TGIF Week 1

As you are probably aware Hulu has an extensive catalog of wonderful shows from the 90s. I was settling into what was sure to be a Perfect Strangers marathon last week when it came to me: there is a MUCH better way to consume this content! I ask you, Dear Reader, why watch a million episodes in a row of a very terrible 90s sitcom when you can instead watch them as their makers originally intended? Yes, I think you know where I am going with this. Hulu has all of the shows from TGIF, ergo, I, now, in the year of our lord 2018, CAN RECREATE TGIF.

To what extent can I, and you, recreate TGIF? Well, according to Hulu, there are

  • 191 episodes of Full House
  • 214 episodes of Family Matters
  • 149 episodes of Perfect Strangers
  • 159 episodes of Step By Step
  • 158 episodes of Boy Meets World

The list goes on and on. So it looks like our Fridays are covered for the next 3-4 years or so. Will you join me? Every (most) Friday (or Saturday or Sunday). I will be here (maybe). Let’s do this. If you have Hulu and a free Friday night please join along and let me know what you thought of each episode in the comments.

First Up, Full House:

Hulu Description: “Danny Tanner, widowed father of three young and rambunctious girls recruits his two buddies, his brother-in-law Jesse, and his best friend, Joey, to move in and help him raise the brood.”

Season 1, Episode 1: Our Very First Show

Ah man it’s the Hulu Sophie’s choice at the beginning, do you want a long and torturous ad now or to have them interspersed throughout. My brain says “now” but my bladder says “I will MAKE you regret this,” help!

I opted for the upfront torture. This commercial has charts and graphs about Scott and Linda’s investment options that are somehow aligned to various mountain ranges? This is the worst commercial I have ever seen. This is like a Ross Perot speech. What even is this? Who even is the advertiser here? Ok sorry, this is not supposed to be about the commercials.

Opening credits: Full disclosure I have watched many a rerun of Full House on Nick at Nite over the last decade so and slogged my way through one too many (2) Fuller House episodes, so this has pretty much zero nostalgia value for me right now. Mainly wondering how much that house is worth? I’ll Zillow it later.

Well, we knew this coming in but this episode is really depressing. I’m struggling to remember how did the mom die? Jessica offered the possible suggestion she died while giving birth to Michelle (better known in this episode as “The Baby”) and I audibly gasped.

Enter Uncle Jesse. I’m calling it now that Uncle Jesse totally voted for Trump. He’s not telling people that he did, but he did. This is canon.

I like that DJ is creeped out by Joey, as am I. Why does Jesse get a full room and Joey gets an alcove? Because Jesse is family? Do you get a better room if you are “cooler” in this universe? Leather jacket points? Is Jesse paying rent? Chipping in busker money? This doesn’t make a ton of sense.

DJ’s room is timelessly cool.

First laugh out loud: Stephanie’s “just hanging around”

I wonder why the Olsen twins want nothing to do with this show??

Wait did Danny just leave these men with his children including an infant without making sure they know how to change a diaper?

I’m finding the constant references to Michelle Tanner as “The Baby” to be quite jarring despite the fact that calling a baby “The Baby” is a totally normal thing that normal humans do all the time.

Next Up: Family Matters

Hulu Description: What matters most? Family, of course! Over its nine hit seasons, Family Matters brings us a hilarious slice of middle-class Americana – along with one of TV’s wackiest characters, nerdy genius Steve Urkel. The extended Winslow family redefines the word “togetherness” ast heri home splits at the seams with chaos, confusion and laughter.

These descriptions are VERY melodramatic. Describing the Tanner girls as “rambunctious” is a stretch, and the Winslow household is anything but chaotic. They are both lovely households with wonderful children. Chill out, whoever wrote these things.

Season 1, Episode 1: “The Mama Who Came to Dinner (Pilot)”

First laugh out loud: Jess seeing Urkel’s face on the main logo

This is the second in a series of “move-in” episodes that are the hallmark of TGIF pilots, apparently. This show is the inverse of Full House. In Full House, the three kid family is widowed, grandma moves out, uncle moves in. In Family Matters, aunt is widowed, moves in with 3 kid family, grandma moves in. Got it? Got it.

