The 90’s was a decade of transition for me. At the start of the 90’s I was a high school freshman, but by the end, I was a new mom. When my kids have always been into vintage TV like Good Times, the Jeffersons, What’s Happening, Sanford and Son, and the Cosby Show, but they didn’t get into 90’s TV until they started watching Full House.
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When we entered the 90’s both my brother and I were high school students, I was about to start driving, and my parents stopped telling us what we could watch on TV. Our family programming of choice was 227, Amen, Perfect Strangers, Mork and Mindy, ALF, and The Cosby Show, but I really wanted to watch Family Ties too, which came on right after it for a long time. Those who grew up in a Caribbean family know that you can’t watch a TV show or movie without hearing, “eh eh, you know yuh cyan do dat in dis house.”
My mother wasn’t going to have us watching TV and movies that showed children as independent, precocious, or talking back to authority figures. Shows my friends were watching like Punky Brewster, Webster, Silver Spoons, and even Diff’rent Strokes were off the table. Sometimes we could watch Gimme a Break. But that Samantha sure was mouthy, and liked to yell at adults. My mom was having none of that – and while she wanted us to experience some of what America had to offer, bad behavior on television wasn’t going to be included. Ask any Caribbean parent of American children what their greatest fear is, and it will likely be having a child that “acts like an American child.” Not that they necessarily know any American children or anything. They really mean acts like an American child – from TV.
Let a child on the TV talk back… “You see she? No. Not in DIS house.” Insert long “steups” here.
When the 90’s hit, I had a TV in my room and I could watch what I wanted, unchecked. Unlike today, there was no going back to see what I had missed if it was off the air. I still had school and after school activities, and no cable, so there was little to no chance that I’d catch a rerun unless I was at my best friend’s house.
Early in the 90’s I watched Growing Pains, Full House, I graduated from high school in 1993 and went straight to college, so I really had no time, or interest in television. I watched shows popular with my age group like New York Undercover, In Living Color, and Martin occasionally, but even that took up time that I didn’t have to spend waiting for the show to “come on.”
After graduation, I had a little more time to watch TV, but I didn’t really get hooked on anything specific, and then in 1999, I had my son – TV time reduced to 0% for me, 100% for him.
One day, looking through the DVR, I found that my kids were recording Full House. They knew the characters the plot lines, and had been watching it with their dad when I occasionally opted out of Movie night. They loved the clothes, the corny sayings, the whole thing. I figured that if they liked this, they’d LOVE Steve Urkel and Carl, Larry and Balki, and maybe might even try Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper.
I am trying out Hulu for three months to introduce the kids to some of my 90’s TV faves. They’ve seen a lot of Full House episodes, so I think this movie night, we’ll skip the movie and watch Perfect Strangers and maybe a few more from the old school Friday night lineup. I REALLY loved Perfect Strangers as a kid because I could see parallels (grossly exaggerated of course) in my own immigrant family. My parents got American words and sayings wrong, and I could always rely on one of them to tell a good story about “back home.”
See what everyone else is watching by following the hashtag #tgihulu on Twitter. Stay tuned for an update on what my littles thought about my favorite shows growing up.