What We Talk About When We Talk About Sitcoms from the 1980s
• Wasn’t it so weird that on “Growing Pains” Kirk Cameron’s character Mike Seaver had a friend named Boner? I mean, even back in the 80s, the term “boner” was used as slang for an erection, right? Hell, I think they’ve been using that term since the 60s even. So don’t you think it was a little odd that this kid was nicknamed Boner? Geez. It’s not like Tracey Gold’s friend was named Vag or Bush. I wonder if when Kirk Cameron got all super Christian, he was opposed to calling his friend Boner.
• I was surprised that the Owens family could afford to hire a butler. You know, the family on “Mr. Belvedere.” George was a sports announcer, so I’m guessing he brought in pretty good money, but they must have been spending a lot for Marsha to go to law school. So how did they afford not just a butler but a live-in one at that? And they just happened to have a spare room for him? Random. Remember Wesley’s friend Miles with the headgear and the teenage daughter’s friend named Angela who couldn’t pronounce Mr. Belvedere’s name? Those were two ongoing gags that weren’t that funny.
• I thought it was a little strange how on “Full House” they just kept on finding places for people to live. In the beginning, Uncle Joey had to sleep in that alcove or whatever in the living room. By the end of the run you have a totally tricked out basement and a family of four living in the attic (Jesse, his wife Rebecca, and the twin boys, natch). Don’t you think they would have thought of the attic or the basement back when Joey first moved in? I guess they didn’t have a garage, or they would have totally renovated that and let Kimmy live there. Also, does anyone remember if D.J. ever gave it up to her boyfriend?
• It was so shocking when they hired the Maytag repair guy to play the character who molests Dudley in that very special episode of “Diff’rent Stokes.” That messed with my mind as a kid. I had always thought of the Maytag repair man as a very nice guy, and there he was, running a bicycle repair shop and trying to mess with young boys. Gross.
• Why did I watch “Alf”? Seriously. I know I was a kid, but I should have known better. Even then.
• Remember how Valerie Harper got all pissed and left “Valerie” and they pretended her character died and it became “The Hogan Family” and did really well in the ratings? I bet that pissed Valerie Harper off. I didn’t find it very plausible that the two younger boys were supposed to be fraternal twins because they didn’t even look like brothers much less twins. I wanted Jason Bateman so bad back then. The crazy thing was when someone told me Sandy Duncan had a glass eye, and I would spend entire episodes trying to tell which one it was.
• When I would watch “Family Ties,” I used to put my hand up my own shirt and pretend it was Michael J. Fox’s hand. I know that’s so gross or whatever, but I was a hormonal puberty-crazed mess. What’s weird is I never got any of the political jokes on that show. It never hit me that the parents were supposed to be hippies and Alex P. Keaton was some conservative. If that show was on now, I would probably go for Mallory’s boyfriend Nick Moore. He was kind of foxy. Hell, I’d probably go for Skippy over Alex P. Keaton. But I was 12 years old back then, ya know? – Jennifer Mathieu
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