PremiseFullHouse = (PremiseFamilyMatters)-1

Opening Credits: First impression this theme song is MUCH more sing-able than Full House

Other random thoughts:

  • “My digestion’s about to SHUT DOWN” is definitely my new line when I’m hungry
  • More widowing! So much widowing on TGIF.
  • WE ARE ON THE FIRST NIGHT OF TGIF AND WE ALREADY HAVE OUR FIRST BOLO TIE!
  • Wait, who are these kids? Did they swap out Richie and Judy??
  • Love BOTH outro songs on this show. The music on this show is absolutely popping.
  • Also it was revealed and quickly brushed over in this episode that Eddie Winslow is a peeping tom which is not great? I would like to delve deeper into this but no time to rewind and review, there was no rewinding and reviewing in 1991!

I have very little negative to say about this episode, but keep in mind that this does not feature Sir Stephen Urkel, Esq. So let it be known that Family Matters sans Urkel is a terrific, enjoyable sitcom with very little to make fun of.

MOVING ON…

Perfect Strangers

Hulu Description: Emmy Award nominee Bronson Pinchot and Mark Linn-Baker star in this hilarious comedy series that showcases the fact that family is often stranger than, well, strangers! When Balki, who hails from the distant country of Mypos, arrives unexpectedly at his cousin Larry’s Chicago apartment, cultures clash…with perfect comedic timing.

Season 1, Episode 1: Knock Knock, Who’s There?

Opening scene: Cousin Larry can’t open a cracker bag. So relatable!

So, I  *thought* we all knew the premise of this show pretty well but I learned a new little nugget here – in the pilot episode Balki from the island of Mypos (yes, knew that) moves in with his cousin Larry (yes, knew that), after making an attempt to move in with Larry’s dad in Milwaukee and getting bounced out to Chicago, apparently? I did not know that! Not cool, Larry’s dad.

An immediate question that will haunt us all throughout all of this is: “How old are these two supposed to be?”

This show is ridiculous and as my wife put it, “problematic.”

Balki is supposed to be the dumb character but I relate to him most? For example Balki makes a supposedly dumb statement about pink lemonade coming from pink lemons that everyone laughs at but that moment I’m thinking “hey fun fact I have a PhD in chemistry and I have no clue how the heck pink lemonade is made or why?”

This episode has a lot of scenes in an antique shop, which is very confusing because Larry is a reporter? Ah! Larry mentions that he’s working at the antique shop until he can get his dream job as a photojournalist. Got it. So, I’m relying on very foggy memories here but I’m *pretty* sure the antique shop set is the same as the newsroom set and now I’m definitely wondering how they’re gonna reconcile this.

Balki is very excited about making minimum wage! Larry makes fun of him for being excited about minimum wage and not knowing what minimum wage is! “Echo, how much was minimum wage in 1990?” “THE CLOSEST ANSWER I KNOW IS FROM 1988, WHEN MASSACHUSETTS’S STATE MINIMUM WAGE WAS $3.65.” Thank you, Alexa, this puts the $10 a day the boss is docking from their pay into helpful perspective.

First laugh out loud: I heartily laughed out loud every single time Balki messed up an expression and every time my wife just glared at me.

On to the next one!

Step By Step

Hulu Description: When two mismatched single parents (Patrick Duffy—Dallas and Suzanne Somers—Three’s Company) fall in love, marry, and move in together with their six mismatched kids, they hope its only a matter of time until they al come to love their new life.

Editor’s Note: We decided to go with Step By Step for show #4, which is not really an accurate TGIF lineup, but they always put a crappy show in the 4th slot that never ran past one season, and I don’t remember any of them and none of them are on Hulu. Step By Step suffices in my foggy recollection of what TGIF was all about. And it was part of TGIF for way more seasons (6) than Full House was (1) so just deal with it! Also do not bring up Boy Meets World or Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I do not like Boy Meets World or Sabrina the Teenage Witch but will begrudgingly bring them and Hangin with Mr. Cooper and Sister Sister into the fold later, as TGIF did, when all the cute child stars get older and things start to boring.

