May 5 11

My kids watch TV. They watch a completely healthy amount of (mostly) age-appropriate television. I am okay with this. I’m not raising television addicts; nowhere near it.

I know this because it takes one to know one.

Hi, I’m Ali. And I was raised by my television.

Well, we can pretend that I was raised by my dad and stepmom and mom and stepdad and grandparents and nannies, depending on the day, but in all reality, it was the television that turned me into the ever-quoting, boob-tube addict you see before you.

I started simply, as most children do, on 123 Sesame Street. You know, back when Mr. Hooper was still alive and Snuffleupagus was simply Big Bird’s imaginary friend. But, soon, I tired of waiting to see if Maria and Luis would fall in love and whether Mr. Rogers would ever not wear a cardigan. (lightbulb: I wonder if my cardigan obsession comes from Mr. Rogers!)

There were the cartoons. The Smurfs. The Snorks. Gummi Bears. The Jetsons. The Flinstones. Care Bears. JEM. She-Ra Princess of Power. Strawberry Shortcake. Shirt Tales. And the other kid shows. Fraggle Rock. Muppet Show. 3-2-1 Contact. READING RAINBOW.

There were the game shoes. Double Dare. Fun House. Press Your Luck. Let’s Make a Deal. Tic Tac Dough. Wheel of Fortune (Look at this studio filled with glamorous merchandise, fabulous and exciting bonus prizes just waiting to be won…) Hollywood Squares. The Dating Game.

There were the family shows. The Cosby Show. Family Ties. The Wonder Years. Mr. Belvedere. Growing Pains. Small Wonder. Punky Brewster. Silver Spoons. Charles in Charge. Bosom Buddies. Webster. My Two Dads. Perfect Strangers. The Torkelsons. Diff’rent Strokes. Good Times. The Facts of Life. ALF. Golden Girls. Doogie Howser, M.D. Cheers. Head of the Class. Gimme a Break. The Hogan Family (remember when it was called Valerie’s Family?). Just the Ten of Us. Kate and Allie. Saved By the Bell. Full House. Who’s the Boss? Out of This World.

And the soaps and the dramas and the after-school specials and the made-for-tv movies.

My kids do other things with their time. They trampoline (Yes, it’s a verb now…). They play outside. They play Settlers of Catan. They play Bakugon. They make friendship bracelets and play with melty beads and sing songs and make up dances and run play lines and skype relatives and go to the park and practice guitar and play cards.

But when they are not doing those things, I am slowly introducing them to MY CHILDHOOD.

Last year they started watching Full House.

Last month they started watching The Cosby Show.

Tonight they started watching Family Ties.

And there I was, a pre-teen again, watching as Uncle Ned shows up at a job interview drunk after spending the night drinking vanilla extract while Alex P. Keaton worries. And no one wanted to listen to poor Jennifer play the clarinet.

I can’t wait for them to fall in love with more pieces of my youth.

Except for Mr. Belvedere. Because not even Bob Uecker could make that crap watchable.

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  1. OOH THE TORKELSONS. The Hogan Family! And ALF. And ALL OF THOSE! Henry just started watching Full House in the mornings before school. I was raised by TV and by God, he’s going to be, too! It’s only right!

    LOVE the new design!

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    Comment by Jana A on May 5, 2011
  2. I liked the Snorks :). And I like your new layout design.

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    Comment by Tammi Marie on May 5, 2011
  3. Hmm. Perhaps I was also raised by TV, as I watched all those shows religiously. I also remember watching the Friendly Giant when I was watching Mr. Rogers & Sesame Street. I always felt bad when no one believed there was a Snuffalufagus (however you spell it) Poor BB.

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    Comment by Naomi Jesson on May 5, 2011
  4. “if you can memorize the TV Guide, you should be able to diagram a sentence!” – my mom, 1985

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    ali replied on

    HA! That’s fantastic!

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    Comment by Cristan on May 5, 2011
  5. We watch old commercials on YouTube. Like the ‘I like my coffee crisp’ commercial or ‘hey mikey, he likes it!’ I can’t wait until they’re old enough for John Hughes.

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    Comment by Tamara on May 5, 2011
  6. Do you remember a show about a family with a red-headed robot? I feel like it was called “Small Wonder” and had the school secretary from Ferris Bueller. I LOVE your list. How do I find these shows for MY kid?

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    ali replied on

    Small Wonder is on the list!

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    ali replied on

    ALSO.
    CTS has full house and family ties. We DVR them.

