Reminiscing: TGIF: The 5 Best Shows From the Line-Up

For the month of September, we’re going to reminiscence on some favorite TV shows, movies, etc.  In today’s entry we’re looking at five of my favorite shows that aired on ABC’s TGIF.

It’s Friday night, and the mood is right. We’re gonna have some fun show you how it’s done, TGIF.

And with that opening theme, one of my favorite blocks of television began. Every week I eagerly awaited Friday evenings so I could watch ABC’s TGIF line up. From 1999 to 2000, Friday nights from 8 to 10 pm reigned supreme and featured some of my favorite shows growing up. Shows such as Full House, Perfect Strangers, Clueless and Dinosaurs hold a special place in my heart, but out of the many that came and went or were permanently part of the TGIF family, only five shows became my favorite.

1. Family Matters

This show introduced me to one of my favorite characters on TV, Steve Urkel. Who can’t quote “Did I do that?: or remember the Urkel Dance? Anytime Carl would tell Steve “Go home, go home, GO HOME!” I would laugh so hard. I loved Steve, because he was the first black nerd I was introduced to on television, and he was funny, smart, and caring.

I truly enjoyed watching the Winslows and their extended friends and family. It was an entertaining show and is in my opinion one of the best sitcoms of all time.

2. Boy Meets World

I remember watching the pilot episode not on TGIF but on Fox as it was part of the after school lineup (when I was a kid, the local stations would play cartoons in the afternoons during the weekdays). After watching it, I was hooked and stayed that way until the final episode of the series. I grew up right along with Corey, Shawn, and Topanga and watched them blossom into awesome adults.

I also fell in love with Cory’s quirky brother Eric and Mr. Feeny became one of my favorite father-figures on tv. I haven’t had a chance to watch Girl Meets World yet (I believe it’s on Netflix), but I’m sure it carried  the heart and soul of its predecessor.

3. Sister, Sister

Watching twin sisters Tia and Tamara Mowry on this show was always a treat. I loved how they broke the fourth wall either together or separately, by talking directly to the viewers about what was going on in the story line involving them and sometimes other main characters like Roger.

Roger, played by Jerome Isaac Jones aka Romeo of the 90’s R&B group Immature, (who I was also a fan of) was also one of my TV crushes. Jackée  Howard  and Tim Reid, who play the twins’ parents, perfectly complete the cast and make the show enjoyable to watch.

What makes this show particularly special for me is that I wrote to Tia and Tamara’s fan club and they sent me back an autographed picture of them that I still have hanging on my wall!

NEWSFLASH!  A Sister Sister reboot might be happening! 

4. Step by Step

This sitcom dealt with a blended family and was entertaining from the first episode to the last. Watching the family come closer together as they learned more about each other and embrace their differences made for great TV. One highlight of the show was cousin Cody and his scenes enriched each episode.

5. Sabrina the Teenage Witch

I loved Melissa Joan-Hart on Clarrisa Explains It All, so when I found out she was starring in this new show I had to watch.

Sabrina was already having a hard time fitting in among her high school peers, but things got more interesting when she found out that she was a witch. As a high student who didn’t fit in, I could relate to Sabrina. By watching Sabrina chant spells to help out her friends or improve something about herself, only for the spells to backfire and learn from her mistakes, I learned that it was okay to be myself.

TGIF was an important part of my childhood growing up and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I will cherish the memories forever.  Viewers will be able to make new memories this fall as TGIF returns with a new look and new shows but still featuring that famous jingle on October 5th.

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Reminiscing: 5 Fave Shows That Aired On UPN

For the month of September, we’re going to reminiscence on some favorite TV shows, movies, etc.  In today’s entry we’re looking at five of my favorite shows that aired on UPN.

 

During my high school and college years, I watched a lot of TV.  Nowadays I don’t watch much TV, guess I’m not as interested. But back in the day when the telly had my attention, there was one particular network which aired some of my favorite shows. It was the United Paramount Network aka UPN.

 

UPN was launched in 1995 and dissolved 11 years later in 2006. When it’s reign came to an end some of the shows that aired on on the network moved over to the CW (formerly the WB) network. During its time on the tube, UPN  featured a variety of shows in different genres such as sci-fi, sitcoms, dramas, reality, cartoons, sports, and more. Out of UPN’s vast programming, there were five shows that became my favorites to watch on the regular.

1. Half & Half (2002-2004)

Set in San Francisco, the show focused on the lives of two paternal half-sisters in their twenties, who were estranged in their childhood-Mona (Rachel True) and Dee Dee (Essence Atkins) Thorn. Now grownups, the siblings begin to reconcile their feelings about each other and develop a close bond while also dealing with other issues of adulthood such as dating, co-workers and bosses and dealing with each other as people.

Though I could relate to both sisters, I found myself relating more with Mona. Like her, I was raised by a single parent, Jewish, and growing up I was (and still am) the awkward, nerdy, black girl. I didn’t fit in with the black kids or anybody else. In Mona I found someone who was similar to myself and by watching a character who marched to the beat of her own drum, it gave me even more confidence to be myself.

2. Moesha (1996-2001)

R&B singer Brandy starred as Moesha Mitchell, a typical teenage girl from a middle class African-American family living in the Leimert Park are of Los Angeles. Moesha’s father Frank works as a car salesmen and is a widower who marries Moesha’s vice-principal Dee. Moesha also has a younger brother named Myles.

The series focused on the experiences of Moesha along with her friends and family as they dealt with a variety of challenges and situations. I loved the fact that though Moesha was headstrong, independent and stubborn, she stood up for what she believed was right. What I also loved about the show was that it dealt with real-life issues that teenagers such as myself were going through. Issues such as teen pregnancy, drug use, race relations, premarital sex, the death of a parent, and day-to-day issues teenagers faced at home and school.

One memorable episode featured former actor turned cult leader Andrew Keagan guest starring as Moesha’s childhood friend who she hadn’t seen in a long time. Once reunited, the two rekindle their romance, though some other folks don’t approve of the interracial couple.

3. Girlfriends (2000-2008)

This show focused on four ladies who are best friends, Joan Clayton (Tracee Ellis Ross), Maya Wilkes (Golden Brooks), Lynn Searcy (Persia White), and Toni Childs (Jill Marie Jones)-living in Los Angeles, as they dealt with the daily issues such as careers, relationships, sex, family, and more. Girlfriends was my Sex In the City. It was really cool to watch four successful black women who came from different walks of life on my TV. I had never seen that before and watching these characters empowered me.

4. America’s Next Top Model (2003-present)

This was one of the first reality shows that I got hooked on. It introduced me to the fashion world and despite its problematic elements, I learned that there is more to modeling than just having a pretty face. Tyra Bank’s creation continues on with spin offs around the globe and finished it’s 24th cycle this year.

5. The Parkers (1999-2004)

This Moesha spin off focused on Moesha’s friend Kim Parker (Countess Vaughn) and her mother Nikki (Mo’Nique) as they attend Santa Monica College together. When she was a teenager, Nikki had Kim and was forced to drop out of high school. When Kim becomes an adult, Nikki makes the decision to go back to school much to Kim’s dismay. Throughout the series, their mother-daughter relationship evolves.

This show was always funny and constantly provided me with laughs especially on days when I needed them. I also enjoyed watching Nikki’s antics in each episode as she pursued her love interest Professor Stanley Oglevee.

While UPN is long gone, these shows and the many others the network aired continue to live on in syndication and will always hold a special place in my heart.