “leading the pack” for sitcoms today, is it any wonder that absolute crap like Dancing with the Stars is one of the 5 most watched shows on television? I find myself longing for the days of the early 1990’s when children everywhere could flip on their TV on a Friday night and be entertained by four quality family sitcoms without even having to change the channel. The sitcoms that made up T.G.I.F. were kind of like the “The Dude,” they were just right for their particular time and place. Hokey family fun and corny life lessons were the norm in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Now people are more interested in watching dark and moody actors solve bizarre murders in 60 minutes or less with forensic methods that, if used in real life, would take years. Hey, I’ll take a cheesy sitcom about a blended family from Wisconsin over that any day.

Step By Step
was a favorite of mine and survived for years as T.G.I.F’s blatant attempt to recreate The Brady Bunch. The Lamberts and the Fosters were two families, consisting of three siblings each, forced together by their parent’s second marriages. Throw in a wacky, van dwelling, radical and bodacious cousin and you’ve got a mixed family to be reckoned with. I learned a lot about life by watching this show, and thanks to ABC Family I am able to relive those teachings a couple times every weekday. Here are a few of the lessons Frank, Carol, JT, Al, Dana, Cody and the whole gang helped fill me in on:

*Every family has its nerd, and you can easily spot them by their oversized glasses, sweater
vest, whiney voice and complete inability to fit in.

*Cousins are family, but not important enough to let live in the house.
*The ThighMaster works.
*Step brothers and sisters aren’t real siblings and therefore should not be treated as such. Insults, practical jokes and isolation are a must.
*The more you use the word “dude” the more dim you will appear, and the more likely it is that you will one day live in a van.
*If you are going to run a salon out of your own home you must hire a male stylist that speaks with a French accent and whose sexual orientation is debatable.
*There is no problem, dispute or issue a family might face that can’t be resolved by spending a day at the amusement park together.

Family Matters
Ah yes, Family Matters. Who could possibly forget this gong show? For as much as I enjoyed this show growing up I don’t think I have ever witnessed a program “jump the shark” quite like this one. It’s not every day that the main character of a sitcom invents a robot in his own likeness. No matter how absurd, Steve Urkel became engrained in American pop culture throughout the shows run and it wouldn’t have been T.G.I.F. without him. The outlandish nerd next door and the always compelling Winslow family taught me plenty about the way the world really worked. They tutored me on important life lessons such as:
*The higher you hike up your pants, the higher your voice gets.
*If you make a mistake, break something or just flat out mess up, all you have to do is look around like an idiot and drop the line, “Did I do that?” It’s like a get out of jail free card.
*If your first, middle and last names all rhyme chances are it’s not all working upstairs for you and you’re only around so that others can have a laugh at your expense.
*If you’re having trouble landing the girl of your dreams the simplest solution is to build a machine that will transform you into a cooler, sexier and overall more appealing version of yourself. But be sure you engineer the machine so as to allow yourself to change back and forth as much as needed.
*Robots that resemble real people are not a thing of the future, they are here now and they are hilarious.
*If you consistently pester, annoy, harass and downright stalk a girl for eight or nine years she will eventually break down and fall in love with you, no matter how dominant a role suspenders play in your wardrobe.
*I’m not the only one who sometimes snorts when I laugh.

That’s all I got for now folks. Well, at least until all of my strongly worded letters and emails to 20th Century Fox are answered and they finally release The Wonder Years on DVD.


haasertime said...

Was Stephan a robot? I completely missed that.

TwinsWin83 said...

No the robot and Stefan were completly seperate inventions. I believe the Urk Bot only made a few apperances. Once falling in love with Laura and once fighting crime as a police officer with Carl. Stefan made many appearances in the shows final years. How did that show remain on the air?

brex said...

King of Queens is a decent show. That fat guy is hilarious.

Daymonster said...

whats wrong with the office? and 30 rock. Those are good.

the Dutchie said...

Dude, that "Thigh Master" worked well!

TwinsWin83 said...

the office and 30 rock arent sitcoms in the sense that they arent filmed before live audiences. I enjoy the office but neither program is a top 15 show in the ratings. Probably the best "sitcom" to air over the past decade was Arrested Development, but that was neither filmed before a live studio audience or garnered decent ratings, which is entirely too bad.

haasertime said...

the office and 30 rock are very good. but yeah, they're not the same type of sitcom that tgif sitcoms are.

but really, would we watch that tgif crap if we were 23 in 1992? probably not. the office and that junk is perfect for our age. just like tgif was perfect back then. just like the dude. they just fit right in.

bizmarkie507 said...

Every pure sitcom spewed into absurdity in its last couple season, but nothing came close to Family Matters. Urkle invented a Honey, I Shrunk the Kids shrink ray and accidentally zapped himself and the family. wtf?
The producers also gave him this car that was smaller than a golf cart, and the doors opened like a delorean. I think they might have even traveled back in time one episode.

Arrested Development definitely was one of the most underrated shows in the past 20 years.

TwinsWin83 said...

yeah dude, Urkels car was a BMW Isetta. As for Arrested Development, even though I might take some heat for this statement, it is the best comedy to ever air on television (yes, even better then Seinfeld). There has never been a program that is more clever, sharp witted and better written the AD. I blame it on Fox for not marketing this criticaly acclaimed show correctly, which led directly to it premature cancelation. I mean honestly, is there anything more hillarious then each individual Bluth family memebers version of the chicken dance?

soup said...

Waldo Geraldo Faldo is the second best sitcom character name behind Balki Bartokomous

bizmarkie507 said...

no love for Boner from growing pains? He wins in my book.

soup said...

boner's real name: salvester stabone. I'm not even joking.

TwinsWin83 said...

I think that if if George Costanza had a kid and named it Seven like he wanted to that name woulda qualified.

bizmarkie507 said...

and if delores' name really was mulva, she would be high up on the list.

Soup, that was some very impressive knowledge on Boner. I bet Ken Jennings doesn't even know that.