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    Comment by Dana on May 5, 2011
  7. Heh. There it is. Sorry! I can’t believe you watched Shirt Tales. It was my favourite saturday morning show and I’ve never met anyone else who remembers it!

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    Comment by Dana on May 5, 2011
  8. I still miss the shopping on Wheel of Fortune. I’ll take the ceramic dalmatian for $75, Pat.

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    Comment by Cyndi on May 5, 2011
  9. Thank you for the awesome trip down boob-tube memory lane! Ah, what great shows. (minus Mr. Belvedere, of course)

    I love making my kids watch stuff I did when I was younger. We’re working our way through Little House on the Prairie and lots of repeat watches of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse currently. :)

    Ah, Alex P. Keaton..I loved ya…

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    ali replied on

    GAH. How could I forget Little House on the Prairie?!??! OMG. I loved that show!

    (I still love that show)

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    Comment by CynthiaK on May 5, 2011
  10. I’m still being raised by tv.

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    Comment by Backpacking Dad on May 6, 2011
  11. During the recent “bequeathal” episode of Community (see how I bring even more tv shows into a discussion about tv shows?), J just didn’t GET the whole LeVar Burton thing, because he’d never seen Reading Rainbow. A piece of me died.

    As for me, I loved so many of these shows, and only resent them when I need to remember some crucial piece of information, yet can’t, because it’s been replaced by, like, the Growing Pains theme song.

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    alimartell replied on

    How how how can J not have ever seen Reading Rainbow?? HOW?

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    Comment by metalia on May 6, 2011
  12. What about You Can’t Do That On Television? Also, is it just me or does it seem to not be as many family choices or cartoons on these days? Perhaps I just haven’t noticed, but it feels like we had more options in the 80′s and early 90′s.

    PS – Love the new look!

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    Comment by Hockeymandad on May 6, 2011
  13. LOVE LOVE LOVE the new design! (And Alex P Keaton rocked my world.)

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    Comment by whoorl on May 6, 2011
  14. Yes. To all of these. I WATCHED ALL OF THESE SHOWS TOO!

    And I sadly learned about the alcohol content of vanilla extract from Family Ties! I forgot it was Tom Hanks!

    Man, no wonder I was chubby as a kid. I did nothing but watch TV.

    Also, I think we should start Skype dates! :)

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    Comment by Kristabella on May 6, 2011
  15. I, too, was raised on television. Well, not ON television, but watching it. Lots of the shows you mentioned were my favorites, too, including The Electric Company, which I understand is back these days.

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    ali replied on

    WHAT? The Electric Company is BACK?

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    Jessica replied on

    The Electric Company is back and IT’S AWESOME!! It’s the only show that my kids actually try and remember to be sitting in front of the TV for, and it is actually fun to watch — unlike so many other kids shows at the moment — so you don’t even need an eye gouging spoon!

    It’s on Saturdays at 12:00 on TVOKids.

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    Comment by Karl on May 6, 2011
  16. We love I Love Lucy and old old movies like The Marx Brothers, Arsenic and Old Lace, and The Odd Couple. I watch with my kids and explain the old references and we have a fantastic time.

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    Comment by Sharyn on May 6, 2011
  17. Aww I liked Mr. Belvedere but my heart belonged to the Cosby show, and Full House, and Family Ties. Oh heck, I loved them all!

    Family TV just isn’t what it used to be.

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    Comment by Jennifer Gilbert on May 6, 2011
  18. The only thing I didn’t watch, were soaps. But the rest, yes. I was raised by the TV as well.

    My kids aren’t. However we’ve started watching some of these as well. We’ve been through Full House, Punky Brewster and Fresh Prince. I’m thinking Cosby Show will be next. Thank you Netflix.

    You know what though? I’d rather my kids watch the shows I watched than some of the utter crap that is on now. iCarly…I mean really, does she even have parents?

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    Comment by Issa on May 6, 2011
  19. you are totally speaking me language. We watched as a family. My parents wanted to talk about the messages in the show. Remember when Claire and cliff pretended Theo was pregnant? That was a TEACHABLE MOMENT!

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    Comment by LISA on May 6, 2011
  20. Ah, I loved a lot of those shows too. Then reality TV came along and ruined everything. Bah! Cure you, reality television!

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    Comment by Spring on May 8, 2011
  21. Ah, Family Ties. I don’t have kids, but that totally made me want to start rewatching! Just the Ten of Us made me laugh – has anybody thought about that show since it went off the air? Oh, but I watched it! I used to know what time it was by what was on tv.

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    Comment by Anna on May 10, 2011
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