While I loved school growing up, I could not wait until Friday because that meant not only racing home to catch ‘Ghostwriter’ on PBS but also the holy grail of TV blocks in the ‘90s – TGIF. Four shows back-to-back followed by Barbara Walters serving up the hottest news in the world on ‘20/20?’ I lived.
What’s interesting though is that many of the crushes we’ve talked about as of late, William Hinson’s love of Topanga and this week with Jeremy Bryant’s interest in DJ Tanner both came from syndication for various reasons. That goes to show the lasting power of the shows ABC placed in their coveted TGIF lineup. Hell, even people outside of the US like Jamie Dyer crushed on Melissa Joan Hart thanks to ‘Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.’ Many of these shows were massive hits, some still even gaining fans today thanks to memes and GIFs of Michelle Tanner and Cory Matthews getting the youth interested in where they came from.
With that, I just couldn’t celebrate individuals we crushed on from TGIF back in the day. Oh no, this is about celebrating the shows that kept us watching then, and managed to live on in syndication for others.
Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place
Honestly, this is not a show I watched, but the title is ingrained into my memory because um, I love pizza. However, this was the show that sort of kickstarted the world’s love affair with Ryan Reynolds and I’m 100% if they placed this on the likes of Hulu, it’d gain a whole new wave of fans for starring Reynolds alone.
Amazing theme song aside, ‘Mr. Belvedere’ was a show I lived for in syndication as it was part of TGIF’s block before I was old enough to handle the remote control. So ‘Mr. Belvedere’ was getting new fans long before streaming took over.
Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper
This was another show I feel like I didn’t necessarily watch on Friday nights but somehow managed to see every episode because what ‘90s kid didn’t obsess over anything Raven-Symoné did?
So the thing with ‘Sister, Sister’ is that it started on ABC but then headed elsewhere after a while so while it’s one of the most notable on this list, it didn’t live out all of its days on TGIF. Aside from that, ‘Sister, Sister’ remains a fan favorite and gave us one hell of a ‘90s crush when Roger went from geek to fine as fuck overnight.
Now we’re getting into TV royalty territory here because this was your typical family comedy but with dinosaurs, and we have to give this show its flowers because while some shows can look raggedy as hell years later, ‘Dinosaurs’ still holds up. Also, “not the mama” is still something you’ll hear elder millennials say to this day.
Step by Step
Like ‘Mr. Belvedere,’ the theme song for this show went so fucking hard that you almost forgot ‘Step by Step’ was basically just the ‘90s version of ‘The Brady Bunch.’ Only this time around they didn’t make it so gender-specific based on the parents nor did all the kids on either side look too similar. Plus, we got wacky cousin Cody. He wound up being a horrible dude outside of the show, but for a short period of time, we crushed.
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Long before Archie Andrews and Co. turned a wholesome comic strip into a wild-ass ride on ‘Riverdale,’ Melissa Joan Hart’s mother saw an opportunity to take an Archie property and spin it into a magical and profitable TV show. Shout out to business mamas! With that came ‘Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.’ Aside from ‘Dinosaurs,’ this was one of the most out-there shows we got on TGIF but when you stripped away the magic and talking cat, at its core was a show about a typical teen dealing with the bullshit that comes with high school – and then college.
By now you should know that Steve Urkel was not meant to be the star of ‘Family Matters.’ In fact, he wasn’t meant to last past an episode or two, but people want what they want and they wanted this over-the-top nerd obsessing over his neighbor while driving her father mad all at the same time.
Boy Meets World
If there is one show on this list I feel is truly timeless, it’s ‘Boy Meets World.’ It’s hard to argue that the story of a typical kid, his best friend, and soulmate he met as a mere middle schooler (they really fuck up the timeline multiple times with that but…) isn’t going to resonate with new fans time and time again in syndication and streaming. Syndication is how William Hinson found love, and streaming continues to allow this show to grow its fandom.
While I believe ‘Boy Meets World’ is the most timeless, I do think ‘Full House’ is the most iconic. It’s everything we loved about TGIF shows. It had family, an amazing theme song, great catchphrases, and it does live in that sort of ‘Brady Bunch’ realm of goodness that’s somehow deniable, even today as the world turns to shit. Plus, ‘Fuller House’ proved that the cast and idea of a widow raising kids with two other adults under one roof still resonate with audiences.