Was stressing about finding Step By Step on the various platforms and worried for a moment that I’d have to pay Jeff Bezos for it, but I’m happy to report at the end of Perfect Strangers I got a timely pop up “YOU MAY ALSO LIKE THIS SHOW CALLED STEP BY STEP CHECK IT OUT” message from Hulu, so thanks Hulu, you really know me boo.

Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

Opening Credits: I am now learning many things about Six Flags Magic Mountain from my wife, as that is where the intro for this show was apparently filmed? I don’t know, I’ve never been to Six Flags Magic Mountain. I lived in Massachusetts when this mess of a show aired. Ask me about Canobie Lake Park, I’ll tell you everything. She is asking me to confirm that the big roller coaster from the opening credits has been torn down. I DON’T KNOW! Now she’s appalled that I have never been to Six Flags even though I’ve not been able to ride a roller coaster since age 14. Also, she has not been able to ride roller coasters since age 14? I have never ridden a roller coaster with her, we actively avoid them together as a couple. I’m a bit confused and just trying to get through these opening credits, finally understanding how she feels when she is trying to quietly watch a show that I feel compelled to talk about (all shows).

So, you will want to sit down and grab a beverage for the premise of This Show, which is a Brady Bunch knock-off based on the idea that a divorced single father of three played by Patrick Duffy was apparently mildly stalking a divorced single mother of three played by the incomparable Suzanne Somers, to the extent that he somehow conned her travel agent into giving him all of the details about where and when she had booked a solo Jamaican vacation, so that he could *also* travel to Jamaica in pursuit of her, all the while leaving his children either (a)alone in squalor with rapidly depleting food supplies or (b) possibly away from the squalor with their as-yet-unidentified mother. I somehow question the existence of this mother, though,because she was nowhere to be seen later in the episode when her only daughter was hospitalized for an emergency appendectomy. BUT WAIT, I AM GETTING AHEAD OF MYSELF.

So single father goes to Jamaica in pursuit of single mother where they have a whirlwind romance which in their own words is described as purely sexual, and decide to get married, and then, as you probably inferred from the Brady Bunch reference, return to the good old US of A and don’t for a moment rethink or doubt this decision at all, and rather opt to immediately merge their bewildered families together as they take the time to get to know and learn about one another as a couple.

At this point, can we revisit the series description? Like, in what way are the kids “mismatched?” Is it because they don’t have a perfect Brady-esque same age antigender pair? Why are we blaming all of this drama on these kids, and their supposed mis-matchedness? I mean really.

As you may have already inferred, this show is a HOT MESS. My wife is appalled we watched this as children. In fairness, I remember while watching it I was constantly thinking it was somewhat naughty. But I also seem to recall that 90s parents (not MY parents, but you know, friends parents and parents friends who were parents and parents on wholesome sitcoms I watched on a weekly basis) pulled this kind of crap all the time back then. They thought nothing of it! Do parents still do this kind of thing now? I want to think that they don’t, but I know deep down that I’m naïve and wrong!

Not gonna lie, with all of the insanity which is these two strangers getting married and moving all their kids in together after a lustful affair spurned by a questionable amount of stalking, and almost losing one of said children to appendicitis in a half-assed boy who cried wolf situation, this ep kinda drags.

Echo: Is Suzanne Somers still alive? SUZANNE SOMERS IS STILL ALIVE. SHE IS 71 YEARS OLD.

This was a nice moment because I recall a time when Alexa would phrase her answer to these questions differently, to be specific she would say “Suzanne Somers is not dead yet,” and that was really disturbing. Has someone talked to her about this? It’s a terrific development.

Ok, we’ve successfully survived all of the move-in, premise-setting episodes. My wife is already over it, but I’m excited for at least two more weeks of this! Tune in next week for more!

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