1980s sitcoms bring back comedic nostalgia
March 16, 2001
This past weekend I allowed myself to be consumed by the Nick at Nite
80's marathon where they were showing some of my favorite TV shows of yesteryear.
"Ah good times, good times." While watching these shows into the
wee hours of the night, it allowed me to recollect on the shows of my youth
and realize that there are also oddball commercials out there.
Watching them now, 13 or so years later made me wonder how some of these
shows stayed on the air and why some did not stay longer.
While enjoying the plights of a preppy rich boy in "Silver Spoons,"
it made me think of "Punky Brewster," the exact opposite. Thinking
about it now, it was a rather sad show, a girl gets abandoned in a supermarket
by her mother and continues to live homeless until a friendly old man takes
I remember as a young girl everybody thought that Punky dressed "rad"
with her odd, mismatched shoes and colored socks. In reality, she probably
had mismatched items because she was homeless and found her shoes out of
a dumpster making swanky hobo clothing chic. Who names their kid Punky anyway?
Plus I noticed in all these shows there was token "just say no"
and "learn to read" messages and "do not drink bleach"
or "play in a refrigerator" stories. Remember when Punky and her
friends were playing and one of them tragically got stuck in a refrigerator?
How dramatic. Or it seemed everybody had some cousin, friend or stranger
who just did not know how to read and miraculously learns by the end of
the show because it is just that easy.
Or remember in "Diff'rent Strokes" when Arnold, Willis and
Kimberly got kidnapped by a crazy pervert and Arnold escaped and had to
go under hypnosis to find out where they were? What was the message there,
when in doubt use hypnosis? And is it just me or did Mr. T guest star in
every single 80's sitcom?
I used to and still love the well written "Square Pegs." It
was one of the best teen shows of the 80's. Imagine a mix of John Hughes
movies and modern day teen shows, plus a pre "Sex and the City"
Sarah Jessica Parker and cool guest stars like Bill Murray, Devo, the Waitresses
and KROQ DJ Richard Blade. It was canceled after 20 episodes because it
was a "totally, totally different head." (a homage to the character
The Peeps commercial seems to haunt me for some reason. For those who
may not be familiar, Peeps are those gooey, marshmallowy, neon-colored bunny
and chick-shaped candy that frequent around the Easter holiday. It seems
that no matter what, they are always bought and never eaten. Are there people
waiting all year for them? I mean does anyone go, "Oh my gawd, Peeps
I gots to have them," and then buys mass quantities? In the commercial
the Peeps are sliding around a stage a la Vegas show accompanied by some
snazzy music. Why? Who are the Peeps competitors?
Are Peeps sales so low that they need to dish out money for a commercial?
It is not like they have to make new Peeps every year they all have the
expiration date of a Twinkie, which is never. How desperate are the Peeps
Some of what I have said may or may not make sense. Maybe it is my media
drenched warped memory that keeps collecting nonsense and pop culture references.
For those of you reading, who do not remember or did not own a TV between
the years of 1980 and 1990, I give you permission to come up to me and ask
"Whatchoo talkinabout Jazmine?"
Jazmine Ponce, a junior journalism major, is features editor of the
Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.