We’re having a bit of a 90’s revival in our house right now, reflecting on the good ol’ days thanks to YouTube, as I take my kids down memory lane and some of the best kids telly EVER made. I’m so pumped, I’ve very nearly drawn a Cindy Crawford style beauty spot above my lips in excitement.
I’m personally loving reliving my youth through my kids (you gotta love procreation), and it’s even more fun than the first time round, going right back to being your tween/teen self but with all accumulated wisdom, and threaded brows of a 34 year old.
Damn it, I still want to win prizes in the Fun House and marry Joey Lawrence (kinda).
Below, I’ve featured some of the best 90’s back catalogue we’re getting through, and more too that’s on the watch list.
Looking back at these shows, I’m hoping current TV execs might consider re-commissioning some of them, yes we have some stellar kids TV (hello Horrible Histories I’m looking at you) but I really miss the simplicity of Woof and the knowing humour of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and well, life was a little bit more fun back in the day wasn’t it?
Sure, the lack of responsibility, my crush on Zack from Saved by the Bell and The Prince of Bel Air theme tune helped, but the heroes in the narratives in these shows, the kids, were truly empowered, and empowering. Wise beyond belief (even the babies in Rugrats), I admired the protagonists here, and with fewer shows thanks to terrestrial tv, the schedules seemed more considered and the quality, when it came to storytelling, pretty immense.
So, here’s my list:
1. Fun House
Pat Sharp was a witty chap on that show, the twins a bit irritating it must be said, but those prizes hold up today (not the walkman, forget the walkman) but the 4 day trips to New York were the bomb, and my kids were literally squealing at all the food throwing, go-karting madness that makes this show a classic.
A cute series with ‘boy turns into dog’ mayhem that took me right back to my school dog-envying days. My 5 year old immediately asked me if could become a pooch too. Erm, that will be a no. Licking bowls of milk from the floor appeased him. Be warned.
Those high pitched, nasal voices and loveable munchkins with wild imaginations never get old (literally). I’m still scared of Angelica and I’m sad I didn’t name my firstborn Tommy. What was I thinking? My kids adore this bunch, and yours will too.
4. Saved by the Bell
Hot guys bar Screech (eek) and girl crushes abound (all), Saved by the Bell made me hate my parents for not moving to America so I could enjoy a diner rather than a dinner room, and go to ‘the dance’ every week. My parents sucked in the 90’s.
I loved this unconventional puppet family show, particularly Baby (what a cutie) and the forward thinking show themes touched a chord, even as a child, as they dealt with environmentalism, endangered species, the objectification of women, civil rights and a whole lot more through cleverly scripted comedy.
6. Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Another superpowered heroine in Sabrina who had that right mix of keeping it real and mesmerising magic. Her cat Salem was a little bit awesome too.
7. The Wonder Years
My brother looked so like Kevin as a kid, we were often stopped in the street in Leeds (I know) and asked if he was actually ‘the’ Fred Savage. What the heck Fred was doing in Yorkshire in 93 and why that didn’t go through northerner’s heads when they saw him, I know not. But back to the show, a rights of passage for us all as we experienced the sweet young love of Kevin and Winnie and the tough transition to adulthood. Although set in the 70’s, it stands the test of time, today.
I wanted to be Six, Blossom’s motor-mouthed, floppy hat wearing bestie, and to marry Joey, the biggest heartthrob actor turned singer of the decade. Joseph Lawrence has now chopped off his American style highlighted hair and is no longer my type (shame). I still enjoyed crushing on him during the re-reruns though. I also have a secondary appreciation for Blossom’s hot Dad now too.
9. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
We knew Will Smith was heading for superstardom the minute this series was aired. An already popular rapper in the 80’s he was nearly bankrupt due to overspending when approached to headline the show-and for want of a less cheesier phrase, the rest is history.
Will plays a a fictionalized version of himself, a street-savvy teen from West Philadelphia who moves in with his rich aunt and uncle in their Bel Air mansion after fighting on a local basketball court. The clashes between them were laugh out loud funny, and of course always resolved but in a non-Hollywood chees ball kind of way, and those guys really taught us how to be good teens without losing our ‘cool’.
A funny, well written, undervalued sitcom set in a fast food restaurant, that was a co-production between Canada and the UK made for clashing personalities and felt really fresh for its time. One you might have missed but well worth watching again now. Preferably with hot dogs and chips.
…I was born in 1980 and have a whole list of awesome 80’s telly to get through too. Worzel Gummidge and Super Gran anyone?
Remember the 90’s? I’d love to hear which kids telly rocked your world then?
Would love to hear your faves too.