80s TV!



"You take the good, you take the bad, you take 'em both and there you have..."

...THE FACTS OF LIFE, the long-running show about teenage girls at an all-girls school. Remember the early years when Tootie was on rollerskates? When Molly Ringwald was a cast member? Or how about the later years with George Clooney and Mackenzie Astin when the girls had that little shop? Blair was obnoxious, Jo was the coolest, Tootie was your little sister, and Natalie, well, everyone knew someone like Natale!
This show, like most, was great when it started and then got really lame toward the end. Mrs. Garrett transferred from Diff'rent Strokes to star in The Facts Of Life. This show had one of the first disabled persons on a regular series, Geri Jewell. Geri had cerebral palsy and played Blair's cousin on the show. On the first episode Geri appeared in she said that she was "a Dead-Head". Mrs. Garrett, obviously confused, seemed shocked. "They don't call you that, do they?", she asked.


"What would we do baby...without us? Sha-la-la-la..."

"Sit Ubu, sit...good dog! (woof)"

Remember that one at the end of every episode of Family Ties? This was on Thursday nights along with The Cosby Show/Cheers/Night Court. I have been taking refresher courses in Family Ties by watching it on Nick at Night. I forgot how great this show is! I recently saw this episode where Jen wanted to fit in wih the popular crowd so she turned all "valley-girl," it was quintessential 80s! Michael J. Fox was a breakout star from this show, going on to a huge film and tv career. He also met his real-life wife, Tracey Pollan on this show. I remember thinking Mallory was the coolest chick, even if she was kinda dumb. I hated Jennifer, thought her hair was unnaturally yellow and she was annoying. Watching it now, she wasn't so bad. I thought Elyse was a really neat name, and she was like no mom I had ever seen! Even the father, Steven (played by Michael Gross) was a cool ex-hippie. The show got weird when they did the 80s-save-the-show-by-having-a-baby thing. I'd like to leave you with this: in retrospect, who really WAS cooler - Skippy or Nick??? A point to ponder...
Without a doubt, Skippy was much cooler. Recently I saw Skippy (er, Marc Price) perform along with Jimmie Walker and Sherman Helmsley. He was hilarious but, as my friend pointed out, was doing the same skit he had seen him do 5 years earlier on TV. Jimmie and Marc were very nice after the show and signed autographs (Marc signed his real name and then "Skippy", in case you forgot who he was). Marc Price was also in a cool, evil, rock n roll movie in 1986 called Trick Or Treat. He actually played the cool guy in this movie.
I seem to have lost myself on a tangent. Family Ties ruled. Alex was always my favorite. I loved the episode when he was applying for a big college (I think Yale), and he brought Mallory along on the trip when he had his interview scheduled. Well, on that trip Mallory had caught her boyfriend cheating and proceeded to bother Alex during his important interview. She knocked on the door and the window, continuously crying the whole time, while Alex was trying his best to ignore her in front of the professor.


"I'm gonna live forever, I'm gonna learn how to fly HIGH! I feel it coming together, people will see me and cry FAME!"

Growing up, I wanted to be a dancer. My ultimate goal was to go to a school like this. Unfortunately for that dream, I lived in a small town in upstate NY. It was all for the best. But when I was 9 or 10, the idea of a high school for the performing arts really blew my mind. We even did a FAME play in elementary school. I was in the chorus. I was so disappointed that all the real roles in the play went to older students (darn 6th graders!).

Janet Jackson was on this show, I believe after Diff'rent Strokes. Another show with Debi Allen, one of my favorite choreographer/dancers. The cello-playing girl (Valerie?) really annoyed me. FAME was a trip, though. A total fantasy life in my young mind!


"The plane boss...the plane!"

This was on in the late 70s/early 80s (I think) on Friday nights after THE LOVE BOAT. I remember the short-of-stature young man whose name I can say, but not spell. Oh, and remember Ricardo Montalban in the beginning of each episode when the travellers exited their plane? "WELCOME, to Fantasy Island..." with the sweep of the arm and that spanish accent!
His name was Tattoo, even I can spell that. Sike! The actor's name was Herve Villechaize. Yes, I cheated and looked it up. Anyway, I never really watched this show. I think it was on too late for me at the time.


"Gimme a break, I sure deserve it...it's time I made it to the top.."

Nell Carter. What a lady, eh? Remember her strangling that scale in the opening sequence? Man... And the part where she stuck the vacuum in the fishtank always bugged the hell out of me. The daughters on this show were pretty annoying, except maybe the middle one who was smarter. UGH, and Joey Lawrence was the "cute child" factor on this show. He had THE MOST nauseating bowl haircut!!!
Nell was funny. I would always sing along to that damn theme song, in my best Nell Carter impression. The rest of the cast was kind of forgetful to me. Joey Lawrence, of course, went on to have a highly successful singing career.


"Believe it or not, I'm walking on air...I never thought I could feel so free-ee-eee!"

"Flying away, a wing and a prayer...who could it be? Believe it or not, it's just me!" This show had the narliest theme! Other than that I remember him crashing into walls all the time!
That theme song was more important to me than the show was. I honestly don't remember the show very well. But the song was so uplifting, you really end up thinking you can "walk on air" when you hear it.


"Baby, you and me...we gotta be...the luckiest dreamers who never quit dreaming!"

This show had the best theme! This was my FAVORITE show in the 80s! I loved-loved-loved Kirk Cameron (I know, I know...), I completely related to Tracey Gold's character, Carol. Incidently, Kirk also met his wife (like Michael J. Fox did) on his show. Anyway, the show was hilarious. Always peppered with father Alan Thicke's psychiatric analysis of every situation - sort of a twist on the Mike Brady morals of The Brady Bunch. Mom Joanna Kerns was always such a GOOD mom. She was great. And younger brother Ben was the prototypical adorable-but-obnoxious-know-it-all younger brother 1980s stereotype. I have so many favorite episodes. Remember the one where Mike wrote the answers to his test on the bottom of his shoes, and then stupidly put his feet up after the test? Or the one where Mike met the nasally-speaking Lydia at a dance and she sang "Brick House" for him? The one where Carol let the rumor fly about her being alone in her room with the football player (she just wanted to seem dangerous, and be pretty). This show was a hit based on the reality of Carol's character and Mike's being easy on the eyes. This show also did the save-the-show-by-having-a-baby cute kid factor once Ben got older. Growing Pains even had a spinoff - gym teacher Coach Lubbock moved across the country taking his large family with him and became the sitcom JUST THE TEN OF US. And let's not forget who joined the GROWING PAINS cast in the last season - Leonardo DiCaprio (ooh baby). I think my favorite episode ever was the one where Mike worked at W.O.B. - World Of Burgers, "Don't get any on ya!"
I never watched this show much either. I know, that's becoming my mantra on this page. I think I spent alot of the 80s watching reruns from the 70s. Anyway, Kirk Cameron always annoyed me, mostly because the girls in my school wouldn't shut up about him. I actually didn't even know what he looked like until several years later, I just hated him on principle alone. I saw a special about the show recently, and Kirk is so utterly nice and perfect you just want to smack him. He spends his days in Bible study, then helps homeless children, then feeds the hungry, then helps to spread the word about all things nice and fluffy to the rest of the world. I just know one of these days he's going to snap and end up killing a bunch of people.


Howard Hesseman, formerly Johnny Fever of 70s sensation WKRP in Cincinnati, teaches an honors class full of a politically correct cross-section of American teens. Sounds smarmy, right? It was surprisingly good. The nerdy Arvid, The young Janice, The punk Eric...they were all complete characters. Remember Khrystyne Haje's (spelling?) beautiful and long red hair? Robin Givens was on this show. Why did she ever marry Mike Tyson? Anyhoo, I think my favorite episode was when they did GREASE as their school play. We did GREASE at roughly the same time in my school. So that was pretty awesome to see on TV. At least this show was a little different!


The Hogan Family started out in 1986 as a sitcom called VALERIE, starring Valerie Harper. VALERIE was a married mother of three boys (two of them twins), whose husband was a much-absent airline pilot. Due to a dispute with producers, Valerie Harper left the show in the fall of 1987. The show was retitled Valerie's Family immediately, then changed to The Hogan Family in June 1988. In Valerie's absence, her character was written out as a death, and the father's sister was brought on to watch the kids. This character was Sandy, played by Sandy Duncan. I liked this show enough. It had its moments. Mostly my sister and I sat around making fun of Sandy Duncan's commercials for Wheat Thins ("They're baked, not fried!") that were prevalent at the time. One of my friends had a crush on Jason Bateman, which I never understood (incidently, he also starred in the short-lived sitcom IT'S YOUR MOVE, and his sister is Justine Bateman from FAMILY TIES). I had kind of a shine for Jeremt Licht, who played one of the twins (Mark, the one on the right in the picture on the left). Nothing major, though. This show was definitely good for a few laughs!
I remember enjoying this show in the early years. Once Sandy Duncan took over, I couldn't stand it. There's something just so annoying about that woman. Maybe it was the previously mentioned Wheat Thins commercials, I don't know.

Comments by Kelly and Brian

Forward to 80s TV Section I-L!
Back to 80s TV Section D!
Back to the 80s TV Main Page!
Back to the NOTES FROM THE 80S homepage!

Email: sheenaandflav@lycos.com